2017 is quickly coming to a close. 2018 is right there around the corner. This concept we have of one year ending and a new one beginning is silly and absurd if you think about it. We are attributing finality to a construct. 2017 isn’t a thing that ends and yields 2018 in the same way that winter begets spring. There is nothing about Monday that will be the start to something that ended Sunday. I’ve been ruminating all week on what the ‘New Year’ means to me. I think it’s safe to assume that collectively, the majority of us do apply some degree of significance to this time of year. The reasons vary as much as the outputs and trajectories. We build structure to guide our performance when none presents itself naturally.
The end of the calendar years serves as my mental harvest season. It allows me to take stock of where I am compared to where I was. It allows me to process and analyze the data I have collected. It has proven to be an incredibly useful and stable metric.
I do not make traditional ‘New Years Resolutions.’ I have in the past and none of them were fixtures in my routines more than two weeks into January. More often than not, I would make them with a feeling of perceived necessity; more obligatory to a faulty logic than out of true personal desire. It has only been the last few years that I have begun to live life with a more macro sensibility. Essentially, the understanding that all the various parts come together to shape the end product. Therefore, my goal setting tends to be more long-term and remains flexible and capable of incorporating new data. Within these larger goals are more refined and specific micro-goals that require a more focused and precise attack plan.
A goal that I have for 2018 is to drop another 40 pounds. Right out of the gate I’m setting a goal that I know is possible. In 2016 I dropped 40 pounds. In 2017 I maintained that weight loss. In order to achieve this macro goal of losing 40 pounds there are several micro goals that will need to be addressed along the way. Each of these will have a shorter flurry of intensity. As behaviors are changed and a routine is developed, a new micro goal is established and the cycle repeats. I will need to adhere to a consistent diet. I will need to experiment with different foods to come up with a meal regiment that works with my schedule and satisfies my love of convenience. I will focus intently on this for 1-2 months incorporating finances, time, tastes, etc to come up with a game plan that can be tweaked throughout the year but will serve as a foundation for the life of the macro goal. I will also need to focus more on targeted weaknesses in my body like shoulders and hip/knees so that I can increase my cardiovascular performance which will increase calories burned compared to calories consumed.
Breaking up goal setting in this way prevents me from burnout and provides an outline for success based on previous successes and it requires me to work on the micro goals so that I have data and results to compile together to achieve the macro goal.
The New Year for me is simply a time to reflect on past successes and failures. The Calendar year provides a convenient metric by which I can hang personal expectations and the hopes for better performance in the days and months to come. It is not however a box by which my success and failure reside. If a macro goal is not achieved in its entirety by this time next year, it isn’t necessarily a failure. It simply means that the process repeats. The close of the calendar year allows me to evaluate the data, see what went right and wrong, and make adjustments. We must not trap ourselves within the confines of something that isn’t real. There is a wealth of good that can be absorbed from adhering to made-up constructs such as linear time or a calendar year. Yet, we can too easily use them as traps that breed anxiety and fear and self-doubt. Use this time for reflection and build on past successes to foster a more rewarding tomorrow. It’s a time for which we all come together and calibrate our worlds at roughly the same time, but for wildly different reasons. There is an inherent beauty in this collective defragging.
May you have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Cheers!