Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Resolutions and commitment

I go back and forth on the value of New Year's resolutions.  One year I think they're stupid and the next year I make a huge list.  What I like about resolutions is the idea of being open to change and trying to improve yourself.  I think too many people settle into a way of being, when they could be be better, do better.  Complacency is mediocrity.  We can all improve in some way, and when we work on ourselves, we improve our circumstances too.  What I don't like about resolutions is that most people don't mean them, they just throw them out there and then don't work on them.  Commitment to change is about more than just a list of improvements you want to make, it's about making a plan and working on it every day. 

Yesterday at the gym I was trying to encourage someone to try to get unassisted pull-ups, and I said that it took me 9 months to get one.  To me, that seems like a long time, so I meant it like, "Look, it may take a while, but you can and will get it eventually."  Someone else chimed in and said she had been training much longer than 9 months and she still wasn't any closer to unassisted pull-ups.  I realized that she thought I meant it was just a matter of waiting.  So I added - I worked on them every day.  Every day that I was in the gym (4-5 days a week), for 6 months (the first 3 months I was just figuring out how to survive CrossFit).  Really.  I would get there a little early, and I would work on it for a few minutes.  And eventually I got it.  That's how you get something you want.  You work on it, consistently.  You have to be dedicated.  It doesn't always come easily, but most things that are worth getting don't come easily. 

Anyway, that's my approach to resolutions, when I make them.  I work on them every day.  I set specific goals.  I measure progress.  I stay focused. Here are the three areas I'm going to work on this year. 
  1. Relationships.  This is the area I need to work on the most.  Friends, family, marriage, kiddo.  I have some specifics, but that's too personal for the blog and I won't get into it.  
  2. Habits.  There are a few things that fall into this category, but the main idea is being aware and in the moment and taking my time to build good habits and not be reckless.  From not slamming cupboard doors to not losing time with aimless web surfing to taking a deep breath and not losing my temper.  Avoiding what is automatic and being more mindful.  
  3. Big dreams.  This means I'm not going to put off the "someday I'm going to" stuff anymore.  I took the first step by finally starting my Etsy store.  I'm going to do some serious writing.  I'm finally going to take the steps I need to change my living situation and move back into town.  I'm going to make short and long term plans and take concrete steps to achieve the major life and career goals that I have.  

Notice there are no "get in shape" resolutions.  I do have a goal in that area: to get back to my pre-pregnancy level of fitness.  But I know that this is enough of a habit and a part of my life that it will happen.  It doesn't require a resolution.  Same thing for the "eat healthy" and the "save money" resolutions. 

Enough preaching.  Here are some links to enjoy.  I thought the first one from the WSJ was particularly interesting (and it's short too).  


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