New Year traditions have been overhauled for 2017.
For 99% of my adult life, the end of the year coincided with buying a blank book labeled with The New Year. It was used to write an analysis of the current year just ending (versus the goals and objectives I set out with) and then begin planning and big-picture thinking about the year ahead. I would create several versions of my goals and often did this for each of what I thought of as “key areas”: health/fitness, business, friends, relationships, family, community, and often a new area like write book, graduate school, new office, move, or some category that related to a particular big area that was going to happen in the coming year.
By the first week of January, I was set to go. Many items and specific strategies were already in the book and most goals were already memorized and I was set to take action.
I bought a lovely blue blank 2017 book at the end of 2016. It still sits idle and empty. If you want to give it a home let me know. Just never got focused on the big end-of- year analysis and next-year planning thing. Maybe 2016 stressed me out too much, or I just lost interest in over-evaluating myself.
I have informally evaluated the year in my head – more than once. Many down arrows around plans – I had to jump start a work project that has been in fits and starts for nearly 15 years, one quite odd and one very tough health issue happened along, a plan I kept pushing never jelled, a different and very successful 45th college reunion was special. But then lots of up arrows around all I learned and all the fun and experiences from the first year of traveling all over for half the year. I don’t seem to want to put it all down on paper much less get my goals out from the start of 2016, and check off the ones done and those undone.
What’s going on?
As I soon approach my 67th birthday on the 20th, I seem definitely less inclined to elaborately plan and set multiple goals in multiple areas anymore. I am not feeling bad about what I used to do – just don’t feel in my heart it is what I need to do now. Complexity doesn’t thrill me anymore.
It appears that I am now “getting” the big (but unoriginal) insights most people get when they are aging – even fabulously as my partner Cathy Green and I do. Here’s a few: we all are going to die, and likely it won’t be a blast and it will be decades from now; everyone we know is in that same boat; we absolutely positively cannot and will not change anyone but ourselves. Changing ourselves can still happen – but we must get very strong, disciplined and focused. The standards we have for how our nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, and people in general, should handle things is not just a complete fantasy and waste of time thinking about. It can take too much bandwidth, as my one friend says, and make you lose focus on what you can control: your own life.
Yes, the BIG insight has come through – success in life means staying on your own yoga mat. Or, as our mothers’ used to say: mind your own business. It wasn’t exactly the same point, but it worked for them. The yoga mat is more in keeping with being fabulous, since it implies we have to stay focused on ourselves and have to do it with discipline – our long-suit anyway. We would not be fabulous now if we hadn’t been super-disciplined then.
Here’s my new plan and goals for 2017. Short, sweet, and I hope, freshly fabulous. My hope is it gets you thinking about your 2017 – in a new, light and happy way.
- Make money on the product I (and my partners) have focused on for 15 plus years. Get leverage from years of work already finished. Continue to make it better as it takes off. New technology will allow us to sell it quickly (January and February launches are set) see what works, what doesn’t and what maybe never will. Dump it or celebrate it.
- Feel as good as I can every day. Exercise, meditate, pray, give time and attention to those in need who are present on my road. On the days I can’t do these things, take a longer nap.
- Use some new inputs for spiritually, reflection, growth – mix it up a bit. Get off old lists, or emails and get on newer ones. Constantly curate my world.
- Continue to write. Continue to read good books. Watch more Netflix. When in doubt or any distress, listen to classical or spa music.
- Have as much fun, find reasons to laugh and do as many new things as possible – both alone and with those I love. Travel frequently but lightly.
- Coach people I love and know I can influence – keep that group very small. Let my tribe thrive (those who matter) and keep those close who care, and detach from those who don’t, without any thought. If something needs a great deal of analyzing, skip it.
Guess I am set – I feel a little naked with this short a list. But as I continue to be challenged by aging and its numerous losses and surprises, I recommit to the less is more approach. Focus on what matters. Forget everything else. Never stop changing as the situation demands, and absolutely never stop having fun. It’s seriously underrated.