Heading into a new year and new decade, we all have things on our minds. Bad habits we want to kick. Good habits we want to take up. Thoughts about places in our life we want to improve and lessons that we’ve learned.
As we enter into 2020, I’m thinking a lot about these 20 things. Places I know I can improve and ideas that will improve my life. Ideas that will help me be a better husband, father, and writer. Habits that help me be a better version of myself.
I hope you’ll find something that helps you with your 2020 journey.
*Patience. In 2019, after 7 years of trying, my wife gave birth to our first child. She was more than worth the wait. There will forever be two distinct eras in my life. Before her birth and after her birth. It’s also taught me that no matter how much we want something, we must have patience. This doesn’t mean you stop trying, remove persistence, or not tap into your resolve and fortitude. You still need all those things. Just know, that having all of those things is part of it, and with a little patience — you won’t forget how special something can be in the end, if you keep pursuing it.
**Instinct Is Within you. This is another Dad lesson for me. Before my child was born, I had no real idea of what kind of father I would be, other than assuming I wouldn’t be a complete deadbeat. It’s amazing the instinct I had from day one and how it evolves with your child. I believe I have this in other aspects of my life, just like you do. In 2020, I’m working on tapping into these with more confidence than ever before.
**Work Towards Something. There are really two different ways to live life. 1) Live with an intention on the life you want to build. Be willing to take any obstacle on and fight through it with fearlessness and confidence. 2) Live with zero intention and take whatever life throws your way — good or bad — and be content with it. Which way will you live in 2020?
**Journal. I know I’ve talked about this before, but I just can’t emphasize enough the importance of this tiny little habit. It takes as little time as you want it to and can become a habit that leads to so much good in your life. All you need is a pen and paper.
**The Skill of Being Present. TV. Email. Text messages. Facebook. Work. That tough conversation, the rude person, and that ‘thing’ that happened. All of these things and so much more can distract us from what matters most. Be present at the moment on the task at hand, the place we are currently at, and the people we are with. That’s it. Be. Present.
**You Can’t Avoid It — It’s How We React. The obstacles life throws at us. The challenges up ahead on our calendar. The tough seasons we know we have at times. We can’t avoid these, no matter how much we would like, but we can understand that and build ourselves to be stronger at handling how to react and work through them.
**You Can Do It. Whatever it is — You Can Do It! Cheesy? Too simple?? Maybe. But are you carrying this truth nugget with you in your own life? You can do it, you know you can, and it could be the only missing piece that separates you from the people who achieve extraordinary things in their own lives.
**Be Grateful. All the time. What? Yeah, all the time! When the day didn’t go your way. When that person irritates you. When you don’t get the result you wanted. When it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to. Be grateful. Be grateful when it’s hard and I promise you that you will see things in a whole new light. You’ll also be stronger for it. Be grateful all the time, not just when it’s easy.
**Take Walks. By yourself. With someone you love. In the morning or in the evening. Just go outside and take a walk. Allow nature to cleanse your mind and soul and help you think more clearly.
**Who Cares What They Think. Really?? Does it really matter? There will always be haters — no matter what you do. So who cares. Just do your thing, be you, and if someone doesn’t like it, who cares. Let them talk about you while your busy working on becoming better, stronger, and less dependent on what others think of you.
**Focused Time > Quantity. This doesn’t exactly line up with the 8 hours and 40-hour workweek. Let’s be honest. Nobody is crushing it for 40 hours a week, no matter what year they were born. But what if you crushed it for 3–4 hours of deep focused work a day. What would the progress on your goals look like in 6 months? One year? Hint: Answering emails is not deep work. Sorry.
**Use a Pencil. This is something I’m trying more of this year. There is something that feels more creative about using a pencil vs. a pen. Also, I heard a great productivity hack from Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing. He said on The Tim Ferriss Show, “If you erase, you must replace”. He was referring to using a pencil on your daily calendar and that when we are forced to erase things from our calendar that are tied to our goals, we must replace it. Makes sense.
**Progress vs. Perfection. Too often in life, we work it up in our heads that our story has to be perfect…or at least that’s what I’ve done. I have to make the perfect call. I have to write a perfect post. I have to be perfect in my process. I have to have the perfect workout. But it doesn’t work that way. We just end up paralyzing ourselves. Progress, not perfection. Start. Iterate. Make adjustments and improve.
**Courage. All of us could use more of this. Courage to have self-awareness. Courage to check our ego. Courage to be confident. Courage to accept failure. Courage to accept what we can’t change or control. More courage.
** ”Everything Is Figureoutable”. This is a great book written by Maria Forleo titled, Everything Is Figureoutable. Whatever it is, we got this. Big goal? Challenge with our child? Tough break in our career? It’s all ‘figureoutable’.
**Find Your Stillness. There is too much noise in today’s world. Media. Apps. Social media. Negativity. Gossip. Phones, TV’s, email. It’s all noise and we have to handle it. But…somewhere we have to find stillness. Prayer. Meditation. Walks. Time in silence and thought. Whatever your medium, find stillness. Need help, read Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday.
**What do you want it to look like? Your life. Your future. Retirement. Whatever it is in your life, you can play a role in designing it. Don’t assume you have no choice in the matter. If you know this, do your actions reflect that? What do you want your life to look like? Design it. Then get to work.
**What’s Your Perfect Day? I stole this goody from Ryan Holiday. I think of life through this lens a lot. I use it to make decisions. Does this get me closer or further away to my perfect day? What’s that day look like for you? In my opinion, there is a lot of bad decisions made because people don’t know what this even means in their life. I think about it daily.
**Be A Leader. Being a leader isn’t about your title. It’s about the decisions you make. The things you say yes to and the things you say no to. It really is that simple.
**It’s About The Process — Not Just Results. Too often in life, we just want the results, no matter what. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out well in the long run. Anybody can get lucky, get a few good breaks, and have fortune break their way. But the process is more sustainable and what we should focus on.
**Read To Lead. Reading with purpose is different than just opening up a book and mindlessly reading. Fiction. Non-fiction. Whatever the topic, there are moral lessons within those pages to help improve us as people. We can use these lessons to become better at our job, better leaders, better spouses, and better parents. And we owe it to the people we lead and love to become better. This is reading to lead.
**Today Is A Bonus. We too often forget how fragile, unpromised, and short life really is. We wish time away because we don’t like the season. We walk through the motions in far too many days. We assume we have more family dinners, an endless amount of time with loved ones, and we will see our closest friends many more times. Truth: We aren’t guaranteed any of that. Live that way and see today for what it is — a Bonus!
I hope something in here inspired you to see something different in 2020. Maybe a new habit will be formed for life and not just January. Maybe you will see a relationship you currently have in a new light, maybe it’s the one with yourself. Or, maybe you’ll finally start working towards that dream you carry in your heart and ignore the critics inside and outside.
Whatever the inspiration might be, I hope you have a blessed and incredible start to the new decade. Have a great 2020!