Sunday, January 10, 2016

Unleashing the Kraken on your New Year Resolutions

Late 2015, I started planning on my new year resolutions to be finalized on the 31st of December. Previously, something similar would get done on the 31st and would fall by the wayside by Jan 3rd or Jan 4, provided I was very resolute in that year.

Close to ten days in the year, am glad that I have been able to stick to almost every resolution. And I wouldn't be writing this if I was not confident of keeping it going till these resolutions turn to habit. Perhaps you can use some of these ideas to salvage some of your resolutions. That is of course not the real reason behind this blog. The real reason is blogging once every week is one of my resolutions and I have absolutely no clue on what to write about today.

Anyways, this is what is working for me.

1. Goals not resolutions:  First of all, I am not treating the whole exercise as  resolutions but as goals. Measurable. And even if annoying, using a spreadsheet to keep track. This is so against everything I have believed in so far, but the so called creative, wild, rebel kraken needs to be tamed if anything of significance has to be achieved. Nothing breaks a Mustang like excel.

So, I am going to be losing weight has to be replaced with I will lose 10 kg. And the plan needs to move from a cozy, ignored place in your mind to paper or pixels.

2. The point of it all: I have aligned these individual goals to a greater purpose. Or if you want to look at it from the other way round, I have broken massive blocks of my dreams into the smaller steps I need to take. I now have categories ( so they can be listed in a large font on my spread sheet). like Family, Financial, Mental, Personal and Future.

Basically, now every individual goal rolls up to something more significant without being too complex. And during the planning exercise it helped to double check if my goals would lead towards a better version of myself. If not, I hit delete.

Ask yourself why are you doing it? It makes the daily grind more bearable.

3. Realistic, but stretched:  Realistic in the sense that they are based on your capability. And capability is not the motivation pumping in your veins after watching Rocky, but an honest self assessment, and most importantly things you enjoy. Otherwise once again, what is the point of it all?

For example, I don't enjoy running even if I am fortunate enough to be blessed with decent physical stamina. I like walking. So my resolution turned from running a certain distance to walking twice of that distance everyday. It also fits in with my daily routine of walking Joko, so no extra sacrifice in terms of cutting down time from something else is needed.

Stretched, in the sense that once you identify a goal you have to make sure that it is beyond what you can pull off, even if not being too over the top. For example, with walking - i have kept a goal of walking to Lonavala from Pune in the next six months and possibly take it further in the months after that. To achieve this goal, I need to be regular with my daily walks and build up my internal system to do this comfortably.

4. Manage your time, combine goals with your schedule: Now, the biggest challenge that I have is time. Typically, work, including the commute takes up 12 to 14 hours of a given day.

That leaves 10 hours to work on my mission to being a Super Me. If I look at 6 to 7 hours as time for rest (which is healthy), I am left with 4 hours. One of my goals is to finish the second draft of my second book before March end. That will be an hour per day. Which leaves me with 3 hours. Then I need to exercise, do yoga, and mediate - goals with specific targets - leaving me with 2 hours.

Family. Dog. Friends - An hour.

Reading a book. Reading the Gita every day. Give or take another 30 minutes to 1 hour.

A very thin buffer which usually gets eaten up because life is...well life. So, what do we do?

Time with Joko is combined through my walking targets. He gets thinner and female doggies want him. I get fitter and knock out two goals at the same time. Sometimes I ask the missus to join me on the walk. With mom, generally try to have dinner together and discuss books.

Meditation, try to fit it in during work hours - a 10 minute break where I go off to the meditation room instead of the tea stall and try to center myself as life gets hit by waves of disruption.

The point of giving details is you to can identify with your own life and priorities.

5. Cut out all the noise - No television. Even if in my alternate life as a writer, it is not a complete waste of time for me for it helps getting inspired. So, whatever TV I watch- I watch it with the missus. Possibly, a series that we both can enjoy together.

For entertainment, I am a music guy. Which again combined with the writing session saves time and boosts creativity.

5. Make the difficult ones public. Early in the exercise of identifying my new year goals, I realized that working on a completely path breaking novel, or making a targeted amount from the stock markets ( I so want to say 'equity' to sound grown up) in spite of China and commodity something something, or saving an insane amount of money in a short time is not that difficult. The difficult thing would be to lose weight - because I tend to get distracted from exercise easily and I don't see the point of it all. (Tummy = Mojo)

Also, I don't lose weight easily and I need to have my Beer and Scotch. (For again, if not that - what is the point of it all?) . So I need motivation to do this.

So, had close friends tell me very dramatically that I just can't lose 10 KGs in six months.

Again, knowing my strengths (and you will have yours) - I dont need a second invitation. If I am told I cant do anything, then I am a bull in a China shop on steroids with its tail on fire and **** being snapped by Rottweilers and horns being shot at by Panzer tanks. I go nuts.

Even if made up, since they too want the best of me  - this image which I have posted on Facebook of friends and random dog mocking me is a reminder enough on what I need to do every single day for the next six months.

But before going that path, make sure you know yourself. If you are those types who dont do things when someone tells you to not do them, then this is clearly not a trick you should have in your bag.

Going by the spirit of this point, here are some goals I know i am really going to struggle with - some not because of a lack of willpower but because of a lack of time.

1. Write a Weekly Blog Here. ( In spite of writing a massive, epic, god awesome, freaking brilliant novel at the same time and a few newspaper columns here and there)

2. Lose 10 KG by July 4. Gulp.

3. Play some sport 2 to 3 times a week - I am really stumped on this one. Very difficult since weekends are my down time but will find a way

4. Read 15 Books this year + 1 self help book - which is the massive massive Gita everyday.

 5. Learn a musical instrument. - I DONT KNOW WHEN, WHAT and HOW and I am falling behind on this but need to figure out after reading this blog by my self.

Have a great year ahead. And treat this one as your last one as I am doing so there is a sense of urgency in all that you do.

Warm Regards

Rustom and the Last Storyteller of Almora by Gaurav Parab [Hachette] was listed by the Times of India and Business Standard as one of 5 weekend reads , The Hindu calls it a Genre bender, The Statesman ‘An Almost Perfect Debut, The Lucknow tribune calls it a debut to remember, The Pioneer calls it Cinematic, The Vistara Air inflight magazine a Good Book on the Shelf, the Sakaal times says its ‘sheer brilliance in storytelling’ while the Bangalore Mirror calls it an unforgettable story. It is available in leading bookstores and online here

No comments: