I don’t do New Year resolutions in the traditional sense. That is, listing a bunch of goals that I want to accomplish by the end of the year, and then planning “a course of action”. Sounds reasonable in theory. BUT …
It feels like I’ve got a bunch of personal KPIs to hit before year end. “I want to lose 10kg by mid-year through regular exercise and low-fat diet”. “I want to study harder and improve my grades from 60% to 90% in order to graduate by end of 2018”. So corporate, so not fun!
Also, too fleeting. Many goals are achieved just once. Reach the goal, bask in the win for a while, then feel restless or unsatisfied. What, then? Find another goal to work towards?
That said, I’m not going to coast along 2018, without any clarity on where I want to be in twelve months. I don’t do goals, but I can do themes.
Themes are broad, conceptual. The focus is not so much on attaining certain results, but on living. What do I want to live by? What can I practise and embody in my everyday life?
This sounds more meaningful to me.
So, in 2018, I’ve decided to live by these themes …
I want creativity to be one of my superpowers.
Anything is better with a touch of creativity. More unique, more memorable, more beautiful. I am also at one of my happiest when I have the freedom to create.
Many folks think that a creative streak is something you are born with. I say creativity is like a muscle; you can strengthen it through training and practice.
Since last year, I’ve been actively exercising my creativity. I try to write a little every day. I also resumed manga drawing after a three-year hiatus. I want to be a pro at both, so in 2018 I will dedicate at least half an hour to each pursuit per day. I want to read more fiction too, because good fiction stirs the imagination and soul.
Most important: continue to keep an open mind and dare to take on new challenges.
So much of life is about selling well.
To turn a prospect into a customer is to sell. To “make friends and influence people” is to sell. To stand out from a sea of job applicants and get hired is to sell. Anytime we persuade someone to listen to us, or choose us, we sell.
In 2018, I want to get more serious on selling. Expect to see me post on social media with more consistency. I’ll be working on my negotiation prowess too (blog post on this coming up soon!). Also, get clear on what I want people to know me for.
3. Kindness and compassion
I’ve mentioned before that my biggest fear is fear of powerlessness.
This fear compelled me to mature and develop into a stronger person. But it also resulted in a siege mentality. I don’t trust easily, I fear being taken advantage of, and I am quieter than before. I cannot let people hurt me again!
I became worried that I was too inward-looking, and this was not healthy.
One day, it struck me that everyone is struggling or fearful in one way or another. Even some of the toughest and most stoic people I know.
What if, instead of being wary of others, I show more compassion and kindness? Life is hard, and we just want the best for ourselves and the people we love.
I admire those with an abundance mindset. Or those who love and give despite going through soul-crushing nastiness. I am not at those stages yet, so for now, I’ll keep reminding myself to be as kind and compassionate as I can to people I encounter.
And smile more.
If you Googled “precession”, you will get a lot of information about rotational axes and rotating bodies.
That’s not what I mean here.
I’m going with Marshall Thurber’s definition. He said that as we chase our dreams, don’t forget to appreciate the blessings we receive along the way.
You know the main character in Paulo Coelho’s famous book, The Alchemist? He left behind a shepherd lifestyle in Spain and travelled to Egypt in search of buried treasure. Along the way, he made friends, fell in love, lost everything, reinvented himself, lost and gained a few more times, and got in touch with his heart.
SPOILER: at the end, he realised that everything he experienced during his epic journey was as valuable and worthwhile as the treasure he was looking for.
I want to be that dude.
This is the theme that keeps the other four themes going.
In 2017, I started doing various new things.
This year and beyond, I want to be more consistent in practising the skills I picked up in 2017. No more doing something sporadically i.e. “when I have free time”. If it’s important to me, I’ll set aside some time every day to work on it.
The beauty of consistency is that all those little daily efforts compound over time to create massive positive change.
OK, I admit: I did not have five concrete themes in mind when I started this blog post.
I had some general idea about what I wanted, but clarity dawned upon me only after a few frustrating iterations of blog post. Writing does indeed help me think!
I’ll blog more about how I’m doing with these themes as the months go by. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out by the end of the year!