What are these “Ground Hog Day Resolutions” you ask? You can read the original writeup, but the general idea is that I’m not ready to make any resolutions come January 1st. For one thing, I’m exhausted by the holiday season. Secondly, I’ve got to catch up with all the stuff I didn’t finish, and am in no mood to make any new resolutions. Thirdly, I think Ground Hog Day deserves more recognition than it gets, as it’s one of my favorite “holidays”. Lastly, “Groundhog Day” is one of my favorite movies ever, the crowning jewel of Harold Ramis’ directorial accomplishment, and extols themes that are close to my own heart: self-improvement and establishing genuine relationships.
The goal of Ground Hog Day Resolutions is to make tangible progress on a few self-improvement goals, so I have specified several review days that follow the January 1st, February 2nd pattern. March 3rd (3/3), April 4th (4/4), and so on are all Ground Hog Day Resolution Review Days (GHDRR), when you check up on your progress.
Setting My New Resolutions
You can read all my progress reports if you’re curious, but to recap there were three main goals:
- Commit to Deriving Income from Writing and Making Stuff
- Build Sustainable Social Networks
- Sell a Product
These were goals that were pretty much business related, though I did get a few bonus personal goals like going to the gym and waking up early out of the way as well. What was really on my mind for 2007, though, was how to become happier and more independent. The first and last goals were related to independence by way of acknowledging that I would love to be writing and making my own stuff full time. The middle goal acknowledged that I can’t really stand alone, and I need regular human contact to be happy.
For 2008, my goals are largely the same business-wise, but I don’t feel the need to set them as my Ground Hog Day Resolutions (GHDRs) because the change has already been set in motion: I totally want to continue to make things, shift toward independent content creation, and meet as many awesome people as possible. I’ve already shifted my development environment to a laptop so I can theoretically work anywhere in the world, though I have to finish my current commitments for 2008 before I can really explore that option. So this year, I want to choose some resolutions that are related to future mobility:
- Pillar 1: Reputation as a writer and designer, so people outside my home area are interested in talking to me or working with me in their home town or country. My theory on reputation is that people find it much easier to assess you when they can actually see what you’ve done and what you’ve written. Also it has to do with how you present yourself in public, and how visible one is in the community. The way I approach this is by figuring out how best to contribute to it. Reputation is an important currency; if you have it, people will tend to invite you to participate, which gives you something to do with mobility.
- Pillar 2: Financial Resources fund possibilities. Reviewing the 4-Hour Work Week last year helped snap that into focus, and for me this means making things and trying to get that “idea-to-product-to-fullfillment-to-revenue” cycle going. Last year’s goal of selling a product for the first time was the first step. Expanding this into a self-sustaining revenue stream is step 2. With this in place, I could actually afford to go places and work on my writing projects.
- Pillar 3: Chutzpah to self-promote and just be unafraid of trying things publically. I’m quite shy when it comes to making claims about myself one way or the other (which is one reason I prefer to concentrate on letting the work speak for me). Need to get over this, though every fiber of my being is rebelling against the idea as I type this. I have absolutely no desire to push myself in this area…which is why I am listing it. At the very least, it means publishing an ebook for download, initiating contact with like-minded people I find out about, and figuring out ways to (sigh) monetize the site. The relation to mobility is, I think, one of adjusting my attitude toward business collaboration. I tend to think like an independent, but I am increasingly aware that it’s possible to “roll up” opportunities if you can see how the connections between people are made AND can carry it through based on strength of character and willfulness alone. It baffles me a bit, but it’s something I want to get a better handle on.
Personally, there are also some personal creative goals I’d like to pursue:
- Play an instrument / Play one song well
- Compose a song with an interesting arrangement
- Do some illustration with character, become more comfortable drawing
- Master a physical activity or sport
- Develop an effective physical training regimen
So that’s what’s on my mind right now. I am actually going to defer my specific Ground Hog Day Resolutions until next week, as I haven’t had time today to reflect on what the tangible results should be, and I have to prepare for a trip to California.
In the meantime, though, I can share the new forms I was working on to help guide the process.
Tangible Goals and Downloadable Forms
If you’re familiar with my Concrete Goals Tracker, you know that I tend to emphasize tangible accomplishment; when it comes to making a real impact on the world, the accomplishments that matter are the ones that leave an impression on someone OR creates something useful in the physical plane. Things you can see are also countable, which helps create a sense of progress.
This year I’ve added some of this process into two new forms for tracking my Groundhog Day Resolutions. The first is a worksheet for establishing your resolutions:
- List your general resolutions. Just get them out on paper.
- List the tangible results that you expect to happen as a result of achieving your resolutions. This takes some imagination and understanding of the world. Get help from a friend if you get stuck.
- List the specific actions you can do that will actually achieve those results.
This is a pretty basic methodology that should be familiar to many people.
The next step is to figure out when you’re going to do them. The second sheet is the compact calendar adapted for the Ground Hog Day Resolutions schedule. There are a few additions to the schedule this year:
- In June, there is a summer break during which you are not expected to pursue your goals. Last year I and others found ourselves losing steam, possibly because the weather started getting too nice. Of course, if you’d rather work just do it; the summer break is just a suggestion. I figured since there was a winter break it made for a kind of symmetry.
- There is a goal reassessment on July 7th, to make adjustments to your GHDRs given half a year of doing them. You can chose to discard or refine your goals at this point.
- There is a mandatory pick your finishing tasks directive for the November 11 review day. You basically have a month left to finish your GHDRs well, so plan on finishing something on December 12. It may not be what you had originally planned, but it’s important to have that ship or die mentality to push that last real bit of accomplishment out for the year.
Otherwise, the GHDR Calendar is very similar to the Compact Calendar I use for project management. Print a bunch of these special GHDR calendars throughout the year to help plan when you’re going to do things.
Download the Ground Hog Day Resolutions Forms
Although these two forms should be useful to the new GHDR practitioners, I’ll just have to see how it goes this year. In the meantime, feel free to download these forms below and give the system a go.
- Download Ground Hog Day Resolutions Worksheet, single 8.5″x11″ PDF
- Download Ground Hog Day Resolutions Planning Calendar, single 8.5″x11″ PDF
When I get my specific GHDRs ready next week, I’ll post pictures of my actual filled-out sheets.
Last year there were 3 or 4 other bloggers that were using the system to push themselves through their goals, and it was fascinating to see what people were doing. It also helped me keep pushing forward as well. Let me know if you’ll be doing it this year, and I’ll add a link to this page to your kickoff entry.