How I make New Year's resolutions  


Peter Stevens
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years  ago
Posts: 94
03/01/2019 3:40 pm  

Today is my first day at work in the New Year. Last year, I got a lot of things done; some things that happened made me happy, others left me frustrated. But I still have dozens of urgent or important things to do that are left over from last year. What do I want to do differently? How do I want to be different? I'd really like to lose another 5 kilos.... How can I make this happen? 

It seems everybody makes New Year's resolutions, and a few weeks later, everyone has forgotten them. How can I break that pattern? How can I change myself? Fortunately, I am applying the Personal Agility System, and that makes everything much easier. So I will Celebrate 2018 and make some basic Choices for 2019.


What is there to celebrate in 2018? Well the video which had the most impact on me this year was "First Follower: Leadership and the Dancing Man" by Derek Sivers. The big lesson: When creating a movement, it's not about me. It's about the movement. It's about the first followers who turn an idea into a movement. So with Personal Agility, I let go. I stopped worrying about whose idea is it, and started thinking about encouraging and celebrating great "dancers." My goal is to dance the dance and celebrate every other dancer who comes to join us. 

(You can watch Derek Sivers' First Follower Video on youtube if you can't see it here).

@maria was such an early follower that I don't even want to use the word follower. But when we started considering Personal Agility to be our framework, well, that just changed everything and the energy is completely different. Since then, we did our first duet on stage at the Experience Agile conference in Lisbon ( @hugo, is there a video of that?) and now have discovered "pair writing" as a way to write the book. The rewrite of Chapter 1 ("Hope for the Overworked") and the new Chapter 2 ("Maximize Your Impact") was the result. Pair writing is a joy, and if you are writing a book, I think the best thing you can do to get it written is to find a partner and write it together over zoom and google docs. By the way, she is an international DJ, so if anyone can bring a group dance, it's Maria!

In our book, we don't want to tell anybody what to do, nor what they should do. We do talk about what you could do as we celebrate other dancers!

One more thing that inspired me: Walter Stulzer's approach to what really matters. Walter told me, "I want to end each week with satisfaction and start each week with confidence." I like that. I let my Priorities Map get too full, and so the possibilities list seemed endless, so I didn't have that confidence at the beginning of the week nor the satisfaction at the end of the week.

This year, we were joined by some influential new Recognized Practitioners, including Walter, @hugo@bernhard, and @Janani (who added "Your Life" to coin the term "Celebrate and Choose Your Life"). Our certification program is taking shape, with @Piyali-Karmakar as our first Recognized Ambassador. We look forward to celebrating your dancing as our book progresses! 


I want to start the year with a clean slate. I want to end this year with satisfaction! There is an awful lot of stuff on my Priorities Map and my Forces Map. Some of it is urgent, and all of it seems important. What am I going to do with this mess? Step 1 is house cleaning. Anything that is not done goes back into the Forces Map. 2018 gets its own Breadcrumb trail. In fact, 2018 get is own Forces Map as well.  What's left is the what really matters column. (I also have a column for "big things I want to accomplish" I will handle those cards on a case by case basis).  So 2019 starts with a nearly empty slate: A new Forces Map, a new Priorities Map, and a new Breadcrumb Trail.

First question: What really matters? How has that changed since last year? This is also my chance to dream about about this upcoming year. What do I want see happen this year? The first thing is I want to stop being so damn busy. I don't want my life to be planned out for the next 12 months. I think Personal Agility could become a movement this year! I want to write more -- on the Personal Agility book, blogging, and maybe on a few other ideas I am developing. I want to be more available on relatively short notice, so that when inquiries come for Personal Agility (and inquiries have been coming 🙂 ), I can respond. 

So here are my changes and experiments to kick off 2019:

190103 What matters

  • I have a new card on my What really matters column. "End the week with satisfaction..." This is a reminder to me to keep my lists and commitments reasonable. It will have a big impact on scheduling public classes. (I am going to schedule fewer of them, and not so far in advance). Beyond that, my priorities haven't really changed.
  • I set WIP limits on all columns in my priorities map. I use Kanban WIP for Trello, a plug-in to turn columns orange or red with the work-in-progress limits have been it. This is an experiment, and I hope it will help me finish my weeks with satisfaction.
  • Booking time in my calendar for things that are important but not urgent. I have blocked 2 hours per week, on Mondays, for writing. With that time, I want write here on the forum, work on my white-papers, and improve my course materials. I blocked half an hour every day for reviewing speakers for the Regional Scrum Gathering in Hyderabad. I had already blocked 2 hours per week to pair-write with Maria on our book. Actually using the time as planned will perhaps be the biggest challenge, but I want to do it, so that makes it much easier.

Losing weight

You might be thinking, "but wait a minute, these aren't the things people make New Year's resolutions about! They're about losing weight or quitting smoking. Hard stuff that challenges your willpower. How do you do things like that?" 

This year I lost 8kg. That is the difference between 38" jeans being snug and 36" jeans being comfortable. I never had losing weight on my Priorities Map, but it happened anyway. How did this happen?

A friend of mine told me how bad sugar is for you: how it causes a sugar high, followed by a sugar crash as the blood sugar level rises and falls; how it makes you lethargic; how quickly it accumulates around your stomach (such a wonderful organ, the stomach: the more you eat, the more it grows to accommodate your consumption!); and how carbohydrates reduce into sugar and how much sugar and carbs is present in our food.

After hearing this, I started noticing the effect of sugar and carbs on my energy level throughout the day. I didn't like it. Once I didn't like what sugar and carbs did to me, it was pretty easy to say no to them.  I decided to cut down on my carbs. I'm not religious about it, but given a choice, I'll take the non-carb alternative, skip the sweets, and pass on dessert. Breakfast at a hotel was really annoying, because most of what they offer was pure carbs, and I just didn't want it. Ham, eggs and cheese became my prefered breakfast.

It took about 4 weeks before my weight starting coming down, but then I lost 2kg per month. A couple of other things happened, like eating less in general. I also noticed the effect of wine on me. In particular, anything over 3dl (2 to 3 glasses, depending on where you live), would negatively impact my sleep. I thought it was helping me to sleep, but actually it was helping me wake up in the middle of the night. I'm not sure how happy I am with this development, but I am drinking less wine.

While I found it very difficult to resist the temptations of Christmas (Man, I love Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cups!), and I did gain a kilo back, I still don't like what carbs do to me. So I will forgive myself for the Christmas food and remind myself that I want to avoid sugar and carbs in the new year. 

So if you want to cut down on something, here is the approach that worked for me:

  1. Make it tangible. It wasn't about losing weight, it was about eating less sugar and carbs.
  2. Become aware of what that something does to you. I never started smoking because I didn't like how the smoke felt as it entered my lungs. I cut down on sugar because of the energy peaks and troughs that it caused.
  3. Focus on that part of the experience you don't like. In my case, it was "I don't like what sugar does to me during the day."
  4. Formulate the change as something actionable, e.g. "I want to avoid sugar." This makes it easy to follow through. "Because I want to avoid sugar, I'm not going to eat that pastry." Or: "I'm not going to put sugar in my coffee."
  5. If you need a reminder, you can put that message on your What Matters column. 

This is how I dance! What are your New Year's resolutions and other changes for 2019?











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