New Years Resolutions

The Year of Intent

Tis the season of New Years resolutions aka unkept promises with yourself. For me, it’s the same cycle over and over again:

  • “Learn programming” but I can’t stick with online courses
  • “Read more books” but I can’t ever seem to finish one
  • “Dunk a basketball” but I’m not disciplined enough to make significant life changes to achieve it

This year I decided to take a different approach. Instead of setting concrete resolutions, I looked at the intent of my goals. In other words, I’m focused on the “why” instead of the “what” this year.

In reflecting on my goals from last year:

  • “Learn programming” – Why do I want to do this? Is it because I want my day-to-day job function to be different?
  • “Read more books” – Why do I want to do this? Is it because I want to learn more about the world outside of my bubble?
  • “Dunk a basketball” – Why do I want to do this? Is it because playing basketball and working out makes me happy?

With this approach, I can reevaluate my resolutions on an ongoing basis by asking myself, “Are the ways I’m trying to achieve my resolutions aligned with my high-level intent?”. The intent stays constant, but the approach can change.

This year, some of my intents are:

  1. Feel better everyday – I’m rehabbing my shoulder so I can work out more consistently and cutting out hard alcohol
  2. Build relationships with people who matter to me – I’m reaching out to people to grab coffee/drinks once a week. I’m also building an app to help me manage my relationships. The predecessor to this is learning how to code
  3. Have more fun – I signed up for a salsa class and have started playing piano again
  4. Live in a Spanish speaking country before I turn 30 – I’m learning Spanish online and through intercambios

I’ve really liked this approach a lot so far. It forces the intentionality of looking at the big picture to determine what I want from this year and how to achieve it on a weekly basis.

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