New Year’s Resolutions and Breaking Chains

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It’s a little over a week into the New Year. Many have just begun working towards their resolutions, while at the same time, many have already given up on theirs.

A few years ago I decided not to go down this route and strayed away from setting any more New Year’s Resolutions.

I would often decide on something that I assumed would make me feel better – going to the gym 4 times a week, quit drinking soda, etc. I then realized that I, like many, can be disciplined for a while, but then get off course and move on the next thing allowing that resolution drift off to no-man’s land.

So, I decided to set my own rules and began finding what works best for me.

If you’re in your 20’s, like me, this is a great time to begin to form healthy habits. These habits you develop end up controlling you. Decide now which habits you want those to be…

For the past year and a half, I have been using a system (borrowed from Buster Benson) that I may break down in another post. Very simply, I set certain themes/goals at the beginning of each month and I will then check back at the end of the month and see if I was satisfied with my efforts/results. If I missed my mark, I then find what, if anything, was tied to my failure. This allows me to adjust themes/goals throughout the year based on my circumstances. I find myself sticking to this system much more than any New Year’s Resolution in past years. **Feel free to ask me about my system anytime

At the end of the year, I had a little time to think about what areas I would like to focus my themes/goals on. So I started to do a personal inventory on different dynamics of my life that has some sort of control over me. These can be thoughts/substances/emotions tied to past events among other things. My goal with this exercise was to give myself an idea of various themes and goals I can set for myself in the next year.

This simple exercise was rewarding, so I wanted to share.

1 – Pay close attention to what controls you in your life. What is constantly on your mind? What is holding you back? Are you addicted to anything? List everything you can.

2 – Determine if they are healthy or unhealthy.

  • If healthy, you can choose to do nothing with them.
  • If unhealthy, you can evaluate if it is worth the time to improve on.

3 – Choose the top 3.

These can be used to shape your goals going forward.

I know this may sound pretty general, so I will give you some common examples I found for myself and noticed in others:

  • Unhealthy Relationships
  • Sugar (leading to more cravings)
  • Consumerism and Materialism
  • Money
  • Social Media
  • Past Traumas
  • Video Games
  • TV
  • Resistance to Change (and resistance to taking action)
  • Other various forms of fear

I have chosen my 3 for this year. I plan on keeping these in mind when setting my monthly goals and themes for the upcoming year. This will allow me to remember the important dynamics that are holding me back in various ways and work on gaining control of them instead of allowing them to control me.

There are obstacles we must overcome to improve our well-being. Some are obvious. Some need to be discovered.

And some of the chains need to be broken.

Lessons Learned in 2014

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I wrote about my lessons learned last year around this time, so I figured I would reflect back on this year as well.

  • Knowledge vs. Understanding – Finally recognizing the difference between these two. I used to think I was smart because I’ve learned a lot of things on my own. But it was not until this year that I finally understood this vital difference. Knowledge is something you can acquire and accumulate, but true understanding only comes through experience. Only then can can you connect the dots between knowledge and your environment. Wisdom may soon follow.
  • Exhaustion is real, and while I like to push myself, I have also seen its limitations. Rest and fun are necessary for well-being when working hard towards something, but there must be a balance. Also, it’s okay to take a break to recover and come back stronger.
  • The significance of getting enough quality sleep and designing a personal sleep routine
  • Not-To-Do Lists can be effective. I plan to continue experimenting with these next year. Some things I’ve previously added to mine:
    • No long, hot showers in the winter.
    • No sugar or caffeine before bed.
    • No soda (except for an occasional mixed drink on the weekend)
    • Limiting Distractions (more than 1 hour of TV a day, limiting social media)
  • That I feel more alive when I get out in nature on a daily basis. Not only do we get the benefits of more sun, but we also can learn to connect with nature as humans are intended to do. When’s the last time you ran on the grass barefoot?
  • Which brings me to – The benefits of a daily walk. Every day I attempt to at least take one walk (a little tougher in the winter, so I may substitute with the gym). I prefer to do this for the mental benefits – clarity, brainstorming – even more than the physical benefits. It’s also a great way to connect with friends and take meetings (learned this one from Steve Jobs).
  • Laughter is a powerful healer.
  • The power of constructing your reality and deciding what is played on your Movie Screen. I want to build myself from the inside out – not search my external world for temporary fillers.
  • The importance of energy, environment, and the people you associate yourself with. These are extremely interrelated, such as noticing energy levels when in different settings or around different people. Understanding each of these within the scope of my immediate environment has been eye-opening and self-empowering.

I hope 2015 has more quality lessons in store for me.