Courtesy of onesouthernman.com
This article was originally published at D’Marge.
It’s the same each year; January 1 is a magical time, especially for those lucky enough to live in the South. For a blissful, brief moment, we live in a world where everything seems possible. We’re going to get healthier, wealthier and happier. We’ll work harder and play more. We’ll manage our money wisely. We’ll read. We’ll learn a new language and spend more time with our loved ones. The coming year is our oyster and we’re going to gobble it down with champagne.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the painful truth sets in: making New Year’s resolutions is easy. Keeping them is hard. In fact, more than 90 percent of us will give up, meaning all we are really resolving to do in the New Year is feel guilty and disappointed. The grass on the other side of midnight doesn’t get greener on its own. The grass is only greener where you water it, so commit to keeping 2017 soggy by nourishing it with resolutions that actually matter.
REVIEW DISTRACTIONS AND CLEAR THE CLUTTER
You’re no paragon of productivity. You’re distracted by your social feeds. Or by news websites. Or by your favorite blogs. Or by your phone, your email, the chores you have to do, and that sick song Spotify put in your Discover Weekly playlist. Whoever you are, whatever you’re into, you have distractions and they’re only getting worse as we get more connected. Make it your aim to clear out the mental clutter and find focus in 2017. Be brutally honest in identifying the trivial things that sap your energy and attention. Then mute that noise. Agree to turn off the phone 30 minutes before bed or only check email twice a day. With fewer diversions fighting for a limited supply of brainpower, you’re free to apply yourself fully to the thing that matter most – then the next thing that matters most, then the next, then the next. Take breaks when you need them, but always return to your focus.
TRAVEL SOMEWHERE NEW
“Travel more” is hardly an original New Year’s resolution, but how many actually stick to it? It’s not enough to vaguely state your intention to see more of the world – be specific. Commit to exploring somewhere new, whether it’s three hours away or thirty hours away. Better yet, pick an exact destination. It’s easier to figure out how you’ll get there if you know precisely where “there” is.
CROSS SOMETHING OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST
Your bucket list contains everything in the world that excites you most, whether it’s skydiving or gambling in Las Vegas or learning to knit your own jumpers. Stop making excuses for why you can’t accomplish what’s on it. Find at least one item that tickles your fancy right now and commit to doing it in 2017. It’s an easy way to make sure the new year looks nothing like its predecessors. Let’s call it the lazy man’s New Year’s resolution.
CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
Hitting snooze three times, fumbling your way into yesterday’s wrinkled pants, and wolfing down a burnt piece of toast as you bolt out the door is not a morning routine. The world’s most successful men know that a good day starts with a great morning, whether that means a workout, a healthy breakfast or quality time with family. Develop a structured routine for yourself that gets your mind and body primed to have the best day possible. Start here.
SAY “YES” MORE
Really want to shake things up this year? Make a point of saying “yes” more often. A simple, three-letter word can open the door to all kinds of new opportunities, new experiences, and a whole new path for 2017. That doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything – skip anything that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable – but if it excites you, even if you’re not quite sure how you’re going to pull it off, whip out that yes and see where it leads.
SAY “NO” MORE
On the flip side, say “no” to things that don’t serve your greater vision for yourself. Say no to things that are boring, stressful, a waste of time, and counterproductive to your health or personal growth. Say no to things you’d usually say yes to (even though you never wanted to do them in the first place). Practice welcoming the positive and banishing the negative from your life.
MASTER THREE JOKES / PARTY TRICKS
You can take or leave the “guitarist” at the party who insists on playing everyone “Wonderwall” – but the guy with the good jokes? Or the man with card tricks so inscrutable you’d swear they’re actually magic? He’s truly the life of the party, and in 2017, he could be you. Master a handful of infallible jokes or party tricks that can be whipped out at any time, any where. These dependable favorites will have your back whenever you’re feeling speechless but still want to leave an impression.
PAY IT FORWARD
Why stop at changing your life? Why not change the life of a stranger? Why not change the world? Make an effort to pay it forward more often in 2017. And here’s the real challenge: don’t post about it on social media. Do good just for the sake of doing good, with no one around to hit a “like” for your efforts.
CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION
You’re not an old dog, so embrace those new tricks. Look into classes offered by local universities, libraries, businesses and social organizations. Take an internet course if you prefer to learn remotely. Pick up a book if you’re an autodidact. You could resolve to explore a new passion, return to a beloved old hobby, or learn that essential thing from childhood you somehow skipped over (a grown man should be able to ride without training wheels, don’t you think?). There are endless ways to keep learning and improving in 2017, and depending on the method you choose, you’ll get both the gratification of expanding your skill set and the chance to meet interesting people along the way.
VALIDATE PEOPLE MORE OFTEN
It’s easy to take important people in your life for granted, especially if you see them every day. Make it a goal to show more appreciation. You don’t have to dissolve into a slush puddle of emotion every time you’re together, but even an occasional compliment or acknowledgment of their importance in your life can have massive positive effects. Heartfelt validation makes both the giver and the recipient feel good, strengthens their relationship, and if you’ll excuse us for getting a little sappy over here, isn’t the world a nicer place for everyone with more goodwill going around?
Imagine what could happen if everyone took responsibility for their lives. Imagine a world in which Tinder dates never ghosted, in which we could always be honest about our feelings, in which people could say sorry when they screw up and actually mean it. You can’t be responsible for “everyone” but you can be responsible for you. Own everything in 2017 – your flaws, your mistakes, your wants, your needs, your strengths, your successes.