Change for the Year Ahead

2019 has recently kicked off and as usual there has been talk of New Year’s Resolutions.

I didn’t set any resolutions as when I’d done that in the past they generally don’t stick. Maybe I fall for the over estimation bias of what I’m capable of.

I can’t remember who to attribute this idea to however I’m going to give it a go: Keep what worked last year, throw out what didn’t work and add in a few new things to try. Make some small but key changes.

The assumption here is that the change is all about self improvement or getting better such as better health, better systems, better wealth.

Here is some examples from my last year:

What Worked Last Year

  • Meditation (Headspace used for guided meditation and mindfulness)
  • Getting out of bed at 4:30am (As per Jocko Willink’s advice)
  • Slow Carb Diet (Becoming lean, less body fat)
  • Listening to Podcasts (Getting ideas and learning from the likes of Tim Ferriss and guests)
  • Reading Books / Learning (Similar to Podcasts)
  • Having an outside interest (Motorsport Track Marshal, Travel)
  • Standing Desk at work (Combating the “sitting is the new smoking)
  • Structured Learning and Practice (IIL Project Management and Guitar Mastery Method)

What didn’t work last year

  • Getting to bed earlier (Wind down earlier in the evening, with no screen time, including TV.)
  • Procrastination (I’ve got to get into the habit of just doing it, whatever it is.)
  • Lack of Consistency (Blogging, or lack there of is probably the best example of this, add the getting to sleep from above too)
  • Wasting Time (Not just my time but other’s too, especially at work)
  • Getting Stronger / Fitter (I’ve done the getting lean part yet have not got a consistent approach to being stronger and fitter.)

What to Add / Change / Remove

  • Get more sleep by getting to bed earlier and not using a screen for an hour prior to bed.
  • Get on with tasks that need to be done. Just do it. Remember that time is precious. Remember that other people’s time is precious to them too.
  • Blog for the audience of one. Relax and remember the “why” of blogging (sharing information that others might find helpful)
  • Use time more effectively, especially in the morning.Change what is done between waking up and going to work.
  • Get with a program for fitness and health. Fix anything that is wrong with the body that should have been fixed then get into some form of training that I like.
  • Stop watching as much TV. I have already nixed the Sky Sport channel seeing as they lost the F1 coverage. Watch documentaries and comedy.
  • Research and put into place better ways of doing things. This is the year of Agile / Scrum.
  • Take action on what is learned. Pretty much sums up all the above.

What I like about this approach to having a better life is that there is a lot of smaller changes rather than big bold proclamations. This means that I’m more likely to follow through. Also, though some changes are non specific, they can be quickly focused on and refined e.g.

Change Morning Routine to Use Time More Effectively:

  • Meditate
  • Exercise for half an hour (strength training) – Listen to podcast
  • Compliant Slow Carb Breakfast – Listen to Podcast during preparation, Read news while Eating
  • Blog or online learning. Publish a blog at least once a week.
  • Listen to Podcast on the way to work.

Note that I’m also making changes to the morning routine that leaves in what is working (compliant breakfast) and adding in the exercise and the podcast where currently that is checking mail and listening to the radio news channel. I can’t listen to podcasts at the same time as working so I can listen to the radio in the background then.

Time and experimentation will show if this approach will work for me and progress will be measured by noting change in output (blog), energy levels, and how much learning gets done from online courses and books. I have already managed to have the discipline to form good habits and remove bad ones which means implementing the change should not be a problem. Now that I have written the new routine down and shared it there is further motivation to get it done.

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