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New year and so much to do…

It’s a new year, so time to get to work…

I’ve never been good at sticking to new year resolutions, but I’m going to make a good go of it in 2018. There is so much I want to accomplish that I haven’t decided where I want to start.

Most people would tell you to set small attainable goals in order to not be overwhelmed and actually reach some tangible results. I don’t want to aim too small though, so rather I plan to break down large projects into parts spread out through the year. I’m also trying a new productivity system this year as well, so this will be one big experiment.

Let’s start with a general list, and make a plan from there. Here we go…

Writing what I want…

I’ve been struggling to find topics to write about. This has come about with too much research about how to get people to follow your work. I’m sure many people are in the same boat. You need to this, that, and all this other stuff.

I plan to get past this by not really having a writing strategy this year. Write more to see what I like to write about. Commit to the act of writing more regularly and build a habit. No niche, no standard format or branding. Just words.

My writing in 2018 is going to consist of blog posts and short stories as they come to mind. Putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys on a regular basis.

Learn some real tech stuff…

I’ve been dipping my toes into the world of coding, and am really attracted to web design. So, I’m making a commitment to learning the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and Javascript this year. I have this website I can play with, so stick around to see where this goes.

I also plan to tackle SQL, and hope to work this into my day job as well.

Product management and UX design…

Another area I have really become interested in is all facets of product management and UX design. A pretty wide scope of topics here so got to narrow this one down.

Content marketing…

Marketing is towards the bottom of my list, however, will be beneficial to the overall writing experience. I would like people to actually read some of my stuff…

Now what?

Now that I know what I want to do, the next step is to formulate a plan to work on all of this stuff. That should be easy with a full-time job and family responsibilities. Many have said that if you really want to accomplish something, you will make the time for it. More to come!

Taking comfort in being ordinary

I’m okay with living what some would consider an ordinary life. The effect of social media has raised most people’s expectations of what life should really be like. 

You see nothing but the good stuff. The traveling and grand accomplishments, but not the work or the unpretty tasks that got them there. 

Or worse, it could be the opposite. Those that show constant misery, and do nothing to improve their situation. Maybe it’s the attention received from all the sympathy comments. 

It’s okay to find a spot somewhere in the middle where real life exists. The place where you find a good mix of fun derived from sweat equity. Drinking that beer in your backyard with close friends rather than some fancy downtown rooftop bar. Enjoying a nice staycation rather than maxing the credit card for that trip to Paris. 

Should I envy those putting forth the money and effort put on a fancy show when I can do the same thing at home? And for far less money? 

Don’t get me wrong here. I’ve got my own bucket list, and love a good trip every now and then, but the ads and “influencer’s” push it too far. 

I don’t need some dude standing next to a row of super expensive cars, or the seat of a private jet telling me how easy it is to 10X my life. These people don’t represent real life.   

Not every day is going to be the Superbowl. Not every month is going to see record sales, and that’s okay. Somethings need to be hard, and you need to have a bad day every now and then. The sweet wouldn’t be sweet without the sour. 

We need to know suffering in order to feel joy. You would never know the relief of shedding the weight of a major problem without first carrying the burden. 

By showing each other nothing but the best part of our lives, and allowing internet personalities to tell us what is important, we’re losing touch with reality. Setting expectations of each other that can never be reached. The truth is that life is hard and that there is no way around it. You are, however, in the driver’s seat and can decide how much it will suck. 

We just aren’t meant to be happy all the time. Don’t take someone’s Facebook feed as a true representation of their everyday life. Don’t compare yourself to others based on only what they want you to see. 

If you need someone to compare yourself too, look in the mirror. Does that look like the person your loved ones look up to? You know, those people that really matter in your life that need you to show up every day? The ones that need you to suck it up and go to another day at your shitty job so the bills are paid. 

We all would love to lead a more glamorous lifestyle. When we get the chance to do something a little more fancy than normal we rub it in everyone’s faces. Be honest, we all do it. It’s fun, and we want everyone to know we are having fun. 

The challenge is to find just as much pride in the day to day events that truly represent your life. 

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Stop living a life you hate

Time for a change…

It hurts. That soul-sucking feeling that you have failed yourself. Living the same day-to-day that just feels like it’s wrong. Like there is so much that you are missing out on.

Most people have found themselves in a situation where the thought of getting out of bed in the morning is downright awful. Having to drive to a cubicle that you despise, and spend the remainder of the day hating every moment.

Before you know it, years have gone by and you begin to feel like you have wasted precious time that can never be regained. Each day feels painful, and you can’t shake the feeling that you are meant to be somewhere else. Someone else. Trouble is that you may not know where that somewhere is, and who the someone needs to be.

Daydreaming of making a change? Not taking any action is the worse thing you can do. Put some thought into what you really want. Just know that being rich, and famous isn’t the answer. Since that’s an unlikely outcome anyway, you need to squash that right now.

You are in control, and no one but you can fix this. Sometimes it’s easy to feel happy for a while, but it gets harder and harder to get yourself off the floor and dust off the sorrow. You have to decide what next. Which door to open. How to proceed before it’s too late and you turn around to see everything has passed you by.

I’m no self-help guru, but I have done this before. I have done this a few times actually. Some attempts were successful, and other not so much. Take a good long look at your soul and commit to change…

1. Do you really know what you really want?

Do you really know what you want out life? Not a shallow “I just want to be happy!” kinda feeling, or an overall “no regrets” attitude. What is going to make you want to get out of bed tomorrow and the next day? What would help you fill the void in order to just survive another day?

I’m not sure that I’ll ever decide what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know what I want out of each day. It’s easy to get caught up in a long-term goal, and that can be a good thing, however when you don’t see any major change or success you might backslide. Pick something you can do tomorrow. Whether it’s something small like starting to work out, or big like moving across the country. Find a way to accomplish that one thing tomorrow.

Depending on the size of your action, it may take a while to see if this step actually helped. Sometimes these steps will only work for a short time. Then the void starts to open again. That is the sign that more work needs to be done. Take a step back and find the next action you can take. Focus on small things during this phase.

I know that some will think is either a crazy waste of time or just stupid. I can only say that it worked for me. How does doing these tiny things help to reinvent myself? Making small changes to the way I do things. Changing up who I hang out with, or even learning a simple new skill all leads to the overall improvement of things in general. The thing about baby steps is that they all add up, and before you know it you have walked a long way to finding what you’re looking for.

The biggest change for me usually involves location…

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Change of locations leads to a change in perspective. (Luca baggio-Unsplash.com)

2. Change of scenery

I have a thing for sailboats. I grew up in Colorado and couldn’t wait to move someplace the water wouldn’t end at the other side of the lake. The void in my life has been the constant calling of a journey. Always feeling it is time to move to the next place. There was a time in my life I didn’t stay in one place longer than six months.

A change of scenery doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. It could be something smaller like a new paint color, or even a new computer. I find that when things get a little stagnant, if I rearrange things around a little bit it helps to make it new again. I recently moved to a new office, and even though the new area is nowhere near as nice, the color of the new office furniture somehow makes me happy. Again, a small change makes things feel new again.

What if something as simple moving some things around in your life could have a truly profound impact? Small, little things that hit your core… You may not need as big of a move or change as you think you do. Try taking a new route to work, and see how you feel. Pick a new favorite coffee cup.

It might be that your job or even your coworkers are what needs to change. Nothing like moving to a new job, or even a complete career change, to put some perspective back in your life. Don’t be afraid to make changes in your life. Never settle for falling into a boring pattern just because it’s easy or stable.

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Plan your trajectory. (Milada Vigerova- Unsplash.com)

3. Hitch your wagon to a star

Now that you have taken some small steps, time step it up. Moving small helps to build momentum. Just as the wind blowing over the water, these small actions will build the waves that will change you forever.

Now you can make it through the day. Now you have some energy left over when you get home from work. You can focus again. This is the time to think ahead and set loftier goals. Make a plan and write it down. Tell others if you want too, or just keep it to yourself. Either way, you need to get excited and feed the new-found passion. Feast on the desire to see yourself in this new place in your life. You can see it right now, can’t you?

What do you need to learn to get to this new place? Don’t know, google it. Write it down and stare at it. What do you need to do with this new knowledge, and how is it going to get you to this new state? How long will it take you to do this? Write it down or draw a picture. Once you do these things you have a plan. You have a map to follow.

It’s easy to get where you’re going if you know how to get there. It doesn’t matter how far you have to go. Whether you are crossing oceans or just the other side of town, you know how to get there. Do the things on your list, and arrive where you want to be.

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Writing a list can be a powerful tool. (eloquence- Unsplash.com)

4. Take stock of what you already have

No matter how much of a low point I’ve found for myself, there has always been something to be grateful for. Always something or someone around at that exact moment that has been important to me. Don’t take this for granted. No matter how low you feel there is still something worth holding on too.

Don’t throw everything away when you decide to move on to the next chapter of your life. You will spend a considerable amount of time thinking back on your actions. A decision that got you into the mess you worked so hard to get out of. Hindsight is truly 20/20. You may not have liked the situation that created the void, but remember what or who helped to fill it. Never ever burn a chapter in your own life. Don’t forget where you are coming from, so you know how to never go back.

You may be young or old. Smart or not, but you know what you need. Believe it or not, you may even know how to fix all the things you don’t like about yourself and the situation you found yourself in. All it takes is a little nudge to help you navigate to the next step, then the step after that. You have more than you think you do. It just might be a little dusty.

5. Just do it dammit!

Action breeds action. If you are anything like me you need to keep moving. Maybe it’s places you need to go, or a new job, or a completely new career. Might even be starting your own business. The most important thing is to keep moving towards that vision you have for yourself.

Be a shark. Don’t stop swimming. It might be slow, steady strokes. You will get there as long as you never give up on yourself. Don’t depend on a helping hand or winning the lotto. Waiting for the world to come and rescue you will never happen. You have to take action, and build the stairs that lead you out of the deep dark hole you made for yourself.

Don’t give up.