10 Jan 5 Things You Need in 2017 For Your Best Year Yet
Another year, another successful orbit around our 4.5 billion year old sun. What this means for most people is that they’ll be finishing up their holidays, thinking about their year ahead, and hopefully reflecting on some of the things that they achieved in the previous year.
To kick things off, I thought for my first article of the year, instead of being highly cliché and attacking the motivation and goal-setting topics, why not put together some of my favourite things that I find to be highly rewarding, enjoyable and ideal to create overall happiness and satisfaction.
Sound good? Of course it does. Let’s get into it.
#1: Learn a New Skill
Or at the very least, attempt to.
There is a Japanese philosophy known as kaizen. Which roughly translates to ‘change’ (kai) and ‘good’ (zen). Combined, it essentially means consistent and continuous improvement in work/life. Something we should all strive for each day.
Of course a lot of us often joke about the “well, that’s my one thing learned today” phrase. But in a lot of cases, it rarely is something that is achieved by people.
What makes it almost ludicrous is the fact that more than three billion people have access to this thing called “the Internet” (have you heard of it?). So if you want to learn a new language, it’s possible; just download the Duolingo app. If you want to learn how to play Wonderwall on the guitar, just hit up YouTube. If you want to learn about an era such as the 1960s, filled with assassinations, moon landings and how controversial it once was to wear a bikini at Bondi Beach, search Google.
I could go on and on, but my point here is that everything you probably have ever wanted to know or learn (minus things that the most intelligent minds on Earth don’t know – such as the meaning of life and what’s at the “edge” of the universe), is very well and truly available to us.
So make the time this year to learn something new. I promise you it is one thing that you definitely need in 2017.
Remember those things with pages and words? Those things that became chores or disinteresting activities on account of schools and universities delegating readings and assigning homework and assignments on books/textbooks that people found incredibly uninteresting?
Well yeah, they still exist. Only these days, it’s more common to download them straight to your handheld device.
But I’m not just talking about books consisting of biographies, educational, motivational, business-focused, or even the imagination and creativity-stimulating category known as fiction, but also things like blogs online, news articles, poetry. There is so much out there just waiting to be absorbed and implemented into your daily life, that we are truly wasting what we have.
This year I challenge you to set aside 5-10 (or more) minutes per day reading. If you want, set a timer. Either way, I guarantee that reading is something that will improve your life in more ways than one.
#3: Travel Somewhere You Wouldn’t Normally
This is one of my favourites.
To travel somewhere a little eccentric or somewhere that you don’t feel entirely comfortable going to, is a great eye-opener for perspective and growth. Of course anyone can go sit by a pool in Bali or Fiji for 11 days, but to truly experience the world in all its different lights, shades, flavours and colours, you need to be willing to open your mind to a destination that everyone you know in your social hasn’t traveled to.
A church built in the middle of a lake on top of sunken ships and rocks that I stopped at on the way to Kotor, Montenegro.
Traveling is, I believe, one of the best things that you can do this year. And really, I probably should have put this one in the #1 spot.
#4: Listen More Than You Talk
This will be a challenging one for a lot of people, but one that is a life changer.
I lose count of the amount of conversations that I engage in or watch from afar that entails someone cutting the other person off. Not only is it annoying, but not being attentive to someone is simply you just waiting to get your say in, rather than actually listening to them. Something that we don’t to be doing when engaging with someone.
This year, let people finish their thought before you respond. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut more often, and you will learn more about yourself, the person you are talking to, and the world around you than you ever thought you could.
#5: Don’t Be a Slave to Your Phone
This is one thing that we all need to strive for.
Unfortunately, we are all incredibly dependent on our electronic devices. The power that we have in the palm of our hands, however, is screwing with our chemicals in our brain. And there is no denying that we are highly addicted to receiving texts, notifications, gratification.
But just as Peter Parker’s uncle say’s, “with great power, comes great responsibility”. We, as a society, must start to become aware of the hold these phones have on us with their dopamine-promising ways. We must not let them get the better of us.
If you are a true addict like me, I find that it is best to turn my phone to silent, including the vibration, and leave it in my pocket when talking to someone. If I’m trying to get something done, I opt to leave it on the other side of the room or in an entirely different room all together.
Just like I don’t buy ice-cream every week, I choose not to allow myself to be tempted with my phone at an arms-length every minute of the day.
Make this year the first year you stop being a slave to your phone and start to wholeheartedly engage with the people that you are with.
Of course these aren’t dire for a great year, but I can guarantee that they are all helpful, satisfying and enjoyable to make this year, your best year yet.