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This New Year 2017 is going to be different. I am going to apply lateral thinking to my New Year resolutions. Truth be known, I have given up on New Year resolutions for a while now.
The first problem is that I always intend to decide on my resolutions by the end of January, but the year just seems to disappear after 1 February and suddenly it is Christmas again. Time is going faster and faster. I really wonder about the people who are 80 and 90 years old. It must get so fast for them that it is a blur. No wonder they suffer from vertigo from time to time and fall on their hips. I am dizzy just thinking about time going by that fast at that age. Whoosh!
The other problem is that I am pretty happy. That is why time is going so fast I suppose. As I say every day lately, “Any day without a toothache is a good day.” And a fast day. I haven’t suffered boredom the way teenagers suffer boredom, for years. Boredom is slow time. I have too much choice, control and opportunity in my life. If you are actually happy, do you really have to make goals? I am too busy to make goals.
Do goals make you happy? In terms of happiness, and statistically, people are happiest at age 64 and most unhappy at age 43. The mid-40s bring worry with teenagers, mortgages, and debt. Your adult parents may also need lots of care. The sixties bring jobs largely done and end-of-career worries. The mortgage better be paid by then. So I am looking forward to even more happiness in the years to come.
Back to the New Year. To make a resolution is to set yourself up for failure. To feel guilty. To come at it from the wrong angle. So with lateral thinking I decided that this year I would do it differently. I am going to make my resolutions at the end of the year. For example, I am going to make my 2016 resolutions today, in December 2016. And I have also decided that I am going to achieve my goals.
I am writing my goals retrospectively, for January 2016. One goal is I am going to get fit in 2016 by swimming, once a week, for a mile. Whoosh! It is December 2016 now. Well, do you know that I am, now, in December, very pleased to announce that I have achieved this 2016 goal and almost every week I have done this. I am so pleased. The hardest part with swimming in a 25 metre pool is boredom and remembering which of the 64 laps I am on. So I have two systems. The first system is to do four lengths of crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and, no, not the butterfly! Are you mad? The last stroke is the breast stroke. That is 16 lengths each cycle of strokes and if I do four of those 16 lengths I have arrived and achieved my 64 lengths. My second system is discovering that it takes me 50 minutes to swim a mile, so I just swim for an hour and I am happy with my routine and much simpler it is, too. I will just tell you that I swam a mile and are you going to question me? No!
I also decided in January (in retrospect, don’t you know), to spend four hours every month on my finances and financial planing on the 1st of the month. December again. Well, I’m glad to say that again I achieved my goals of financial planning and I am getting very pleased with myself that I have achieved two sets of goals for the year.
Rather than the dread and paralysis about goal setting, I find my new method is much more enjoyable and I will do the same in the coming year. Of course one of my goals is to have less guilt in my life and less regret. I am achieving this with my new method. It is not patented yet, so you can of course use it yourself. That is my “Be Generous” in 2016 goal fulfilled.
The New Year will be interesting I have decided. I could, of course, think with dread about the coming year but I have decided to think that it will be a very interesting year, full of opportunity. As GPs there will be less of us, what with retirements of 25 per cent of us GPs and junior doctors all emigrating. So this is the perfect timing to negotiate our new GMS contract. The IMO and the NAGP will work together in our interests. They will work like a pod of dolphins on the common goal of the betterment of general practice.
In 2017 there will be career GP jobs created for GPs, I’m thinking. This will be very important because doctors will now see four patients an hour, if that is safe, rather than 10 patients an hour, like a conveyer belt. This will increase health for all, including the doctor. We will get defined pensions like all the administrators. And sick leave and holidays and lots of stuff for everyone in the audience. And they will realise how much they themselves cost. They will see what cheap and efficient little workers we have been, all these years. That is Christmas future, when the miserly will give to the generous of spirit and of valuable time.