From the moment we popped the bottle of champagne at the Smith for New Years, I knew 2016 was going to be the most profound year of my life. I’d worked on my transcendental thought processes for the later half of 2015 and spent 6 months diving head first into the mindfulness practice of meditation. I had set ambitious goals for myself in 2016 with the overarching message to be The Best Version of Myself.
Focus on The Actions, Not the Results
I worked on forming good habits around my physical and mental health, I optimized my time for learning opportunities, I prioritized new experiences and I set up informal mentors and peers whom I’ve built deep rooted relationships to help me grow in this transformational process. I began to create a framework for the lifestyle that I hope to live and set out to exemplify it. I made hard but necessary distinctions between what I believed to be best for myself vs. what others believed to be the best thing for me.
Positive Habit Formation
Through an accountability system of Way Of Life, I was able to track my daily engagement in a number of activities. I focused on saying The Shamah twice a day (a hebrew prayer predicated on “oneness” as a society), taking care of my mind through meditation and daily writing, improving my Spanish, taking care of my teeth better (flossing daily), exercising, hydrating, refraining from excess alcohol consumption and of recent, making my bed. While I engaged in some of these activities in 2015, it wasn’t until I set the platform for accountability to stare me in the eyes every day that I finally latched on and fixated on this foundation in 2016.
Focus on Positive Relationships
Being the best version of yourself often means giving benevolently to the people you love. I spent much of 2016 trying to emotionally pinpoint how to be the best boyfriend, best friend, best brother, and best son I could be while balancing self-interest in my own goals and time.
Be The Best Brother You Can Be
As my brother has gotten older and matured into the married life, finding time for just the two of us has been difficult. We started a tradition of a brother’s trip in 2015 (in San Diego) and I was determined to continue the tradition and propel it well into our adulthood. We spent an amazing Brothers Weekend ’16 in Baltimore and I spent countless hours on Sundays catching up with him as we both made the conscious effort to take time out for each other.
Be the Best Son You Can Be
Finally responding to the warning signs blasted from all mountain tops of influence, my Mom finally retired. Adam and I spent a solid month planning for an elaborate surprise retirement party in which my Mom capitulated to her joy in one of the most elating moments of the year. The sheer joy on our Mom’s face was the exemplification of doing right by your family and being the lead cheerleader in your families’ accomplishments.
Be the Best Possible Friend
As LCD Soundsystem crypitcally explained at Coachella ’16 in All My Friends, “You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.” James Murphy was high as a jetfighter writing this song but I interpret his message to be about finding yourself so you can give your best self to your friends. While it’s often very hard to appease everyone, your true friends are the ones who will stick by you when faced with moments of change. I admittedly skipped out on a number of social events with friends and admit to my inaccessibility at times but when things were shown to be vitally important to my friends, I was by their side. From a Parkinson’s run to support the hard work of my best friend Bryan to coming to the hospital bed side of my best friend Stevie, if it meant the world to them, I made sure it meant the world for me to be there with them. My friends set the example for me to follow as they have been nothing but supportive of me in 2016. It’s my job in 2017 to continue to improve to their level; tack that onto the goal dashboard!
Be the Best Boyfriend
It doesn’t always pan out the way you expect it to; life’s best challenges are the ones that come unexpectedly and force you to elevate to higher ground. While I spent a lot of cognitive energy and effort on becoming the best and most giving boyfriend I could have been, sometimes inflection points in two peoples’ lives can be the breaking point that can’t be overcome. I once again got a chance to stare down my fear and put resiliency to the test as I sought to recover from heartbreak and double down on the adage “all things happen for a reason.”
Be More Open About Your Emotions
Wearing them on your sleeves are a scary proposition. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of criticism from people when I post this piece about why I would choose to publicize everything (from heartbreak to happiness) in 2016 but the engineering term “ship it” has never run more true when it comes to your feelings. I believe that the route to a true exposé of oneself is in recognizing your emotions and embracing them, not suffocating them. In 2016, I made a strong effort to not hold back and be open about how I feel — sparing no medium (pun intended if you’re reading this on Medium).
Run Towards the Things That Scare You
Exploring My Religion
I had never taken interest to learn more about Judaism until 2016. It was pure happenstance that my birthright leader from 2012 had read about a new entrepreneurship and Jewish Leadership initiative that she thought I would really enjoy. I was hesitant and scared of what that commitment would look like but my heart was yelling go for it — so I knew I was on the right track! I agreed to enroll in the Jewish Leadership Initiative and explore. I couldn’t be happier with the experience as I came out finding a deep connection with a very special rabbi, formed a new millennial engagement initiative in Open Source Shabbat (Shabbat for those in NYC Tech) and cultivated a group of friends and partners that otherwise I would have never found.
Take That Trip
While I got on a plane seven times in 2016 (LAX 4x, SFO 1x, ATX 1x, BOG 1x), one trip pushed my limits more than the others. I set a goal in 2016 to challenge myself to travel to South America alone. I had lofty expectations of taking an extended solo backpacking trip to Buenos Aires and Patagonia but unfortunately life got in the way and I had to push that goal aside (at least I have something to look forward to in 2017). Instead, I was faced with the opportunity to travel for two weeks and with the evolution of an idea stemming from warm weather, watching Narcos and having friends native to the country, I convinced myself that Colombia was the right choice for a solo excursion. I was nervous and terrified of the uncertainty but I knew that was the indication that I had to go! If it scares you, then you know you’re on the right track.
Lead by Example
Lead with a Positive attitude at Floored
Floored saw tremendous growth in 2016 and half-way through the year I became the most senior member of the Sales team underneath my boss. In an opportunity of a lifetime, I channeled much of my mental energy towards working my hardest, working my smartest and leading with a positive attitude. Our team grew a tremendous familial bond and what started as work relationships grew into something much deeper interpersonally. We were able to string together an impressive year and opened up new business opportunities with large real estate firms that we had never previously engaged. I tried to always keep in mind: The harder you work, the luckier you will be! I’m sure 2017 will hold even more excitement for our team at Floored.
Become a Brand Ambassador for my lifestyle
I’ve been running trips for Sourced Adventures for three years now and couldn’t be more proud of the team that Kyle Davidson built. 2016 was a year to continue to show my pride in the belief that a happier life is one in which you embrace the adventure. I took ski trips up to Vermont, led groups down the Delaware river rapids and wore my Sourced Adventures beanie and tank top with pride!
Continue to Explore Your Own Backyard
Us New Yorkers all choose to live in this crazy and amazing city because it’s the pinnacle of opportunity and wonder. I continued to make a pledge to explore NYC in 2016. I led bike tours through Brooklyn and Queens, attended coffee and meditation conventions, went to pop up concerts, took cooking, salsa and geography classes, attended community board meetings, played every sport imaginable, took every subway line possible and tried to get lost in the most vibrant city in the world.
So What’s Left for 2017
I don’t believe in making a hard line new years resolution (going to the gym, learning a new language, etc.) but I do believe in finding a mantra and living by it. In 2016, I clung onto Be the Best Version of Myself and while I will continue to uphold it’s significance in 2017, I want add on another in which I’ve alluded to a few times above, Run towards the things that scare you. We all know the feeling when we’re looking at a To-do list and you pick off the easy ones but avoid the toughest ones at all cost. I want to jump those high fences in 2017. Cheers to 2017, Go find yourself!