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Resolution: The state of being fully determined.

At this exact time every year, people around the world start making proclamations about their “New Year’s Resolution”.  Often people have been pondering their resolution for months and use the new year as an excuse to procrastinate starting towards their goal until a later date.  But if you’re really “resolved” to do something, then why procrastinate it?  Well it’s simple.   Most of the time people set resolutions that are either too big to chew or too nebulous.  Choose something that is too massive (I’m going to give up caffeine) and it’s going to be difficult to achieve for even the most committed people.  Choose something that is too vague (I’m going to lose weight) and it’s hard to ever know when you’re “there”.  The point should be to set a resolution that requires a bit of effort, but is realistically achievable.  Achievement is an important part of the process, because it is the reward for the effort you’ve put in.  Additionally, since resolutions are usually about self-improvement, why should we have just 1?  Lou Holtz, a famous college football coach, after being fired as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina wrote down a list of 107 goals he wanted to accomplish in his life.  To date he has achieved roughly 95 of them.

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One more quick anecdote.  My first boss in the real world was a dynamic young business man who, by the age of 35, built himself a multi-million dollar real estate company.  The one time he had over a bunch of people to his apartment in the Ritz Carlton for a party.  After using the bathroom in the master bedroom, I was washing my hands when I saw “it” stuck to the mirror behind the sink.  “It” was his goals list.  There were 10 goals on the list, all very specific.  I remember thinking, why does this guy, who’s achieved so much, (I was only 22 at the time and was amazed by the wealth he had earned), have this corny piece of paper on his mirror.  He’d have to look at it probably 10 times a day??!!  But that’s just it, he’d HAVE to look at it everyday.  He’d have to face his own goals, every single day.  If he wasn’t working towards at least one of them, he’d not be able to look at himself in the mirror.

With those 3 thoughts (resolutions, Lou Holtz and the list on the mirror) in mind I’ve written the framework for 10 resolutions.  10 goals, that are open ended enough that I can set them every year, but small enough that I can also achieve them every year. I’m going to write them down and stick them on my mirror and on the desktop of my computer (“Stickies” if you have a Mac) so that I have to see them every day.  If I follow them, I will better myself in every way – physically, mentally, emotionally, and professionally.  I’m hardly a psychologist and I’m definitely no life coach.  I’ve made more mistakes in my life than I could list in a week.  However, I feel pretty certain that if you use this strategy to set your resolutions, not only will you achieve them, but you’ll live a pretty fucking full life in each coming year.  And that’s what life’s about right?  Livin – L. I. V. I. N. (a little Dazed and Confused quote to finish this on.

The Framework for 10 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Go someplace you’ve never been before: Travel and experience are so much of what makes up life.  We so easily get caught up going to the same places (restaurants, vacation spots, etc.), that we never get out of our comfort zone.  Some people wish to see more and do more, but just never get up the guts to actually do it.  So this year, pick 1 new place – I don’t care what it is or where it is – and go there.

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2. Achieve  something athletically/physically: Getting in shape is just too vague, and “joining the gym” doesn’t mean that you’ll actually use it.  However, set a physical goal to work towards, and now you’ll probably end up doing both of the previous by default.  1 Pull-up, Ski a Black Diamond, run a 5k, learn to play tennis.  The challenge is up to you, but get yourself up and active.

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3. Change one small thing about your appearance:  Don’t let this fool you, I’m not saying that you’re not good enough or that you need to make a change to be better.  This is about just trying something new.  Never had a beard?  Never been a hat person? I’ll even let you say you want to be thinner here but tied to a specific goal (I want to be a size 30 waist).  However, I’d rather focus on trying something subtle and simple, just to try it.  Personal style and appearance don’t have to be something you figure out and then set in stone for 5-10 years at a time.  Stop caring what other people think and at least try a subtly different look.  Surprisingly I think you’ll find a lot of people will dig it.  And if they don’t… fuck it you can always go back to the old way.

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4. Read a book Seems stupid and basic right?  Well that’s kind of the thing.   While I have many friends who read, and read a lot, I have just as many that don’t read at all.  Reading is an amazing way to let your mind really go in a way that television and music and movies (while all great) just can’t replicate.  A book, even just one single book, has a different sense of accomplishment from magazines or blogs or newspapers.  It’s a commitment you make when you pick it up and say I’m going to read this entire story.  The book can be fact or fiction, educational or stupid trash… but let your mind go in at least one book (and finish it).

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5. Try something you’ve always been afraid of or thought you hated:  Do you know how many things I thought I hated, or maybe I did hate (when I was 7), and now I like them?  Go to a country music concert, try indian food, or go sky diving.  Hell, try “Molly” (once don’t go getting addicted haha).  It doesn’t matter what it is, but just try 1 thing you’ve just never been willing to do.

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6. Give 1 hour of time to a charity or the less fortunate: This is simple, money is easy to give but it’s impersonal.  It doesn’t actually impact you the same way that giving of yourself does.  I know we are all time poor, but you can find 1 hour of time in the next year to work at a soup kitchen, go to a children’s hospital, or other various options.  However, I urge you to give the time.

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7. Take 1 step in your career: Advancing and achieving in our career is always a constant battle.  We all want the rewards, and many of us really “work” for them, but often they just don’t come easy.  However, this year set 1 career goal (no matter how small) and achieve it.  Want to switch careers or start your own business?  Great.  Want to just learn how to use Microsoft Excel better?  That’s great too.  Pick 1 thing that will improve your work life.  The rewards will come in the form of quality of life or promotion as you keep making these small changes that you’ve probably talked about for years.  Don’t leave your career in the hands of others, take what you want from it all.

8. Move on from someone: This sucks to say, but we all have at least 1 unhealthy relationship in our life.  One that holds us back, hurts us, or drains us.  As we get older and time becomes more precious, life is too short to waste on people that don’t bring something positive to your life.  It’s a sad truth, but sometimes you need to just cut ties and realize that someone else will fill that void.  Don’t be angry at them, just realize that for whatever reason right now it’s time to move on; nothing says they can’t come back into your life some time down the road.

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9. Forgive someone: As kind of a juxtaposition to the previous sentiment, sometimes you need to find a way to get past the things that others have done.  We all have friends, family members, co-workers that we’ve just held a grudge against, no matter how slight, for a period of time.  You don’t want to move on from them, or maybe you have moved on, but either way you need to let go of the anger.  Forgive them.  Just once this year, let it go and give them another chance.  Give yourself another chance.

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10. Tell someone that you love them: This sounds really corny, but you know what we just don’t do it enough.  There are people around us that we love, but we just take for granted.  Or, maybe you’re like me and you don’t take them for granted but you just don’t say the words.  Things happen in life, terrible and sad things happen, but the one thing that seems to make things easier or better is when you really know people care.  So one time this year, to a person who maybe you don’t say the words enough to or maybe have never said them to, without reason, just let them know you care.  Tell them you love them.  Doesn’t have to be romantic, could be like a brother, but just say the fucking words and mean it.

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