I’m on a family vacation in the Swiss Alps with just a couple days remaining before we head home. I’d rather be on the hill right now, but with the start of 2015 just a couple days away, I wanted to get this quick note out before you set resolutions for the coming year.
Redefining What’s Realistic
When you were a kid, I bet you had some lofty ambitions for your life; I know I did. So let me ask you: Have you achieved even one of your childhood dreams?
The world we live in often ends up defining us, for better or worse (often for worse). Our daily routines and work-life set the tone for what we achieve, and what we think is possible. Not to sound rude, but our routines and work often create a life not worth writing about. It’s the tragic truth.
Our financial obligations, be it the mortgage, childcare, education etc. often scare us away from chasing our personal dreams. We think about the risks of changing course at this stage in our life to pursue a lofty ambition, and that’s enough to scare us into another decade of more of the same. We get stuck in the prison of precedence.
Using past precedence to determine the limits of what you may be able to achieve in the future is pigeonholing yourself, and it’s a recipe for regret.
Life is Short
As cliché as it is, life truly is short. And yet, some people set their top New Year’s resolution as mundane as losing 10 pounds… Who the hell is going to remember if you lose 10 pounds? You have to shoot higher!
If better health is what you desire, do something memorable while trying to obtain it. Set a lofty goal such as running a marathon by year’s end in under 3.5 hours. Or get in great enough shape to hike the Inca Trail in January 2016. Be audacious.
Most importantly, set at least one New Year’s resolution around giving back to your community. Impact other people’s lives if you want to be remembered. We all want to have a great legacy when we leave this earth, and the only way to achieve that is to impact other people in a positive way.
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 is to positively impact 20 homeless people’s lives by personally giving each one of them a care package. The care package will include a knapsack, at least two items of clothing and some food and drink. In addition to doing this in my hometown, every time I travel to a city for business, I will give a care package away to at least one homeless person. I kicked this tradition off on my last business trip about two weeks ago and let me tell you, it not only made the homeless man’s day, but mine too. Giving feels great, and it leads to an inspired life.
Change is a Choice
If your life has been somewhat of a disappointment to date, then buck up and start getting uncomfortable. Your life is a disappointment because you have been scared to step outside your comfort zone, or you are not letting go of the past.
Set boldly audacious goals that require you to change your routine and take greater risks, otherwise be prepared to grow old and disappointed with yourself.
Could you imagine being 80 years old, on your death bed, and regretting not taking more risks in life or pursuing more adventure? Millions of people experience this regret. How sad.
Not to get all postmortem, but if you were to pass away tomorrow what would your eulogy say?
The Eulogy of Average John
John toed the line better than anyone. He had many great entrepreneurial ideas, but played it safe and let those ambitions fade over time without pursuing even one. He was a fairly nice man, although he was somewhat of a recluse and didn’t go out with friends as much as he would have liked to. John’s neighbors didn’t know him all that well as he often worked at his office on weekends, and didn’t have time to give back to his community. He traveled to several countries, but only visited typical tourist spots out of fear that going off the beaten path was dangerous as he heard stories about muggings. John had a better than average retirement savings, but didn’t get to spend it all before his death. He was an avid TV watcher and memorized all the past American Idol winners.
You get the point…
Embrace risk. Tonight, set goals that, if accomplished, are worth writing about. Set goals that, if pursued but not achieved, are still worth writing about because the journey will be a memorable adventure. Stop typecasting yourself based on what you have achieved to date or the disappointments in the past. Don’t let past precedence keep you from pursuing the best YOU.
Here’s to an adventurous 2015 😎