Ditch your resolutions

How many of us have already abandoned them?

It is estimated that less than 10% of us actually stick to our New Year’s Resolutions.

If you are not going keep your promises then don’t make them. No one said you had to make one to start the year.

Instead, when you are ready, find one thing you are ready to change, come up with a plan and execute.

It turns out New Years or birthdays or flipping the monthly calendar are not real benchmarks. We create more meaning than there actually is.

Just start when it is time to begin. Don’t wait for a day of significance. Make a day of significance.

Why is the grass greener on the other side?

Because it is! From a distance that grassy field with the sunset in the backdrop just looks better.

Until you get closer you can’t really examine all the faults. You can’t see all the things wrong or get a clearer picture of how things actually are.

It’s hard to imagine things we can’t see.

Wind sprints

2020 was a slog (or worse!) for many.

And many are saying to themselves, “When a vaccine gets here…” or “When my kids are back to school…” then we will pick up our good habits again.

Good habits can slip away faster than we realize. And there are times where we can’t find the energy to start up again.

Sure, flipping the calendar might help for a while but most have abandoned their resolution by March.

If you’re stuck instead of sprinting and inevitably wearing yourself out, pick one thing you can change today. Keep at it for a week and then a month. Evaluate. And perhaps you can do it again.

Because no matter how tired you are, you can always pick one thing to work on.

Hiding your skills is selfish

All good work must come to an end so it can be seen.

Your podcast, blog, project, art has to interact with the market in order to change it.

If it’s not seen, it can’t change anything.

How selfish to not give your work a chance to make a difference.

You’re finished not because it’s perfect. It’s perfect because you’ve shipped it.

And now you are free to build the next thing.

Self-doubt

Writing has a formula and structure to it. It doesn’t require a mystical talent that only a few have.

Anyone can be a writer if they want to. Sure, not everyone will decide to dedicate the hours Stephen King has done but you can. It’s simply a choice.

It is worth noting: No one knew who Stephen King was when he was born. He learned to become a writer, he wasn’t born one.

If you are having any self-doubts about starting, you should know:

You are good enough.

You are qualified.

You do belong.

Make your art. And when it is done start the next project.

PS Make friends with your self-doubt because whether you are shipping your work for the first time or the thousandth, you are still never going to feel good enough to do work that matters.

Building something great

If you want a flower, you have to plant it.

If you want to write a book, you’ve got to type it.

Something from nothing just doesn’t happen in nature.

There is no Tooth Fairy bringing a solution to all your problems.

If you want to bring anything great to pass, you have to put in the work first.

Good work and bad work

There is no such thing as good work or bad work–just your best effort.

Because once we commit to a practice of creating something new frequently, eventually two things begin to happen:

  1. Work that you are proud of shows up.
  2. Someone will be moved by it. (Even if that person is you.)

There’s no promise with how many. There’s no promise when. There is no promise you will make a living with it or go viral.

But the good news is to change the world doesn’t require us to change the whole thing. Just one little part of it will suffice.

“Maybe yes, maybe no.”

There is a story of an old farmer whose only horse he counted on to plow the fields ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him and his wife. They said, “Your farm will suffer. You cannot plow. How will you survive? Surely this is a terrible thing to have happened to you.”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

The next day the horse returned but was accompanied by a mare. And the neighbors came to congratulate him for his good fortune. “What good news! Surely this has turned out to be a good thing for you.”

The farmer again replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

And then, the following day, the farmer’s son tried to saddle and ride the new wild horse. He was immediately thrown off and broke his leg. Because of his injury, he couldn’t work on the farm. The neighbors came to offer their sympathy again saying, “There is more work than only you can handle. Surely this is a terrible misfortune.”

The farmer repeated, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

The day after that, a conscription officer came to the village to seize young men for the army. Because of the son’s broken leg he wasn’t recruited. When the neighbors came again, they said, “How fortunate! Things have worked out after all. Most young men never return alive from the war. Surely this is the best of fortunes for you!”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

2020 has been an unfortunate year for many. Disproportionately effecting certain parts of the population over others. So many lost and so many disrupted.

And as bleak as things make look:

“Maybe yes, maybe no.”

Til death do us part

Your push could be four years of college or it could look like 18-months to launch a business or even cramming for finals. These are finite projects with a beginning, a middle, and most importantly, an end.

By contrast, there are infinite games. Infinite games are different. You play the game to keep playing. This can look like a relationship with a spouse or kids. But it can also be a practice like veganism or writing.

You don’t stop until it’s impossible to keep going. That’s a commitment.

Commitments also help us find the edges. And we don’t know the boundaries we can push until we decide to step over.