Remember doing group projects back in school and, more often than not, one person would end up with most of the responsibility and would basically do the project alone?
Somehow YNAB hired all of those people.
And the result is workplace utopia. We have a team full of highly motivated, productive, goal-driven people who can always count on each other. It makes every day at work less stressful and more impactful.
However, as a slightly-less-organized version of that, sometimes watching everyone around me in action can feel intimidating.
Perfect example: Once Ben B. shared his Todoist set-up and it legitimately gave me an anxiety-induced stomachache for the rest of the afternoon. I barely know what day of the week it is and he has automatic reminders set up to wash his kids’ car seats every 100 days? And he actually does the stuff on the to-do list!
It’s mind-blowing—so organized, so incredible and inspiring.
In fact, I set a reminder on Todoist to clean the juice boxes and Goldfish crackers out of my backseat that very same day. Never mind that my youngest child is 15 years old.
Anyway, my Todoist app will never be the masterpiece that Ben’s is, but my way works for me.
Best Laid Plans
With all of that being said, although I’m disorganized, I am a planner. I have to be in order to accomplish anything. And, let’s face it, there’s no better excuse to buy new notebooks and binder clips and colored pens and little Post-it note flags than the imminent creation of a shiny new plan.
(No, none of the other empty notebooks or office supplies that I already own will work. Don’t be ridiculous.)
One of my close friends and I have a system that we call “The Woman I Want to Be” (WIWTB) where we periodically review our goals and realign our priorities based on what the type of person we aspire to be would do.
A WIWTB review involves a new planner, new office supplies, new daily schedules, new calendars, new routines, new goals for our homes, bodies, wardrobes, relationships, finances, careers, and personal lives; there are daily to-dos, must-dos, want-to-dos, cool-to-dos, one-year plans, five-year plans, travel plans, reading lists, shopping lists, and life goals.
We’ve done this together and separately for close to 15 years now. The past versions of us would be impressed with where we are now and the present versions of us forget that all too often—because the person we want to be is always evolving and there’s always more work to do to grow into her.
The beginning of a new year is my starting line for this exercise; my Super Bowl, my Olympic event. (Because much like using an old notebook, starting anything on any day other than the first Monday of a new year is just plain wrong.)
So when we returned to work after the start of the new year, it was only natural that there was some resolution talk happening. Ryan mentioned signing up for James Clear’s 30 Days to Better Habits email course. Casey said she was filling out the Monk Manual’s Vision and Planning Journal for 2022. Rachel bought an Erin Condren planner (which made me immediately start shopping for planners, despite my resolution not to have a paper planner). I bookmarked all of that for later.
But when it was my turn to share my New Year resolutions, I admitted to not having any this year. Not because I’m an underachiever and not because I don’t have goals, but because the real work for me right now is to (briefly) reflect on 2020 and 2021 (ugh) and to admit that in the grand scheme of things, right now is different. Right now it’s important to recognize that I may not be fully in control of my own destiny…and that’s okay.
Part of the reason 2020 and 2021 were so difficult was because I couldn’t always steer my own ship. The Woman I Want to Be was going to travel, meet new people, go on adventures, visit friends, save money, and get in better shape.
The woman I am had to unexpectedly homeschool her kids, worked long hours from home, canceled vacations, watched a crazy amount of television, ate take out, filled an emotional void with shopping, got sick, and had a rough recovery. It was unglamorous, unproductive, unpredictable, unsatisfying, and yet…it was fine. Good, even.
It was not what I planned and not who I wanted to be, and yet, I’m proud of how it all worked out in spite of the circumstances. The Woman I Want to Be would approve.
A New New Year
So, I admitted to my overachieving colleagues that this year I’m going to roll with the punches in true YNAB style, without putting more pressure on myself to do “more”—that my resolution is simply to do the best I can, regardless of what happens around me.
And that sentiment resonated with more people than I expected. Some were taking a similar approach. Most agreed that this year just felt different in a way that’s difficult to define. It was such a relief to get this unspoken “permission” and validation from people I admire so much.
So I decided to share that.
If you’re feeling a little less motivated to make new goals or resolutions right now, budgeting or otherwise, maybe the work is just to stay on the path instead of starting a marathon. I know I’m going to sit in the shade and cheer others along while I catch my breath and recalibrate my route for a minute. There’s plenty of space for you to do the same, if you’re so inclined. Perhaps 2022 is more about recognizing (and celebrating) where we are versus where we want to be.
Some of us at YNAB have decided to start our new year in the spring instead of January, because that seems like a fitting time for growth. You’re welcome to join us for that unofficial reorganization of the calendar year if you’re so inspired. Or you can stay where you are and you’ll catch up with us whenever your new year begins, which is whenever you’re ready.
We’ll all get there eventually.
And “eventually” is good enough. Great, even.
What if you set some intentions to give yourself a break instead? We’ve got 10 ideas to help you get started.