Gidday and happy New Year.
How was it, too much champagne, too little fireworks, a raging hangover? Did you make a New Years Resolution not to touch alcohol ever again, broken by just one beer (then another) at a BBQ 24 hours later. The Melbourne Age newspaper (Jan 4), reports:
“A quarter of men who make a new years resolution to lose weight have already given up on their diets by January 2, a poll suggests.”
Women it seems are stronger with 31% making it to 1 week according to health company Bupa. Ok it’s not hilarious.
We all want a quick fix. Admit it. Have a look at how many blog posts begin with 3 quick ways, 5 opportunities to create, 7 secrets etc. It’s no accident that every second article starts with a promise of a couple of quick ideas. They know what hooks you.
I think I have the answer to this annual dilemma. This year my new years resolution is to have no New Years Resolutions. Every year I go as far as writing my New Years Resolutions in a new book and carefully filing them for regular review. They never see the light of day again.
Last years list
Get fit starting January 1st and run a marathon in Feb, surely it can’t be that hard. All you need is some new shorts, a singlet and a pair of runners with more stripes than a zebra. Failed
Write a novel. I have always enjoyed writing, in fact I have ¾ of a novel tucked away in about 32 drafts on USB sticks, the PC and my iPad. All I have to do is finish it. Failed
Compose a symphony. We have enough instruments and computer programs here to resurrect Beethoven and cross him with Jimi Hendrix for an Ode to Purple Haze. Even a couple of bars of a pop hit would be satisfying. Failed
Get the golf handicap below 10. All that would take is about 40 hours practice a week and a sympathetic eye from the Gods of golf. You guessed it. Failed
New Years resolutions – they sound pretty exciting don’t they, promises of a new life, a better life. Just tweak a few habits here and there. Turn a hamburger into a leafy green salad, a beer into a glass of water, a bowl of ice cream into a camomile tea, and a drive to the shop into a chin up power walk. Wow, when you hear it like that, it sounds incredibly boring doesn’t it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am all for To Do lists, action plans, agendas, planning and accountability. However, I also think some of our greatest opportunities and innovative moments result from pure chance combined with awareness and a willingness to stretch ourselves.
Have you heard of Serendipity or Synchronicity?
“Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.”
Maybe you subscribe to Carl Jung the famous Swiss psychologists’ theories of synchronicity.
“Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, whereas they are unlikely to be causally related. The subject sees it as a meaningful coincidence, although the events need not be exactly simultaneous in time.”
Maybe the trick is to do less planning and more doing. Live in the moment and stay aware. Instead of looking out the window wistfully, dreaming of your better self, your better life, writing it in a notebook and waiting for it to materialise before your adoring eyes, maybe this year, the resolution should be to just get up and go for it.
Get a notebook, by all means, I recommend that as part of awareness. I have heaps, started but not finished of course. Write down your thoughts and ideas. Things you’d like to do, things you’d like to have. But maybe this year, don’t force things, just let them come to you. A brain map is a great way to see how things come to you, to identify and become aware of the odd connections and coincidences that bring opportunities within your reach. Of course you have to take opportunities when they come within your grasp. Some will be good and some will be non-events, but nothing ventured, nothing gained
So what am I suggesting?
Well, I am suggesting we drop all but one New Years resolution. I think we all know the vast majority of them never come to fruition. And apart from that, at work we are all already swamped with action plans, personal goals, targets etc.
Upon reflection, I am thinking I will have one New Years Resolution this year and that is to try and take opportunities when they arise. Not to hesitate and not to find all the reasons under the sun why I just can’t do something.
It’s amazing how often the completely unplanned opportunities are the best and most exciting. I guess they come with no expectations attached so the bar is set pretty low, but just the same, as an example, in 2013 I started writing articles for the company intranet and started my blog. That was not planned in any way. In December 2013, more than 1500 people viewed one of my articles on the company intranet in about a week, which is more than 20% of the company. It attracted a huge number of comments (see post). It was a huge success for me. Frankly, in January, if I was planning and hoping for that to happen, I might just have found a reason not to start for fear of failure. In January 2013, I had not even an inkling that the year had held that and other opportunities for me.
Hope you have a wonderful 2014 and you can join me on my blogging adventure this year.
About the Cartoon Character
Gary Plodder is my fictional manager. Any resemblance to any man, woman, fish or mammal living or deceased is purely coincidental and frankly unfortunate, but also very likely. Plodder is an awful manager, terrible, hopeless and unpleasant. Of course you don’t know any one like that do you. Plodder works at Sausage City where he heads up the Wurst division under the Title of Sausage City’s Wurst General Manager. He is proud to be the manager of the company’s Wurst team. Right now he is into his annual week of New Years fitness resolutions. He’ll get over it, and all too soon.