1. Spring cleaning with a 2 year rule.
Set aside some time to have a good clear out of your cupboards and wardrobes. With a strong rule that if something hasn’t been used or worn in two or more years donate it to charity or sell it. We cleared half of our kitchen worktops of unused appliances and a big chunk of our wardrobes.
We often accumulate material things. Think of how much money you would have saved if you didn’t buy those that are just sitting in your house now collecting dust.
As a side note, once you get rid of clutter, invest your money in experiences, as opposed to buying more things.
2. Don’t make too many commitments to yourself or others.
When you chase too many goals and say “yes” to too many things, you end up not accomplishing many of them. As a result, you end up feeling like you failed, when in reality you just spread yourself too thin like too little butter over too much bread. (Yes that’s a Bilbo Baggins quote)
If you try to do too many things, you end up overwhelmed and stressed out because nothing will have your undivided attention and focus. We all have 24 hours in the day, of which 8 are for sleeping and 8 are for working (if you work 8 hours a day). Therefore, you only have 8 hours each day to chase your goals. So, make those remaining 8 hours count.
3. Finish what you started.
Now that you have reduced your future commitments you have opened a whole lot of time to work on things you have promised yourself you would do. Paint that hallway, call that friend, fix that thing you promised your significant other you would fix. The more times you quit things, the more likely you are to accept quitting as normal.
This helps you gain momentum and “YOU WONT WANT TO WASTE MOMENTUM! It makes you value yourself and improve your standards” - Grady B PT 2020
4. Decrease social media time.
I’ll be the firs to admit that I spend too much time on my phone, and I’ve recently taken steps to limit that. There are apps/extensions that block social sites on your computer and phone during certain hours of the day.
Personally I have deleted my personal twitter account and can only access Facebook on desktop as I don’t have the app on my phone. Ive also moved all my chat apps to an old blackberry in the spare room so I don’t have them with me and can check in once a day to see if I’ve missed anything important. But most of the time, if it’s important, they will call you.
5. Exercise 30 minutes per day.
Having good health is the starting point for being able to pursue all your other goals.
The great strongmen at the turn of the century have some great quotes on health but I think the best is from Eugen Sandow, worlds strongest man and father of modern bodybuilding.
“Life is movement. Once you stop moving, you're dead. Choose life.”
All experiences that you might want to have in the future require you to be there and able to participate. The best experiences are the rare ones that a scarcely seen because they are either hard to get to or require perseverance. You don’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity because there are too many stairs or you must move quickly and can’t.
If you are healthy, fit and strong you are less likely to need help throughout life and you are in a better position to help others.
6. Make time for hobbies.
If you love to do something, you should keep doing it. Whether it’s knitting, painting, decorating, running, making music, taking pictures, do it.
Hobbies can help you achieve the work-life balance you see everyone talking about and enable you to make connections with like-minded people.
Also, if you get good enough at your hobby, you may be able to make a side-hustle out of it for some extra cash. Imagine being one of those people that earns money from doing something they love.
Hobbies also inspire creativity within you and clearly make your life more enjoyable.
7. Sunday Pages.
Three pages of longhand, stream of writing, done first thing on Sunday morning.
There is no wrong way to do Sunday Pages. They are not art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, and prioritise the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything. I like to review my week and start thinking about next week (including “maybe I will do this”) and it turns into a loose to-do list or I might write about the week from my dogs perspective and draw a terrible picture of my dog.
Just sit and create three pages of something. Keep it until the next Sunday, read over it and keep it if you want or throw it out. Humans are creative by nature and we feel better after we make something.
8. Learn how to learn.
Learn something new this year. Yes its open ended and doesn’t have a strict timeframe but take some steps to learning something. Recently I completed a coursera course on Philosophy and have now registered to audit a Harvard university course in the same subject.
Its something that interests me, doesn’t directly effect my work but it exercises my mind the same way my favourite sports exercise my body.
Because I am fighting to learn more about something I am passionate about I am discovering how I like to learn. How my desk should be set up, is it best to study before or after exercise, what distracts me, how to reduce activation energy. I can then use that in the future to learn other things, maybe a short development course needed for my job, a language crash course or studying for a business MBA.
“You must learn how to learn” - Billy Robinson
9. Don’t say negative things about other people or hold grudges.
When you constantly blame or talk about who did you wrong, you are choosing to relive that negative experience over and over again.
You should see your negative experience with someone as something that you overcame and that you learned from.
Complaining about all the people who have treated you badly is counter productive. Two quotes from Marcus Aurelius fit together perfectly
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticise?”
"The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”
Basically see the thing in yourself that you most hate about the other person and eliminate it. Counter the badness in others with goodness in you. You will feel better.
10. Improve your nutrition.
If we rate how high our nutrition standards are out of 10 and you decide you rate it at 7 but admit you have been operating at around a 5 you can only exist between 5 and 7 in the future. Until you raise your standards.
Are you happy, willing and able to go to a 10?
When you go to a 10 you will start eating different food and choosing healthier options in the rest of your life.
I recommend finding a healthy food diet with no hard cuts on food types like the Atkins diet cutting out carbs. I usually do Paleo as it has all the food groups but you basically can’t eat anything from a pack, fried, processed or with refined sugars. You can only eat fresh food and the snacks are mostly fruit and nuts. I do this for about 2 weeks to build momentum and then like I said before. You won’t want to waste momentum.