2014 is here! It’s the start of a new year and as tradition dictates, it is time to reflect on our choices, learn from our mistakes and scrutinize our plans for the future, or you could just wing it, like how you did last year. How did 2013 turn out for you? Great, I hope.
If not, here are 14 things you can do in 2014. Whether you take them as tips, reminders or a challenge to push yourself further, to grow stronger and get better, it’s up to you. Enjoy reading, and kindly share with us your New Year’s resolution in the comments, thank you and happy New Year!
1. Learn A New Skill
Learning is not something you leave behind in school. It follows you through your whole life, and it is the only way to improve your value and worth, to gain higher income and get more out of life.
Learning a new skill could even help push yourself into foreign territory, introduce more opportunities to you, more viewpoints, more perspective. The result? More keys to success.
Moreover, learning is so much more affordable than ever before, if you know where to look. You can teach yourself a new language from a programming course online (for free), and there are tons of free tutorials you can find in hongkiat.com and many other sites out there.
There’s really no reason to hold back from learning; the only person who can stop you is yourself. Be hungry, be foolish.
2. Improve Your Weaknesses
Another key factor contributing to long term success is the willingness to look at what you are weak at, and fix it. What is your weaknesses? The most common ones are a lack of productivity and focus, how tough it is to remain creative 24/7, and how to handle yourself at work (we’ve got those covered).
Truth is, though, if we are talking about self-improvement, it often involves criticism from others. So what is a freelancer to do? Learn to pick apart criticism, deal with it, get rid of those bad habits, and turn the feedback into inspiration.
And when things get too hard to bear, sometimes, you also need to know when to walk away.
3. Set Goals And Milestones
Most people online joke about how useless their New Year resolutions are, which is true if you make them just for celebrating the new year. When used correctly though, resolutions and goals are incredibly useful for motivating yourself, and they induce solution-based thinking. They keep you disciplined as well but only when you do them right.
The problem is, for most of us, that goals are often too big that it seems impossible to achieve, it’s like making an advanced WordPress theme. But if you break down the goals into separate milestones, things will look so much easier, and you get to feel the same level of achievement upon conquering every step.
If you need help keep track, consider getting resolution apps to help you make the impossible possible!
4. Develop Better Habits & Self-Control
Habits have the habit (heh) of creeping up on you and destroying your attention span and focus, bit by bit, day by day. Imagine facebooking for 20 minutes in every work hour, how much time are you actually wasting away? Stop procrastination today.
Not to mention these 6 habits that can destroy your career, whether you are in freelancing or not., if you don’t crush those habits right now.
If you are a Facebook addict or smartphone addict it’s time to wrestle back some control. There are always less distractive alternatives you can adopt to keep up with your friends. And if you are suffering from some form of tech addiction, you might need a tech detox soon.
5. Pursue Work You Really Love
I know, work can be a drag, or stressful, or pointless, or… (the list goes on). If you find yourself stuck in a job or career that is taking more out of you than you would like, perhaps it is time for you to revisit what it is you want from your career.
Or you could also quit, and choose a work you really love.
Most say it’s hard, but will it be more difficult than doing what you absolutely hate for 40-hours a week, year in, year out? Sure, it will take 3 to 5 years to master a skill and earn a decent income from it, but when you are at the right place, doing the right things, at least you will feel that it is worth it. Need help figuring out what you want to do? Start by discovering what your passion is.
Recommended Reading: 10 Ways To Rekindle Your Passion For Work
6. Do A Side Project
There is no better way to improve aggressively by dropping yourself int he middle of a huge, challenging side project. In fact, many famous websites and apps were born as side projects, like Dribbble and Gmail for example.
It must be something you are willing to put what is left of your free time into, and it sure as hell has to be fun. Then, pour yourself into it, push yourself to the limit, and you might be surprised to know what good could come of it (passive income for the win!). Find something to work on today.
7. Do Something Different
I had a walk at the park here, and saw some children climbing up a small slope instead of taking the staircases specially built for them. For years, I took the safest of staircases and I came to realize that as we grow older, we tend to choose to walk on the safe side, unlike those kids who thought, "hey, let’s try this other way instead this time".
The point is, as our age progresses, we tend to choose safer paths, and eventually, one day, we will wonder why we turned out just like every other average person we know.
(Image Source: Kazuki Yamamoto)
That life is boring, when you put it side by side with people who make 3D paintings of fish, toilet roll art, wood sculptures that look like silk cloth, 4D painting that look like it is trying to jump out at you, animal sculptures made out of fruit, et cetera.
8. Go Freelance
Want to just immerse yourself and hone your skills to perfection? Try freelancing. The concept is dead simple: trade your skill for income. Skip the traffic, release yourself from the office politics, work from home, gain the freedom you need to test the limits of your potential, and make money along the way.
Read Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Try Freelancing
The hardest part of freelance is probably taking that first step.
After that it is merely equipping yourself with the tools to get started. if you need help, we have an ultimate compilation of things you need to know before diving into freelancing, plus a list of places where you can start looking for available jobs. Note that once you have tasted the sweet nectar of freelancing, it’s very hard to go back.
9. Visit A Country
The magic of travel is that you are able to finally release all your stress and burden, and enjoy nature and marvel at the wonders man has built with his two hands (and technology, of course). It broadens your knowledge and experience. It elevates your imagination. It makes you feel darn good.
Wonders aside, traveling is becoming more affordable given the rise of backpacker hotels, so everyone with a good trip advisor can afford to stay and travel in a foreign country for a fortnight or more and take in the best the place has to offer. Then, they can come back and tell us all about it.
10. Save And Spend Smarter
The thought that is always at the back of your mind year in, year out has got to do with money. While the web is already flooded with precious money saving tips, I can assure you that tips and determination won’t be enough. Never undermine the beast in you, the need to shop and make ourselves feel better about the choices we made, the decisions we took.
But hey, you have these Android finance apps to help manage your savings and where possible always aim to be a smart shopper. In fact, if you know where to look, you can shop from home, and get only what you need at the right price (or at the best deals), from the right place.
11. Love A Person
Do you know how to truly love a person? Well, one thing about loving a person is that you have to accept them as they are, imperfections and all. This applies to people at work (because there is more than one kind of love), in class or people who cross paths with you. If someone has wronged you, forgive their misdeeds, and accept the lessons that they have taught you.
Be the bigger person. Life’s too short to stay angry at someone. Move on. Grow.
And as for the people who have graced your life with their presence, you can choose this year to properly appreciate them in your own special way.
12. Love Your Health
How long are you going to ignore your health for more wealth, reputation and glory? In the end, they amount to nothing if your health is the first to go. To watch your exercise and diet, there are plenty of health monitoring apps, fitness gadgets, and pocket-sized healthcare gadgets to help you.
Do your annual blood tests and health checks, don’t leave it to doctors to monitor your health for you (they can misdiagnose or miss diseases at early stages, trust me). It’s old advice but gold, prevention is better than cure. So love your body again, right from today.
13. Let Go
Jokes aside, what’s done is done, so let it go. There’s no reason to not release yourself from the emotional prison you put yourself in. If you insist in dwelling in the past, you will never be able to unfold a new chapter of a better future for you.
14. Be Happy Every Day
Strangely we all swore to fight for more happiness in the future, but as the time goes, it seems like that future will never happen. We become even more unhappy when every day passes. The problem is, if you could not appreciate the moment and feel happy about it, how can you even feel happy in any future to come?
(Image Source: Mupii)
Kickstart your happiness today by appreciating what you have in life for now, for example a love of life itself. Learn to smile, through thick and thin. Cultivate happiness, share the joy. Remember, you always have the choice to be happy, and it only takes (less than) a second to decide.