With every New Year, new hope is brought to lots of people. Something I never quite understood because to me it’s just another day. Maybe some people just need to see that year marker change from 2013-2014 to tell themselves that it’s different now. Perhaps we tell ourselves that: just because it’s a different year, that somehow things will be different now. Well, if you really believe this, I’m sorry to say it, but things are not different.
The only thing that is different is we write 2014 when we write the date. I would also make the assumption, that if you believe that a new year brings magical hope and success through osmosis, then your last couple of years have probably looked something like this…. Don’t worry, you’re not a bad person, according to the New York times, only 8% of people actually stick with the new years resolutions that they set out to do. And the other 92% lose their steam within 7 DAYS! Yes, seven days and those new years resolutions and thoughts of bigger things in life, more time, more money, dream vacations, getting fit and healthy are out the window. If you don’t believe it, go to a Gym today on (The 3rd of January) count the amount of people who are in there and then go back a week later and watch the number DROP matching that statistic.
So why do we do this. Why do we set these unattainable goals. Do we do it because that what everyone else is doing? Do we do it because it’s the trendy thing to do? I mean, I know that there is some truth to it all, meaning that the things that all of us would like to change about ourselves. I have never met a person that honestly could tell me there wasn’t one are of their life that they wanted to improve (myself included). So again, I ask, why do we set ourselves up just to let ourselves down?
I am going to answer these questions in the rest of this blog. I’m going to share with you some of the deepest wisdom that I have acquired in answering these questions and what I can tell you is that if you listen to them and learn how to apply them, you will never need to make a new years resolution ever again for as long as you live.
So, just to get a couple of points clear, I’m not saying the resolutions are bullshit or that setting positive intentions are without merit or a waste of time. I am simply laying out why they don’t work without action. So lets demystify a couple of things. New Years is just a day signifying an approximation of the Earth’s orbital period in a given calendar. A calendar year in the Gregorian calendar (as well as in the Julian calendar) has either 365 (common years) or 366 (leap years) days. The word “year” is also used of periods loosely associated but not strictly identical with either the astronomical or the calendar year, such as the seasonal year, the fiscal year or the academic year, etc. Basically, the earths cycle, so we set our clocks and calendars to it. It gives us structure, but I take more like a suggestion, except when it comes to taxes, definitely not a suggestion.
Nothing really changes. Remember Y2K. Exactly, everyone thought the millennium was going to be some kind of Apocalyptic event, that the computers would stop working and people would go crazy but it didn’t. We woke up the next day and it was the year 2000 and went on business as usual. Then the Mayan Calendar ended in 2012 and there was talk of the end of the world and “the rapture.” Yet, nothing happened, time just went on. Are you getting the point. We put so much significance on things that don’t matter or really affect us personally at all. Time only works because we all agree on following it.
So then, why don’t people follow through on their resolutions or goals they set? That’s the million dollar question, and when I have been asked to answer this before usually people never like my answer. Here it is, People don’t follow through on the goals they set because they didn’t want them that bad. You probably wanted to hear me say some Freudian answer that place the blame on a persons up-bringing or the fact that their parents didn’t encourage them enough. Maybe it would make you feel better if I told you that the economy, or the negativity in the media is the problem for people’s lack of accomplishments. The bottom line is that people let their dreams go to shit because they realized the work and sacrifice that would have to ensue to achieve them, got scared, and walked away. It’s the idea that it’s safer to keep that status-quo, then to push forward in to new frontiers. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force for those who have never ventured in to the unknown, but for people like me it’s the complete opposite.
The Unknown is the only place that makes me feel alive. If I traded in my life’s of ambitions, start-up companies, self-employment, jumping out of Air Planes, surfing big waves, traveling to desolate places in the world and my entrepreneurial endeavors for a desk job in a corporation with a safe salary and benefits, a super safe car like a Prius, and spent my vacations at a Club Med tourist factory, a little piece of my soul would die everyday until I was depressed to the point of suicide, or I realized that the safety I thought I had in this “Job” or “Life” for that matter is really a prison holding me captive from recognizing my true human potential.
I realized a long time ago, that my soul was never worth the sacrifice. At the end of the day, it does not matter really all that much how I feel, but how my soul is doing. If you think making a bunch of money will fix this, your wrong. Greed kills the soul. In fact, to much of anything will throw you soul out of balance. I believe that most of us, especially those of us who have grown up in America, give very little weight to how important our soul really is. Unless you have been to a place or experienced a culture that values love, family, and health above wealth, you won’t really know what I’m taking about internally, you may be able to intellectually understand, but you won’t be able to feel it unless you have experienced it. I had this profound experience during my travels through South East Asia. It’s actually kind of funny you know, I was watching the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio last night. It’s an old movie from 1998ish about a traveler who goes to Thailand trying to find himself and ends up on a secret island near Ko Phi Phi where he meets another bohemian group of travelers who had just left their lives and stayed living together in their own community off the grid. I loved the idea, but when I saw that movie, it seemed like a novel idea, a nice fantasy story and wrote it off. But then, all of a sudden, I was there in 2012 looking out at the same beach the Leo was looking at and it clicked, it all made sense to me. I could finally understand why someone would just leave it all behind. You see out there, time moves slow, life is simple and all of the things that are important to us like cars, big houses, and name brand clothes just don’t matter out there. Almost as if your money is cool and all, and they are happy you brought but they will only take what they need and leave the rest. Up until that point in my life had never been in a place like that.
I was amazed. By the time I got back to Bali for the second time, I almost didn’t come home. I fell in love with that place. So much to the point where when I saw the movie last night, and I was physically saddened because I was not back there on that beach. I have never missed a place that much, shit, I have never even missed home that much, what ever “home” means. Either way, as I was laying in bed at hotel where I am staying in Phoenix, and I realized the same thing I realized when I got back home from S.E. Asia the first two times. Not much of a realization, more of a rhetorical question asking myself “why did I leave?” Truth is, a part of me never did leave. It stole my heart and seduced me with all of it’s beauty and slow-paced way of life. Long summer days, incredible surf, and plenty of fresh raw coconuts to drink under a palm tree while you watch the Sun sink in to the ocean on a warm beach.
This was a place where my soul was healed. It snapped me out of my everyday life and gave me perspective. It wasn’t the destination specifically, but where my soul went to when I got there. I can’t remember being any happier in my life then I was during the time I spent out there. I think about it everyday, and all I could hope for is that everyone finds a place like that because even though it’s half way around the world, and a piece of my heart is there, and I brought a little piece of it back with me that lives on in me.
When I get sad, upset, hurt or depressed, I think of my ambitions, my family, my why. I start looking for all of the things to be grateful for like my family, my close friends, food, shelter, wisdom, my mentors, and above anything else, God who had allowed for all of this to be possible.
In the end, all we have is our memories and experiences. A goal, is a potential experience which will never become a memory good or bad if you don’t attempt it. The funny thing is that you can any time you want. You don’t have to wait for the new year. For me, I have made it a ritual that I start reviewing the progress of my current year and planning my goals for the next year at the beginning of November so that by December 1st I am ready to execute the plan. This puts me ahead of everyone else because while everyone else seems to be recovering from a new years hangover and trashing your body during the week of Christmas to new years, I’m completing my 30th day of my transformation which by the way happens to be tomorrow.
Here is what my december looked like.
– 1. 10 Days Cleanse – Lost 9bls under 10% body fate
– 2. Picked up a new sales job, ran the weeks of X-mas and New Years and raked in an extra 3.5K
– 3. Signed up and paid for a Forex trading school that starts next week.
– 4. Prayed every day, meditated every other day
– 5. Completed my 13th year of sobriety.
– 6. Cut ties with people in my life who don’t serve me.
– 7. Reviewed goals from 2013, saw where I did great, and where I need work and then set goals and started them for 2014.
-8. My partner and I raised money, and signed a contract with our developer to build the prototype for the website and apps for our start-up with a time-line to have a fully functional Beta version by May 2014
-9. Straightened the relationships with the people around me, family, friends and girlfriends.
-10. Got serious clarity on what I am to get accomplished the next year.
Not bad for a historically slow business month with lots of over eating, wastefulness and outright disregard to your body 🙂
My advice for you is to go out from here, get clear on what you really want. If you send the universe a mixed message, then that is exactly going to be what you will get in return. Be specific, I can guarantee you that the 8% of people that will stick to their new years resolutions were extremely clear on their intentions. In fact I know they were because I am one of them and I have very close friends and mentors who live by this stuff.
So I wish you and incredibly successful, happy, joyous and free new 2014 and life in general. I hope that you get all of things in life that you want, and I hope you want them as bad as I want them from you 🙂
Lots of love!
P.S. If you ever forget where you come from, here is a little clip from one of my favorite movies of all time that reminds me where I come from and helps me remember whats really important in life.