In 2016, I resolved to, well, not resolve. A totally effective resolution with a 100% success rate! Problem is, I didn’t like not having resolutions. I missed checking in on my progress as a human seeking improvements. I wanted a dashboard telling me how I’m doing on life and resolution tracking has traditionally offered that dashboard for me. So, aside from realizing how much of a dork this might make me, I’ve decided to bring it back! Hold your excitement please.
Before I just dive in listing resolutions willy nilly, there have been some changes to my old resolution ways. Change is good, right? No more categorization. I used to plop my resolutions into categories such as “family” and “work” and “fitness.” Gone. I’ve also decided that fewer is better. Gone are the days of having 15-20 resolutions. Less than 10 shall do nicely in 2017. While changing some parts of my process, there are other parts that I will be keeping intact. Namely, making the resolutions measurable. None of these soft goals for 2017 – something tells me the political scene and current news media will have plenty of soft content, lacking context and depth to keep us plenty distracted from real issues and meaning. I will do my best not to add to that dumpster fire with my resolutions.
And without further adieu, here are my 2017 resolutions (in no particular order).
- Invest fully in personal relationships. (full disclosure: I stole this from my friend Tom. Thanks TK.). I will measure my relationships in the quality of interactions. Keeping in touch with people via text or Twitter, while convenient at times, can’t count as an investment. Don’t worry friends, this doesn’t mean I’ll Skype you each time I need to talk. The goal will be to be more connected, balanced, more present during these connections and more thoughtful with my connections. Hopefully it means more live interactions too. This one scares me because my natural tendency is to pull into my garage, put the garage door down and stay inside until something required (e.g. job, exercise, personal commitment, etc.) forces me back outside again. This tendency has grown with age. Oddly, I am always energized and uplifted after spending time directly with others. It is exactly this incongruity that drives me to this resolution. Human nature can be a funny thing, right?
- Dedicate 40 hours to community service. Existing commitments on board committees or work projects won’t count here either. If I setup or participate in a project via work I’ll count it, but if work is developing how we can help others on a greater scale, the time spent doing this will not count. This needs to be true service to other humans or organizations in need. A la Meals on Wheels/Friendship Trays, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, Fort Mill Care Center, The Urban Ministry of Charlotte, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Interview Skills Training, etc. I’d like to also strengthen my personal stance on finding service areas that focus on lifting others up vs. those of the donation/queue/handout types. Both serve but I’d like to align more with helping enable others while doing so with maximum dignity.
- Activate in politics. Does this mean I’m staging for a run at office? Nope, although at times it seems strangely tempting. But I can’t sit by and complain about the ineffectiveness of our legislative representation without participating beyond a simple cast vote. This means attending 6-8 local DNC and RNC meetings. This means attending all local town halls held by my representatives. This means canvassing when necessary. This means continuing to voice my opinion with my local, state and federal representatives.
- Fix my calves. In 2016, I ran fewer miles than I have ever run since starting running in the early 90s. I entered three marathons and ran one. Regular calf strains have caused me to take to exercising by videos, tabatas, cycling and even walking for exercise. Walking by myself in the dark of the morning is not exercising. It is stalking. Creeping. Utterly ridiculous. Since early December I’ve been seeing a rehab specialist. His first request: stop running completely. Shut. It. Down. That was easy considering I was not running. He’s stuck hundreds of dry needles into both calves, tested me using the Functional Movement System multiple times, given me hours of flexibility and mobility homework (ankle torsion, planks, slow plank mountain climbers, tons of stick rolling and foam rolling, etc.) and deep (painful) massaging. He believes much of my calf strain woes are due to weak and inflexible ankles. At this point he could tell me my bad calves are a result of not walking around on my hands enough and I’d assume the headstand position for all future travel. I miss running. I miss my running buddies. I miss that feeling you get right after the run is over. I miss seeing my running routes. I miss having a personal a target or goal. At this point, I’m not altogether sure spending hundreds of dollars on rehab will result in fixed calves, but I’m desperate enough to do just that. In the event it does not, see resolution #5.
- Cycle more. Commute to work 40 times (roughly 20% of my working days). Sign up for a cycling-only race that takes me completely out of my comfort zone. Ride in some Saturday group rides. Just find ways to ride. I love riding. Riding in the Charlotte area requires extra focus on committing to the rules of the road. The drivers aren’t that supportive of sharing their roads around here. I’ll do what it takes to make this work. Maybe we cyclists here in the Fort Mill/Rock Hill area even get a closed criterium course in 2017.
- Find Solo Kid Time. Ideally take one solo weekend trip with each kid. Big commitment to be gone for three weekends away from Cindy but worth it. Stewart still talks about our overnight trip to NYC a few years back. While focusing on a three trips, I don’t want to lose focus on the meaning of a quiet game with them or shooting baskets, riding to Starbucks or throwing the football. I feel like such a better parent when I take the time to do these things. Charlie and me shopping for gifts locally and on foot this holiday season was a great example of what I’d like to do a whole lot more of in 2017.
- Make Torrent Cash Strong. I work at this great company, Torrent Consulting. I’m living out a great role of being able to strongly influence the delivery aspect of our consulting team while helping influence and manage the company’s financial position. This company has been built from the ground up with incredible focus, hiring and execution from the two founders. The next level for the company comes with cash. A position that can be attained with strong execution on both the sales and delivery side. Fingertips stuff…the benefits are real to all parties (clients, partners and our company team) involved.
- Support Cindy More. To me this means sharing more of the burden in keeping our kids on course – some may refer to this as the just-out-of-reach “default parent” status (no names, Cindy). This means helping her excel in her career – a career that has been breaking out strongly for the past several years. Giving her the space to succeed while having the confidence that our home life is under control is something I can do much more of in 2017. I need to lead our home life the way she has been doing this for the past 10-15 years. Of this list, this item has the biggest learning curve for me. My goal is to take over the reigns for managing our kid’s activities which should free her up greatly. If I can mix in helping with a few dinners a week, I might be stretching my shirt apart to reveal the big ‘S’ on my small chest.
- Find more zen. For me zen can come in many forms. Meditating in the mornings, sitting in church, practicing my Spanish on Duolingo (friend me on this great app!), reading (15 book goal is in effect again in 2017) or out on the trail hiking on overnights or simply a day hike. Rarely is it found on my phone, in my car or in places where large swaths of humanity have convened. The metrics here are wide open. Probably the easiest way to tell whether I’m getting this is via my Fitbit of all things. Resting heart rate when I have more zen is in the mid to high 40s. Less zen, it can be found pounding around the high 50s.
There are other goals that are less resolutions and more of hopes. I want to continue to find ways to spend time with my mom over lunches or watching plays or just hanging at her place. I want to continue to get out and do things with my dad. It is a treat to have them in the same town and we need to keep up a strong routine of activities as they are presented. I want to play a good amount of golf in 2017. This feels like 20-30 rounds or so with the majority of them played via walking, ideally with a kid of mine. I’d like to see the play “Hamilton.” I’d like to raise bees. I’d like to drive more purpose into my life story. While I’m not having anything quite as dramatic sounding as a mid-life crisis, I do spend lots of time wondering what my days on this Earth will represent. Tim Urban’s somewhat morose description of our being in a display of your life in weeks keeps popping in my head. While nothing is guaranteed, I want to avoid squandering too many days. While doing this, I also want to maximize the return and impact. My story seems clearer now than it did a year ago working at a large corporation, it still is quite opaque. If I’m hoping for things, maybe I’m hoping 2017 brings a little more clarity here.
Happy New Year. Here’s to making it the best one yet, even if there are a few obvious distractions taking our focus away from what is real and meaningful.