At the start of the new year, like everyone else, I wanted to make a commitment to being a better version of myself, but the idea of a resolution didn’t feel right. I needed something broader, like a vision or a mission. I wanted to frame a journey so that when I’m misguided or feeling lost, it’s not a matter of “failing,” like breaking a resolution can so easily feel, but a lesson and an opportunity to get back on track.
I’ve tried committing to very specific things, like not eating fast food or working out, but it never sticks. When I tell myself not to do something, that’s all I can think about. I feel deprived and then entitled and then I binge. It’s not pretty.
At the same time as I was contemplating how to map out my new year goals, I was also reading the marketing book “Made to Stick.” Of course, I was reading this for the purpose of work, but I surprisingly felt inspired by the simple marketing strategies, like “positioning,” in regards to my personal life.
The authors tell the story of Southwest Airlines, and please excuse the lack of clarity or accuracy in my retelling of this story, but the gist is Southwest’s positioning in the market is “The Low-Fare Airline” and all decisions made are easily decided because they either help the airline be “The Low-Fare Airline” or they don’t. Simple as that.
Somewhere in this account, a Southwest executive says once someone came to him to suggest they should offer Caesar salads on flights, his response was “will offering Caesar salads help us be ‘The Low-Fare Airline?'” No?…decision made.
And that’s when I realized, YES, that’s exactly what I need. I need a position and not a one-off “no-no” that will dictate my life for two months. So I started mapping out my positioning for the year and after much contemplation, I decided on:
The Humble and Simple Life
This is based on all the things I was hoping for in the new year—that perhaps could be loosely described as resolutions: reduce stress, listen more, use my time wisely and be protective of my time. Don’t over-promise or commit to unrealistic tasks. Maintain modest expectations and appreciate moments, not things.
I then needed to turn these aspirations into objectives that fit with my overall positioning. I allowed myself three:
Enjoy more by living with less
Be my true self without fear of judgment or being influenced by trends or the perception of coolness
Do what I believe is right and commit with intention
I’m hoping these three objectives will help guide me in making better decisions and building stronger relationships, while still allowing myself to make mistakes along the way. This year is about not fearing failure and living a more humble and simple life.
Here’s to a great, well-intended year and I’m excited to share parts of this journey here! Did I mention I already purged my closet? I’ll share more about “enjoying more with less” soon.