I'm a planner. I enjoy the process of mapping out a project, finding the milestones, and then tracking the progress each step of the way. If I have a hobby, it's likely geeking out with the latest project management and planning tools. Around the first of the year, my friend Joel Runyon tweeted that he was using MySubplot from Donald Miller's Storyline project. Naturally, I had to go see what that was all about. I watched the video, bought the book, downloaded the complimentary audio version, and immediately felt like I'd been given a map to the most precious treasure on earth. Let me back up for a bit.
We can't really define "normal," but as Justice Stewart said, "we know it when we see it." Or, perhaps more profoundly, we know what's not normal when we see it. MMA Champion Rich Franklin. Fundraiser Sarah Peck. Researcher Jim Collins. Author Haruki Marukami. Gymnast Gabby Douglas. They all gave up normal. And so must you.
During the last half of 2012, I struggled to do many of the things that were important to me. Maybe you've experienced that too. Perhaps it's an unwritten book gnawing at you. Or a household to-do calls out every time you pass by. Or maybe it's the self-disappointment that sinks in after you've eaten a meal you know you'll regret. And the bigger the resistance, the more we know we need to do it. But willpower alone simply isn't enough. I've sure tried that. And I bet you have too. It doesn't work. The solution calls for something more, and I spent the entire month of December searching for it. I read (or re-read) nearly a dozen books. I took online courses. I watched the best interviews. I interviewed my mentors. But I still couldn't figure out what was wrong.
Is your kitchen and laundry room stocked with all the latest conveniences? Or do you still do everything by hand? I'm guessing not. But lots of us are still trying to work that way. There's only one problem. The world has changed, and your work has too. You're expected to worker harder, faster, and smarter. You're expected to know more and find anything at a moment's notice. You're expected to communicate down the hall and around the world. It's tough to keep up. But there is something you can do: Upgrade your appliances. Let's start 2013 with three shiny new tools. We'll walk through them together.
If you've already failed at one of your goals for the new year, that's great news. It means you have a fresh perspective and new insights about the specific challenges of that goal. Instead of throwing in the towel, stay in the ring. Chances are, you won't win by knockout with a single blow, but you can outlast your opponent. If you slip up, just think of it as a new round. Go back to your corner, reassess and tweak your approach, and then try again. Here are three adjustments you can try.