I am not really a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I firmly believe that a resolution you intend to keep could start on any day of the year. I believe that new beginnings can happen at any point in the road. At any age. Any day of the week. Before any family turmoil or parties filled with mountains of tasty food and beverages. The ones that we are resolved to see through don't need the calendar to make them happen.
I believe we have the power to become exactly the person we wish to be and the decision to do this is available at any moment – at the end of our fingertips. I also believe that we all know this but have a lot of reasons why we think its hogwash most of the time, or at least out of our own reach.
So what better day than Thursday to begin a new path? How about the week before Christmas as a great place to make positive changes? If I can’t hold my resolutions through the wreckage of routine, in the face of great stress and pressure and family dances, with my children chocked up on Santa magic and sugar cookies, then the resolution surely won’t make it through the year will it?
In honour of the year ahead, I have made a list of 12 things for 2012 that I would like to pursue. Beginning now. Today. This morning before 6am I already began in fact.
And they go something like this:
1. Schedule play time (with and without kids)
2. Schedule a work day starting at 5:30am, 3 days a week
3. Write for 3 hours, at least 3 times a week
4. Continue with 3-4 45 minute workouts per week
5. Meet up with a friend (could be husband) without children once a week for adult conversation
6. Spend one hour a week reading or listening to someone inspiring who's sole purpose in that hour is to teach you how to make and meet your goals.
7. Write a progress report of time spent towards goals every day. Put it up on a board so that you can always see it.
8. Start using cash for art materials, toys, music, tools, clothes etc. Budget for this stuff.
9. Submit progress in writing to someone, somewhere (person to be determined)
10. Seek help or advice about something you would like to learn or get better at once a week.
11. Make your mission a priority.
12. Protect Yourself.
There it is. 12 for ’12. How exciting. I’ve expanded all of this a little bit in my written notebooks so I apologize if some of it sounds a little vague. Sharing this here is my attempt to be accountable. The main purpose of the exercise is to get out from under the mountain of excuses I’ve made for myself (most of them with excellent intentions) that have kept me from that thing that is burning inside of me telling me there is something else I’m supposed to be doing.
Numerous life coach type people (Anthony Robbins, Martha Beck, Marianne Williamson) have all asked us to outline what we wanted to do with our lives when we were 5, 6, 7…10. What did we envision doing with ourselves when we were children, before the jaded character set in, and before the worries of the world swept us away? What did that little person know in her heart she was really, really good at and wanted to sing out to the rest of the world?
For me, this one is simple. Writing. I wanted to write songs, screenplays, musicals, books, poems. I wrote things constantly, anywhere, with anything, anytime, in any place. Words have danced around me like fairies my whole life.
I learn exceptionally better when things are visual, when I see them in colour, spread out across mind-maps and organized charts. That is how I take in information best. I find it difficult to learn from reading, or even from listening to someone talk. I tend to need to have physical involvement with the material to get it to stick in my head.
But my best expression is without a doubt with words. What comes out of me comes out most accurately using words. I was never the kid who got her painting taped on the wall in school. I was fairly athletic but never the first one around the track. I wasn’t terribly social although I had fit in just fine across most of the cliques, including the geek squad. I preferred pajamas and long johns to any particular fashion statement. And I was never much of a decorator (unless you count the neat little project piles around my house as decorative).
But with a pen and paper I could make my heart and spirit soar. Words made me feel like I was being guided through the universe on a tour of truths. Everything makes sense to me with words. Often I can seek answers to questions by writing. I can find solutions to problems. I can let go of frustrations and obsessions. Connections reveal themselves.
So without further ado, I would like to announce that I will be writing for a while. Six months to be exact (until the day my children step off the school bus and join me for a summer of work and play). I have not yet determined what I will be writing. A book of some kind. A book that may never see the light of day. But I feel it is my duty to give this thing a life.
Fiction? Perhaps. Memoir? At last partly. How-to book? Probably.
The most important thing for me right now is that I set aside the time to make this happen. I will be blocking off a minimum of 3 hours a day for 3 days out of the week. I am starting today. This will exclude any blogging I manage to get done in between.
Here are some of my excuses of why I’ve not done this to date. As I have said before, I don’t think lies appreciate having light shed on them. So excuses be gone. Excuses, I see you.
1. I can’t concentrate and won’t stop when there are too many things needing to get done around the house and farm.
2. I would rather spend my ‘extra’ time getting healthy, making good food and exercising.
3. I have two small children that will never let me focus in their presence.
4. I am too old. (I’ve been too old for some time now – here I must remind myself how very old I felt at 21 when I bought my first guitar imagining how very too late the whole effort was).
5. I’m not as good as she/he is.
6. I should be spending my energy and time on more important things that are of value to my family and my community
7. I can’t find the time
8. I didn’t get enough sleep
9. What I write isn’t going to be any good
10. I’ll be too afraid to submit the writing to anyone and wouldn’t know where to start anyway.
Now go on. Get out of here. Go write your own lists.
What are the excuses holding you back? What did you love to do when you were 6? What have you always imagined you would do, but haven’t yet? What will the rest of 2011 bring (and then 2012 of course)?
Away you go.