5 things I’m going to do next year (and you should, too)

For the past few years, I’ll take some time and write goals at the start of each year. So far, I’ve done a pretty good job achieving them, and I think being strategic and physically writing it really helped. But I can’t take all the credit for my success – the Big Man Upstairs had to do with quite a few of them.

writing goals

It’s almost the beginning of a new year, and I’ve been thinking about things I want to change and do better in 2014. I thought I’d share my list with you all. Who knows? It might inspire you as you think of your list.

1. Stop nurturing relationships with technology.

Technology makes it easier than ever to keep in touch. There’s really no need for a high school reunion because of Facebook, and texting is way less exhausting and low-commitment than actually talking to someone on the phone (at least for all of us introverts out there).

But technology actually keeps me away from people too. When was the last time you actually saw the people you text or email regularly? Do you text them more than you hear their voice? I’ve noticed I have a tendency to hide behind texting and emails in many of my relationships. It makes sense, since talking on the phone takes more energy for me; but I think I rely on technology a little bit too much. I want to stop using texting and email as the primary medium I use to nurture my relationships with friends and family. I need to just call them. Call them to set up a time to see them. And instead of thinking how much relationships cost I need to think in terms of how valuable they are. When I think of how I’ve benefitted from my relationships, it is easier to make that call, or spend that time at Starbucks with them.

2. PUT THE PHONE AWAY.

I admit it. I’m an addict. I can’t go anywhere without it (including going into the next room), and I freak out if I forget it somewhere. But when I’m with friends, I try to keep it in my purse. I’m there to have face-time with them (no, not the Apple FaceTime).

I started to realize this was an issue when my friends would say, “Don’t worry, I’m listening,” as they texted someone in the middle of our conversation. (How many times have we heard that — rather, how many times have WE said that?) No, you aren’t listening; and neither am I really listening if I’m constantly glancing down at my phone, sending or receiving texts and etc.

This can be a problem at work, too. I have to check myself when I’m on a conference call or in a boring meeting. What if my employees trolled facebook or went through their inbox when I called an important meeting? Hmm…it doesn’t feel respectful to me. I’m sure that more than once I’ve misinterpreted or misunderstood something at a meeting because I was paying more attention to my phone or my computer.

texting

AND have you noticed, there’s no such thing as waiting anymore? We all do this – the compulsive use of the phone during ANY silent time. Look around on the bus or train — EVERYONE is looking at their phone.

What has happened? It seems like we forgot how to handle 20 seconds of free time! We have no idea what it’s like to ride the bus or train and just sit there. Or be anywhere and just sit there. Maybe, if we weren’t so attached to the phone we’d notice what is going on around us, or (gasp) have a conversation with a stranger! With our phones in hand, we have no idea how to handle this thing called “waiting”. I am the WORST one at this. It’s a nervous habit. But I’ve taken the first step toward breaking it. I’m admitting it, which leads me to my next goal…

3. Enjoy silence.

When was the last time you drove your car in silence?

When I started thinking about silence in my life, I discovered I have another nervous habit. I feel like I need to have something – music, news, banter, whatever – on while I’m in the car. It’s almost as if I’m afraid of the silence. Turning the radio off was an uncomfortable first step.

But I’m learning to appreciate some quiet “me” time. I find it refreshing; a way to get “centered”. I’m always running from one thing to the next; I didn’t recognize my need for quiet; because, honestly, it seemed super weird. I’m not “enjoying” as much silence as I’d like, but driving in the car with just my thoughts is a step in the right direction.

Silence has a lot to offer us when it comes to thinking, being creative, praying, or just connecting with ourselves. We can find out what has really been bugging us, or, how did we get to be in such a good mood? Where is that energy coming from? Silence gives us the space to discover all of that and more.

4. Get out of my comfort zone

My friends (and Brad) often call me out all the time for saying things as if I’m 50 years old and moaning about at all the youngin’s (who are actually my peers). I like having routines…I get that from my dad. I realize I spend a lot of time looking for, creating, or preserving my own comfort – and it seems to get worse the older I get.

At this rate, I’ll be a hermit by age 30.

And that scares the crap out of me. I am determined to head in a different direction by stepping out of my comfort zone on purpose. Each year (I have to start somewhere), I have to try a food that I hated when I was a kid. Two years ago it was yogurt; last year it was OJ — and I actually like them now! When I go out with friends for dinner, I try to go somewhere I haven’t been, instead of picking from my list of five favorite restaurants. I also need to pursue a new experience – to go somewhere I’ve never been. (I loveeee to travel.)

istanbul

On a ferry in Istanbul, Turkey, March 2013.

5. Reclaim something I enjoyed in youth.

Adulthood and all of its responsibilities can steal our joy if we succumb to it. I look back at the things I enjoyed doing when I was younger but don’t do anymore. What happened? Is there really no time for those things once I add job, family, friends into the mix? Really? I don’t believe it.

welles park pool

I used to be quite a swimmer (swim teams, meets, competitions, the works) growing up. After high school I stopped swimming. But I loved it! So each year I get a swim membership during fall/winter with the Chicago Park District. And I make time to swim. It also helps me trudge through the cold months; it gives me something active to do until warm weather returns. (And I’m not so sad when I put on a 2-piece for the first time come June). I get energized doing something for me that I did as a kid. And that makes me happy.

So whatever your thing was — swimming, wrestling, painting, writing, or playing guitar — do it. You’ll be glad you did.

What are you vowing to do this year? Do you write goals down each year? I would love to hear ’em!

Photo credits: humbert15 and Ed Yourdon

Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. Great info.

  2. This one really made me nostalgic, liked a lot, truly a different read from the regular resolutions write-ups.

  3. Rose, you are not alone! 🙂 And talking with more of my colleagues (around my age) on this, too, they’re also starting to get a little fed up with it as well. I (hope) this is becoming a generation-wide trend!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Rose — I really appreciated your comment. I hope your grandkids and kids will start picking up the phone to call you instead of text! 😉

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