For 2021, my word is Ease.

I want to live this year without struggle. Many of my greatest achievements – getting off the streets after being homeless for years, finishing a bachelor’s degree after ten years of undergrad, moving to New Zealand – I achieved because I can handle struggle. I’m resilient and hard working, and these characteristics have brought me lifelong habits of toil.

I am grateful to my illness for coming to me while I am still young enough to realign these lifelong habits. If I had fallen ill in my 50’s or 60’s, it may have been more difficult to change my habits of eating, and sleeping, and drinking, and working, with another decade or two of momentum. In my early 40’s, I can still pivot nimbly to a new lifestyle, especially one that makes me feel so healthy and strong. I cannot drink alcohol very often, I must sleep regularly and deeply, I can only eat the very healthiest of foods, and most of all, I must spend time in relaxation.

Many of my resolutions this year are designed to live with ease, so I can decline the invitation to struggle.

New Years Resolutions 2021

Gratitude Journal before social media

In the mornings, when I wake, I have taken to cruising through Twitter before I get in the shower. This often starts my day by looking at what’s wrong in the world, because the Twitter algorithm is tuned for outrage. I don’t want to start my days that way. One of my many morning rituals is writing a list of gratitudes while having coffee with my wife. (These notebooks full of gratitudes also serve as a useful pick-me-up to review whenever I am feeling down.) By postponing my intake of social media until after I have finished my shower, had coffee with my wife, and written a list of gratitudes, I will fortify my inner landscape with what is going well, first.

Vibration plate visualisation

The first part of my Power Playlist (the daily choreographed soundtrack to my 30-minute Morning Routine) is spent standing on a vibration plate, looking directly at a large light therapy device. The infrared light therapy activates the mitochondria in my cells, and by spending 10-15 minutes daily in its illumination, I can encourage cellular regeneration, and reduce the symptoms of my autoimmune condition. The vibration plate activates my lymph system as well, and both of these therapies have volumes of scientific studies affirming their efficacy, which is combined with my personal experience of their benefits. During this morning therapy, I listen to a 10-minute Mindvalley sample track for Omharmonics, with noise cancelling headphones. I create a wonderful healing laboratory, and I often let my thoughts shake loose during this time. It’s nice, and I like how it heals me.

This year I resolve to craft a visualisation for me to revisit during this daily ritual. Based on my understanding of how the mind works, this point in my daily routine represents the point of greatest leverage. My mind is at its most relaxed and pliable. Vivid visualisations have tremendous impact, as I have seen in my own life in the past. Although I have many good routines built into my morning, I don’t have a visualisation practice. By creating one at this point of maximum leverage, I’m expecting great things in 2021.

4-day weekend once a month

I can no longer work as hard as I did for decades. My training is American, and my efficiency had mutated into something called ‘time sickness.’ Falling ill with an autoimmune disorder has given me chronic fatigue as a reward for working as hard as I possibly can.

Last month, during my full moon meditation rituals, I was on a peninsula in the middle of Lake Wanaka. In Maori, the word ‘Wanaka’ can be interpreted to mean ‘hidden knowledge.’ It was there that I received the revelation that I can live the rest of my life fully healed, if I take one week out of every month for rest.

By actively recharging my physical reserves for a full quarter of every month, I am confident I can continue using my body as a healthy passenger, and it will continue to sustain me through this world. I have reached a point in my career where I can realign my business to accommodate taking a solid week off every month.

I don’t yet have the financial reserves to be sure about this, though. So while I am building my fortune, I am committing to taking a half of a week off every month, at least a 4-day weekend. When I can, I plan to grow into taking a full week off every month, blossoming from regular 4 day weekends.

Meditate through insomnia

I struggle with insomnia now and again. Sleep is the highest-leverage healing therapy I can employ, beyond any of the many other therapies I am now using on a daily basis. Since I am so diligent during my days to focus on my healing, I should be just as diligent at night.

When my mind becomes restless in bed, or if I wake before 3AM, I sometimes let the resulting dissatisfaction and frustration prevent me from returning to the embrace of sleep. That’s stupid. For 2021, if I find myself awake when I should be asleep, I will only allow myself to meditate. If I can’t get back to sleep for 4 hours, that’s fine. I will meditate the whole time, and gain some of the healing benefits that would be forfeit if I did anything else.

Track symptoms daily

The symptoms of my autoimmune disorder follow deviations in behaviour or diet, but I haven’t been able to chart causes to effects. I have only tracked the data intermittently, for a week or three at a time, usually after my symptoms have gone through a flare. I can deduce the broader causes through talking through my recent history of food and vitamins with my wife, who is a gifted healer and prescribes what I eat and consume. Because I have not tracked my symptoms daily, and diligently, we don’t have a written record to which we can refer when we are trying to puzzle out what is happening in my body. I just found a good app, that lets me add custom fields, so now I have the tool to track my data every day.

Dance every week

Sweat is good for the soul, and my body loves to sweat. Last year, I could barely make it up the stairs. After a year of healing, I’m doing backflips again. I want to enjoy my body while it is strong, and dance is how I enjoy my body with my spirit. We have Just Dance on the Nintendo Switch, and I have a library of old Nia routines that my wife and I love to dance to together. Weekly dance sessions will keep me well exercised, both physically and emotionally.

Publish 100 videos on YouTube and TikTok

After last year’s Masterclass production schedule, I created 12 x 60 minute presentations. (See the full list in yesterday’s Annual Review.) After creating this volume of content, what I learned as a marketer is that creating an hour-long video is not courteous to your viewer. Shorter, dense videos are more likely to stand out from the noise, and can be slotted into fragmented days. For 2021, I don’t want to publish any video longer than 10 minutes. But I want to publish a lot of videos.

I am from the last generation to remember life without the internet. Older generations like mine still see video as a show – I welcome you for watching, go through an intro, and set the space for the video before even broaching the subject. TikTok uses a completely different relationship to the viewer, and I want to study it.

I’ve got plans this year that will be served more by being a master of short videos, rather than long written articles, which is my current preferred medium. (As you can tell, by reading this long written article.) This year I want to make 100 videos – on YouTube, or TikTok, or both – so I can get better at the medium of short videos.

Publish and launch a book

I spent 2020 writing a book, with the working title, ‘Marketing Yourself.’ The manuscript is complete (36,550 words) and I am letting it sit on the shelf for a bit before going into editing. (Get on the wait list here.) I’m not in a rush to publish this book – I’m architecting the courses and programs that will be sold on the last page – but I want to have it published and launched in 2021 for sure. I’ve assisted with book launches for clients, and been involved in a number of book publications from the sidelines (usually as the sales funnel guy redirecting attention back into revenue) but this is the first time I will be leading a launch for my own book myself.

40 Podcast interviews

Once I have the book published and the Smart Marketing Academy ready for commerce, I’m going on a podcast interview tour. I figure if I am interviewed 40 times by 40 hosts for 40 different audiences, I will gain the level of exposure that I want for this launch.

Saturday solo dates

Once a week, my wife and I are going to take some time with one of our three kids, one-on-one. We are a tight family, and we spend a lot of time together as a group. Having solo time with each parent is something each one of our kids should have each week. So every Saturday, I’m going to take one of my kids out for a date.

I will probably keep about half of these resolutions.

Over the past few years, while documenting my resolutions on my blog, I have been able to look back every year during my Annual Review to see how many I kept. On average, I keep less than half. Which is fine with me, because breaking New Year’s Resolutions is good for you. As I said during last week’s Masterclass (which you can watch here), the benefit of setting goals is not attaining them perfectly; the benefit is in gaining momentum in the right direction.