For 2020, my word is Relax.

My work ethic has really messed me up. I’ve been using the stress response to catapult me into high levels of productivity, and the fight-or-flight mode formally known as the sympathetic nervous system has been my fuel for working hours.

By relying on the sympathetic nervous system, and artificially augmenting it’s presence in my environment (through coffee, and electronic music, and even the way I sit and breathe) it keeps me in a state of stress.

Stress is a trigger for a health condition I am facing, and it’s part of the reason I had such a bad relapse two months ago.

The sympathetic nervous system is in opposition to the parasympathetic nervous system, which is used for relaxation and healing. By staying in stress mode, my work mode is making my health worse.

My quest for 2020 is to find a way to work in a state of relaxation. I think of Bill Murray, who said that he was given the advice as a young man, that if he just went through everything looking like he was totally relaxed, he would do fine. And he turned out okay, and it looks like he’s been relaxed the entire time.

In 2020, I’m channeling my inner Bill Murray, and bringing him to work with me.

New Years Resolutions 2020

Attend 4 Immersions for Thought Leaders Business School

I enrolled in TLBS in 2019, and I had to postpone the first of the 5 three-day immersions due to illness. (I told the story yesterday.) This year, I’m making a resolution to be well enough to attend all 4, if I can.

Eat a Healing Diet 6 Months After Remission

The health condition I’m facing is an autoimmune disorder, and there is no cure. I’ll be dealing with this for the rest of my life. Many people treat this condition with diet, and by healing the gut microbiome, they can lead normal lives in IBD remission with a restricted diet.

Healing the gut is a finicky thing – it’s an entire ecosystem in there. Once I go into remission, it doesn’t mean I’m healed. As much as I might want to drink a beer again, or eat a bagel, I still need to protect my gut health for 6-12 months after my symptoms are gone and I feel normal.

Hike 10k Track With My Wife

There is a glorious hike near our house, hiking along the coast to the next town over. I’ve done it twice since we’ve moved here, and my wife hasn’t done it yet at all. She’s been hiking more recently, and I’m planning to be well enough to join her for hikes as soon as I can. Sometime this year, I want to be well enough to hike this 10k with her.

Make 52 Pink Sheets

These high-energy idea containers are the foundation of the Thought Leaders methodology. Part of the program is making 52 of them, and I’ve got about 20 so far. Already I’ve turned the ones I’ve got into multiple presentations, speeches, articles, and programs – next, I need to make a full deck for 2020.

Produce a Masterclass Webinar Every Month

Taking this intellectual property out for a trot is the best way to refine it, and I can work in 3-4 pink sheets per webinar. The best part of the webinar model is I can sell at the end of it, so this serves a commercial as well as a creative purpose – which is how I should be setting up my content production, commercial+creative.

Screen Free Sundays

Living with kids and managing screen time is like standing at the ocean’s edge, and watching the line in the sand moving to and fro. Like most families, we’re always trying to find our balance with it, and this year we all decided as a family to take Sundays off of screens. This will encourage us to spend more time with each other, and with books, and with boredom. We’ve been talking about how boredom can be the gateway to new and interesting things, and you can discover things in boredom that are otherwise inaccessible.

Invite Kids to Art Projects

We have this big art table in our house, and it’s close to the front door, so it’s often piled with something that was just brought in the door. When it’s clean and tidy, I can set something up and invite my kids to play with me. When I did that on Boxing Day, I got lots of quality time in with my kids, drawing and making stuff. So this year I resolve to try and keep that table clean, and set things up to do with my kids.

Life Repair on Wednesday Afternoons

When I went to a small physical theater college in a tiny town in the mountainous Redwood forest, we had an extremely busy training schedule during the program. But Wednesday afternoon, from 2-5, was always blocked off for everyone. No homework or rehearsal or meetings could be scheduled during this time, because it was Life Repair.

During this midweek afternoon, you could go to the bank, or the grocery store, or take care of your laundry, or take a nap. Every week, if there was something you needed to do to repair your life, you had time to do it on Wednesday afternoon.

Having that 3-hour afternoon protected and available for my rejuvenation felt so nourishing, on a deep and primal level. That’s the kind of feeling I need this year, and so I’m taking Wednesdays for Life Repair.

Those are my New Years Resolutions! Will I keep them all?

Probably not! But it makes me feel good to orient myself against some goals, and paint a picture of who I want to be, and articulate the habits and choices that will help me get closer to that ideal. If want some context for this year’s Resolutions, read yesterday’s post, my Annual Review for 2019. (Good riddance to bad rubbish.)