“Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. How many of your New Year’s resolutions have been about fixing a flaw?“ -Jonathan Haidt
2021 is gone like that. Like a blink of an eye. When time is moving this quickly it’s a great habit to look through the year and review what went well, what you could have improved on and reexamine your priorities.
Tim Ferriss has an amazing exercise he discusses that I’m definitely going to try for the first time. Here is what he writes:
I’m often asked about how I approach New Year’s resolutions. The truth is that I no longer approach them at all, even though I did for decades. Why the change? I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions. I did my first PYR after a mentor’s young daughter died of cancer on December 31st, roughly eight years ago, and I’ve done it every year since. It takes 30-60 minutes and looks like this:
1. Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
5. Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2022. These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.
What I love about this approach is it takes all the pressure off of me to take on another task, challenge, big goal etc. I’m already working on my 20 year plan… I’d rather develop better habits, i.e. not checking email as often, or being more consistent with my yoga practice than setting New Year’s resolutions that could be setting me up for failure.
So this year, I’m going to put into my calendar the nouns (people, places and things) that I KNOW bring me joy based on last year’s nouns… I’ll let you know next year how it goes, but my bet is eliminating the activities I didn’t enjoy and adding more of what I know I enjoy is going to be a fantastic and intentional way of planning my year.
I want to thank you for your precious attention this year and wish you and yours a happy healthy prosperous 2022!
"Today marks the end of the last chapter of the year. With the start of the first chapter of the New Year’s book, let’s put the old book on the shelf or even in the lower drawer, and let’s pick up the new one, carry crayons in our hands, and start writing a new colorful story.” -― Nadine Sadaka Boulos