How I Changed My Life In a Year, and How You Can Too
During 2016 I was in my second year of University, studying towards a Bachelor of Science. I wasn’t passionate about the degree, but it challenged me in valuable ways. I received the equivalent of $50.00 per month from my parents in allowance. I also made around $50.00 every month hosting websites for two clients. Luckily, I had no transport or living expenses.
As the year grew to a close, I found myself experiencing increasing discontent. I was unhappy with so much in my life. Unhappy and completely lost. I did not know it back then, but I know it now — I no longer knew my purpose. What I did know was that something had to change. On the 1st of January I wrote down seven goals for 2017. I had written down goals before, but somehow, this was different. I did not wish or hope to change, I needed to.
I broke my goals down into three areas. I had two physique goals, three character goals and two business/financial goals. Most of them were ambitious to say the least and I had no idea of how to achieve them. But somehow that did not discourage me. I decided that I would start every day off by reading my goals. And for the first few weeks of the new year I did. For the most part I ended up staring at the page without the slightest idea of where to begin. At least I started the next trip around the sun with a little more clarity.
At some point during the year my focus shifted from my goals and I became obsessed with self improvement. I read every praised Medium post I could get my hands on and bought and read as many self help books as I could afford. Before I knew it, I was in a constant struggle with myself. Every morning I would fight to get out of bed and attempt to find motivation. I tried to break negative habits and create positive ones, so I could become more productive. At times victory was mine, but such moments were fleeting. I forgot where I was going.
The power of goals
During the war I was waging with myself, one of my goals remained at the back of my mind. I managed to work towards it, but my efforts were ineffective. My attention was divided. When the first three months of the year were over, I realized I had let more than one opportunity to achieve it pass me by. Instead of waiting for another opportunity, I decided to create one. I had no money, but I had a plan. I set my plan in motion and five weeks later I was on a plane, heading to New York.
Traveling to America was one of my business/financial goals for the year. I considered it my most ambitious goal, since I had no money. I became a reality before the end of May. I was too swept up by the experience to understand what had happened. For the first time, I had written down a dream and it became real. It may not have happened in the way I intended, but it happened. Upon reflection I realized that the moment I made it my goal, I started to believe that it was possible. That made all the difference. I could no longer make excuses, I had to take action.
“You will never be able to hit a target you cannot see.” — Robin Sharma
The power of the subconscious
As soon as I returned home, my second business/financial goal started to manifest, and I had no clue. Before the trip to New York, a friend introduced me to someone that could help fund my adventure. He ended up providing half of what I needed and in return I promised to work on an idea of his as soon as I got back home.
I started work on the project a few days after arriving home, still in awe of my time in the city that never sleeps. After two weeks of work and a couple of demo sessions with the benefactor, he offered me a full time job. The fact that I was still a full time student made no difference to his offer. At the time I did not understand why, but I started working longer hours on his idea than I did on my own projects. I even developed new skills to improve the work I was doing for him. Two months into the project he offered me shares in the company. I did not think the idea could do very well, but accepted his proposal anyway. We are signing our first 300 clients in January.
My second financial/business goal was to become self-sufficient. I now earn enough to pay my own University tuition, and have saved up enough for a large deposit on a car. I still depend on my parents to pay for my accommodation and meals. Apart from that I am well on my way to achieve this goal in the new year. I was not focused on this goal at all, and yet I still almost achieved it. My subconscious had been influencing my actions all along. Showing me the way to something I had told it was important.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho
The power of habit
My physique goals were to gain 10lbs of muscle and to get down to 10% body fat. As soon as the year started I went to the gym 5 to 6 days a week, for an hour at a time. I also started tracking my calories using an app, weighing all my food before I eat it. Within two months training was a habit. I dropped down from 16% to 13% and then decided to start eating more so I could gain some size.
Unfortunately, old habits are as powerful, if not more so than new habits. I did not take enough time to solidify the habit of tracking my food and maintaining my diet. Before I knew it, there wasn’t enough time left to achieve my physique goals for the year. I put on around 6.5lbs and I’m currently at 12% body fat. The only thing I can attribute my progress to is the habit of training 5 days a week.
The power of reflection
My character goals were to believe, to be calm and to love more. Of these three goals, reflection has helped me to come closer to achieving two of them. Remembering the past couple of months I became aware that I came close to doing everything I set out to. When I wrote down my goals exactly a year ago I did not even imagine I would be in the position to be writing this.
Of the seven goals I wrote down, I only managed to achieve one. This year will be different, because this time around, I know it’s possible.
The power of deliberate action
Traveling to New York became a reality because I took deliberate action. For the first time in my life I decided that I would not let my circumstances prevent me from doing what I want to. I directed all my focus towards a singular purpose and within weeks it came to be.
When you act with intent, you can direct the powerful force that is your subconscious. When you act with intent consistently, you can create lasting habits. When you take responsibility for your life, you will experience true inner power. Your highest aspirations are well within reach.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln
If you feel the gravity of what I’m attempting to share, follow along to get updates. My next posts will explore techniques anyone can use to begin to not only act, but live with intent.