The novelty of a clean slate eases the challenge of altering our habits. Hence, the start of a new year is viewed by many as the opportune time to adopt a resolution, set a goal, or embrace a life theme.
Plenty start the New Year fueled with ambition. But then life happens. They get distracted. Then, they get discouraged. And before they know it, their ambition turns into abandonment.
I used to be someone who suffered through this cycle.
My biggest obstacle was that I usually chose conflicting resolutions and/or goals. I aspired to exercise more, travel more, sleep more, spend more time with my family, and learn more skills.
Despite my best efforts, I continually found myself unable to reengineer the mathematical confines of a twenty-four-hour day. I simply couldn’t fit all those resolutions and goals into my life without eliminating something I was currently doing—a premise that contributed to me abandoning my New Year’s ambitions.
After a conversation I had with an older, wiser mentor, I decided to take a S.E.A. approach to the turning of the calendar. Each year, I pick two areas of my life to sustain, two to expand, and two to amend.
My receptiveness to change has led me to develop several “good” habits that I don’t want to abandon. In fact, quite the opposite, I want to make a conscious effort to sustain these habits.
For instance, my wife, who is also my business partner, and I go on a thirty minute walk every morning where we discuss pressing business matters. We think of these walks as a moving staff meeting. They’ve proven to be beneficial on multiple fronts and, therefore, I am committed to keeping them going.
I may have to compromise a few of my other practices to make room for new ambitions, but I refuse to allow our staff meeting walks to be discarded or altered.
I don’t want to be the same version of myself next year as I currently am—in every regard. So I aspire to expand my sphere of experiences, which expands my comfort zone and the extent of my knowledge.
I have been to all but five of the Hard Rock Cafés in the United States. So this year, my goal is to visit and buy a t-shirt from at least one of my remaining locations (Sacramento, Memphis, Honolulu, Denver, and Cincinnati).
This isn’t so much a resolution as it is a goal, albeit a silly one to some. But it’s my goal and its worthiness is relative to me. Having something to look forward to, to pursue, keeps life interesting.
Just as I have habits I want to keep, I also have habits I want to amend. I don’t know that they need to be completely abandoned, but they do need to be altered for the better.
I’ve been drinking too much coffee lately. A little coffee has arguable health benefits; a lot of coffee has none. I’ve decided that I am going to limit my coffee intake to only those occasions when I am writing. I don’t write every day, nor do I write more than once a day. So linking my coffee intake to my writing habits seems like a pairing that will bear dividends.
The objective of New Year’s resolutions, goals, and themes should be to make you a better version of yourself, whether that means being happier, healthier, or holier.
Notable seafarer Jacques Cousteau once said, a changed life happens when you “discard the old, embrace the new, and run headlong down an immutable course.” The S.E.A. approach will assuredly lead you in that direction.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate!