The New Year is upon us and that means so, too, is the spate of posts about resolutions. How to make them, why you should make them (or not), and how to stick to the ones you make. For the more linear thinkers, the ubiquitous Excel spreadsheet planners are offered by generous souls all over the web. For creative types, planners exist for you (me), too. Many resources are free. Check out the ones offered by Charlie Gilkey or Susannah Conway as examples. Maybe one of these planners will work for you.
Sit down within the space of a few quiet moments or hours; think about what you want your life to look like in February and May and November. Jot it all down in ink to make it stick. Approach 2012 the same way you would any list. Decide what you want to accomplish, write it down, and make it so.
But, wait! Screech! Reverse!
Your life is not a friggin’ to-do list of tasks and goals. Your life at its most rich and rewarding is an organic journey, an opportunity to nurture your whims, a path without a destination to travel. In fact, life lived as it unfolds–without so damn much exertion–is a life to consider, and one that I suggest you try. Instead of striving for resolution, I propose evolution. Resolve to evolve. Be, rather than do.
Instead of front-loading a bunch of crap onto your days, as if you are a walking carbon checklist, perhaps you might try building in some room for rumination, some time for tinkering, and some space for spacing out. Yes, I am suggesting that you spend at least some of your days in 2012 without a plan! Crazy-talk to some of you, I know, but consider this your opportunity, a big shiny permission slip, to live without constraint—even if it’s just occasionally. Don’t worry, your list will still be there if you want it.
What, you wonder, would that look like? How would you spend your time? Maybe you aren’t even sure what you want to do with your life. No, not what you think you should want, but what you really want to do. I am not anti-goal-setting, I think goals, like anything, are best if approached without fanaticism. Feverish pursuit of the future blinds us to the gorgeous-sexy-goodness of the now.
And lest you think that I think you are independently wealthy and don’t need to work to pay the bills, I don’t. Most of us do need to work to sustain ourselves, and often there is little flexibility within our workday, especially when working for others. But the remaining hours of the day, at least eight of them, after you knock off the other eight with good quality sleep, can be yours. Yes, they can. You get to decide (unless you are a 6-year-old reading this, then I suggest you go outside and play, but ask your mother first) how to use them.
Consider: How much time do you squander away in front of the telly? Arguing? Gossiping? Shopping for crap you don’t need? Comparing yourself and your success (or lack thereof) to that of others? If you engage in even one of these activities throughout your week, you could free up at least a few hours (or more) if you just stop it. Now.
A new year gives us a point of reference for a new start. Each hour is a new hour. Each day is a chance to start fresh. How are you going to evolve in 2012? How will you get closer to living your life authentic?