Belated Birthday Resolutions

  1. Why?
  2. Gut feelings
  3. 2021 in review

    1. Physical: Moving with Joy
    2. Emotional: Nurture All Things
    3. Mental: Spacious
    4. Spiritual: Joyful Att/Intention
    5. 2020 goals
  4. What now?

    1. Physical: Move With Ease
    2. Emotional: Embrace What Is
    3. Mental: Part of a Whole
    4. Spiritual: Wholehearted Collaboration
  5. Final reflection

Why?

I like to start with why. Why am I doing this? To have a sense of direction and purpose. To steer from a high level - with perspective.

This year I'm changing my process to be more top-down, and intention based. The key results - measurable items, are still there, but they were connected last.

Past: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

Gut feelings

So what do I want and need? What's my gut say? What are powerful questions to ask?

The theme for 2022 is integrity. Integrity means more than one thing:

  • Wholeness, completeness - awareness of the whole, of limits and boundaries, and living while honoring those
  • Trust and honesty - with oneself, first and foremost
  • Wholeheartedness. Service of oneself and others.

Living with integrity means meeting my body, heart, mind, and soul where they're at and going from there. A secondary theme, or word, (is) "ease." (see what I did there?), for example: living with ease.

This year, I'd like to focus more on intention and look at behaviors to determine what my goals actually are. More of a top-down, than a bottom-up approach.

That said, I'm very much a fan of measurable goals, so I'll be looking at some concrete ways to do so. One of the friction (or resistance) points of goal setting and review has been the long list of "todos", and so this year I'm making a conscious effort to limit the list lengths to 4 items at the top level.

2021 in review

Two main stressors came through this year:

  1. Physical pain and nutrition. I've given myself more reign to gain muscle, and have in the process hurt my muscles and my digestion. 2022 seeks to continue working the muscles, with ease, while easing in with nutrition and heart strengthening movement.
  2. Mentally, there was too much going on at times, too many hats to wear, and things to balance. I've joined a business group to help with this, in part, but my day to day practices have fallen behind. Also, I've had more frequent headaches.

For 2021 I wanted to:

  1. Physical: Moving with Joy
  2. Emotional: Nurture All Things
  3. Mental: Spacious
  4. Spiritual: Joyful Att/Intention

Physical: Moving with Joy

Grade: A-

Affirmation:

I nurture my body every day, and move with joy, free of pain.

I did the Pain Free exercises diligently at first. While I noticed an improvement, I wouldn't say I'm pain free. Unfortunately I also had more headaches this year than I anticipated - the main reason for the grade. One step I took right at the end was to adjust my eyeglasses prescription to be friendlier to computer work.

Well:

  • Look for opportunities to increase movement: avoid the nearest bathroom, daily walks. I did walk more, especially outside, this year. Even when it was cold. Got nice warm clothing too, to be more comfortable.
  • Continue to do yoga daily
  • Continue chiropractic 1x/mo, massages 2h+/mo, baths 2x+/mo, acupuncture
    • After bath, lay with eye pillow before bed, use eye drops
  • While at desk:
    • Work standing 2x+/day for 30m+ or more. Did this consistently, much of the year. Also upgraded my desk end of last year, which helped with a reminder builtin.
    • Invert 5-10m. Didn't do this very consistently on the actual inversion table. But I did do the neck pillow more often, so that's a win.
  • No work after 8pm
  • Kite (10+ days/year). Did not supplement with biking or running.
  • Nutrition: do one cleanse (April), continue eating local, CSA. Drink 4+ glasses of water per day. If I could give this A++, I would. I drink plenty of water, did a cleanse, and have eaten very local in 2021. In fact, the default was: eat from the local market and CSA first, and supplement only if the market doesn't have it.
  • Continue investing in work environment. Didn't feel like getting a 2nd monitor, the one I have seems enough - but I'm considering it next year. Grounding my feet now. Got a better quality mic and rearranged the desk for better lighting. This feels like a B: I did a bit, but still feels there is more I could do.
  • Muscle building 8-15lbs. I did not start in April, but I absolutely achieved this goal. I gained 15lbs this year and most of it is muscle. This had some unfortunate downsides - contributed to headaches, and with lots of protein and fat my cholesterol is higher now. But since I'm at a happy weight now and just looking to turn a bit more muscle and tone, 2022 will bring more focus on cardio, finally.

Nell:

  • Yin and load balancing postures, 20-40m daily (inspired by The Egoscue Method)
  • Cardio 90m or more per week at high intensity, or 150m at mid/low intensity
  • While at desk:
    • Rest eyes, neck, and shoulders 15m+ every 2h - I didn't really honor these breaks. In Q4 I switched to 5m every hour, OK to skip one but not two, and try to do 10m if skipping one. This has been working much better, even though it's nearly the same idea.
    • Headaches. This has been a recurring issue and I'm really keen to break through on it next year.

Ultimate goal: To feel good about my body, keep it strong and mobile. Avoid long periods of sitting still.

Emotional: Nurture All Things

Grade: A-

Affirmation:

I release emotions and channel them gently towards connection and fun, creative endeavors.

Emotionally this year was good, definitely an improvement in my wellbeing there. In some ways I stressed and still got angry and loud with myself at times, but I've also found more joy (theme of the year), and really took care of my body at times: lots of baths. Also connected more with people, and spent more time focusing on the big picture: nourishing emotional habits :)

Well:

  • Play. Games with friends (board games, console games). No guitar or keyboard, but plenty of games and socializing with friends.
  • Nurture and joy with family: spend quality time with them. Give, more. I feel this went very well, though of course I could see my family more often - mainly, I just wanna stop making myself feeling guilty about it, it's not very helpful.
  • Travel: 3 road trips, 3 flights - done
    • Flights, 4: Baja MX, Tennessee, LA, Europe
    • Road trips, 3: Hot springs all around :)
  • 3-day solo trip (in MX)
  • Meditate: 15m/day - heck yes. I'm at 480+ days of consecutive meditation, with only a few freebies!
  • Breathwork sessions, once a quarter (carry over). Did maybe 2 of these, but I don't want to carry it over. I'll probably still do one or two next year.
  • Monthly reflections, quarterly reviews - Done! Proud to have written 3 quarterly reflections this year.
  • Daily and weekly gratitudes. Celebrate accomplishments. Celebrate anniversaries.
  • Do nothing for one hour each week. Not very consistent, but I'm counting it as I had a weekly reminder and honored it 1-2x/month. I've decided not to carry over much into next year - the reminder will stay but it's not an explicit goal.

Nell:

  • Take time off: 2 weeks per quarter
    • Some quarters I took a bit less, so I came closer to 5-6 weeks for the year. It's been tougher to step away with the business growing. I really want 6 weeks to be my minimum, and to fret less while I step away - it's OK if I check in an hour a day a few times a week, but not stressfully or unhappily. To be fair, it's also been a tough year still, with the pandemic.
    • This was a theme last year too. It's a tough one, but I still think I can improve on it.
  • Maintain a list of things I enjoy to do by myself
    • I do have a list, but I haven't grown it or referenced it very much. It's a good idea and one I could benefit from if I placed it more prominently. I have a follow-up for this.
  • Continue reading about emotional and sexual health. - I've read some about leadership and values, and prioritized my values which has helped emotionally. Also had great insights with friends. Slack, the book, inspired me to build more space into my life.
  • Allow myself one cheat day a week - free from any to-dos and burdens. Did not work, not carrying over. I think it's the structure that fails me - the idea is more about feeling free to ignore my habits and checklist of items for a day, but I end up wanting to have more flexibility. Needs some thought. My new approach is to take small steps and leave more space in between (see - Slack)

Ultimate goal: To grow my nurturing side and connect with family and friends.

Mental: Spacious

Grade: A

Affirmation:

I have just enough time and space for everything I need. My mind is attentive and patient.

I wouldn't say I have a very spacious mind, but I've felt joy and space in my morning routines at times. And though I've had more headaches this year, there have been weeks where I really felt my attention was where it should be.

The reason for the A is overcoming the challenge of business growth and focus. Even though I had days when my brain was fried at the end, most days I felt sharp and focused and able to use my strengths. Given the emotional challenges of the year, pandemic, and headaches, this is worth celebrating. I'm hopeful to have less mind-on-fire feeling next year, by breathing deeper, taking more breaks, and just accepting that most of what I stress about having to do, can wait. Really.

Well:

  • Plan day under-loaded, leave 1h+ for unanticipated work items, and be efficient. - Done, I even left 2 hours.
  • Continue with career coach - Done, though a bit less.
  • Max 6 hour workdays. Half-day Fridays (end work by 2:30pm).
    • Done, but I think this goal harmed other goals (headaches also). Instead of this, I'd like to set a time within which I work, and aim to finish early instead. So I'm looking at 10-6 now, and would love to finish by 4 majority of days.
  • Strictly take 3 15m+ breaks during each workday.
    • With lunch and snack break, I took 2 most days, and occasionally 3. I did have shorter days (see above) and the pressure of squeezing that into my workday cracked this habit and stressed me out.
  • Leadership
    • Refine business goals, and mission. - Done, and got feedback. Not finished but getting closer.
    • Ask great questions! (carry-over) - Done but would like to do more.
    • Hire 1-2 employees and delegate to them. - Done, 1 and would like another
    • Continue to improve and document our processes. - Done, and getting help for this
  • Read 4 business books, and 8 non self-help books (fiction, memoirs, etc).
    • Absolutely done. I could have read more, but after reaching this goal in Q3, I mainly coasted the rest of the year, focusing mostly on audiobooks.
  • Invest in joy and nurture at Uplift, too: fun with the team, encouragement, share, help team grow in 1:1s.
    • I committed to meeting everyone I was paired with by our virtual-coffee. Can do more on this, planned for next year.
  • Complete financial review and re-balancing.
    • Done! Feels great. It was a long time coming, but very rewarding. And thanks to a friend for starting me a bit into crypto investing, as well - with some doubts about its energy use.

Nell:

  • Weekly 2-hour creative afternoon. - this structure isn't working, but instead I ended up planning for 2 hours of free time daily (not necessarily continuously, and not every single day, but many days). This worked and I'm excited to continue leaving open ended time in my workday. Some of that time is naturally spent doing creative work.

Ultimate goal: To work in my zone of genius and feel spacious - as opposed to cramped and doing too many things.

Spiritual: Joyful Att/Intention

Grade: B+

Affirmation:

I am present and joyfully connected to nature.

Lots of joy this year, and connection to nature at home - gardening was an absolute joy, and so was having plants. At some point we got over a dozen herbs from the farmers market. Though many didn't make it to winter, a few did. Along with a couple books about gardening and some neighborly talk, this year turned out to be a joy with nature, at home!

Well:

  • Inhabit the house with plants. At least 5 more plants, but the possibilities are endless. - Done.
  • Take 2+ hot springs trips - Done
  • See also Mental goals
    • Lead with joy and nurture - Done
    • Continue career coaching - Did a bit less coaching, but joined a small business group that's enjoyable.
    • Mentor/coach others myself - Did a bit of this, still room for more.
  • Meditate
    • only did morning, but was consistent
    • One long session per week, Sundays
    • Meditation retreat (3+ days)
  • Solo trip, do nothing 1h/day for 3+ days. - Done and chilled.

Nell:

  • Breathwork was not quarterly, but I did 2.
  • Meditate
    • Did not do evenings, or one long session per week. I'll reduce this to 5-10m, which I do some days.
    • Did not do meditation retreat (3+ days)

Ultimate goal: Joyful attention and intention.

2020 goals

Brief check in on 2020 goals, has anything substantial changed?

  1. Physical: Revitalize

    • [+] (grouping most +s that are continued) Continued daily yoga, chiro and massage, standing at desk, inverting more, (bit of) investing in work environment, sleeping plenty, eating local and well (for my goals - to reduce dairy for 2022), waking up without alarm (not sure if I ever used one this year - maybe a couple times?)
    • [-] Not much cardio this year - to be addressed!
    • [-] Did not take breaks as frequently at desk, trying to squeeze in too much into the "allotted time"
    • [-] Had more gluten and skin breakouts
    • [+/-] Read and practiced Pain Free and will continue at times, but was not as helpful as I hoped for any pain - mainly helped with knee and hips.
    • [+] Muscle gain - success, +15lbs in total weight! And joining a gym helped, too, probably drive the second half of the gain.
    • [-] Got more headaches
  2. Emotional: Feelin in my bod

    • [+] Gave (donated) even more this year. As I suspected, the rolled over budget has accumulated and motivated me. Gave emotionally as well, more this year.
    • [+] Continued gratitude journal and weekly gratitude jar
    • [+] Meditated more dilligently, though not 2x/day
    • [+] Played more, with friends and family too!
    • [+] More sexual expression this year, and communication. Room for more, still!
    • [+] Traveled to new countries - Denmark, France (only Nice was new, but loved it)
    • [-] Still could take more time off
    • [+] Did not journal, but did reflect. Don't have a huge drive so will drop this for now, it'll come back when the time is right.
    • [+] Got more time to myself, though still would like more, or rather - to use it more wisely.
  3. Mental: Work Health Philosophy 3.0

    • [+] Definitely shorter workdays. I probably worked the shortest workdays this year, on a consistent basis - though with the business growing that was very stressful at times, and didn't result in fewer headaches necessarily. Time to focus more on balance than on measurements.
    • [+] Pretty good about taking half day Fridays. This shall continue to be a thing. Same for limiting work in the evenings.
    • [+] Still disconnected from work 3+ days, though I wanted one or two more times of this. Probably because of the first bullet.
    • [+] Continued leadership, had some good insights, support and guidance this year.
    • [+] Continued reading - not as much as last year, but my goal was intentionally lower and I met it.
    • [-] Not until December did my breaks become more frequent. Look forward to this habit sticking.
    • [+] Focusing on priorities using passion planner worked. Focusing on big picture using a Delegate Doc also helped. Don't fix if it ain't broken.
    • [-] Would like to write more. Hiring someone to help us with this on business front.
    • [+] Better about context switching, though there were definitely days my brain was a bit fried. Delegating nearly all coding has helped tremendously, as my mind isn't switching from deep focus to another deep focus.
  4. Spiritual: Quantuition

    • [+] Continued meditation, creative work, less action/more thought, abundance all over
    • [-] Miss meditating for longer periods
    • [+] Did a couple breathworks, though not very formal
    • [-] Still didn't do long meditation sessions. Dropping this as a goal, but it's certainly still welcome.
    • [+] Solo trip was better, more relaxed!
    • [+/-] Did nothing a bit more, but inconsistently.

What now?

I spent many hours reflecting on how 2021 has been, and the direction I'm heading into for 2022. Questions:

  • What would serve me most?
  • What was particularly challenging in 2021? Where did I struggle most to align with my values?
  • What would living with integrity look like?

And the answer to the latter is… mindfulness, really. Awareness of my behaviors, patterns, struggles. Focusing on the positive, though, it's to notice when my body, heart, mind or soul are heading into an unpleasant space, as often as possible, and gently pause and reorient them in a beneficial direction. OK, ok, maybe that still sounds focused on the negative - though indirectly. The flipside would be to take deep breaths, frequently, and pause, asking: does this moment serve me? am I living with integrity? am I resisting?

On a more inspirational note, if it was December 2022 today and I looked back on the year, what would I notice? How would I feel different, how would my life be different? What are the best outcomes? Visualize them.

I'm proud to have done my quarterly reflections on this blog. These quarterly reviews provided quality time with myself and a look at the general direction of each goal. Since I spend so much time reflecting on the year, I won't do a separate quarterly reflection for Q4 - it's incorporated into this post. And without further ado, 2022's intentions:

Physical: Move With Ease

Intention (formerly Ultimate Goal):

Enjoy movement and stretching. Expand boundaries with ease - cardio, muscle, in gentle steps.

Affirmation:

I love my body and see how it's all connected. My body wants to be healthy and strong, and is constantly healing itself. It wants to move with ease.

I feel drawn to more cardio, but I've been resisting it.

The 'lets:

  1. Do at least one hour of movement per day. Bonus if 20 minutes or more are high-intensity (cardio).

    • Live with the seasons and with the day/night cycle.
    • Plan time away from the screen around sunrise and sunset - use a simple routine, like misting the plants, to center and kick off the break.
    • Ground 2x daily, at least 5 minutes each time (including barefoot outside).
  2. Move with ease.

    • Hike, swim, run, bike, rock climb - do what's easiest. Allow myself to have options. Take advantage of what opportunities are around me, with the seasons or with facilities.
    • Continue working with trainer. Increase cardio in strength workouts.
    • Ease in budget as well. Invest in personal health, aim to spend towards it (aim to hit this and think of it as a minimum). Includes gym spending, preventative care, work environment support
  3. Invest in office health and balance (also related to mental)

    • fight dry eye (humidifier, eye drops, diffuser)
    • kettlebell, trampoline
    • Stand right after breakfast and after lunch
  4. Gut health

    • balance gut flora (bacteria), eliminate parasites
    • reduce bloat and gas
    • gluten free for 3+ months, dairy free for 1+ month

Emotional: Embrace What Is

Intention (formerly Ultimate Goal):

Understand what's driving my behavior, and accept my inclinations.

Example anger and frustration, am I seeking them, or creating them? Embrace what life offers me.

Affirmation:

I do, listen, and speak wholeheartedly.

The 'lets:

  1. Healthier relationship with work. How to do this?

    • I associate too much self worth with working hard and being dependable, responsive, etc
    • Treat my office with love and positivity. Notice if I feel stress or resistance in this room.
    • If I step away, I fear that people will think less of me, when in fact I'm holding myself to a much higher bar than others would.
    • Switch sides - imagine what you would think if you were the other (empathy!) and realize it's much gentler, usually, than what you imagine from this side
  2. Surrender and take control.

    • Anger is a blanket emotion. Do I feel enslaved by all my responsibilities? Wanting to break free? Do I feel a lack of control?
    • Find more freedom in my daily schedule (or lack thereof) and my life.
    • Release through movement (kitesurf, rock climb, swim, yoga/stretch).
    • Accept doing nothing more often. Especially when I'm alone.
  3. Collaboration

    • This year will be a lot about collaboration and empowering others around me to do their best and shine, while pointing my personal and professional life in desirable, sustainable, rewarding directions.
    • Lean on others, guide others also. Socialize and get out more.
    • Find joy and teamwork, share fun experiences, etc. We hired help for this and hope to do more!
    • Seek others perspective, proactively, more frequently. Maybe ask questions about what they think of your contribution or of a shared experience, or an experience you may not have had and want to understand.
    • Get coached more on biz side. Small business group as well.

Mental: Part of a Whole

Intention (formerly Ultimate Goal):

Create with ease, from within, through the breath.

Affirmation:

Is this urgent or bleak? It's OK to feel this way. You don't have to finish everything right now. Though you don't believe me, come back later and it'll seem better.

Do I not-so-secretly believe intense, painful concentration and hold-your-breath execution is the most productive way to GSD? Flip this on its head. Breathing and a comfortable posture enhance focused, brilliant, creative thinking - DUH! So, why do I act on this reductionist misbelief?

Perhaps, at times, my mind is trying to convince me that we're separate when, in fact, we're a team. My mind is part of a whole: Paul, sense of self, ego, brain vs body, whatever you call it. Mind, please feed body with breath, relax and allow for better habits and steps back - no fear, no fret that inspiration will elude me, or the answers are hard to find - just allow the mind to work on the present task, with ease, without worrying about other things.

What are my strengths and natural inclinations? Do they serve me? How can those come through to bring a shine in my life?

The 'lets:

  1. Breathe deeply, frequently.

    • Detach, release, Fight the "one more thing and then I'm done" mindset that drags on staring at the screen.
    • Attach breathing to small activities, like taking a sip of water/tea.
    • Remember, 99.99% of mental panic is unnecessary - don't get so attached to what the mind is telling you right now.
    • Pay attention to my thought patterns: making myself feel bad about any failure or shortcoming
  2. Office habits

    • Some of these are spoken about in the physical section, like having fun with kettlebell and trampoline
    • Taking 5m breaks every hour has been working. Mindset being that, if I miss one it's OK, try and take 10 minutes the next hour. Have not had headaches as frequently thanks to this.
    • Kick off other breaks with easy routines - brainstorm this.
    • Focused within 10-6. Would love to finish by 4 majority of days. Outside this window it's brief emails or replies, only (ideally <30m) and not frequently - say, 1x morning and 2x evening, on the busiest of days.
  3. Lean into my strengths

    • Similar idea to zone of genius
    • Do more of what I'm good at. Create my day and week such that those mental efforts have a higher chance of heading in the right direction, and of going uninterrupted for 60-90 minutes.
    • Examples: deep focus. Creative work. Leadership, ideation, big picture focus.
    • Ask great questions (carry over)
    • Hire 2+ more employees.

Spiritual: Wholehearted Collaboration

Intention (formerly Ultimate Goal):

Manifest from within and work together.

Affirmation:

I trust myself with my heart, and inspire others humbly, to make the world better, together.

Bring forth beautiful creations through collaboration. This is tied into the emotional side, and adds universe's compounding contributions, from the spiritual perspective. Almost like focusing on the systems and their compounding effects, assembling a team and collaborating together after manifesting individually would lead to a grand creation, much larger than the sum of its parts.

The 'lets:

  1. Wholeheartedness. Integrity.

    • Find love and balance in every action and thought.
    • Love where I live. Love the home. Make it feel more homey. Invest in it.
    • Seek contentment and share contentment with others. Or peace.
    • Depend on myself. Set myself up for success and take small steps before running at a target.
  2. Big picture focus

    • Less busywork, more presence.
    • Reminder that yes, detail oriented output is valuable, but not focusing on the minutia while neglecting what's the true reason behind doing it.
    • Look at teams and compounded benefits, systems. Lead with inspiration, motivation, by example, and with kindness.
    • Meditate 2x/day. Maybe a walking meditation after work? 10m inversion? Standing out in the backyard?
  3. Detach from ego

    • Surrender outcome and focus on collaboration. Inspired somewhat by lateral thinking - suspend immediate judgment and allow for possibility.
    • Dissolution of ego in favor of team and shared vision.
    • Remember that people just want to be happy. Don't panic when you fall short, just accept it, take responsibility and ownership, learn from it. It's OK to be a shitty person sometimes, people have shitty days.
    • 2+ day meditation retreat, deep inner journey, or some sort of multiday inner commitment and exploration.

Final Reflection

A wholehearted, joyful thank you to 2021. I'm a bit amused by the Comedy Fort saying from a recent email: "Adios 2021, the bar was set so low by 2020 and you still managed to let us down." And it has been a tough year for the world, in many ways.

Spring here was one of the wettest we've had, and somehow the rest of the year was super dry - it didn't snow until the last day of the 2021.

  • I enjoyed gardening over the summer, grew lots of cherry tomatoes - ate over 1,000! And other plants, too.
  • Furnished the home bit by bit, decorated.
  • Christmas was beautiful, full of gifts.
  • My birthday was bittersweet, I cried and definitely feel older.
  • Traveled and it went very well. Somehow wrapped up another year COVID-free. Really enjoyed Europe.
  • Business doubled this year. Started off the year strong and kept growing. Stressful, at times - reigning this in for 2022 may be a challenge, but I hope at least half of the hard part is over :)
  • Living with the seasons - through diet (CSA) and exercise (more in summer, less in winter)
  • Disconnected with hot springs trips a few times, and really enjoyed one with family and a new location with my partner at Strawberry Park + hot/cold experience
  • Biggest snow storm ever this year - with pictures!
  • First Red Rocks experience! Dirty heads.
  • Gaining muscle. I've gained 15 lbs this year, much of it muscle, and I'm proud of it. Now, I can focus more on strength and balance, supporting my body in more ways, and with help.
  • Saw my nephew more. Played, talked to him. Lovely, joyful kid!
  • Hung out with a group of friends several times and had so much fun!
  • Gratitude jar - one weekly gratitude, a sustained habit for the year.

To living life with ease, wholeheartedly. To treating others and myself with integrity and kindness!

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