20 Things I Did To Change My Life (that Worked) This Year

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I have been a notorious New Year’s resolution maker and by Spring Break, a New Year’s resolution breaker. This year, I’ve decide to go a different direction. Opposed to writing down what I want to accomplish, I’m writing down what I have accomplished. Interestingly, writing this list has helped me better understand what I should be doing more of (and if that can be considered a resolution, I’ll take it). My hope is that you’re able to learn from my mistakes (and wins) and make your 2014 (and beyond) incredible beyond belief!

Here are 20 things I did to change my life (that worked) in 2013:


1)  Stopped measuring myself by others’ yardsticks


The Joneses was killin’ a brother :) Every time I opened Facebook, I saw this person buying a new exotic car, this other one traveling to a new exotic location, this other one showing off their new exotic house – making the comparisons was draining. The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. Now, I’ve committed to only compare myself to the best version of myself. 


2)  Stopped watching reality (and most) TV


13 months ago, on any given Sunday, you would catch me viewing not just one but several reality shows. Not any more! I recently did a self-evaluation and realized when I reflected upon activities that changed my life, not one was watching a “TV show.” However, there were several “content activities” like books, plays, and even podcasts that had set my life in better trajectory. That said, I started treating TV accordingly and it received a severe demotion in my life.


3) Started listening to Patt Flynn’s SPI podcast

30pat-blog480Not much I can say other than just go listen to any of his podcasts and you’ll hear why it’ll be a value add to your life (especially if you’re seeking support for the launch or management of your small business). Great content from someone who comes across as a good guy.


4) Said “no” a lot more often


My goal for 2012 was to say “yes” to as many things I could and therefore try to be everywhere. Guess where that got me? Spread too thin and burned out (with not as much to show for it). I changed strategy in the past year and focused on not just “going after” projects selectively, but also discriminately accepting opportunities. I tried to only take on initiatives that I valued and what I was truly interested in.


5) Stopped working on Sundays


My former work week never truly ended, but now I go cold turkey on Sunday. No emails, no projects, no “preparing for Monday.” I also try not to schedule any out of town trips on Mondays to curb late evening Sunday travel. Knowing that no matter what, I have at least one day to focus on me, my family, my spirituality, and my fun, has helped my spirits.


6) Got more serious about my worship


When you please God, it doesn’t matter who you don’t please. Knowing HIM and HIS word in greater detail this year has helped me more than I can describe.


7) Committed to a physical activity daily


This has been very hard to execute, but notice I wrote “committed” … lol! That said, I try my best at this one. If I can’t get to the gym, it could simply mean dropping down in my office and doing a few hundred pushups and sit-ups. I found that when I work out, I not only feel better, but I’m more creative and execute business better (my best ideas come to me when working out).


8) Starting taking action when I’m afraid

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 8.22.56 PM

Everyone is scared…everyone. It’s just the ones who make a change have determined they can’t live their life the same way any longer.


9) Had dinner with someone new frequently


Our connections, more specifically, our weak ties are where most of our opportunity in life comes from. The issue is that we don’t spend time nurturing those relationships. I’ve started trying my best to give my “weak tie” connections time and energy. It could be someone I haven’t seen since college or an old colleague from a job earlier in my career. Bottom line, whenever I can (especially during travel), I dedicate time to reconnect. This single strategy yielded a BIG project for me in 2014!


10) Started drinking a cup of coffee daily


I won’t debate the health pros and cons here, but what I will say is that, just one cup of good Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee with limited or no sugar and cream REALLY comes through for me (especially at 4:30pmish when I know I have an hour long conference call coming up). That added “kick” puts me back in the game :)


11) Thanked people in public more often


I’ve learned this year that the right recognition can be more important than money.


12) Started using Evernote (App)


My brother mentioned to me earlier in the year I should try this application and within the same week of him telling me, I heard Evernote mentioned positively by several others. Needless to say, I downloaded it and used it multiple times each day since!


13) Started using Buffer (App)


Finally an app that allows me to share content from my 2am readings. Buffer allows you to share your content at the best possible times throughout the day so that your followers and fans see your updates more often.


14) Subscribed to WSJ and Harvard Business Review


I read both of these in my days as an investment banker but over the years, other priorities crept in and these GREAT resources dropped off my list. At the start of this year, I decided to recommit and resubscribed. Best $423 I spent this year.


15) Focused on unselfishly helping others


This is something I have been dabbling in for a few years but in 2013, I made it a priority. I can’t attribute anything coming back to me in a tangible way but I can attest that there is no better feeling than someone I’ve supported messaging me about how their life has changed in part from my help.  Priceless!


16) Read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook


I literally just read this book a week ago, but the practicality of it is so high, I was able to begin implementing tactics from it and immediately saw a yield (I actually point to this book helping me grow my Facebook community to over 50,000). Do yourself a favor, and buy this book now.


17) Stopped responding to messages as they come in


Years ago, I read an article about how Bill Gates is super fast to respond to emails and thought I would mimic this for all incoming messages. A terrible habit then formed, with me literally keeping my email, Facebook, Skype, etc inboxes open all day and interrupting my other work to respond to these messages. This year, I ended that dreaded tactic and now only open my inbox at select times of the day. I then respond only to a message that requires less than 2 minutes of my time. If it’s going to require more than 120 seconds, I save it for response later.


18) Stopped engaging with Trolls


I developed this policy and it has helped me know who to respond to and who to ignore.


19) Experienced every moment for that very moment

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Staying in the present and not thinking about the future (goals and strategy) is a challenge I’ve historically had, but this year I’ve forced myself to remain in the now. After all, the only day we have power over is today.


20) Started using my network “smartly”


I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to ask for favors or help. Not this year, I started asking (and it paid off). What I surprisingly found is that people (who you’ve already given value to) not only want to support you right back but they’ll go over and beyond to ensure you’ve been helped.


For Discussion: What have you done over the last year that has helped change your life positively?


Posted on: Dec 30, 2013

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Estifanos Berta-Samuel
Estifanos Berta-Samuel

I love this! Very true indeed...I honestly live by this & if you get me great but if you don't then just see God about it! It is what it is & I'm not sorry for it!

Gary Rabatin
Gary Rabatin

Yes, I have had to say "NO" more often than previous years.

Maria Casanova
Maria Casanova

I teach literature. A hero's moment using their greatest strength is also where you can find their strongest emotion or weakness.

Karen Legare
Karen Legare

I really like this, I know I need to hear this!!

Justine Pepe
Justine Pepe

Haha - blogged about this very thing this morning: www.lovejpepblog.com

Kristi Goines
Kristi Goines

One of my main resolutions is to stop procrastinating!

Kelly Tobias-St Onge
Kelly Tobias-St Onge

this is a great post thanks for posting it and IT WILL BE SHARED!! have a blessed day

Julia Yajun Gao
Julia Yajun Gao

With God in my heart, there is nothing to fear. Just do it!

Dorrie KAnofsky
Dorrie KAnofsky

Baloney Listening in allowing would be more the way of the feminine

Tam L Baxley
Tam L Baxley

Really??? Never thought about it that way???

Demecos JustMeco Chambers
Demecos JustMeco Chambers

I shared this earlier and added a few to my own list. Great words again sir and it's been an honor absorbing knowledge from your page this year. Facebook.com/begoodorBeGreat

Jenny Pearson
Jenny Pearson

So True!!! Just needed to hear at this time! Thanks my friend!!!

Amber Wright
Amber Wright

Excellent! I've noticed the increase of your visibility online and now I know your secret! I'm going to check Buffer out and see how it stands up against Hootsuite. I'm right there with you on so many of these and have seen a huge growth year for me personally and in my business as a result!

Brandy Kelly
Brandy Kelly

I'll be borrowing some of these. Thanks!

Tramona MonaLisa Smith
Tramona MonaLisa Smith

I learned this from YOU, sir! I accomplished some important things regarding my brand by learning this lesson from you. Thank you!

Sharon Dunbar
Sharon Dunbar

thank you procrastination is one of the things that has to go.