Day 6 – Five Priorities for the New Year

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 Challenge)

This is the week for Top 10 lists and resolutions.  “Top 10 moments of 2015” / “Top 10 political gaffes of 2015” / “Top 10 New Year’s resolutions that will change your life for ever and make you the best person in the world for 2016″….The list goes on.

Resolutions are like diets – they work until your ingrained habits get in the way.

That’s why this year, I’m not making resolutions, I’m focusing on changing my priorities, and thereby my habits.  Research indicates that it usually takes at least two months before new habits become automatic.  So that is why realigning one’s priorities is so essential to supporting the formation of new, healthier habits.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are five priorities for this year, and their corresponding habits that I hope to develop.

#1 – Gratitude : By this I mean practicing gratitude – making the act of being grateful a daily habit.  Simply aligning one’s mind towards gratitude on a daily basis by being thankful for something in our day, can significantly improve one’s general outlook on life in many ways.  Here’s a fun resource to help with practicing gratitude through the creation of a new daily habit.

#2 – Diversify My Identity : So many of us are caught up in one, and only one thing, that makes us who we are and gives value and meaning to our lives.  If and when that one thing is gone, or changes (i.e., a relationship or job) so many of us feel like our entire universe has collapsed.  This post on the subject recently inspired me to take stock in who I am, and find ways to broaden and diversify my values and identity. New habits I hope to invest in within this priority framework include developing a foreign language skill, reading more about varying subjects, writing, and a new hobby.

#3 – More Analog Time, Less Digital Time : By this I don’t necessarily mean not using a computer or the internet.  After all, how could I expect people to read my blog?!  Instead, I am referring to how I choose to interact with people.  When it comes to personal relationships, I am going to prioritize analog over digital interactions.  How so?  Well, I took the first step a couple weeks ago by deactivating my Facebook account.  Other habits I plan on including in-line with this priority are through less texting and more talking, leaving the cell phone in the car while out with friends, and writing actual letters to friends and loved ones.  Yes, letters.  The kind with real ink and paper.

#4 – Living Within My Means : It’s never been easier than now to spend one’s money.  Whether its Apply Pay or Amazon’s “1-click ordering”, corporations have ingeniously made the barrier between acquiring their products and separating from our money as seamless as ever.  That is one reason why living within one’s means is now more difficult than ever.  It’s just so easy to spend! New habit – not carrying ANY credit card balances.  Period.  End of story.  If I can’t buy it with cash, today, then it doesn’t get purchased until I have the necessary funds.  A fun blog to read on getting really good at these habits is Mr. Money Mustache.

#5 – Mindfulness :  Mindfulness is the antithesis of impulse. Mindful action is intended and thoughtful.  Impulsive action is the thoughtless, “auto-pilot” response that is the cause of so many ills, including, but not limited to over spending, over eating, diluted social interaction (Facebook trolling), etc.  There are so many great resources available to help one develop the habit of mindfulness, and a bevy of books on the philosophy itself.  I for one am ranking this Priority #1 by habitually making mindful intention a part of my decision making.

Happy New Year everyone!



Author: Zack Hayhurst

New Yorker enthusiast, cartoon caption contest contender, book hoarder, cultural omnivore, writer

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