It's the beginning of a new year, and many people are attempting to fashion some sort of order from the chaos of their lives - making promises to themselves they won't keep, and putting plans in place they won't follow.

By the end of January, people will have either forgotten entirely about their lofty goals or already labelled themselves failures. It's utter madness.

One foot in front of the other

I'm going to propose a new plan - or rather, the absence of a plan. Over the past several years, particularly throughout 2020, I have survived by putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where my feet take me. It turns out it's a remarkably reliable method of remaining upright, while many around you capsize, struggle, and flail.

Serendipity rules

While you might point a finger at me and mutter that having no plan, no goal, and no direction is awful, I might note that in the time you thought that I put another foot down, and made a little more progress. Of course, I have no idea where I'm headed, or when I might get there, but that's not the point.

How many times do we have to see the phrase "it's all about the journey" before we take notice?

Guilt is a good motivator

I would like to improve my fitness this year. To do that, I probably need to go running more often, eat more healthily, and drink a little less alcohol. You might argue that these are goals, not plans.

I'm not going to draw charts and graphs or tabulate distances, calories, weight, or anything else. I am going to plant a seed wrapped in guilt in the back of my mind. Every time I choose not to go for a run, or to eat a chocolate bar, or have a second glass of wine, I will know that my goal just got a little bit further away.

But don't you use a bullet journal?

I probably sound like a giant hypocrite at this point - because anybody that knows me, knows I use a bullet journal almost every day. Here's the thing though - there is no prescribed way that bullet journals (or any other notebook for that matter) have to be used. I tend to use my bullet journal as just that - a journal - a record of things that have happened. I don't use it to plan.

Throughout each day, I write down the things I'm doing. Sure, I might write down a few things on a morning that I need to do, but the nature of my life and work usually causes anything beyond the first hour of a day to devolve into chaos.

Forgetting to live

I think John Lennon coined the phrase "Life is what happens while you're making other plans", and J K Rowling wrote "it doesn't do to dwell on dreams and forget to live".

Both messages remind me of something a wonderful acquaintance from Austria once told me - "oh, you English - you have some many ways of saying things without saying them".

Perhaps we avoid saying things to avoid confronting a simple truth - that we are often so consumed with what's happening next, that we forget to appreciate what's right in front of our nose.