I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Resolutions and Intentions

At the start of every year, I, along with mil­lions of oth­ers around the world, make res­o­lu­tions. We decide, often quite flip­pant­ly, to do cer­tain things. It could be to change a habit, lose weight, or to get fit­ter and just “be health­i­er”. But 99% of the time they are lofty goals that last only a cou­ple of weeks, a month or maybe six weeks if you real­ly try hard, but they rarely last.
As I began think­ing about my res­o­lu­tions for the year, I made my usu­al trip to the dic­tio­nary for a definition.

res·o·lu·tion
noun
• a firm deci­sion to do or not to do something.
• a for­mal expres­sion of opin­ion or inten­tion agreed on by a leg­isla­tive body, com­mit­tee, or oth­er for­mal meet­ing, typ­i­cal­ly after tak­ing a vote.
• the qual­i­ty of being deter­mined or resolute. 

It struck me that a res­o­lu­tion is much more than the lofty ambi­tions we make at the start of each year. They are inten­tion­al. A com­mit­tee will not vote a for­mal res­o­lu­tion into place with­out hav­ing a firm inten­tion to fol­low through with it. Yet very often we deter­mine what our new year’s res­o­lu­tions will be sim­ply by a fleet­ing desire or a momen­tary deci­sion. We base them on noth­ing more than what we think is going to be a ben­e­fi­cial thing for us to do. We’re not inten­tion­al in our thoughts and often do not stand firm­ly behind our deci­sions, evi­denced by the same res­o­lu­tions recur­ring year after year. In stark con­trast, a real res­o­lu­tion is intend­ed, it has pur­pose, it is designed.

in·tent
noun
• some­thing that is intend­ed; pur­pose; design;

A res­o­lu­tion is point­less if we have not con­sid­ered why. Why do we want to get up ear­li­er? Why do we want to use our time bet­ter? Why do we want to be fit­ter? All of these are good things but why do we want to do them? If we decide to do these things with­out think­ing about the real pur­pose, they will nev­er stick.
To make them stick, we must go fur­ther than think about why we want to do them. Once we have a firm moti­va­tion in place, we must design that res­o­lu­tion using our moti­va­tion as a basis. As it says in Proverbs chap­ter 14 and verse 15:

“A sim­ple man believes any­thing, but a pru­dent man gives thought to his steps.” 

If we resolve to just do some­thing with­out thought we not only waste time, we waste our inten­tions and we waste ener­gy. It’s hard enough to gain momen­tum when begin­ning a new thing that has a clear moti­va­tion, but gain­ing momen­tum on some­thing with­out a clear aim or goal? That’s like­ly to end in a fail­ure which has an impact on oth­er plans we make. Once we are dis­cour­aged by some­thing it’s very hard to recov­er the con­fi­dence and enthu­si­asm that we need to start some­thing. The mem­o­ry of fail­ing at one thing lingers at the back of our minds and saps at what lit­tle con­fi­dence or belief we have about the new thing.
If you’re read­ing this as it approach­es the sec­ond half of Jan­u­ary, and you’re strug­gling to stick to the res­o­lu­tions you made only a cou­ple of weeks ago, I encour­age you to stop for a moment and ask your­self why you want­ed to do them in the first place. If you can’t find a con­crete answer, maybe it’s time to recon­sid­er. So many times I’ve heard some­one declare they want to do some­thing, but because of a lack of a defined des­ti­na­tion they strug­gle, become dis­cour­aged and lose all moti­va­tion. A com­plete waste of that ini­tial­ly well placed inten­tion. Don’t waste that lim­it­ed sup­ply of ener­gy you have try­ing to build momen­tum behind some­thing that’s just a shal­low thought. Instead put it into a res­o­lu­tion that has a des­ti­na­tion, some­thing that has value.

How To Create Motivation For Yourself by Randy Murray ›

And most impor­tant­ly, these peo­ple who want to be writ­ers find that when they sit down, they just can’t get motivated.

This is true of any per­son try­ing to do some­thing out­side of work. Replace writ­ing with design­ing and it could apply to a design­er. Sim­i­lar­ly a painter, or some­one who sketches.
I want to be a great design­er and con­stant­ly have ideas of some­thing to do for my cre­ate, but, sim­i­lar­ly I sit down to do it and can’t get going. Almost like the last thing I want to do when I get home from a day of design­ing at work is do more of it. It’s not always tired­ness or lethar­gy that stops me, some­times it’s pressure.
When you want to do some­thing so strong­ly, when you do find the time to sit down and do it there can be an unde­ni­able pres­sure to make sure that you use that time well. It’s a hid­den pres­sure, one that’s cre­at­ed by you, that often goes unno­ticed. Find­ing a way to remove that pres­sure can mean that the bar­ri­er of moti­va­tion is removed and you are able to just sit down and do.
I guess it’s about man­ag­ing your own expec­ta­tions. Expec­ta­tions of what you pro­duce in the time that you have. If you have the expec­ta­tion of pro­duc­ing some­thing awe­some straight away it won’t hap­pen. Instead hav­ing the expec­ta­tion that you will pro­duce some­thing in that hour, no mat­ter how good it is, can be the first step on the path towards doing what you want.

Work Less on Think Vitamin ›

More on the four day work week from Car­son­i­fied.

If you work every week like you were going on hol­i­day on the Fri­day then you can get all of your work done in four days rather than five. It takes con­cen­tra­tion, ded­i­ca­tion and a zero tol­er­ance approach to dis­trac­tions. The reward is an extra 52 days off a year. Is that worth it to you?

I can’t explain how intrigued I am by the notion of being adapt­able to get the most out of your employ­ees as well as being more inter­est­ed in enrich­ing heir lives.
(Via Can’t remem­ber. I’ll update when I remem­ber.)

And think­ing about writ­ing is not the same as writing.
Read­ing about writ­ing is not the same as writing.
Tweet­ing about writ­ing is not the same as writing.
Hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about writ­ing is not the same as writing.

Shawn Blanc in Writ­ing vs. Writing
Replace writ­ing with what­ev­er it is you want to do. Design­ing, tak­ing pho­tographs, run­ning a marathon. You’re not doing it unless you’re doing it.

Writing vs. Writing by Shawn Blanc

More Ideas Than Time, but More Time Than Focus by Shawn Blanc ›

Shawn hits the nail on the head once again.

Often I find myself wrestling with the ten­sion that I have more ideas than time. There are many great things I want to do and build and ship and start, but I just don’t have the time to do them. How­ev­er, I’m find­ing that the real prob­lem is not my lack of time — it’s my lack of focus.

I think we all strug­gle with the notion that we don’t have enough time to do all that we want. In real­i­ty we don’t have the focus to do them. Time is a con­stant that we have no con­trol over, focus and moti­va­tion come and go, what mat­ters is how we make the most of it when we have it and how we gen­er­ate it when we don’t.