Seven Slightly Strange Ways to Have the Best Year Ever

Seven Slightly Strange Ways to Have the Best Year Ever

How did this year go for you? Did you accomplish everything you set out to do?

How many days do you wake up feeling free vs feeling trapped by your life?

Would you like to increase the amount of days you feel inspired and alive, where you wouldn’t change anything if you could?

I can personally attest to you that freedom is not something automatic. If you follow the template blindly, you will be douped into believing that freedom comes “someday.”

It’s far too easy to be lulled by the promise of future rewards.

Sacrifice now, enjoy freedom and happiness later is the myth that we’re sold.

But it’s not how the world works.

If you want more freedom, joy and creative fulfillment in your life, it’s up to you to create it.

This is not necessarily the most intuitive process either. Not in a world that sells you the false promise of freedom someday.

You have to do the opposite of “what works.”

Here are seven “strange” ways you can create more freedom than you ever thought possible in 2015:

1. Accept that you are the source of time

Time is not something you “find.” You don’t find time to do something. You make time.

The most powerful step you can take right now is to stop complaining about not having enough time for the things you want to do.

Either make the time, or decide that it’s not that important to you.

Your priorities are always reflected in what you spend most the majority of your time on.

Are you spending it on the things that truly matter?

2. Realize that freedom is always now

The most dangerous delusion is to believe that freedom is something you earn, or cash-out on at some future date. Most of us approach freedom like this — saving up tickets at the arcade to redeem them for whatever prize we most desire.

The only difference is that the majority of us are not playing fun games, getting lost in time. We’re slogging it away doing things we’d rather not, hoping that it will all pay off eventually.

It doesn’t.

Freedom is always now, or never. Always has been, always will be.

Ask yourself this: are you free, in this moment? Can you make a different choice?

If the answer is yes, you are correct. You have just reclaimed your freedom. Congratulations, you’ve won the prize.

3. Accept 100% responsibility

Why is this slightly strange? Because most people only assume a portion of the responsibility for their lives. They blame the rest on a shitty economy, bad luck or things outside their control.

If you want to create an outrageously free life, you must accept 100% responsibility.

When something is truly outside of your control, completely let it go, and refocus your energy solely on what you can control.

You are the captain, not anyone else.

4. Stop caring

That is, on the things that don’t really matter.

What kills our freedom more than anything is wasting energy and time on stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Buying stuff to impress people you don’t really care about it? Maybe instead of trading your life for approval, you’d be better off not caring about what other people think.

Boom. From that one decision, made in a split second, you just unlocked a massive amount of freedom.

5. Don’t do what works

Following the proven path is almost always guaranteed to make you feel constricted and restrained.

Anything that constricts diminishes your freedom. Anything that feels expansive increases your freedom.

Having the courage to do it your own way, is the fastest path to freedom.

6. Build your own fiefdom

When you create your own business, you get to build your own kind of sovereign entity. It exists and flourishes by the rules you create.

Want to only work with creatives? That’s your choice to make.

Want to take off one week a month? You can build a business that supports that goal (with time and effort, of course).

Decide what kind of lifestyle you want your creative pursuit to support, and build it around that from the beginning.

Whatever you do, don’t build a cage.

7. Find the pleasure in the challenge

Knowing that you can be free is the first step. But it’s not enough by itself.

All of your previous patterns of confinement and keeping yourself small will not automatically dissolve simply because you know you are more free than you have been.

Your habits of closure, of second-guessing and playing small will only be transformed through rigorous practice. Each day you have an opportunity to stretch yourself, to challenge your decision and reclaim a bit more of your freedom.

The key to this journey is to find the pleasure in stretching yourself, going just outside of your comfort zone. Every time you do this, the territory of your freedom will expand a little bit more.

One day you’ll wake up and find that the life you once lived seems like a dream, hardly recognizable.

Then, the final challenge is to enjoy it. :)

PS: Want to get my bestselling course on making your first $1k from your passion?

It’s “pay what you want” for a limited time right now.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Leelee December 30, 2014 at 4:16 am

Quitting my job to go to school!

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Mary December 30, 2014 at 4:18 am

Thank you for this post, Jonathan. Where I differ from this opinion — if you’ll permit me — is that we’re already free. We just think we aren’t. We don’t need to create freedom, because we already have it. We are already swimming in it and living in it, no matter what our external circumstances are, which are totally irrelevant to how we feel. Someone could take one week off a month and still feel confined, just because he/she thinks she is. The way to feel this freedom is simply to notice that we’re thinking we aren’t free, and then everything shifts without us taking any action at all. No practice required — just noticing that our thinking is creating our feelings. With this knowledge, any actions we do take come from a much deeper place of inspiration and peace because we’re no longer worried about creating something we already have. What do you think? ;-)

For 2015, I’m most excited about writing and self-publishing half a million words of fiction, even while working a 9-5 job (which I’d ideally like to exit at the end of the year). I can do it in just an hour or two each day.

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Richard December 30, 2014 at 5:30 am

You are exactly right in what you are saying and I look forward to hearing more. I am eagerly looking forward to 2015, but in reality I have begun living right now.

Thanks

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Neae December 30, 2014 at 5:51 am

This is a great post. I found it very inspiring and comforting since in I have been thinking along the same lines for awhile, but doubting myself at the same time.We DO make time for what matters most to us, so in the spirit of that and to make the most of my time I am excited to start putting daily effort into the top 5 things I have determined are the most important to me:
1-Be a working , stay-at-home mom for my sons to guide them through their last years of school and living at home
2-Become financially independent solely through my writing abilities by building my freelance business into a moneymaking machine
3-Write, rewrite and self-publish fiction. I have written four books and it’s time to share them with the world
4-Find a partner to share my life with. Being single sucks worse than dating, so here goes…
5-Enjoy my life such as it is, not as it “could” be someday

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Donna December 30, 2014 at 6:14 am

Last year I adjusted my perception so much that I overcame homelessness and being broke in Canada, and turned it into living reasonably well in Costa Rica. The one thing I am most excited about for 2015 is creating an opportunity for world travel! There is so much to see and experience in this life and I am loving being a part of it!

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rob December 30, 2014 at 6:44 am

I am looking forward to really find my freedom back. At this moment I feel totally stucked in life. If this program works…I’ll be your most great full “paid to exist” member.
looking forward to it!

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Jo December 30, 2014 at 6:50 am

Hi Jonathan,
great post as always! I just realized that I’m very free in this very moment!
Very much looking forward to seeing what your new endeavors are and how the work out. It sure seems like you continue to work for your freedom every day!
Keep trailblazing, and happy new year!
Jo

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Sharon O'Day December 30, 2014 at 6:57 am

2014 was a year of wiping the remaining gunk off ourselves. Acknowledging and then shedding what doesn’t work. Blame it on Saturn or on Obama, it was a year of wearing a hair shirt and questioning everything. I think the number of people looking forward to 2015, and to another chance at getting it right — and I mean REALLY getting it right — is greater than ever before. Shockingly so. Some of us know what “REALLY right” looks like, some of us need a kick in the tail to take the next step. In either case, the key is action. Not to do so would be a real shame. And a waste of all that un-gunking and shedding, railing at God and promising ourselves that 2015 will be “the” year …

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Scott December 30, 2014 at 7:13 am

It’s hard to say what I’m most excited about in 2015, so I’ll list a few.

1. Jan 1, 2015 makes it 20 months since I’ve had a job, so 2015 will be my second full year of complete freedom.

2. Will be heading to India, Nepal, and SE Asia for 5 months in February.

3. Finally getting serious about sharing our story (girlfriend and I) of freeing ourselves from the rat race and trying to improve the lives of other people at http://fortheride.org. (Really excited about this)

4. I will get to watch/participate in 4 weddings this coming year, including that of my sister.

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Morgyn Star (@MorgynStar) December 30, 2014 at 7:29 am

2015 — rounding the bend and putting my book into submission. Yahoo!

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Marie Ambrosia December 30, 2014 at 8:11 am

At 74 I’ve finally let go of and cut the cord between myself and my 6 children and sold most of my things.
I’m looking forward to showing up in the world a whole person. Hitting the road teaching budding entrepreneurs alternative business models that aren’t necessarily taught at Harvard.
The thing I am most excited about is the Sense of Freedom I feel as I let go of my “things” and people allowing myself to experience life one moment at a time without needing the approval of anyone.

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Karla December 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

I’m excited about trying to start a business/side hustle this next year. I’ve been reading and thinking about it, but I know I need to take action. I’ve made small changes in this last year, but I want to do something massive and enhance my freedom Now, not in five years. Thanks for the kick(s) in the pants.

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Patricia December 30, 2014 at 8:57 am

I’m most excited about the fact that I will be facing my biggest fear, letting go of this false idea of job security. I got comfortable and while I made some bold choices, I came to see that I was basing my entire identity on my one job. I suffered through some stress and anxiety attacks as this truth came to the surface and I learned to accept it and finally learning to let it go. So 2015 is about letting it go once and for all. All these years and I finally allowing myself to let it go. That is what I am most excited about.

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Jessyka December 30, 2014 at 9:30 am

1. I’m excited to be back in school learning art and improving my skill.

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Nikki B. December 30, 2014 at 9:38 am

I am most excited about finally quitting my retail job after 3 long hard ass working years!

While I’m absolutely terrified of what might happen next, I also know that means I’m doing something “right”.

I exhausted my energy trying to “make it work” while I built my body image coaching practice, but the whole time it just always felt like I was playing it too safe.

Needless to say once I declared my intentions, I booked 3 calls with potential clients in the first 2 weeks of January.

I’m just really excited to finally put ALL my efforts into coaching, instead of having one foot in one place and the other in another.

ALL IN.

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Marli December 30, 2014 at 9:42 am

I am stoked about going big in 2015. My big goal is to make $20,000 outside of my full-time job as a speaker, coach, workshop facilitator and retreat leader.

I am looking forward to taking action and continuing to move forward with all my projects in hopes that the path becomes more clear on which direction I want to go in and focus on. Maybe your Freedom Plan would help me figure all this out :)

Thank you!

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Angelena December 30, 2014 at 9:46 am

I am most excited for closeness. Remaining close and creating even more with my ten-year-old dog, growing in relationships, and providing a safe space where others can experience closeness, too, are the experiences I’m most excited for in 2015. Thanks for helping me think about that!

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Kevin December 30, 2014 at 10:20 am

My biggest excitement in 2015 is recording and releasing a mixtape of hip hop music that has been simmering within me for many years.

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peter December 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

HI Jonathan, Just signed up for a free, build your own web buiseness course. With ALISON. Been watching lots of TED siminars. Feel ,really inspired to get my life on the road I choose again. Feeling like I owe much of my positive feelings to you. Thanks so much, looking forward to your next posts.

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Nick Perkins December 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Competing my graphic novel!

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Ryphna December 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Hi Jonathan,
This year I look forward to publishing many more ebooks and starting my “story fixing” consultation service (also character and world creation and finding your storytelling voice) and reducing my IT contracts from full time to a few months a year!

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peter December 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Thanks again for your commitment to a great cause.

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Lovelyn December 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

This is a very inspirational post. Last year I decided to stop following the proven path and start doing things my way. Reading this blog is part of what inspired that decision. Thank you for all of the value you’re putting into the world. I’m sure you’ve helped many people. You’ve definitely helped me.

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Marilyn December 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I look forward to pushing the envelope in 2015!! Getting out of my comfort zone more and pursuing the life I desire but have been too fearful to go after. 2015 is my year to step out into the unfamiliar, pass what is comfortable,embrace the unknown and learn to be okay with the uncertainty that comes with going after my dream of being (my own boss) large and in charge !
Can’t wait to see what tools “The Freedom Plan” has in it to help me on my journey!

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Ross December 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Finally knowing what I want and radically simplifying everything else so I can go after it is what I’m excited about for 2015. It’s only taken a few years!

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Manuel December 30, 2014 at 3:25 pm

To be honest, I should have started this path early this year, but fast forward today and I’m not at all where I wished to be by this time. My father’s unemployment from January to May and my boss’s maternity leave from September to mid-December have delayed everything. Both are now over, but hit me really hard forcing me to stay on my current job and keep drawing to myself as a hobby, as it has been during all of college and these last 4 years after it.

Fortunately, this year I’ve allowed myself to stand up more for those drawings than in previous ones. While they started on deviantart, they now have a FB page with almost 200 followers, and thanks to a couple trips that I timed to attend some important events, I was able to meet people with similar dreams and convince myself that it’s possible.

That’s why I really wish 2015 to be their year. The first of many years in which they really shine out there and get known by even more people. And that means putting more time into creating and promoting them, which at the same time means planning my life entirely around them, even if that means quitting my current job to claim time and moving away from my parents to claim space. Don’t worry, I have savings and zero debt. Maybe that will result on a new comic series or why not, endearing and real role models for our children.

But to do it, what I really need is help on how to stand up to my ultra conservative parents and ace on selling them my idea. I’ve tried several times, but flopped because they’re either too busy or with their own issues, or simply just don’t approve the idea of a drawing career from their extremely well educated son. No matter how much encouragement I get from others, it’s not enough if I don’t get theirs…

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Deborah December 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Jonathan, so many comments and so many diverse adventures posters are posting about. In 2015 I plan on expanding my curriculum and lessons/activities to include a wider range of points of contact through more selling outlets. I am going to team up with others to get my work out to the public and to those who especially want it. I am excited to read this post and to receive the newest of your products on freedom in the coming week.
I started out gong ho and then I had such a huge learning curve and it took me time to perfect my products so I went back to a teaching job. Everyday, I say, in the spring, by the summer I am going to be ready to quite and solo. Thank you again for all the incredible information you share with anyone who knows you.
Happy 2015 and a freedom one!
Deborah

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Jemaica December 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Great post Jonathan! For 2015 I am most excited to improve my artwork so I can make it a career. Im going to dedicate two hours a day to drawing, which i’m sure will add up quickly. My new years resolution is to not buy anything (besides food and essentials) for 4 months! Hopefully breaking myself of the habit of wasting money on clothes and other things.

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Ashok December 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm

To be Myself

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David Hands December 31, 2014 at 1:09 am

Interesting insights into ways to make freedom work, thank you. These fit very well with what I teach people though I also agree that freedom is a perception, a way of thinking. And I don’t see any conflict in what Jonathon is saying.

I have two projects for freedom this next year. One is http://www.theroadtohappiness.org and the other is Beep, a worldwide loyalty card for small businesses.

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Juanito December 31, 2014 at 8:34 am

Getting excited about every new day and the possibilities it has to interact with other people with whom I get to win with for a common goal and those whom I get to serve.

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Drew Downs December 31, 2014 at 9:04 am

Putting up or shutting up!

I’m building ministries that I’d want to participate in and the work I’d volunteer to help build. A monthly forum, a Bible study, a theology on tap group, a writer’s group. And balancing that with renewed commitment to my writing and personal development. This is the stuff I’m called to do. Thanks for helping me claim it!

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Jordan C December 31, 2014 at 9:48 am

I’m most excited about learning to manage my time better and finishing my game! Also, getting married :)

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Philippe Tremblay December 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I’m most EXCITED ABOUT NEW POSSIBILITIES for the year ahead. And hopefully about WINNING that GUIDE!! :)

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Andrew Gorbonos December 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I’m excited for this Freedom Plan, whether it comes in the form of gift or purchase. See you at the top of the year buddy!

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Scott January 1, 2015 at 6:09 am

I’m going to buy back my time. Break free, enjoy life and freedom with my family. So I begin with me-may 8th- I’m quitting my job for freedom!

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Nate January 1, 2015 at 11:38 am

I’m free to make choices that represent the best and worst parts of me. But it is always me.

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Consciousness Junkie January 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Wow, congratulations on the Freedom Plan! It sounds like you have a great year coming up!

I’d love to read more about how you came to your realizations about freedom and how that’s freed your consciousness. For those who may be stuck in a more typical careerist mindset, what’s the first step?

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amyfreedom January 4, 2015 at 5:00 am

I’m excited to free up 50 hours a week that I spend on my job so I could focus on my fitness business & my coaching business so that I can help a ton of people do get in the best shape of their lives physically and financially.

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Elle Petersen January 4, 2015 at 9:45 am

Quitting my 9 to 5 and sleeping in mornings, writing late into the night.

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Saad Asad January 30, 2015 at 1:28 am

The past six months of my life have been amazing.

I have achieved more than I had in lot of years combined and the thing that helped me most was developing habits that served me and my purpose. I am now always trying to come up with good habits that challenge me and push me towards my goals.

For this year I will follow the same strategy. Do my best everyday and to take it one day at a time.

Loved the article Jonathan, one of the habits I am trying to develop is to write everyday. I hope I am soon able to write like you.

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