I am not doing any new year resolutions this year, but I have spent the past few days reflecting on how the year has gone by and some things that have worked well for me in the past year that I’d like to continue.
These are very simple things that a lot of you will already be doing but if you aren’t then they are definitely worth a try.
1. Build alliances with like minded people: Unfortunately the world of Indian personal finance is littered with problems, and dishonest people is one of the biggest problems it has.
It is very rare to find people making an honest living in this environment, and even when you find them it is quite hard to forge alliances with them. That’s why for a large part of OneMint’s existence it has been more or less a one man show. Somewhere along the way Shiv discovered the blog, and I got to know him professionally, and later personally. This is the luckiest thing that has happened to OneMint. Both of us have a common vision about personal finance, and regular readers should know all too well how detail oriented and honest he is. These are qualities that I deeply cherish and are rare in today’s environment. Shiv and I have been working together for quite some time now and if not for him, I would have probably shut OneMint by now.
I realize how valuable he has been for the blog, and after meeting him I’ve been actively seeking like minded people in other areas of work as well, and try to find common grounds to work together and grow together. Finding people who share your vision and working with them instead of working in silos is one of the key things I want to continue to do in 2014.
2. Take time off: I think one of the main reasons for thinking about shutting down OneMint was that I was just burned out. For the last 5 years or so I have worked non stop on weekends and holidays, and I used to think that if you do something you enjoy you don’t get burned out, but that hasn’t been true for me. Somewhere in the last year, I got so fatigued that I just gave up on blogging. If it wasn’t for Shiv’s posts, the traffic would have died and OneMint would have died a slow death.
Doing things that you do for their own sake is what is truly a fun activity and if you don’t build in fun breaks in your routine, you won’t be able to sustain anything for the long run. I have started slotting in some time for recreational reading, TV, Chess, movies etc. all things that have no purpose other than fun to make me more productive in the rest of my time. I had come to this realization on my own, but reading The Power of Full Engagement made me grasp this concept much better.
3.Build a habit: I read Leo Babuta’s post on forming habits sometime this year, and at about that time I was thinking of what I could do to get physically more active.
Although it sounds pretty ridiculous, I took his advice and started off with five push-ups every day. How ridiculous is that, right? But it actually does work. If you want to build a habit, start with something exceedingly small, and as you get into a routine that habit will forge and you will be doing a lot more than you initially thought you would. I’ve been going to the gym quite frequently now, and those five push-ups have transformed into a full blown 60 minute workout.
4. Volunteer: I wanted to start volunteering my time this year, and I wanted to do something in the area of children and education, but as I explored options and spoke with people I realized it isn’t very straightforward to get volunteer work in this area.
I expanded my search and found that one of the things I could practically do was walk dogs at a local no kill shelter. It is just 15 minutes drive, and all you have to do is go there and walk the dogs that are there so they don’t stay locked inside their pen throughout the day and get some exercise and a chance to do their business.
In the beginning it didn’t seem like much, you just walk dogs for two hours a day every week, anyone can do that, and it doesn’t seem to be very meaningful, but we went there anyway. But as you do this regularly, you get a sense of the bigger picture, and how your small part in it allows the whole system to work. You’re there volunteering your time, so a dog gets a chance to stay there and not be killed due to lack of resources at the government shelter. I heard of a story of a family where the dad lost his job, had to give away their pet, and that pet was put down due to lack of resources. Their grief was compounded many times, and it is then that I understood that every small bit actually helps.
Every small bit helps, and if you are interested but haven’t found something that seems significant enough, just start with something, anything at all, it does mean something to someone and it will be better than doing nothing at all.
5. Re-read books: I read a lot but I never read the same book again, and I was definitely missing out because of this, I changed this habit a few months ago.
Re-reading helps reinforce good ideas that you picked up the first time around, and you often come across new ideas as well. This is a practice I would definitely continue in the new year as well.
I want to wish all of you a very happy new year, and hope that the new year brings you much wealth and prosperity!