2016. New Year.

2015 was a wonderful year for me. I grew up. I'm healthier. I'm happier. 

Reflecting on the year gone by, there are a few things I want to remind myself about. Things I have learnt. Things that make sense. Things that I am still thinking about. 

Pay equal attention to the five pillars of growth:

1) Money and Career: Work hard. Work Smart. Save. Invest. Be financially secure. Money is the fuel to chase your dreams. 
2) Health and Fitness: Work out. Run. Yoga. Eat good nutritious food. Sleep. Take time out. 
3) Relationships and Connections: Identify the people who care about you, and who you care about, and work at not losing them. Untended connections tend to fray, and might need pruning. Time, distance, circumstances, all have a way of changing the dynamic we have with the people we care about. Your family, friends, loved ones, and people who just don't fit any proper label too, because we're millenials. Spend more time with them. Experience things together. Make memories. 
4) Meditation and Self reflection: This can also be titled “Love yourself”. Spend some time regularly thinking back about what’s happening in your life. Think about your expectations, whether they are being met, and how you can achieve what you want. Being more aware of the thoughts in your head helps you understand your behavior, motivations, desires, aspirations, and make result oriented changes in your life. 
5) Keep learning: Never stop learning. Learn about everything you can. Find your own system, find your own pace, but keep learning.
Learn how money works and how to make it work for you. Learn new skills. Learn how to become healthier. Learn how to be socially successful. Learn how to navigate the thoughts in your head. Learn a new hobby. Just keep learning. 

Ignoring any one or more of these things usually results in life going wonky. Set a schedule to work on each of these if you have to. 

Set 3 month goals:
You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to get to. Set goals for yourself. Daily goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, yearly goals, 10 year goals. Change them as often as you need to. But have something in mind to keep moving towards. 
I like 3 months because it gives me enough space to plan, execute, reflect, and keep iterating on my method.

Get some skin in the game: via +Sagar
Passion isn’t enough. Determination isn’t enough. Dedication isn’t enough. You have to have some skin in the game. Stand to lose something. Risk the farm. Go all in. Put your money where your mouth is. 

Let love in. And let it go: Love doesn’t hurt. Broken promises, betrayal and unfulfilled dreams hurt. Love is what makes everything bearable. It’s wonderful to fall in love. So, don’t stop. Love everything you love doing. Love everyone you love. The people and things you love does not have to be singular. Every love is different. That’s what I think. Find your own interpretation of what love means to you. Be careful about not lingering too long in a love that isn’t healthy. 

Feel all the feels: Avoiding emotions leads to dead ends in your head about people and situations. It’s healthier to sort them out and move on. 

Forget how much it hurts and move on: Emotional pain happens. Deal with it. And move on. And try not to let past experiences keep you from opening up to the new people you meet in your life. 

Spend as much time on breaking connections as you do on making them: It’s tempting to just walk away from unfulfiling relationships, but sometimes, when you have too much invested in something, it’s not easy to walk away. Be smart about it and tie up the loose ends in your life. 

Don’t spent too much time in your own head. Keep the despair private and brief. I won't expand on this. - via http://kottke.org/15/01/24-pieces-of-life-advice-from-werner-herzog

You don’t have to record everything you feel: 
2015 was a dramatically different year for me because I’ve spent less time recording what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and more time being in the place I am. I am by no means where I want to be, but I’m getting there. I’ve turned my phone off on the weekends. I have less trouble putting my phone away for the two hours I’m out for brunch with friends. I do not feel compelled to photograph every single moment that makes me happy. Sometimes, it’s good to let memories fade. The memories I want to remember, I remember them even when I’m half asleep at 4 am after a weekend of celebrations. Which brings me to the next thing.

Humans are meant to forget:
Forgetting is healthy. It gives your brain the space to make new memories, and make new connections form. If you live your life in your digital archives (I’m looking at you, Facebook’s On This day and TimeHop), you’ll miss out on all the awesome things that are coming your way. 

Appreciation where appreciation is due:
I grew up in a culture where saying “Thank you” very often to close friends and family is considered “unnecessary” and “don’t say it, it’s always implied”. I hate it. I’ve made the conscious change to always showing appreciation to the people in my life for the things they do, when they do it, to show what it means to me.  If it makes you uncomfortable, or even if it makes them uncomfortable, find a way to show your appreciation to them. 

Learn to navigate the thoughts in your head:


There’s a reason psychologists and psychiatrists command high fees. The human mind is incredibly complex and it takes a lot of studying to be able to understand how it works. Learn the basics of what drives human behavior and how your thoughts and emotions work. Be self aware, but do not self diagnose. Get help if you have to. I’ve lost a couple of friends, and have seen a few others get seriously unwell because of mental illnesses. Talk to a qualified professional. You do not have to feel alone.

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