Photo by Andre Sebastian on Unsplash

By Tim Denning

You can achieve a lot in 12 months when you surround yourself with new ideas. Ideas are the seeds of change.

The best ideas are the ones you don’t have to come up with. Let one of these ideas set off an aha moment in your head.

Take one of these ideas and make it rain.

Become a content creator

Content creation is part of your life. You create content for work in the form of slide decks. You write content in emails. You post parts of your life called content on social media. You write a lot of text in direct messaging apps.

Life on the internet is a life full of content creation. Become aware of how much content you are creating. Become conscious of the content you’re creating. Then take a few pieces of content and release them into the world.

It sounds so tiny and obvious. I’m sure you’ve thought of it before. But have you done it yet? Could you do it more? The internet has democratized content. In simple terms, that means you can get paid to create content. You’re doing it anyway so why the heck not? Look at your social media profiles for clues about what direction you’re heading in.

Creating content leaves a trail of bread crumbs behind that shows you what you care about and where you want to go in life.

Do something you would never dare do

It’s what you’re afraid of that creates remarkable growth.

All you need is 60 seconds of courage to break your past beliefs and try something new. When you do, and you rip the bandaid off that’s protecting your life, everything changes.

Make a list. What would you never dare do? Could you do it for 60 seconds?

Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it

You grow when you forgive.

Forgiveness is not about the person you’re forgiving. Forgiveness is about setting yourself free from the B.S. reasons you’re angry at someone.

If you had 24 hours to live would you still care about staying firm and not forgiving that person who wronged you?

Forgiveness is hard. Forgiveness feels like you’re giving a piece of yourself away. But when you do it, you realize there is so much you achieve without all that built up hate inside you towards people who broke your rules for life and didn’t even know it.

Learn about how money works

It’s not about how much money you earn.

It’s not about how much money you save.

It’s not about how much money you invest.

It’s not about how well you diversify your investments.

How much money you end up with is based on your financial education. I have read plenty of articles about how stocks always go up or how you can never go wrong with an index fund. Learning about money will force you to challenge some of these philosophies about finance.

What’s the difference between buying stocks outright and buying stocks through an index fund? The ownership structure. Why does ownership matter? Because when everybody is running for the exits in a recession or a big event happens in the market, you want to know where you stand.

Will one country always be the center of the financial universe? Will creating trillions and trillions of dollars out of thin air have a lasting effect? Nobody knows. It hasn’t been done at this scale before. Does the price of stocks have multiple meanings? Yes. Everything is relative which is where the truth lies.

Stocks, cash, and banking aren’t what you might think they are. It’s nothing to be fearful about. But in a recession, the financially educated increase their winnings, and the financially uneducated live in bliss and have money taken away from them for reasons they will never understand.

You can learn about how money works using google, Youtube, and blogs — no degree is required.

Your financial future will change if you spend time educating yourself about how money really works, not how school said it works.

Take an unconventional online course to learn a new skill

You get paid for your skills. You extract fulfillment from your skills. The skill that can improve your life may not be one you’ve ever considered before.

Online courses cost next to nothing to attend. You can find them on platforms like Udemy or Teachable.

Pro tip: choose digital skills. In the work-from-home world, digital skills will help you a lot. More and more of our lives happen online. One day you’ll sign in to an avatar that is placed inside a 3D space that resembles your office, without you ever leaving home.

Life can become boring when the current skills you have no longer excite you. Upgrade your skills to level-up your life.

Write your thoughts down

I don’t do journaling. The idea makes me feel like a kid. I prefer to write my thoughts down in the form of unpublished drafts that could one day be published, but probably won’t be.

You might think writing your thoughts down is a waste of time. You can just think them, right? You can, although thoughts in your head are easy to manipulate and turn into lies. When you write your thoughts down it’s hard to lie to yourself. Your thoughts become real when you write them down.

When you notice your thoughts you have the power to change them.

Writing helps you express yourself.

Notice the story you tell yourself

You tell yourself a story every day about why you can’t have the things you want, whether you realize it or not. These stories drive your life. Once you identify your stories you can change them.

My story used to be “I feel sick every day and it’s everybody’s fault.” Ownership of my story changed everything.

Change your story, improve your life.

Clear out all your junk

As consumers, we’re trained hoarders. Hoarding is part of the world we live in. You hold onto possessions because they have parts of your life trapped inside of them that you don’t want to let go. The junk inside your home creates unnecessary stress.

Letting your stuff go is how you let go of what no longer serves you. The best way is to give your stuff away to someone who needs it so the purchase still has value, just for someone new.

Throw a tantrum at your phone apps

You don’t need most of them. They are full of business models designed to help you part with your money for a need you think you have. What worked for me was deleting all my phone apps and then seeing which ones I had to install again. Most of them never got installed again because I didn’t really need them after all.

The more apps you have, the more software companies you are a servant to.

Map out a career plan that excites you

I like this recipe:

1 part normal.

1 part risky.

The normal part of my career is an office job. The risky part of my career is a side-business that could fail at any time. The plan that works for you will be different. The key is to add something in your career that excites you but perhaps makes you no money in the beginning.

The $0 projects often excite you more than you might think. That excitement leads to effort. Effort leads to outcomes. Outcomes create remarkable growth.

Say no to huge asks without feeling guilty

Anybody can ask you to do anything they want. People try stuff on all the time to see if they can get away with it. Don’t fall for “the ask.”

You can say no to huge asks of your time without feeling guilty. Building up calendar debt will give you less time to spend.

Be more careful about the books you read

Most books are junk.

They’re not worth the 2 MB they take up in your Kindle App. Plenty of people want to offer you a book to read. I took book recommendations from everybody. I wasted time reading books because I didn’t want to waste the time I had already invested. This is a flawed strategy. I ended up reading more books than I needed to and hating the process.

There are lots of books to read, and most of them aren’t for you. Read the introduction of the book and if you don’t feel excited to keep reading, hit the delete from kindle button and move on with your life. There is only a finite amount of books you can read in your life.

Books are where you find yourself… when you read the right ones.