Inertia is hard to overcome; sustained change hard to enact.
That’s what I used to think at least, and that’s what we’ve been trained to think when it comes to personal change. The pendulum swings to this from irrational optimism over how this year will be different, how this year you have what you didn’t last: the Plan.
The Plan is that list that you make when you feel the need for change. You think “Hey, if I’m going to start a new business, I’m going to finally take those classes too, and finish that book, and go back to the gym, and eat better foods…” and on, and on. The Plan is the master list of everything that will be right with your life when you move from step one to two to three on an ordered path, and the only reason that you didn’t make salads for dinner before is because you didn’t have it written down here, for the world to see. But are those the things that you even want to do? Why?
Tim Urban discussed this on his amazing blog Wait But Why in the series in which he discusses Elon Musk, Cooks vs Chefs, and the power of uncovering first principles by asking why. He discusses the bottom floor of standard reasoning, the “Because I said so” mentality that is trained in from asking the question of why too many times. This puts a limit on how far your reasoning can go, when the basic assumptions that you start with end up being based on flawed models. Why do I want to complete this project? Because that person will maybe notice? Why?
I’m starting on another year of life, and I’ve made a great number of changes throughout the past year, but they have had less to do with a master plan (though I am guilty of writing these out from time to time) and more to do with tackling goals that are broken into smaller steps, one at a time.
This post isn’t supposed to be all about promises, kept or not. A few more things that have stuck out for me over the past year:
- I did a fair amount of traveling, though only in the US thi syear, and not as much as some years prior. This includes Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, as well as Atlanta, Washington DC, NYC, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. I’m looking to revisit most of these places this year, as well as a vacation to California to knock another one of the goals off of my list.
- I spoke at a variety of conferences in most of those cities, including several WordCamps, BarCamps, meetups, and php[world]. I’m a big believer in sharing and learning through teaching, and am working on improving my public speaking skills.
- I’ve successfully kept out of the 27 club
- I kept myself gainfully employed while goofing off, and am working on strengthening my business.
- I launched a newsletter to tackle another short term goal, and to help as a stepping stone to a mid-length goal that I created for myself a few years ago.
- I started a new maintenance service for clients not requiring full site work, with the intention of offering resources to businesses of all sizes. Check out SiteHealthy, and if you know someone in need of the service, let us know and we’ll pay for the referral
- I led WordCamp Orlando for the last time, passing the reins to Lisa Melegari, who has been instrumental in keeping the event going the past few years and keeping me sane even longer.
I’m sure there’s more that I missed, and one of those goals that I spoke of is learning to keep track of things better (solving it in developer fashion with a plugin that’s launching next week). I’m looking forward to a bright and active 28, with lots of projects that I hope to share, both in the show-and-tell sense, as well as the freely distributed sense. GPLv3 and CC FTW!
Do you have any new or old goals that you’re working on maintaining this year? Leave a comment, see if we can work on them together!