I wonder how many million Blogs have been written over the last week or so based on the subject of New Year’s resolutions?  I have read quite a few, and jolly good they have been too.

Been there, done that

Been there, done that

One that caught my attention in particular was Cedric’s Blog (see the full article here) in which he proposes that New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time.  Because they are self-focused and they do not inspire, they do not produce a sustainable result.

Sorry to disappoint, I hope you didn’t spend too long on yours….

To put it another way, my old mate Spencer Holmes would be saying they don’t work because we set these resolutions for ourselves to address things we feel we ought to do differently, not for things we want to do differently.  “I must lose weight”, “I must see more of my kids”, “I must stop being nasty to the dog” – all of these are things which we feel are pushing down on us.  And when  humans feel something pushing on them, their natural instinct is to push back.

So – forget setting resolutions which you feel you should achieve, and go for something you feel genuinely passionate about.  Allow yourself some time to consider this – what do you truly want to change, and as Cedric says, what sets the bar of living high for you”?

My answers came to me this morning whilst walking the dog.  I am going to improve my productivity.  Woo hoo, bully for me!

I am genuinely excited about this.  I’m not talking productivity in a boring old “get more done” type of way – produce 25 widgets per hour instead of 20.  No, much more about making every minute count.    I’ll be 56 this year.  I’m lucky – still reasonably fit and healthy, full of energy and ideas, in one sense at the top of my game as a behavioural skills consultant, but in another sense not achieving my full potential.  I think.

You only get one go.  How many more years do I have in which to find my potential?  Maybe not that many.  Why would I want to waste time treading water when there is so much to explore and so much to be done?

So, I’m going to strip out as much of the pointless, unfulfilling, mediocre stuff as I can, and try to make more of every moment.  I’m going to apply some criteria, and aim to spend less than 10% of my waking hours on stuff which does not achieve these criteria.  Here are the questions I want to keep asking myself:

  • Is it worth doing?
  • Am I adding value?
  • Is it adding value to me?
  • Does anyone care or even notice it?
  • Am I using my resources effectively?
  • How can I change it so that I get value from it?

What difference will this make?  Well, I see myself turning down work with clients who see training as a cost not an investment, and only care about price per seat.  I see myself using time spent in airports, walking the dog, driving to London, cutting the grass, as a time to learn something, to think, to be creative.

In short, I want this year to move me towards achieving my full potential, by being more creative in how I use my time, and seeing humdrum activities as an opportunity to do something much more valuable.

You may well be the sort of person who spends time in meetings because you feel you have to – not attending would be letting the side down, and would be frowned upon.  I know plenty of people who lose hours if not days per week to these draining experiences.  So why not change that:  either negotiate your way out, or make the meeting more productive – get creative, break the rules, have some fun, be yourselves.  What are you waiting for?

Speaking of personal goals, you may have noticed that one of my “Six impossible things before breakfast” club goals is to have a video achieve 1 million YouTube hits.  I am proud to say that this happened over Christmas, with my small contribution (along with lovely departed Rufus) on the beach at Bude in a gale, in the film “Christmas in a Day“.  This has had well over 1 million hits now.  If you didn’t see it, here it is.  I’m on at 18.50.

Happy New Year, and may your waking hours be as truly productive and rewarding as they can be.

© Marek – Fotolia.com

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