How to have the best year of your life

I’m not a life coach. I’m not an expert. But I am in a desperate need of having a good year. No, a great year even. The best year yet.

Earlier this month I realised that the best year in my recent memory for me was 2014. Can somebody please tell me how I have lived the following 5 years failing to top 2014? Yes, I don’t know either and it’s bothering me. But instead of just sitting here and fretting, I’ve decided to set out into 2020 with an intention of making it the best year of my life.

Will I buy another house? Will I get engaged? Will I have a kid? Will I win the lottery? Will I travel around the world? Probably none of the above.  But there is a lot in my control that can make this upcoming year the best one yet.

Firstly, I’ll focus on relationships. This means, in order, my significant other, my family, my friends and my coworkers.

For a while now I committed to working on a relationship I have with myself. And it was not easy, but I am now in a place where I am happy in a relationship with myself and this allows me to move to ‘step 2’ and look at the relationships between me and those who I care about. By far the biggest challenge for me will be making time for people and properly keeping in touch. I am in fact terrible at doing the simple thing of reaching out once in a while, organising events and involving people into social things. It might be surprising because bringing people together is sort of what I do for a living, but maybe that’s where the problem is? I am yet to figure this one out properly.

 

Secondly, I’ll focus on more meaningful travel.

This one might sound to you like a millennial babble. Meaningful travel? Let’s just agree, I’m a millennial and I want to go to places that mean something to me. Places I dreamt of visiting as a kid, places which hold historical or cultural capital significant to me, places where I feel really alive.

Millennial babble over, I have a shortlist and it features a small number of places for 2020. And when I say a small number, I mean 4 places. For a person who travels so much that she’s more familiar with aeroplane models than her neighbours, this is a tiny list. And each of the places is significant either because people I love are there (Munich, Germany and my hometown, Poland), it forms a piece of history I want to learn about (Wieliczka and Morskie Oko, both in Poland, nowhere near my hometown though), or it’s been on my travel list since childhood (Kyoto, Japan).

Thirdly, I’ll focus on my career.

For the last 3 months of 2019 I have been going backwards in the work I am doing. And I’m not cool with that. For the other 9 months of 2019 I’ve been working on some amazing and some terrible projects and although I have been moving forward, it’s been a slow movement. Too slow for my liking.

This means one thing. A change. No, I am not saying that I will quit my job the moment I’m through the door on 2nd January. But I am saying that there is a good chance of me making changes and this might include re-negotiating my current position, changing the way I work or moving to another industry and potentially an employer. My key focus will be working in projects which I can be proud of and which I want to talk outside of work environment.

Last but not least, I’ll focus on personal growth.

It should be spelled out – a career and personal growth are not the same things. There certainly is an overlap somewhere but what you do for money is not always the same as what you do for and how you do life. My personal growth will be focused on a couple of things in 2020:

– practicing delayed gratification

– discipline in doing things properly and thoroughly where needed

As a typical kid of the 90s I have an issue with delayed gratification. I just have no patience for having to wait, queuing up or worse, paying full dues before I can access something. This is pronounced in particular in my spending habits and in ways I approach hobbies. And although my natural impatience definitely has benefits (because I get sh*t done and fast) it also has many drawbacks, especially where either longer consideration or a lot of effort is needed. Cue in my frustration at learning to play the piano – not only I’m tone deaf, but also clumsy. Oh, and I don’t practice enough because who has the patience or the time…so it’s time to make the time.

And discipling? Despite being a rather pedantic perfectionist in many ways I also have a slight tendency to abandon activities which do not excite me. Do the laundry, but leave the ironing to another day. Vacuum the house, but don’t bother dusting the spare bedroom. Start reading the book, get bored and never find out how it ends. Suggest a get together to a group of friends, but stop short at actually planning it.

How big of a change will it make when I don’t have 3 loads of ironing dumped on the bed of a dusty spare bedroom? When that bedroom is not dusty, and I can chill there reading a book? When I’ve read the book and I can chat about it with a group of friends? When I actually see the friends, probably in an outfit that was ironed the minute it dried and not 3 weeks later, at which point it would probably become as dusty as the spare bedroom?

This is of course an exaggeration but it hopefully shows that seemingly small things pile up, especially small unfinished things. So to save myself from going insane, I’ll finish things up as I go and focus on the entirety of whatever project it is that I am focusing on. My finances will be included – as an active investor I do research what I wager my money on, but not always thoroughly enough. As example, I tend to invest in renewable energy. Imagine my horror when I realised one of my funds included Shell and BP shares. The hassle of then selling and re-investing could have been avoided if I read the factsheets properly. So discipline and thoroughness is what I’ll work on.

The points I’ve listed out are not quick wins. They are in fact challenges, and large ones at that. Will I be able to work on them in 2020? Yes. And even if they din’t lead me to the perfect year, because is that even a thing?, they’ll definitely lead me to a year which tops 2019.

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