Have A Maverick New Year. I don’t ever bother with New Year’s resolutions. Not because I am a cynical old grump but because I am always already on a mission anyway. There is a project, a vision, a purpose that I wish to fulfil. The arbitrary calendar division of the years, plays no role in my desire to achieve or do certain things … my sense of purpose and vision for my future does.
When you are wilfully independent , these kinds of benchmarks become truly meaningless … and there is a massive advantage in this. Gyms know that, come mid-January/February, they will have a rush of sign-ups as people seek to make good on their resolutions to lose weight, get fitter, get healthier THIS year. (Well, we live in hope that it will happen THIS year!)
It’s laughable. As if we have no power to achieve this goal without a late night out with bad sparkling wine, tired old music and the inevitable sense of disappointment of another New Year’s Eve that was a damp squib.
And boy, the transition from 2020 to 2021 is the definition of damp squib.
So, don’t waste your time thinking up new year’s resolutions, setting highly specific goals and working out how you’re going to achieve them. Seriously, you and I both know you won’t reach the majority of them.
Instead, spend the time looking deep and long into WHY you are doing anything. Look into what your actions tell you you are very committed to.
The difference between a goal set and a milestone met is desire, belief and action. Not a drunken promise to do better this year.
So, try this out. When you look at your past, what are the common denominators in the things that you love, the achievements you have reached? Not the subject matter, or the level, but the tone, the intent. When you look back through your life and career, you will start to see that the things that you remember with pleasure, with a sense of achievement are united … by some kind of theme.
For decades I was an entertainment journalist, a band manager, and a PR professional. It seems diverse, but when you dig deeper, you realise that what unites those three actions is helping others … specifically, helping others achieve their dreams by exposing them, helping them, coaching them, literally pushing them forward.
One of the themes for my life is helping others. I never realised that until I did the exercise I just described. Now that I know it, I can look at the options before me and easily pick the ones that are aimed at helping and discard those that are not.
That’s why I no longer dream of writing fiction but instead aim at non-fiction titles full of useful, helpful information, methods and tools. That’s why I focus on the creative capacity of humans instead of a specific artistic skill or industry.
For me, it’s not about resolutions … it’s about the next piece of the puzzle in general.
This approach means that I get things done. Because I have identified a life-long path, I can get back up easier when things don’t go to plan. I can restart more frequently when I fall off the wagon … and at the end, I can look back at it all and be happy with what I have done, no matter how much or how little, because I know it all counts towards my bigger picture.
At the start of 2021, forget the cliched marketing messages and the cheap gym memberships and ask yourself, what has always given me a sense of power, purpose and achievement? And where am I going to take that?
 Wilfully independent – Judith Germain’s definition of ‘maverick’ since 2005.