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Fewer Resolutions. More experiments.

"Do you have any New Years resolutions?", is likely the most common question we'll hear today and for the first couple of 2017. A couple things concern me about resolutions. If I can't start working towards it on January 1st, will I ever get around to it? What if it ends up being the wrong goal? What if something comes up keeping me from it? Have I failed?

I think my objective for 2017 is to run monthly experiments I can keep or cancel after the trial period has passed. To make these more testable and achievable, I've decided to pick little things I can start tomorrow morning without much effort.

The overall goal for January is to simplify decision making and lessen (but not eliminate) distractions.

1) Mobile phone and social media: two of these have clear rules while one is a bit softer

  • No social media before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m. My hope is to wake up in a calmer fashion and not spend the final hours of my evening endlessly scrolling.

  • When out with friends and family, or in a meeting, I will turn my phone onto "do not disturb" mode or leave it behind in the first place.

  • If text messaging transforms from a brief interaction into a drawn out conversation, I will work to change it to a phone call.

2) Simplifying what to wear

I remember my friend Travis scaling down what he wore each day in 2015. I always thought it was a great idea but never moved on it. Then I realized another guy in my office, Brian, did the same thing. While I do not have a ton of clothes, it lacks an easy pairing or interchangeable nature I seek. Staring into my closet doesn't excite me, it stresses me out. I identify with, "Variety is the spice of life", in many areas but most mornings I dread contemplating what to wear.

A great push for this experiment was watching The Minimalists new documentary - its on Netflix, check it out - which reminded me about having a few great things but not too many. One of the similar thinking groups is Project 333, "a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months." By the end of January, I will have this challenge implemented or I will donate $300 to charity.

3) Meditation

In many camps, we are seeing an uptick for people seeking "mindfulness". While I practice yoga and have dabbled in meditation infrequently, I have never chased it out for a protracted period. I will attempt it for one month, 20 minutes a day and see what I think. Penalty for missing a day is $30 donated to charity.

Here is to an actionable, quieter and more deliberate 2017.

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