Here we go again, using a date on the calendar to look at intentions and hopes for radical behavior change. Last year I quoted Gretchen Rubin on the topic, and it bears repeating:
We try to reach or hit a goal…..but a resolution is something we have to KEEP.
I think this shift in emphasis points to one of the problems with resolutions; they are really about how I live, not some particular goal. Results and conditions are fleeting. Attaining a defined goal certainly feels good, but the only way to stay there is if you continue doing what it took to arrive.
Chris Brogan (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ ) wrote about this process a few years ago, and describes a way to identify steps towards lasting change, beyond a resolution goal.
The process has me pick a word or concept that defines the promise I make to myself. Then the challenge is to come up with several paths to that result. Next define the distractions or obstacles I might encounter on the way. It’s important to identify action steps that will help me move forward. Last define the “finish line” (I call it the New Reality) and where it might take me next.
Here is the example I offered in 2010:
Guiding Word: Patience
Paths: Notice irritation or frustration, tight jaw
Distractions: slow traffic, things I cannot control
Action Steps: meditate daily, slow down if stressed
New Reality: Being calm, tolerant, present
Springboard: Better teaching skills, ability to move through the unknown or stress with ease.
I can’t claim to have mastered it, but I think those around me would testify that improvement took place and continues. I certainly enjoy driving more, and when things beyond my control appear to have gone off track, my response these days is to wait and see what opportunities present instead.
Here is my example for 2015: It is a bit more concrete and includes some attitude adjustment:
Guiding Word: Create more space in my schedule.
Paths: Accept the pace and yet move ahead.
Distractions: Anxiety, the need to be “doing.”
Action Steps: Slow down, not up, if frustrated.
New Reality: Balance between tasks and relaxation.
Springboard: Shift to more writing, possible workshops and teaching.
Did you notice a few things stayed on the list from last year? This is fun; I might just do it again next year! Here is an example of something even more pragmatic; I hope it gives you some ideas:
Guiding Word: Process all my incoming paper.
Paths: Establish a single place & don’t scatter it.
Distractions: Impatience opening it, lack of tools
Action Steps: Make it a part of homecoming ritual.
New Reality: No more lost paperwork, bills paid on time, easier decisions about activities.
Springboard: Clear work-spaces for projects that are fun.
Best Wishes for a prosperous and orderly 2015!