Twenty hours ago a New Year was born: 2012. I am grateful for the restart a new set of twelve months allows me. Resolutions made at a year’s start have never been something I succeeded well at. It has occurred to me that was likely because I chose the wrong things. Instead of choosing what I want to do, my choice became what I thought I should do. Without fail, when my “Want” does battle with my “Should”, what I truly want wins out in the long run.
What could be on my “should-do” list this year? Lose weight gained when I quit smoking. Exercise every morning. Get at least eight hours of sleep every night. ……Blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda. Bore-ring!
If I make a choice to losing a particular amount of weight by a certain date, exercising every day or getting a specific amount of sleep each night, all it takes is one little slip-up and I have failed. That’s what has happened too often in the past. Goals were too narrow and with a failure or two the goal is abandoned.
This year I am making it simpler in a manner that adds some “elbow room” by making my self-made goals less specific. Examples are “loss some weight”, exercise more often, eat more healthfully and increase how much I sleep. These are things I know I can improve.
To all of you die-hard goal setter’s who feel goals must be always be qualified and quantified; foey on you. Such thinking does not work particularily well in my personal life.
I know the world of business is different. One way or another, professional endeavors usually entail a certain amount of something by a certain date. Expectations not delivered are met with reactions ranging from disapproval to termination. I have lived my business life with goals, goals, goals… and succeeded.
I have yet to successfully manage my personal life as do my professional life. On my own time it’s the pride of accomplishing broad goals, a little at a time that pushes me forward. Through a thousands small acts my life is made better in a collectively big way. That’s probably why I have been attracted to hobbies that demand proficiency, yet can never be mastered (flying, photography, etc). It is the doing my best consistently that makes me better at whatever I apply my heart and mind to.
In 2012 I will lose weight, exercise more, eat better and sleep more. However, my strategy to accomplish those things is indirect. Improvement will come as a by-product of being more of the person I want to be. In thinking about what I could do that would make me more true to myself, it didn’t take long to come up with the list below of “Ten Things I CAN Do”.
- Love people more.
- Spend more time outside.
- Eat slower and chew more.
- Make photographs.
- Read more, watch TV less.
- Call friends more, send less email.
- Be more positive.
- Talk to old people more.
- Laugh more.
- Worry less.
I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that being outside more and making more photographs with my old fashioned view-camera will cause me to get more exercise. Eating slower and chewing more will, without a doubt, cause me to lose weight. Sleeping more will be easier with less worry, being more positive and laughing more. The remaining four items on my “Ten Things I CAN Do” list bring their own rewards echoing back from the doing of them (love people, call friends more/less emails, talk to old people, read more/watch less TV).
Just thirty-eight words split into an easy to read to-do list; one that I can put on my bathroom mirror and see each morning. A simple list of ten things I can scan every day and set myself into the world to do them the best I can. No doubt I will fail in some ways on a daily basis. Yet, within every week the majority of list will get done. And through the doing, my life will improve.
What will “living a good life” get me? A good life!
When we have practiced good actions awhile they become easy;
When they are easy we take pleasure in them;
When they please us we do them frequently;
And then, by frequency of act they grow into habit.
“When we have practiced good actions….” was the focus of a blog on October 25, 2011 https://goodmorninggratitude.com/2011/10/25/when-we-have-practiced-good-actions/