Hindsight 2020

If there was a better name for a historical review of the year, I’ve yet to hear it! I may have to trademark it.

This post is kinda about my New Year Resolutions, except I do them a little differently.

For me, grand goals for the year don’t work very well. It’s too much pressure. Plus there’s a disconnect between the big goals and my everyday behaviour.

Instead, it’s easier for me to focus on “Just for Today” (credit: Narcotics Anonymous). Rather than setting grand goals for the year, I want to pay attention to the little things I do each day. Over time, small changes can produce powerful results, like compound interest in a savings account.

Self-awareness

My main goal for 2020 is to continue to improve myself, one step at a time, embracing a gentle model of two steps forward, one step back.

A key component will be to continue increasing my awareness – I want to notice when I’m acting out of alignment with my best self.

I’m really grateful to Sandra Walsh. It was thanks to her coaching that I realised how important self-awareness would be for my future.

Jordan Peterson explains this process beautifully:


I’m not a fan of Dr Peterson’s phrasing here though… “Stop saying things that make you weak

That phrase may work for him personally – he’s quite a tough mofo even if he sounds like Kermit the frog – but it doesn’t feel right for me.

For me, it’s better to say something like, “Speak and act in alignment with my core values: Truth, Courage, Love and Humility.

What about you? What’s the best way for you to phrase this idea when speaking to yourself?

My goals for 2020

There are a few things I’d like to do more of in 2020, and a few I’d like to do less of.

I’d like to do more of:

  • Being self-aware – monitoring my own thoughts and behaviour (as in the above video)
  • Being more present (mindful) in everyday life
  • Meditate most days
  • Exercise most days of the week
  • Set aside more time each day for reading books
  • Having a little more structure in my day so I get the most important stuff done first

I’d like to do less of:

  • Overeating, especially late at night
  • Getting caught in dopamine feedback loops (e.g. YouTube wormholes)
  • Staying up so late at night that it makes the next day much more difficult

I’d love to hear your own thoughts about 2020. What would you like to achieve for yourself? What are your thoughts on New Years Resolutions?

… Or Aim Lower, If You Want

After yesterday’s post, Aim High, a friend sent me the following YouTube video which outlines an alternative approach.

YouTube: Why You Don’t Need To Be Exceptional

I watched it with interest and related to many of the concepts.

Jordan Peterson says to aim as high as you can. But the above video seems to take the opposite approach – it’s OK to just be content with what you already have.

After reflecting for a while, I reminded myself I’m a Libran, meaning I like balance. The correct answer for me seems to be somewhere in between these two extremes.

You don’t want to make yourself miserable trying to hit ridiculously ambitious targets. But equally, it’s often not good for the soul if you’re not making some kind of progress in your life. As Jordan says, if you think you’re standing still then in reality you’re probably going backwards.

In my view, ideally you want to be improving just a little, every day. How much? Well, I posted recently that you really don’t need to do that much to have a gigantic impact.

By improving just 1% each day, you’ll finish the year almost 38 times better than when you started, thanks to the power of cumulative gains.

And over on the Jordan Peterson subreddit, someone posted the following excellent quote:

“Reduce the damn responsibility until it’s tolerable. You don’t have to fix everything at once…You could do it with even less self-sacrifice, you can start by only fixing the things that you want to fix.”

Jordan Peterson (paraphrased)

So, perhaps I’m just spinning my tyres by worrying about how high I should aim. Maybe, for my personality type, it’s much better to focus on the short term.

I’ll stick to my daily routine which I know makes my life better in multiple ways. I’ll keep choosing tasks which are meaningful rather than expedient (as JBP would say). I will aim to stay aligned with the 3 principles of Truth, Courage and Love.

Rather than obsess over my future, I’ll attend to the small but important aspects of my life with as much attentiveness as I can muster.

And I’ll have faith that bigger, more important goals will reveal themselves to me, when the time is right.

As 12 Steps fellowships are fond of saying… “Just For Today“.


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