Reckoning 2011 and Resolving for 2012

by Chris Grundemann on 01/23/2012

Boulder SunsetI have to admit, I’m a little late posting this. I started thinking about writing it sometime in November or December and here it is, the end of January, and I’m just now getting to it… Oh well, today is the lunar new year, so we’ll call it right on time, right?

The point of this post is to wrap up 2011 and set the stage for 2012. Kind of a way to take stock and set a course. It’s something I think ought to be done at least once a year but something that I think many of us neglect (myself being a prime offender).

For a long time I’ve been anti-new-year-resolution. Much of this was just me being contrarian (as is often my nature) but my admitted reasoning was that you should constantly set and evaluate goals. That once a year is not enough for this important practice and that I was constantly conscience of my path.

While this is not totally untrue, I see now (perhaps age does bring wisdom) that forcing a full re-evaluation of the course of your life is exceptionally helpful and perhaps truly vital to our own well being and happiness (and thus to those around us as well). You see, I lie to myself. I’m pretty sure you do it to. A large part of it is (from what I can tell) a defense mechanism. Just like you don’t feel every square inch of your body at every moment and you don’t notice smells after they have been in the air for awhile and like us city dwellers who don’t hear the traffic (or even sirens) as we sleep, it appears that we swallow certain feelings, revelations, hopes, dreams, etc. so that they don’t interfere with the important business of staying alive.

This is probably a good thing overall: You don’t want to be worrying about the job you want so much that you can’t do the job you have. You don’t need the depression of past mistakes keeping you from enjoying time with your friends, or children. You don’t want to vacillate on every decision that comes your way, laboring over whether lemons or limes better fit your life plan. You simply can’t be second guessing every choice you make every day, you can’t spend all of your time daydreaming and you can’t dwell constantly on the past. Fact is, you really should spend the vast majority of your time living your life, not planning it (nor worrying about it).

Washington SunriseHere’s the rub: If you never address these things, they build up. Unfulfilled desires, uncorrected mistakes, bad choices; none of them ever just go away. Believe me, I know this first hand. So this periodic self-check becomes necessary. We need to stop and consider our lives fully from time to time. What am I doing? Why? What are my true motivations? What has happened in my life since I last asked these questions? Which things have I truly enjoyed? Which would I rather eliminate? What makes me happy? How can I do more of that? The list goes on…

It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be doing; life is great, you’re happy every day, you’re creative and productive, the people around you are having fun, etc. But it’s just as likely that this isn’t true. That there are things you’re doing that don’t make you happy, that aren’t fun, or worse yet; that hurt people (yourself or others). By being completely honest with yourself and truly and fully evaluating the past and present, you can make informed changes for the future. Reducing (and hopefully eliminating) the things that do not make you happy while enhancing all of the things that do is only possible once you’re honest about what those things are.

And so, I have come to believe that the changing of the calendar is indeed a great time for resolving… but only after reckoning.

With that in mind, 2011 was a fascinating year for me: I changed jobs, got divorced and fell in love (twice). I moved from the suburbs to the city and started riding to work (instead of driving). I ended my battle to get ARIN-2010-14 implemented, and started thinking more seriously about my personal content network (which has led to some new research as well). I was interviewed by Juniper, took 16 trips to 13 different cities (many for the first time), joined TheHundred Denver, and was kicked out of Canada (ask me in person sometime). I started speaking more, working less, and spending more time with my kids. I published my second book, co-authored my first Internet-Draft, filed my first patent application, and re-discovered my spirituality. Oh, and I turned 30.

The rest of the details are probably more than you want to know (and likely more than I’m willing to share with you) but you can rest assured that I have taken full stock over this holiday/new year season and am much more aware of who I am, what I want, and how to get it than I ever have been before. It’s not a perfect picture I’m sure, but it’s a hell of a lot clearer than it was.

MeSo what do I plan to do with this new found clarity?

Run with it!

I have decided to foster my spirituality and my creativity. To pay more attention to the things that make me happy and less to the things I once thought I was “supposed” to do. You know those things; they are the ones you think that others expect you to do, the things you think define success, the things that actually have nothing to do with you at all. I also plan to foster the positive relationships in my life, prune the negative ones and to continue to take care of my body.

That brings us to my resolutions (posted here, publicly, to force myself into them):

Write more.

  1. Write an average of 1 blog post every week (52 posts in 2012).
  2. Self-publish at least one book this year.

Create more and in new ways.

  1. Assemble a decent “craft/art box” in the first quarter of 2012, then use it (see 4.1.).
  2. Complete at least one project from every issue of Make: received in 2012.
  3. File at least 4 patent applications this year.

Exercise more consistently.

  1. Ride my bike to work (with a little bus assistance) at least 90% of the days I go into the office.
  2. Do push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups every day (especially when traveling) during 2012.
  3. Have sex at least 20 times every month in 2012 (must be over 5m to count).

Be more present with my children.

  1. Go to the park at least three times a month with my boys.
  2. Do at least two creative projects a month (using the craft box from 2.1.) with my boys.
  3. Take at least one trip a month to a museum, zoo or aquarium with my boys.

Stay positive.

  1. Identify positive and negative thoughts as often as possible.
  2. Avoid negative people (not sad/sick/hurt people, truly negative ones).
  3. Post a positive affirmation on Facebook at least once a week.
  4. Continue and grow Colorado Love.
  5. See 3.3.

Well, that’s all folks. I hope your 2012 is off to a beautiful start! Mine sure is =)

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