Your 2009 To Do List

The decorations are put away, the Christmas sweets are all consumed, even the leftover turkey soup is probably on its way out. Tomorrow, millions of people will head back to regular life and work patterns, and as a result, millions of New Year’s resolutions will go by the wayside. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions for that very reason. What I do, is make a “To Do List”. I LOVE lists. Have all kinds of them. Lists of phone calls to make, emails to send, and tasks to accomplish. I make lists in my head of blog posts I want to write. I make grocery lists, edit decision lists, and lists of books I want to read. You get the idea.

But, you may ask, what does one write on a 2009 To Do list? It could get very long and intensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be extensive. I’ve broken it in to three simple items.

Make an Effort to Connect with Your Online Network in Different Ways
I had a crazy realization the other day. I was about to jump on a conference call with my co-creative partners in the 12for12k Challenge, Danny Brown and Kathryn Jennex, when I realized that until that point, my entire friendship with Danny had been through text (I’d spoken to Kathryn at another point a few weeks back). In the 6 or so months we’ve been consipiring collaborating, we’d never spoken once in person! We’ve written blog posts together, he’s interviewed me for his blog, and we’d been working on 12for12k for weeks up till that point.

It’s not to say that text-based connections can’t work. After all, Danny and I have been able to not only accomplish a lot, but get to know each other as friends in the process. What I am saying is, it’s important, at some point in your relationship with others, to actually connect in person. This is not always possible because of geography. After our call that day, I felt even MORE of a connection with Danny and Kathryn.

So, in 2009, try to connect with some of your online network in different ways. Instead of Twitter or email, try a Skype call or Gmail Video Chat. It’s really amazing when you get to finally put a voice or face to a name. Maybe try to attend a couple of events or conferences. I have plans to go to Podcamp Toronto this year, and wild fantasies of going to SXSW. The very prospect of meeting some of my online friends face to face finally is very exciting to me! Can’t make it to a conference, or no time to schedule a call? Try a video blog. That’s right, set up your web cam and just press “record”. Say your next blog post instead of writing it. You’ll make a whole new level of connection with your audience. (Newsflash: Look for more video posts from yours truly this year!)

Find a Way to Make a Difference
I have a confession to make. I don’t really watch the news anymore. It’s too upsetting. I know, some people frown on folks like me who ignore the tragedies that are occurring in the Gaza strip, or the natural disasters that are occurring around the world, or the state of the economic crisis. But I just can’t accept that amount of negativity in my life. I read enough and hear enough to have a sense of what’s going on around me, what the underlying issues are. But I can’t stare hour after hour at images of bloodshed and heartache and worry. It’s not productive for me.

If you find yourself getting wrapped up in the problems of the world, I suggest taking a more proactive approach. Turn off the TV. Close the news web sites. And then, focus your energy on what you can do to make a difference.

There are so many great charities and causes out there, so many ways you can help, from being a foster parent (I am), to working with the homeless, to giving of your time and money to any organization that means something to you. If you are worried about the innocent children being affected by the atrocities of war, don’t feed into the negativity by watching endless news coverage. Go to War Child. Make a donation. Volunteer. Instead of making yourself sick with worry about those kids, do something that might just make a difference in their lives.

Not sure where to begin? What cause to choose? I invite you to check out We’re doing something really special over there, and it doesn’t take much to get involved.

No matter what cause you end up choosing the most important thing is to choose to make a difference.

Positive Thinking Works Magic
Okay, well you are probably thinking – oh my, she’s really gone off the deep end now. We’re about to get a lecture on positive thinking and laws of attraction and yadda yadda yadda. Well, before you reach for that unsubscribe button, hear me out.

There are times when I get really wrapped up in negative thoughts. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but it’s something I still struggle with, especially when I’m over tired, haven’t been eating well, or have been overly stressed. Here’s the problem with negative thinking, in my experience. It makes EVERYTHING worse. If I’m in a pissy mood, then everything becomes 10 times more frustrating. My computer crashes. My car won’t start. All my bills arrive in the mailbox on the same day. And it all just escalates.

However, if I stay focused and present and don’t spend all my mental energy thinking and worrying about thing that have happened in the past or might happen in the future, it’s like magic. I get the new contract. My mailbox has cheques in it. I get that email I’ve been waiting for. My morning coffee is extra-delicious. I have amazing conversations.

This year, put at the top of your to-do list that you are going to do everything you can to avoid getting trapped in negative thinking. It’s challenging this time of year, especially if you live up north like me. Lack of daylight and endless snow and cold are enough to drag anyone down. But try, try TRY to find the positive. The real magic of the universe will open up to you if you do.

That’s it! Three items. Hmmm – I guess that’s my three words, and I didn’t even know it till this very moment!

Connect. Difference. Positive.

Happy new year!

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  • January 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Positivity begets positivity! Very motivational Suze.

    You say:
    ‘..try, try TRY to find the positive. The real magic of the universe will open up to you if you do.’

    This is exactly how I approach each morning, as my feet hit the floor. It is important to learn lessons from our experiences, and to pay attention to what we feel in our ‘guts’ when we face any new day/situation. I can’t imagine having constant regret, or going into a dilemma without the fundamental thing that helps us to move forward each day and every year – hope.

    So if you received ‘rose-colored glasses’ for Christmas this year or not, it is that gift of HOPE that you can really generate and give to YOURSELF each day of this new year that will help to move you along – resolution met.


  • January 4, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    It is strange how we can build up such trusting and interactive relationships without the physical contact. Getting more and more like The Matrix every day…

    To-do lists are far better ideas than resolutions, anyhoo – resolutions are your way of saying “I resolve to” but there’s less pressure on a simple to-do list, probably giving it more chance of success.

    Tomorrow sees everything change for sure – should be a fun ride!

    Danny Brown’s last blog post..Pale Blue Dots

  • January 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    this is a great post–thanks! i’ve been working on my own to do lists and agree with just about all you say here. i, too, have a hard time with all the negative news though i do read a daily paper….volunteering is so great–gives us all a chance to do something proactive and positive!

    Mary’s last blog post..Small Daily Actions Can Mean Big Changes!

  • January 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I am with you on the “positive” thinking. I find too often if I dwell on the negative, or the things I am incapable of changing I get frustrated and end up in a funk! Positive thinking does seem to breed good things. Although, I don’t buy the whole “Secret” thing, I just think when we are in a bad mood, or a funk we just see the negative and bad things happening. They are more pronounced. When we are erring on the side of positive we can find the “good” in a lot more.

    great post. My three words were Unafraid, Spark, and Build.

    Michelle Kostya’s last blog post..Three Words for 2009

  • January 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Hey Suze,

    LOVE this post! All this chatter about social media – which I love and connection which I love – will never move forward without one thing.

    Now what is that? Oh yeah – human interaction!

    All the best to you in 2009!


    Kneale Mann’s last blog post..Stuff For Your Stuff

  • January 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Suze:

    I love your post! I too am a list maker, and I still use notebooks and spreadsheets for lists. There’s nothing like that awesome feeling of crossing something off a To Do list.

    Ever since I read/saw The Secret, I’ve never been the same person (Twilight Zone theme playing in background). I believe that your thoughts become things, and I avoid all negativity. Usually it makes you a boring person because you don’t feed into misery, but I have never been so happy and have become a good “Nipper of all things negative” before they even start. (From Austin Powers and pretty much my strategy with naysayers: Well I..shh!…The news said…shh, and I have a whole bag of shh’s with your name on it…LOL).

    Lastly, I too am a Danny fan and just haven’t gotten around to signing up for 12for12K because I’ve been sick. Will do so tonight though!!

    Keep up the blunt yet funny posts and Tweets!


    Anna Barcelos’s last blog post..10 Things About Me

  • January 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I just discovered you on twitter. Great article, i expecially like the tip on making a difference. I’ve been so busy building my business that I have let this one go by the wayside. I am going to add that as one of my new year’s resolutions. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Scott Mahler-Datex Media’s last blog post..Happy New Year!

  • January 12, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Yes great idea. Maybe we can put this into a spreadsheet form so we can analyse & monitor.

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