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It’s that time. The feasting is over, the fridge and freezer are filled will leftovers. There is still Christmas cake/pudding/chocolate and other treats filling the pantry. As you look at the bounty you’ve been blessed with, anxiety sets in for the new year.

You’ve got the holiday weight to lose.

Things to do.

Dreams to pursue.

Tomorrow is January 1. A reminder that a whole 365 days has gone by since the last time you felt overwhelmed by this anxiety.

Halfway through 2017, you probably thought – I have a bit more time. And then puff. It’s January 1. The day after will be January 2 and the day after that January 3…and before you know it, you’ll be standing again at the juncture of Dec 31, 2018 if you are blessed to be alive.

I am probably not helping your anxiety. I’m not trying to. I am reinforcing to myself and hopefully re-emphasizing to you these facts that you already know:

  • Time will march on. That will not change, only my behavior can
  • My new year’s resolution list will only be a list unless I do something about it
  • The things I am anxious about will stay the same if I also stay the same, so my anxiety makes no difference
  • I have enough experience to know that if I start something out of anxiety, I will last till maybe end of February and fizzle out of energy

So, this year, I will not make 2018 resolutions. I have not had a traditional resolution list for a few years’ now. I’ll simple write a short action list. The actions:

  • Start with a verb!
  • Advance my non-negotiable life goals
  • Represent the next step, not the final outcome I am working towards
  • Are HARD (Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult  – see also business book summary here) instead of traditional SMART (specific, measurable, achievable realistic, timebound) goals.

At this time last year, I wrote my actions down. My list was a tad longer than I felt was doable when you are reaching for HARD goals. I usually advocate 3 – 5 actions, but I had 6. I decided to go for it – I tend to be ambitious. As I look at my list now, I am so grateful. I completed 5 of the 6 actions. and #6 is 80% complete. Four of the 5 were successful. No. 5 was completed but with unsuccessful outcomes. Just at the beginning of December, I decided to try No. 5 – a writing submission – elsewhere. At the beginning of last week, I got a favorable response. In my personal year-in-review, it is a happy new year. I am satisfied with these results and all I have achieved. In working on my 2018 actions, I have rolled #6 up to the top of my new list and am still deciding what’s on or off the list.

I am often asked – how do you do it? What is your formula. My answer is always that I have no formula. I simple make time for what I believe in. I believe in and hold to the following principles in what I do:

  • If it is worth doing, I will find time
  • If it is anchored to purpose and passion, I will not fizzle out. As per a proverb attributed to Kenya: “S/he who has not reached his destination never gets tired”.
  • If it seems daunting, start with one small step at a time – nothing worthwhile is easy or quick, but as per the famous Lao Tzu quote: “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
  • If I want to have an impact, I need to act now – not tomorrow or the day after – I believe there is a truism in the saying that time and tide wait for no wo/man.

I am looking forward to 2018. I pray it brings you much newness, joy, and success as you contemplate:

What is one thing you must do in 2018 that can no longer wait?

Happy New Year.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash