Friday, January 3, 2014

On New Year's Resolutions, and Mine for 2014

2014 has kicked off (pun intended - read on) with a terrific start for me.  On New Year's Day, Jaiman and I scored tickets from his awesome aunt to the Fiesta Bowl.  Before the game, Jaiman had his first ever half yard of beer at Yard House.  It was a really good football game, and we got free Tostitos chips and salsa out of the deal.  Last night, we went to Jonathan Lindsey's swing dance class and learned the Tranky Doo, which is a choreographed dance that Jaiman and I have wanted to learn for a while; I had my first lesson the week prior, but Jaiman couldn't make it to that last week, so this was his first and my second lesson.  Afterwards, I finally got the courage to slice open a pomegranate (I have bought several in the past, only to let them go stale before I attempted to eat them).  It was as messy as I had hoped, my hands were sticky, my face was covered, the plate looked like a trainwreck and there were jumpy seeds all over the couch.  I enjoyed it all.  

All this excitement the first two days in to the new year started to make me think, "Wow, could I do something extraordinary every day this year?"  And that got me to thinking about New Year's resolutions.  A lot of people will come up with resolutions like, "Do something that scares you every day," or "Try something new every day," and while those are terrific sentiments, I think it would be hard to stick to them.  And New Year's resolutions are known for their lack of stick-to-it-ness.  

Furthermore, evaluating what I've already done in 2014, I can't say that my year has started off with something terribly new or terribly scary.  None of that scared me, and I can't imagine enjoying 365 things that would scare me, because I'm not easily embarrassed or made nervous.    So things that scare me would be like falling off a cliff with no harness, or being robbed, neither of which sound like any fun.  And while it was my first bowl game, I've been to so many football games before, the Fiesta Bowl hardly felt like a "new" experience.  Plus, I've done a lot of cool things already, and it seems like a self-defeating task to come up with something "new" to do every day.  I mean, after you've tried every exotic fruit you could find, learned every dance known to your local dance instructors, tried painting and sculpting in every medium possible, eventually you're bound to run out of cool new things to do, and might resort to cutting your own hair or super gluing your toes together to see what it's like to swimming with webbed feet.  No, I don't want to challenge myself to do something new every day.  Even if I could do it without webbed feet or other self-destructive results, it sounds like a lot of effort, and I'm really very lazy.  

What's worse, I am a very goal-oriented person, and have set some pretty ambitious goals in years past, many of which were not obtained. Part of the problem, I think, has been a lack of focus: my goals are so varied that it's hard to remember to accomplish them all.  As goal-oriented as I am, I haven't made a habit out of revisiting my goals often enough to actually keep the focus.  Another part of the problem is just the sheer number of them.  I mean, a year seems like a long time on January 1st.  But come October, with more than 50% of my goals unmet, and the nearing holidays and bad weather, some of those goals become practically impossible, if not financially difficult.  And finally, part of the problem is that my priorities change as the year goes on, and some of the goals become irrelevant. 

So instead, I am considering a New Year's resolution along the lines of what I have done.  I searched for the right word to go in the blank of "Do something ______ every day," and came up with noteworthy.  I thought about saying pictureworthy, because this world loves visuals and pictures are worth a thousand words.  It would have worked retroactively, because I did take pictures of the Fiesta Bowl and my pomegranate, and I took video of the Tranky Doo lesson.  However, I am sure that some of the things I aspire to do will be difficult or awkward to photograph, and I don't want the lack of a picture to detract from a great thing.  So I'm going with noteworthy.  

Do Something Noteworthy Everyday

The mantra I recently came up with for myself, kind of a mission statement for my life, is: 
Grow.  Achieve.  Inspire.  Enjoy.

So applying my New Year's resolution, I want my noteworthy something to fit into one of those categories.  

"Grow" would be anything that improved myself.  Of course, losing weight is as big a priority as ever for me, so every day I will be working on shrinking too.  But sticking to my diet is a necessity, not a noteworthy activity, so my "Grow" somethings will have to be more like practicing a new dance or reading part of a good book.  It can be little, because one cannot be expected to complete a substantial task or master something new in a day, every day, so "Grow" is all about moving in a direction.  

"Achieve" is the more tangible mastery or completion of something; a box I can definitively check as complete.  It will be made up of life list things, as well as hikes, races, competitions and the like.  While "Grow" and "Achieve" are all self-motivated things, 

"Inspire" goes beyond my internal self-improvement and reaches out to others.  I want to encourage and empower kids, friends, peers, and strangers to improve themselves as well.  

Finally, "Enjoy" is my allowance to indulge; not every day has to be productive to live a good life.  In fact, sometimes you need a break from checklists and mentally draining efforts.  But, I never feel good after sitting on the couch and watching TV.  I might think I'm enjoying myself, but that is not noteworthy, so that doesn't count.  

I think the synergy between my new life mission statement and my New Year's resolution strengthens each idea.  Every day I will do something noteworthy that is either for personal growth and achievement, an inspiration to others, or for the enjoyment of the extraordinary things that life has to offer, while focusing on shrinking.  It's still daunting, but the doable kind; I can decide what I want to do every day, without needing to refer back to a list (although I can have a list in case I need my own inspiration).  Certainly, there is something noteworthy to be done every day of 2014, and through those things, I will grow, achieve, inspire and enjoy.  

If this has inspired you, please make a note of it in the comment section or direct message me on Twitter at @Lowa84!

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