New Year - Do More
Updated: Jan 8
For me, the new year starts on January 5th. Not only because January 3rd is my birthday, but also because it gives a few days for recovery after Christmas and New Year. I make no attempt to be productive before then, but the 5th is when any new years resolutions kick in. It means I can avoid the gym on the busiest day of the year and ease myself into whatever I have planned. I don’t always, in fact, I rarely do new year’s resolutions but this year I will. My resolution isn’t a specific goal or task, but it is simply to do more. More of what, you ask? More of everything. I do not believe in “New Year, New Me”. I am thirty-four years old. I am who I am and that is who I am going to be. I do not have the desire or ability to change who I am but I do have the ability to change my actions, and for me this means increasing my output. The good news is, I know what to do. I suspect that everyone knows in their gut what they should be doing, whether that is an action to take or something to say. We already know it. We select the right thing to do in our heads, but before we do it we think of reasons not to and before we know it, the right thing to do never gets done. My new years resolution is to stop preventing myself from doing the things that I know I should be doing – to stop getting in my own way.
None of this means I am unhappy now, I am not. I am blissfully happy, especially when I am not doing much. I am lazy at heart and I know it. I could happily get through today without being productive, just reading a book and walking my dogs. I could get to the end of the day having done nothing productive and it would have been a good day. Now to define what I think of as productive. For me, it is things I want to do and things I believe are important. That is all that counts. That means working a twelve hour shift does not fit into what I believe is productive, unless your career means you do something that you want to do or think is important. Obviously there is a need to have money but unfortunately the time spent earning it is not always productive. Think of it like eating or shitting or breathing – it’s a necessity of life without being productive. I have no problem with someone not being productive – like I said, I am very happy when I am not productive. My burden is that I feel a sense of responsibility to do something, so when I tie too many unproductive days together I start to feel like I am wasting time, which is a feeling I do not enjoy. I also start to feel like I am falling into a category that I do not want to be in, of people that notice problems and don’t attempt to solve them. To be frank, society is full of problems at the moment and it is hard not to see them. How you think about problems dictates what category you are in. You can either ignore problems, think about them so that you can help solve them, think about them and do nothing about them or, worst of all, create more problems.
There is something to be said for ignoring problems that are not immediately affecting you (or being blissfully unaware), for your own happiness, but if everyone was to do it then nothing would ever improve. The other issue is, the problem you are ignoring is still affecting you in some way and might eventually get to you more personally. The world would also simply be a better place if we were all trying to help solve each other’s problems through goodwill. So there are positives to both ignoring the world’s problems or not but either way, I just don’t have the ability to do that. My mind is drawn to what is wrong because I enjoy fixing things. This is where I think it gets more confusing. It is easy to spot the people that are blissfully unaware but when people are not that, it is difficult to distinguish between the pessimists and optimists – but to be clear, the blissfully unaware are neither despite claiming to be optimists. For me, the simple difference between pessimists and optimists are that pessimists are only thinking about problems whereas optimists are thinking about problems and solutions. Pessimists always fit into the category of thinking about problem and not helping to solve them. I am an optimist. I think about problems and solutions. My issue is that the solutions come with resistance and often times the resistance stops me from helping to solve problems. This puts me in the same category as the pessimists and that is not where I want to be. I want to be one of those that is helping to solve the world’s problems, in any big or small way I can. This is the responsibility I feel and when I am falling short of that, I feel like I am wasting days. This is where my new years resolution comes in. I need to stop giving in to the resistance that comes with solving problems, or at least trying to solve them. The resistance comes in different forms. Sometimes it is fear of judgement from others, sometimes it is thinking I am not capable, sometimes it is to avoid confrontation and sometimes it is pure and simple laziness. My new years resolution to “do more” could equally be described as “defeating resistance” for those who are familiar with Steven Pressfields’s “The War of Art”. If you are not familiar with it, this is probably my favourite book and one that I revisit at least once per year. It is a quick read/listen and I recommend that every single person gets hold of it. I actually prefer to listen to it as the author has quite a soothing voice and you can listen to it in 2 hours and 29 minutes – on one morning or journey.
As a thank you for reading this far – here is a link to listen to it free on Audible*
Listen to it and thank me later.
Again, I want to be in the category of solving problems. To me this is part of being productive and something that I want to follow through on. Some of the biggest problems in the world revolve around sensitive topics and that makes them difficult to approach and increases the resistance. That being said, they are still problems that need to be fixed. I believe the three biggest problems in society today are abortion, division between people and the disconnect between government and the public. These are problems that are causing so much damage and are actually easy to solve with more honesty. Sadly, there is a lot of dishonesty involved in the discussion of all of these topics because it can be beneficial for some people. I appreciate that talking about some of these topic can cause pain for some people but that is never my intention. My intention I to help solve problems and the best way to do that is to talk about them.
That is one of my two aims for this blog. The other is to write about things I enjoy. Like I said, I believe being productive is about doing things that I want to do and things that I believe are important. I do not have the ability to solve world hunger or cure any disease but I do have the ability to be honest about what I see as problems in society. By doing this, I can form logical principles that I can apply evenly to the world in the interest of fairness. That is something that we all have the ability to do and I would love to have open and honest conversation with people about these topics and more, especially people that disagree with me. This blog can start those conversations. This blog can also be about things that I love or have an interest in. This blog can be something good that I put into the world and that would be productive. The same could be said for a podcast, which I want to start and am currently practicing at. That comes with a lot more resistance in the form of fear of judgement. Nobody said beating resistance is easy but I am saying that I will be doing it in 2023. Watch this space.
Thanks you for reading and Happy New Year.
*This is a link to a free trial of Audible. I will be paid a small sum if you take up this free trial. You can cancel anytime and there is no commitment. This free trial comes with one free credit to listen to any book on the platform.