739639C7-72B3-4179-8213-8C6B4FDAEA80 Resolve to Resolute | Ryan Hops

New Year’s is my favorite time of year. Always is.

But not for the typical reasons.

I couldn’t care less about the ball dropping and Ryan Seacrest or overpriced parties and champagne. What I do love about December 31st is the opportunity to flip the page on the year.

It’s a time to reflect on the year that passed, the success and failures, and to start scheming for the year ahead.

It’s a time to wipe away the chaos of 2014 and start anew. Clean up that desk, get to inbox zero, reset the priorities.

More importantly, it’s a time to make resolutions. And honestly, who doesn’t love a good resolution; chalk full of hope and ambition, ignorant to likelihoods and probabilities.

Go to the gym 5x a week? Sure, why not! Kick sugar out of the diet? Outstanding!

Whether I accomplish them or not, I truly love making resolutions.

I also love telling everybody I know about them (not sure they feel the same!). I love the social pressure of trying to achieve them. And the downside is pretty low; no one gives a shit about your personal resolutions anyway!

In 2014, I made a few resolutions that I can still recall. Some of which I was able to achieve (start a business, read more books) and others not (getting into shape). Nevertheless, I think the exercise is helpful irrespective of successful execution.

This year, I’m determined to make my goals SMARTer. George Doran wrote that the best way to achieve your goals is to make them Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Specific. And if it’s good enough for George, it’s good enough for me.

So with that in mind, here are some of the resolutions I’m trying to keep on my journey to self-improvement.

1. NO TV before 9pm on weekdays.

This is not a knock on TV. I love TV. I can watch anything. But, and I’m not sure you’re aware of it or not, it’s a huge time-suck. I can easily get home from work at 8, turn on the TV, eat dinner on the couch and continue watching until it’s time to call it a night. I literally just re-read that sentence and am sick to my stomach. What a waste of time. So I’m resolving to keep the TV off until 9 and use that time to digest the day, read, talk, cook, go to the gym…actually anything besides sitting on the couch.

** Caveat – If there’s a Habs game on let’s pretend that paragraph doesn’t exist.**

2. Write 3+ times per week.

I’ve always wanted to write. The ability to be introspective and then translate those reflections into insights and onto a page (or a screen, who am I kidding), is extremely powerful and a tremendously valuable skill. So I’m trying to write every day. Not everything will be great, in fact I expect most will be awful. I’m not even sure if I’ll publish most of them. But I think the practice will pay off in the long run, and hopefully there will be some kernels of great ideas along the way.

I’ve discovered two tools that have made the effort significantly easier. I’m using 750words.com to keep track of my writing, which has helped keep me honest and grammarly, which has saved me from more grammatical mistakes than you can even; imagine.

3. Go to the gym 3+ times per week

I feel like I’ve been trying to get into great shape since 1999. Every year I fail. If someone has a trick, let me know.

Seriously though, everything is better when you’re in shape. You’re more productive and energized. You feel better in your skin. You’re happier and are a better worker/boss. There’s no excuse to not take care of yourself. Stop being lazy. (ok pep-talk over).

This year, I’m using the Coach.Me iPhone app to keep track of my progress. It’s awesome. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’d highly recommend it to keep track of all your goals and resolutions. I’m also using the bodybuilding.com app to log my workouts and track my progress. Lastly, I started listening to podcasts during my workouts. Ya it’s a little nerdy, but it helps. Even if I have leg day, I like listening to Planet Money.

4. Read one book per month

I love reading, but can’t seem to make it a habit that sticks. Maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe I’m reading at the wrong time of day. Maybe I have ADD. Maybe all of the above. Either way, 2015 I’m setting a realistic goal, twelve books.

I’m going to try two hacks to ingrain this habit into my routine. First, I’ll be using Goodreads to track my progress. You can follow along here. Second, I find my biggest problem is that I tend read too many boring books. Reading shouldn’t be a chore; I’m not in school anymore. This year, I will download a sample of each book to try before I buy it. If it’s not captivating within 30 pages, stop reading.

So there you have it. My four resolutions for 2015. I think they’re solid and achievable. I’ll let you know in 2016. What do you think? What are your resolutions?