Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holiday season with your loved ones and are ready to embrace all that 2019 has to offer. I know I personally enjoyed a much-needed week of family time.
This year, my wife and I wrote a letter to our children and gave it to them on Christmas day. The letter was meant to convey just how proud we are of them and impart a little wisdom as they progress into adulthood. As we wrote it, we were reminded of the old adage “practice what you preach.” So I thought I’d adapt some our thoughts into a few ageless reminders for all of us as we tackle 2019.
- Hold yourself to the highest standard, in what you do and who you surround yourself with. Do what makes you happy and proud. Don’t worry whether you will “win”; focus on enjoying the opportunity. Don’t ask why you didn’t win; think about what you learned. Surround yourself with people you enjoy, people who make you happy and push you to be better. Seek out honest people – they are worth the investment of your time.
- Leverage technology, but do not let it consume you. Do not use social media as a gauge for your happiness (or anyone else’s) – it can make us lose sight of who we are and what makes us happy. Use your life experiences as your gauge. Do not allow technology to replace human connections.
- Create a capacity to put things into perspective. Not every day is perfect – not for anyone. The question is how you respond when you have a bad day: quit, or dust yourself off and refocus on your goal? Think about your goals and your happiness – can you enable one to feed the other? The secret is having more good days than bad days. A bad day can be tough, but it’s just a bad day. It’s the series of days on a whole that make up the journey of life.
- Never stop dreaming about what could be. Do not think about what cannot be done, think about what you dream of doing and formulate a plan to do it. Use your dreams to inspire you – don’t set goals that are easy or ones that others say you should have. Goals are personal and should be focused on what you want, no matter how much of a long shot it may seem to be. The stretch makes it a learning and growing experience – and that makes you a winner out of the gate.
- Life is about seizing the moment and not being afraid to fail. Failure is just an opportunity to learn. Continue to explore, find out who you are and what makes you tick (I’ll be honest, I’m still figuring this one out). Enjoy being around others who are interesting and who challenge you to be better – those who will encourage you to keep going in moments of failure. While enjoying the moment, think about your dreams and let them provide direction and guidance. Never let the day beat you; always find something to be happy for each day.
Hopefully, whatever you do, whoever you are, you are mostly happy. Life is too short to be miserable.
Without an awareness of who we are, what makes us tick, what we value and what makes us happy, our dreams will never be anything more than just that… dreams. I believe my kids (and I) deserve more – and you should believe that for yourselves.
A new year is a great time to spend some time exploring your own dreams and building a plan to help you achieve them. Are you ready to go after yours?