2013 was an important year for me, but 2014 is even more crucial. As a young man trying to get somewhere in life I’ve found that following the advice and lessons shared online has had a profound effect on me. I want to share 5 practices I’ve implemented from people who’ve inspired me to help you with your resolutions, goals, and pursuits for the new year.
1. Develop An Idea Muscle
“You don’t ever have to look at these ideas again. The purpose is not to come up with a good idea. The purpose is to have 1000s of ideas over time. To develop the idea muscle and turn it into a machine.” – James Altucher
James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself showed me how to make my brain sweat. His practice is to write down ten ideas every day. At first, I had trouble coming up with more than 5 ideas. However, after a month, I not only came up with ten ideas but I found myself executing them, even ideas that I felt were too big for me.
2. Keep An Commonplace Book
“Your commonplace book, over a lifetime (or even just several years), can accumulate a mass of true wisdom–that you can turn to in times of crisis, opportunity, depression or job” -Ryan Holiday
I read Ryan Holiday’s post on how to keep a commonplace book over the summer and he was right about it changing your life. I’m a voracious reader and after appreciating the tips Holiday shared, I tried out this practice for about four months writing out quotes/anecdotes/passages from ten books on note cards. I was surprised by all the connections I was able to make between books of different genres and found the act of making the cards a valuable learning process.
3. Be A Morning Person
“You can build the habits necessary to accomplish your goals—even if it means becoming a morning person.” -Michael Hyatt
After listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast, he convinced me that I can be a morning person even though I was a night owl in college. I followed his advice of writing down reasons why I felt it was important to embrace an early morning routine for 21 days and the routine stuck. Not only I was able to get more things done each week, but also I felt his practice kept me more calm and relaxed each morning.
4. Make Bets With Accountability Partners
“The act of adding an accountability partner, and throwing a bet in the mix, made it a complete mind shift. I only cheated once—after a cheat night of heavy drinking, I woke up to an empty Skittles wrapper in my pocket. Sigh, goodbye $50.” -Maneesh Sethi
I had big goals for myself in 2013 and I thank Maneesh Sethi for giving me the helpful suggestion to make $50 bets with friends as accountability partners to make sure I followed through. The fear of losing that amount of money kept me motivated even at times when my enthusiasm waned. Daily calls from friends reminding me of the goals I had set for myself kept me focused.
5. Set Aside Time For Daily Study
“You need to ensure that you are spending your time wisely, and that you are thinking about application, not just absorption.” -Todd Henry
With all the media I could engage in after work and in my spare time, I realized that most of this information was useless to me without application. After listening to Todd Henry’s podcast in the fall, I kept a simple record of study times and personal reflections I had when I read online articles and videos. This simple act made these materials more meaningful and allowed me to create action plans on of how I was going to use this information when I actually needed it.
I hope you find these practices as helpful as I did. I’m glad I spent the time seeking out and carefully following advice from these bloggers. I recommend that you not only try out these practices, but also keep a journal as well to keep you more accountable and track your progress in the new year.