A Goalless New Year

It’s that time of year again. That arbitrary time where we resolve to stick to something. I’m no different. I think it’s a nice milestone where I can look at the past year and see what and how I could’ve done better.

Last year, I was merciless, borderline masochistic. I made an enormous checklist of things I wanted to do. Every month I picked three things from the list and I did them everyday for 30 days in order to establish habit and give it a fair trial. If I liked it and it benefitted me, I kept it. If it didn’t, I ditched it. Seems daunting but for the most part I did it. I also accomplished  a lot. I can play some harmonica and the didgeridoo. I always wake up at 5-5:30am without an alarm. I got healthier, smarter, and became a better person. Seems great, but it wasn’t without its faults.

The whole damn year was too rigid. Like it or not, you don’t plan the game of life, you play it. As much as you think there are no dice, there is, and they aren’t going anywhere. So even though I stuck to my list regardless of what life was throwing at me, I’m also pretty sure that a few things flew by me that shouldn’t have.

That’s why I’m switching up my game plan this year. Despite what a lot of people recommend, I’m going at it with no list, or plan, or even a goal. All I have is a very general but purposefully vague guideline that’ll allow me to keep being productive, but still adapt to these turbulent times. I should note, this idea isn’t new for me either. When I went on a sabbatical to Ecuador in 2009, I came back with the same realization and attitude. Unfortunately, the clarity that trip bought me was lost in the busyness of the real world and it eventually just slipped away. Well I remembered! So here I go again:

It’s as simple as this: every choice I make should deliberately contribute to my intellectual, physical and spiritual growth. I figured if I got those three areas covered I’m good, since they feed off each other. A healthier body means a brighter mind which means a deeper spirit. You can’t really be optimal in any one area individually.

The difference this time is the speed at which I approach life. Last time, after my trip, I came back all gung-ho to get life moving again. However, I was in such a rush to accomplish everything, that I soon forgot why I was doing certain things. This time, the keyword is deliberate. When faced with a choice, I hope to calmly consider it before jumping in.

I think this strategy will allow me to be more flexible and adaptive to life while still achieving the things I think are important. It’s simple, tough, but definitely do-able.

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