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10 Steps to Making the Next Year Your Best Yet

  • 8 min read

2015 was without a doubt the best year in my life (so far 😉 ).

If yours wasn’t, you might be saying to yourself “Good for him. Hopefully I’ll get luckier next time.”

But did I really get lucky?  Did an amazing year happen to me?

Fuck no, tons of bad shit happened this year.  To name just three:

• My girlfriend and I broke up after 4 years.

• The lead guitarist of my band quit, leaving both sides with lots of doubts about our futures.

• Worst of all, Justin Bieber released a new album.

So no, I didn’t win the year lottery. It was the best year of my life because I made it that.  A year ago I made a commitment to do it, and I followed through.  

Alright… and I admit, some of those Bieber tunes were not at all as bad as I expected!

 How I Started My Year

To be honest, I didn’t started at all that great. So for those people who tend to screw up their New Year’s resolutions in the first month, there’s always hope 😉

I was depressed. I rarely slept. I suffered frequent panic attacks. Sometimes they got so bad I started hallucinating all kinds of creepy stuff and I didn’t want to people to notice.   It felt very real. I almost convinced myself the house I live in was haunted.

I was heavily abusing alcohol. Getting random flashbacks of traumatic experiences. I often felt disconnected from the world, the people around me and from my own body. One time I filled a bath with water that was too hot, but I didn’t notice it was burning me because I couldn’t really feel the pain.

And to make matters even worse… I learned that One Direction was releasing a new record as well.

Why am I telling you all this?

Truth is, it makes me feel more naked than sending my sex tapes to the local TV station. But I’m sharing it because if you are currently not doing as well as you want to…then I want you to know it’s 100% possible to turn that around.

Where I Am 1 Year Later

There hasn’t even been a trace of any “mental illness” left in me since the last 6-8 months.   When I have a bad night of sleep these days, I’m talking about 5 hours. Not 0.  

I’m 11 months sober and I feel great. I rarely notice myself complaining or thinking negative thoughts and when I do, I get a grip on myself quickly.

The standard emotion I’m feeling 80% of the time is intense happiness. While it’s a very subjective matter, I’m not hesitant to say that I’m happier than most people I encounter.

Every time I think I’ve reached the “happiness limit”, something throws me out of balance for a moment and when I re-adjust, I experience even higher heights.

When I feel afraid of something, I start taking action to beat that fear.  I reached most of my goals this year, save for one or 2 that were a bit too ambitious.

I met some of the coolest people in my life so farand formed deep, meaningful connections with them in a short time.  I experienced a lot of magic moments, many of which rank among the best of my life so far.

The band I sing in recorded a new album we’re ery proud of and we really hope Justin Bieber doesn’t criticize it.

My life is still far from how I envision my “dream life” right now. But I’m enjoying the process immensely and I wouldn’t want to switch places with any one else.

(And by the way, a big thank you to everyone who played a part in that this year. No matter if it was short, tall or grande! )

“So what came in between? Where are my 10 steps, brah?”

When this year started I vowed to myself that in 2015 I’d get rid of every sign of negativity or mental illness in my life.   I did not know how to do it (though I did know I wasn’t going to take any pills). I just knew that I would.  No matter how many dragons I had to slay or how many times I had to fall flat on my face.

The odds did not seem in my favor. I had been trying to deal with some of that stuff for over a decade and it only seemed to get worse every year. So why would it be any different this time around?

Not to make it sound overly simplistic -it still required a lot of deep, hard, often unpleasant work – but here’s the 10 steps I took for everything I wanted to achieve this year:

1. Set your aim for this year and make a sacred commitment to yourself. This is not an “I guess I could switch to diet coke” New Year’s resolution. It’s a marriage to your goal. No matter how bad it gets, you’ll do it.

2. Imagine you’re there already. Then try to “backwards engineer” the steps. If your goal is to run a marathon, imagine running it backwards, right back into the training room. What did you do before that? And before that? Until you get right to the point where you are at now.

3.  Most likely, there will be holes in your plan. Parts where you have no idea what the connecting step is. Find these holes.

4. Start reading every book you can that will help you fill those holes. Then apply the knowledge. (Don’t just sit there and think you did something by reading about it).

5. Meet tons of new people. Talk to them about your plan. Ask if they know anyone who’s done it before. Support them in their challenges as well. Leave everyone you meet a little better off than before you met them.

6. Don’t allow yourself any situation, feeling or person inside or outside of you to be an excuse to not make progress. Your mind will try to trick you. Look yourself straight in the eyes every day and remind yourself that the only one keeping you from where you want to be is you and your own ego.

7. Reread step 6 about a 100 times and slap yourself in the face with it. You can slap it on your ass too if you’re into tha. It probably won’t help you much, but could still be fun.

8. Figure out which character traits are holding you back from executing the plan. Do you need to lose some bad habits or implement some good ones? Have any limiting beliefs or thoughts in your head that aren’t supportive? Resolve to change those things as well.

9. Remind yourself of what you’re shooting for and take measurable action on a daily basis. When you do at least one small thing a day, a year is much longer than you think. When you start postponing things, you’ll find a year is freakishly short.

10. Take lots of time off to party it up or to simply relax. If you don’t charge your batteries, you won’t have the energy to keep going.

If you are reading this and you’re currently stuck in a situation that isn’t entirely the way you want it, no matter what it is:

If I can make a change like this, you can definitely do it too. I’m no superhuman, I’m just as flawed as the next guy. The main question is:

Which kind of change is really import to you?

Don’t fill your New Year’s resolutions with stuff that “would be nice”. Find your deepest desires, turn them into measurable goals, and take responsibility for reaching them. No matter how much life gets in the way.

Things may sometimes look like they will keep getting worse for ever. But if you make a decision right now to use every one of those 366 days in the best way possible. Then there’s no limit to what you can achieve except that, well, you kinda have to do it.

Once you wrote it all down somewhere, don’t just think you’ll remember your decision. Print it out, read it every morning and act on it.  And as soon as the new year’s hangover has passed, get started with the small stuff. Then slowly work your way up to those big dreams.

So yes, that means 5 days from now you’re not a smoker anymore and you’re working out on a regular basis ? Scary, huh?

Don’t settle for mediocrity when you know deep down there is so much more in you waiting to come out.  

Pardon my French, but life’s a bitch and then you either die or make her cum repeatedly.

What are you gonna do with her this year?

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