Well, it’s the first day of 2005, and so most of us are trying to decide if we did anything stupid last night, or trying to figure out how to write the new date on our checks, or perhaps wondering what day it is—is it Saturday? Sunday? Monday? Do I have to work today?
Resolutions are a clichÃ©, and the clichÃ©d, “I’m-too-cool-for-school” response is to say, “I resolve not to make resolutions.” I think we all have that as an original thought at least once in our lives, and then we see some idiot say it on Dick Clark’s NYE broadcast and go, “Wow, how stupid does that sound?”
I have simply resolved not to make my resolutions public, and also to not wait for calendar years to roll around to come up with some resolve. I fervently feel that each day—and, if you want to get honest, each hour, each minute, and each second—is an opportunity for us to begin the long road of change.
Yes, change is a long road. Just ask Amy, whose spent the better part of a year working on making herself a more healthy person. If you go and read of her struggle for change—and yeah, people, that’s what it is—you’ll see that it’s been a long road, and there’s still plenty of road left. I’m proud and happy for my friend—not because she’s lost weight, but because she’s made conscious decisions to change things that she doesn’t like about her life and followed through with them. The improved health is a nice side benefit, but honestly, it’s not the most important thing she’s done in this process.
We all face processes like these in our lives. Some of us have great resolve; some of us, not so much. Some of that speaks to personality traits that we all have, but I think that it also speaks to self-awareness. I’m afraid that one reason that we ride the crutch of the New Year is because it is a collective, conscious reminder that Today Is A New Day. It’s all too easy to let the humdrum of life suck you down into the everydayness of it all—every year, you hear people say, “Wow, where did that year go?” You only make those pronouncements when you’ve been so off in the weeds that you’re not self-aware. We’re self-aware on New Year’s and our birthdays and maybe our anniversaries … but that’s about it.
How do you break that habit? You have to practice self-awareness. You have to get to know yourself. You have to try something, start a project, find a raison d’etre. But most of all, you have to stop, look, listen, and know where you are, who you are, and why you are.
I think that’s why David Allen’s Getting Things Done is so darn popular. It speaks of developing a system for self-awareness—it never says so in as many words, but that’s what you’re doing. “What have I agreed to do? What are my projects? What are my goals? What are my next actions?” Those all speak to self-awareness.
If I desire anything for myself, it is for more self-awareness. I think everything else I’d want for myself will spring from that.
So here’s to self-awareness: today, tomorrow, and everyday.