Five cool rules for a better 2013

Looking for a few useful techniques for making 2013 your best year yet? You might try some of these ideas I've witnessed in action.  Picking even one or two of these might put you on the path to a year with more achievement and less stress.

  1. Begin every day with a word of thanks. This isn't just something your mother taught you, it's a proven technique for enjoying life. You can brighten your outlook on life simply by being grateful for the things that work or support you in your life.  How can you be grateful? You might write it in a journal. Or you could choose to begin each day by writing down a few things you are thankful for on an index card and put that card in a box.  I did this one year and kept the box on my desk.  It had the added benefit of being a place to go when things got tough.  When I was having a particularly hard day, I would open the box and read some of the cards.  It reminded me about how lucky I am to have so many good things in my life. It gave me the energy boost I needed. Then I went back to doing the hard work of what lay before me.
  2. Know your why. A sense of purpose and hope is the most powerful motivator a person can have. If you know why you do what you do, then you are ahead of everyone who cant articulate it.  More importantly you will have the personal juice to continue when times are tough. If you don't have a Why, then find it.  You may find it in your family, your community, or in whatever spiritual connections you may have.  Find it.  Embrace it. Live it. It is the ally that lives inside your head.
  3. Be responsible for you. I can't inspire you. I can't delight you. I can't make you mad. You do all of that for yourself inside of your own head. This is a hard concept to make work, and it is certainly a master technique.  If someone says a thing that makes you mad, then remember one thing is certain. You decided how to react.  It  might even be reasonable.  But you decided. Now, knowing that you are in complete control of you and your reactions, how might that outcome be different?
  4. Have a goal. Don't know where you are going? You are not alone.  Is that what you want? Where do you end up if you aren't aiming for a goal? Who knows. You might be lost. You are probably working someone else's plan. How does that feel? If you opened the book of your life to a spot covering ten years ago would it be much different? Pick a mountain that's meaningful to you. Start walking... then head that way every day.
  5. Begin each day with a planned outcome. Having goals for the future is great, but what about today? Before you get out of bed, could you come up with one, two, or three cool things you are going to get done today?  It might be something important or urgent. It might be work that needs to be done.  It might be some way you can make your life better. It might be a measurable and decisive step towards your goals.  Whatever it is, why not live the moment of your success in your head before you even get up. Then get up and make it happen.
  6. Deliver more than expected. What little thing can you do that will bring a smile to someone's face? Sure you can put 13 doughnuts in a box, but is there something completely unexpected you can do that will leave others with a positive story about you?  I have a friend that puts cartoons on his invoices.  He delivers the bill, but it makes me smile. Why not leave the people you meet with an unexpected smile?
Got some cool rules of your own?  Share them!

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.