Just before New Year’s Eve I read a very tough and inspirational post on cracked.com (I know), and it really set the tone for my thoughtful creation of some 2013 New Year’s resolutions that will be challenging but achievable.
The post, Six Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person by David Wong, has strong language, but I encourage you to read it and take it to heart. The long and short of its message is that you control your success. You are the only one stopping you.
We have heard this motivational sludge before, but Wong’s post cuts out all the PC and goes right for the throat.
Here are my key takeaways from each of the six truths:
6. Learn skills that make you valuable to others–whether they be practical (ability to cure someone who is injured) or relational (ability to comfort someone who is grieving). For better or worse, people often define success–including your success–by what you can offer others.
5. Your attitude determines your success. You can either be the person who is motivated by defeat and criticism and uses them to improve upon yourself and your situation, or you can be the person who becomes bitter, whining that life isn’t fair and waiting for someone to give you a break.
4. Understanding “who you are” is not enough; you must be able to demonstrate those attributes to others. You may be the most talented, smart, interesting and amazing person ever, but the world is probably not going to stumble upon your greatness. Demonstrating those characteristics that make you, you, can lead you to success in the workplace as well as in the relationships you maintain.
3. Take action. If you want to do something or achieve something, figure out what you need to do in order to accomplish that goal. That might mean painful and time-consuming effort on your part. So be it. Do not be afraid to work hard for what you want. It is not going to be handed to you.
2. Who you are is not as important as what you do. Read: Who you are IS important, but not as important as the actions you take through life as a result of who you are. People cannot read your thoughts, know your good intentions and congratulate you for thinking lovely things, for yourself or for others. They see how you treat people, they hear how you talk about certain issues, they watch you take action in support of something you believe in. Those actions are all a result of your beliefs–of who you are. But being a person who cares about sick children and being a person who goes out and provides food and care to sick children are two different things, and your actions speak louder than your words/thoughts.
1. Do not make excuses, and do not talk yourself out of success. We have been conditioned to think we are all useful and wanted and deserving of happiness. Stop. Stop making excuses for your failure. Stop being bitter about criticism, stop turning your faults onto the people who are trying to help you improve, and stop pretending that you can just be “who you are” which is above reproach or the need for self-improvement. We can all be better. We can all achieve more. We can all make ourselves more interesting and valuable to others.
So, with these tenets in mind, I’ve constructed my 2013 resolutions. Some are vague; some have timelines of completion. All, I believe, are achievable and will make me a better and more interesting friend, employee and human being.
2013 New Years Resolutions
- Take part in at least two volunteer/philanthropic opportunities (Initial thoughts: Playhouse Square Partners, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cuyahoga Valley National Parks Adopt-A-Trail)
- Participate in at least two new local events/activities/programs related to the arts and culture (Initial thoughts: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo membership, Dublin Irish Festival)
- Learn at least two new skills (Initial thoughts: Dance lessons with the fiance, Camera class for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT my mom gave us, German Rosetta Stone program the fiance bought us)
- Improve my health by losing weight, establishing a fitness routine and running a 5k (Initial thoughts: Lose 15 lbs., exercise four times a week and run the Bowman Cup 5k in Kent, Ohio, in October)
- Go on four local adventures, visiting places within 2-3 hours of home I’ve never been (Initial thoughts: Cleveland’s West Side; Erie, Pa.; Detroit/Windsor; Wheeling, W. Va.; local state parks/sites such as Towner’s Woods or Brandywine Falls)
- Enroll in the Kent State University Master of Arts in Communications Studies degree program (Initial thoughts: Complete enrollment/application by Nov. 15, 2013, deadline in order to hopefully begin classes in spring 2014)
I might edit these points if I come up with some additional initial thoughts in the next week or so. I’m going to try to revisit this post to ensure I’m meeting my goals too. I think 2013 is going to be amazing, and I’m going to become a better person.
What have you resolved to do this year?