2012 Resolutions

For the first time ever in my life, I thought I’d give new year’s resolutions a try. I’ve been compiling a list for a few weeks leading up to today. I think I came up with great goals for personal development. One thing stood out–the list seemed daunting and unstructured. I’m a big believer of adopting small changes one at a time. It’s worked wonders in my healthy living pursuit. So I have to temper the enthusiasm of embarking on all of these endeavors in favor of a long term (and more manageable) roll-out. Dates will be reviewed as I go. The ultimate goal is to have everything polished off or in full steam by September.

So rather than come up with a list, and say GO!, my one and only resolution is to adhere to one personal development plan, which has several items (which were originally separate resolutions). It sounds like I’m building in an excuse to procrastinate, but really it’s so the plan is more manageable and flexible. And so I don’t feel the need to put everything in motion at once. It will require discipline for sure.

Without further ado, here is my plan:

  1. Join and attend Toastmasters.
    • Time frame: Join a club by mid-January and attend scheduled meetings thereafter.
    • I had this on a “someday” list for over a year. I really want to develop my public speaking skills and verbal communication skills on the whole. I already attended one meeting as a guest. I just need to finalize on a club location (still deciding on several).
  1. Come up with and follow weekly meal plans (including my 3 1/2 year old son).
    • Time frame: Compile meals starting 1/1/12. Finish and adopt schedule by 2/1/12.
    • This will help with shopping and stocking up too, which can use a lot of improvement.
    • It will help with sticking to healthy eating habits and squash the “what’s for dinner” daily question. I also want to get my son to eat healthier too, so there will be a sub-plan for him (e.g. introduce a new vegetable a week).
    • As an app/convenience/innovation lover, I’m going to try out Food on the Table (or something similar) to help with the management.
    • Hopefully it will help save money, but that’s not the primary or even secondary goal.
  1. Set up and adhere to a household budget.
    • Time frame: Have a clear budget for adherence by 3/1/12.
    • I’ve been tinkering with Money and Quicken for years. I have a TON of data, but never took the next step and seriously PLANNED anything financially. Instead they were used for tracking, which is still important.
    • Luckily we’re not horrible spenders. I just want to enforce more control and see how flexible we are with the goal of saving much more.
  1. Start up an IRA.
    • Time frame: Get ball rolling by contacting service providers starting 1/2/12.
    • Seems simple, but yet never got done. I’m going to start out small while we polish off the last of our debt (besides home and low interest car). So once debt done, that money will be divided up with some going into an IRA.
  1. Finish one thing a week.
    • Time frame: 1/1/12 and ongoing.
    • There are a TON of unfinished things to do around the house. I’m going to commit to finish one thing a week. Some are very small. GTD practitioners know the mental energy they can suck up (even though they are on my “someday” list).
    • Multi-step things can be broken up and “completed” separately (e.g. if I have to buy something and install it can be 2 separate things).
    • Like GTD can bring to light, sometimes a barrier is not focusing on the steps involved in a project.
    • There will be 52 things on the list. I won’t limit myself to just one thing a week. If I finish 3 things in one week, I can either move up the next scheduled item or take some weeks off.
    • In developing the list, I can imagine many things getting doubled/tripled/etc up.
    • I’ll try to keep new to-do’s off that list and handle them separately.
  1. Identify and eliminate distractions and replace them with something productive and report.
    • Time frame: Ongoing. Report on the first of each month.
    • I already got a head start on this one. I already committed to quit twitter and other social networks and message boards for 30 days. So far it’s pretty noticeable how much time I completely wasted by scanning twitter constantly (with very little benefit).
    • I need to take that and take the next step and replace that time with something enriching. It could be something as simple as brainstorming or meditation. It’s pretty amazing how valuable seemingly idle time can be.
    • The reporting part will be through this blog. I just need to be mindful of what’s wasting time and energy. Hopefully identifying, replacing, and writing about it will help adopt some of what I identify and change for the long term.
  1. Develop skills needed for all above.
    • Time frame: As needed to support above.
    • Originally I wanted to read one book a month in pesuit of developing a skill I want to acquire. After further thought, I decided to first focus on the tasks on hand and concentrate on developing/mastering the skills to succeed at them.
    • If other needs develop through this entire pursuit,  I will detail it and see how I can work it in.
    • Here are some of the items to develop through blog reading, book reading, videos, etc:
      • Public speaking, speech, presentations (to support Toastmasters).
      • Memory (to support Toastmasters and in general).
        • I feel GTD helped with this tremendously, but I want to see if I can see why I forget names, restaurants, etc.
      • Mind mapping with project management (to support the 52 items list and in general). I’m already tinkering with XMind and MindJet.
      • Budgeting (to support household budgeting).
      • Others as they present themselves.
    • Similar to the distraction project, I will “report” on the progress on this blog.

Truth be told, I might have attempted these things anyway. But I found the days leading up to this “announcement” extremely valuable in accessing needs, areas of need of growth, and feasibility of getting the things accomplished. I’m already going to adopt periodic assessments, reviews, and goal planning instead of waiting for a new year each year.

Lets see how it goes!