2019 was a crazy ride for me. I quit my job to become a full-time writer, separated from my wife, celebrated my daughter’s third birthday, went partially blind in one eye, took leaps and bounds professionally, and had to start all over personally.
This year taught me to be even bolder in 2020.
This list of ideas to change your life in 2020 is comprised of things I’ve either done in the past or will do this year. If you think my knowledge is of any value, follow in my footsteps and try at least one of these ideas out.
- Start a blog – Regardless of whether or not you want to be a writer, start a blog and practice your writing skills. Writing well is a superpower. Having a blog where you update the world on your thoughts, accomplishments, and ideas gives people who want to connect with you a chance to see who you are — employers, clients, and even friends. Writing teaches you how to think. The more you write, the more you understand yourself and the world you live in.
- Keep a Journal – I’ve had a simple journaling routine for years. Journaling helps you regulate your emotions, tame your monkey mind, discover your core values, and understand what you really want from my life. As my business and life have both grown and become more complicated, I’m starting to journal heavily. Keeping a constant eye on the way your mind works can work wonders for your life. Keep a journal for six months and watch your life transform.
- Invest in your community – Buy local meat and produce. Go to the events they post on fliers in coffee shops. Get little trinkets and pieces of art from local storefronts. Volunteer in your city or town. As the world becomes more global, become more focused on your area. You’ll feel more connected in an increasingly disconnected world. You’ll be able to invest in something you can see with your own eyes, which builds a sense of pride.
- Cut out all the damn sugar – Not saying you have to go keto or Atkins, but that sugar will most assuredly kill you if you’re not careful. If we were to all simply reduce our sugar intake, it would solve 95 percent of our health problems. If you reduce your sugar intake you’ll lose weight, feel more energetic, and you won’t have constant peaks and valleys of glucose spikes, which will help you perform better overall. Just trust me on this one.
- Do that one crazy travel thing this year, finally – I already have trips booked to L.A. and Montreal. I’ll be doing Vegas, Miami, Europe, and Asia. Once my dad’s health picks up, we’re going back to the homeland — Nigeria. Travel is one of those things we always kick ourselves for not doing, and it’s really not that expensive. If you ate a dozen fewer restaurant meals, cut some subscriptions, and started a side hustle, you could afford an extra trip in 2020. This speaks to point 3. We’re too caught up in our little shells, bubbles, and phone screens. See the world. It’ll give you some perspective.
- Start a side hustle – Even if you never want to own a business outright, starting a side hustle just has too many emotional advantages not to do it. You learn how to be adaptable. Your perception of what’s possible changes. If you get a few things right, you make extra money, which makes your life easier. You’ll learn more about yourself trying to get a project off the ground than almost any other activity.
- Get a hobby – Whereas you go into a side hustle with a “hobbyist” attitude, but to try to make money, a hobby is just something you to purely for joy. If you’re bored all the time, it’s because you are boring. Finding a hobby cures your own boredom and makes you more interesting at the same time. Plus, you have a refuge when the chaos of life clouds your mind with noise.
- Practice mindfulness – I’ve been meditating daily for five years. This, plus journaling, keeps me sane. It kept me sane when trying to turn my side project into a full-time gig drove me crazy. It kept me focused with enough energy and mental clarity to write daily. Over time, it has taught me how to identify which thoughts to trust and which not to. As you become a better observer of your own mind, you can process your emotions faster and more efficiently. Less monkey mind means more productivity, presence, and freedom.
- Visit your parents more often – I watched a comedy special by Aziz Ansari and he mentioned the fact that, if you have parents who live out of time, the literal amount of times you will see them before they die isn’t high. At 30, I’m starting to see my parents age. I’m making it a point to see them more and have those moments because…you never know. Consider doing the same.
- Break out of your shell and do something that scares you – As much as I love public speaking and writing, I’m actually not that confident in certain social situations like events. This year, I’m planning to go to a bunch of events solo. I’ll be traveling solo. I want to break out of feeling stifled in every single way. Where do you feel stifled? Where do you feel like you’re not able to bring your full self to the world? Pretty much all problems are solved by tackling them head-on. No mystery to it at all. Make this your year to finally face those demons.
- Stop watching the news – The news will poison your mind and rot your soul if you let it. I’m extreme in my view of the media. I genuinely despise them and consider them nothing less than a giant propaganda arm built for the sole purpose of gaslighting you. The news, as a whole, is fake. You’re not being informed by watching it. It’s not an accurate depiction of reality. Avoid. Live your life and work on yourself while everyone else debates about politics and bathes in outrage.
- Accept your life – Here’s how you spend your life. You spend it wishing things were different. You constantly replay movies in your head of what you could’ve done differently. You’re also anxious about the future. But you’ll never be able to change until you accept your current lot in life, surrender to the moment, and do the work to change from that grounded perspective. On January 1st, take a deep breath, tell yourself “This is where I’m at” and then go.
- Start a morning routine – Yuck. Gross. Not another guru talking about morning routines. Look, don’t start a morning routine for the sake of it, but to achieve an end that matters to you — maybe one of the other items on this list. I hate waking up early, but it served a useful purpose (writing) so I got used to it. Usually, your life is just too chaotic to get anything major done, which means the wee hours of the morning may be your only good option.
- Audit yourself – Part of the reason you fail to change? You’re not honest with yourself. You make rationalizations about why you’re at the place you’re currently at. I use journaling to audit myself and truly understand my strengths and weaknesses, what’s my responsibility and what isn’t, where I’m hiding and being dishonest with myself, and what it will actually require to change. Being honest with yourself sucks, is highly emotional, hurts your feelings, and makes you feel uncomfortable. But after that? You’re free.
- Join a public speaking club – I’m in three different toastmasters clubs. I give a blanket recommendation to join it because I’ve yet to run into someone who didn’t need to work on their public speaking, social skills, leadership ability, or confidence. Just do it.
- Join clubs, period – Are you noticing a theme here yet? You want to get out of the typical hamster wheel lifestyle that involves nothing but work or mindless fun and entertainment, e.g., drinking and Netflix. Something as simple as joining a club you find on meetup.com can change your life. You’ll meet new people, have a place of like-minded peers to connect with, won’t be bored, and will become more connected and engaged with other humans — something our society severely lacks.
- Watch Youtube videos on “how to do things” – Cooking, changing your oil, troubleshooting your computer, taking great photos, computer programming, starting a business, it doesn’t matter. It’s not so much the things you learn from watching how-to videos that will change your life. Rather, it’s your understanding that you can learn almost anything without “traditional education.” Most people who don’t think upward mobility is possible don’t understand this. Making that mental switch in your mind can change your life in tons of areas.
- Start 2020 Sober – Starting your “New year, new me” campaign with a hangover might not be the best way to get momentum if your life. Also, I don’t know if you knew this but, you can have fun without drinking alcohol. I know, right? Crazy. I’m not anti-drinking. But looking at drinking pragmatically, I just don’t see the upside of doing it a ton. You’ll notice that as you cultivate more interests in your life, you’ll want to do it less too because your time will matter more to you.
- Mentor someone – Regardless of how much you think you know, you know something that can help someone else. Teaching helps you increase your own knowledge. Guiding someone else in life gives you meaning. Whether you’re shooting instructional videos, writing content, or becoming a “big brother or sister,” helping someone who needs your help is a win-win for everyone.
- Get mentored/hire a coach – Coaching is a very nebulous field. There are some great coaches and some horrible coaches. Finding the right coach, though, can change your life. Coaches find all the gaps in your thinking, help you think bigger, simply the process of what you’re trying to learn, and help you get results faster. Technically, you could find all the information you need to change your life for free and do it on your own. But who does this? Basically no one. Getting a writing coach, fitness coach, life coach, whatever. Get some instruction and guidance. If your life isn’t where you want it to be, consider that…you might need some help.
I’m a big believer in the symbolism of a new year. I’ve used new year’s resolutions successfully for a half-decade now. Don’t listen to the naysays who say you’ll still be the same old you. No, they’ll still be the same old them.
Now, they are right in the sense that most people, statistically, will not follow through with their resolutions and won’t change their life.
But are you a statistic?
Or a person who’s finally ready this year?
That’s on you to answer.