2014: Habits I Plan to Keep and Acquire
Will Durant once said, while paraphrasing Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” In the spirit of excellent habits, most of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions are structured as habits I plan to acquire or continue to keep up. Hopefully, these can help you think of some habits you want to pick up in 2015.
Follow news more. Don’t follow everything, otherwise you will be beholden to a stream of useless information, but follow news that might help you learn from the experiences of others and society.
Read more, at least one book every season. A man who does not read is the same as a man who cannot. Reading let’s you look into the minds of others who are more intelligent and experienced than you. Reading about an experience is wholly different than experience itself, but time does not let us experience everything first-hand, making reading an invaluable tool in getting ahead.
Write. Write a blog post every couple months. Write down thoughts and observations you find interesting. This will help you think more clearly and analyze your experiences. Writing solidifies lessons learned and insights gained.
Meet more strangers and invest in others. I have a friend who seems to know everyone in my residential college and can strike up a conversation with anyone regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status. After I got to know him, he told me he considers himself an introvert, but that he makes a conscious effort to get out of his comfort zone to meet others. Everyone who you have ever met was at one point a stranger. Everyone close to you became close to you because you took the time to get to know them and share experiences together. I think I’ve done especially well these past couple years going out there and meeting new people. I know this because of the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve shared with others, but we can always improve.
Make money work for you. Allocate at least a third of your income into investments, look into retirement accounts, and most important of all, don’t lose money. Money doesn’t directly buy happiness or influence, but having enough money can free you from many constraints and give you the security to pursue other, more important things.
Deliver more than you promise. Nothing makes people happier than getting more than they asked for or deserve, and nothing makes me happier than surprising people with something they didn’t expect. 2015 is looking to be FiscalNote’s breakout year. It also marks the first year I will be working on FiscalNote as a college grad. As was well put by a co-worker and friend, time to kick some FN ass.
Host dinner parties. This will allow you to pursue cooking as a passion and entertain your friends. Psychological studies have shown that food tastes better when we are with better company. Some of the most memorable dinners I’ve had I remember not because of the food I ate but because of who I ate with.
Set new personal records in lifts every couple months. Great weightlifters lift into their late twenties, so as long as you make slow and steady progress, you should not worry. I still have at least 8 years before my body would be better suited doing some more general fitness training.
Learn a few piano songs. Besides the fact that playing piano would be great for dinner parties and dates, practicing instruments can help improve cognitive function. Just as you train the body, you should train the mind through instruments.
Take more photos. At the end of this year, I ended up combing through all the photos I took this past year and wish I had taken more. There are those that argue we should experience the experience, not take photos of it, but I think we can do both. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Eat as healthy as you did in high school, even during a mass gaining phase. Eating healthy makes me feel good and results in improvements for training.
Be decisive and follow through. The more you make tough decisions, the better you get at making them. I was talking to a friend who happens to be the CEO of a high-growth startup that has raised millions of dollars, and he told me that, over time, decisions have become easier for him, and the right call just seems intuitive. The second part to this is, when you decide to do something and verbalize it, you must give everything you have to follow through. Otherwise, your word becomes moot in the eyes of others.
I saved the habit above for last, because it reinforces that I must try my best to continue or acquire all the habits above. At the end of this year, I’ll look back and assess how well I’ve done on following through with explicit examples. Cheers, and be proactive in making 2015 your best year yet!