As you ponder your obligatory 2019 “New Year Resolutions,” consider a helpful alternative from Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week. In his latest newsletter, Ferriss advises readers to embrace a “past year review,” or “PYR,” instead, which he asserts is “more informed, valuable, and actionable than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions.”
Here’s the simple process Ferriss delineates for a PYR:
- Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
- Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
- For each week, jot down on the pad any people or activities or commitments that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month. Put them in their respective columns.
- Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask, “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
- Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in the new year. Get them on the calendar now! Book things with friends and prepay for activities/events/commitments that you know work. It’s not real until it’s in the calendar. That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2019. These are the people and things you *know* make you miserable, so don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.
Ferriss notes that it’s “not enough to remove the negative. That simply creates a void. Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP, lest they get crowded out by the bullshit and noise that will otherwise fill your days.”
I’ve just completed this PYR exercise for 2018, and found it very helpful. I had some big wins this year that I plan to build upon going into 2019, and I definitely have enriched perspective on the losses I experienced and why, and what I can do differently or avoid doing in 2019. I’ve completely torn down and rebuilt my calendar flow as I transition into January, and I’m energized!
Give this a try, and Happy Early New Year!
Growing Your Strengths
I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.
These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.
Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.
Strengths that you can develop as well.
Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.
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