What I want for you in 2018
For 2018, I want you to have time. Sweet, precious, time.
And understand me: I don’t want you to have more time, or productive time, or fulfilling time – all good things, don’t get me wrong, but not the kind of time I so desperately want for you.
No, the kind of sweet, precious time I’m wishing for is time that passes unnoticed while important shit is getting done. Debt is getting repaid, savings are growing, and you’re not lifting a finger or paying a single second of attention to making it happen. That kind of time.
Getting Shit Done While You Do Other Shit Time isn’t exactly easy to come by, which is why it’s the thing I want for you this year. Just like anything else worth having, you have to put some work into getting it.
What kind of work? I’m glad you asked.
You Need to Get Clarity
You need to get really, really clear about what you want and what you’re willing to give up to get it. Wouldn’t knowing how you’re invested make it easier to make decisions about the uncertain future? Wouldn’t taking account of exactly what you owe and what it’s costing you give you the kick in the pants you need to pay it off? Wouldn’t a precise knowledge of what triggers your spending help you understand why you spend and where to cut back (or spend more)?
You Need to Take Ownership
Before you can enjoy that sweet power of passing time, you have to get reflective. If you’ve known for years that you have a persistent credit card balance problem, but haven’t done anything about it, ask yourself why…and be prepared to dig around for an answer.
Develop your ability to step outside your lizard brain and observe the ways you’re not ready (because of your past, because of your values, because of whatever) to do the things that need doing. Distinguish between what you can and will do, and what you can’t and won’t do.
You Need to Build (or Rebuild) Structure
There’s a handful of things you can fix with grand, all-at-once gestures, like using a windfall to pay off debt and kick start your savings, or downsizing and relocating to permanently lower your cost of living. Everything else needs structure.
Now, by “structure” you and I both know that I’m not talking about a budget spreadsheet that makes you feel really healthy and wise while you’re setting it up and then languishes in your Google Drive somewhere for another year or two. I mean a set of strategies you’ve put into place to curb your self-defeating habits and automate your liberating ones. I mean the invisible stuff that does the boring work of supporting the important stuff.
You’ve Done the Work, Now Do the Time
Here’s the crux of it: maybe you have some new, shiny, scary-in-a-good-way goals this year (I do). Maybe you have a new cash flow or time management system (me and also me). Maybe you think the whole New Year thing is a crock and you’re just trying to get through the winter (me three weeks from now).
If you’ve done the work to get clarity about what you want, take ownership of what you have to do to get it, and build structure to make it happen even when you’re not paying attention, then you have to let time do its boring, unsexy work.
Wherever you are on your current journey, I can guarantee you that you’re going to feel as frustrated and out of control about whatever it is you’re trying to fix at some point in the next year. We all do.
Don’t just do something. Stand there.