I don’t normally do resolutions when stepping into a new year. That being said, I do have a few goals to work towards this year. They’ll probably translate in an amazingly boring tone, but you know what they say about baby steps.
I enjoy reading, and from a large swath of topics, but a considerable amount of my reading consists of long-form news stories and investigative reports. Things that take longer than 5 minutes at a time to read. I’d like to focus more on reading books this year. I’m constantly fascinated by people who have developed a consistency in their reading habits. My reading is so sporadic that eventually it trails off as we approach the last quarter of the year. I had a goal last year of reading two books a month, and that started off well enough. Until, that is, about April. Then the wheels fell right off that one, so we’re back to square one this year. I didn’t wait until January 1, 2018 to start, though, I started back in December.
I pay for this website as a space to hang up my work for anyone who stumbles into it to see, so I should probably make it a more worthwhile investment. Writing, like anything, is a commitment. I delete exponentially more than I write, it’s almost depressing. I take a lot of notes on things I want to put words to, and then never bring them to a point where I can hit “publish.” As with reading, I want to develop some sort of rhythm or consistency for writing something, then actually publishing it. If there’s one person to whom I’m really taking notes from, it’s Seth Godin. Please, do not regard that as me wanting to write incredibly practical, helpful, and insightful pieces. While that would be a worthy goal, I’ve always admired how Seth Godin is able to say so much, in such small spaces. You’re not going to spend 10 minutes reading his post, but you’ll spend quite a bit of time digesting what he’s said.
I don’t feel like I exercised my creative muscle last year as much as in years past or as much I’d have liked to, so I intend to work on more personal and commercial projects to make that happen. Whether it be in graphic design, web development, or musically. I haven’t played a gig outside of a church-related function in years and had a couple experiences this past year that sort of stirred up some ideas I’m interested in pursuing. We’ll see.
Watch Less Content
There is more video content available than ever before and every source of content creation on the internet that isn’t already producing video content is pivoting to video. But how much of it is actually quality video content? I don’t use Facebook much anymore, but the last time I logged in on my desktop, I scrolled through my feed and it was 90% video content. And, sadly, none of it was all that engaging or worth viewing. It was actually quite inundating and aggressive and I wasn’t logged on for more than a couple minutes at the most. It was so overwhelming that I simply closed the tab. It’s also worth noting that I love film and televisions shows, and I tend to get wrapped up in more than I can keep up with at one time. But, I think I want to spend less time giving my attention to video screens and par back my video consumption considerably. It’s probably going to alienate me a bit at the office water cooler, but I think such a step services the other two goals I’ve already noted.
Talk Less, Reflect More
This is the last one I want to talk about, and probably the biggest. As Twitter increases our character limit to 280 and allows us to put together threaded tweet storms from the compose screen, we’re all talking more and listening and reflecting less. Or, we talk first, then consider what we’ve said later and stomach the regret. I’m of the belief that we live in a culture that doesn’t listen to understand, but listens simply to respond. That being said, I think we could all stand to talk a little less and listen and reflect a bit more. I feel as though I published as many tweets as I deleted before publishing in 2017. We’re not bound by a rule that requires our Twitter feeds to be a stream of consciousness in 280 characters. We can edit. We can delete before publishing. It’s okay. This is reflecting before tweeting and asking yourself it you really need to publish that thought. It’s good to be fun, engaging, and even entertaining if possible, but reflect a little.
Furthermore, I want to listen not just to myself, but to others even more so. As I stated a minute ago – we live in a society more motivated to listen in order to respond rather than to understand. Everyone has passionate opinions about a wide range of subject matter, and I want to understand where people come from on a personal level. It’s easy to analyze from 30,000 ft. and make generalizations based on assumed and collated bits of knowledge, but it’s a lot harder to say “Tell me,” and then to just listen to what they have to say without loading up a rebuttal or a “well, actually…” for when they’re done. I want to do more of that, though. Just tell me and let me listen and reflect on what you’re saying and why you might hold that viewpoint. If I want to convince someone of something, anything really, then I need to understand more.
That’s it. That’s where I’m leaning this year.