Sunday, February 04, 2007

Do new year's resolutions work for you?

I'm not really one for new years' resolutions.

But I do like taking natural breaks in time like new years, new projects and birthdays to reflect and think of goals and ambitions.

So thinking about the year ahead - during the course of its first month, there are certainly some things I'd like to do.

My last year was about personal investment. After many years of burning the candle at both ends and reducing my reserves, it was time for introspection and consideration.

During the last ten years, my career value has increased tremendously as a result of experience. What I didn't do lot of was taking time out to invest in things I couldn't learn on the job.

The kinds of things I mean are reading, academics, etc. But they extend beyond purely increasing my career value to increasing my value outside of work too. Investing time with family, friends and relationships.

I've talked about academics and completed some studies though UNISA last year. I decided that residential postgraduate study in the US was unaffordable and had cost beyond any potential return on investment.

So I've registered for part-time studies at Wits this year and maybe at a late stage will look for a doctorate through a Ivy League school after a local masters. But that is so far away that not worth thinking of. Making a start is the most important thing and seeing how that goes.

Reading-wise, I made my largest ever purchase over Christmas and have much reading ahead. My aim is to try for two books a month, but we'll see how that goes.


I'm just about through reading Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I'm not sure why I've delayed reading one of the most successful business books of all time for so long, but I have found it a very useful read. Even if many other books have picked up on its recommendations, it provides a useful holistic framework for self-evaluation.

I bought a number of cooking books and am looking forward to improving my skills in the kitchen. My plan is to plan one new recipe a week. I'll shop for this and try it out. I'm enjoying my cooking a lot and improving gradually. In the meantime, my cookery book collection has expanded wonderfully:

My cooking book collection

Gym wise, thing took a serious setback after breaking from training for my Christmas holiday (dunb idea). Immediately after my return to gym I got the rindepest. For the first time in almost a year I was man down. After anti-biotics, rest, etc I made another return and after two gym sessions was hit by a second dose of this bloody bug. Apparently it is all over Jo'burg at the moment.

Anyway, my goal is to increase my number of training sessions from 2 per week to about 4 or 5. Fitness is key to dealing with limited sleep and maintaining good levels of concentration and general health in the year ahead.

Last year was bloody expensive too. Never, ever underestimate the opportunity cost of forgone salary progression. Whether it is lost debt reduction, lost pension contributions or merely salary raise progressions, the componded effect of taking those in your thirties will make you weep as a sixty-year old unless the benefits of the time off were seriously worthwhile. I was concious of this, so no real issue. Merely recognition that this year needs some serious financial rewards.


kyknoord said...

It may seem lame to quote Yoda, but I find the "Do, or not do - there is no try" philosophy worth following. There are always rounds of hearty congratulation when someone announces that they are going to give up smoking, but I'm always more impressed when someone just does it without all the fanfare.

It is the question said...

Kyk - agreed.

Kind of why I don't like resolutions.

But part of my new strategy is to name one difficult thing to do each day and do it.

cecilia said...

Nice blog here...

cecilia said...

(my link)

ATW said...

Glad to see the cookbooks are the at the foundation of your knowledge..

One of my bosses somewhere along the line said something on the lines of "Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers", which has stuck with me.

I must say that I find much sense and practicality in relatively old management literature. Peter Drucker's "Managing for results" (1965) being great. Robert Townsend's "Up the Organization".(1970) easy reading. The new stuff, Ram Charan, Bossidy, Jack Welch etc is really just a rehash.