Every new year starts the same way. There's a flood of articles and content with lists of what to do or not to do in the new cycle that begins. And you might notice that most of them start with phrases like: "Investing in this becomes increasingly essential nowadays, so you can't put it off any longer." Search around, and you'll find variations that navigate between: "the essential," "the urgent," and "the time to change has to be now." As if at the turn of December to January, a new world order in millions of aspects or segments was published somewhere, which only you didn't have access to, dictating what must be done in the new year that begins.

There are "5 Financial Strategies to Implement in January 2024," "10 Health and Wellness Tips to Start the New Year on the Right Foot," "7 Productivity Habits to Adopt at the Start of 2024," "4 Technology Trends to Follow in 2024," "6 New Year's Resolutions to Improve Your Professional Career," "5 Books You Must Read in the First Semester of 2024."

And before you know it, even before Carnival arrives, you already feel overwhelmed with an endless list of guidelines and goals to be achieved, imposed by a bunch of strangers who, in turn, are trying to meet their own targets of creating lists for people like you.

Therefore, today, I have a reflection and a proposal. The importance of knowing what you want, for you or for your business comes before any list (reflection). And what if, before you start accumulating lists of what to do, you stopped to think about what you want for 2024? (proposal) Stay with me until the end to find out exactly what I'm talking about.

The Reflection

First off, I'd like to say that I'm not against lists, on the contrary, I love any tool or method that can help us organize our chaotic lives in the age of hyper-information. My point is about the criterion and what should come before the lists, which in this case would be YOUR own list containing the understanding of YOUR needs and priorities for the new year.

Henry David Thoreau, a notable American writer and philosopher, said: "March to the beat of your own drum, no matter how measured or far away it may be." A metaphor to encourage people to follow their own path in life, rather than conforming to social norms or expectations.

Strict conformity to what others say must be done can prevent the development of new and diverse skills. When you decide to follow a list of "3 communication skills you need to develop in 2024," you are giving up understanding which skill would be the most appropriate for you, according to your potentialities, according to your objectives. Social influence, for example, is an important communication skill, but it might not be exactly what you need at the moment. By following lists prepared by third parties, who are unaware of your individual challenges, you run the risk of becoming good at specific and useless tasks, without developing a broader and fundamental skill set. Not to mention that carrying out tasks without understanding or agreeing with their importance can lead to demotivation. Visiting "5 coffee farms you need to know in 2024," without even liking coffee or farms, would be odd, wouldn't it? Satisfaction is often driven by a sense of purpose and achievement, which is hindered when actions are dictated only by external expectations.

This type of reasoning fits perfectly with the strategic definitions of a company or how to conduct a business. "10 golden rules every company needs to follow to know its customer;" "4 steps to bill half a billion by September;" "5 attitudes every company needs to demand from its employees." Sounds familiar?

The illusion of searching for magic formulas distances us from designing strategies and pursuing what might indeed be the missing ingredient to reach the next goal. Excessive dependence on external guidelines can harm self-confidence and the ability to make decisions, regardless of what thousands of list experts, who do not know your reality, have listed as essential. Continuous conformity can result in stagnation in business growth since it does not challenge us to explore new territories or reflect on our own convictions. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, agreed when he said that "Growth and comfort do not coexist."

The Proposal

This is not a simple question to answer, nor should it be. It requires depth and immersion in your journey so far, whether as an individual or a business. And of course, having a clear idea of where you want to go, what kind of achievements you wish to reach, and/or what results you seek to acquire.

In this stage of discovery, you will need as much information as possible, data, and intelligence to dissect and categorize achievements, failures, opportunities for improvement, learned lessons, and what you still lack. It could be that you lack information, even amid the abundance that seems to overflow on the internet. The importance

lies in knowing where to look and how to see in detail the nuances of your case, your business, without generalizations.

Making assertive decisions and defining the next step is something only you can do for your business or yourself. And only then consider giving a chance to one list or another.

My proposal is simple to understand but difficult to execute: take a break and introspect about what you truly want in 2024. This process, as demanding as it may be, requires a deep dive into your journey, the recognition of your aspirations, and an understanding of your business or personal needs beyond generic models. This approach means choosing the longer and harder path, but probably making informed decisions and setting meaningful goals.

As we enter 2024, let's shift our focus from generic lists to crafting a path that resonates with our individual aspirations and challenges. By doing so, we not only prepare ourselves for more meaningful achievements but also embark on a journey of genuine self-discovery and strategic growth.

Oh, and as you might have noticed, by reaching this point, this article does not list 3 reasons not to make lists of reasons.