On clean white sheets of paper, write your picture perfect ending to 2014. 

I remember January of this past year very well. In fact, because of some events that went down a few days after the new year, this year will be hard to forget. They say that life works in mysterious ways and often like a bow and arrow. You get pulled farther and farther back, and if you keep it together long enough and prevent yourself from snapping, you are going to get launched farther forward than you could possible imagine. This year that happened to me in many ways. This year has been one of growth, development, wisdom and dreaming. For me, 2014 has been by far the best year I have ever had even though it was full of the most challenging times of my life. 

Funny how that works eh?

I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best…

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

In many ways this past year was an absolute disaster for me. There were times of vicious anxiety, feeling completely alone, troubles with my health and not being able to know who to trust except for a select few. Things went as far as they really ever have into the black, but at the same time, I could say the opposite was true. 

With the greatest of my defeats have come the biggest opportunities for victory, and in many cases, I seized those opportunities. 

Life is going to kick your butt quite often. There’s no bigger foot to the seat of the pants than the one life offers. You won’t see it.  You won’t expect it. You will just get completely booted and left on the ground. Honestly, there’s nothing you can really do except for roll over and get back up. Trying to figure out why some things happen that are completely out of our control is a prescription for insanity. Things are just going to happen and they are going to fall apart. That is the way of the world. But opportunities will also slam right into you and you just have to grab them. 

There are some things, I am totally convinced, that you are not supposed to know why they happened…they just did. 

“It’s a new year. It’s time to start again. Stop thinking about what you’re going to do and start doing it. It’s time to live your life and be who you are. Forget about whatever happened in 2013 and just move on. Take risks and be yourself, you only have on life , and it’s time to make the most of it. Make a new year’s resolution and this time achieve it no matter what the cost in.” 

I posted that quote above on my Instagram this past year and I think it couldn’t be more spot on. But we have to do this every day. We have to change those words to new day and yesterday. We have to stop thinking in terms of years worth of change. That is why a vast majority of resolutions fail – they are far too big and too bold to be taken as small bites throughout 365 days. 

But my favorite part is that last line. “Make a new year’s resolution and this time achieve it no matter what the cost is.” 

This year I learned about the costs of my dreams. Oh and trust me, there was a price to pay. The price was me giving up my ego thinking I could do it all by myself, many many hours, and developing an attitude of being a novice in what I thought I knew so I could give myself the opportunity to learn every day. I had to push myself as hard as I could to get to the 2.0 version of my own self…and then continued on the trek to 3.0. 

What happens when you achieve a goal or set out on a path to achieve one is you find that you have more in you and that your best can constantly be increased. You find out that you are capable of more than you can imagine. When this happens just trust it. It’s really easy to start wondering if what you are doing is the right thing or not. Get some opinions from outside eyes who are trained and have the results you want and then continue down the path. It’s really easy to lose faith in what you are doing when you are venturing out into the unknown. Whenever this happens I try to remember the great explorers of old and how they traversed thousands of miles and great unknowns only fueled by faith that it would turn out and they would find something incredible. 

That is where faith outperforms anything in this world. It trumps hope, determination, perseverance….and pretty much anything else. Love is right up there as well but it’s used typically for other things than faith based obstacles. 

Faith taught me how to stretch myself and work on becoming a better man day in and day out. Without that this year, who knows what type of shape I would be in. I would probably still be a wreck. 

We are given the greatest lessons exactly when we need them. We are driven to the point of breaking but never crack. We are hammered at and shaped to become the person we need to be – not the person who we think we should be. There is a whole lot of direction you can give this life but then there are hands which shape and mold you as you go. I guess from all of the things that have happened to me throughout my life, I just believe this to be true and far beyond simple consequence. 

You have a month left. On those fresh sheets of paper, write the story not only for the year, but for the rest of your life. 

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project