Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Year's Resolutions - Twenty10s in 2010.

I've been ruminating on my New Year's Resolutions for a while now. Part of it is my usual info junkieism/bigger, better, stronger, faster perfectionist side (And I admit it). But the larger part of the intense thought is wanting to really change things. While I, overall, am quite happy with my life, I know in my heart of hearts that my life could be. . . well, easier, more FUN.

I've been doing a lot of reflecting and research and drafting and redrafting of my life style reboot, and will continue to work on it for the foreseeable future. I gave myself permission for it to be an ongoing process, but I have locked at least a few things down. I decided that I would come up with Twenty10s for 2010. Twenty "10" framed goals for the year. For example: I will lose 10% of my body weight, I will avoid sodas for 10 weeks straight, I will invest at least 10 minutes a day in growing my friendships (a call, an email, a dinner - SOMEthing). You get the idea. The BIG "10" goals will be lined up roughly one per month, since it takes 3-4 weeks for a habit to stick, and I want to be sane about this. The rest of the 10s will come up, well, whenever they occur to me.

While researching ideas my Twenty10s I ran into a NYT article - "Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow" based on this study on "Resource Slack". The upshot is people somehow expect that they will have more time in "The Future", so we put things off, even fun things, until "later" when there will be (magically) more time to do them. However, on average, people will be just as busy in a month as they are now. For some reason, we don't get that. And these fun, or not so fun but important things just don't get done.

This was an eye-opener for me. I realized how often I fell prey to this thinking - that I'd do something next weekend, or later, because I'd have more time then. Except there won't be more time - you can't grow it or create it. It's a constant, so it's really about how you choose to fill it.
Even worse, I'd gotten trapped in the mindset that there 'isn't enough time'.

'Not enough' is a judgment - not enough time, not enough money, not enough space. It all is, what it is. Pushing against the reality with a crabbity attitude isn't going to change the truth of things - it will just make you more crabbity. The amount of time is a constant, and it won't change. The same thing applies to our home, 'not enough' space, and our bank account, 'not enough' money. There is just as much space as there is, and just as much time as there is, and just as much money as there is, and being frustrated that something isn't what it isn't - ain't helping. I simply have to figure out how to work within the real restrictions of what's there, or not there.

In a way, though I am right - there ISN'T enough time for everything I'm trying to do - there are only 24 hours in the day. Period. So whatever I do has to fit within those constraints. In prioritizing what to tackle first, I realized one of the biggest time sucks I have, is the stuff. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to clean, sort, stack, maintain, manage, or otherwise just DEAL with. So the shortcut to more time, is, oddly, less stuff. In one fell mind-set swoop I've gone from 'not enough' to 'too much'.

Plus, getting rid of stuff has benefits across the board - there isn't enough space for everything we own, so less stuff means more room. And less stuff means BUYING less stuff, which means spending less money which = working within our budget. Win/win/win/win!

Which leads me to my first big 10 of 2010. Get rid of 10 things a day. Every day. No matter how tired or busy or cranky - at least 10 things need to be gathered up and ushered out of my life. On weekends, the count goes much much higher, but every day, rock bottom minimum - 10 things. I've gotten a solid start on the 'things' part of decluttering by just picking away at it - 10 things a day. It's working, and I'm sticking too it, because it's doable. Once the momentum has started, its a bit easier to keep it going, because it feels so good. Things feel easier already.

Decluttering day to day tasks, commitments, to-dos - all those are up next, and they will free up even more time, but for now, one thing at a time - because there's only so much time to go around...

If anyone wants to join me on my Twenty10s in 2010 - I'd love to have company! I'll be posting on my Twenty10s throughout the next few months (and probably the whole year). Post your own starting "10"s in the comments and keep us updated on progress, via blog links, twitter hashtag #twenty10s, or new comments.