2017 Themes

I had 3 “look back” posts in the past ten days or so that all built up to my annual review. After all that looking back, the time has now come to look forward. I don’t like new years resolutions as I’m not a fan of “goals” based thinking. Instead, I prefer thinking in terms of direction and process. So, I prefer thinking of the new year in terms of themes.

My theme for the new year is engagement. I believe engagement is the answer to the debates around managing energy versus managing time. As with most important things, it isn’t an either/or. And, I also believe engagement is a principle that a good life is anchored around. And, as with all life principles, it is very hard to consistently live it. Also, I think of engagement and consciousness (the ability to be aware and to choose) as sister concepts. They share the same core.

While engagement is the high level theme, my audit and reading pointed to 3 sub themes.

The first theme is – “Seek to understand and then to be understood” – from my holiday re-read of “The 7 Habits.” I am way too impatient and, as a result, interrupt far too much than I’d like. I’d like to do better, a lot better. This isn’t something that’s easy to measure. So, I intend to just check in with myself every day for starters as I build my instincts around this.

The second theme is health. As I grow older, the idea of being very fit grows increasingly more appealing. I haven’t done as bad a job at this so far. But, there’s plenty of room for improvement. I used Mr Money Mustache’s excellent post on “Staying fit with no gym in sight” to reflect on this and piece together my health plan. The first part of this plan is to moderate my diet better – my diet is still pretty carbohydrate heavy (I love rice!). And, having just discovered the benefits of doing a full body work out during the week, I’ll aim to keep that going through this year.

The final theme is information. Again, there are two pieces. First, I’ve been working on streamlining my information diet over the past couple of weeks. I massively cut down on my news consumption and went through a review of every source I regularly consume on Feedly. I also took a good look at my work email flow and consumption habits and have made a few changes. The idea here is to be a lot more conscious about this as I still check my email and feeds far more than I’d like. The second piece of this theme is doubling down on reading books. I have a reading list that I cannot wait to get to. And, I’d like to spend more time on deep book reading over shallower sources.

I expect to see a step change in my level of engagement/consciousness if I work through these sub themes. But, as with all good processes, the journey is sure to be filled with learning. While seeking to understand will help me improve on my interactions with others, I see my approach to health and information as crucial. The better my health and information diets, the more energy I expect to have to be engaged through the day.

Lots of work to do. Onward.

PS: Peter Koehler, a reader, has done a nice job co-creating “The New Years Reader” – to be read aloud and shared with your close friends and family. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. I contributed a thought to it as well. The theme should look familiar to you. :)

“We are a by-product of our questions. Perhaps we stop asking ourselves about how we can be better/best at something this year and, instead, ask ourselves – “How can I be engaged every day? How can I make sure I am being conscious about my decisions?”

All this would take is a commitment to spend 3 minutes to ask yourselves these questions at the start of your day, every day. And, a calendar reminder to re-commit to this habit every weekend.

Wishing you more engaged, more conscious days this new year. As we live our days, so we live our lives…”

8 thoughts on “2017 Themes”

  1. Rohan, I’d like to help you simplify you fitness even more. I have training at home for years and for almost 2 years now I have used a kettlebell training program called “Simple and Sinister” by Pavel Tsatsouline you may want to check it out. I highly recommend it. Feel free to message me if you’d like more details on the program and my experiences with it. Happy New Year!!!

    1. I love this stuff. Thank you for sharing, Marvin. Can I put taking you up on this on hold for a bit?

      I just made a system that works thanks to being fortunate to have a nice gym at work (I mix 2 home work outs and 2 gym works outs). You’ll know how that progresses of course. So, more to follow.

      Thank you so much again. Much appreciated!

      Also, happy new year back! :)

      1. Of course! You provide so much value I am glad to return the favor whenever I can!

  2. Rohan, this is great. I agree with you on the idea of engagement and glad that you broke it down another level. Also, I think the quotes from The New Years Reader are spot on – I’ve found at least for me that it’s not so much what, or how much you do everyday, but rather, the intentionality behind the things you do as well as how well they match your priorities.

  3. Hi Rohan!
    Been gone a few days and I’m catching up on your blog. As always, love the models.
    My theme for 2017 (also not a fan of resolutions. why put off something for a date?) is focus. I never explored it or constructed a model, but yours works perfectly, since focus and engagement are nearly synonymous.
    Did you intentionally pair your sub-theme of health to energy management? What about information and time management? Reminds me of Scott Adams “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”
    side note: I’m also a big fan of 7 habits, much to the chagrin of my business partner. If I mention it he rolls his eyes. I do think that it’s going to stand the test of time while migrating from “self help” category to “classic must-read”
    keep rockin!

Comments are closed.