Happy New Year and welcome to the 41 new subscribers to my newsletter. I’m glad you’re here!
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a great sense of momentum as I roll into 2021. I’m optimistic that we’ll see the end of the pandemic this year and I’m excited to dive into work after some time off. I hope you feel the same and that this newsletter plays a small role in helping you accomplish your goals in the new year!
Now, on to the newsletter.
Financial Stability Tip: Keep Your Money Resolutions In 2021
I don’t typically love resolutions because I feel like such a failure when I don’t reach my goals. In the early 2000’s, my personal finance resolutions were always most difficult because I didn’t know where to begin. I was in such a deep financial hole that the debt free dream couldn’t be remedied with a simple resolution on January 1st. Instead of taking steps towards my goal I chose to ignore the situation all together.
Tip: No matter how good or bad things are, use the new year to make some resolutions around money. Like anything, the things you track are the things that get your attention. Nobody is perfect, if you set goals and make a mistake, don’t give up, simply reset and refocus. Over time, regular tracking of your financial goals will help you gain stability. The folks at YNAB posted an incredible 2021 Money Resolution Toolkit to get you started.
Work/Life Balance Tip: Set Up A Routine
My decision to run the LA Marathon started with a challenge from my wife. (Namely, she didn’t think I could do it, ha!) I started training in the fall of 2018. Three weeks from the marathon, I got a nasty calf strain that put me out of commission for six months. No marathon for me in 2019. Fast forward to March of 2020 and, at the age of 43 I successfully finished my first marathon!
Tip: The only way I was able to tackle the marathon was because I found a routine that was straight forward and simple. Finding work/life balance is no different. The easier the routine, the more likely you will be able to stick with it. Don’t overcomplicate your routines! Instead, make small changes that result in a habit over time.
Tips On Finding Meaning: Change Your Relationship With Social Media
I took time off from social media for most of 2020. It was difficult for me to see the juxtaposition of people posting their best, highly edited, highly filtered versions of themselves, next to people who were clearly struggling through the pandemic. My relationship with social media changed when I moved from passive scrolling to active engagement on the platforms.
Tip: Change your relationship with social media. First, focus was on building positive, meaningful relationships on social media above all else. Second, have a specific reason to be on or don’t open up the platform because endless scrolling is a huge waste of time. Finally, you might need to stop following some people in order to have a more positive experience. Stella Bugbee wrote a beautiful essay about her relationship with instagram that sums up my experience with social media in 2020.
Field Notes: Good Things Take Time
Musicians understand that putting in hours to perfect a craft is an inherent part of becoming proficient. We celebrate the small victories each day but also understand that true growth comes over a lifetime. The same thing holds true for great ideas. Take for example, the recent hit, The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. One of the most celebrated and most successful shows ever to hit Netflix took 30-years to make. Proof that being persistent pays off.
Tip: Whether you are focusing on intrinsic goals (self-improvement) or extrinsic goals (launching a show on Netflix), be comfortable with the fact that your ultimate success may take time. In order to make sure you are on the right track, set smaller goals over a shorter period of time and consistently check in to see if you’re making progress towards your big goals.
The Way Things Work: Exploring Leverage Points
My work happens within a highly structured system. Like it or not, your work is the same. In fact, I would argue that even those of you who are anti-system workers are still working within a system, you just chose to trade one highly structured system for another. If we can accept that systems exist for a reason, we can start to understand where we fit and how to intervene when necessary.
Tip: Instead of feeling lost in a system and running from it, look for opportunities to affect change over time. I find it comforting to know that as frustrating as our systems can be, we all have the power to change them if we look for leverage points. A great place to start exploring leverage points is this article by Donella Meadows, who writes about 12 places to intervene in a system in increasing order of effectiveness.
Things I Loved:
- Using folklore structure to understand conspiracy theories.
- A beautiful cover of The Godfather Theme
- “Everyone wants to be somebody, but remember, be somebody that’s nice!”
- This impressive dance routine!
- Dua Lipa’s Tiny Desk! (Her band is Ah-Mazing!)
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