Top 20 Helpful Habits for 2017

It is time for another new year, time to bid goodbye to 2016 and say hello to 2017.  Every New Year we all make resolutions, it is a tradition.  Unfortunately the stats indicate that only 8-10% of us actually keep them and usually by February the resolution train has lost all steam and stopped dead on the tracks waiting to be renewed after another 11 months.  That doesn’t have to be the case though.  This year instead of declaring another “Mt. Everest” you intend to climb, why not declare 1,000 small attainable hills that you intend to walk over?  Those hills will add up to an Everest and oftentimes result in the same “Everest-Sized” victory with an enduring sense of accomplishment that will carry you into the next year.

Those hills are habits that you can form, and if you approach them with a degree of sincere intent you should be able to adopt them within 3-6 weeks.  We have put together 20 habits that if adopted in 2017 will produce an even happier, healthier, wealthier and deeper person than you were in 2016.  The fact is that by adopting these habits you will likely accomplish most of the seemingly unattainable “Everest-sized” resolutions that you would have declared and failed at.

The brilliant Renaissance artist Michelangelo was asked about the difficulties that he must have encountered in sculpting his masterpiece David.  Michelangelo replied with an unassuming and comical description of his creative process: “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”  That remark is more or less to the point when applied to establishing the small habits necessary to achieve personal success.  When a person can free themselves of the habits of sloth, of lack of aim, of misdirected energy, and of extravagance with time and money, just like Michelangelo they can chisel out their life in a fashion that will be a source of credit and satisfaction to them and even inspire those around them.  So, without further ado lets explore these habits and start chiseling…

Habit #1 – SAY NO

When you say “NO” you have more time to read, learn, sleep, ask questions, contact friends, love life.  Say “NO” more.  Do not fear “the no.” It may seem like a powerfully intimidating two letter word. But for such a tiny word, “no” is profoundly liberating. When you decide, “this does not warrant my immediate attention, or this is counterproductive we’re not doing this” you embrace your intuition.  If at any point you’ve already thought about saying “no” to something, there’s probably no merit for consideration.  Saying “no” is your battle shield for deflecting distractions, staying true to yourself, and sticking to the course. Every time you agree to do something you do not believe is right, or want to do, it beats you up mentally.

Habit #2 – LOVE

This is the only thing worth surrendering to in your life.  This is the fuel for your idea muscles.  At the end of your life you will only look back on one thing – how much did I love, who did I love and did I love enough.

Habit #3 – MAKE MISTAKES

Mistakes are the spell books of success.  Study them hard.  Learn their incarnations so you don’t repeat them.  Learn their solutions so you can help yourself and others avoid their consequences.  First of all, mistakes are a clear sign that you are trying new things. It’s always good to try new things because when you do this you are growing. If you never try anything new, how can you improve? How can you innovate? The simple answer is, “You can’t.”

Habit #4 – PLANT SEEDS

Basic gardening math.  1% of all the seeds you plant will turn into 50% of the harvest.  Plant lots of seeds to increase your chances for success and remember to plant the right seeds.  You always harvest what you plant, it is either delicious or bitter.  The great part is that you determine what you plant so if you don’t like the taste of what you are growing, plant different crops.  Strawberries or Brussel Sprouts – you pick.  Now my mother always said that it is proof that you’re a mature, healthy, and well liked adult if you love brussel sprouts but I still maintain that I’d rather eat strawberries.  If you like Brussel Sprouts though, plant them by all means!

Habit #5 – BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO ARE KIND TO YOU AND LOVE YOU

Other people will make you unhappy, unkind, and unsuccessful.  That goes for you too, support and love your friends – be there for them and they will be there for you.  Surround yourself with people that will inspire you to be a better person, provide you with motivation to achieve your goals, empower you to make the changes you need to succeed and cheer on your success.  When you’re surrounded by good people, you’re surrounded by life. You’ll be less stressed and find more joy in daily things. Today, make a commitment to start spending more time with the good people in your life.

Habit #6 – STAND NEXT TO THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM

My Uncle Ken was a billionaire and one day he was visiting me in Montana and flying me around in his jet when I asked him; “How can I be like you?”  He told me to surround myself with those smarter and more talented than myself and to never be afraid to give them all the credit.  That was great advice and if you look around at other examples of the philosophy it is true.  Harold Ramis did it (Bill Murray).  Steve Jobs did it (Steve Wozniak), Kanye West did it (Jay-Z).

Habit #7 – NO EXCUSES

Blaming is draining.  Complaining is draining.  Explaining is draining.  We don’t have enough inner plumbing for all that draining.  Also, remember your friends are not plumbers – they don’t want to stick around you if all they do is clean the hair out of your pipes to continue the draining analogy.

Habit #8 – DON’T BE IN A RUSH, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND SLOW IT DOWN A BIT!

Every overnight success I’ve ever heard of took 10-20 years to get there.  BUT ONLY if they celebrated small successes along the way, so learn to spot your little successes and hold them up proudly.  Don’t try to do too much too fast, remember that you are trying to be the “Michelangelo” to your goal’s “David”.  Patience isn’t an excuse to wait for it to come to you like some “secret manifestation” where you think of what you want and it just magically appears. You have to work your butt off.  Those that want it will get it.  Those that don’t, won’t.  Perhaps you can look back on this post in 10 years and see where you are at.  I know the ride is going to be exciting.

Habit #9 – BE GRATEFUL

If you can find a diamond in the mud, you’re going to end up with a lot of diamonds in life.  How grateful are you for how well your life is going at this moment?  That you currently have the health and resources and time and lack of other trauma to be in front of a computer right now reading this?  Seriously.  Life could be much, much worse, right?  Things are okay, right?  Pretty good in fact, relatively.  Of course things could be much better, but that’s for later.  Gratitude for current reality is the name of the game.  Gratitude for now.

Habit #10 – WARREN BUFFET’S 5/25 Rule

With over 60 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and is the most successful investor of the 20th century. Given his success, it’s safe to say that Buffett has an exceptional understanding of how to spend time.  5/25 rule is a productivity strategy that Warren Buffett uses to help his employees to determine their priorities and desires in life. It helps the employees to truly focus on their prioritized goals. And here’s how it works…

Make a list of the 25 things you want to do in life.  Now do the top 5.  And NEVER THINK ABOUT THE OTHER 20 EVER AGAIN.  Or they will take time away from the 5 that you are most passionate about.

By having 25 career goals simultaneously brings an immense burden to our daily tasks. They take up time, energy, thoughts and capital. And thus spinning us in motion, preventing us from taking action.

Eliminating the inessential habits of life is one of the best ways to make life easier and to make you grateful for what you do have. But eliminating 20 career goals is fairly difficult and absurd, because they are easy to rationalize even with their little payoff. But remember that the tasks that have the greatest likelihood of derailing your progress are the ones that you care about, but aren’t as important as others.

Right now I’m free to pursuit my 5 career goals with clear mind. Top 5 career goals are easy to keep in mind even in everyday work.

Habit #11 – WRITE DOWN 10 IDEAS EVERY DAY

This actually turns into a super power.  Do this for six months straight and see what happens.  The owner of Panda Windows and Doors, Avi Shoshan, drives the company’s innovation with his steadfast dedication to this habit.  IDEAS ARE  THE CURRENCY OF LIFE – Not money.  Money can be depleted until you eventually go broke.  Good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, and can save your life.  Financial wealth is a side effect of the “runner’s high” you get from using your idea muscle.

Habit #12 – FOLLOW UP

It is hard to do, but extremely worth it if you can leave a sticky note or send an email to yourself every day with instructions or a reminder on how to keep a business relationship, project or dream moving forward.  If you’re like most busy people, millions of other things intrude on a given day. Get in the habit of following up immediately or schedule a reminder on your calendar to follow up sooner than later for things that are legitimately important to you.   Remember, building momentum is key to completing goals and fostering trust and reliability in any relationship both personally and professionally.

Habit #13 – ASK QUESTIONS

There are always more questions than answers.  Questions give birth to opportunities.  Remember that answers and facts can be outsourced, the questions are the most important part of the equation if you are ever going to master the challenges you hope to overcome.

Habit #14 – 1% A DAY

Whatever you want to get better at:  do 1% more each day.  1% a day, compounded, is 3,800% a year.  You will always win with this approach.

Habit #15 – RIGHT NOW

Regret will waste time today worrying about yesterday.  Anxiety steals energy from the future.  Focus on RIGHT NOW.  Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s past.  Take a few minutes each day to actively savor something you usually hurry through—eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, walking to the bus—you will start experiencing more joy, happiness, and other positive emotions.  I remember the movie “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” and Ferris really had it all right in this regard.

Habit #16 – SLEEP

This is something I struggle with myself, but I will force myself to do this in 2017.  Sleep rejuvenates brain cells, heals the body, and reduces anxiety.  Your brain is only at its best is most active between 2-5 hours a day so make them as effective as possible by dreaming more.  After a long healthy sleep you will be able to retain more information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

Habit #17 – EVERY DAY, AVOID DEATH

You can’t achieve anything from a hospital bed or a grave.  Make every day great, sleep well, eat well, enjoy your life while you are vertical.  Don’t put yourself behind the eight ball. Get realistic about the things in life you want and crave then carry out the necessary tasks to make those things a reality.  Start by taking care of yourself and get yourself out of breath every day.  It’ll be the magical ingredient that helps you to attain all the other things and enjoy them even longer.

Habit #18 – DO ONE THING EVERY DAY YOU LOVED AS A KID

This is the fuel that can power your life.  What you loved as a child are the things that at the end of the day bring to you the most happiness and fulfillment.  My childhood love was art, fishing and astronomy and today those interests still bring me great joy.  Make a list of all the things you remember enjoying as a child.  Would you enjoy that activity now?  For example, Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s greatest architect, played with wooden blocks all through childhood and as we all know now well past it.

Habit #19 – GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE WRONG.

Be able to admit you are wrong and be flexible enough to change your position when you realize it is necessary.  Admitting you are wrong makes you more resourceful enabling you to develop new capabilities.It is important to admit your wrong and then listen. Learning to listen after admitting you are wrong is a powerful way to educate yourself. You will learn much more by listening to others than by talking.

HEY, YOU SAID THERE WERE 20 Habits!!!

I said there were 20 habits and there were only 19, sorry I guess I was wrong!  It’s OK though, I have permission to be wrong and back to number #3 – I made a mistake…  #7, I’m not making excuses, just saying “Oops!  Moving right along!”  See how easy that is?  I just worked on three habits in one sentence!

edmund_hillaryIf you seriously examine these habits and apply them to your life you will be able to accomplish an exponential amount of success and improve the way you feel along with those around you.  Make 2017 your year to make big changes by perfecting many little things.  One thing I would recommend is that you go to Wal Mart today, buy a journal with at least 400 pages and go through each of these habits every day and document how you worked on or accomplished each one.  This will allow you to look back 6 months from now and see your accomplishments and also keep you on track.   On December 31, 2017 your goal should be to review your book full of ideas and inspiration and write your last entry of 2017 which should be a recap of all the positive habits that you have learned and the improvements you have made both personally and professionally.
Many people have taken on the climb to the top of Mt. Everest since the summit was first reached in in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary. Since then a very small and select group of climbers have reached the summit.  Approximately 4,000 people have reached the peak of Mount Everest since Hillary and over 200 have died attempting the feat- out of a total population of 7.4 billion on Earth that is far less than 1% of all humans who have seen the top of Everest – New Year’s resolutions are nearly as elusive as Everest in this way.

The takeaway is to remember that by walking over 20 little hills (or habits) in 2017 you should at the end of the year have the same feeling of accomplishment that those few successful climbers experienced but with a much longer lasting effect.
pwd_new-year-2017Make it a great 2017 everybody!

Tom Vosicky
Creative/Marketing Director
Panda Windows and Doors