What didn’t work for me in 2017

As a follow-up to “What Worked for Me in 2017,” here’s what DIDN’T work for me in 2017. I think it’s just as important (maybe more important?) to recognize what isn’t working, so that you can learn from it and adapt. I’d like to look back on this post in a year and see that I’ve improved in the following categories:

  1. EXPECTATIONS: I could (should?) write an entire series about the nasty hydra-monster of expectations. There are so many ways that expectations go wrong (un-met/too-high/un-communicated/unfair/etc.) yet so few ways that expectations go right. Now, I’m not saying don’t have ANY expectations (is that even possible?); what I am saying is that whatever expectations we have should be reasonable, and most importantly, COMMUNICATED. Life would be so much better for all of us if we all saw our unconscious expectations, aligned them with reality, and communicated them to whoever is supposed to be living under those expectations. I’m trying really hard to notice the often unconscious expectations I carry around; sometimes I don’t notice these expectations until they’re unmet, and I’m left feeling frustrated, or resentful (two clear signals, right there). In those times, I’m trying to pause, and uncover where the root of those feelings is found: 9 times out of 10, it’s an expectation I didn’t even know that I had.
  2. SCREEN-BASED PLANNING AND ORGANIZATION: I’m a 1 on the enneagram, an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs, and a Virgo to boot: I am a fastidious person who preaches the gospel of “failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” and who thrives when working within thoughtful systems and smart routines. So you can trust that I’ve tried all the best and most popular planning and task-management apps, and none of them come close to rivaling the success I have with a paper planner. This year I tried to go screen-based, because I don’t like having so many separate notebooks, and places to check for information, but it just did not work. I’ve learned my lesson. I’m sticking to my hybrid system of keeping the calendar on my phone (which is set up to share with my family), and keeping everything else (goal, habit and task tracking, etc.) in my paper planner. Let it be so.
  3. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR EDUCATING ACQUAINTANCES ON THE INTERNET:  Yeah, I’ve let/am letting this one go. While I will always be here to engage and challenge others (and myself!) to stronger reasoning, I accept that I am not responsible for the growth and development of anyone who’s not a child of mine. By now I know who in my group of acquaintances is reasonable (or who has a desire to be reasonable) and who is strictly interested in stirring the pot. If you’re a pot-stirrer? Peace be with you. If you’re taking steps towards wisdom, and love? Well, let’s walk that way together, friend.
  4. KEEPING THE TOP OF MY DRESSER CLEAR OF CLOTHES/CHILDHOOD EPHEMERA: This is definitely my biggest failure of 2017. I’m not exaggerating when I say that not a day went by where the top of my dresser appeared remotely tidy. There were a few weeks where all the clothes were put away, but there were all these little piles of kid-stuff, lovingly deposited there by the other three people on my family, and guys? I just can’t. I can’t be the perpetual putter-awayer of All Of The Things. I can barely keep my own possessions reigned in. Why do they think they can just put their singleton socks on top of my dresser, and expect that something good will come of it? Instead of resolving to do better at this one, I’m giving up. If any of you are looking for a singleton-sock, it’s probably on top of my dresser.

There’s plenty more, but I figured I’d stick to over-arching themes. (For example, my dresser situation can also be applied to my desk, our dining table, and the breakfast bar.)

What about you? What worked (or didn’t) in 2017? What habits and systems are you carrying over into 2018?



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