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Twelve Things I Learned + Thirteen I Would Like to Learn

Posted by on January 1, 2013

I had a fairly conservative New Years’ Eve, knowing that I would hit the ground running at the start of 2013. Today I pack up my house, hand over the keys to a new tenant and embark on a five month dance tour that will take me to Las Vegas, Portland, Hawaii and multiple cities in Europe. Fortunately, I got a good start early this morning with some hot tea, good reading, writing, a little house work, and now I’m ready to tackle the rest of may day.

Part of my plan for today was to make sure I started it off healthy (I’ve been on an elimination diet for the last five days), sober (I eliminated alcohol too), well rested, and focused. I’ve been thinking about the things I did well this year and what to tackle next.

Twelve things I learned this year

  1. Go all in. Don’t hold back. Career, your art, and love deserve 100%. Give it all or give up.
  2. Don’t waste your time with things and people you don’t care about. You feel you should care, but don’t, so you half-ass it. You feel resentful and so do your peers. Let it go.
  3. Take time to sleep. This has been a personal battle this December. Every morning I woke at 6:30 in the morning, only to go back to sleep. But, by the time I got out of bed, I was energized and focused. Your body needs time to rest and recover. So does your brain.
  4. Do business with people you trust. No amount of contracts or agreements can prevent you from feeling you’re getting screwed by someone you don’t trust.
  5. It takes about a month or so to build a good habit. Tracking your habit is part of making it stick. After a while, you forget to track, but you’re still doing the habit. Still, tracking helps.
  6. I am awake! —Walter White

    Take technology breaks. Although I did some night work this year, I did considerably less, instead choosing to turn off my gadgets in the evenings and focusing on my own interests, spending time with important people, and filling the creative/intellectual well. Weekends mean no work, unless it’s an absolute must or I’m in the mood.

  7. Let people be who they are. You can’t change anyone. You can just appreciate their foibles and leave if they repeat patterns you don’t like.
  8. Food reward has an effect on over-eating. Enjoy some meals comprised of high quality nutrients, simple ingredients and minimal flavorings. It’ll re-set your relationship with tasty foods. That said, hyperpalatability is not the sole reason you’re fat.
  9. Talk less and do more. Studies show that people who talk about their plans achieve less than those who ruminate over them. Focus on action.
  10. Digital communication requires significantly more effort to humanize. Without the softening signifiers of face, body language and vocal tone, more mistrust and misunderstandings arise out of texts, chats and emails than out of face to face conversations. Take time to make face-time.
  11. You can quit anything. Alcohol, coffee, obsessive social networking, oversleeping, repeating negative thoughts. But, find a replacement for the thing you’re quitting.
  12. Training breaks are essential, for your mind and your body. You can still lose weight and maintain muscle and muscle memory during a training break. Remember, that work requires recovery.

Thirteen things I would like to learn this year

Looking ahead

  1. Get the hard stuff done first.
  2. Read about the world every day. Take a few notes so you remember what you read. Citing sources is powerful!
  3. Dance every day. You’ll live longer and move better.
  4. Compress digital work time into 2-4 hours per day. Work more efficiently.
  5. Empty the inbox.
  6. When to change yourself to suit someone else.
  7. You don’t need so much stuff.
  8. You can do all your paperwork weekly and not get backed up. Create a simple routine.
  9. Create a regular meditation practice. Mindfulness helps you tap into all your unconscious motivations and actions.
  10. Use the creative powers of people who know you to help you solve problems. People around you know you better than you do sometimes, and they’re usually more creative about solving problems for others, than they are for themselves.
  11. Take on fewer projects. Do them better.
  12. Maintain human connections instead of letting them fade.
  13. Live during the sun cycle. Sleep at night. Be awake during the day.


3 Responses to Twelve Things I Learned + Thirteen I Would Like to Learn

  1. dave barenberg

    this makes a lot of sense. dave

  2. musicjulia

    Ruby, how will you “live during the sun cycle” and also dance all night?

  3. Angie

    Nice. It’s extremely valuable to take the time to reflect on/recognize what you’ve learned and to set goals for what you want to accomplish.

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