Name your year (2021): Commit

My friend Joe Martin is a smart guy.

I look up to him when it comes to designing a fulfilling life, and also when it comes to acoustic Kanye West covers.

One of the coolest things he does is name his year in advance. It sets the intent for your actions and is a quick heuristic for decision making.

For example, your year’s theme could be “connect,” and that could mean striving to building your professional network or to deepen the existing relationships in your life.

After waffling for two months between a few options, I’ve decided this year’s theme is “commit.”

“Commit” is a word that sounds scary to me, and if something scares me that means I have to do it.

It also encompasses the things in my life that I really need to work on. I look at the word “commit” in three parts.

First, you have to stop thinking so much and just ship. “Commit,” in this sense, is like dropping in on a skateboard. If you waffle and think too much, you’ll fuck up and fall. You have to earnestly dive nose first into it.

In the past, I’ve been able to skirt around earnest commitment with ironic detachment and justifiable intellectualization. No más. Earnestly moving forward on business dreams, writing (and not talking about writing) articles to be published, just asking the girl to dance. All examples of commitment in the first sense of the word.

Second, it means quitting and eliminating things that aren’t a focus. Every yes you say is a no to something else. No one has unlimited time, and we certainly don’t have unlimited energy.

Therefore, ruthlessly eliminating business ideas that would be half-assed, article ideas that would be half-baked, hobbies that are lukewarm, and relationships that aren’t fulfilling leaves time for the things that do matter.

Finally, to commit means to see things through. Plateaus happen, especially if you’re playing the long game. Rewards come to those who can wait and work through them, whether that’s in a relationship or in business. I’m interested in playing long term games with long term people. Granted, you have to know what’s worth seeing through and what’s worth quitting on. But once you’ve decided it’s worth it, resilience, persistence, and patience kick in, and you focus on the day by day improvement, not the trough of disappointment.

2021: commit.

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Alex Birkett
Alex Birkett is a product growth and experimentation expert as well as co-founder of Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing agency. He enjoys skiing, making and experiencing music, reading and writing, and language learning. He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog, Biscuit.

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