Your 2018 assignment, should you choose to accept it: CULTIVATE

THANK YOU for sharing such thoughtful responses to my four- (really, three-) question mini survey this past week!

Holy wow.

I'm thrilled to have such an engaged readership, and now, thanks to you all, a beautifully massive list of relevant content ideas.

If you haven't yet completed the survey, please consider doing so now.

The survey host site tells me the average completion time is four minutes and two seconds. So, I'm really not fooling with you when I say it shouldn't take more than four or five minutes of your time.

Anyway, before I dive in, I want to assure you of this: We're all far more similar than we are different. I have actual concrete proof of this (in the form of your answers to my question about the ways in which you struggle to take action). Regardless of what you typed, I promise you there was at least one other who typed virtually the same thing.

None of us is struggling alone.

So, then, a question several of you posed in some variation:

How do you choose what to take action on, especially in the new year when everyone's talking about resolutions and intentions and themes and words?

Don't I know it!

Everyone seems to be embarking on new-this and new-that, and with such decisiveness! How does any of us know what to pursue that'll actually stick past February? 

Oof. It seems to be embedded deep in our collective mind that cracking open a new calendar necessarily equals new ventures, new commitments, new efforts, new selves.

But you don't have to become anyone new this year.

And you don't have to look out there for worthwhile pursuits or action items or personal betterment.

What do you do instead?

Go deep into what's already there.

Did you start learning Spanish four years ago...only to abandon it when verb conjugations got tricky? (Guilty as charged.)

Do you have shelves of novels and short story collections that you purchased eagerly...but never read in their entirety before more new books found their way home with you? (Again, guilty as charged.)

Do you have a stockpile of self-paced e-courses, some barely begun, others almost finished...but find yourself hovering over yet another expert's "Buy now!" button because the offering looks good and there's a promotion on it that runs through the end of the month? (Innocent! Fortunately.)

We want new because new feels good. Because acquisition feels good. Because we think it's more immediately gratifying (and it often is) to acquire than to begin the task of cultivating what we already have.

Cultivating takes work. It takes patience. It requires commitment.

It means coaching yourself to follow through, to keep going even after the newness has worn off and those excited feelings are replaced with struggle and resistance.

As David Cain writes, "We just find it easier to stay in prospecting mode—as virtually every outside influence encourages us to do—than to stop wandering and begin to work the land."

If you took a quick inventory of what's already there—the books, the courses, the projects, the relationships, the equipment and supplies—I bet you'd find enough to keep you pleasantly occupied for a good long while to come.

As for the sticking past February criterion?

I have some good news and bad news.

The good news is: It doesn't actually matter what you choose.

And the bad news: Your pursuit's stickiness is entirely up to you. It isn't a matter of choosing the right thing; it's a matter of committing to whatever it is you choose.

Do you want help working your land in 2018? (Perhaps some help exploring your land first, to see what's there and what we might cultivate, together?)

I can help. Book a session for as early as this Thursday, and we'll get right on it.