This Time Next Year

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the end of 2018 and the start of 2019!

Even though 2019 has just arrived, I’m already thinking about 2020…and it’s all Cat Deeley’s fault!

You see, last year I watched her show,¬†This Time Next Year, in which people declared their intentions for what they wanted to accomplish over the course of the year…and immediately revealed whether or not they reached these goals.

In the show’s first segment, Cat interviewed them about their current life and what they’d like to be different in a year. Then the resolution-makers walked backstage and, mere moments later (for the TV audience), reemerged after a year had gone by (for them) — an apparent miracle of time travel (which I assume was an illusion created by filming the show’s first half and second half a year apart — although, with technology being what it is these days, you never know)! ūüėČ

Regardless of the time-travel “miracle” (or post-production illusion), the real miracle was the transformation that so many of the participants made in their lives — from overcoming major physical challenges to gaining confidence and independence thanks to the help of a seeing-eye dog.

And, as the show’s producers undoubtedly intended, these transformations got me thinking about my own life, asking:

  • Where do I want to be this time next year?
  • What do I want my life to look like and feel like in a year?
  • How do I want to be different?

When I imagine being on this show, I see myself emerging from the “Next Year”¬† entrance holding two books that I’ve written: one recently published book plus a completed manuscript of a new one.

More than the tangible results of the year, however, I see (and feel) myself radiating health, happiness, ease, and confidence. I’m smiling authentically, speaking and listening from the heart, and connecting meaningfully with others. I’m living in the moment, comfortable in my life. I’m appreciating what is and feeling eager for what’s to come.

(I’ve also got a healthy glow thanks to spending lots of time at the beach!) ūüôā

Yes, it’s nice to imagine myself glowing with vitality while holding my two new books, but honestly, if I’ve got the inner part of the equation, the rest is gravy.

How about you? What would you say if you were on this show? If Cat Deeley asked you to describe your life right now — as well as the life you’d like to be living this time next year — what would you tell her? And, if all went well, how do you imagine yourself during the “Next Year” portion of the show? What would you tell Cat about your situation in early 2020? What’s different about your life? What have you accomplished? How do you look and feel? What is it like to be future-you living this future-life?

When you imagine this best-case scenario, see if you can visualize it in your mind’s eye and experience the emotions right now. And then ask yourself these questions:

  • How did I do it?
  • How did I get from where I was at the beginning of 2019 to this great place where I am right “now” (in early 2020, that is)?
  • Who helped me in this journey of transformation?
  • What steps did I take?
  • What made the biggest difference?
  • What was the first step I took to begin this transformation?

And then, after you’ve taken some time to bask in the joy of your triumphant transformation, go and take that first step.

What Would You Do If You Knew You WOULD Fail?

If you read this post’s title quickly, you might think it asked that common question: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” And yes, in spite of being a clich√©, this would have been a good question to ask. Like its spin-offs (e.g., “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” or “…if money were no object?”), it removes obstacles such as doubt, insecurity, or external limitations.

So, what¬†would you do if success were guaranteed? Write a book? Start a business? Run for office? Pursue a career in art, music, dancing, or some other passion? […] Continue Reading…

The Two Best (and Worst) Magic Words

The two most powerful magic words I know aren’t open sesame, presto chango, or even¬†por favor. They’re two words that have the power to open your heart and mind to limitless possibilities and innovations: what if.

Just like Ali Baba used open sesame to reveal treasure by opening what had appeared to be solid rock, what if has the power to crack open seemingly impassable (or impossible) obstacles, revealing the treasure within them.

And just like magicians might say presto chango to change one thing into another, what if can transform a roadblock into an opportunity.

For instance, if you encounter a roadblock in your business, you […] Continue Reading…

I Just Did Something Totally Stupid

I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent guy, but today I did something that was just plain stupid. It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t a good thing to do. And my timing was absolutely terrible.

In retrospect, I can see that it was stupid.¬†What makes it even worse, though, is that I realized that it was stupid before I started doing it — and even while¬†I was doing it — yet I kept on doing it anyway.

Just to set the scene: this is one of the busiest times of the year for me. I’m launching two […] Continue Reading…

Idle Time Is the Angels’ Playground

I just read the words “Idle time is the devil‚Äôs workshop” for about the thousandth time, but it just now struck me how cynical, fear-based, and diametrically opposed to my own worldview this proverb is.¬†Maybe it’s because I recently took almost a week off — five days filled (or¬†not¬†filled) with lots of idle time…and no sign of the devil!
Those days off were wonderful. My wife and I relaxed, took afternoon naps, went to the beach, explored a nearby town we’d never visited, played tennis (for the first time in about 16 years!), went on a real date, ate yummy […] Continue Reading…

5 Life Lessons from Bird by Bird

As part of the Your Soulful Book writing program, I recently re-read Anne Lamott’s modern classic, Bird by Bird:¬†Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

The first time I read this book — over a decade ago — I was primarily focused on learning to write better. This time around, however, I was struck by the subtitle’s truth: so many of these “instructions” really do apply equally to life beyond the page.

Of the book’s many profound life lessons, here are five of my favorites:

‚ÄúIt is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality. Reality is unforgivingly complex.‚ÄĚ

I’m not sure […] Continue Reading…

No Pain, No Pain

Sometimes we learn from people who model what we want. Other times, we learn from¬†those who model what we don’t want!

In my previous post, I¬†discussed¬†someone who falls into the latter category:¬†a¬†guest on the TV show¬†This Time Next Year¬†who¬†justified her inability to find love by claiming that “Men don’t want to commit” (Once again, using myself as counter-exhibit A, I’ll borrow Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers’ one-word catchphrase:¬†Really!?!)¬†This time, I’m using another counter-example from the same show (which really is a great, inspiring show 99% of the time — I promise!) to address one of the most pernicious attitudes out […] Continue Reading…

1 DO + 1 DON’T of Romantic Relationships

If you’re looking for love or would like to improve the romantic relationship you’re already in, Valentine’s Day can be the best time of year…or the worst! It seems like everyone is talking (and frequently giving advice) about love and romance.¬†And while much of this is wonderful — a celebration of love — a lot of it is negative, self-defeating, and untrue (or at least not necessarily true).

Everyone’s experience of love (and everything else) is different, so I’d never want to dismiss or downplay what someone else has been through. But over the last 16 years of being in […] Continue Reading…

A Timeless Message of Hope

I wasn’t planning on writing a timely post for Martin Luther King day this year, but I saw something yesterday that inspired me to do so: I watched David Letterman’s recent interview with Barack Obama, and when the far-ranging conversation turned to civil rights, Letterman recalled walking with John Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, 50 years after the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965.

As you may already know, during the first march (a legal, nonviolent protest against discriminatory voting regulations), state troopers attacked the unarmed marchers with¬†nightsticks and tear gas, and even beat Amelia Boynton (one of […] Continue Reading…

David Cassidy’s Last Words

Last month, former teen idol David Cassidy died at the age of 67.

The world has lost¬†some pretty big rock stars recently¬†— including Tom Petty, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, Malcolm Young of¬†AC/DC, and¬†Pat DiNizio of¬†The Smithereens (not as well known as the others, but one of my all-time favorites) — but none of their deaths haunt me as much as Cassidy’s.

This might seem odd since I wasn’t even a fan of his.¬†I never watched The Partridge Family, and I don’t really know his music. (I only vaguely remember hearing “I Think I Love You” as a kid, but that’s […] Continue Reading…