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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