Have you mapped out an ambitious list of New Year’s Resolutions “Do’s & Don’ts?”
Why do we tend to make these big bold plans at the beginning of every year?
And why do we keep breaking them, making them again only to wonder if they are worth keeping?
Personally, I hadn’t made fixed “New Year’s Resolutions” for years precisely because I had broken more than I could count.
One year, I had resolved to get up at 6 a.m. every morning (except weekends), write every afternoon for three hours, read a book a month, practice piano and yoga every morning before starting some real work. Sounds like a boot camp? Well, it was.
I thought I needed a fixed structure to respond to a fluid and fluctuant work and lifestyle.
You see – that was the year after I had just launched my media start-up, hired a new team and began rolling out a series of digital production on our website locally and globally. There were many moving parts, changing circumstances, chaotic fallouts, and I wanted to anchor my mind, body and spirit each day in an organized and prioritized routine.
Two months into what appeared to be a robust start of a strict regimen, I found myself succumbing to a far more complex and crammed schedule of frequent travels (domestic and international), last-minute business meetings, long distance and late night phone calls, socializing and networking events, as well as friendly coffee chats and leisurely lunches.
What I’d discovered – in retrospect – was that I let what really mattered at the time – the kind of “seize the moment” mindset – override my previously fixed list of “New Year’s Resolutions.”
I decided to change my game plan. I kept shifting my yoga, piano and writing schedule around to the fast-changing reality of my ever-evolving start-up and my faster-moving life. But I was happy at the end of the year. I wasn’t miserable because I had failed to firmly follow my resolutions. In fact, I was happy that I didn’t because if I did – I might have missed an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity to experiment and experience quality connection with someone who is now my husband.
Dating, falling in love, saying “yes” to a marriage proposal, saying “I do” six months after that, and saying “yes” to moving out of New York another few months after that – all of these actions, reactions and decisions – none was on my list of “New Year’s Resolutions.”
But what lay at the core of my New Year’s resolutions was my resolve to live well and work smart. And I thought a well-defined structure of physical and mental exercise plus musical and spiritual practice would be a helpful response to what would be a chaotic life in running a start-up. I was right – up to a point.
The point is – life is unpredictable, and we are not machines.
Things happen; things change. People drop in and out of your life.
What is predictable is that life is a test. It tests not only your resolve to do and not do certain things, but also your response to the unforeseeable inevitable events that will challenge you to open your mind and heart to evaluate and re-evaluate what really matters to you.
This year, my New Year’s Resolutions are simple.
Live Well. Work Smart. Give Back.
How? What’s my list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts?”
Frankly, I have resolved not to have a fixed list this year, but a firm principle.
A principle that is planted in a devotion to mindful living, working, giving and sharing in ways that are meaningful to self, work, home and community.
This four-domain framework is actually the foundational approach enshrined the “Total Leadership” program led by Prof. Stewart Freidman of Wharton Business School at University of Pennsylvannia .
For me – this is a perennial principle that can be upgraded and fine-tuned every month and every year. It will start with rise early, yoga first, meditation next. Spend more time with family. Spend more time with charity and community work. Keep things simple. Be grateful. Be real, whole and authentic.
How about you? Want to share your stories about New Year’s Resolutions?
Why make them, break or keep them? Why they matter? What’s the point?
I’ll be co-hosting “Tea Time Takeway: New Year’s Resolutions Pros & Cons” on January 17th (Saturday)
Time: 3 -5pm.
Location: at The Shop at Andaz in New York.
RSVP to me: firstname.lastname@example.org/~chinaper by Friday (January 16th).
Please Join Us. Hope to see you there!