This is what I observe: At the start of a new year, a lot of people review their past year and make plans for the new one. Often they’ll have a list of New Year’s resolutions – changes they plan to make in their life for the coming year.
Popular New Year’s Resolutions
The most popular New Year’s resolutions are:
1. Get more exercise,
2. Lose weight, and/or
3. Stop smoking (or drinking)
Or all three of them together.
They Don´t Work
Most of the New Year’s resolutions don´t work. Only one person in 100 of those persons who make New Year’s resolutions achieves and maintains them over a long period of time.
That is because the changes that these resolutions are meant to achieve are never backed up by valid motives.
I don´t recommend changes in lifestyle. I recommend resolutions that are in line with life goals.
Three Steps to Bring Life Changes in Line with Life Goals
Try the following. If it works for me, it may also work for you.
First, find out what you really want to achieve in life. For some, it is writing your own eulogy or obituary: write up your five achievements in life that you regard as the most important, in order of their importance. Which one cost you the most to achieve, and what had you to give up in order to attain it. Which one took the longest to achieve, and why? Use Evernote for this exercise and revise it often!
Others find it helpful to follow a structured course. There is a free online course available “What Do You Want To Do With Your Life? Your Life Plan To Find Your Answer”, by Hans Glint. His webpage is here http://www.selfhelpstartshere.com/ Print his 140 pages pdf, book a quiet hotel room nearby for a weekend, and fill out the blank spaces in this book.
Still others just discover their calling, and the rest of their life is arranged according to that calling. You find more about that if you search for “Gary North Calling” in the Internet. In very short words, a “calling” is something that you like, your are good at it, and you are the person that is most difficult to replace in that specific area. Everybody has at least one calling, it is only difficult to find. Some people have more than one talent, and I can tell you that this is definitely NOT a blessing, because it is so easy to get lost. If you want life changes you need to focus.
Second, document your remaining life time in writing.
How to find out your likely dying age?
I believe in the law of large numbers, and this is what life insurances have done for decades: they have collected life expectancy data. You can retrieve it and apply it to yourself, by accessing their free online life expectancy calculators.
Here is a collection of useful free online life expectancy calculators:
It’s best to get a second opinion. Compare two or three calculator results!
Now you are surprised, correct? In average, you will live much longer than you thought.
The Bible shows us to be careful with our time (Psalm 90:12):
So teach us to number our days, that we may present a heart of wisdom.
This is why I have created and keep filling out a remaining life time sheet and hang it up where you can see it on a daily basis. This is how my own remaining life time sheet looks like:
I have created it in Word, it is a sequence of 52 “O”s – one for each week of the year – for a series of eighty (80) years. Each year is separated by a little dot from the next year. You can download it here: life counting table
My average life expectancy is longer than eighty years but I have decided to work full-time only until the age of eighty. If I reach that age I will switch to part-time, and re-evaluate my life goals. There is a Bible verse that supports that decision (Psalm 90,10a):
The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty if we are strong.
My remaining life time sheet hangs at my workshop´s door, and as a ritual ever Saturday after getting up, I strike out another week from it. This handling causes wrinkles and stains on it, but so does life on our skin.
In a side line only, this Bible verse Psalm 90,10a tells me also to prefer strength training over running marathons in order to stay fit. Which I do.
Third, sit down and think. Which life goals can you possibly achieve with the time that you have left?
Staying slim with a six pack belly really is not one of your life goals, right? So why achieving it?
Is stopping to smoke a life goal? Surely not a direct goal for itself. If you smoke then it has reduced your life expectancy test result by 10 years, which makes it more difficult to achieve your life goals. Or maybe it does not matter because you have not (yet) found your life goals, or because you have already achieved your life goals.
Then start a bucket list. A bucket list can have items that deal with a consumption, such as a travel destination. But a bucket list also has items on it that need to be done in order to achieve your life goals. Use Evernote for your bucket list!
My Own Case
In my own case, my calling is to produce materials that will help to guide bright young people through the mine fields that the IP profession has. This is why I have set up my webpage https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/. Here one can find what to read, how to negotiate prices and what conferences to attend. I will show some practical tricks and other useful stuff, and I will show how that works in practice in my own life.
And I have a huge bucket list of creative items; articles to write, screencasts to record, and people to speak with.
Call to Action
Install Evernote, if you have not yet done so.
Then start to write your Eulogy.
Then find out your remaining life time and create a remaining life time sheet.
Finally, start to write a bucket list.
Martin “How Much is Left on my Meter” Schweiger