When you look back on 2019, don't think about the pain you felt. Think about the strength you gained and estimate how far you have come. You have been through a lot in the past year, but you have also grown a lot. Give yourself credit for your resilience and then move forward again with grace.
Next next best step forward?
Start doing something uncomfortable today that will lead your life to 2020. Let me explain …  Being uncomfortable is a form of pain, but it is not a deep pain – it is a shallow and necessary. It's the feeling you get when you step outside your comfort zone. The idea of exercising every morning, for example, causes discomfort – so we don't. Eating green vegetables also causes discomfort. So meditate, or focus on a difficult task, or say no to others. Of course, this is just an example, as we all feel discomfort in different things at different times, but you get the general idea.
The most important part is that most of us do not want to be uncomfortable, so we subconsciously drive from discomfort constantly. The problem with this is that, by running from discomfort, we are forced to participate in only (simple) activities and (uninteresting) opportunities within our comfort zones. And since our comfort zones are relativity small, we miss most of life's greatest and healthy experiences, and we get stuck in an endlessly debilitating cycle.
Turning things around 2020
Are you tired of dealing with the same types of headaches and heart problems over and over again?
Then it's time to break the cycle, clear some bad habits and embrace discomfort as you prepare for the coming year. It is time to learn from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and leave your faults on assignment rather than omission.
Remember that in the end you become what you do repeatedly. If your habits don't help you, they will hurt you. Which means it's time for a change.
Here are 20 inconvenient things to start doing for yourself in the year ahead …
- Challenge your understandings and security. – Warren Buffett once said, "What mankind does best is to interpret all new information so that their previous conclusions remain intact." This is a tragedy, this kind of thinking. Don't do it for yourself. Don't just look for data that confirms what you already know. Be willing to have the wrong 2020. Be willing to learn 2020. Be attentive, humble and easy going every step of the way. There is always room for a new idea, a new perspective. . . a new beginning. Life changes every second, and so can you. Find ways to provide a healthy challenge to your current understandings of life, and you will discover and experience much more of life's magic in the coming year.
- Build your confidence and your progress, one day at a time. – Start Every Day 2020 with Truth: It's Not Too Late. You're not behind. You are where you need to be. Every day and step is necessary. Do not judge for yourself how long your trip will take. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. Give yourself credit and then take the next step. Now is always the beginning of everything you want. But too often we waste our time waiting for the perfect path to emerge. But it never does because we forget that trails are made by walking, not waiting. And no, you should not feel more confident before taking the next step. Taking the next step is what builds your confidence and ultimately moves your life forward.
- Track how you invest your energy and make productive changes. – To get better results in life you have to get better on the inside. Again, you can't do the same things and expect change. You can't blame anyone else. Take full responsibility for the next step. Start transforming your mindset. Start upgrading your habits. Your life is 90% your choice! Seriously, don't settle! Do not exchange what you want most with what is easiest at the moment. Study your agendas and routines carefully. Find out where your time goes and remove unnecessary distractions. It's time to focus on what really matters.
- Work diligently and consistently with meaningful goals. – When you focus your heart and mind on a purpose and commit to fulfilling that purpose through small daily steps, positive energy floods into your life. Unfortunately, many of us miss the mark. A few years ago when the Guardian asked a hospital nurse, Bronnie Ware, about The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, one of the most common regrets she noticed was that people regretted not being true to their goals. In fact, she said that most of the people she cared about acknowledged that they did not respect even half of the goals that made sense to them, and that they ended up dying of regret. Let this be your alarm clock! Good health provides a level of freedom and opportunities that very few of us realize until we no longer have it. As they say, there are seven days a week and "one day" is not one of them.
- Do the hard things. – Lose expectations for everything in life to be easier. There are rarely shortcuts to any place worth going. Enjoy the challenges of your achievements. See the value in your efforts and be patient with yourself. And realize that patience is not just about waiting, it is the ability to maintain a good attitude while working hard on your important goals. It is knowing from the inside that it is worth doing the hard things. Why? Because those are the things that ultimately define you. These are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the way and going the way – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with progress and fulfillment.
- Allow you to be incompletely human. – You can disappoint people and still be good enough. You can fail and still be smart, talented and successful. You can let people down and still be valuable and deserve love and admiration. We all make mistakes sometimes. Take a deep breath. It's OK to be human.
- Study your mistakes carefully and learn from them. – Disappointment and failure are two of the safest fountains for the places you want to go. Again, don't let a hard lesson harden your heart. When things go wrong, you can learn what you can and then push the heartbreak aside by focusing your energy on the current step. Remember that life's best lessons are often learned at the worst of times and from the worst mistakes. We must fail to know and harm to grow. Good things often fall apart so that better things can fall into place. And what's better is the more informed step you can take right now.
- Choose a positive and effective response. – Happiness does not begin with a relationship, a vacation, a job or money. It starts with you. If you want life to be happier, you need to be aware of your current response. It is how you handle stress at every moment that determines how well you achieve happiness in the end.
- Directly confront the thoughts that worry you. – A small part of your life is determined by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is determined by how you respond to them. When our conference attendees Return to Happy and Think Better, Live Better participants will feel about a life situation that they cannot control, we usually start by reinforcing the hard truth: sometimes it is not possible to change your situation – or simply not soon enough. But you CAN always choose a way of thinking that moves you forward. And by doing so, you will help you change things inside and out and ultimately allow you to grow beyond the struggles you cannot control at a given time. Here is a powerful question that will support you with an attitude adjustment when you need it most: Who would you be and what would you see if you removed the thought that worried you?
- Learn to be more present again. – Do not avoid eye contact. Don't hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people's stories. Listen. You cannot connect with anyone, including yourself, unless you are distracted and present. And you can't be one of the two when you Facebook, Instagramming or Snapchatting your life away on your smartphone. You just can't! If you are constantly connected to your smartphone and only listen to your ears as your eyes look for the next social update, you will not have to experience real relationships and real life. The same goes for SMS. Yes, one day you will be struck by the fact that a missed MEMORY is far more disturbing than a missed TEXT!
- Be sure to make time for the right people. – At some point, when it comes to conditions, you just want to be around the few people who make you smile for all the right reasons. So be intentional about spending more quality time with those who help you love you more. And remember that nothing you can ever give them will be more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention – your full presence. Being really with them, and listening without a bell and not expecting the next event, is the highest form of compliment.
- Also choose yourself. – You will not always be a priority to others, which is why you must be a top priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself and become your own support system. Love yourself first and foremost every day, instead of simply loving the idea that other people love you. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Don't wait for others to choose you – choose for yourself! And remember that when your needs are met you will be better equipped and capable of meeting the needs of the few people who are most important to you. (We discuss this in more detail in the chapter "Self-love" in our best-selling NY Times book.)
- Invest in your health. – There's nothing to get around it: No matter how much you think you don't like exercise and healthy eating, both will make you feel better in the long run. If you do not have your physical energy set, all your mental energies (your focus), your emotional energy (your emotions) and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will be adversely affected. Did you actually know that recent studies conducted on people struggling with depression showed that consistent exercise combined with a healthy diet raises happiness levels as much as Zoloft? Even better, six months later, those who participated in this exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-achievement and self-worth.
- Get away from the drama you feel inclined to engage in. – Say less when less means more. Sometimes you are as wise as the silence you leave behind, because sometimes the right words are not words. Basically, you know this is true. Then live. Do your best not to judge other people, because you do not feel their pain or sorrow. If you can't speak a kind word, say nothing at all. And if they can't speak a kind word, say nothing at all. Enjoy the inner glow you get from letting go and not getting involved in drama. When you are no longer wasting your energy worrying about things that do not evolve, things change gradually. You stop doing the wrong things, and the right things suddenly have a chance to catch up with you.
- Say "no" when you need to. – Saying "yes" to everything puts you on the fast track to a regrettable existence. It feels like you are constantly busy and overwhelmed often the result of saying "yes" too often. We all have obligations, but a healthy, effective tact can only be found by managing your yes in the right way. So stop saying "yes" when you want to say "no." You may not always be comfortable; that's how people and situations take advantage of you. Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.
- Distance from harmful relationships. – One of the absolute most difficult parts of loving someone: you have to give up things because of them. And sometimes you even have to give up. Of course, it is difficult to distance yourself from someone you care about (or care about) without being harmed in the process. Although this person has hurt you a hundred times, you start to think about all these "what ifs" – these "maybes" about the future. But that's just the thing, there is nothing concrete and reliable about these fantasies. The reality of this person's consistent actions has disproved them. When someone shows you their real colors over and over again, it's best to believe them and distance yourself. (We discuss this in more detail in the NEW edition of 1,000 Little Things That Happy, Successful People Do Different.)
- Forgive the people who don't necessarily deserve it. – Distance yourself, but don't forget them; forgive them. Forgetting the people who hurt you is your gift to them; Forgiving the people who hurt you is your gift to yourself. Let this sink in. You have to forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness right now, but because you deserve peace of mind in the future. And remember that some relationships will be temporarily split, just to heal and grow back along with time. Forgiveness alone makes this possible if it is meant to be.
- Find joy in less. – People who spend all their time trying to make money, spend all their money trying to make time. Don't do this yourself. Remind yourself that the richest man is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs less. Wealth is a way of thinking. Want less and appreciate more today. Challenge yourself to be less impressed with the things you own and be more impressed with the life you live. You are incredibly lucky to experience this moment right now. And the more you appreciate it, the better it will be. (Read the minimalist home of the New Year – it's a real game changer.)
- Say "goodbye" so you can say "hello." – Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. When people and circumstances close their doors to you, the hint is that your personal growth requires someone else and something more. Life simply creates space. So embrace your goodbyes, because every "goodbye" you get in life gives you an important "hello."
- Start over and over again. – No one wins a chess game by just moving forward; sometimes you have to go backwards to put yourself in a position to win. Think about how this relates to your life. Sometimes when it feels like you come across one dead end after another, it's actually a sign that you're not on the right track. You might have thought of hanging a left back when you took the right, and that's fine. Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed. So turn when you have to! There is a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. And there are three little words that can free you from your past mistakes and regrets, and get you back on track in the coming year. These words are: "From now on …"
Your 2020 Daily Challenge
I really hope you found value in the reminders above. They are undoubtedly important to think about. But right now, with 2020 literally knocking hard on the door, these reminders are even more important to act on. And since taking action is where most of us hang up, let me ask some quick questions …
- How many times over the past year has the psychological trait of comfort tormented your best intentions?
- How many workouts have you missed over the past year because your mind, not your body, told you you were too tired?
- How many exercise reps have you skipped over the past year because your mind, not your body, said: "Nine reps are enough. Don't worry about the tenth?"
Just in the last year is the answer to all The three questions are probably dozens for most people, including myself, and of course, these questions can easily be adjusted and applied to different areas of our lives as well, and the summary is that the weakness of the mind combined with a lack of action destroys our potential. worth doing. And the only way to fix this problem is daily practice.
Your mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It has to be worked daily to grow. If you haven't pushed yourself in many small ways over time – if you always avoid doing the uncomfortable things – you will almost certainly crumble over the inevitable days that are more difficult than you expected. ( Note: Angel and I build small, uncomfortable, life-changing common habits with our students in the module "Goals and Growth" in the Getting Back to Happy course.)  So my challenge for you 2020 is this:  Choose to go to the gym when it would be more comfortable to sleep in. Choose to do the tenth rope when it would be more comfortable to finish at nine. Choose to create something special when it would be more convenient to consume something mediocre. Choose to raise your hand and ask the extra question when it would be more comfortable to stay quiet. Choose to stand on the ground when it would be more convenient to fit in. Just keep proving to yourself, in many small ways every day, that you have the guts to get in the ring and wrestle with life. And refer to the list of 20 above anytime you feel you're slipping off the track.
Your turn …
Leave a comment below and let us know:
Which point above resonates most with you right now?
Anything else to share about this article or your plans for 2020?
We would love to hear from YOU.
We recently released our NEW podcast, Think BETTER, LIVE BETTER (yes, it shares the title of our annual live event). You can listen to the first seven episodes of your favorite podcast player right now (M&A on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts).
Finally, our next annual Think Better, Live Better conference takes place February 8-9, 2020 in San Diego. We just released five additional discounted early bird tickets that are still available right now (while they last).