11 March 2019
“I’m going to lose ten pounds.”
“I’m going to take more pictures.”
“Cook every day.”
“Volunteer twice a week.”
I’ve made all these statements and more every New Year. The issue is that resolutions just pile on. Resolutions are a set of things you have to carefully keep track of and feel bad if you fail at a specific goal.
Resolutions have no concept of context and what’s right for each moment for your life. (Anyone that’s tried to keep a workout goal going on vacation can tell you that.) They’re mentally heavy and often disconnected from your daily realities. They also aren’t well connected… so they are easy to forget or drop.
This year I decided to try something different.
An intention is more like larger vision for your soul. A good intention raises awareness and inspires righteous actions without worrying daily about all the heavy resolution goals you set. It becomes a personal mantra and that helps separate it from a bunch of resolutions.
How does an intention like this work in practice three months in? I’ll break it up.
Social media isn’t just a time suck. Consuming it can have negative impacts on your emotional health. Everyone’s out there posting through the lens of this own personal PR machine. Rather than magazines and traditional media telling us we aren’t good enough… now we just see how amazing a life everyone else is living without context. I don’t think this new model is an improvement. So…
I installed some browser extensions on my laptop that limit the time I’m allowed to spend on social media sites each day/week. I hit the limit and get pushed right back to work.
I set a screen time limit in iOS for these apps with similar limits. Apple is kind enough to grey them out when you reach your limits. I hit the limit and I’m reminded to just enjoy walking the dog.
I moved these apps into a folder on my phone so I have to think twice before I reach for them.
Not all of these ideas came to me on New Years.
It was only after thinking about the intention regularly over time that I developed these systems.
On my home screen I replaced them with apps that help me connect more personally with friends 1:1 instead of 1:Many. This means more real conversations.
The “Screen Time” report apple sends every week also helps with this.
I still share kid pics… but with a smaller set of people via iCloud photo sharing or personal messages. I worry less about how perfect these shares are because I know it doesn’t bother the family members that have access if there are 100 of them or I’m not going for personal like records with friends.
I wrote this. It took 3 months. But I wrote it. :)
I was recently on vacation in Maui with some relaxing time on my hands. Seemed like a good opportunity to produce more of a hobby. I decided to install a popular photography competition app, enter some challenges, and see how different photos I’ve taken fared. I scored over 2,000 votes from strangers and posted some of my top scoring pics to break up this long read.
I’ve been inspired by people in my life that have more of a “just do it” attitude. No laptop and camera? You do realize every good picture I’ve taken is available via my phone and the cloud right? The phone in my pocket would have been considered a professional level camera at some point. :)
I wouldn’t have thought about this without being reminded regularly about the simple intention of producing more. It was just the right time and place to spend time on this and I didn’t feel the resolution pressure to keep it up when I got back. I produced something, got some fun results, and left it for now.
I’ve done paleo, slow carb, etc but when I thought about health as it relates to my intention it seemed right to try and simplify it down to do consuming fewer calories than I burn daily.
So I bought an Apple Watch to track what I burn without thinking much about it and I combined that with an App that logs all the food I eat. It sounds like a lot of work… but you have no idea how much time you free up when you stop reading much Facebook. Now I’m eating less by “producing” personal food logs. :)
When you log this stuff you start to realize how many calories you are getting when you eat out. Which I realized is a form of consumption… so switch to blue apron to cook at home. You get to pick healthier options. Then you discover new flavors and decide to just start doing your own meal planning every week instead. Intentions can be a rabbit hole sometimes.
It’s silly and it fits my personality that I’m motivated by simply hitting some Apple Watch calorie move goal targets each day. I don’t care if that’s from a long walk, Crossfit, or a something else. The nice thing about an intention is that it doesn’t matter. Whatever helps me keep the intention within that moment.
I’ve dropped 10 pounds since New Years.
I needed to be more efficient with my time at Kickofflabs and pick tasks more likely to produce the results I wanted. I also needed to think about when and how I can accomplish the more mundane tasks around the business. We don’t realize how much work time is spent on tasks that make very little difference.
Less time spent agonizing(consuming) over A/B testing/copy/pricing details and more time talking to customers 1:1. I’ve learned way more about the copy and message we need this way. People > data sometimes. Part of my mobile social media time has gone into messaging conversations with customers. :)
Cut one feature for every one I add. Even if what I cut is small my goal is that this makes us more efficient as time goes on. This is where the data has come in handy. We have enough to know what our customers really care about and what things aren’t really serving their best interests.
Note that none of these things were specific resolutions. They could have been, but I didn’t know what they needed to be for me. And I don’t know if all of them will be right for me tomorrow. The intention has made it easier to adapt and discover new things over time.
So that’s my pitch.
Pick and intention or two next year instead of a resolution. I certainly feel way more successful this way.