On past NYEs, I’ve made lists and written down ambitious resolutions to utterly change who I am in the upcoming 12 months. I think the idea of taking time for reflection is great, but the way I have gone about it has me unsettled. So I’m not going to do it this year. Here’s how I’m going about it:
Take change one step at a time
When I reflect, I usually write down the things I want to change and then try and do them all at once. This leads to starting a bunch of initiatives and then inevitably abandoning them unfinished. I’d rather pick a project and focus on it, complete it or at least call it complete, and then move on to the next one.
This is reminiscent of Derek Sivers’ Don’t Be A Donkey:
Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually falls over and dies of hunger and thirst. A donkey can’t think of the future. If he could, he’d clearly realize he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay.
plan stuff out, but only to a point
Things change, so I don’t want to plan things out any longer than I need to. It’s a waste of time. That said, some things need to be planned out. Vacations, plane tickets, family and friend time, reflection time, etc… get that stuff on the calendar and protect it.
Reflect more often
Making resolutions means bringing into focus the things I want to change about my life. It makes no sense to do this just once per year. Reflection should be built into everyday life.
So for my resolution, right now, I want to practice presence. Don’t obsess over what has happened in the past or lose myself in visions of the future. Focus on what is right here, right in front of me. Make the most of it, and enjoy myself.