There’s hundreds of self-help lists revolving around the premise of changing/growing/doing/being better for the New Year. From those lists you quickly forget what’s not applicable and memorize what resonates.
It doesn’t take a new year to actively pursue your goals or become a better person. It’s one of the reasons we made the case against New Year’s resolutions. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to shape your life the way you want. Part of having the life you dream of starts with being the best person you can be.
So in 2014 let’s vow to be better people, live better lives. Not just within the first three months of the year or because it’s a new year. Do it because it feels good or so those around you will feel good. Being the best you allows you to move closer and closer to your destiny.
1. Be of Service
Life is not about you. Sorry if that’s a hard pill to swallow. Drink an extra glass of water if that helps it go down smoother. Your purpose here is to be of service to other people. You may be wondering how you can be of service to anyone if your own life isn’t quite together. The best time to serve is when you’re down and out. Doing something for someone creates a sense of purpose. You feel better when you’re useful to others. Carry an elderly woman’s groceries, volunteer with organizations you’re passionate about, mentor children, swipe someone into the subway who doesn’t have fare, treat your co-worker to lunch. Do something. Anything. It’s all of service and makes the world a clichéd better place.
2. More Honey, Less Vinegar
A good judge of someone’s character is how they treat someone who can’t do anything for them. The next time you’ve made a new friend or are on a date pay attention to how they treat the waitress or busboy. It says a lot about the person if they're rude to the wait staff. Be kind even when you don’t want to. We know, when you are having a bad day or have an attitude for a legitimate reason you don’t want to be kind. You want people out of your space. Try it anyway. Being kind to someone else may change the course of their day. Remember, it’s not about you. You can always “catch more bees with honey than vinegar.” This saying never made much sense because who wants to catch bees anyway? Doesn’t mean it’s not true though.
3. Your Job Will Not Mourn You When You’re Gone
It just won’t. The people who matter won’t care that you ran the country’s largest investment firm. What will that mean when you’re gone? Your friends and family will barely remember anything about your job. What they’ll remember is the time spent, how you made them laugh, how kind you were to them, how you were there for them. The memories are all they’ll be left with. Your job, on the other hand, will have a replacement in your seat weeks after you’re gone. It’s a hard reality to accept. Work and success are important. Countless hours will be devoted to your craft. But you must make time for the people who mean the most to you.
4. Family Is Forever
Make peace with a mother or father not being there. Humanize your parents. They were individuals with their own set of baggage and flaws long before you came along. Once you’ve moved past any hurt you believe they caused you, get on with the business of calling more, spending more time and really cherishing the time you’re together. Time lost is irrevocable. Few things in this life will mean more than your family.
5. Forbidden Fruit
Whatever you’re eating now your body will pay for later. Looking good is only one aspect of health/nutrition. Most importantly you want to be around until you’re at least 80. Americans’ diet is directly linked to the plethora of health issues plaguing us. Processed foods, chemical injected poultry and microwaving meals will all have a long term effect. Every day go out of your way to become healthier. Drink more water, eat fruit, veggies or go a few days without meat. All it takes is to get in the habit of eating healthier and you’ll never turn back. You’ll feel 100 times better.
6. Deadly Thoughts
Stop believing every lie you tell yourself about yourself. You’re not a failure because your life isn’t where you want it to be right now. You’re not stupid because your boss doesn’t praise anything you do. You’re not a bad mom or wife because you don’t cook every night. Stop listening to the BS. Every thought you have is not true. The moment you recognize your mind wandering into self-hatred Pityville replace it with a positive affirming thought. I am smart. I am talented. I am a good painter. “I AM” will will be two of the most meaningful words you’ll ever say in your life. What follows those words are imperative. Make them good.
7. Who you lovin’, who you wanna be huggin’?
Every single person on the planet wants to be loved. Maybe not by an intimate partner, but wanting love is universal. You want to be loved so give love. Move through life in love, it’ll make life that much sweeter.
8. Don’t Forget To…
LIVE! There are no redos. This is it. No use in sweating for years to attain success if you forgot to live. The money, million dollar home, the yacht, it’ll all be in vain if you haven’t enjoyed your life. Travel and be adventurous. Embark on new opportunities. Find new skills to conquer. Dance like no one is watching. Just live. And live some more.