With everything that’s going on at the end of the year, I forgot that today was RESOLUTION REVIEW DAY. There’s a good reason that 12/12 is the last review of the year…from today to February 2nd, it’s time to take a break from self-improvement and just make it through the holidays!
Again, I am presenting an abbreviated report this month, as I don’t have the patience to do a full-blown deconstruction of the month in the way I used to in years past. There’s a personal upside to this change: I no longer am feeling the need to do it, as I think I am more curious to see what happens next than figure out what went wrong.
More about that after the jump!
What Got Done
The past 30-something days were marked by a feeling that there was a lot to do and I should be doing more. However, this was more than I felt capable of doing. Rather than feel guilty about it, I just kind of accepted that there was NO WAY I was going to be as fast, capable, and smart as I thought I should be to be the awesome person I imagine lurks somewhere under my skin. What got done was what got done, and for the first time I decided that it WOULDN’T BE MY FAULT that I was slow.
In hindsight, this was a really big deal.
I wrote about aspects of this acceptance yesterday in my Thing-a-Day Postmortem, the gist being that I am going to go the speed that it takes to learn/discover how to build stuff, and that harboring negative feelings about it did not help me go faster. If anything, negative feelings slow me down because they are distracting thoughts, siphoning energy that could be going into the work itself. There is no upside, unless cowering in fear and shame because I think I should be properly chastised for the benefit of other people’s feelings of rightness is important to maintain my place in world. In my case, it is not a prerequisite for earning a living, and I am grateful for that.
That said, it’s interesting to see I actually did in the past 30 days. While I was busy thinking I wasn’t busy enough, the following got done:
- Completed the Thing-a-Day Process/Making/Selling Challenge, which is now all collected here.
- Coded several new, improved systems for the big contract project that will make life easier moving forward.
- Did yet another family Thanksgiving dinner, despite losing power the night before.
- Discovered Almond Kringle at Trader Joe’s! Delicious!
- Discovered that the bus from Nashua to Boston is affordable and easy, so this opens up Boston as a destination I will be visiting more often.
- Appeared as a guest panelist at a Berklee “Business of Music” seminar as a visual designer. Got to practice my rusty consultant speaking skills.
- After having a great lunch with my friend Alen in Chinatown, realized that I need to start cooking Asian food more at home because it just feels so much better. The Asian food in southern New Hampshire is uniformly awful. Have been cooking and taking pictures.
- Worked through my Obamacare provider selection.
- Started cleaning up the living room and basement again, hopefully for a spring Livingroom Cafe transformation.
- Started to deal with the unexpected need to change accountants. This is kind of a big deal because using professional services, like using healthcare, is one of those areas that I feel lost in. Dealing with it is important.
- Attended a class on fancy coffee brewing, and I am now able to brew MUCH BETTER COFFEE at home in about the time it takes to operate my Keurig pod coffee machine.
I can imagine that other people got a lot more done in the same time period, but I can look back at the list and still feel good about it. I’m not competing for the MOST PRODUCTIVE PERSON IN THE WORLD award. I’m pretty lazy, as a matter of fact, and I am growing increasingly comfortable with that. At the same time, I recognize that there is a tension between wanting to achieve, wanting efficiency/excellence, and staying stress free, and that there is a different approach that works (for me anyway) in each situation. Although this is getting off-topic, I think dealing with these three desires might be like this:
- WANTING TO ACHIEVE – I accept that achievement is not a straight line, but a jumbled path through uncertainty that is transformed into knowledge and experience. To achieve is to persevere through that process of wandering, and this takes time. A lot of time.
- WANTING EFFICIENCY/EXCELLENCE – I accept that while there are sometimes pre-existing solutions, efficiency and excellence are not drop-in systems in themselves. It takes, again, a jumbled path—this time through experimentation and assessment—to reach one’s expectations. This takes time.
- STAYING STRESS FREE (ABOUT WORK) – It is not my fault that things take a long time, so long as I am engaging them directly when I can. It is not my fault if I don’t have the skills, expertise, or energy, so long as I am resourceful in applying time.
This is not a complete personal philosophy, but as a fragment it’s still useful.
Comparison to Beginning of Year
Since this IS the last review of the year, it’s probably good to look at what I thought I wanted to do in February. I can paraphrase it as follows:
- Take another shot at achieving “creative independence”, which I think of as “making a living from doing what you want to make”.
- Create better marketing content for my stuff
- Have a better attitude when getting started on hairy projects
- Write and deploy software application.
- Share my interests and try to create positive energy that way
Distilling it down further, I think it just boils down to:
- Make a living wage from doing what I like, on my own terms.
- Expand my creative capabilities and opportunities.
- Find positive energy through sharing.
- Do it well!
It’s kind of funny how the distilled version is just a handful of common desires, but this is what FREEDOM looks like to me. I’d say that despite my meandering process, I’ve largely hewed to the goal that was in my heart even though I didn’t have a clear grasp of what I was doing.
Looking Ahead to 2015
Next year, it’s gonna be more of the same, but with a different structure. Rather than focus on the broad criteria of working toward a desired “state of being” like “making a living wage doing what I like”, it might be cool to combine the challenge structure into the year. I think November is always going to be a MONTH OF MAKING or WRITING. It would be interesting to introduce challenges like a gratitude challenge from December 13 through December 31, during which I think of one thing that I’m grateful for and write-it-up. Perhaps the other challenges could be along epic lines, like a feats of strength challenge or feats of communication. I dunno. Will think about it!
Thanks for reading, and have a great holiday season!
Groundhog Day Resolution Posts for 2014
Here are other posts about Groundhog Day Resolutions for the 2014 season.
- The original post about Groundhog Day Resolutions
- 02/02 Kickoff - Setting Goals!
- 03/03 Review - So Far, So Good!
- 04/04 Review - Setting Realistic Expectations
- 05/05 Review - ADD and Incremental Progress
- 06/06 Review - Trudging through the Blahs
- 07/07 Review - Limited Progress
- 08/08 Review - Unusually Productive
- 09/09 Review - Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
- 10/10 Review - Shifting Goals
- 11/11 Review - Chugging Away
- 12/12 Review - End of Year
Almost happy new year, David! I hope you realize that many, many people check your site quite often, and love what you’ve shared, even though they (and I) rarely leave comments.
Thank you for your hard work, deep dives, and courage to be so open with your self-discoveries. I’ve been pointing folks to your site, especially your November series as a start to delve.
I will be in touch soon re the post I want to do about your “don’t wanna do this” form.
Have a good rest of the holiday season.
Roadwriter: Thanks for your comment! I sometimes wonder if this is just an echo chamber…I know people download the tools, but I get little sense that people actually are reading the long posts like this. With all the spambots and search engine traffic, it’s difficult to tell if anyone is reading even with Feedburner and Google Analytics. I’ve given up trying to make sense of traffic data.