Midori by the Sea — Issue #4
Have you set your new year resolutions? As promised, we will critique them today because a pointless resolution will only discourage us from achieving our goals. Here’s how to have resolutions that actually resolve.
Why I Waited Four Years to Quit My Job
I went into finance for two reasons mainly, I needed a visa to stay in the UK, and I needed money to buy my property. These goals gave me the motivation to stay in a job that wasn’t exactly my dream career.
However, when those goals were achieved, the high paid job had fulfilled its purpose. At one point, its demanding nature started to take away my energy.
I always wanted to become a writer, but everyone knows how hard it is to earn a living as an artist. So I started making a plan that could help me to make my dreams come true. We have to be patient to achieve big things, and it took another four years until I finally resigned.
The new year resolution I made four years ago, paved my way to my freedom today.
In this newsletter, I tried to convince you that quitting your job straight away is not always the solution. If you don’t know what makes you happy, quitting your job will only give you a short-lifted relief but not a solution.
We must know what we want ultimately, and reverse plot how we will get there, by setting the right resolution today.
How to write a life-changing new year resolution
If you have written a list of resolutions, I want you to check a few things. If you haven’t written them, it’s good to write out EVERYTHING you want to achieve, then edit them with the checklist below.
Are they relevant?
Good things take time. What you want in 10 years, 20 years’ time will need your effort today. So you might have some short-term goals like reading 120 books a year, but you must question if these resolutions do anything to your ultimate dream life.
Go back to my first newsletter, we have established that almost all your resolutions should be about how to increase time to do things that will lead you to your dream life, and reduce time doing things that don’t.
If they don’t actually fit the above, then they shouldn’t be on the list because they will take away your energy to make your dream come true.
So remove the ones that are just noise.
Are they immediate?
It’s important to note that you should already be doing things you want to do NOW. It’s a bad excuse to say other things need to change first before you could do something.
If you want to get married, you should be finding a date now. If you want to become a full-time writer, you should be writing now. If you want to become a millionaire, you should be making money now. Never later.
Even if there is a situation that stops you from fully engaged in your passion (like my corporate job took away my time to write full time), you should still use as much of your spare time to do them as possible. This is what true passion is about, it’s something that we can’t help but to do it anyway, no matter how many obstacles there are.
So please stop dreaming and start doing. If you are unhappy with your current situation but don’t know what you actually want to do, your resolution should say: I will use my spare time to search for it now. In practice, this might mean you will leave your comfort zone and try many different things in the coming year.
Remember, it takes an average of 10,000 hours to become good at something, stop delaying it.
Are they practical?
In order for me to become a full-time writer, I needed more time to write and quitting my job is not a practical option. So my resolution four years ago was to change to a job that had more regular hours and devote time outside of work to write.
You might’ve heard of the SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time Frame. Edit goals that aren’t providing a practical action and solution to your dream.
I have a friend who wants a long-term boyfriend but he is on Grindr for a casual sex partner all the time. He says he is looking but he has needs now, so he spends time swiping on the sex app. This is contradictory, by setting a practical resolution, he gained clarity and devoted his time matching, chatting, meeting and dating men that were also looking for a long-term relationship. He’s now happily married.
Nourishing 30-day January challenge
It’s tempting to start doing resolutions straight away because we are keen to achieve, right? But the contradiction is that impulsivity doesn’t sustain.
If the goals are for the long game, it’s better to think very carefully about them and be in line with ourselves holistically. That’s why I have been writing a newsletter about knowing ourselves (or self-discovery).
What I tend to do with January is to really think about the goals while doing an easy to achieve 30-day challenge. I have been doing Yoga with Adrienne’s 30-day Yoga challenge for six years now. It gives me space to think about my life plan (as yoga and meditation often do), completing the challenge makes me feel good and successful, and creates a stepping stone into the longer-term goals.
You can pick something too, something nourishing, easy and achievable that you can enjoy — maybe planking for five minutes a day? I have written about this too.
My biggest mistake
During those four years when I plotted my path to quit my job and become a full-time writer, I have made a big mistake that delayed me from my dream life.
I was side-tracked.
There was an attractive job offered to me with big money. My greed made me take the job, and then I was working over 80 hours a week. When I wasn’t working, I was so stressed that I lost my ability to write. The more I pushed myself, the more I hated my life and in the end, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder.
This is why having a relevant resolution is important, we can’t have it all.
To change the dire situation, I had to immediately change to a part-time job that’s less stress, I was lucky to be able to support myself still. That’s how I managed to start writing again. That’s when I started writing on Medium and earned money. I even earned the super bonus Medium was giving last summer. That’s why having an immediate solution is key so that we are always on the path.
A part-time job then was a practical solution, because it sustained my livelihood and allowed me to write, and my mind is clear and I won’t be distracted anymore.
- Take time to visualise your ultimate goals and work backwards to know what you need to do now. Write the ideal trajectory down so you are very clear.
- Write down all your wishes that are relevant or not to your goal, include also things that do not immediately link to your goal (because there are many aspects of life)
- Then eliminate the ones that are not directly relevant to your goal
- Then rewrite the ones that don’t provide immediate action
- Then rewrite the ones that aren’t SMART enough
- Add a small 30-day project for your January to create space for planning longer-term goals
Next week, we will talk about how to deal with things in your life that are important but not directly relevant to your goal. There are smart ways to make them work.
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