My Next Decade Manifesto
Adapted for my Box of Life from “50 resolutions for my next 10 years” published on Medium on Jan 18, 2017
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” — Barbara McAfee
1. I will improve myself every day in some way, whether it is learning a new fact or word, reading something interesting, dropping a negative belief, doing an act of kindness, developing a healthy habit, etc. I’ve learned that I always need to be thankful for what I don’t know, as it gives me the opportunity to learn.
“If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for tomorrow?” — Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
2. I will continue to contribute to the world around me, but from now on, in more selective ways. I’ve learned how important it is to have a positive impact and empower the voices of those truly aligned with my own values. I want to have greater impact in fewer places so I can really make the difference.
“Giving is not just about giving a donation. It is about making a difference.” — Kathy Calvin
3. I will make each day count, reminding myself that whatever I do every single day is important because I’m trading a day of my life for it. I will make a list of things I enjoy doing, and I will make sure that I do at least one of those things every day. I’ve learned that one year equals 365 opportunities and what we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while. If you tell me what you did today, I will tell you who you are.
“You are what you repeatedly do.” — Aristotle
4. I will get rid of something every day. I’ve learned that clutter creates noise, and noise is a distraction while simplicity is healthier.
“Clutter is stuck energy. The word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word ‘clotter’, which means to coagulate –and that’s about as stuck as you can get.” –Karen Kingston
5. I will start going through my bucket list and visit beautiful landscapes, rent a house on the beach, paint while listening to the waves, take naps and walks on the sand as often as I can. I’ve learned that I need to do more of what makes me feel good, spend time in my “happy places.”
“Cultivate a place of comfort, peace and safety. One that allows you to be free of worries, stresses and fear, a place where you can be yourself. Your happy place.” — Anonymous
6. I will stop fighting anxiety and fear. I will remember the Southwest pilot who, before taking off, announced: “lay back and relax, or lean forward and be tense, it’s up to you.” I’ve learned that while I’m trying new things and learning, feeling some anxiety and fear is inevitable, and the only way forward is to embrace those feelings.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts, you just have to stop letting them control you.” — Dan Millman
7. I will do everything I can to feel useful and keep making progress towards my professional goals, remembering that now I am a seasoned professional and my time is finally here to shine as such. I’ve learned that fulfillment and meaning is what we need to seek; that a sense of usefulness is the true purpose in life.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1
8. I will buy the one sweater I really like and not the other five (just because they are on sale). I’ve learned that having a lot is not as gratifying as having less but better, and now is my time for better.
“If you want something you never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” — Thomas Jefferson
9. I will start using the word “no” more often. I’ve learned that when we’re saying “no” we do it to what we’re being asked, and not necessarily to the person who is asking. Every “no” is a “yes” to something else.
“Sometimes we need to say ‘no’ so we have more time to say ‘yes.’” — Anonymous
10. I will trust my intuition and guts. I’ve learned to respect my inner voice.
“The intuitive mind is a gift and the rational mind is a faithful server. We’ve created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein
11. I will stop telling people occasionally that I’m tired when asked, “How are you?”, even if I am. I’ve learned that in reality no one cares, and it becomes my truth just by stating it. Plus, it brings others down.
“There are persons so radiant, so genial, so kind, so pleasure-bearing, that you instinctively feel in their presence that they do you good, whose coming into a room is like the bringing of a lamp there.” – Henry Ward Beecher
12. I will always seek the truth, as I’ve learned that it is better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie.
“The truth may hurt for a little while, but a lie hurts forever.” — Anonymous
13. I will act every day like the person I want to become. I’ve learned that if I don’t act like the person I want to become today, I won’t be the person I want to be tomorrow.
“How would your life change if you made decisions today as if you were already the person you want to become tomorrow?” — Richi Norton
14. I will always let my true self show up, have the courage to live a life true to myself, not hide, and say what I think. I will stop agreeing with other people when I disagree with them. It is time to stop nodding my head “yes” when I don’t agree. I’ve learned that mine and each of our uniqueness is priceless, and that’s what makes the world more interesting and wiser.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi
15. I will remember that every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day even if it’s just the fact that we have another day. I’ve learned that nothing is permanent (not the good, and not the bad) and there are always more colors than black and white to everything. Therefore, I will be grateful for the good, the challenging, and the bad. Everything happens for a reason.
“Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude into your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” — Marelisa Faberga
16. I will live by the mantra, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I’ve learned that if I take it out and put it back, my life becomes much easier.
“With organization comes empowerment.” — Lynda Peterson
17. I will act today instead of waiting for tomorrow. I’ve learned that tomorrow is just a wish of a day we hope to have.
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.”- Meredith Wilson
18. I will always have a project to look forward to. My wise friend Charles Stern Z”L believed that the secret to longevity is always having a new project. Charles was still working on his next project at the age of 90. At 50, I’ve most likely lived more years than I have left to live, and I still have a lot left to do. I will always be thankful that I haven’t accomplished everything I desire. If I did, what would there be to look forward to?
“If you observe a really happy man, you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Dessert.” — W. Beran Wolfe
19. I will surf through life, as I’ve learned that I can’t control the waves.
“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” — Chinese Proverb
20. I will know when to stop and won’t spend time beating on a wall hoping it turns into a door. I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care.
“There is a difference between giving up and knowing when to stop.” — Anonymous
21. I will travel as much as I can, and be thankful for the ability to take off and reach new heights and destinations. I’ve learned that every time I travel, not only do I get recharged, but I also become wiser.
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only the first page.” — St. Augustine
22. I will be more passionate, and I’m extremely passionate already, even when others don’t get me/it. I’ve learned that passion is what defines me.
“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” — Theodore Roosevelt
23. I will have more fun, nurture my inner child, let loose, and be sillier more often. I’ve learned that you need to plan for fun; it doesn’t just happen. Moments of joy and laughter that make me cry are priceless.
“If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.” — Groucho Marx
24. I will let all my angels know who they are: those who impacted, changed, or influenced me in different wonderful ways. I’ve learned that many times, we say or do something that changed someone else forever, even without being aware that we did.
“We must find the time and stop to thank the people who made the difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
25. I will remain calmer in the middle of the storm. I’ve learned that challenges are always opportunities; therefore, what we do with them is what matters.
“Your problem isn’t the problem. Your reaction is the problem.” — Anonymous
26. I will create more romance and magical moments. I’ve learned that love requires dedication and care, and that romance brings a special spark to life.
“Whatever happens in a romance novel doesn’t always have to stay in one.” — Renee Alexis
27. I will make my life simpler. I’ve learned that automation, delegation, or eliminating the things and tasks that I don’t need or want, leads to a healthier lifestyle and immediately makes me feel better.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hoffman
28. I will focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far I’ve come rather than on how far I have left to go. I will remind myself that even Gd, who had the power to create the world in one day, chose to do so step by step, and even took a full day to rest. I’ve learned that perfection leads to procrastination, whereas step by step is how we get places.
“I may not be there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday.” — Anonymous
29. I will create things with my hands as often as I can (paint, cook, etc.), which will give me a break from living in my head. I’ve learned that when I’m creating, I’m flowing and I’m here.
“Don’t think too much, you will create a problem that wasn’t even there.” — Anonymous
30. I will remain a practical idealistic. I’ve learned that ideals lead to a better world but a reality check is always important.
“I’m an idealist without illusions.” — John F Kennedy
31. I will embrace my own vulnerability. I’ve learned that I am vulnerable and it doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” — Brene Brown
32. I will always have a plan as well as a back-up. I’ve learned that I can plan as much as I want to, but I need to have another plan ready.
“Expect the unexpected.” — Qalam Nur
33. I will wear my best clothes, drink the champagne I saved, set the table with my nicest dishes, and not wait anymore for a special occasion. I’ve learned that every day I’m alive is a special occasion.
“Every day you wait is another day you won’t get back.” — Anonymous
34. I will nurture relationships with family and friends. I’ve learned that they are the true treasure of life.
“I’ve learned that is not what I have in my life but who I have in my life that counts.” — Anonymous
35. I will ask for help when I need it and stop thinking I can do everything alone. I’ve learned that we all need others to reach our full potential.
“We all understand the importance of asking for help, but those who achieve big things are the ones who accept it when it’s offered.” — Simon Sinek
36. I will embrace healthier habits and will take care of myself so I can also help others. I’ve gone too long without doing important yet simple things. I’ve learned that telling myself I’m caught in-between taking care of my children, my parents, work, and all the other responsibilities, is only a comfortable excuse I use too often.
“The only thing you need to quit is making excuses.” — Anonymous
37. I will accept that I can’t change how people live their lives. I’ve learned that I can only offer empathy, moments of joy, dignity, support, love, compassion, empowerment tools, and information, with the hope that others will live in a way that is productive and fulfilling to them.
“Never look down on someone unless you are helping him or her to get up.” — Anonymous
38. I will silence the toxic personalities that live inside my head, including the negativity committee, the perfectionist, and the victim. I’ve learned that I always need to ask myself who the voice is that is trying to influence me, and what other story I can tell myself.
“Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed. But being negative will guarantee you won’t.“ — Jon Gordon
39. I will stop texting and driving. I’ve learned that nothing is so urgent that it’s worth dying.
“Don’t let your text become your last words.” — Anonymous
40. I will always have a dog. I’ve learned that dogs make our lives better in so many ways.
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” — John Grogan (Marley and me)
41. I will spend more quality time with my parents, enjoying them and trying really hard to forgive them for aging. I’ve learned that I will age too, and that it is a precious time for all of us.
“Love and appreciate your parents. We are often so busy growing up, we forget they are also growing old.” — Anonymous
42. Instead of saying “I have no choice,” I will always know I have options. Instead of doing the best I can, I will do everything I can even if it takes me outside of my comfort zone.
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” — Mahatma Gandhi
43. I will remind myself that two people can look at exactly the same thing and see something totally different. I will always be curious to learn from what others have to say.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein
44. I will continue to hope that my son and daughter will always remember their roots as they extend their wings. I will keep upgrading my parenting skills, while treasuring every interaction with my children as we each navigate our own independent journeys. I’ve learned that my hopes for my kids are important to me, and that no matter how much I try to protect and advise my children, they will eventually get hurt, and that it is 100% inevitable that my happiness equals the happiness of my least happy child at any given time.
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” — Denise Wailey
45. I will appreciate every interaction with my loved ones as a gift and make the most out of it. I’ve learned that nobody gets through life without losing someone they love.
“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” — Kahil Gibran
46. I will distance myself from negative people. I will not pretend to be patient for lies, hypocrisy, “academic arrogance,” cynicism, or excessive criticism, and I will stop accepting incomplete tasks, mediocrity, extremisms, poor morals, laziness, excuses, procrastination, and double standards. I’ve learned that I need to surround myself with people who reflect the person I want to be, that challenge and energize me, people I’m proud to know, who make my day a little brighter simply by being in it.
“Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher.” — Oprah Winfrey
47. I will apply the “law of the garbage truck” (if you haven’t read it yet, read it) to every interaction I have that doesn’t feel right, and I will be aware of not dumping my own garbage on others. I’ve learned that I don’t need to grab everything that people throw at me.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it is the way you carry it.”- Anonymous
48. I will listen to others, ask them about their lives, and make them know that I care about them and how special they are. I’ve learned that those who actively listen and are present have a wonderful gift.
“You never get people’s fuller attention than when you are listening to them.” — William feather
49. I will age with grace. I’ve learned that aging can go the way you prepared for it all your life.
“You can be…Gorgeous at Thirty, Charming at Forty and Irresistible for the rest of your life.” — Coco Chanel
50. .I will live and make my life a good one. I’ve learned that:
“Life is good if you make it a good one”