The New Year is frequently used as an opportunity to get a new start to things.
Many people make resolutions, which amount to often grand plans for sweeping changes. Years ago, I decided that while resolutions are all well and good, they are soft, non-committal, and easily disregarded. This is why I started instead of creating New Year’s Resolutions, to take New Year’s Actions.
I began to blog regularly five years ago, as a result of my 2012 New Year’s Action. I decided that I would blog once a week, and from that Pathwalking was born. Now, five years on, I am blogging regularly three times a week, and consider this a win.
Last year I decided to create my Goal Log. This is my Google sheet on which I track my diet, exercise, writing and meditation practice. Next week it will mark the start of the 2nd year of my log, and it will become a part of this post going forward.
The point of all of this is that with the New Year, I am examining new things I want to do, new actions I want to take for myself. Having acknowledged that there are some possible challenges due to outside influences in the coming year, this will be particularly important.
I have some concern about feeling selfish in making choices for my own personal advancement. However, as I noted last week, if I don’t work on my own life, I will have little to nothing to give to anyone else, and will have a particularly hard time assisting others.
So, what are the things I want to do with my life in the coming year?
Let’s start with the things lacking in a specific timeline. I need to edit Harbinger, the third book in The Source Chronicles series, so that I can send it to an editor and then publish it in the fall. I would like to finish the space opera I am working on, and maybe figure out a title for it. I need to pick up where I left off in Guardians, the fourth book in The Source Chronicles. I started another story I want to work on as well.
This brings me to a definite goal. When I get Journey of a Thousand Miles… back from the editor, I need to do my own work on it, and get it formatted for publishing. I need to write/edit these things at least three days a week. In addition to working on the blog posts, I need to be better about taking the time to write and edit. I need to act on this.
Along this line are practices I have been trying to turn into a habit for a while. Exercise and Meditation. I find that when I take even 4 minutes to meditate a day, I am better focused, more aware, and more capable to get things done in my waking hours. Likewise, exercising energizes me, makes my body feel less flabby and uncontrolled, and helps clear my head of unwanted negativity.
All of these appear in the Goal Log, and have for a year. Yet I am still lax about them. Why? I can make up any number of excuses, but the primary issue is poor habits and distractions.
Poor habits generally ARE the distractions, but because I allow them to work the way they do, they have become poor habits along the way. Because they are part of my regular routine, they are habitual. I think admitting this to myself is the first step in changing them.
What habits need to go? In the morning, rather than stumble out of bed and get online to check social media and e mails, I need to start my day, prep my lunch and breakfast, MEDITATE, and then head to the gym for EXERCISE. This is particularly challenging, because I have been starting off my day with this same action for several years. Old habits die hard, they say, and they can be particularly challenging to break.
After work, on days I don’t go to a fencing practice, I tend to go home, and veg in front of the TV. This is all well and good, for a time – but my wife generally goes to bed a couple hours before I do. During those two to three hours, rather than continue to watch TV, or half-watch while goofing off online, I should be WRITING and EDITING. Again, I habitually browse social media and half-watch TV most nights, so this is another long-held habit that I am challenged to break.
I both want and need to make these changes. Why? Because if I am going to cross the bridges I want to cross and accomplish the things I most want to, I have to do something new. I have to get out of my current routines, because they are poor. NOT bad, this is not a matter of good and bad, just poor. Why poor? Because I know there is better I can choose. I need to be disciplined enough to make that choice, and to take the necessary actions I am completely aware of to take this forward.
What action can I take to further this plan? My coach suggested I begin working with lists. I know many people who live by lists they make for things, which is not something I regularly do. However, in light of my prior inability to stick with making the changes I want, I figure nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Positive action for change for the New Year. Let’s see how I do with this going forward.
Thank you for crossing the bridges between my worlds with me!
This is the fourteenth entry of my personal journey, the Crossing the Bridges series. My collectively published writing can be found here.