I’m a long-time year-end planner and I’ve gone about it a pile of ways. I’ll save you the gory details except to say that I’ve found that having a lot of those such details didn’t make me more productive or more capable of achieving anything. Instead, it mostly just made me more disappointed when I looked back at the end of the year because I was hyper-focused on what I hadn’t checked off of those lists and not on what I had accomplished instead.
So this year, Theresa and I tried something new by spending a good chunk of this past weekend:
Picking our 3 words for the year, a la Chris Brogan
Deciding on the routines and habits about which we’d like to be more consistent in 2019
I dig this because it’s simple and thought-provoking, and gives us bigger pockets from which to work than, say, “Learn Spanish and lose 10 pounds.” Inspired by Chris Brogan’s approach, we each chose words that felt good to us – as in gut-check, happy tingles, sitting well, literal feel good – and that captured a complexity of ideas.
- Decisiveness. I was inspired, in part, by an article I read several years ago around the New Year in which a woman said does what she has decided she is – she runs every day because she has decided that she’s a runner but she doesn’t write consistently because she only wants that; she hasn’t yet decided that’s what she is. It’s also about shipping, an idea from Seth Godin about ditching perfection for a good job done in a timely manner. It’s about creating boundaries from a loving and self-aware place and protecting them without doubt, and conserving the energy that I might otherwise spend on waffling about minor decisions. It’s about checking in with my gut and trusting what I find there.
- Expansiveness. During a fantastic coaching session with a second-go-round client, I had an image of an inner light radiating out of her with such intensity and reach that it acts both to chase off those who won’t find her work meaningful and as a beacon to call in those who will. I think we all have that and that if we can live in that kind of expansiveness, we no longer have to fear exposure. We shall see!
- Foolishness. The Fool card used to pop up in my tarot spreads much more frequently than chance would suggest. In the Osho Zen Tarot deck that I use, the image is of a fellow walking on the precarious edge of a cliff, bliss on his face, flowers in his hands. The message is one of releasing the baggage from the past and expectations of the future in order to give the Now more presence. He looks foolish because he looks like he’s not learning from the past or preparing for the future when, really, he’s as engaged with his life as can be. This also captures a playfulness for me and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that when I’m really twisted about something, it’s because I’ve started taking it way too seriously which makes the antidote – you got it – a little good-natured foolishness.
Routines and Habits
There are things in here that could lead to us being healthier or dropping a few pounds. There are things in here that could lead to us being more centered or connected or productive. But this year, we’ve decided to focus on the things that feel good and fulfilling for their own sake: Meditation, journaling, reading, movement, eating food that feels really good to eat both in the moment and in the hours afterwards.
The efforts, we control. The outcomes will be what they will be.
I have never done this before. How have I never done this before?! Over the course of the weekend, we sat down here and there to review my calendar (which is a little obsessive in its detail) to make a list of key moments and events that ran for a half-dozen or more pages in our shared journal.
There were little fun things like movies we particularly liked and big scary things like an ER run for one family member and a hospital stay for another. There were trips and dates and productive discord and volunteer work. There were three major challenges to our shared fear of heights: Rappelling down the Patrick Henry Hotel, a ropes course, and climbing a light house.
It was a full year. A year with plenty of challenges and lots of laughter, significant growth and abundant tears, and all those surprises that makes “man plans, god laughs,” one of my favorite sayings.