What I learned from 2014!

Yes yes, there’s a million statuses all over social media talking about 2015 and how it will be the best year yet but I thought I’d take a step back to reflect on what 2014 taught me; especially the last few months.

In my mind, new year resolutions are brittle and the key to sustainability is building on what you already started the previous year. Here are some random but interesting observations not always connected to each other:

I DON’T SEE THE ONES I LOVE ENOUGH AND I DON’T LIKE IT!
Everyone can relate… We all get busy and before you know it, another year is gone. The fact of the matter is, the more you see of people, the more you’re going to spend time with them and the opposite is equally true. As humans, we have a narrow view and we generally gravitate toward those who are top of mind.

But life changes as you get older. Some very dear friends move away, others get married and then have kids. In most cases, priorities just change and in my opinion, it’s a very natural process but I still hate that it happens. I can hear the masses saying “If they’re really important, they’ll stay in touch…” but I don’t buy it. Life just happens even with the best intentions.

Solution: Somewhere near the end of last year, I made a decision to switch off the radio in my car at all times and rather use that time to call people who are near and dear to me. I figured if I speak to my loved ones more, I’m bound to see them more because they are top of mind. So far, so good!

YOU ARE NOT OLD JUST BECAUSE OF YOUR AGE!
In 2014, I happened to stumble upon the magical age of 30. It’s an interesting time of your life because by now you should be all “grown up” but the older I get, the more I realize how much everyone is truly winging it.

It seems to me that people get really bleak about getting older because we carry an unrealistic perception of where we should be at a certain age. I’ll never forget an uncle of mine once jokingly asked me around the age of 12 when I thought I was going to get married. My answer was simple: “I’ve got plenty time. I’ll wait until I’m old. Like 22 or 23.”

When you’re 30, you realize how young 22 or 23 really is but technically you still carry around that feeling that you should have accomplished certain things or walked down the aisle already. The opposite is also true, you’d swear some 30 year olds have just turned 57. I hear it all the time: “I’m old now Boi, I just can’t do it anymore.” Please help me before I vomit on your zimmer frame!

Solution: No, you’ve just made a decision to be old. Age really is just a number. On some ends, I’ve done some magical things for my age and on other ends, I haven’t arrived yet. I’m working toward all my goals but I’ve decided not to be pressurized by my age for the good or bad.

You are never too young to do anything. You are never too old to do anything.

YOU HAVE TO GET REALLY SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR GOALS
That said, I’ve never been short of dreams and aspirations but it always used to be such a struggle to achieve the things I dreamed of. I would look at what other people had and get so frustrated with myself and my situation.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to understand that you don’t stumble your way into success regardless of how talented you are. You have to get really specific about your goals and exactly how you’re going to achieve them. And you have to be relentless in your pursuit.

2014 was one of my best years because I took a massive amount of time to analyze exactly how to get from point A to point B. Experience certainly played a part but I really went out of my way to work out what was hindering me from achieving my goals and then tried to eradicate them immediately.

In 2014, I wanted to be more productive at work, I wanted to get fitter and stronger and I wanted to tone my drinking down a little. In this case, all three of my goals were blocked by a common thread: Alcohol.

I love a good party and I love to socialize but I realized that I can’t be productive and drink at the same time. Moderation and I just aren’t friends either so I had to choose.

Solution: I made the decision to drink on special occasions only. And I decided upfront what “special occasion” really meant. It may sound silly to some but for me, this was a difficult habit to break but something just had to give. I also realized that I needed a strategy for when I do actually drink ‘cos I would not drink and then when the big occasion arrived, I would appear to make up for lost time.

My thinking was that people never pester me to have a long drink with them but they always push me to have a shooter. I decided to switch to tequila when pestered and then drink bottled water in between. I didn’t always get it right but the last few months have been better than the first.

If I could force every adult to give up alcohol for just three months of the year, I think the world would be a better place. The break just puts your life into perspective even if you aren’t a big drinker.

And on that note, one final lesson I learnt about alcohol is this: Never drink when you’re sad. That said, a drink has never tasted that good when you’re happy and you have something to celebrate.

AND FINALLY…
I was constantly reminded in 2014 that life is too short.

Travel, wine and dine someone until they fall in love, do something new as often as possible and laugh… Laugh a lot! It truly is the best medicine!

These are just the lessons I learned but I hope they have some kind of impact on you too! Happy new year!

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About the author: Mark Sham

Mark Sham

NOT the boy next door. Entrepreneur at heart with a marketing background and a love for social media. Owner of Vivid Marketing!

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