A Year of Change

Yesterday marked my 23rd birthday. Thank you all who wished me happy birthday, it totally made my day. Judging by the comments, I also realized that was the first time I ever announced my age on this blog. Some people were shocked and awed at the fact that I’m “only” 23. I think it’s awesome that we can bridge the age gap and learn from each other, despite the number of years we’ve been on this planet.

Anyway, I don’t really have anything on Scott Young. He started his blog at 17, and currently has over 6,000 subscribers. I guess age isn’t everything.

Over the past year, I’ve made a lot of changes in my life. I’ve set a lot of goals, achieved most of them and have learned more than anything.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is having patience. I have some long term goals that will probably take a while to accomplish (like killing my day job).

A kind of amusing goal I had was at the beginning of this blog (last February) I set the goal to get 2,000 subscribers in 30 days. Wow, I had no idea that was not as easy as I thought it was. Just slap some content up and people will start hoarding in, right? Not exactly.

I want to share with you the goals I’ve achieved in the past year. I’m not trying to brag, I just want to show you what I’ve learned.

Here they are:

  • Quit smoking. This was probably the biggest thing I achieved in the past year and really catapulted me to taking control of my life. I have relapsed a couple of times, but I’m sticking with it. The difference between smoking and not is too huge.
  • Created an emergency fund. Last year I started a savings account and actually started contributing to it. Imagine that, huh? This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but could never seem to manage. The biggest breakthrough for me, was not counting money I didn’t yet have. I switched from thinking that I could spend money I didn’t have yet, to changing my mindset about the things I really need.
  • Started eating more raw. I aim to become a 100% raw foodist in the future, but I’m not there yet. I did start eating more raw every day, usually breakfast and lunch and then eating cooked vegetarian food for dinner. I am 100% vegetarian as well, but this isn’t a goal I achieved last year. I’ve been vegetarian for a little over 6 years now.
  • Became more impeccable with my word. This is one of the most important things I’ve implemented in my life. How many times do you go against yourself in your thoughts and actions? I know I struggle with this a lot. But in the past year I’ve managed to make leaps and bounds in being true to myself.
  • Daily exercise and walking. I’ve never been a big runner, but I’ve always loved walking. Last year I started walking to work daily, about 4.5 miles each way. Sometimes I would take the bus home, or my wife would pick me up, but for the most part I walked. This is something I’ve slipped a little on lately, but I would like to get back into. I’m thinking about starting to bike instead.
  • Journaling and meditation. These two things alone have allowed me to make leaps and bounds in my personal growth. One of the things about journaling is that it forces you to be honest with yourself. Meditation has allowed me to clear a lot of the mental clutter in my mind and become in tune with the space between thoughts.
  • Started this blog. In February of this year, I started this blog. It has since become my illegitimate child (it’s taken on a life of its own). My goal by next May is to have this blog be my sole source of income, so I can fund the ownership of my own time. To date, this blog has been read by over 500,000 people.
  • Started writing. The only writing I had done previous to this blog, had been in Elementary school English class. Writing has been one of the most positive and scariest things I’ve ever done. It’s forced me to become coherent with my thoughts and has allowed me to become a teacher. Often the best way to learn something, is to try to teach someone else. This has rang true in my experience.
  • Became a regular writer for Zen Habits. This past month I started writing regularly for Zen Habits. This has pretty much affirmed outwardly what I felt inwardly about finally getting over the learning curve of blogging. I don’t think I’ve “made it” yet, but this has been a huge sign for me that I’m making progress toward my goal to make this blog a business.
  • Helping others. If there’s one thing becoming a writer for Zen Habits has taught me, it’s the value of helping others. It was due to me helping Mary from Good Life Zen, that I got a recommendation from her to Leo, to write for Zen Habits. If it weren’t for helping others, without expecting anything in return, I don’t think that would have happened. So it really is true. If you want to be successful, help other people succeed.

So what have you learned in the past year? Do you have any special rituals for your birthday?

Also, I’m going to be putting together a project of sorts. It’s kind of a collection of the top personal development/growth articles online. So if you could help me out, what’s the best personal development article you’ve ever read? What article have you read that has impacted you the most? Thanks for your help with this.

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Live Simple to Create a Balance in Your Life | Jack RugileLive Simple To Create Balance In Your LifeZoeJohnnyMiguel de Luis Recent comment authors
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Tim Brownson

Happy belated birthday mate!

That’s a lot of achievement. Imagine where you can get to in 10 years, just make sure you enjoy the ride ;-)

Nathalie Lussier from Billionaire Woman

Wow, congrats! And happy birthday! I always thought you were cool, but I had no idea how much we have a in common. I turned 23 this year, am mostly raw vegan, started my blog this year, and learned more about living job-free. :)

Way to go, looking forward to watching you evolve over the coming year.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy

Those are some great accomplishments, congratulations! Quitting smoking is a big one! Good job. You’ll probably find yourself slacking on some goals while excellerating at others during different times in your life. The imporant thing is that you have them in place and you’re always working on them.

I also LOVE how blogging is able to bring folks together without accounting for race, sex, nationality, or age. We’re all on a level playing field here and it’s great to see what kind of community true equliaty can foster!

Vered - MomGrind

You’ve achieved a lot during this year.

You should be proud.

This video by Tim is amazing:

Ways To Be Miserable

If it needs to be an article:
How To Be Happy

Also this one from Marelisa:
100 Tips To Simplify Your Life

Glen Allsopp

I plan on doing some more guest blogging in the future, it can be difficult to get my own posts out when I’m working full-time though.

Good luck on your mission, I’m on a similar one myself so I hope we can enjoy the journey together :)!



Nothing special for my birthday – it’s never been a big deal for me.

What have I learned in the past year?
About blogging: I can do this.
About changing: the context is a big influence.

Writer Dad

Congratulations and Happy Birthday!


Hi Jonathan!
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you… (Im singing!)

Right from the start, when I first met you on the ‘net, I had the feeling that you were a lovely, helpful – and VERY talented guy. A few times I’ve send a screaming “Heeeelp!” email to you, and you’ve always kind and helpful.

It gives me great pleasure to see you rise in the blogging world. Well deserved, friend!

Miguel de Luis

Hi Jonathan!

Cumpleaños Feliz, Cumpleaños Feliz…
Happy Birthday to you, happy birtday to you…
And to top it, a happy birtday song both in English and then in Yakutian


As for age, at 37 I could be too old for blogging, which makes me remember something I told my students.

If you don’t dare to do things you can just because you are “too young” soon you will be “too old”.

Can you write? You can blog.


Happy belated birthday, Jonathan!

I admit I was one of those a little surprised to find out you were “only” 23. You’ve accomplished a lot in the past year, and you certainly seem to have a sense of how you want to live your life. Some people twice your age can’t claim that.


Hi Jonathan,

I recently started reading your blog; I was intrigued because your perspective is quite distinct.

Like Nathalie above, I realized we have a few things in common…it’s been a big year for me too. I’ll be turning 23 in a couple days, I started working for myself this year, and I started a blog two months ago. It’s genuinely promising to see how much progress you’ve had!


[…] Finding balance in your life can be a difficult thing. It most certainly will not happen overnight. There will be many hours of contemplation, reflection, imagination, frustration, and inspiration involved in the process. And even if you do find balance in your life, that balance may morph and change as your life changes. Things that are important to you now may mean nothing to you five years from now. Achieving balance in your life will be an ever changing experience. […]


[…] Finding balance in your life can be a difficult thing. It most certainly will not happen overnight. There will be many hours of contemplation, reflection, imagination, frustration, and inspiration involved in the process. And even if you do find balance in your life, that balance may morph and change as your life changes. Things that are important to you now may mean nothing to you five years from now. Achieving balance in your life will be an ever changing experience. […]

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