January brings the beginning of a new year and the opportunity to reflect and reset as the calendar changes. As I do some of that, I can honestly share that whatever resolutions I had 12 months ago are…well…history.
Therein lies the value of insight number one for the new calendar year: If it really matters, give it enough purposeful thought to document it. This is particularly relevant as one ages (and also if you happen to have attention deficit, um, what’s was the last word? Hmmmm. Oh disorder!)
The process of documenting your goals is associated with the influencing “principle of consistency”: If you document your goals, you are more likely to revisit them, act upon them and share them with others (who can help hold you accountable) and actually make some actual progress.
The second insight on my list is to avoid making long lists, particularly when it comes to self development. (This is where self honesty becomes very important) Almost 30 years ago, my very helpful wife shared some insights:1) I was terrible with details; 2) I had all of the patience in the world (I hadn’t used any to that point) and; 3) My listening skills were more theoretical than observable.
OUCH. That’s what you get when you ask for feedback.
That particular type of feedback is what’s typically referred to as a “significant emotional event.” What I actually received from my thoughtful and loving spouse was a lifetime prescription. While I’m still medicating after all of these years in search of mastery, I’ve made notable progress, in both my personal and work life.
As it happens, her suggestions regarding patience and listening led me down a path which revealed the value of learning how to ask effective questions. If you focus on one change long enough to benefit from the results, it leads to other possibilities.
That brings me to insight number three: Focus on the VITAL FEW. There’s no hope for conquering the world until you move beyond the base camp of making progress on you!
Finally, in the spirit of brevity and listening to my own voice regarding long lists, there’s one more timeless topic I’d offer as an insight as you move into the new year: Time.
The ways we think about – and refer to – the concept of time are fascinating, insightful, amusing and very misguided. We refer to time as something we save or manage through our intentional behavior. Yet, none of those things are possible.
The clock ticks forward. Relentlessly. In an endless manner. Without restraint.
You can’t save or manage time. Have you ever seen anyone’s time account, or time inventory? Time can’t be managed, even during the two minute warning in a football game.
No one can manage the clock – or manage time. You can only manage yourself and your own behavior. If you are able to do that in ways which create efficiency or effectiveness, congratulations! That will allow you to use additional time on other things.
As you make your way into 2018, reflect on the value of setting and DOCUMENTING goals, seeking and acting upon feedback and embracing self management versus time management.
As you learn to focus on the vital few, versus the trivial many, you’ll learn that managing yourself more effectively can be vastly rewarding. The future approaches and will quickly become the present.
Be prepared and have a productive and Happy New Year!