Sunday, December 27, 2009

10 Things To Create a Genuinely Happy New Year

I am suddenly inspired to write multiple posts to this blog. I wonder if the end of the year has anything to do with it. Strangely we assess our progress most vigorously when the calendar year ends. We wonder how we are tracking on this years goals(if we remember them)and we set new ones for next year. We seek change but choose the path of least resistance.

If you are not enjoying life, it is time to recreate it. I thrive on change and constantly seek to evolve from where I currently am. Sometimes we lapse into a mediocre acceptance of what our lives have become. Fear is a constant barrier to creating change. Here are 10 good ideas for creating change in your life. it is what I do when the new year comes. This exercise helps to define for me how to incorporate change and evolution in different areas of my life.

1. Try something new EVERY day

It doesn't have to be life altering activity. Start small with small things. Read a new book. Go to a new place in your own city. Shop at a market instead of the grocery store. Mix a new cocktail. Run or walk a new route. It just shakes up your auto pilot a little and starts the creativity flowing.

2. Make a list of what is not acceptable in your life right now

I know we are supposed to be grateful and focus on the positive but in essence this point asks you to define the things you would like to change. Forget if they are too big to handle ie. I would like to change jobs/quit my job etc. Just list them until you get to all the things you would like to change. Relationships, freedom, responsibility to others, ability to see new places. Ask yourself what is not working in my life right now?

3. Define the things that make your heart sing

What do you experience that makes your heart feel like it could explode. Is it listening to amazing music; when you are running or walking on a great day; when you are watching a movie or chatting with the people you love to be around; when you are out in the sunshine feeling the world like there is no tomorrow; when you are reading a good book in a great place; when you experience a really good wine. What makes your heart sing? Identify them and make room for a heartsong every day.

4. Commit to doing some form of exercise each day

Make it something you can achieve on Day 1 and repeat on Day 2. You will not become a Victoria Secret model in 12 weeks. Just incorporate a half hour into each day wherever it fits and with whomever you choose. It not only gets your body in motion but it moves your thought to believe you can do anything! It gets addictive and after about 2 weeks you miss it when you miss it.

5. Pick 2 or 3 things

Short bold decisons. I will do this... Clear, achievable but just out of reach. Make sure that when you achieve them you will have grown through the process. Only 2 or 3. No more. This is meant to inspire you, not laden you with more tasks to complete. Choose two or three changes that when you make them, your life will be tangibly and perhaps visibly better.

6. Remove Self Imposed Limitations

No excuses. We are blue skying here. If money was no object what would I be doing next December? If I was not accountable to anyone else, what would I do with my time? Where and how would I live? How would I live each day? What would my perfect day look like? Dream Big.

7. Seek out online sites/blogs where people are pursuing/achieving the same goals

Bookmark them or subscribe to them to remove the need to find them each day. Gain strength from their journey and copy their actions. Seeing the actions others take gives you ideas for applying action in your own life. Just knowing there is someone on the road ahead of you can drag you over some major bumps in the road.

8. Three small actions

For each of your two or three ideas identify 3 small actions that will put you on the path. If you want to leave a negative job environment behind identify three steps to start the momentum. Identify the new company where you will share your experience. Investigate freelancing in your area of specialty. Identify the school that offers the learning opportunities that would make you better or allow you to pursue new roles. There. Three avenues of possibility. Three actions to take. When you complete those you are already further along the path to changing or evolving your newly emerging self. Define 3 more actions. Then do it again and again until you have arrived.

9. Feel your Flow

Achieving your intentions should flow. It should not feel like work. It should challenge you so that each challenge you meet gives you strength to create new challenges and confidence that you can attain these new challenges. You start with knowing that you can achieve your intentions, having an inspired confidence of where you will be when the year ends. Then you work towards that end. When you get off track you simply correct your path and keep going. I read somewhere that an airplane is off course and correcting 95% of the time when enroute to the next airport. That is probably real for people too so do not see getting off course as a reason to stop trying. Correct your path and keep going. Keep going.Flow.

10. Align your actions with your key values. My goals align with my desire for Authenticity in people and places in my life. My desire for Continuous Learning. There are more if you read my earlier post on this. This ensures that when you arrive, you will feel the harmony that exists in living a life that flows with who you are.


Work Less. Worry Less. Succeed More. Enjoy More. It is in the title of a book by Richard Koch called "Living the 80/20 Way" but I think I would like it to be my Mantra. I am not a lazy person by any means. But I do look at how I spent the last 3 months of my life and I think that I need to change things up!

Koch says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Wow! That really makes you redefine the busy tasks that fill your days. It requires that you choose what is important and make sure that you do the things related to those important things first.

When you lose focus on your new goals it is usually because you are immersed in the minutiae that is everyday life. Revisit the big goal. Step back and renew yourself by redreaming the big goal. Really feel it. Then ask if the minutiae creates or is related to the goal. Seems impossible to eliminate all the little things. Start with some.

80/20 applies to all you do. Is it possible to slowly eliminate the 80% of your efforts that gives you 20% of your results. Reciprocally is it possible to refocus and expand on the 20% of what you do that gives you 80% of your results and probably 80% of your happiness.

Great theory. Tough to act on. Here is a thought on how to apply it. First define what is key in your life. New business. Stronger relationship. New job. Whatever it is to you. There might be two or three things. Just define them.

Then carve out time every day to move that goal forward. One act that is focused on that goal. I find when I do the one act that moves me in the direction of that goal, I feel motivated to do more things on the list. When I see progress on the goal, I feel enthusiastic engagement in the process of achieving that goal once again.

The banal task of making a list of next steps to the goal keeps the process in motion. But never lose sight of the goal as part of the 20% of your life's actions that keep you in your happy place.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Action Steps

I need to clarify a new series of action steps on my goals. It takes the goals from being distant and dreamy and pushes me to attach an action to the attainment of those goals. "A goal without a plan is just a dream". Not sure who said that. Wise.

Two goals. One shorter term and one longer. Made a list of next steps for each. I want to enjoy the process though. I need to be careful not to turn the new project into another series of stressful steps to a required result. The goal is to enjoy the process and as I leave behind my current role and step forward, I want to preserve the fun and creativity that inspired the new role.

The shorter term project(small business) is already underway and has reached a stage of its development that will require me to do new things in order to move forward on it. Not a bad thing. But when executing on the required steps, the small distractions seem more important than the new things I have to learn. Maybe not more important but easier.

The second project(an interactive website) is still just a dream but I did some research tonight to check if it has already been done.

It is worthwhile to have an ongoing line up of new ideas. It keeps your optimism and excitement high. When you brainstorm the new ideas keep your list of what is important to you nearby. Check if the new idea allows you to be the person you want to become. if it does, it stays on the list. For future consideration. Most successful people say they had a series of failures before they found the one that worked. Keep on failing your way to success!

Monday, December 21, 2009


A few days ago I challenged myself with he thought that I had spent the whole year blogging about transition. I questioned if I had actually made progress. In his book Work Less Live More, Bob Clyatt speaks of an incubation period where it seems no progress is being made and then suddenly you break out and become the person who you were thinking about becoming. The implication that I am in a cocoon working my way out is an apt analogy. It makes me find peace and reduces the rush to display some outer world tangible sign of progress. I once again trust that my path is there and getting clearer. I trust the innate, invisible schedule that governs my progress.

Today I came across a saying "Imagination is the key to Freedom". Cool thought. It resonated with me. I want to imagine my way to freedom. It is interesting that when you begin you have to make an effort to imagine the scenario and work through it in absolute detail and colour to keep it real. Now when I think about the future it actually is real. I see myself moving toward a touchable goal. It is my destiny and it is just a matter of time. There is no if. Only when.

Friday, December 18, 2009


In prior times it was called Mid Life Crisis and those who experienced it were viewed as ridiculous stereotypes that had simply gone off the rails. Now it is seen as a crucial stage of development that catapults you into the next stage of your life. It is a re-examination of all the attitudes and activities that fill your waking hours. We question our work, our relationships and our choices in our lives to date. With effort we can stand back from them and see if the choices we have made are congruent with the person we are becoming. Turn off the auto pilot of life and see things as they are. Our life choices often turn out to serve the person we were when we made that choice.

This new mid-life is tempered with a sense of optimism; a sense of infinite possibilities. In my mid life I feel a need to exist without catering to the expansive circle of those who, to varying degrees, rely on me. A freedom to uncover who I am when I am not who I should be. This is actually the beginning and all my life experiences to date have been preparing me for this moment of emergence. I feel a smile in my whole being.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Leap and the Net will Appear!

I need to leap. I can spend another year in the safety of my paycheck or I can leap and trust that I will go forward. Any other time in my life when I have leaped, it has worked out. Not always in the direction I intended but it has definitely worked out. I feel the need to have a cushion to land on but building that cushion feels slow and I am ready to fly.
The end of the year is significant. It makes me confront the reality that I have been blogging on the subject for a year now. Safety or Freedom.
Interesting that there is nothing safe about Freedom. It is a choice of living always with a potentially unpredictable outcome. It is a choice of living with inconsistent income. Scary thought. My family relies on me for the good life!
Interesting how the very thing that I cling to is also the thing I would like to run away from. The predictability of life is both a goal and a fear! I crave new experiences yet I seek the safety of my day to day life. Is there a way to combine the excitement and safety. Maybe. And maybe after I take the step that puts me out there but maintains the path back, I will not ever want to return.
I am looking over the edge but I cannot see what is below. I commit to making my leap in 2010.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Marathon Woman

There is a LottoMax commercial on television that shows a woman running through several different landmarks in the world including St. Marks Square, an African landscape, a beach and on the Great Wall of China. As a lifelong runner (in some shape or form) I was immensely attracted to that commercial, not for the lottery money, but rather for the idea of running through the very destinations that play in the background of my mind. Running and travel. A few of my favorite things. When a commercial appeals to you , you know that you are the demographic targetted by that product marketer. Reciprocally when you find a commercial that irritates, you know that you are not their target market. I am exactly the Lotto Max target market. I think they are targetting a new potentially lucrative market with this commercial. I am not a typical lottery target market. Yet I completely identify with that commercial. It is not the running part of it that will appeal to the masses but rather the opportunity to experience new places and things.

A marathon when I was 30 in Toronto. A marathon when I was 40 at Disney Orlando. I had planned to run the Great Wall when I turned 50 but life got in the way. Need to keep that on the list. Hmmm....May 15th, 2010. Might be just the injection I need to break out of my complacency. Life is waiting patiently for me.
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