Welcome to 2017. I’m glad you could make it. So, how have your New Year Resolutions worked out? (My annual scorecard for successful New Year’s resolutions is 51 losses to zero wins.)
I ask because I’ve been setting them since, well, 1976. Big Hairy Audacious Goals. SMART, as well, you know:
- Realistic, and
That last piece of the acronym, “time-related”, actually means deadline, but SMART reads so much better than SMARD.
I’d like to share some thoughts because these past six weeks has been quite revolutionary for me. As you read this you’re seeing your first glimpse of the new Peter Carruthers. I’ve been boring for 17 years. This seemed a good time to change.
So I spent most of the holiday watching videos and reading instead of dealing with the 12 months of backlog. I also spent too much money learning how to actually reach my goals and fulfill those resolutions.
The end of a year is a shocking time to set goals. That’s because the beginning of the next year is usually unbearably uncomfortable after far too much alcohol. We set ourselves up to fail on the first day, and the second, and I have – I’m embarrassed to say – often managed to only surface on the third day.
That represents a 100% failure rate in my annual “I will go to gym” promise to myself. And with that kind of failure rate, why go on?
It was this kind of issue I was pondering, trying to get answers to, watching videos from almost everybody on earth who feels qualified to talk about setting resolutions, on the basis that they can breathe coherently. I’m not knocking the genre, just the repetitive format.
But, I bumped into two outstanding courses on the subject. One cheap, one terrifyingly expensive. And as I considered the expense of the course, from an internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, I realised that the cost was one quarter of the money I’m hoping to earn each day next year. (2017, that is) And that put my anxiety into some perspective. Penny wise, pound foolish. The story of our lives.
So I bought them both. And in combination, wow.
So, before I continue, let’s get one thing straight. I am 99% confident that I will reach my 2017 goals as a result of this book and this course. It’s because, for the first time, I really know why they’re important, why I have to reach them, and what difference they will make to my life if I do. (This “why”, it turns out, is the secret sauce.)
How do I know this? Well, I realised that I hate gym. It’s full of great looking people all of whom smile at me when I enter. It’s the kind of smile a mother gives her errant child as he arrives home from the playground with a dark spot on his pants, and mud on his face. They smile even more at my efforts with machinery which puts me into a position where I’m confident I will lose some gas before the weights move out of the starting block. No thank you.
After 41 years of trying to succeed, I feel it’s time to acknowledge that I need a different approach.
In my case, striding across the Scandinavian peaks. In solitude. Where the occasional stomach discomfort goes unnoticed, especially when you have three layers of clothing sealing your nether regions from the ambient minus 25°.
Since there are no peaks nearby, I started light, three weeks ago, with a gentle stroll down to the nearest supermarket, just in case I got hungry.
But that’s not the point. I’ve always thought I wanted to be good looking, slim, the envy of every man shielding his eyes from my perfect physique. That’s a bad reason. Especially in Norway, where every human being is physically perfect.
No, I realise that the only thing I am interested in was having as much quality left in the years that remain as I can arrange. That needs keeping the mechanical bits functional. This turns out to be jolly good fun.
Once I understood that having a “why”, a valid reason for achieving something, a deeper reason than just vanity all of my other goals – actually, both of them – became obvious, simple, and terrifying. Suddenly I had no more excuses.
More about this later…
I hope your 2017 rocks.