I don’t know how I feel about the whole New Year’s resolution business, but here’s what I’ve been thinking about for 2020.
But in order to properly contextualize what I’m focusing on for 2020, I first need to reflect a little bit on what happened in 2019. Maybe a better title for this would actually be “Reflection on 2019 and what’s next”, but either way:
January 2019: Started writing my Kaizen by Grace series.
July 2019: Meditated for an hour every day (30dc*). Started my 365 day challenge.
August 2019: Moved to Paris
September 2019: Solo-travelled for the first time.
October 2019: Airplane Mode mornings (30dc*)
November 2019: One Post a Day (30dc*)
December 2019: One Post a Day Take 2 (30dc*)
January 2020: Launched blog. 1000 words a day (30dc*)
*30dc = 30 day challenge
I realized that I can remember shockingly little about my year before starting my 365 day challenge and rigorous 30 day challenges. I also found myself wishing I had a digital record of my journal entries to help jog my memory. It was also super interesting to me that none of these short descriptions about my life included any mention of school, work, or material things. I feel like this timeline is yet another representation of the fact that my 365 day challenge, specifically question # 7 What was the most important thing I did today?, really got me to start working on things that actually matter to me. As a result, I am also proud of way more things that happened in the second half of the year. This timeline also got me thinking about what similar timelines would look like for previous years of my life, and not to be dramatic, but I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be much on any of them. Because while I wouldn’t consider myself to be a slacker by any means, I was never really the type of person to be consistently motivated outside of my responsibilities. I talked about becoming more diligent and persistent with tiny, little, baby steps in a previous post, so here I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this means and where I’ll be heading next.
The three big wins for 2019 were definitely:
- making big commitments to my passion/side projects
- developing really strong, flexible base habits (meditation, exercise, sleep, reflection)
- working on independence and confidence via inner child healing
And although they may seem pretty separate, they are very tied together. Independence helped me take the leap to get started. Here’s a quick recap of how I made the decision to dive into my side projects:
In the middle of my summer, in the middle of my 30 day meditation challenge, I realized that I was really playing it safe in well… life. Anyone who knows me knows that growing up I was terrified of breaking rules. So much so that police officers terrified me. In fact, when I was a kid I used to cry whenever I saw them. I don’t like offending people, sometimes to a fault. And I hate gambling. I just don’t like taking risks. Which considering my all-or-nothing tendencies, is probably for the best. That being said, it also leads to me feeling “stuck” on the “conveyor belt” of life. The traditional path. And it’s not that I don’t want to be on the traditional path of life; I’m perfectly happy being on the traditional path of life as long as I can also do more and work on things that I love. However, when one finds oneself on the traditional path of life it is easy to do nothing but that, and I definitely fell into that trap. Why? Because it’s easy.
After reading a lot of books on startups, entrepreneurship, and more broadly on self-actualization, I realized that if I wanted to make any serious progress on my projects, I would need to make a serious commitment or investment to myself. This could be anything from quitting my job, to a financial investment, to moving, to any other big change that forces you to do something different. Being the risk-averse person that I am, I chose to do none of those and opt for a different kind of a commitment: something public and something long. Because everyone knows “long” and “public” are enemies of the fleeting mind. So I chose to start a 365 day challenge because (1) I was terrible at doing a night routine (2) I was scared of starting a YouTube channel and (3) I was terrible at consistency aka doing things for a long period of time. Doing two things you’re terrible at and one thing you’re scared of is always a great idea right? But that is exactly why I chose it, and while this challenge may not be a suitable “investment” for everyone, for me it was perfect. It was tailored not to my strengths, but to my weaknesses. And the other caveat was that I would have to start right away. No wasting time “brainstorming” aka “dawdling”, because I truly could brainstorm away a lifetime. I would have to jump right in and just learn as I went along. Now for someone biased towards diving right in, maybe the opposite approach would work. The point is as long as it’s a big investment for YOU, that’s all that matters.
So, back to the three wins of 2019. Independence helped me take the leap to get started. Getting started with a serious commitment helped me develop strong flexible habits. Developing strong flexible habits helped me maintain my independence. You can see how the cycle continues. One thing I’ve realized in life is that everything is connected. As much as we try to separate, compartmentalize, and rationalize different parts of our life, it’s truly impossible to just change “one” thing. But that’s a story for another time.
For 2020, here are my big 3:
- Make it a habit to do things that make me uncomfortable.
- Focus on friendships & be authentically ~nerdy~.
- Get rid of / stop wanting material things.
I would say that all three of these are grown out of 2019.
2019 was the first time I frequently did things that made me uncomfortable, and I
hated loved it. I’m now starting to be uncomfortable being comfortable, but I want to build on this even more and form some type of habit around doing things that make me uncomfortable.
The connection to (2) I think is a little less clear, but focusing on myself and my independence so much in 2019 actually ended up helping me develop deeper friendships and value them even more. Before I fully embraced every aspect of myself, I would sometimes hold back weirder, more nerdy aspects of my personality. When I stopped doing this in 2019, the results were crazy. Not only was I happier being my authentic self, but I discovered things about my friends that made us even closer that I never would have known had I been hiding behind my “safe” self.
And (3) is probably the least clearly connected, but I believe this desire just rose out of general progress on self-actualization. At the end of 2019, I began finding advertisements, malls, and even many websites and videos extremely overwhelming. This was the first year where I actively avoided Black Friday sales like the plague. I won’t lie to you and say that I don’t want things anymore, but I definitely feel like my relationship with them is changing and I want to continue progress on this front. I particularly want to focus on minimizing what I already have and working on a mindset/training my mind to want less and attach less to physical things. I think all these three things address varied pockets of my life and would all be extremely valuable to my personal journey. That being said, I did rank them by priority with (1) being the most important and (3) the least.
I haven’t developed any strategies to track my progress on these resolutions because to be honest, all of these are too broad to be considered actionable goals for me. I suppose I think of them more like intentions or areas of focus in which smaller, micro-goals will be developed later on. This way, there’s no falling victim to the perils of generic New Years Resolutions, but we still get all the fun of the discussion.
What are you guys prioritizing in 2020? And let me know what you think; always happy to chat :)