Its New Year’s resolution time!!
I work for a market research firm here in Chicago, and one fun fact I always remember this time of year is the number 5. Its the average number of weeks a New Year’s resolution lasts as evidenced by the decline and increase of cigarette sales in the Unites States in the month of January. This phenomenon has existed for years, and you can nearly set your watch to it.
I am not a huge advocate of New Years resolutions. I lost my faith in those some time ago, as they never really lasted more than 5 weeks. They always seem to sound great in the space of the inevitable time off during the holidays. My goals were always super SMART (Specific : Measurable : Attainable : Relative : Time-Bound). You come back to the office fresh and reflective and really juiced to get after all of these fantastic fresh starts. Of course, the entertaining part is the day you walk into the office, your surrounded by your colleagues…all with the same juice and more often than not very different resolutions. A sea of smart people with SMART goals tucked neatly and quietly in their back pocket.
I am going to try something different this year. I came across the annual three word approach via one of my favorites, +Chris Brogan. I’ve been a fan of Chris’s work for a few years now, and thought it was about time to give this a real honest run in 2014. As I could not give the thought process it’s proper justice, take a read through Chris’s 3 words for 2014, along with an explanation of how the whole concept works.
Without further ado….here we go for 2014.
I am often talking to my teams about stacking success. As Confucius so elegantly put it…The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. The concept is about building momentum through the execution of small steps towards a goal. Do one small thing today with excellence, and it will lead to a larger and better outcome. This word will remind me that it’s not simply about the outcome, but its the small successes stacked along the way that can be celebrated.
This word was inspired by James Altucher’s Daily Practice. He talks about taking time each day to be grateful for the people he has in his life. I want to extend this to just about everything. For instance, I was outside on New Years day snowblowing my driveway (it’s been a rather cold and snowy winter here, even by Chicago standards), and I just stopped for a moment to appreciate that I had a snowblower. I certainly could have cursed the weather for having the extra duty on that day, but instead I actually ended up snowblowing my neighbor’s house too. I think James is on to something…nothing centers you faster than taking a moment to be grateful.
I have to thank Seth Godin and Jonathan Fields for this word. Linchpin and Uncertainty are two of my top 10 recommended books. I choose the word Brave for a short audio message I sent to our offshore team in 2013, and I want to take this closer to the front of my personal daily practice in 2014. It can become so easy to check down into an activity or point of view that you are comfortable with, particularly if that check down is part of the norm around you. I want to be brave enough to take some risks and do extraordinary things in 2014.