An assessment

Now in the new year, it’s important to take an accurate look at your situation. Review things like your finances (also a good time since tax season is right around the corner), your schedule, work/life balance, etc. An honest evaluation will give you the opportunity to make changes getting you closer to your goals.

I had hoped that 2019 would have me moving forward in Success and Harmony. But I hadn’t painted a clear enough picture for myself at the beginning of the year. So this year I wanted to ensure that I had the foundation laid for progress.

What this looks like:

  • Financial Breakdown: I’ve used Mint to gather all of my financial information into one place. This includes bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. I’m sure that there are other options, but I’ve had Mint for a while now, though in the last half of 2019 I let some of the information slide.
  • Work/Life Balance: This has been a bit tricky, as I’ve been working a lot during the past month. After three months with very few jobs, suddenly I was seeing a full calendar. Now, in January, I must admit that I’m pretty tired trying to keep up with the gigs and the holiday expectations. I wrote about hustling as an actor, and I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing over the past month. Hustling. I’m prepared to pull back, and starting in March I should have just one contract to focus on for the summer. That will free up the rest of my time for living.
  • Relationships: This could be lumped into Work/Life, but there are some relationships that should be cultivated that I’m not currently nurturing, and some relationships that should be looked at to see if they are still providing a healthy framework. All in all, I don’t spend too much time with toxic friendships. However, at this point I do want to review every one of my relationships to make sure that I’m being present and attentive (not toxic myself), and that they are doing the same.
  • Health: Another of my problematic areas. Having been diagnosed with RA nearly a decade ago now, I no longer take medication for it. I’ve found that the key to my health is sleeping adequately, physical activity, and eating properly. I don’t always commit to this lifestyle, but it helps when I do.
  • Goals: Finally, what are my goals? Yes, I have my focus words for 2020. But was are my goals, both short-term and long-term? There are a couple of ways to think about these. I think right now, it’s important to ask, “Are these SMART?” (Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-based.) If not, then reevaluate.

Everything in moderation

I had a teacher once tell me, “do anything you want, as long as you do it in moderation.”

The reason for this advice was, at the time, I was not known for moderate living. Even now I still have flashes of excess. But I’m more able to control my urges, likely a result of getting older. Impulse control can be a challenge for anyone, and I certainly had troubles in my youth.

But the advice is sound, and still applicable.

Moderate spending is the key to debt reduction and building wealth. Moderate eating is good for weight management, and moderate activity for staying fit and healthy.

As we cross over into the new year, be mindful of moderation in both your lifestyle and in your resolutions. Pushing too hard out of the gate is a sure-fire way to not make it to the finish line.

Hustling for fun and profit

When I was first starting out as an actor, I had to hustle. And I did. I was once described as the busiest performer in Central Florida. I don’t know how true it was, but I was always on the go.

That changed following a family tragedy and subsequent illness that left me – for several years – somewhat debilitated. Now that my health has improved (not to where I was, but better than I had been doing after the diagnosis), I find myself much less inclined to hustle.

Self-promoting, especially now in the prevalent culture of social media, could easily eat up all of your time. I know actors who are devoting around a fifth of their time to keeping connected with their followers.

On the one hand, you have to keep a steady stream of communication to maintain engagement. On the other hand, it certainly will lead to burn out.

I don’t like the hustle anymore. In my twenties, maybe I didn’t mind it. I felt like it was going to get me somewhere. Now, instead, I come to the table with a strong work ethic, and motivation. Not as sexy as an Instagram stream, but it keeps me busy, working, and happy. And I think that’s what’s important, at least to me.