While you are still waiting to find an easy way (or a perfect time), someone else is already getting results because they decided making progress is more important than making excuses.

Zero Dean

Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker

Ways to Make This Year Especially Awesome

Ways to Make This Year Especially Awesome

Originally written for New Year’s Eve 2010, this list applies today — and every day — as much as it did when it was posted. 

Ways to make this year especially awesome.


Remember to smile. It costs nothing, it can be done in an instant, and it can make a difference in not only how you make others feel, but how you feel yourself.

Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? See the video…

2. Appreciation

Think of those times people made a difference in your life — and remember to tell them. A person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. Take the time to express your appreciation to everyone who has ever helped improve the quality of your life — even if it was only for a moment and even (especially!) if it’s been a while since you’ve been in touch.

3. Thank you

Remember the last time someone thanked you for something and it stood out because you really felt like they meant it. When you say “Thank you”, take the time to say it like you mean it (because you do mean it).

4. You’re welcome

When people thank you to you, consider saying “You’re welcome” instead of “yup”. Think about how much more meaningful & sincere that sounds than “yup” or grunting.

5. Support

Remember how you felt the last time you felt like someone was really supportive of something you were doing or wanted to do. Be a source of encouragement. Help people move towards accomplishing their big ideas and the things that fill them with enthusiasm. Be a voice of support — even if their goals are nothing like your own. The world needs people with big ideas and people who “think different”.

6. Remember to remember

Remember how you felt the last time someone contacted you just to say something in their day reminded them of you in a positive way. Remember to do the same for others. People always appreciate knowing you were thinking of them in a good way and it shows that they make a difference in your life. You can make a significant difference in someone else’s life simply by telling them how they make a difference in yours.

7. Admiration

Remember how it felt the last time someone told you that they were proud of something you did. If you’re proud of someone, tell them. If you admire something about someone, take the time to communicate how you feel.

8. Praise

Remember the last time someone praised you for something specific and how it made you feel and how meaningful it became because of how they said it. When giving compliments or praising someone’s work,  be specific. Remember that praise tends to be much more meaningful & memorable when it has something specific attached to it.

9. Help

Remember the last time someone helped you accomplish something using a specific skill or talent they had. If you have a talent or personal strength, find a way to use it to help someone else accomplish something — look for opportunities to help. Helping others tends to be just as rewarding to the giver as it is to the recipient — just remember not to expect reciprocation from the person or people you help. Kindness is contagious and your good deeds tend to find a way to come back to you.

10. Focus on the good

Dwell on the good and focus on your personal achievements, no matter how small. A step forward is a step forward, no matter how small and it is worthy of recognition. Avoid comparison with others unless it truly motivates you. Remember how good it felt the last time you were able to check something off a list or to set a personal record.

11. Focus on what’s right

Remember every day is a new opportunity to “get it right”. Focus on what’s right in your life and the world. Share that with others. Look for opportunities to be a bearer of good news and optimism. Remember how you feel when someone shares good news with you or bad news. If you don’t like something, acknowledge it, but unless you are able and willing to change it, move on.

12. Be the change you wish to see

Remember, you cannot control the world, only yourself and your attitude and the things you have a direct effect on in your life. You can be the change you wish to see in the world. If the media is getting you down with bad news and negativity or making you bitter — stop paying attention to it. The world is just as an amazing place full of awesome opportunities as it always has been. In fact, we live in one of the most magical times in history. Look for the magic and good in things and share it.

13. Make a fun list

Remember all the fun things you’ve done in the last year? Imagine how many more fun things you might’ve done if you’d made a list. Think about more fun things you’d like to do in the next year make a list — and then check them off as you do them. Keep a journal of your progress. Include specific people in your activities — tell them what you’re up to. Keep adding to your list, keep checking it off. Find fun new things to do. See how many things you can check off by the end of the year.

14. Slow down

Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled by Zero DeanRemember that life is made up of meaningful moments — remember to slow down for and appreciate the ones that truly add value to your life. Take the time to slow down and savor moments. Your senses are an incredible gift — learn to use them actively & deliberately. Don’t just walk by flowers — stop and smell them. Take the time to feel sunshine on your face. Dance in a field. Get lost in the colors of a beautiful sunset. Take the time to truly taste your food.

15. Go and grow

Expand your personal territory. Go somewhere you haven’t been before — just to see what’s there, even if it’s in your own town or a shop or store you’ve never been in. Tell someone about the experience — or better yet, share the experience with someone you enjoy being with. Remember the last time you were able to reminisce with someone about an awesome or funny experience you shared together.

16. Learn something new

Pick something that sounds like fun and learn a new skill this year — even if it’s silly. Learn to say “I love you” or “Hello” in 12 languages. Learn to say the alphabet backwards. Learn to play the guitar, the piano, or the harmonica. Just pick something fun and do it.

17. Really listen

Remember the last time you felt like someone was really listening to what you had to say and taking the time to think it over before responding. Take the time to listen — be patient — stop thinking ahead of what you’re going to say next while a person is talking to you. Wait for them to finish and then respond accordingly. Communication is not a competition. Make it meaningful by truly listening.

18. Be a ripple of kindness

Remember the ripple effect of kindness (video below). Offer to help others — don’t wait to be asked. Get in tune with the needs of those around you. If you know someone is moving, ask if they could use a hand. If someone is trying to accomplish something, ask if there’s anything you can do. Imagine if someone did the same for you and how that would make you feel.

19. Use it

Your body is an incredible machine. Like most things, your body and your brain will begin to decay through neglect or lack of use. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself mentally and physically — even if it’s just sudoku and a walk around the block. No one ever looked back on their life and wished they’d spent more time watching TV or playing video games.

20. Relax & recharge

Remember to give yourself a break — life is not a race to the end. Pace yourself. Take time to rest & re-energize your body and your brain after periods of intense exertion.

21. Eat real food

Remember that while junk food is cheap and exceptionally easy to acquire — it isn’t real food — it’s full of artificial flavors and chemicals designed to trick your system into wanting more of the same, but without providing you with the nutrition your body truly needs. Real food makes you feel healthy and gives you energy. Look for foods with fewer ingredients, low sugar & no corn syrup. Remember your body is a machine — one that you want to last! Treat your body well and put good things into it and you will get good things out of it — and you’ll feel good about it, too.

22. Forget the shortcuts

Delay gratification (video). The best decisions in life are often those that require steady work and patience. We live in a world selling “instant gratification” — buy now, pay later. Take this pill, get this result (and these side effects, too). Remember that these shortcuts often lead to less than desirable results. Resolve to simply do the hard work now and it will pay off later.

23. Be who you want to be

Remember, you’re in charge of your life. Remember who you wanted to be before you may have been pressured into acting a particular way. You don’t have to be what the world may say you are — you can be the person you want to be. Don’t let the world pressure you into being less than you want to be. If you want to be considered a good friend, be a good friend. If you want to be considered generous, be generous. If you want to be considered patient, practice patience.

24. Unlock your awesomeness

Remember that you are stronger, smarter, and more capable than you think. Beware your own self-imposed limitations (video) and don’t be afraid to be amazing — you may surprise yourself.

25. Attract by giving

Remember: what you are comes to you (quote). If you want to attract love and kindness, be loving and kind. “You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.” — Wayne Dyer

26. Yes. Yes. Yes!

Say yes more. Saying yes more opens up a whole new world of opportunities — and opportunities multiply as they are seized. You may be surprised at how quickly your life can change when you start saying yes.

27. The gift

Remember that every day is a gift and every second we spend alive is a miracle (video). There are no ordinary moments and the only time we can count on is this moment. The future is never guaranteed. Life is now.

28. Everything happens for a reason

Remember that everyone who comes into your life has something to offer (video) and everything happens for a reason (video). We can learn something from every experience.

29. Attitude is everything

Remember that attitude is everything and that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Shakespeare

Attitude is everything.

30. Never give up

Don’t ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up. Life will knock you down — you must remember to get back up (video). This is how winners are made (video).


Zero Dean

Zero Dean

Author of Lessons Learned From The Path Less Traveled. Professional photographer. Filmmaker. Humorist. Into photography, art, kindness, compassion, and living beyond comfort. Normal is boring.