New Year’s Resolutions are the absolute key to my happiness and success in life. This year, I’m offering a workshop called ‘Resolutions for Skeptics’ (update coming soon!) and sharing my process. What follows is a summary of my resolutions for 2018.
A resolution is a process goal, while a plain ol’ regular goal is simply something specific to complete by a specific deadline. Goals and resolutions work best in tandem, and they work even better when they’re just subsidiary parts of a larger project, quest, dream, wish, lifestyle, vision, or mission.
My intention is to be a slightly better person every year. I want to contribute more, annoy other people less, be emotionally present, expand my skills, explore new ideas, do life experiments and stunts and fact-finding missions, go on adventures, and see more of the world. My ultimate goal is to be a cool old lady with a lot of great memories.
To start, here is a summary of my plans for 2017 and how I performed.
Personal: Follow a set schedule. SUCCESS
Career: LLC. CANCELED
Physical: P90X, run five miles. SUCCESS
Home: Digitize, downsize, minimize. SUCCESS+
Couples: WDS, homemade pickles. SUCCESS
Stop goal: Stop being the last person to pack up my tent. SUCCESS
Lifestyle upgrades: Phone and work bag, tent. SUCCESS
Do the Obvious: Transform my appearance. SUCCESS+
Quest: BE RIDICULOUS. Um, SUCCESS+++
Wish: Pay off my student loan. PROGRESS
This year, I’m adding a theme, which I will describe as a mantra. This is formalizing something I had been doing informally without really realizing it.
I always start with a personal goal, something that will seriously push my limits. For the last few years, I’ve been deliberately going after something that sounds awful, something completely contrary to my inclinations and preferences. What I want is to search and destroy my inner resistance and demolish my fears. I started with running, which I despised utterly until I fell in love and ran a marathon. Then I went to public speaking, which made my knees buckle and my whole body shake, and still does about 20% of the time, even though I routinely win Best Speaker ribbons now. After that I went after my inability to live in the Time Dimension, forcing myself to keep early hours and follow a set schedule. It is abundantly clear to me that finding and fighting my resistance is the most valuable thing I can do, even though the first few months are always dreadful, scary, unfun, and unfairly difficult.
This time, I was narrowing down my choices to voice lessons, SCUBA diving, and martial arts. (I will probably do all three of them at some point, but in no particular order). I had the opportunity to meet a top-level personal trainer. In a brief chat, he shared why he wanted to learn public speaking and I shared my goal-setting process. He said that the potential downside of diving was that ‘if you screw up, you die.’ Good point. I shared that I had a ‘research obstacle’ because there are so many disciplines of martial arts. He suggested jiu jitsu because it’s designed for small people to fight off large people. I followed up with my own research and found that this was a very sound recommendation. Successful people are virtually always helpful with advice, and can often sum up years of experience with a single brief sentence.
Personal: In January, I plan to visit a few martial arts schools in my area, including jiu jitsu, Krav Maga, and MMA. My initial choice will probably come down to class schedules and the charisma of the teacher, because all the martial arts practitioners I have met have studied multiple disciplines. (Thus, it doesn’t matter where I start; I just start). I probably would have made these visits already, but by the time I settled on my direction for the year, all the schools were on hiatus for the holidays. This project is freaking me the heck out. There are dudes in the website photos whose necks are almost as thick as my waist!
Career: I’m working on business goals that I can achieve solely through my own efforts, while remaining location independent. This year, my plan is to launch a podcast. Why this? There are like forty billion gazillion podcasts already! This project is about expanding my speaking skills and putting forward something that already feels like an entity in its own right. I already have the microphone.
Physical: I’m going light in this category for 2018 because my personal goal category includes built-in workouts. I am scheduled to do the Shamrock Run in March. I also strongly need to build more stretching into my daily routine. Why would I deprive myself of this?
Home: We got a notice that our property manager wants to 1. Increase our rent by 8% and 2. Offer no more than a ten-month lease while 3. Not making any upgrades to the facilities. Our mutual home goal is to decrease our rent. We’re within bounds for our budgetary goals, but we find this rent increase to be ludicrous and not in line with our goal for financial independence.
Couples: We have a couples goal of going on an international trip together. This takes focus all year, because we have to make the plans, get the tickets, save the money, and also conserve my hubby’s vacation days.
Stop goal: Every year I choose something that I want to stop doing. This is always either something I do to annoy myself, or something I do that unfairly impacts others. In 2018, my stop goal is to stop losing focus on incomplete projects. I need to either choose to cancel the project permanently, formally reschedule it, or finish it. No more vague clouds.
Lifestyle upgrades: I struggled to come up with anything this year! It’s time to upgrade my laptop to something that can handle the audio editing software I want for my new podcast.
Do the obvious: I’m a member of two Toastmasters clubs, and I always get feedback that I need to slow down and pause more often. This is even more true when I’m speaking naturally in casual conversation! I’m wondering what will be different if I can force myself to pay attention and successfully slow down. This technically could work as a stop goal, in the format “quit talking so fast.”
Quest: I have a major life goal of visiting every country in the world, which is not quite possible right now because an American passport won’t get one across every existing national border. So far I’ve been to four continents. I’d like to visit a fifth continent, and this year, let it be Asia. (If I suddenly get an attractive invitation to go to Antarctica or South America, though, I’m taking it!)
Wish: To find an amazing pet sitter who loves our dog and our parrot. We used to have several friends who were willing to stay at our house and watch our pets, even for weeks at a stretch. When we moved out of the region, we never really found anyone new to fill in.
Mantra: A mantra should be a theme for the year, a short, easily memorable slogan that you can repeat to yourself, put on the lock screen of your phone, wear as a piece of jewelry or a tattoo, or write on sticky notes. This year my mantra is to PAUSE AND BREATHE. This ties in with my main public speaking focus and also with my curiosity about meditation.
Personal: Explore a martial art
Career: Launch a podcast
Physical: Run Shamrock Run 2018, build a daily stretching routine
Home: Lower our rent
Couples: Go on an international vacation together
Stop goal: Stop losing focus on incomplete projects
Lifestyle upgrades: Upgrade laptop
Do the Obvious: Speak more slowly, with more pauses
Quest: Travel in Asia / a fifth continent
Wish: To find an amazing pet sitter
Mantra: PAUSE AND BREATHE
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.