The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 40: Don’t Plan It
Do you remember those days in elementary school where you didn’t have any homework? Remember working really hard during math class to finish your times tables before the bell rang? Remember coming home and dropping your backpack near the front door, realizing you had the entire world in front of you? It was 4 pm and you had no homework. You could walk to your neighbor’s house or play video games with your siblings. You could glue Popsicle sticks together and call it a craft or finally finish that puppy puzzle that was scattered across your basement floor. It was 4 pm and you had no homework.
Or what about that feeling of a summer morning? Remember waking up and having no idea what you were going to do that day? Remember waking up and realizing you had no idea where you were going to end up that day? Maybe you’d go for a bike ride or maybe you’d create an entire world with sidewalk chalk. Maybe you’d get all the neighborhood kids together for kickball or maybe you’d stay inside and play with Pokemon cards and stuffed animals. You were excited to wake up because you had no idea what was going to happen when you did.
When was the last time you felt like that?
Speaking from experience, it’s not too often for me. On Sunday nights, I color code my planner for the week ahead. Things related to The Smile Project in blue, workouts in red, routine daily tasks in black… I know that I have a seminar on Tuesday night and I know I need to finish that email by Friday at 4:30.
I wake up most days and already know what’s going to happen. I know what time I’ll leave for work and what trains I’ll take to get there. I know what I’ll do when I get home and I know what I’ll have for dinner and I know what I’ll read before I go to bed. I pretty much know what tomorrow is going to look like before it happens.
A couple months ago, I scheduled a trip to go home and visit family. And that’s all I planned. I bought my round trip bus ticket and I told my parents when to pick me up from the bus stop. I didn’t tell anyone else. I didn’t plan any dinners or brunches or outings. I knew I had a few routines I wanted to stick to – my running schedule being one of them – but outside of that, I let go.
And something beautiful happened. I woke up early and had no idea what I was going to do that day.
Resolution #40: Don’t Plan It
In my time at home, I walked my dog along the cornfield every day and watched Jeopardy every night. I played chess with my Dad and shopped with my Mom and I left every day open to adventure. I didn’t know what was going to happen on Friday – I was too busy enjoying Thursday.
I love organization and I will always be a planner person… and that’s okay. At the same time, you need hours, days, and weeks, of nothingness. You deserve to wake up with the same thrill a 7-year-old has on the first day of summer. You deserve to start the day with excitement and you deserve to be totally enthralled with whatever comes from that potential.
This week, take a trip – even if it’s only for a few hours. Go somewhere new. Experience something different. And whatever you do, don’t overthink it too much. Some of the most beautiful things in the world, can’t be siphoned into a color coded planner.