It’s December! People are getting lazy. You can use this time to do a lot of caroling (feminist caroling?) or whatever it is that people do, or, as per Bullish tradition, you can use this time to sprint ahead of everyone, and get some mental space to design the new year to your liking.
I first introduced the idea of lifestyle/career design in 2011, in Bullish: Screw New Year’s Resolutions — Try Designing Your Career.
Since the original article, we’ve held live “Design Your 2014” and “Design Your 2015” workshops at the Bullish Conference and online, and I’ve looked at some people’s plans, and had the experience of my own plans greatly morphing over the last few years.
Why lifestyle design?
I am bored by New Years resolutions because they are usually either pledges not to do things, or optimistic but unexamined pledges to do repetitive actions without a real accounting of the costs and rewards of those activities. Why do we make a resolution to exercise more or enter all our receipts into Quickbooks? Because we’re “supposed to.” Not a good enough reason, which is why resolutions usually peter out around February.
Resolutions usually deal with small things. Plans deal with big things. I believe in planning for the big things. Let the little things fall where they may.
If you want to start a business or apply to grad school or change careers, those are multi-month projects for which things need to happen in a particular order, and with ongoing gusto over a long period of time. If unexamined crap is getting in the way (volunteering where you’re not really making an impact, training for a marathon for which you cannot recall why you signed up, being a bridesmaid three times in one year because you really liked those people in high school), the big stuff gets pushed out and your energy is frittered away on the wrong things.
Planning is also fun. When you have a whole year ahead, especially if you are a young person with few family commitments, you really can do almost anything, even if you don’t have much disposable income. Make a point to learn about scotch so you feel awesomely confident ordering at the bar and offering drinks to friends at home. Learn a crazy skill you could turn into a second career one day even though now it’s just for fun. Decide how you want to look and then make a standing salon appointment, if applicable, or get rid of all the old clothes that don’t match your new look, or watch makeup and hair tutorials on Youtube and DIY it. Find out how to get the attention of your elected representatives and then write letters or angle for appointments to advocate for causes that matter. Do it regularly enough that at least the staffers know your name. Learn Italian. Meditate. One woman at the Bullish Conference shared that she wanted to spend more time with her bunnies. This is free, and sort of a good deed as well. But even something so easy (and SO FLUFFY) sometimes doesn’t happen unless you plan it.
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