2019 New Years Resolutions

For my 2019 New Years Resolutions, I prefer to do them a bit different than years past. Last year I used a set of quantified goals, for example, read 10 books (accomplished), make dinner once per week (fail), leave SF (accomplished), take selfies with friends each week (failed, which was better for everyone). This year I'm simplifying; 3 things I want to do more, 1 I want to do less. Here goes:

More Focus

I recently read this post by Shane Parrish on the Farnam Street blog about working smarter, not harder. He outlines a method of identifying the things that are most important to work on and how to eliminate the rest. My new years plan is to outline those goals, not for the purpose of having more goals that disappoint me but instead to identify what I can get rid of, and focus. From his post:

It’s not about working harder to get better results. You have only so much energy to apply. Pick what matters. Eliminate the rest.

-Shane Parrish

Even without having gone through the exercise I can guess that this will likely mean (1) quality family time (I'm lucky to already have a lot of this), (2) lots and lots of time surfing and really improve, and (3) less objectives but more successes for Saltwater. I'll follow-up with a post about the outcome here later.

  • The exercise to get there:

    • Do the goal elimination process

    • Review monthly, adjust where necessary

    • Enjoy the freedom of less

More Originality

My default instinct in getting things done always seems to be to see how others are doing that thing. It's a fine approach to knocking out random tasks, but the issues is that I rarely spend time thinking about how I would 'ideally' want it done, or other ways something 'could' get done. This approach causes me to miss out on ideas and opportunities for learning and growth. Another post on Farnam Street earler this year got me thinking about my first thought on a topic versus spending real time to think through multiple levels fo an issue, and getting to first principles of an issue. This sums it up perfectly...

It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.

-William Deresiewicz

This year I want to create more, come up with more of my own solutions to problems, and generate more original thinking vs just fast copying. This will be tough as it's against my natural tendency to move quick, but I'm confident it will be worth while.

  • The exercise to get me there:

    • Block days to think about one issue for what will feel like a rediculous about of time.

    • Write 2x / month min

    • Paint, draw, doodle, spray paint a surfboard, get creative and have fun

More Contentment

I see the irony of setting a goal to work on contentment but it is someting I'd like the feeling of more often. And the only way I know to get things done is to put them on paper and increase a sense of commitment to it. So here goes. First, I already know that I'm incredibly lucky to have the life I have, with an amazing wife, kids, family, passions, and business successes. But with the harsh and beautiful way I'm wired, I always seem to look for improvement and the next thing. It's going to take a framework shift to get there. Second, I already know there isn't any 'thing' that I don't have that will make me content. It's the way I think about those things, the way I think about life, and really the way I think about myself in the context of my life that will likely get me there.

One of my favorite blogs is Leo Babauta's ZenHabits, and this post on the source of contentment from years back jumped back to mind as I started thinking about the topic. This guy Henri Nouwen talks about the answer to the question "Who am I", and the way you answer that question indicates the source of your lack of contentment...

You realize that you’re defining yourself in terms of what you do, what others think of you, and what you have … and instead you think of yourself as “love” (for example). Suddenly, the need to prove yourself and do something as cool as that evaporates, and instead you can just be content with who you already are.

-Leo Babauta

I'm not going to fall into the trap of thinking this answer will come this year and then I'm good for life. This is a life long journey for sure, but understanding my world view, my self view, and digging deeper to find a true and sustained sense of contentment is a big project for me this year.

  • The exercise to get me there:

    • Seek to understand how I define myself

    • Meditate regularly

    • Write 2x per month on how self view affects personal and professional life

    • Spend time outside, alone

    • Use Selfchat regularly

Less Waste

How many things in your life are actually unnecessary? Any effort to simplify or to "NeatMethod" your life style will have so many positive impacts. One of which I'd like to pay more attention to in 2019 is the waste of materials from an environemental perspect. How many Amazon boxes do you toss each month? How many cups, or bottles? How much power do you waste? I have my go-to coffee mugs, and my quiver of Hydroflasks set. I'm gonna stick to filling them in the morning, asking restaurants and food trucks to use them instead of their plastic or paper cups. What will likely have a small positive impact on the environment will have a big impact on my simple, focused, and content lifestyle.

Other stuff

I'm gonna try a rotation of stuff where I focus for a month... starting with no social media in January. You won't find me on Insta, Twitter, or FB till Feb. Hit me on text if ya know me ;)

And here are a few other ideas:

  • January- no social

  • February- no booze

  • March- journal daily

  • April- clean something daily

  • May- take a film photo everyday

  • June- read 4 books

  • July - 30 days of yoga

    Still working on the rest, send ideas. Much love and thanks for reading.

Happy New Years 2019!

Ryan Graves1 Comment