A few years ago I had an awakening; some might call it a mid-life crisis. It wasn’t simply because I had turned 40, in fact it was before that. It was simply an awareness that while my life was fulfilling, I was also wasting a great deal of it.
Even though we were living the American dream, I had a growing sense of anxiety. There was something missing.
While researching some business management techniques and analyzing the organizational efficiency of a customer’s business, I began reflecting on my personal efficiency and accomplishments. When I considered that I was watching 20-30 hours of TV each week and spending another several hours reading fiction, I was suddenly struck by the opportunities I had missed. There were also inefficiencies due to my disorganization, poor time management and the list goes on.
At that point I vowed to give up many of my idle activities. I became determined to only read books and periodicals that would enrich my knowledge or teach me something new. I became committed to avoiding television that was frivolous. Time management and organization, for the first time, was important enough to take action.
As a result, I have committed myself to taking on at least one new major project each year, something that would expand my knowledge, maybe learn a new skill, or find some way to improve myself. I will also complete several smaller ones in an effort to be as productive as possible each year.
So what is the big project for 2010? This has been a tough one to decide. There are so many things that I want to do in life.
Learning how to fly would be wonderful, but that is really expensive and the desire to fly does not outweigh my desire to build wealth.
A second language was also a serious consideration. But I have nobody to practice with and am still torn between Chinese and Spanish.
Weight has been a lifetime challenge. At times I drop a few pounds but inevitably it comes back. It’s no wonder; I’ve never really focused on this.
There are several smaller objectives that I know I want to accomplish in 2010 including:
- Fully fund our 401K and IRAs.
- Contribute at least another $3,000 to our taxable investment account.
- Pay the equivalent of at least 6 extra payments toward the mortgage.
- Build another guitar – this one will be for me!
- Learn TurboCAD and actually create something with the CNC machine I built this year.
- Gain the opportunity to guest post on 12 other blogs.
- Make page 1 on the WiseBread list of popular blogs for EliminateTheMuda.
- Convince the wife to give up cable. (Not very realistic since she is the NFL fan of the house!)
- Play an entire song with the kids on the guitar. This actually means learning two songs since they play different genres. (One of my 2009 projects left uncompleted, I still need to finish learning how to play!)
- Double my hobby income. This comes primarily from creating artistic pieces made of wood.
- Improve my writing and editing skills. I’ve got to become more concise.
- Redesign this blog for a more crisp and professional appearance.
Each of these will take time and effort but not one is really a personal challenge.
There is one idea I have been avoiding and it just happens to be on the list of common New Year’s Resolutions.
Recently I found the most common New Year’s resolutions listed on Wikipedia:
We are saving money. I’d like to save more but we are very proud of what we have accomplished.
In a way Eliminate The Muda is a dairy, plus I routinely photograph and keep notes about my other hobbies and projects.
Organization is an ongoing struggle. The 5S’ that I have written about have been huge help and I am still progressing. For me that is huge, I’m just sad it took me 40 years to find something that actually worked.
Debt is not a problem, we have none other than the mortgage and even it is on the fast track now.
Weight is going to be the monster for 2010. Unfortunately I have also learned that 1 in 5 people fail to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. So tomorrow’s post will be about how I plan to set and achieve this goal.
Part of living a lean lifestyle is the elimination of muda, another part is continuous improvement. What are you going to be doing in 2010 to improve your life? Please share your goals in the comments below.
“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” – Unknown
If you are a blogger and have posted your 2010 goals, please leave a link in the comments below. I’d love to put together a list that will help hold us all accountable.
photo by optical illusion