Small things, done consistently, in Strategic Places
By David Allen
I have to agree with a friend of mine who suggested that if New Year's resolutions really worked, we'd all be rich, thin, and deliriously happy all the time. If you do happen to be one of those perfectly wealthy, slim, and joyful people -- terrific! Resolve some more!
But if not, and if you're smart enough to only play winnable games, you should be smart enough not to set resolutions. One of the most frustrating "backfires" in the self-help movement is, amid the glow of our inspired vision of a better self, we make agreements with ourselves that we subsequently don't keep. Nothing more undermines our confidence and enthusiasm.
The relative abundance of our culture has spawned a debilitating disease reaching epidemic proportion: overcommitment. Starting a new year with a cranked up, gird-your-loins kind of energy can make you extra vulnerable to this malady.
That said, if you're like me you're probably attracted to rituals and making use of them to refresh, recalibrate, and renew your energies toward an improved future. If so, I highly recommend taking advantage of that impulse.
Your stimulation could be associated with periodic calendar events such as the New Year, Rosh Hashanah, spring cleaning, your birthday, Guy Fawkes' Day, No Pants Subway Ride Day, or the summer solstice; or you can use the great excuse of ad hoc occasions like a marriage, a graduation, or a residential move.
Those can be great times to unhook from the old, outdated, and un-useful and toss the rock out ahead aspirationally -- new goals, directions, visions. I love any excuse to clean up, regroup, rethink, and reset my focus. It seems that mold can grow and dust accumulate in our lives in spite of ourselves. "Stuff" self-generates -- it does not self-destruct!