As 2013 came to a close this past week, John and I had much to look back on.  2013 had certainly been quite an epic year.  We started off the beginning of 2013 with the resolution to move by June and secure jobs prior to doing so.  Even though that’s not exactly how things panned out, everything fell into place even better than we could have hoped!

In January, John and I were not enjoying the cold and snow of Buffalo, and we were getting more and more tired of shoveling as time progressed.  Even though we were shooting to move in June, with each 5:00AM shovel session, the date became closer, and when John’s manager told him he couldn’t have the time off for Ultra Music Festival in March, it was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”.  On that particular day, motivated by his manager’s denial, John mapped out our tentative road trip plan and was faced with my response of “you’re insane!”

Needless to say, just a few weeks later, I was fed up with my own job and where we were at in life too, so we decided to make huge moves – leaps and bounds were needed to move 4 months sooner than we were expecting!  We made the decision to move without jobs lined up and kicked our plans into high gear in late January.  Although we were letting our realtor handle the selling of my Amherst home, John and I were on a mission to sell all of our belongings – leaving only what fit in our car!  After selling over 500 items on Ebay and over 300 on Craigslist, our little house on Spruce was looking super empty!

John and I put in our two weeks notice in early February, and finished up our time at Citi Bank soon after as February came to a close.  Within a week’s time, we packed up the car, got an offer on our house, and sold nearly everything that was left in the house – by the time we left, we had less than one garbage can of items that we couldn’t sell or give away!  (People will literally buy anything!)

On March 5, John and I looked at 26 Spruce disappearing in our rear view mirror for the very last time, and I cried all the way to the first stop on our road trip – Rochester.  Even though I was ready to move, it was the end of an era!  At that time we had no idea where our path would take us, and we couldn’t help but feel so scared, even though we were also so excited.  It was hard to take the first step on an unpaved journey – to have no idea where we’d be or end up!

We started off our seven-week long road trip with a visit to Fairport, NY, followed by stops in Paramus, NJ; New York, NY; Wake Forest and Durham, NC; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; South Beach, FL; New Orleans, LA; Fort Worth, NC; Santa Fe, NM; Phoenix, AZ; Sedona, AZ.; Grand Canyon, AZ; Bryce Canyon, UT; Zion National Park, UT; Las Vegas, NV; and finally San Diego, CA.

We drove 6,296 miles, passed through 19 states, stayed in and explored 11 states, and only ended up needing one oil change.  It was an absolutely amazing trip and one that we would love to do again in a heartbeat – if a travel opportunity ever presents itself to you – take it!

We arrived in San Diego on April 20th, and moved into our first San Diego apartment – a temporary spot that we had set up prior to leaving Buffalo.  Even though we were keeping our fingers crossed that the apartment would be in decent condition, I was so nervous as we made our way into San Diego from Vegas!  Once we arrived I was elated to see that the apartment was not only clean, but was beautiful with its own little balcony, and in the perfect location!

Shortly after our arrival, we set out on our next biggest obstacle – finding jobs.  John and I applied diligently day in and day out, and both found jobs that we started within the first two months of our arrival.  I had found my “dream job” as Manager of Company Culture at digital-telepathy, while John was excited to switch career paths and give Real Estate a try after he found an amazing job as a Real Estate assistant for Realty National.

After settling into our new jobs, we began exploring permanent housing options and finally found our perfect apartment, which we named the Penthouse Penthouse.  We moved in mid-August, and have enjoyed our 15-floor view every day since.

After getting along so well on our journey, and seeing how far life had taken us together, John thought it was the perfect time to propose to me and did so in October!  Just two weeks before my birthday, a picnic lunch in Balboa Park turned into a life-long memory when John got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  Of course I said yes!

Since starting our lives in San Diego, John and I have made such great friends.  We have a support system here that we didn’t have in Buffalo, and have surrounded ourselves with driven, motivated people who have prominent life plans.  Dreams and life plans lead to passion – and we are surrounded with many passionate people like ourselves here in San Diego.  We rang in the new year with some of our newest, closest friends that we’ve made here and it was a wonderful end to a truly exceptional year.

The amount of people that have told myself and John that “we got lucky” or “were so blessed” at how things turned out have no idea how much work went into our success of this prior year.  Of course, we are incredibly blessed and so lucky that everything fell into place for us.  But that was not at the exception of incredible hard work that we put into making the past year a success.

We hit hundreds of roadblocks, I had my fair share of mental breakdowns, we were frustrated and sad and even crushed at times.  But the basis of why we were successful is directly related to the amount of effort we put in.  We were balls to the wall, more motivated than ever before, and determined to see our plan succeed.  Not sure if you can do something?  Tell everyone you know that you absolutely can and see how hard you’ll work your ass off to get it done.  The more people that tell me I can’t do something, the more determined I am to prove them wrong.

To summarize just one last time, John and I both quit jobs that we disliked and found newer, better ones.  We moved from a city that we hated to one that we absolutely love.  We ditched the stressfulness of owning a home and now rent a gorgeous apartment in the heart of San Diego, and are saving our extra money for other investments.  We left behind an environment where the people around us weren’t happy or satisfied with their lives, and have surrounded ourselves with people who are determined, driven, and have life goals set for themselves.  Instead of telling ourselves that we wish we could do something, now John and I have learned that we absolutely can.  No matter what the dream or aspiration, with enough hard work, effort, and determination, anything is possible.

Although 2013 has been one hell of a year, we are so excited to see what 2014 will bring.  Now that we know nothing can stop us, we have more crazy life plans than we know what to do with.  You should see our aspirations for 2014, let alone for the next 5 years.  So, in closing, my friends, choose big, grand goals that will make you happy this 2014.

Reflect on your current situation and ask yourself what is making you the most unhappy – and change it!  If it’s your job, get a new one!  If it’s where you live, freaking move!  If it’s the fact that you can’t stand looking at yourself in the mirror, get your ass to a gym and get working on that body!  Did you make up an excuse for yourself as you read each of those statements?  Don’t do that!  Excuses are bull shit.

Set a challenging goal for yourself – one that even you aren’t sure you can pull off, and do it.  DO. IT.  Doesn’t Nike say “Just do it”?  They were right.  You’ll be amazed at what you feel like you can achieve after you’ve successfully accomplished your first goal, and then your second, and your third.  Before you know it, you’ll be feeling unstoppable – what a great way to be!

As Tim Ferris said in 4-Hour Work Week, “Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal.  Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel.  If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort.”

Go big or go home, people.  That’s my plan for 2014 and I wish you all the same!

What are some of your 2014 resolutions?  Any unusually large goals out there that you’re passionate enough to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

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