Today my thoughts have turned to next year – it’s not too early, is it, to admire that blank slate and think of the potential in store, and maybe use that as inspiration to focus for the remainder of this year as well? (This year is looking pretty good, I have an idea of where I would like to be by the end of the year and just a few more concrete goals to knock off.)
I’ve been doing an exercise thinking about the year ahead in terms of the lifestyle I’d like to have by the end of it, and the habits I’ll need to have in place to have that lifestyle, and the quantifiable returns. And then – since I don’t expect those things to become second nature overnight – I experimented with different sliding scales to see how I can get where I want to be by making incremental improvements each month.
I looked at exercise – say for example that I’m happiest when I do some kind of workout for half an hour a day, and the goal by the end of the year is to be doing that as a matter of course. To build up to this, say that I reduce the number of non-workout days per month from 12 to 1 by the end of the year, and then deduct that number from the number of days in the month to give a target total number of workouts for each month (as some are longer than others. This means starting from a leisurely 19 workouts in January, 17 in February, up to 25 come July, and so on. Some of those targets will be easily to surpass, which will be encouraging, and others will be more challenging – but I’d get more into the habit as the year went on.
I did the same thing for live gigs – so if I’m aiming to be playing live 3 times a week by the end of the year, then 31 days in December divided by 7 days, times 3, gives me 13 gigs as a target. I can work up to that from 2 in January (again probably easy to beat the early target as I’m already in the habit of playing more than that!) Then I did a similar exercise for increasing my income by a certain amount each month, then lay this against the target number of gigs to give me an estimate of how many CDs I would have to sell at each gig, per month, on average (so with the implication that the gigs will get larger as the year goes on) – that’s a manageable amount of sales and gives me an estimate of what quantity of CDs I should order for starters. Hopefully income would come from other sales and eventually from tickets for the gigs themselves, but this is a nice baseline. It’s a compound plan that gets me gigging more and hopefully earning more as the year goes on.
I also did a weight-loss trend starting with losing more in January (easiest time!) down to less in December (hardest!) and was pleased to see how those numbers stacked up over the course of the year. Again, some of those monthly targets would be easier to hit than others but it would give me motivation to see progress against the overall trend. I’m not saying that’s how it’ll go or that I’m definitely approaching it that way, but it’s not a bad idea. Plus, once January’s out the way, the hardest month will be behind me!
If I can kick those trends into gear and build up incrementally into taking on new lifestyle habits, I could well find myself in a whole new life by this time next year – that’s exciting, and even more so because it starts with baby steps that I can implement right away!