Happy New Year, et cetera, et cetera.
The last time I was at work (mmm, 4-day weekends), a few of us clustered around Ashley’s desk and tried to name all 10 Commandments. I was brought up on that stuff, a mind full to the brim of bible verses, but now it’s all been replaced with key changes and X-Men errata. I only got five commandments in before I ran out of steam.
What struck me as we tried to name the remaining commands is that once you discard the obviously godly ones, you’re simply left with sensible suggestions to live at an even keel. That’s why they got codified into religious texts. It’s not like they’re god’s most notable oration, you know? They’re about balanced living.
I don’t make resolutions. Or, more accurately, I made a perfectly sensible set of them nine years ago and see no reason to change them at this point. However, that doesn’t preclude me from having guidelines or goals.
Thus, here are my 10 Commandments for 2013. I don’t think I’m going to obey each one every day. But, I do think if I keep them in mind most of the time I’m going to enjoy this year more than the last.
1. Establish a Vision. Know the shape of the future you’re living towards, even if that vision is vague and shifting. After shrugging off so many potential apocalypses in 2012, don’t live towards a vacuum.
2. Value What You Have. The next best thing might make life great, but before you go after it take a moment to consider what you did with the last best thing.
3. Create Opportunities (To Create). Find time in your routine for creativity, but also know when to break out of your routine to create a unique opportunity.
4. Deliver More. Years and careers and lives are better measured in achievements than attempts. Find a way to mark every month or week with something completed rather than five things started.
5. Fail More. The quickest path to mediocrity is only trying things you know you can do and delivering things you know are great. Do more. Stop worrying so much about if any of it is going to be any good.
6. Engage in Social Penetration. Value the narratives of others as you would have them value your own. We’re all stuck inside our brains at the center of our own universes, and everyone loves to have a visitor in their galaxy. Try engaging in other people’s stories more often and more genuinely.
7. Consume Appropriate Portions. Whether it’s food, work, sleep, exercise, or time spent with a good book, there is always too much of a good thing. Listen to the voice inside your head that says, “you may have had enough for now.”
8. Acknowledge Your Body. The voice inside your head does not always take your body into account, but if you listen you’ll learnt that your body rarely lies. We’re physical beings. If your body says “run,” go for a run. (If you’re body says “ice cream,” try to figure out why it’s saying “ice cream.”)
9. Good Habits Don’t Have to be Obsessions. Having a good habit does not mean it has to be the focus of every single day. You can skip a day of blogging or a week at the gym without shattering your habit. The only thing that can break a habit is you.
10. Focus on the Positive. It’s so easy to be a critic – to define your life by what you dislike. Stop doing that so much. An average day should have as many positives as negatives. Try grading things up from zero instead of always docking points off of unattainable perfection.
I don’t have a single resolution for 2013, but if you want to know how I plan to live my year I can’t say it any more plainly than that. They don’t address everything and I might not obey them every day, but I think I could do a lot worse than use that list to guide my actions.
But, enough about me – what about you? Would my commandments work in your life? What is my list missing that’s essential to yours?