For the last handful of years, my wife and our close friends have gotten together to ring in the new year. We reflect on the year that has passed and share our thoughts for the upcoming year. For some people they take the form of a resolution. For the last few years, I’ve given up on the ideas of resolutions and started thinking in terms of yearly themes instead.
When I set resolutions, I would be like most people and lose focus on it as the year progressed. Then I got really good at achieving my resolutions, but I would have all this extra time and would lose focus on maintaining what I’ve gained.
Having themes has allowed me to think more broadly about how I’m viewing my life and keep me motivated when I achieve goals. Here have been my themes for the last few years (including this year and next):
- 2013: The Year of Discipline. The entire year I focused on disciplining myself to exercise according to a certain schedule, reaching out to friends and family consistently, and using my work time intentionally.
- 2014: The Year of No. I like to be seen as someone who is open and available, but I was saying “yes” to people way too much (including myself). I needed to be more judicious about how I used my time. I wrote what my priorities were, then I was discerning about opportunities, turning down those that didn’t align with my priorities.
- 2015: The Year of Growth. In order to build a skyscraper, you need a solid foundation. I felt like I had that. My formal education, marriage, professional life, and body were in a place where I was not waiting for “the next big thing.” It was time to build. I was better at being disciplined and saying no, so I chose my priorities for the year and focused on growing mentally, spiritually, professionally, and interpersonally.
- 2016: The Year of Intuition. After getting to the point where I’ve taken the time to grow the parts of myself that needed improvement and flexing those where I was already strong, I came to the stark realization that I had too many people’s voices in my head. I want to head in a direction in life where ambiguity will be prevelant, so it’s worth is to me to focus on learning how to hear myself and trust the decisions I make.
- 2017: The Year of Making a Rukus. I will spend next year continuing the work I’ve done in previous years and will use it to make a difference in people’s lives and have a lot of laughs along the way. As the new year arrives, I’ll be more specific about what that looks like.
There are a few ways I’ve worked on being more intuititive. This blog is one. By putting my thoughts in the universe and trusting that they are worthwhile I am learning to own my feelings.
I’ve also been reading novels. Getting into people’s heads for extended periods of time has been a great way to learn about the cartography of my own soul. Here is a list of what I’ve read in the last year and change and what I’ve learned (some of these aren’t novels, but go with it anyway):
- The Martian: Work on the problem in front of you.
- The Girl on the Train: If you let other people define you, you’re in trouble. They have a limited view of who you are.
- Debt: My most difficult relationships are the ones that are more transactional than they should be.
- The Cartel: Is working for the greater good worth it if it costs you all of your personal relationships?
- How to be Black: My own sense of blackness is as legitimate as I say it is.
- The Power of the Dog: Men who are unable to get their self worth from positive places will suffer the more successful they are.
- Mating in Captivity: Long-term monogamous relationships are way harder than society is willing to admit and much more doable if we can start by admitting that.
- Between the World and Me: The American Dream is built on ignoring massive amounts of suffering.
- Quitter: Definitely quit the job you have to do for the one you want to do. Definitely don’t quit it without a plan.
- The Goldfinch: Embrace the crazy people in your life.
- 11-22-63: Even if you can go back in time, you’ll always have regrets. Appreciate what is.
- The Help: Telling my story has inherent worth.
- Fates and Furies: The people closest to you have helped engineer your life in ways you don’t recognize.
- The Way of the Seal: Discipline is a practice.
- A Little Life: In the midst of unimaginable suffering, loving friendships mean a lot.
- The Prize: Good intentions aren’t always enough.
- Bossypants: You are your own worst critic.
- Elon Musk: Crazy ambition and hard work can have a huge impact on the world (and create a lot enemies).
- American Gods: Deities live by having people give them attention. Even powerful gods like Zeus and the Internet die without attention.
I’ve listened to all of these through Audible. I’ve also been reading Game of Thrones on my Kindle, but I’ll hold on talking about Game of Thrones for a little while.
In the next six months I’ll be reading more books, meditating, and going to therapy (more on this in a future post).
Here’s to being more intuitive.