How to Get the Most Out of Life in 2015


How was 2014? Good? Bad? Either way, chances are you want your 2015 to be better! It’s the time of the year again for New Year’s Resolutions and here’s how to finally fulfil some of them and feel accomplished come 2016.

This is the OKJ guide to getting the most out of life in 2015.

When it comes to making a change in your life, it’s all about accepting a challenge. And while many would attribute “Mind over body” for their success. Most of us do not know what that truly feels like till we try it for ourselves.

That was one thing that I learned when I recently undertook and completed a strenuous 21 Early Days challenge – A sleep challenge that has me waking up at 4:30am every weekday with only 6 hours of sleep.

Not only did I complete it, I thrived on it. I was motivated to get it done, and because of that, the difficulties of the challenge which can easily be over-thought were actually pretty easy to overcome.
It just goes to show that to make our 2015 awesome…

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If I had over-thought my approach to completing the 21 Early Days challenge, I would never have made it.

Just think about how it breaks conventional wisdom about sleep, how the opinions of my friends and family were pretty much one-sided on my improbability of succeeding, and how science were at times not on my side.

But I did not let anticipation ruin my outlook. I wanted to “see” what was on the end of this journey. And to do so means using the “F*ck it, just do it” mentality.

This goes beyond the beginning. Even when proceeding through the challenge, there were times where I overslept and days where I felt tired. But because I didn’t burden myself anticipated outcomes based on past experiences, self-doubt did not succeed in making me give up.

Look out the window to find what you seek without letting your past blind you.

So now that we have our mindset and approach right, there is one more thing to settle, and that’s …

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It seems common sense, though ironically it’s becoming a rarity these days. But prioritising prioritises have become so overused for so many aspects of our lives that at the end of the day, we leave out some of the most important things.

Crucial things such as sleep and exercise. Are they important? Hell yeah they are. But how many of us have already given them up for seemingly “more important” things? Sure, you promise yourself this is a temporary thing, and most of us will put this up as part of our New Year’s Resolution, just like what we did last year, and the year before, and the year before that…

It is a never-ending cycle with an absolute contradiction to our way of life. Many of us would believe in the statement, “What’s the point of earning fortunes if you don’t have the luxury to spend it in the end.”

But our pursuit of such fortunes runs against that. It is time to stop the bullshit, and in 2015, instead of making your New Year’s resolution about losing 10kg or becoming healthy or even being happy, make it about prioritising priorities.

Prioritise getting the basics of everyday life done right – sleep, eat, exercise, socialise, work – There may not be a perfect answer that specially caters to you, but there is a ton of knowledge out there to get you started.

I started with my sleep and got my sleep pattern down to a science. Collectively, I calculated that I had increased my productivity hours by 2 hours each weekday. That’s a whopping 21.6 days that I had previously used for sleeping.

Does that mean that I have sacrificed on sleep? Not really. By improving my sleep quality though learning and formulating a sleep habit that suits my lifestyle, I am more well rested than ever.

I really cannot think of anything more important to put on to someone’s New Year’s Resolution.

Feeling great through the change is also paramount to the success this 2015. One way to do that is to prioritise…

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One of the most memorable periods of my 2014 was the time I got into the local Instagram community. My incredible rise in appreciating and creating beautiful photos can be attributed to one point that sums it all. Enjoyment over perfection.

I did not seek to make my photos perfect. When I tried, I failed horribly. I disliked the process of editing and soon started to wonder why my time and effort spent did not amount to anything compared to the great photos on Instagram.

But then being surrounded by a passionate welcoming community that constantly inspires, arouses, and entertains, I stopped seeking for perfection, and just simply enjoyed the process.

I set my direction on getting better rather than being perfect, and prioritised enjoying that process. It was only then that I truly started to grow. I felt less restrained by any forms of doubt – I naturally began to experiment and focused more on satisfying my own standards rather than those of others.

I believe that the successes of many New Year’s Resolutions keep to this principle.

Even for my 21 Early Days Challenge, if I had not enjoyed the process, I would have already given up.

Sure, discipline plays a part in it, but enjoyment makes it a whole lot easier to be disciplined. Just like those fitness buffs out there, they sum up enjoyment to amplify discipline quite vibrantly with phrases like “Enjoy the pain” or “Happy pain”.

But ultimately…

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How many guides have we read on improving ourselves? How many tips and tricks have we tested out?

Chances are that there are a whole lot of contradictions. Different views and different standards have confused many of us who are seeking to make a change in our lives.

My 5 point guide of:
1. Having the right mindset.
2. Having the right approach by not letting anticipation ruin your outlook.
3. Prioritising prioritises.
4. Enjoying the process over perfecting it.
5. And making the guide your own.

has been moulded in the same way many of us have failed over the years to fulfil our resolutions.
Do I have any failed New Year’s Resolutions? Of course! And it greatly outnumbers those that I fulfilled. But recently I took all those experiences from my failures into good use.

Formulating a plan that works for me. I invited new approaches and tried to implement tips and tricks that others have sworn to have worked for them. But the majority of the guides come with a disclaimer which reads, “Since it worked for me, it COULD work for you.”

I read that powerful one word as a sign – something that tells me that this guide may not help me entirely, but it may be an ingredient useful in making my own.

Creating a guide that works for you will not take you to an end goal but become a journey that ultimately makes up who you are, your ideals and beliefs – it is THAT fundamental to your life.

Want to start making 2015 awesome? Then enough talk, start acting. Start working on one thing and learn from everything. Keep accumulating that experience to help you get better. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals to share and learn from and in the mean time you could even inspire others to do the same.

But before we get all philanthropic and help others, have empathy.

Remember that we are all different but we achieve our goals all the same, even if it is through different means. We may have found our guide to life, but it is at best, just another ingredient for others.

Have a happy and fulfilling 2015! Personally, I intend to make it so!

This article was inspired by my enlightening 21 Early Days Challenge, where I transformed from a Night Owl to an Early Bird in an attempt to get the most out of life. This change will go a long way for me in my future, and hopefully it can help with yours!

Guest Editor: Ong Kah Jing from okjdiscoveries