My chosen weekly tasks are things that caught my eye from different authors and thought leaders, and which seemed like they might make me happier, healthier, smarter. Since I can't possibly know how happy, healthy or smart I can ever be, and because my personal experience shows that there isn't a final goal in those areas, I can punctuate my life with "free, no obligation trials" to see which of the ideas of all the gurus, nutritionists, self-helpers and business leaders work for my life and which ones don't. Learning what doesn't work is just as useful as knowing what does.
This is the time of year when people often start, and quit, their New Year's resolutions. My hope is that I can circumvent the usual pitfalls of the resolution process to find a system that enhances all the areas of our lives with little reliance on the willpower that often runs out before we've reached a certain goal.
Step One - Write Down Everything You Think Would Make Your Life Better
To help figure out your year of challenges, create a list by thinking of all the things you'd like to do, believe would add to you life, or have read about but haven't implemented. You can add to this list as the year commences, but this gives you a great place to see what experts have said and what you're personally drawn to trying. I wrote all of mine down on paper, and then proceeded to the next step, categorization.
Step Two - Be Well Rounded in Your Pursuits
So as not to over-tax yourself in any one way (All Physical Well-Being by Going Raw Vegan, while trying Power Yoga and Morning Cold Showers +++), plan to divide the tasks up into a four week rotation which will feature activities that will enhance different areas of your life. In Scott Adams' book "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big" he talks about the importance of having a talent stack, meaning you can do fairly well in a variety of areas, (public speaking, marketing, video editing and fitness, for example) which will create opportunities to do well in any number of fields. Adams states "One of the most powerful systems I have seen involves layering one modest skill on top of another until the effect is something special… When you learn to see the world in terms of systems, not goals, everything comes into focus."
By varying the different tasks you choose to focus on in the coming year, you will...
1) Have time to expand or develop the other areas while you tinker with a new one
2) Create variety which our brains very much enjoy
3) Develop your own talent stack
The Four Areas of Life that I created tasks or challenges for are as follows:
Physical Well Being (P) - This includes exercise, nutrition, skin and hair care, physical challenges, etc.
Mental Well Being (M) - This includes spiritual development, brain training exercises, gratitude, focus, self-control, mindset, anything that goes internal that is strictly for you and your own experience.
Inner World (I) - These are the tasks you develop to better equip you for the outside world such as stress management, continued education, skill development, managing your finances and future, and language learning.
Outer World (O) - These are tasks that interact with others including your relationships with partners, family, friends, colleagues, how you present yourself and your home, how you communicate and network, and how you curate your environment.
Through all of my reading, I could have a weekly task for each of these categories. For now, I'll stick to them being a priority for one week per month, while I adapt to the others. Since my willpower gets a special New Year's boost, I'm going to start with some tougher challenges early.
Taking the list from Step One, I went through and wrote a P, M, I or O next to them, to create the list below. Some of your tasks may fall into a couple of categories, so tinker with them in a way that you don't feel will overwhelm one particular category if they're done close together.
Here's my list. Some of these you may want to try, others you might think are not valuable to you. Create a list of things that excite and challenge you. I've included hyperlinks on a few so you can learn more about them, while others are self-explanatory.
Run 1 Mile Per Day
Go to Bed Early
Spend Time Daily in the Sun/Outdoors
No Heat Hairstyles
Positive Mental Attitude
Read Philosophy and Spiritual Books
Practice a Daily Hour of Silence
Budget/Save X Amount
No Credit Cards, Pay with Cash Only
Public Speaking Course
Learn Video Editing
Wake Up Early Daily
Read Non-Fiction and Biographies
Create Task Lists
Don't Complain (Previous post here)
Make a New Recipe
Coordinate a Group Outing
Say Yes to Social Invitations
Find a Networking Opportunity
Master the Art of Conversation
As an added component for your own personal understanding, you can rank them in terms of ease and/or interest, and toggle months to feature a range of really exciting ones, those you can do easily, and those you're reluctant to do or know will be more difficult.
I suggest not being too legalistic about this. If you realize a task you have slated no longer serves you, change it, but don't skip that category. Additionally, if a future task excites you and you want to add it now while attempting some other task, that's fine but they can't replace each other. There's no penalty for any of this, but the intention is for these to improve your world enough that you decide to incorporate more of them because they make your life better. Again, life upgrades!
Part 2 will include How to Organize the Year Ahead, plus Baseline Tasks (Posting on 12/31)
Part 3 will include Weekly Reflections and A/B Testing, plus Rewards/Motivators (Posting on 1/1)