21 Ideas to Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

21 Ideas to Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

By Jamie Matthewman
December 31st, 2014

Here at The Inspired Man the aim of personal evolution is to bring us closer to the truth of who we really are, so that we can live our lives with greater authenticity and purpose.

The crux of change is breaking free from the limited ideas we have about ourselves and the world, so that we can wake up to a brighter, more expansive experience of life.

It should be an enjoyable, effortless process with no end point; transformation is a cumulative, ongoing practice that lasts a lifetime. The problem is when we think we need to change because there’s something wrong with us. This compounds our desire to change to the point we defer happiness until we attain the modifications to our bodies and our lives we believe will make us happy.

The truth is happiness doesn’t work this way. There is no fixed end result that leads to us feeling truly happy. This always happens on the inside. We achieve the feelings, creations and adaptations we want in our lives directly as a result of the quality of thinking.

So with 2015 just around the corner, I’m sure you’ll be using this generally quieter and slower period to think about how you’ll become more of the person you want to be, and create more of what you really want in the coming year.

Personally I take this process very seriously. I wouldn’t dream of starting 2015 without taking considerable time to reflect on 2014 and envision what I want 2015 to be about. I am sure the same is true for you too.

To support you in this process, here’s a collection of 21 ideas to make 2015 your best year yet. Ideas to assist you to see new possibilities and cultivate the mindset and habits necessary to create a more peaceful, successful and fulfilling 2015.

However, you’ll have to try them out for yourself… So without further ado, here’s 21 ways to help you make 2015 your best year yet.

1. See Crisis As A Blessing

“Almost everybody agrees with the following two statements: (1) Life is full of gifts; and (2) I often forget that life is full of gifts” Robert Holden

2015 will inevitably bring change, challenge and perhaps crisis. Of course it can be difficult in the thick of things, in feelings of fear, to see a blessing but what will avert a potential disaster next year is down to how you look at life.

If you remain open and decide that challenge, change and crisis points are a good thing – a sign that life is ready to offer you more, you will navigate change and transformation with far more ease.

Don’t try to fight the feelings of insecurity like I did for so long, or strive to escape them in some alcoholic or narcotic haze. Embrace the new path your life is about to embark upon and you’ll live with more authenticity than ever before.

You have to trust life. Expecting that life is going to be disaster isn’t a place of creativity and transformation. Believe in yourself, believe in the future, believe that no matter what happens in 2015, life always has your best interests at heart. You’re ability to relax is in direct proportion to how much you trust life will deliver exactly what you need when you need it most. (tweet me)

2. Make Gratitude a Habit

“The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Seneca

Gratitude has become a little cliched lately, but it’s an attitude to life that’s so important because nothing’s going to get in your way more next year, than failing to see what you already have. (tweet me).

You will need enthusiasm and resilience to attract and create what you want, that comes from a sense of contentment with who you are and where you are in life. Grateful thinking and especially the expression of it to others, is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.

Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. People who complete a gratitude journal have been proven to increase happiness levels by 25%, which is one of the reason why I make it part of my daily routine.

3. Start Again Everyday

Everyday offers the chance to start a fresh or to be held back by limited ideas of who you think you are and what’s possible. The more you can face up to the inevitable fear that will have you talk yourself out of taking bold action, the more you will wake up to your potential.

Of course you’ll get knock backs, disappointments and dead ends. There will be people you thought would help but don’t. And hopefully you’ll make big mistakes and feel embarrassed next year. This shows you’ve been willing to risk your personality for the chance of more. It demonstrates you’re ability to keep getting up and pushing forward in the face of the cynics and self doubt.

It is not easy, but you’re not here for an easy life. Winston Chuchill said it well “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

4. Stop Doubting

Self absorption is one of the biggest enemies of freedom. I know it well, because I spent along time obsessing about how I wasn’t good enough. Too preoccupied with the shortcomings I imagined in my own little world, to see the real beauty of life.

I spent many years believing all the stories that centered on a limited potential, to the point where life felt almost untenable. It was a waste…I wish I hadn’t, but I didn’t know any better back.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to appreciate that whilst ever your experience is focused on your own personal drama, you are caught. Trapped in a reality that destroys your happiness and your potential for living the kind of life you dream of.

You have to let go of the stories to start recognising who you really are and what you’re capable of. It is a must or self doubt will hold you firmly below where you’re capable of rising too.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

I hear this said all the time don’t you? But how many of us actually put it into practice? How often do you notice berating yourself for something you think you should have done or not done?

It is an unfortunate common human habit, which gets in the way of recognising what you’re truly capable of, what inspires you and what you really need. Compassion starts on the inside. If you squeeze an orange out flows it’s juice, squeeze a man filled with compassion and out that pours.

For compassion to be free flowing out of you, you have to GIVE it to yourself first. If you’re not caring for your own success, health and well-being, how can you authentically care about the plight of others? We are all in some ways fighting a hard battle, but you can’t lead a horse to water if you don’t know where the water is.

6. Make Investing In You a Habit

The decision to invest in myself changed my life. It started with a measly £50 10 years ago which I nearly choked on at the time. Since then I’ve spent £10,000’s, but it was this small investment that began my search for truth.

The value of the seminar didn’t really matter, what was symbolic is that I decided I wanted to know more about who I was. I wanted to know how to create a better experience of life than I was having back then.

Investing in yourself is a message to the universe that you’re worthy of more. That you matter. That you care about you and you want to discover more about who you really are and how life really works.

When we’re growing and learning life always feels fresh. New inputs and stimuli fill our minds instead of ruminating in the same old ideas that may feel old and tired.

If cash is tight, it can seem counter intuitive, but it’s now you probably need more help than ever. So start small there’s a million and one inspiring books you could begin with such as Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

7. Seek Help

If you’re ready to take investing in yourself to the next level, to become a professional and really commit to you, stop putting it off or start again! Sign up for that retreat that’s caught your eye or hire a coach or personal trainer to provide you with the impetus needed to be your best.

Find a mentor, get therapy, do whatever it takes to get the help you need create what matters most to you. Do anything that expands your understanding of life, helps you create more peace of mind and get what you really want.

The truth is if you’re alive you need help, yet most men especially never ask. However if you want to achieve your highest potential you’re going to need support. You can’t do it on your own that’s just the way it is.

People who perform at their highest level have the best mentors, teachers and support team around them. As a result they tend to make the wisest life decisions and create inspiring results. Are you willing to ask for help and invest in your happiness and success? If the answers no, you’re probably not ready to take your life to the next level.

8. Be a Scientist but Don’t Keep Reliving Failed Experiments

For many years I kept doing the same things over and over again. As Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

It felt scary to go against what I knew so kept going to a job everyday that drained me of joy and inspiration never appreciating I make up the rules of my life. I kept going back day after day, year after year even though I knew it wasn’t working for me.

I didn’t have an awareness that life is your own personal laboratory. I ignored my heart and suffered.

Life is ultimately about the choices you make and finding out what really works for you and why you’re here will require you taking risks and trying new things. A continual series of conscious experimenting, each time you get closer to finding out who you really are and the life you really want.

9. Make Newness a Priority

You already have a passion for learning that’s a good thing, because a surefire way to feel like you’re aging is to stagnate. Once you stop learning and trying new things, time seems to speed up. I wrote more about how to slow down time here. In this article William James, the great philosopher and psychologist stated that the apparent speed of time’s passage was a result of adults experiencing fewer memorable events:

“Each passing year converts some of this experience into automatic routine which we hardly note at all, the days and the weeks smooth themselves out in recollection to contentless units, and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

So if you want time to slow down, to feel alive, to have the vitality and energy to make next year your best. It seems the answer is to develop a love for life long learning and endeavour to make newness a part of your life, to push you outside of your routines so that life feels fresh over and over again.

10. Choose Freedom

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ― Viktor E. Frankl

10 years ago, I had no idea the misery, discontent and insecurity was a by product of my own psychology. As far as I was concerned I was a lost cause, however fortunately I learnt that nothing (no thing), ever causes more suffering than our own psychology.

If like I did, you’re perceiving the potential for 2015 and beyond, through a list of imagined faults, whether you think something’s too big, too small, too fat, too thin, not smart enough, handsome enough etc you’re trapped by that idea.

Whilst ever you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never get what you really want, because you don’t think you deserve it.

So if your life’s feeling difficult, you’re stuck or depressed, one of the keys to getting out of the hole, is seeing that the path to true freedom is freedom itself. It took me a long time to understand, that it’s not more stuff, a new partner, a new job, more money or even more effort that’s going to get you what you really want (what everybody wants) – happiness.

It can seem like it helps, but nothing external can give you this. Freedom is already existing in every moment without the need to add anything, you just have to decide you want it. Freedom is a state of mind.

11. Find Out What You REALLY Want

If you feel like you’re floating through life it’s time to start waking up to what you really want. For most of my adult life I floated, without a real focus or goal I was passionate about.

Work was only endured so that I could pay the bills and live for the weekend. It was great fun, you might say hedonistic. I had some successes along the way, but they merely pacified my fragile ego for a while.

It wasn’t until my early 30’s after reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
that I began to contemplate what I really wanted. This book started me on a journey that would help me to see that there was more to life than the way I was living.

The inquiry within this book It is a great starting point. If you’re ready to start finding out what’s really important to you now, check out this post.

12. Never Settle

The unfortunate thing is…most men do. We settle for boring lives, mundane jobs and mediocre relationships because we don’t believe we can have what we want.

Insecurity is the ruiner of lives, it gets in the way of being the person we’re capable of becoming.
It stops us believing our dreams are possible, so we end up settling for less than we deserve, less than life wants us to have.

Life provides abundance in every area, but it seems our minds work so hard not to see it. Instead we allow a sense of lack to tint our outlook on life. This will get in the way of your happiness and success in 2015. Don’t let a sense of lack rule your life look through eyes of abundance and possibility.

13. Question Everything

We are all brainwashed to some degree. Conditioned by the beliefs of society, our parents, partners etc. It is easy to be misled and follow the crowd rather than question is this true or right for me? Many times I have followed the crowd, never questioning the dogma of those I thought knew more than me.

I have done things I regret and I’ve been taken off course many times by using other people’s ideas as the basis for building my own life because they were the so called experts.

No one knows what’s best for you more than you. Learn to follow your own wisdom. Be ignorant, question everything.

14. Commit to What You REALLY Want

As I’ve mentioned, for many years I floated but when I started committing everything I had, my heart, my soul, to what I wanted…guess what happened.

I got what I wanted. It is reassuring to know that commitment works. I did what I thought would give me the best chance of getting what I wanted, even when I didn’t want to.

I created a set of habits that supported my goal. I put them first before anything else. Commitment is massive. It keeps you looking forward, it keeps you focused in the present which is where everything happens.

Commitment is the engine of discipline, without it you might as well not bother starting.

15. Commit to Discipline

“Seek freedom and become the captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” ~ Frank Herbert

It may seem counter intuitive for freedom to build your life around a regime, but without discipline nothing changes at least in the long term. It is those small steps time after time that lead to change, not just in relation to your health but everything.

Yet old habits can be tough to shift, “Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime”, says Pema Chodron. Discipline is what’s going to really get you the freedom you desire, simply by doing that which isn’t comfortable over and over again until it becomes a habit.

16. Stop Following Fear

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon

John Lennon’s quote eloquently says it all, but it isn’t easy because fear is the most common, deep rooted emotion most people experience every day of their lives. Fear destroys peace of mind and the ability to live life to the full.

It is an emotion deeply embedded into the worlds psyche. It keeps men doing jobs they hate all their lives, it keeps men in relationships that aren’t healthy, it ruins big ideas and adventures of a lifetime.

Fear stopped me from breaking free for a long time. It kept me closed off to the real joy of life and it is hard to let go of something that been the driver of the operating system for so long.

So I had to learn to let go and believe in myself. In fact love myself but it wasn’t a concept I knew much about so I went to a seminar called Loveability to find out how to love myself. At first it seemed narcissistic and self indulgent but it changed my life.

I realised that without total self acceptance, freedom remains a mystery. We can’t truly love life or other people, until we stop taking ourselves so fucking seriously and fall in love with who we are, “in all of our glory and our imperfections” as John Lennon says.

The truth is you have to fall deeply in love with yourself before you can unconditionally love someone else. Before you can be free.

17. Practice Silence

Your mind goes everywhere with you. It is there in the bedroom, the boardroom, the noisier you let it be the more its got you by the balls. When your mind is in control you’re trapped in a world of thought.

Somedays you may feel great, when things outside of you seem to go your way like when your partner tells you she loves you or you get a pay rise you’re smiling; but what about when life appears to deal you a bad hand? You never know where you stand, you constantly dragged around by your emotions like a dog on a lead.

By developing more silence in your life you start to notice the beauty and simplicity that you don’t see when governed by your mind. Quietness allows you to see what really matters and helps you find the clarity needed to build the roadmap for living a life that inspires and lights you up each day.

The world opens up as you become less trapped by the busy mind. Life expands, as you wake up to the vibrancy that’s unavailable when you’re living inside your head. Silence shows you the way home.

As you practice quietness the truth of who you are reveals itself. You get to see you’re not the thoughts, feelings, emotions or moods which come and go like the weather.

You begin to realise who you are never changes and is always present. Who you are is the observer, a knowing never uncovered, whilst your attention is squandered on a myriad of external stimuli or on old stale thoughts that keep you rooted in the past. Quietness allows you to see the truth.

18. Serve

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you” John Wooden

There is nothing more liberating than making your life about helping others succeed and in the process do work you love. Giving is good for you.

Depression is alleviated and you potentially live a longer, healthier, happier life. When you serve oxytocin flows into your brain and body. It reduces anxiety, jealousy, insecurity – you’re able to be more present and trusting about life.

Biologically you were created to serve. Connecting and forming positive relationships is cardioprotective due to the oxytocin created when you dedicate what you do to other people.

When you give without expecting anything in return, paradoxically as explained by the law of reciprocation, the more you’ll get. Read Bob Burgs inspiring book The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, to explore the law of reciprocation further.

This process begins a shift from a me-orientation to a we-orientation. You start to look at people and situations with an eye for what you can offer them, and not vice versa. You break the tiresome tyranny of questions like “What’s in it for me?” The mindset shifts from consumption to contribution.

Paradoxically, when serving in this way, you are no longer operating from a space of scarcity. Your cup fills and overflows. When you give, you actually receive. You begin to internalize this, not at the intellectual level but by experience.

Even the smallest act of unconditional service such as holding a door for somebody with a full heart, changes the deeply embedded habits of self-centeredness. In those brief moments, we experience other-centeredness.
A sense of elation that comes from within that relaxes the ego’s grip. This is why no true act of service, however small, can ever really be wasted.

To serve unconditionally in this way takes practice and constant effort. But with time and sharpened awareness, we begin to brush against the potential for transformation that is embedded in every act of generosity.

19. Give Your Body More Respect

Not so many years ago I would drink heavily, smoke 100+ cigarettes and take copious amounts of drugs every weekend. This went of for many years, so I’m lucky to have got away with the lack of respect I gave my body.

I am amazed how resilient the human body is, and how it can heal itself effortlessly even after intense abuse. It is a mystical wonder.

Luckily I realised my body is the vehicle I need to keep well oiled and running in peak condition if I want to smoothly ride through life. You know when you’re in the peak of health, you feel energised and inspired. Happy to be here and now whatever age you are.

Like your car, the better you look after it and give it what it needs, the less bills and inconvenience you’ll endure. Maybe, like most of us, you’ve taken your body for granted in your youth, or even over the past few months and now you’re experiencing your body beginning to fail.

All the bad habits you’ve developed along the way, that you’ve been promising you’ll do something about but never got around to it. Using a concoction of drugs, illegal or prescriptive, food and alcohol to paint over the cracks and lift your mood. But really underneath the hood, you feel like you’re falling to pieces. It doesn’t have to be like that.

It is not always easy in a world conditioned for greed, immediate consumption, speed and convenience, but all it takes is to start listening to your body. Hear and act on what you really need, especially when your old habits come calling on you to let them back in.

The cleaner and purer your diet, the fitter you’ll become and the greater you’ll feel. Your body will help you to become fully alive.

20. Make Self Care a Priority

Self care is really about self respect. Respect for your mind, body and soul. It is about giving yourself gifts because you believe you deserve them and you know you’ll feel more alive. Doing the things you know help you to authentically feel great, grow and evolve.

It might be as simple as a trip to the gym, taking a hour out of the day to read an inspiring book, going dancing, attending a seminar or retreat, a walk in the park, a meditation class, a night out with friends etc.

It isn’t rocket science, but often these kinds of fun, relaxing and enjoyable activities get forgotten in the busyness of life. Do you have a daily self care routine in place? A diarised slot which is about your needs?

If so great, you’re in the minority and already ahead of the game. If you’re not taking time out to help you embed into your life habits of health and well-being, which support you and nourish you, I invite you now to take a moment to think about some of the activities you already know help you to enjoy and enhance life. Now be sure to carve out sometime in your diary, at least weekly for yourself.

21. Have More Authentic Fun

Take a moment to answer the following questions…

-What does ‘real’ fun mean to you?
-How do you know when you’re having ‘real’ fun?

The answers to these questions need to form an integral part of your plans for 2015. If fun hasn’t been considered yet, think again. Surely one of life’s prerequisites is that you enjoy it to the max, otherwise what’s the point? To enjoy means to delight in and when you’re delighting in life you’re seeing through eyes of love and clarity.

Fun is intelligent. Fun shows you what matters most. So make sure having fun is at the top of your list next year.

Here’s to your happiness and success in 2015.

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

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