Time rolls by and yet another year comes to an end. Years, months, days are but just yardsticks that measure its passage. Every year this time, almost all of us ask ourselves two questions:
- How did I live this year? If some look back with gratitude, some are just thankful its over.
- How do I want to live next year? We want to use this time as a ‘course correction’.
After taking stock of the situation of where we are and where we want to be, we promise ourselves to take steps to reach our goal. We promise ourselves a fresh beginning. ‘I’ll quit smoking’, ‘I’ll hit the gym’ we say to ourselves and, with all good cheer and intention we embark into a new year. Some reach their target but most don’t. When another December comes they promise themselves to do better yet again and move on to the next till the time it’s too late.
Even I have new year resolutions — areas I want to work-on to better myself. But, unlike always, I want to make things actually happen this time. I did not follow this exact template this year but, having achieved a few this year based on the thoughts below, I’m experimenting to see if I can replicate the success next year also. Only the year end will tell whether I did or if I was just an another 3-Day monk.
Focus on Few – We all have innumerable wants but if we had to choose two to work on immediately, what would they be? Those should be our goals for this year. Start small, focus on a few. We can add more goals sometime down the year if we succeed, but for now focus on just two. It is essential to have clarity on what’s important to us or else we’ll get distracted and end up wanting to do a lot but actually doing nothing at all.
Don’t drop the ball – After identifying what needs to be done incorporate those tasks into your daily/weekly or monthly schedule and work on them regularly. Use ‘Seinfeld’s technique’ to check progress and keep ourselves on track. But, what is this Seinfeld technique?
One night I was in the club where Seinfeld was working, and before he went on stage, I saw my chance to ask Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic. What he told me was something that would benefit me a lifetime… He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works:
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
Plough through – If we keep cutting ourselves slack for every setback, we’d never make it to the end. There will be tough times and it’ll be really tough to push through it. But, we still got to get up and do our thing. We need to put what is right before what is convenient. Feel like giving up? do it anyway one more time. Remember not to break the chain.
Enjoy the ride – If losing weight’s our goal and we hate lean diet regimes, we might end up losing weight but would not have enjoyed the time spent on it. Reaching the goal will not be satisfactory if we don’t enjoy the time we spend on it. It’s a cliche by now — but life is not about the goal, it’s about the journey.