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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Things I'm doing differently in 2014

Unlike some, I actually rather enjoy the process of setting New Year's resolutions.  I really do.  Now I don't view them as really being anything more than part of life's normal planning process, but that doesn't matter, as the net impact is the same:  it's about challenging yourself to be do live some aspect of your life better.  I realize that I may be a little bit late to the game on this one, but who cares?  Dates are, for the most part, very arbitrary things anyway.

Without out further explanation, here are some of my goals in 2014.

  1. To Consciously Disconnect One Day a Week - Once all of the moving stuff is completely settled at the end of the month, I'm going to take one day out of the weekend and pretty much put the phones away.  Personal and work.  I may check it once, perhaps, and I am not sure which day, but I will have one day during the week when I will not be a walking connection to the Internet.  One day when the only way you will be able to deal with me will be through one of the old fashioned ways.
  2. To Dramatically Reduce Multi-Tasking - I have a number of habits (such as almost constant note taking, using my phones, etc.) that I employ basically as an excuse to keep my mind on 4 different things at once.  It's a neat trick, but I need to stop that, and I need to make the conscious decision to be present.  "Present" as in actually attuned and focused on what I am doing at that moment.  I owe that not only to those I work with, but for my family and loved ones as well.  Mostly though, I owe it to myself.  I deserve to not have my mind working in constant swirls, as it's ultimately both unproductive and stressful.
  3. To Practice Calm - I will make a conscious effort to be calm, to not allow myself to be dragged down by negative thoughts, and to listen to what my body and my mind is telling me at all times.  My goal is to try and appreciate that in life, every moment truly counts, so way allow myself to get mentally bogged down?  I know, easier said than done, but that's why this is a goal.
The above relate to creating a better place in which my head can reside.  I know that's rather odd sounding, but it's kind of like cleaning up the mental air that I breathe.  Right now I have a lot of mental pollution that impedes my ability to truly live life to the fullest.

The next two relate to my body.
  1. To Eat Better - I have to treat my body better.  I need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.  I need to stop treating what I eat as something that doesn't matter, because it does.
  2. To Exercise More - There have  been far too many reasons why I have been able to put off going to the gym on a regular basis.  That needs to stop.  I need to find a new routine.  Now more than ever, as I turn 50 in a few months, it's essential that I become even more active.

These are boiler-plate kinds of things, but they are still important.

The last two relate to building my mental stamina.
  1. To Read More and Better - I read a lot, every day, but like my eating, I tend to read a lot of things that represent the equivalent of empty calories.  I need to focus more on reading things that either make me really happy or which make me a better person.  Now the category of "make me really happy" is pretty darn broad, but that's okay. 
  2. To Really Pay Attention to My Career - I'm not all that interested in promotions and the like (I know, that's the equivalent of sacrilege in the business world, but so be it), but I am interested having a bigger impact at work.  I need to better focus my energies on those things that will have the biggest impact on the people I work with and serve (be they an executive or someone in the mail room).  This means doing more of the things that energize me and it means really, truly engaging in self development.  It's time to start practicing what I preach to others.  It's time to stop hoarding for some future date the encouragement, trust and support that others have given me.

Noble stuff, to be sure, but certainly very attainable.  Besides, for all of these things, there isn't a single goal to be accomplished; no for all, it's about journey.  


Mike Sporer said...

I think what some consider multi-tasking is impossible for humans. Check out Dr. John Medina.

Quieting the mind is great. The positive results is noticed in retrospect and very subtle, Stephen. It must become a practice.

Stephen Albert said...

Thanks for the comment and the reference Mike; I'll check out Brain Rules. I love the brain mechanics stuff; I'd recommend "You Are Not Your Brain" by Drs Schwartz & Gladding.

The multi-tasking thing is interesting. It's one of those few things in life that everyone knows is both bad for you and ineffective, yet it's still an admired trait. For me, it's almost hardwired. I always have someone top of mind and a few things processing kind of in the background. It can make falling asleep very difficult.

- Steve