Best Year Yet

Help is a yellow Volkswagen

yellow VW beetle I'll admit it flat-out: I'm a bit chagrined by last year's goal-post title.

To be fair, it wasn't a total wash. Out of ten goals I set for myself last January, I fulfilled seven. Fairly good, percentage-wise. Especially since much of the year, I wasn't consciously trying. Such is the truly awesome power of just writing things down (not to mention making them public!).

Still, there's no question that one of last year's gifts was in leaving room for improvement this year. I do like the Best Year Yet method, since it walks me through all the steps I might otherwise skip in my fresh-year enthusiasm. A fair amount of time gets devoted just to examining where the previous year went well and where it went off the rails, the idea being you'll get the best sense of what lessons will prove most useful to you by examining where the hell you went so very, very wrong.

I'm happy to say that mine boiled down to two things:

  1. an unrealistic sense of what I can reasonably (or even unreasonably) expect to accomplish in a given chunk of time
  2. an almost pathological inability to ask for help.

Why happy? Because if I'm honest with myself, these twin terrors have probably kept me from more successes than any other things. "Inability to face up to stuff," for example, is not on the list. Took a few years to get it off, but it is gonzo, brother. So is "depressed," "unmotivated," "refusal to look on the bright side," and a host of other ills. As demons go, these two ain't bad.

To help with my time issues, this year is going to be a lot about scheduling. Yes, I've scheduled in the scheduling.

I'm also putting a heavy emphasis on Asking For Help. My mantra for 2008 is "Help Is Everywhere," both because I'm starting to see that it really and truly is everywhere, and because once you get it in your head to see yellow Volkswagens, that's pretty much what you're going to see.

2008? It's the Year of The Yellow Volkswagen.

xxx c

Image by slimmer jimmer via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

the communicatrix elsewhere: How to make resolutions that actually work

LIghting the way

I've spoken before about how resolutions blow big, stinky chunks, but only hinted at how goal-setting can really work.

If you are over 40 or a realist (I am in the former camp, but hardly the latter), you doubtless understand too well that there is no one book or system or piece of software that will change you life for you, only tools and hacks that help facilitate the growth you are ready to embrace.

I know: I spent 40+ years accumulating tools, and while I made incremental progress on my own, I didn't get Big Mama Change until the universe saw fit to sit me down and teach me a hard lesson. Fortunately, I was ready for it. Because really, the universe's next move was, like, non-operative cancer or some shit, and while the morphine and pot-smoking part of hellish pain sounds good, I question how well I would do with the rest of it.

So if you are change-ready (or change-curious) and want a new tool to play with, I humbly suggest you check out my latest column for LAcasting.com on effecting real change. Included are three steps I've found work well for me, as well as one really excellent book/system which I've hinted at here called Your Best Year Yet, by Ginny Ditzler. I did write the column for actors, but it's not totally acting-centric, and besides, it's always fun to read stuff about actors: ask the publishers of US and People and every other fucking consumer magazine aimed at women 18 - 54 in the U.S.

Also, I'm trying to add to my own body of knowledge on this stuff, so if you've found tactics or tools that work for you, please let me know either in the comments or via email (communicatrix at gmail dotterooski com). I first heard of Best Year Yet via Heidi Miller's excellent small biz marketing podcast, and I totally stole that theme thing from Jenny, for example (she was very gracious about it) and would be happy to steal equally good ideas from you, too.

With attribution, of course...

xxx
c

HELPFUL LINKS:

Image by carf via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Resolved for 2007

deck chairs Jenny has said she's not one for resolutions, and I'm with her: pulling "gonnas" out of your ass, as in "I'm gonna quit smoking" or "I'm gonna get in shape" or "I'm gonna quit pulling things out of my ass", is a recipe for feelings of personal failure and severe depression in the cold, holiday-free months of the new year. She prefers a "theme", such as "revival" or "more love" or "less putting of things in quotation marks." (Oh, wait, that's mine.)

I do like and believe in making plans, it appeals to the listmaker in me, and will probably take another, more serious crack at the Best Year Yet, "values-based" goal-setting system, for 2007. But before I even get to BYY, which I have actually SCHEDULED on the CALENDAR (December 23rd, you're on yer own that night, The BF), I came up with a theme for next year: Expand and Focus.

While I realize this seems like a contradiction in terms, I like it for precisely that reason: it's like a zen koan, and it's custom-made for overachieving type-As like me. Why? Because it will slow me the fuck down, that's why. You try being an overachieving type-A for 45 years. Hell, try it for a week. If you're unused to it, I can almost guarantee you'll suffer adrenal burnout in 72 hours.

Of course, I may still pick "Slow Down" or even "Slow the Fuck Down" as my 2007 mantra, but it has such negative connotations for me now, I feel glum just typing it. In contrast, I feel good about the sort of limitless possibility attached to "Expand and Focus". Also, I can monkey with this sort of stuff indefinitely, until things reach such a disastrous state of disarray, it becomes like deck chair rearranging on the Titanic. And believe you me, I'll keep shuffling those things till there's no deck left to shuffle on.

Still, some of you out there know me pretty well by now. Perhaps you have an even better deck chair arrangement to suggest...

xxx c

Photo by nickherber via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license