I make New Year’s resolutions every year, but until last year, they admittedly had been pretty commonplace – exercise more, floss before bed, etc. You know, the kind that you never hold yourself accountable for beyond March.
Last year was the first year that I really carved my resolutions out and gave myself short-term and long-term, quantitative and qualitative goals. Example: Rather than stating, “get better at responding to e-mails,” list, “respond to all e-mails within a 24-hour window, no exceptions.”
A few of my resolutions from 2013: Read at least one book per quarter, finally make my living and bed rooms a place that I aesthetically enjoy spending time in (painting, updating furniture, etc), make at least four non-business related trips both domestic and abroad (Canada counts, eh?), start my day by 7:00am at least once per week, send at least 12 hand-written letters via snail mail, and so on.
The objective was to make a list of actionable items that were as clear as possible and to hold myself accountable for them through the entire year. At the end of the year, I evaluated my commitment to each item with either: full credit, half-credit, or no credit. This review process ranged from rewarding, to humbling, to slightly painful.
What I realized through last year’s resolution process was that they helped in setting a course for direction throughout 2013. There are many unforeseeable and unplanned events that can happen during a year. Perhaps a move, a new job or even a new addition to the family – whatever it may be, these things should be expected to happen. There’s the path of your resolutions and what you’ve planned for, and then there’s the path of the natural uncertainty of the future. Following solely on one is never any good (in my opinion). If you can somehow forge a middle ground between these two, then you’re walking on a solid path.
To help with your resolution planning for 2014, here’s a quick cheat-sheet (in no particular order):
1. Learn to cook a few new meals
Whatever your cooking skill level, your significant other and/or the people close to you will appreciate this one.
2. Determine the places you want to travel to most and go there
It’s a big world out there; go explore.
3. Learn to work more efficiently so you can leave the work at the office
Spend more time with the people you love.
4. Reach out to old friends
I was just reminded of an upcoming high-school reunion. It’s terrifying how quickly time passes by. It’s good to slow down every now-and-then and catch up with the people who have helped shape us.
5. Develop a new hobby or skill
I started shooting film photography for the first time mid-year. I haven’t looked back since . . . except for the occasions when I need the photographs in a more timely manner. I came across a quote a few years ago about how developing a hobby or skill independent of your primary work will greatly benefit your primary work intrinsically. I couldn’t agree more.
6. Never stop learning. Sign up for classes.
We’re never too old to stop learning. Over the summer and into the early winter, I took sewing classes nearly every Saturday and made a pair of pants. This was a very long process, but one I’m incredibly proud of. After learning all the work that goes into making a pair of khakis, I’ll never look at pants the same way again.
7. Set a goal for exercise
Develop a workout regimen and stick to it. Sign up to run a race (10k, half-marathon, or a triathlon . . . if you’re feeling ambitious) and train.
At the end of the year, evaluate your goals, repeat the process in 2015 and keep the momentum going year-after-year.
Throughout the month of January we will be catching up with a few of our customers and close friends on the blog. You’ve already met Matt Rho and we’d like to introduce you to a few more of the people who help shape and support our brand. We will be learning more about them and asking about their plans for the upcoming year.
We’re officially a full week into 2014 and it’s fair to say that it’s off to a great start. Here’s to the new year and to making it a good one.
*Photographs via Instagram
Captions: 1. Never missed an opportunity to wear a suit in 2013 / 2. Early stages of khaki construction (summer) / 3. Packed and ready for Toronto / 4. Revisiting a familiar skyline –Toronto / 5. After more than two years, finally getting around to painting my living room / 6. First purchase of 2014 – starting the year off right with a new pair of running shoes