Happy New Year! This is the time of year for talk of resolutions. A New Year, A New You! The media and blogosphere is awash with various exhortations to achieve a ‘better’ you.
My resolution partly inspired by this blog post by Tommy Angelo is to do less, to not have goals, not have to do lists, avoid meaningless meetings, not look forward too much, stop looking back and generally try and be more happy with me. (Note: A good source of tips on happiness check Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project)
I have to admit that I’m a glass half empty sort of guy and find myself sometimes either playing the ‘what if’ game with my past or playing future scenarios in my head about things that actually never happen or if they do they’re never as bad as I imagined. My goal is to spend more time in the moment, to do nothing but sit and stare and dream, smile wistfully and all the time not feel guilty about it.
I’m also reading the new expanded Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Having read the original I am still struck by the insights in the book, particularly how Pareto’s 80/20 Principle applies to so much in life. I need to stop ‘being’ 80% of what I am!
If I did want goals I would probably go with Tim’s dreamlining to achieve things. Detailed instructions for how to do this are contained in the book in the chapter “System Reset: Being Unreasonable and Unambiguous,” but you can get a good idea with the following worksheets:
Tim suggests creating two timelines—six months and twelve months—and list up to five things you dream of having (including, but not limited to, material wants: house, car, clothing, etc.), being (be a great cook, be fluent in Chinese, etc.), and doing (visiting Thailand, tracing your roots overseas, racing ostriches, etc.), in that order. Read more about Tim’s approach to this at his blog.
That’s not to say I don’t have goals for this year. For instance my daughter gets married in June and, sure, I would like to be a couple of stone lighter and I know how to do that. Eat less, exercise more. But if I don’t achieve that – hey – will my daughter love me less? I’m guessing not. The only downside is we’ll need a bigger suit!
My philosophy to goal setting can probably be better summed up by this quote by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: ‘If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!’
What I do want to do this year is feed my soul, read more, learn things, love more generously, shun ‘stuff’, grow vegetables, shop locally, avoid negativity, plan less, be happier!
There! They all look pretty vague and undefined and that’s just the way I like my resolutions! Here’s to an interesting and unstructured 2010 full of limitless possibility!