When I first considered the idea, I didn’t think I’d be able to actually follow through. To be truthful, I knew that letting the blog sit for a year would be the easier of the two but I also knew that I would miss it. Sometimes being in this industry lends itself to cementing the introverted traits that I already own and I knew that I needed to push back a little and force myself to grow in other areas. A couple of years back I had come up with the idea of tweaking the traditional New Year resolutions idea a bit and I’ve had a pretty good run with my implementation.
I realized that reaching goals should not only be about achieving them, but also learning from the incremental steps along the way. My solution was to focus my efforts and try to bring a minimalistic approach to goal setting. So I implemented the “Do 1 thing a Day” mantra. At first it seemed too small of an idea to make any kind of a difference and it did take a bit or boundary creation to make it effective. After some thought it basically sounded something like this:
In the midst of the normal responsibilities and tasks that make up a life, find and complete an additional item that falls outside of that.
From humble beginnings, this way of thinking manages to get well above 200 things done a year. So think of it this way, all those extra things (fixing things around the house, personal development and community outreach), sometimes with a little bit of planning, become a reality. And after a year of pushing yourself to fix the hook in the laundry, or replace the broken sprinkler head, or make cards for friends and family instead of sending an email or text, makes for a long list of accomplishments that might otherwise have been put off or neglected.
Now the roadblock that I had was to try and find a way to reduce my digital footprint and increase my real life one in a new way. It seemed that my 20 year old self had been caught up in a routine of being more of a homebody and less of an adventurer. I decided to change that… I looked at my ongoing idea of the ‘1 a Day’ plan and built on it with a more “intentional” approach, and in 2012 I embarked on quarterly goal setting. Every 3 months I would focus on an existing or new interest and spend one hour a day with it – just to see what would happen. All the while I promised myself that unless it involved work and possibly a small amount of Facebook, I would stop things like gaming, pointless web surfing, my blog, my smart phone and other miscellaneous ‘computer stuff’. I chose my 4 activities and started my journey…
Now that the year is over I look back and I’m happy with the effort. Did everything work out as planned? No. I’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t perfect but I also have a year’s worth of memories that involve a lot more personal development and greater connection with friends, family and my wife. I did manage to improve my freehand drawing skills, the meager guitar skills I have, my skills as a DJ and my grasp of French. In my eyes, that alone was worth it the effort and the upside is now I’m hooked on living a more experiential life.
This year, I want to balance some things but continue to include my new plan and either revisit some things or learn some new things. I’d love to tackle Italian or possibly Portuguese and if I could find a way to learn ventriloquism or sailing, I’ll make it happen this year.
And so I’m back. For better or worse and even if it’s just for myself – I’m dusting off this part of my life and seeing if I can find a compromise with my digital self. Maybe I’ve got another decade of things to say, maybe not – I guess I’ll find out…