12 Things I did in 2014 That Changed Everything | Part 1

Wed, Jan 1, 2014

Looking back on this past year…

2014, has been the best 12 months of my life… consistently. I have been more in flow, more at peace, more productive and experienced better energy, more pure happiness and satisfaction that I have ever known in one year.

And I’d like to say this change was a radical accident, but it wasn’t… not at all. After a series of years where life has felt like a free fall from joy into a struggle with darkness, I set out very intentionally to change everything.

Yes, I wanted to not just get back to my old, happier more positive, productive self but to take the best of what I know I can be and move it into the future self—to, as they say in the self-help sessions—step it up.

The result of my 10 relatively simple changes has been a radical clearing and profound return to satisfaction and serenity, which is way better than the often overly syrupy “happiness” that people fantasize about.

Here are the changes that made the most profound impact in my life, as I look back:

1. Clear out the closets, boxes and bags of the last decade

When it comes to changes we are usually focused forward, on getting, making, creating… but the fact is once you’re past about age 25 your life is being weighted down by yesterday. We begin to accumulate “stuff” and that stuff weighs on us.

The first stuff to get clear of us the physical stuff. The boxes, the clothes, the files. I cleared my closets of everything but the stuff I actual wear now. No matter how expensive, how cool. My body has changed, my taste has changed and I have changed. These old things are simply part of my past that carry an energy and weight me down.

I also cleared my library and all my records archives. I mean old taxes, old documents, and books that I hated when I first picked them up. I love books, I do but part of love and respect is to keep the best not the most.

Q: When was the last time you purged your home, your office, your closets, your files, your life? Make this the year and let go of all that stuff with all that energy. It has a gravity of it’s own and is pulling you back.

2. Get clear with your past: Make amends and reparations

Similar to the closest cleaning and clearing I also reclaimed enormous freedom and energy by clearing up all my past commitments. That means clearing out everything from promises you gave to debts you’ve left out there.

Whatever it is. I had some past tax things I’d let sit that I don’t think about that often but they weight on me every day—now I see that. I also cleared out any random promises I made to complete a project with someone, go somewhere. I just cleared out all the past. Said sorry and released myself of any guilt and obligation.

This was a bit of a process. I had to sit down and think about the things that drain my energy. A mic I’d borrowed from a neighbor that I’d never returned. Just buy it. A promise to attend a leadership retreat that I really wanted to go to but forgot to respond and never closed.

Once I got a good list. I just went about checking it off. I called the people, apologized. I sent stuff back. I paid for what I needed to. I got help with clearing out old liabilities.

By clearing the past I made room to live in the present moment again. And that is a feeling of aliveness I can not describe.

Q: What is your list of stuff you can clear out of your life, that’s dribbling away at your energy and you don’t even know it…yet?

3. I very intentionally eliminated toxic people from my life and replaced them with very positive, uplifting people who make me better.

This is one of those things people talk about—or advise but it’s also better and easier on paper than in real life. For we’re not always able to see who’s draining us and who’s challenging us. And we have people who we just assume are with us for life—and that’s the way it is. So, we learn to make stories and excuses for them. We “understand” their shortcomings or challenges which really means we accept the responsibility and let them continue to get away with the crap.

Over the last few years (or more) I’d slowly allowed myself to become a hostage to my life situation. I had scaled down my friends, my interactions, my events, my social life. And maybe the good of this was I’d lost touch with a lot of the super-charging people who made me better, stronger. And thus, I got ever more clear on the people who were just draining me.

Some people are just drains. That’s all there is to it. They take more than they give. They have needs and wants and really don’t know how not to take whatever they want.

You can’t reason with them, you will not change them. It’s really not your job. All you can do is create space and protect yourself. Get distance and be clear on who these folks are.

I took a very difficult and compassion stance on creating distance between myself, my life and the people who like to release their demons on me. Even though I love and understand them, and even get some of what they do, that doesn’t mean I have to like or accept it.

In place of this I was very intentional about getting some strong, clear, uplifting powerful people back in my life. People who make me feel better, who empower, who support, who challenge but don’t just criticize me. The difference this has made in my confidence, my energy, my contribution to the world is beyond words. It’s hard to even convey it’s so dramatic.

Q: Who do you let in your life that you’d be better off on a “diet” of them? Where can you find some more powerful, inspiring friends to spend time with?

4. I stopped talking about the weather and did something about “it”

In the immortal words of mark Twain, “Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”

Well, I figured, he was right. That’s what is so funny about the quote. So, I figured it was time to do something about it. No, not the weather—at least not directly. But my experience of it.

You see, I have meditated in my life. But I am to meditation how many people are to fitness. Once an athlete in high school, now, 40-something and 33 pounds over weight—they still talk about their athletic prowess as if it’s yesterday.

Between life, kids, business and the weather, meditation has been a mostly miss, rarely hit practice for the better part of this last decade. Well, that was job #1 in 2014. To get back on the practice and roll…with it.

I know from experience, and was reminded even more powerfully this year that outside of a strong workout (which is, interestingly an active meditation to me) nothing does more for my mental, emotion and physical strength than sitting quietly for 15-20 minutes a day. Sure, I could do more and can get away with less.

But I find the 20 minutes works. It’s effective, it fits and if I were to write about nothing else this past year, I can safely say that meditation has been the single most potent, powerful and pleasant thing I’ve done to change everything this last year.

After a month of mostly consistent practice I feel like I had woken from a slumber—like I had been sleep walking and was back on the earth, awake again. If I thought about how poor my practice has been, I’d have regret but see the earlier points about releasing the past. Screw it. Be here now.

And sit! And yes, I love the Profound Meditation Program for enhanced practice and peace. This advanced “Brain Entrainment” technology is very effective in helping your meditative mind find it’s groove… Learn more, listen to my interview with Eric Thompson, the creator of Profound Meditation, Neuro-Strength and dozens of other related technologies here

Oh yes, and what’s this got to do with the weather? Well, I still can’t change it but now am content with the weather however it chooses to show itself. Namaste.

Q: What’s your story or resistance to “sitting?” Does it feel weird? Sound scary? Seem hard or odd? Know it, sit with it. Watch it fade away.

5. I Simplified my Nutrition (Further)

As you know, if you follow me, I am a big believer in nutritional rituals. That is, meals that are “repeat performances.” Find the things you do that work and repeat. Taking the guess work out takes out variances and when you know where you’re going for breakfast or lunch, you do it without consideration—and consideration usually means a food porn-mind where you start fantasizing about what you could have now. All over eating first happens in the mind.

Already a very structured eater, I recommitted to my morning Full Strength nutrition shake. I have lived this way for years—and it works like few things. Starting my day, every day except Sunday, with a Full Strength shakes saves me time, nourishes me fully, sparing hundreds of calories and starts my day at a high point that helps me soar all day.

I also added to this structure a set two days a week where I go out for lunch, like Tokyo Joes and two days when I am bringing my own. That leaves me one day for ad lib—and some times I fast that day.

As for dinner, it’s back to a set time and this has been magical, really. No diets. No extreme anything. The only variable I add is the occasional (IF) Intermittent Fast day and carbs according to my performance needs.

Best Guide to Intermittent Fasting is EAT STOP EAT by Brad Pilon

I’ve also taken a few pages out of Nutrient Rich eating from my friend John Allen—and eating more greens, veggies and fruits all day. I’m going fresh, alive and getting in at least one vegan dinner a week. Okay, that’s not a lot but I think it’s about integrating evolving approaches not getting obsessive. Speaking of obsessive, I have also released the need for every meal to be protein centric. If it’s fresh, it’s plants or fruits and such, I just eat clean and fresh and don’t worry that my muscles may shrink suddenly.

Here’s a List of Nutrient Rich Foods from John Allen Mollenhauer

Q: What rituals can you bring into your day, nutritionally? Where is your kryptonite, that’s keeping you trapped?

6. I stopped chasing shiny things

I like to learn and grow and hence I read all manner of marketing stuff that comes across. I read business newsletters, marketing, fitness and personal development. And everyone of them has one thing in common…. They are all offering something you absolutely need and making it clear that how you’re doing whatever you’re doing now is inadequate and likely foolish or dangerous.

The result is I had found myself in a constant state of seeking. Always finding the new, new thing. For me, it wasn’t the new workout or diet—although I read the stuff—it was the new website, the new customer centric service, the new, the new… It was making me crazy.

It also kept me from really getting better and more grounded in the sound, solid stuff I know works. Working fitness, life and business from the fundamentals is always the ground for success. When I closed the emails, stopped reading the new, new stuff I felt free from the noise that was distracting me and keeping me in a perpetual state of “not good enough.”

I know what to do. And it’s in the doing it that you feel satisfaction and achieve success.

Q: What stations of noise and distraction can you close down? You don’t have to go in the dark but find a person to follow, a person or two you can trust and stay lightly tuned into the flow but not in the chaos.

Turn HERE for PART 2

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This post was written by:

- who has written 190 posts on Shawn Phillips | Start Strong Monday.

Author, speaker, sprinter, trainer, fitness guru and Integral philosopher...Shawn Phillips

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18 Responses to “12 Things I did in 2014 That Changed Everything | Part 1”

  1. Tom Says:

    HI Shawn-

    Great post. I am in the middle of dumping, dusting, deleting and living light. It is refreshing and I feel I get everywhere quicker
    and more pep in my step these days.The only armor I need these days is inside my heart and brain. What I wear, what I drive is simple-it’s me! Thanks!


  2. bill miller Says:

    meditation rocks! don’t know where “I” would be??!! full strength and strength training are bad either. Happy New Year!


  3. Chris Cary Says:

    Great stuff, very helpful. Happy New Year!

    Is it supposed to be “meditation” instead of “mediation” in Part 4? It happened several times.


    • Shawn Phillips Says:

      Chris, thanks…. very good. I didn’t get anyone to edit this…. so you are very helpful.

      Yes, “mediation” is completely different from “meditation.” Well, not completely.


  4. Brian Loomis Says:


    Great article and looking forward to the second half. Always inspiring.


  5. Niki Wilson Says:

    A great perspective in simple terms!! Thank you for sharing and also for reminding me that I also need to make meditation part of my daily routine. Happy New Year :)


  6. Harlan Says:

    What a timely post.

    2013 was with its trials and tribulations for me and mine. My wife and I were contemplating 2014 as we watched the TV (Times Square, etc.) and it struck us as rather disconcerting how frequently the question was, “What do you wish for in 2014″ as opposed to, “What are your resolutions?” So many people sitting around waiting for something to happen versus making it happen. In some ways I guess we should be grateful because it really focused our attention in this way. I appreciate your steps as that validates much of what we are thinking and it’s off to the races for us. Had dinner last night with our bestest of friends and we ended up talking about which vegan/vegetarian restaurants we were going to try together (last night was a great greek place where we soaked up the vegetarian appetizers, and shared two greek salads and a 1/4 chicken between the four of us – even had leftovers).

    Thank you for the thought provoking post. Looking forward to seeing more this year.


  7. Mary Says:

    Shiny objects online and clutter around the house are my big roadblocks. I’m working on it. My 2014 aim is focus and organization.


  8. Jozsef Hajdu Says:

    Great read Shawn! I imagined looking at myself and the big picture from the outside and think about choices I MUST make to be able to look back at 2014 in that uplifting way. Thanks!


  9. shailendra Says:

    I like your idea of cleaning the clutter


  10. Tony Says:

    Hey mate another great article and definitely one that resonated with me on many levels .. look forward to seeing the results at the end of this year. Tony


  11. Bob Venn Says:

    Shawn, I loved #3..Removing toxic energy robbers from your circle of friends. Sounds like you have attracted a lot of “leaches” due to your success and popularity. I’ll bet your energy field is off the chart and these people thrive on stealing your energy. I now wonder if these people have read your post and will figure out who they are once you start avoiding them??? Too Bad. Good for you… Energy robbers can be a real threat to your continued success. Avoid them at all costs.


  12. TJ Says:

    New to the site, Shawn, and I’ll help click your ‘Books sold’ number by one for each of them. Impressive achievers that you work with. Do you include Ken W. from Denver as one of them? Best, TJB


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