2013 has been a pretty good year for me. I lost about 25 pounds. I wrote a pretty good first draft of a novel that’s currently “resting” (meaning I intend to drag it out again in a few months to start editing it and figure out whether it’s worth trying to publish it). I launched a great writing relationship with U.S. News and World Report. I feel like my relationship with Sarah is really strong right now (and I’ve always felt good about my relationship with my children). Our family’s net worth went up significantly, as we largely lived on Sarah’s income and banked my own income.
It feels really good to be able to look back at the year and know that I accomplished some things, as did Sarah and I as a collective group. In quite a few ways, our lives are in a better place today than it was at the end of 2012.
Now, I turn that same question on you. What did you accomplish this year? Did you achieve anything that you’re proud of? (I certainly hope so.) Did you not really achieve anything of note? (I hope that’s not true.)
I’ve had years where I’ve not accomplished much. (2004 comes to mind, actually – if I had a “lost year” in my adult life, it was 2004.) Other years, I accomplished an amazing amount (2007 comes to mind here for me).
Those years filled with accomplishment feel good, even years and years later. Good years are ones that fill you with pride.
Bad years, on the other hand, are ones that fill you with regret when you look back on them, even years and years later.
Obviously, good years are better than bad years – and the effects carry forward for a very long time.
As I mentioned at the end of last month, I’m already thinking about my 2014 goals. I hope to write a second novel, revise that first one, and (possibly) write another personal finance book. I hope to lose another 25 pounds. I have a few additional personal goals, too.
Every day, when I wake up, I motivate myself to move toward those big goals by asking myself a simple question.
Do I want this to be a good year or a bad one? Do I want another 2004 or something more like 2007?
If I want a good year, I know that I need to put aside the little fun things I might want to do today and give some time to those goals that I have.
Today, I need to put down that computer game and spend some time drafting a chapter.
Today, I need to stop flipping through the pages in a page-turner and put my arms around my wife.
Today, I need to skip out on an hour of goofing off and instead go take a long walk and lift a few weights.
At the end of that day, I’ll know I’m building a good year, one that I can look back on with positive thoughts. At the end of that year, I’ll be able to look back on a good year, and it’s one that will be yet another building block for the rest of my life.
You make the decision of what kind of year it’s going to be every single day. It’s up to you.
What kind of year is it going to be?