As the new year starts lots of us are taking some time to reflect upon 2017. I’m no different, I’ve been taking the past week to reflect upon what was working and what wasn’t in 2017, and to come up with a 2018 challenge for myself. But how important is self-examination to you?
For Socrates it meant a lot, right after he said that quotable line he proceeded to drink a vial of hemlock, putting his money firmly where his mouth is. Self-reflection may not be something most people would die for, but it might merit at least one day of reflection a year. I decided to give it a try.
I like applying the Tim Ferriss 80/20 principle (80% of results come from 20% of activities) to find out what is giving the most results for the least effort. So, armed with the wisdom of such gurus as Tim and Socrates, I embarked on my journey of reflection. I locked myself in an unnaturally hot room, lit incense and sat on a small yellow rug while unseen chimes played a Spartan tune. For hours I sweat, contemplating.
Or I went to a coffee shop with my man-bag and had a single-shot cappuccino, believe what you want. Either way, as the patchouli smoke cleared, I had come up with a short list of things that were contributing the most to my happiness in 2017. Here’s what I found: trying out random business ideas like Greener Towels, meditating, exercising, and giving to highly effective charities are all things that I want to do more of. Sounds like a good New Year’s resolution, right? Do more of the stuff that makes me happy.
Not to do things half-ass when I can fully ass something up, my resolutions for 2018 evolved into more of a challenge than a hopeful promise to myself. The way signing up for a marathon helps keep you running even when the weather is cold and it’s raining and your new electric blanket is so warm, my New Year's challenge is designed to keep me motivated and focused on the things that are important. So here it is, New Year's Challenge 2018:
50 Business projects this year, all profits to charity. This is more of a shotgun approach of validating ideas and seeing what sticks. It's a crazy number for sure, but I think the pace will hold my interest and prevent overthinking. I'll be writing down what I do, fail at, and learn at randomactsofbusiness.com
Exercise 3+ times a week. Ideally I'd like to gain another 30lbs like I did last year. Plan concrete workouts, measure everything, and don’t overtrain.
Meditate every day. The best non-pharmaceutical way to calm anxiety and retain focus.
No masturbation. For the year.
I know what you're thinking, there's no way I'm going to keep up with all that. And if left to my own devices, I’d agree. I've created the following rules of engagement to make sure I'm on track:
If I fail at one of the goals, I'll donate $100 to charity for each instance of failure. This will be monitored through sickK and accountability buddies.
10 off days, because we can't all be on 100% of the time.
I will start each task laughably small and increase the intensity. For example, the first week my goal is to meditate at least 1 min a day and at least show up to the gym 3 times a week. I'll build up to where I really want to be after a couple of weeks.
I will be public about my failures and successes.
Making clear, focused goals, creating stakes, being public, and ramping up the intensity of my habits are all ways you can make sure you stick to goals. You should also have clear emotional motivations for your goals. I’ve put a lot of thought into each of my goals and tried to be clear with myself about why I want to achieve them. It’d be nice and achievable to be able to play the piano by the end of 2018 too, but it isn’t one of my goals because there’s no emotion behind it.
You might think I'm crazy charging myself for failing, donating all business profits for the year to charity, and abstaining from masturbation. But, it's cheaper than an MBA, it will develop willpower and real-world experience, and it's only for a year. So, I figure it's no crazier and lots cheaper than going back to school.
What's your 2018 challenge? Find something in 2017 that gave you a lot of joy and figure out how to take it to the next level in 2018. Let me know what it is, and if you need an accountability partner, I'm here for you!