NOT Groundhog Day Resolutions 2020

"Groundhog / Pearson Scott Foresman Wikimedia"Groundhog Day Resolutions were my daily self-improvement resolutions from 2007 through 2019. This would have been the 14th year of doing GHDRs, but in 2020 I am taking a break to see if I’ve internalized good habits…or not.

I will continue to summarize and reflect on the regular GHDR Review Days on March 3, April 4, May 5th, and so forth. The official URL is


Strategic Initiatives for 2020

How will a year go without extensive goals tracking?

It seems crazy, right? The reason I’m trying this, though, is because I have started to suspect that (1) my tracking needs have changed and (2) my tracking regimen has become dogma and is delivering as much as I think it is. Another reason is (3) in 2019 I accepted that I really am not able to focus on more than one large thing at a time; I seem to do better when I just focus on one big thing at a time. As hard as I’ve tried over the years, I have been unable to sustain major pushes across multiple initiatives. I think it’s time to take a step back and just see “what happens” without so much effort putting into planning.

While I don’t have goals, I do have some theories to test.

  1. What have I internalized, if anything, from the past 13 years of pursuing goals? Have I been just fooling myself into thinking I’m productive?
  2. What productive habits have been paired with critical personal insights to make my day-to-day activities more fulfilling and less stressful?
  3. Is it possible to worry less by eliminating the feeling that I’m always behind two out of three goals, and does the lack of worry lead to a lack of productivity?
  4. Is learning to include others in my cycle of goal setting, pursuit, and fulfillment is way out of the endless cycle of discontent?

Starting Goals for February 2020 

Q. How will a year go without extensive goals tracking?

  • What have I internalized from 13 years of Groundhog Day Resolutions? Have I actually been “productive”?
  • What productive habits and personal insights have actually made my day-to-day activities less stressful and more fulfilling?
  • If I worry less about not doing everything and just focus on one thing, does that lead to increased productivity?
  • If I include others in my goal-related pursuits, will that reduce the feelings of discontent I often feel?

The following process was added April 4, 2020

Starting Practices

I’m maintaining the practices from the end of 2019:

  1. Limit elective face-to-face interactions and commits to 2 a week.
  2. Accept my ADHD/introverted tendencies. 
  3. Accept my reality without guilt or shame. 
  4. Remember: My desire is to Make New Works to Share With People.
  5. Remember: Creating effective working conditions is time-consuming and that’s okay.

Active Goal Setting

I am doing no tracking in 2020, which is quite a change! Will my productivity tank because I’m not tracking, or have I internalized enough over the years that I’ll continue moving forward?

That said, I only have one main goal: work on software for billable project work, and use that as the source for my sharing goals. While I would have loved to also work on the stationery business and my online sharing activities, my limitation is that I can not juggle programming work and be effective at it in the way I need to be. This was a sobering thought at the end of 2019, but maybe it isn’t so bad.

Self Care

Continuing from 2019, I decided not to worry about a lot of things and not be so hard on myself. I’m also continuing to work through my gender identity expression. I feel I’ve come to a good place of accepting myself, and now I’m starting to figure out how to express it in the world in a way that reflects my community expression principles: being positive, empowering, conscientious, competent, curious, generous, and kind. I’m the same person, just with different outward expression.


The following process was added May 5, 2020

Intentional Focus

The idea is to use my limited ability to focus ONLY on a single key strategic goal for the year. This isn’t as limiting as it sounds, because I am counting on my natural distractibility to (1) solve problems that I’ve intentionally set with my limited focus and (2) explore everything else that seems interesting.

  • Every day I select 1 or 2 FOCUS TARGETS related to software development.  These are difficult tasks. I use my disciplined attention to define questions that I can then try to answer with working code. I have maybe 90-to-120 minutes of such focused energy each day when I am mentally fresh.
  • After my disciplined attention is gone, the rest of the day is allowed to fall into my normal MEANDERING ACTIVITY MODE. These activities are often productive; I just can’t predict what they will be.
  • I also DOCUMENT and SHARE everything I’m doing as I do it. This helps me stay focused in the moment AND creates a valuable reference that saves time in the future. It is something I enjoy too, so that gives me positive energy. I have decided it’s part of my essential operational practice.


The following process was added June 6, 2020

Moderating Singular/Intentional Focus

Hypothesis: For effective “singular focus”, I have to:

  1. Relentlessly prioritize and triage the number of tasks I pay attention to rather than try to manage all of them as they come up.
  2. For many tasks, I may also moderate the strength of my attention to not be at 100% intensity; it is possible that most tasks don’t require it (especially social tasks).

Addendum June 14, 2020

Follow up to the previous week, testing the hypothesis. I did find that applying less intensity helped, to apply the appropriate level of attention rather than all of it. Also, I had this gold-based insight:

  • Everything I do has at least a Par 3 of delaying conditions and obstacles. So, I just need to put through those first few steps quickly and then be ready to focus on the hard part. You can still get a good score if you make par!

Addendum June 20, 2020

  • Triage includes more than just task selection. It also includes prioritizing myself with regards to time and working conditions to make the completion of that task possible. Meetings that have no direct impact on my work are pure distractions in that regard; eliminating them is necessary for focus. Likewise, adjusting my schedule to attend meetings is counterproductive to my goals. Eliminate the need for scheduling as well.
  • Not all tasks require this level of brutal prioritization. However, for solitary difficult endeavors, it is probably essential.
  • Instead of holding in resentment, can I just tell people what I need/desire in a reasoned and pleasant way and then plan accordingly? I never thought about doing this for my own non-work needs, or even my preferred working conditions. Let me give this a try.

Addendum June 27, 2020

  • Noted possibilities for downers are hormonal cycles and eating carbs. Possible boosters are drinking coffee and making sure I’m well-hydrated.
  • My “hermit mode” is very similar to Twyla Tharp’s Creative Bubble. This suggests that being a hermit isn’t an anti-social shortcoming due to some flaw in my personality, but is instead a “pro-creative” action that I and many others take so they can do their best work. That is a huge relief!


Added July 21

Bupropion Possibilities

Hypothesis: Bupropion is helping to reduce the amount of “brain noise” I have by a considerable amount. I have had less difficulty starting unrewarding/uncertain tasks, and the resistance reaction seems to be gone. The stress headache that comes from fighting the resistance and forcing myself to stay on-task through dozens of productivity hacks seems to be quite diminished as well.

Followup September 9

However, this also improves persistence of negative thoughts as well! Neither is it a replacement for planning, time management, focus, and choosing what to do. It does reduce the severe pushback to starting tedious tasks.


Added September 9

Letting Go of Expectations

Hypothesis: Improving morale is essential for being productive at finishing these projects.

  • Reset Expectations about the world being more organized and documented than it ever will be.
  • Maintain Morale by talking to therapist and not being so hard on myself not measuring up.

Hypothesis: My idea of Time Management incorrectly emphasizes prediction and execution time

  • Instead try using time blocks and measuring what happens.
  • Maybe write the daily plan from scratch as in a “menu of the day” to prevent plans from getting stale so quickly.

More succinctly stated: Do not expect people or myself to “know better”; this just makes me angry all the time for no good reason and builds a terrible working environment. The gracious thing to do is just acknowledge the gap and work toward fixing it together with chillness.

My (NOT) Groundhog Day Resolutions Posts for 2020

I’m not doing GHDR in 2020, but still posting thoughts related to not doing them.

2019 DEC 12 December Review “Series Finale!”
2020 FEB 02 no GHDR this year, so no post.
2020 MAR 03 March A New Logo
2020 APR 04 April Thoughts on 2019 and Singular Focus
2020 MAY 05 May The Single Focus Distraction Stratagem
2020 JUN 06 June Hitting the Limits of Singular Focus 1.0
2020 JUN 14 Followup Prioritization 1: Overcoming Resentment
2020 JUN 20 Followup Prioritization 2: Prioritizing without Being a Jerk About It?
2020 JUN 27 Followup Prioritization 3: Hormones, Carbs, and Creative Bubbles
2020 JUL 07 July Embracing the Creative Bubble
2020 AUG 08 August Thoughts Sailing on Still Waters
2020 SEP 09 September Sloughing through the Month
2020 OCT 10 October Looking Inward
2020 NOV 11 November More of the Same (and that’s OK)
2020 DEC 12 December Scheduling Difficulties