Now, that we’ve survived yet another holiday season filled with mince pies, stodgy food and an inordinate amount of alcohol, It’s time to kick off our year with those pesky resolutions that keep popping up beginning of each year and make the necessary amends for the things we’ve neglected or have yet to conquer, like: our optimal weight; our ideal career; our flourishing bank account or our excellent guitar playing skills.
Can we put up with another resolution list like yesteryear or is there a better way to overcome this repetitive wheel of ceaseless patterns and habits?
The answer is blatantly YES. However, the question is how can we make it more bearable and tolerable to deal with?
Writing out our resolutions is a false concept if we’re aiming to reach for certain goals. The problem to begin with is not that our goals aren’t justified, or positive in their outcome, it’s just that our goals seem to be quite opaque and hazy to begin with.
Wishing to lose weight or earn a certain amount of money within a particular time frame is all well and good but there are huge challenges to surmount. The trick is to break our goals down to bite sized chunks, which are more palatable and manageable for the mind (taste) buds and not too hefty to put us off. It’s like breaking a massive cookie into pieces which are just bearable to enjoy, a bite at a time, if you’ll go with this analogy.
If we can allow ourselves to eat a crumb of cookie a day, making it more digestible and intolerable then it goes without saying that we’ll eventually devour the whole cookie within a certain amount of time. When will that happen really depends on us.
It’s like the question ‘how do you eat an elephant?’
The answer – one bite at a time.
But, you already knew that, right? Let’s go a step further then and get rid of the whole goal concept. Let’s pretend you don’t have any resolutions or you can’t be bothered to sit down and write them down.
Cool, now what?
Decide then on one thing that you’d like to improve for 2019 and let’s stick with just that.
For example, if you’re aiming to write a novel or a screenplay this year decide roughly how long it would take for you to do so. Depending on your daily commitments and work load let’s give it between 6-12 months. Now, lets reverse engineer the decision you made and work your way backwards from around mid-August to beginning of January of this year. That means that you have allowed yourself about 7 months or 210 days to write a book or a screenplay. Great, now lets divide that number by the amount of pages it would roughly take to write a novel or a screenplay and for the benefit of this exercise lets say it’s a page a day. Wonderful. Lets surmise that to write one page a day would take you perhaps an hour or even less depending on how fast you are with your typewriting skills. Now, all it takes is for you to make that commitment to invest an hour a day of your time to put your toosh on your coosh and your fingers to the keyboard to engage in a skill that you’ll eventually excel in.
And that’s the rub, the intention of excelling at what it is that you want to achieve in life.
Writing a page a day is relatively easy, all depends on how you look at it. For most of us it may seem insurmountable particularly if you’re just a starter. The moment you begin to understand that it doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you get something, anything, on the page then you’re already half way there. The aim of the game is to just start writing. Write poorly if you have to, and continue to write poorly. And write poorly until it isn’t poorly anymore and then you’ll have something you can use.
The problem is that we keep waiting for that perfect moment, or that foolproof way to do something so that we don’t feel bad if we end up doing it wrong, especially in front of our colleagues or friends. And that is why we give up within the first week or the first month of the year. Because we didn’t break our target down into yummy and appetising bite sized chunks.
Remember it’s those little exertions that count, every day, towards your goal. The ability to forge ahead during a certain length of time (and it could be quite a lengthy one at that) will increase your work flow in increments, little by little, step by step, inch by inch, you’ll get ahead but not necessarily in fast spurts as Charlie Munger says.
This isn’t rocket science, nor is it mumbo jumbo voodoo crap. This is based on fact. It has been proven time and time again whether it’s by artists, athletes or entrepreneurs alike.
Pursue excellence for now and avoid the goal. Deploy patience and love the process however long it may take.
Adapt a marathon mindset in a world of sprinters to get ahead in whatever field it is you’re willing to play in.
The task is not necessarily to win, but to stay in the game as long as you can – meaning to keep learning, processing, testing, understanding, growing and excelling…
Avoid the thoughts of thinking about your goal and concentrate on excelling each day, little by little, step by step, a cookie crumb here and a chocolate chip there (unless you’re aiming to lose weight ;-)).
Stick with it long enough and your resolutions will become acclamations or alternatively personal abominations which will cause you, once again, to put aside those dreaded goals until the year 2020.
Let’s ignore the twenty twenty for now and concentrate on the nineteen – if you know what I mean.
So, here’s to excel-lence in 2019.
Excel & Rebel…