Better Than Last Year

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Happy new year everyone!

Wanted to tell you guys a story to kick off the new year.

Back when I was in high school in Phoenixville Pennsylvania I had a friend named Chris Jacobs. We were never the closest of friends, but something he said to me one new years eve stuck with me ever since…

It was around 1998 or so… I remember we were discussing New Years Resolutions. Someone asked him what his was and in a cynical and sad tone Chris said “better than last year”. Chris was saying this implying that last year sucked. I remember thinking that was such a shitty way to look at things. I never wanted that for myself…

Yet somehow, every single New Years has reminded me of that.

This year was no exception. But when the thought “better than last year” came up this time around, it had an entirely different feeling to me. Last year was a year of exponential growth for me.

I learned a ton about business, about life, and most importantly about myself. I started a business and quit my day job. I became sort of famous in this little world of entrepreneurs (thanks to the foundation). I began to see that what I wanted in life was attainable and then I went after it.

It was not all rainbows and unicorns though… I went through a few crappy things too. My father was committed to a hospital because a bad reaction to some medicine he was prescribed made him crazy. Then my parents separated. Trying to support my family while going through all this, on top of trying to meet my goals and start my business was really hard.

In past years, things like that would have stopped me in my tracks and made this year turn to shit. Not this year… This year I learned the most important lesson of my life. I learned that being emotionally aware allows you to see where you need to change. I learned that beliefs are chosen. And in learning those two things, I realized I was the only thing stopping me from getting what I want out of life. This helped me push through despite some pretty awful shit happening.

It was such an incredible year that when my old friend Chris’s statement “better than last year” popped into my head, it felt great. Thinking back on the year I can see that it’s the best one I’ve ever had, and if I can grow as much as I did last year, it’d be fucking amazing.

“Better than last year…” I’ll never think of it the same way again… Anyways, it’s crazy to me how an amazing year can change your perspective in such a positive way. I wish that kind of year for all of you.

My theme for 2014

After hearing my friend Andy Drish talk about how he sets a theme for each year I decided I was going to give that a shot. Last year I did not. I’ve always been more a fan of setting more tangible goals, but if I had to name the theme for me last year it’d probably be “Go after what you really want and get out of your own way”.

This year I really want to be more real with you, with my friends, and with everyone who interacts with me by not holding back when I want to share something or do something. I know I’ve have an issue putting myself out there because I’m sometimes afraid of what others will think of me. People thank me for being real all the time and I love that. But truth is, I could be more real by sharing more because sometimes I still hold back.

I recognize that last year I got 100% better at this, but there is still a long way to go. I also recognize that the times I say fuck it, and put myself out there, are the times that I make the biggest leaps forward. They are also the times when I feel the most awesome.

So this year I want to say “fuck it” way more often. I want to put my thoughts and myself out there way more often. Because when I don’t, I’m cheating both myself and the world by not giving as much value back as I can.

My friend Mike Hrostoski said in a facebook post a while back that he gives “zero shits” about if people hate on what he says. I want to give “zero shits” too. Because all I want to do is give as much value as I can to the world and I’ve been constraining myself way too long.

With all that said my theme for 2014 is “Recklessly share yourself and give your gifts to the world”.

Happy new year 🙂


PS: If you have a theme for the year, I’d love if you’d share it with me in the comments below.

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  • Josh Isaak

    Love your theme, man. It feels good to hear that. I don’t have a yet, but I’m definitely going to keep that as one of my intentions this year and always.

    • Carl

      Thanks dude!

  • Steve Erl

    Great post Carl. I took what Andy did and did it for myself. My theme from 2013 was discovery. I had an insane broken engagement at the end of 2012 that carried misery for me well into 2013. in short, I was a mess and devastated. But through that experience and coming out of it I was able to discover more about myself in a period of 12 months than I did for the previous decade. I dated better, was
    More social, got in shape, and started taking control of my own happiness. This years theme is going to be “implementation.” It’s time for serious, repeated action to get what I want from life. Thanks for the inspiring post.

    • Carl

      Make shit happen dude!

    • Chris Taylor

      Wow Steve, this is amazing. I know everyone says that time heals relationship pain the best, but what was a piece of action that you took to help yourself overcome your pain? I refuse to believe that people are helpless in hard times. Thanks!

      • Steve Erl

        Thanks Chris. Honestly, learning to feel the pain is a big part of the healing process. You cant go around it, you have to go through it and accept that it happened or else you just suppress it and carry it with you into all your relationships. The best thing I did was lean on family and then finally just got to point where I realized I’m the only person in this world who is responsible for my own happiness. I just got out there and took responsibility for my mood and my actions. I hit the gym, started dating new women (had no clue what I was doing but I think I’ve got a good handle on it now haha), and just connecting with anyone and everyone. I volunteered with youth and just put myself out there every day…..Time does heal….action heals it faster…and reflection, lots and lots of reflection. Forgiving yourself for past transgressions is a big part of it.

  • Robert Moutal

    You know, I always like to say “I hope 2014 is much better than 2013 and not as good as 2015”. This usually puts me in a growth mindset. My theme for this year is ‘independence’. With a lot of ‘fuck it’ moments, this is the year when I break free from my job and follow the same path as you. Just make sure to keep leaving clear and deep footprints as you walk 🙂

    • Carl

      I’m sure you will get there. Read those that everyday and come up with a plan to make it happen. Josh and I might be doing a little mastermind to help 8 people put there plan together soon.

      • Robert Moutal

        Absolutely! Right now my plan is to follow The Plan (TF) as closely as possible and trust in the Universe. The mastermind sounds very exciting. Let me know if you need anything from me as I’d love to help out.

  • Jason Hagerup

    Thanks for sharing that post, Carl. I think my theme for 2014 is “Possible Goals” – I know that sounds vague and squishy, but I mean to use it in contrast to “impossible dreams” which is how I think I’ve secretly viewed my goals for a long time. Over the course of 2013 my mindset really shifted and I was inspired by people like you and Josh Isaak. I feel free to be lofty in my goal setting now and I do not feel unreasonable in doing so. So, Possible Goals it is!

    • Carl

      That’s a really cool theme too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dwight from BackersHub

    Great theme Carl! My theme is simple…”Brick by brick, build”. I know what I want to accomplish within the next few months, I just want to stay focus and build daily upon my goal. Whether it’s an hour or two a day, or a full day – I will consistently build my business so I can create value for my customers and users which will create value for myself and my team.

    • Carl

      Dude – You are going to get there for sure. You’re story is amazing. Can’t wait to share it with everyone here.

  • Erin M

    Carl – Love Your Candidness and 14′ Theme. Very exciting and great shift story in viewing “Better Than Last Year”. I had an amazing 13′ with several life changes too, and I can’t imagine how any year could beat getting married, a puppy, a house and then remodeling a house! This year my theme is derived from inspiration from a foundation podcast. “There is no failure or success – only progress.” Can’t recall which episode or who said this(maybe you) – but loved it!!!! So my theme is “TAKE ACTION”. It’s the only way to change and get what you want. Can’t wait!

    • Carl

      Awesome Erin!

  • Gregg Bell

    I quote that’s been ringing in my head the last few weeks is circumstances don’t matter, only your state of being matters.
    this year I’m going to focus on my state of being and work from the inside out, choose how I want to feel, what state of being I want and go from there, let my inner world create my outer world rather than the other way round.
    thanks for putting yourself out there.

    • Carl

      Great quote Gregg!

  • paintingforlife

    “Go after what you really want and get out of your own way.” That is awesome Carl, if I sit and think about everything I missed out on because I was afraid of putting myself out there it will make me ill. I am at a critical year in my business as I launch my first ever software and I really need to get over this fear too. Thanks for being an example and sharing your story. I’m also facing multiple family medical crises (just admitted my husband in the hospital again tonight in fact). It seems so hard to give the business the love and attention it needs with chaos all around. Worst of all, my fear gets in the way making basic tasks extra complicated. So my theme for the year is SIMPLE ACTION.

    • Carl

      Awesome theme. Thanks for sharing that!

  • Patricia O’Sullivan

    I was hesitant to post then I remember your quote “Fuck It!” so here is my theme for 2014 “Inspire others by doing it myself”

    • Carl

      HAHAHA! Nice!

  • Carla

    Awesome, Carl! Love your posts. I always give a theme to each year, but I usually do that at the end of the year. 2013 was “Discovery and transformation”, and for 2014 I want it to be “Building a new life”.

  • Sng Li Wei

    Thanks for sharing and for that awesome theme. I’m definitely gonna put this “fuck it” mindset in place (#1 action: post a comment – DONE.)

    • Carl


  • Tony R

    For me, my mantra or theme this year is:
    ‘Make every second count’
    Whether professionally or personally I want to make every second count! 🙂

    • Carl

      That’s a great one too. Why did you choose it?

      • Tony R

        I’m tired of wasting time, precious time is all we really have and once it’s gone it’s gone for good. I feel I’ve drug my feet for too long and 2014 is the year it all changes for me. I’m done making excuses or letting fear get in my way. I’d rather die a year from now knowing I kicked life’s ass rather than it kicking mine!

        Seize the day!!!

        • Chris Taylor

          Tony, this is really inspiring! I would love to incorporate this into my life as well, but I find myself afraid of decisions where the outcome is unknown. Usually I am able to weigh outcomes and make decisions fairly easily, but I’ve been receiving some conflicting opinion lately about some big life decisions and am becoming more confused. What was a moment that helped you realize you need to stop wasting precious time?

          • Tony R

            That moment actually came to me when my son was about 3 and cried when I went to work each day. He cried for me to stay home and play. You want to talk about your heart being torn in two, that will do it. I realized it’s time to get things going to where I can own my time, to spend the days playing with my boys if I want, to have that option. They are little only once, I’m not going to miss it because of some suck ass J-O-B.

          • Chris Taylor

            Tony, that is SO powerful. Way to stand up for these things that so many people don’t for whatever reason. I’m 23 now and want to avoid that scenario at almost all costs. Everyone my parents’ age keeps telling me that I have “so much time to figure things out”, but I feel like I’ll never be happy until I am free from the beaten path.and therefore feel really conflicted, angry, and afraid. I feel like if I make a sudden decision, it might not work out and I will somehow be worse off than I am now, but at the same time, I’m pretty unhappy.

          • Steve Erl

            Chris, take control of your own happiness my friend, you will feel so good about it once you realize its all up to you. People who are older than you may have the things you want or the experience you desire but you do have more of one thing than them….and that’s time. Time to fail….fail, and revel in your failures. There once was an extremely successful man who was asked “what taught you how to overcome the obstacles in the way of your success?” to which he replied “the other obstacles of course”. Our struggles always teach us the most about who we are and who we want to be. Forge your own path and carve out who you want to be and measure yourself against that, not the successes or experiences of others. Be thankful that at such a young age you are already aware of these things….awareness is curative in nature. Focus on being happy now and enjoying what you have and take action towards the things that you want. I recommend the book “The Laws of Success” by Napoleon Hill. Not the easiest read but it will really open your mind.

          • Tony R

            I agree with Steve and would like to recommend several other books that you should run out and get today.

            1. The Purpose Driven Life
            2. Fastlane Millionaire (simply amazing)
            3. Think and grow rich
            4. Rich day, poor dad
            5. As a man thinketh

            These 5 have been life changers for me and I wish someone had opened my eyes with them while I was your age.

  • Drew Maifeld

    “Lean with it – Rock with it”

    • Carl

      Nice Dude! How have you been? Hope you are doing awesome.

  • Scott Denton

    Great post Carl. It’s funny how the tone and context of a statement can mean different things. “better than last year” has meant different things to me over the years as well. I hope your buddy Chris is feeling better. My motto this year “Focus, learn, teach”. Good luck to all of you guys here.

    • Carl


  • timdanyo

    The three words that set the theme for this year are… “Power, love, and d

    • Carl

      Love it.

  • Genuity Technology Services

    I just listened to Andy’s podcast episode last night. I haven’t really processed it yet and put a lot of thought into it, but my initial gut theme is “Massive Growth, No Excuses, No Prisoners”. What do you think?

    • Carl

      It sounds cool. Trick is making sure you have actionable steps to back it up. (Look for an email from me at 10AM on an offer to help make this actionable).

      Also, understand how living by that this year, you will be more of the person you’d like to be.

  • Mike Mooney

    Awesome post Carl and way to start 2014 off with being open and honest! It’s funny you wrote about this because when I started the foundation in November, I almost didn’t. I thought about it over Thanksgiving break and was realizing if I don’t do this now, I will have to wait another year and I may not get in. I had a really supportive -fiancé at the time, now wife (got married on 12/14/13)- and she said just do it, it’s only money and we can make anything work.

    Prior to filling out the form to sign up, I was reminded of a quote-

    “Every now and then say what the fuck….what the fuck gives you freedom, freedom brings opportunity, Opportunity makes your future”. -Risky Business

    I think 2014 is going to build on 2013 and going to be another amazing year. We had a great wedding, honeymoon and now I am going to build an awesome company to help solve some pain and make the world a better place. Because that is my ultimate why, to help people- help more people.

    So Carl, I say to you and 2014- What the fuck!

    • Carl

      HAHAHA! Awesome!

  • Katie McCabe

    A few years ago, I had the theme “Do something that scares you every day,” and I accomplished some amazing things. I’m resurrecting it for this year! My scary action today was to hire my first virtual assistant. I hope tomorrow’s isn’t to fire him! Ha!

  • Hugo

    I want to read you again in a new post ! =D
    A french guy

  • Carlos H. Castillo

    Hi Carl. I just listened to your podcast interview at SPI #82. Thanks for offering your advice and getting in touch with you. I just can’t thank you enough for leaving us a blueprint, and I’m gonna start taking steps for building solutions with that Foundation model. With this post, I truly resonate with you in wanting to move forward without caring less about what they would say and instead finding more people like you who will pull you up instead of bringing you down. Cheers, and would love to hear more about your journeys.