New Years Resolutions

Ok, let’s just get it out of the way. I am writing my New Years resolutions in February, deal with it. Let’s just call it Chinese New Years resolutions, ok?

I’ve never been a fan of new years resolutions and have always just chalked them up with other externally imposed, worthless rituals … like Valentine’s Day. This year somehow seems different. I guess that is why people get excited for new years — change, different, starting over, new beginnings.

I read a quote recently that no one gets a new beginning, but anyone can have a new ending. It struck a chord with me, probably because I have been thinking about new beginnings, or perhaps more accurately alternate endings lately. The kind of thoughts that say that I’m not really the person I want to be. The kind of thoughts that say that every person on earth is granted the exact same 24 hours in a day to live their lives. It is what each person does with that time that matters and separates the person I am from the person that I want to be … that I can be.

Before New Years I read a lot of blog posts about resolutions. Not really research mind you, but bloggers are always hungry for topics, and this one was easy so everyone wrote about it. I read that resolutions should be simple, achievable, that you should only have a couple so you really focus on them.

Well, if I were the kind of person who listens to good advice, I would have taken very different roads in life. So I present to you my laundry list of resolutions. I know I won’t keep all of them, but I think that even the mere attempt will make me a better person. I will revisit the list at the end of the year and see how I did and we can all have a good laugh at my expense.

So without further ado:

  • Fix the formatting on billgreen.me that went wacky when we migrated servers
  • Always be on time. I mean this in the most general sense.
  • Blog often. Jeremiah Owyang wrote that taking the time to write on your blog daily (personal or professional) is kind of a way of paying yourself first. I’ve noticed that when I start the day by writing a blog post for me (journal/cathartic, not necessarily professional) I can write more and faster on other things later. I think it is the writing equivalent of warming up before a workout. There is a free-flowing stream of consciousness tone to my writing when I write for myself (yes I am unashamedly narcissistic) that I suppress in everything else I write because it is rarely appropriate, but I am a better writer when I let it out.
  • Take back my life. I’m really not sure what exactly that means, but I know that I lost it over the past few years and I want it back.
  • Read more books, not just articles. This one is tough because I am hopelessly ADD and dyslexic, which means I read really slowly but have very little attention span for it.
  • Become an active stock trader. I miss it and it paid the bills for a good while. Somehow it fits my psyche well.
  • Be proactive. Don’t think, don’t try, just do.
  • Be present
  • Make the best of every situation
  • Learn from every situation and every person I meet
  • Travel
  • Go to the gym at least twice a week
  • Eat healthy
  • Bike
  • Get back to 155 lb.
  • Play guitar. I used to be reasonably decent once upon a time and I could be again. If the man who built my guitar for me knew how little I was playing it right now he would beat me with it (sorry Dermot!).
  • Have more patience for myself and for others. If I treated my friends the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t have any friends.
  • Love more.
  • Think positive, happy thoughts. As a corollary, be conscious of my thoughts and don’t let them wander where they shouldn’t.
  • Be conscious about where I am spending time and energy. If it is not productive, change.

On a related note, a friend recently invited me to a sales pitch event for leadership education program he had completed and very briefly presented a project that he did (that I was fortunate enough to help with). A lot of the things they talked about were great affirmations of a direction I already am going. They invited people who were currently enrolled in the program to talk about one thing they have learned and how it changed their lives.

I took notes because it seemed to fit into my concept of real new years resolutions. Not silly things like “I want to lose weight” (see above), but ‘I want to be a better person this year.’ It was immediately evident that this organization had more in common with a cult than a MBA program, but it seemed like a great opportunity to practice “make the best of every situation/learn from every person” above.

So I did. Rather than get annoyed that I came under false pretenses, I accepted that I was there and it could be a great opportunity to add to my list. So I listened to the stories and I added to my list:

  • Go beyond where I normally stop.
  • Think bigger, go farther, be bolder.
  • Be courageous — Courage to make it happen, courage never to stop, courage to never give up, courage to be successful, courage to confront, courage to be fully present in my life, courage to leave the past in the past and believe in myself, courage to ask for help from people who can make a difference, courage and conviction to pounce on opportunities as they arise
  • Stop mis-filing the past in the future

My friend Tim Huber told me that if I was serious about making changes, I needed to post them somewhere so I would be accountable for them. So there they are. I hope you like them because I will be writing about them a bunch. Not exactly a roadmap, but certainly my laundry list of how I want to change my life over the next 12 months.

What are your goals for the next 12 months? What are you doing to be a better person and who is holding you accountable for it?

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