Call them habits, goals, life changes, bucket list items, I don’t care really. The important thing with these is, once you’ve set them, stick to them no matter what. Anyways, 2019 is slowly coming to an end. For me, it was one of the best years of my life. Which, compared to 2018, also one of the best years of my life, kind of makes me think 2020 will be the year I will break my leg or get robbed on a side street in Tashkent. I don’t know dude, it happens…
Hopefully, I’ll be having a normal, productive and easy 2020. That’s all I really want from this new year that’s about to start in just a few weeks now. I also have a plan to make 2020 the best of the best years to come. I will try to achieve this Super-Saiyan status by implementing two handfuls of new habits into my life.
These 10 habits will most likely work for me. This is why I’m implementing them in my life. Of course, for you, they might not work, or just do part of the job you’re looking for. I’m writing this list more for me as a reminder but surely you can feel free to browse through it and get some inspiration for your list of new habits, bucket list or intentions for the year ahead.
In this guide:
Save 33,3%Of My Income
My eternal problem? Money. Not so much money money, but savings. I suck at money management. No really, I heavily suck at savings. I make good money, yet I’m broke when it comes to savings. Why? Because I’m an impulsive buyer with a very expensive hobby: travel. For the past two years, I’ve spent close to 40% of my income solely on trips.
For every single dollar that I’ve made, 40 cents of it went into my travels. Je ne regrette rien, but that’s a lot of money that will never come back to me ever. I have one incredible baggage of memories and new skills that I’ve gathered from my years of travel, there’s no question there. I will continue to travel and spend a ton on travel all through 2020, again, no question there.
But I have to save more money. Just in case something good or not-so-good happens. I am a full-time freelancer which means, should I end up in a hospital and in desperate need of my appendix to be removed, I have to pay for that surgery by myself. While that’s not such a ridiculously expensive thing in Romania as in the US, it still is a ton of money.
For the entirety of 2020, I will save 33,3% of my income. For every single dollar that ends up in my bank account, I will withdraw 33 cents and put them away. It’s as simple as it sounds, one of the easiest habits to implement on the list. I can do anything else with the rest, travel, buy clothes, food, take care of my car and so on. But I cannot touch that 33,3% the moment I earn that money.
Meditation might sound boring, stupid, even occult to some. But for me, it made a ton of a difference back in 2017, when I was left without a job, a girlfriend and had some personal issues not many would’ve been able to go through alone. Simply sitting still is not easy, which is why most people who go into meditation fail to make a habit out of it and leave the practice aside after the first month.
For the entire year of 2020, I plan on meditating for at least 10 minutes each day. This is one of those habits you just do without even thinking about it. Like running on the treadmill. It doesn’t matter if it rains or if we’re hit by a heatwave. Also, it doesn’t matter if I’m at home or away on a trip somewhere. It doesn’t matter if I feel the best or worst that day. I will simply sit down, close my eyes and be with me, myself and I for 600 seconds.
Meditation is easy. It’s the people who are always turning it into something complicated. You don’t need to pose in a certain way. Heck, you certainly don’t need to go to Tibet to learn it. You just sit comfortably, close your eyes and listen to your breath. In the meantime, whatever thoughts or emotions arise, you simply let them be, without judging them. Just like you were somewhere on a hill looking down at a road with cars passing by. That’s it.
Read One Book Every Two Weeks
I’ve struggled with reading for these past two or three years since I’ve become my own boss. And I do feel dumber for some reason. I just feel like I’m missing out on so many great reads, it’s almost embarrassing. What’s more embarrassing is, I also have a Kindle that is stuffed with books. Books that I never read. Books that were extremely expensive. And now they just sit there, on the device, waiting for me to read them.
In 2020, I want to read at least 24 books. This means I will have to read 2 books per month. This is not so hard to accomplish if you’re taking in the mathematical aspect of things. If a book has 300 pages, this means I will read roughly 600 pages a month. This translates to 20 pages per day. At my speed, I’d be done with those 20 pages in about 20 minutes or so, as I can read about one page per minute.
The thing with reading is, I always find excuses so that I don’t do it. I will set aside some time in my daily schedule just for reading, 30 minutes of doing nothing but that. This way, whenever there’s an excuse coming my way, I’ll simply be like “nope, I’m busy now, I have this task I have to accomplish by the end of the hour, and it’s reading but it is extremely important for me to finish it regardless of what happens.”
Delete Social Media Apps From My Phone
Starting January 1st, 2018 I set up a new rule for myself that I’m still holding onto, with a few small exceptions as you’d normally do. We’re not robots, but just humans after all. I decided to leave sugar and bread behind and do some exercise every day. Ten months later, I’m 55 pounds lighter and feel amazing both physically and mentally. Still, my mental health is not perfect, or at least not where I want it to be.
Why? Because of distractions. More importantly, the distractions made possible by the little device you can put in your pocket or maybe even read this article on right now. It’s called the smartphone and it is filled with apps that distract the heck out of your brain. The moment a little buzzer goes off, the brain is flooded with a chemical soup that’s not just unhealthy, but extremely unproductive for you as a person.
Starting January 1st, 2019 I will delete all social media apps from my phone. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat (I don’t even have it but I’ll delete it anyway) and so on, all of them will be gone by the time the clock hits 00:00 and everybody screams “Happy New Year!” like they’re all born on the same date, at the same time.
I’m not deleting my accounts, no. But I will start using social media as a tool for my freelancing business and other ideas that I’ll be implementing in 2020 rather than a tool to waste my time and burn my remaining neurons away. I will use Facebook and Youtube on the laptop, as well as Instagram on a simple emulator that lets you use it just like if you were on the mobile phone, but from the computer.
It’s very easy and does the same thing but it’s not there, in your pocket, available at all times and for you to mindlessly, unconsciously check on it every 10 seconds or so. I’m planning to stick to this “diet” for the entirety of 2020 without fail. So if you can’t reach me via DM’s on Instagram or see that I don’t reply to a Facebook comment as fast as I’d do, there’s always email or Whatsapp where you can find me.
Quit Social Media Entirely For 30 Days
Social media is important to all of us. It’s the glue that unfortunately holds us together as a society these days. If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you’re almost invisible to the real world. This is extremely sad as a whole but sometimes, social media is extremely useful if you’re using it in the right way. For example, you can use social media to advertise your services or products, keep in touch with friends and family and yes, entertain yourself.
But for the most part, social media is just noise. Buzz, click, scroll, Story, Timeline, notification, message, another buzz, email, another email. Endless. Wherever you go, whatever you do, there’s the constant noise that slowly, but surely screws your focus up forever. In 2020, I will live an entire month without social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, nothing. Not even email. Well, this last one is hard to get away from for a full month, but I’ll manage somehow.
Cut Bad Foods To 0% By Dec 31st 2020
I’ve been on a healthy food and regular exercise “diet” for the entire year in 2019. It went terrifyingly well for me. I lost 55 pounds or 26 kilos so far and I’m gutting the last 4 kilos until Christmas thanks to a very strict “superdiet” that I’m on. The thing is, although I’m out of the red zone and don’t eat bad foods almost entirely, there are still days when I indulge. Like last month when I went on a shopping spree and bought everything that I wanted from the store. And then ate 4.000 calories of sugar and fried goodies in 2 days.
That quickly showed up on the scale and in my stomach. I was sick for 4 days afterwards, could barely walk and running on the treadmill was more like crawling on the treadmill. I was so nauseated, I could barely go 1 mile before having to turn the treadmill off or to a walking pace. It was honestly brutal. Which is why I decided on implementing this new habit for my 2020 food intake.
And that habit is, by the 31st of December, 2020 I will cut bad foods to absolute zero and forever out of my life. In my view, bad foods represent three things: processed sugars, deep-fried stuff and heavily flowered goods. Candy, chocolate, cake, KFC, Pepsi (even the diet ones, actually, especially the diet ones) burgers, pretzels, pastries. I will slowly, meticulously turn away from them and find healthy alternatives for them.
The good part is, there are healthier ways to eat sweets, even deep-fried goodies or pastries that don’t screw up your stomach and scale over. It all comes down to choices, and if we take the right, harder way or the wrong, easier way out when we’re faced with a craving or going someplace where the food is mainly bad. There’s always at least a second option.
Travel At Least Once Every Month
Travel has become a huge part of my life. For the past 2 years, I’ve been to 20 countries in Europe, Asia (only Turkey, but hey, it still counts!) and Africa and I’ve had a blast. I developed my sense of self, my response in crazy situations (I’ve been in many of those, travelling is not just gazing out the window of a plane or a train for me) and my overall personality. In 2019, I managed to leave the country about 9 or 10 times. In 2020, I’m planning on going out of the country 12 times, so an average of once every month.
I know where I’ll be in February and June already. Actually, I kind of know the schedule for March and April, but I’m really trying not to jinx anything so, for the heck of it, I’ll leave the entire plan for another article and for when I’ll have at least the first 3-4 trips sorted and flights booked. My travels are very important to me because they’re the one thing that makes me feel not only amazing but productive. I feel like when I travel I do myself a service.
I spend my hard-earned money on something that has such an incredible return rate for my life, I can’t even put it into words. And although my family thinks I’m crazy and should get married and have 3 kids, I’ll keep pushing the deadline for that for at least another two years or so until I would’ve seen most of the world. Then I can marry and to the “normal” stuff.
Spend More Time In Nature
When people say “I want to spend more time in nature” they usually mean taking a walk through the park. I don’t mean any disrespect, parks are very important for every city on Earth, but parks are sort of fake nature. Real nature is well outside cities or even villages. Spending more time in nature means grabbing your tent, some canned foods and going into the real nature.
I want to do at least 5 nature trips this year. Going out on the trails, sleeping in the woods, or up the mountains, even do some great walks you can do for very little money. My goal is to do at least one of the two walks I’ve always wanted to do, the Tour de Mont Blanc or the Camino Primitivo, two of the most famous walks in all of Europe.
Also, I’ve spotted some extremely cheap flights from Timisoara, my home airport city to Doncaster in Great Britain which is right near some amazing, beginners natural parks that look incredible for some long nature walks. I’m planning a trip to these parks for somewhere in April, just after Ukraine and Sweden, my first two official trips of 2020. Stay tuned for those, by the way.
Write And Publish My Novel
Back in 2017, when I was becoming a full-time freelancer for good, I had a lot of free time. There weren’t many clients looking for me and, frankly, I was so dumb I thought they’ll just come out of nowhere and hire me at some point just because I’d updated my Facebook from “Working at BlaBla” to “Full-time Content Creator”. That free time allowed me to write a book. An actual book of about 300 pages, a novel about a journalist uncovering the murder mysteries happening in his own little provincial town.
This book though has never been published. In fact, it is still in “editing” mode for a year or so now. I simply couldn’t find the time to seriously sit down on it and edit it before sending it out to a publishing house. In 2020, I want to partially rewrite and finally publish my novel. I don’t care how great or how bad it’s going to be. All I want is for that motherf***er to be published and it’s happening in the next 12 months or so. I will keep you posted.
Smiling is essential to me. Whatever I do, I need to smile in order to keep going. Sometimes it comes easily, but many times I figured I simply forget to smile and let the situation that I’m in take over. Which turns into a drama way bigger than it actually is and leaves me with no control over it. By smiling, you take back that primal control of your brain’s activities. You create a gap between thoughts and emotions, which can be quite powerful and stressful at times, and your true self.
Smile more is the brand created by superstar Youtuber Roman Atwood. You know him. For sure you know him. He’s the only person on Youtube that actually made me pay for merchandise. My Smile More T-shirt is like a robe for me now, since I lost quite a hefty amount of weight. But I still believe in Roman’s motto. Because it is simple, and it works wonders: Smile More.