Come December 1, in every non-holiday memory-making moment, I reflect. Back through the year, weighing thoughtfully what worked well and what could benefit from change.
I look forward to the start of a new year. Every year. New years are full of unspent days and untapped potential. They are cleansing. Each one literally has the chance to be anything I can conceive and work to make it. After a December’s worth of reflecting, to have the 2017 I crave, there are habits and attitudes that festered in 2016 that I must ditch cold. Here’s my list of the five I’m leaving behind: (I’d love to hear yours)
- Multitasking – I thought I could do it. But, through trial–and too much error–I realized I’m not saving any time. In fact, I’m losing the effectiveness of every multi-minute I spend. So, 2017 will be the year of single tasking for me. Studies have proven human beings are actually not as capable of multitasking as they think. They do not go back and forth between tasks seamlessly. They reboot. Repeatedly. My brain’s energy (and yours) can be tremendous when solidly focused for the duration of a single task. So, goodbye multitasking, I value my ideas and output more than keeping you allows me to experience.
- Mindless News Consumption – I care as much as the next person about what happens in the world. I truly believe we are all connected. I even have a degree in journalism. But, in 2016, news changed. Whether fake news or real news that had lost all objectivity, I felt “news” as I knew it died. Therefore, I’m done flipping through headlines and mindlessly reading trending articles. I learned the hard way in 2016, this practice does not make me more informed; it makes me more anxious. To stay up-to-date in 2017 and beyond, I will seek multiple reports from multiple sources. I will read articles through in their entirety. Because I believe at the intersection of multiple complete stories I have a shot at finding a semblance of truth.
- Aimless Social Media Surfing – I admit it; I use social media in the unoccupied moments. I don’t even know how this happened to me. I’m of the “only boring people get bored” clan. Before social media, I used to LOVE to think. Just spend time in my own head connecting ideas and thoughts. I did some of my best work based on this habit. Lately though, waiting at a red light, waiting for my Starbucks at the drive thru, waiting for anything suddenly has become filled with words and images regaling the lives of those not waiting. It’s too easy to fill in the gaps of time with social media surfing. But, I don’t need it. I don’t get those moments of my life back. Yes, I suffer FOMO, but it’s fear of missing out on me. I’ll still post the occasional share-worthy update. I’ll still set aside a little time each week to check on my family and friends, but no more waits filled with social media, no more attempts to fill every ‘non-filled up’ second. I’m opting for REAL time with REAL human beings REALLY in my presence. And, when I’m alone, I’m planning to be REALLY in my own head.
- Being Overly Critical – I’m a marketer and I’m trained to be critical. It’s how I take things that aren’t effective and make them work. But, sometimes, it can go too far. It can extend to people and ways they could be so much better or so much more effective. Time has taught me that sometimes people are what they are in a certain moment and it’s okay. Instead of offering constructive criticism (or thinking it in my head), it’s likely they’d benefit more from my listening to, understanding and supporting them. For 2017, I’m going to set a daily intention to remember that everyone I interact with is just trying their best with what they’ve been given and what they’re going through. I’m going to look at how I can support them and grow them. I think it will deepen my relationships and make for happier days.
- Worrying – Worry comes from a lack of trust. But, it’s a joy-stealing indulgence I can no longer afford. In the late 80s Bobby McFerrin sang, “Don’t worry, be happy.” He was right then and he’s right now. We’ve become so worried our elected officials won’t do the right things, our police won’t do the right things, our corporations won’t do the right things, and on and on, that we’re worried sick. Literally. Don’t trust me on this? Anti-anxiety and depression drugs are projected to be a $4.6 billion market by 2025. Yes, sometimes people and systems fail us and when they do, they make headlines. But, is everything really all bad? No. Many things are actually quite good. So, throughout 2017, I’ll be adjusting. Trusting more. Worrying less. Really living the serenity prayer. Noticing when others are doing the same. Making time for mindful, charitable words and actions. And, actively seeking to be inspired by the everyday angels and heroes.
Goodbye to the habits and attitudes that were less than effective for me in 2016. I’m excited for 2017 and all of its sparkly untapped promise. I’d love to hear what you are leaving behind. So, tell me, what is it? I know I’ll be inspired by your thoughts. Plus, maybe I’ll find another thing or two or 10 more that needs to go.