Five years ago I stood here at the same stand up desk in the exact same place in my office. I opened up my laptop after yet another long and stressful night at work and typed a letter to myself. I called it my manifesto. It was a letter to tell myself basically to stop making excuses, stop wasting my life, and do something about everything I always complained about in my life.
I taped two copies and put one right above my computer on the wall, where it still is, and one on my bathroom mirror, which isn’t there anymore. I knew if I put it in those two places, I would definitely see it every day. I wanted it to be a reminder of how I felt that night and what I told myself.
Five years later a lot in my life has changed:
What I’m most proud of is that I made all of this happen.
I didn’t just wake up one day and got lucky. I decided to take control of my life instead of just hoping it would get better. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had ups and downs for sure, but I can look back at these last five years and feel proud.
I needed to stop doing what I did before in order to get different results. I figured I had nothing to lose to try. Life could not get any worse than how it was in my eyes.
Looking back these past five years, I thought about the biggest lessons I’ve taken away that will help you.
Let go of the past
If you’re holding a lot of baggage from your past, you have to find ways to let it go. By holding grudges or constantly thinking back about mistakes you made in the past, you can’t move forward.
What you’re doing is thinking about the past and getting so angry about it that is paralyzes you. You can’t get anything done. You can’t focus on the present. All you can do is think about things that happened in the past.
Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve wasted the last five or ten years or your life. You can’t get that time back. You can’t go back and do things differently.
What you can absolutely do is learn from your mistakes and your regrets so that you don’t make the same mistakes again moving forward.
It might help if you write a letter to yourself to let go of that anger you’re holding on to. Then after you write it, burn the letter or rip it to shreds. Often times, you hold in everything that’s been bothering you and you have no one to talk to about it. Get it off your chest so that you can start focusing on what you can do every day to create the type of life you want.
I could have been angry with myself for wasting my 20’s and getting nowhere in life. I could have replayed every decision that led me to where I was and wished I could have done it differently.
I decided to not focus on the past because I had for so many years. Doing so felt like a punch in the gut every time. It would leave me weak and in pain. Not helpful when trying to change.
I had to let it go in order to move forward in life.
If you want different results, you have to do different things.
If you don’t want your future to look like your past, you can’t keep doing the same old s**t. Re-read that to really let it sink in. You can’t keep doing what you have been doing and expect life to miraculously get better.
You can’t keep going to your lousy job, complain to whoever will listen about it, and watch TV four hours every night and expect a new job with a better salary to be waiting for you when you check Facebook for the one hundredth time that day.
I’ll save you time and tell you it’s not going to happen.
You’re not going to attract the man or woman of your dreams by continuously thinking of yourself failure in life and staying at home every weekend and having a pity party for one.
You’re not going to improve your marriage, lose that weight, or start a side business, by doing what you have been doing up until this point.
What you have been doing has gotten you to this exact moment. Is that where want to be? Are you happy about it?
If you want different results, you have to find a different strategy because I can guarantee if you keep doing that, five years from now, you’re going to be the same person in the same situation. The only difference will be your age.
In 2005, I was in a job I hated. In 2010, I was still in a job I hated. Why? Because I kept doing the same thing. I wasn’t taking much action. I spent my nights after work on the computer and watching TV. On my days off, I’d do the same. I rarely went out.
I kept focusing on how much I hated my life. I kept holding the same beliefs in my head like maybe it’s not possible. I kept thinking of the quickest way to make a lot of money. I kept feeling sorry for myself.
That all had to stop!
In 2015, I do work that I choose to do and I’m making more money now than at my job. All because I started doing things differently in my life.
Some of the things I did were start a gratitude journal, filled my mind with clean water, started a morning routine, set goals, and exercise. I didn’t do them just for one day or one week. I did them consistently.
I never did any of those things before. When I began to make them a part of my life, then I started to see serious changes. I was getting results I had never gotten before.