Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My strategy for 2015…

In years past, I have made the wildly unattainable resolutions, the no resolutions resolution, and the vague and easily attainable resolutions. None of them made me any happier, even if I was able to attain them.

So how will I proceed in 2015? What strategy will I use? There’s the key word ‘strategy’.
This year my strategy is to construct my resolutions so they are attainable, but not too easily so as to steal the positive feelings of a goal achieved. I also want them to overlap so that I am improving in more than one area of my life at any given time..

I intend to lead a more healthful life by:
• This year I will cook more homemade (less processed) meals. While paleo and clean eating may be asking too much of me, I can certainly improve from where I currently am.
• I will move more and sit less (especially at home). This is doable since any action would currently be an improvement.
• I will exercise more control of my sleeping habits (become more of a routine, 1030 to 6).
• I will drink fewer sodas (anyone can do less, right?).
• I will have a spring, summer, and fall garden (gets me outside moving and produces good food).

I intend to have more control of my depression than I currently do by:
• Practicing my counter-depression techniques (correcting negative thoughts, noticing when I find something enjoyable no matter how fleeting, and setting myself up to experience those things I find uplifting ).
• Moving more and getting more sunshine see bullets 2 &5 from the above list (Ooo see what I did there? Using my multi-beneficial techniques!)
• Improve on my sleep habits (See bullet 3 from above list. Yep! I did it again).
• I will let go of those things (dreams, desires, or wishes) that have always led to regrets for me. To acknowledge where I am in my life and that there are things I will never achieve, dreams I will not realize, and desires I will never know.
• Practice gratitude.

I intend to improve my living situation by:
• Having a garden (see bullet 5 from the above list).
• Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom daily.
• Organizing my office weekly.
• Getting rid of the things (possessions) I do not use. This year I will be the king of reuse, recycle, repurpose, or donate/discard. (heavy on the donate/discard)
• General house clean up weekly.
• Painting. Paint is cheap (relatively speaking and will keep me busy all weekend, which means less sitting).
• Yard work, yard work, yard work (again less sitting).

I intend to improve my financial situation by:
• Being more mindful of where my money is going.
• Continuing my search for a second job.
• Spending less on food (see garden and homemade meals).

My hope and desire is to move toward what I conceive as a better life. One that is also attainable by me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I watched a B grade movie last night (surprise) and at one point, I found myself thinking deeper thoughts than I really wanted to. In the movie a high school student’s father dies (shot by CIA operatives) and as the light in his eyes fades, she begins to wail. At that moment, all I could think was that for the entire movie to this point she showed nothing but disdain for her father, she did things to embarrass him, jeopardize his career goals, and showed No affection for him at all. Yet, after he dies, she wails and cries as if something important has been taken from her.

Why is it that we as people tend to fall into this cycle of treating those closest to us, our loved ones, so roughly, with such contempt on a daily basis yet if they were to be taken from us either by illness or a CIA bullet, we mourn deeply for the loss in our life.

Wouldn’t life be sweeter if we treated each of our loved ones as if this were their last day on Earth? How would we treat others if it were our last day on Earth? To treat each day as our last may change our outlook completely. I have a friend that works in the hospice industry and her company shared a list of the things people typically regret at the end of life. That list includes, "not spending enough quality time with family and friends." How would this world change if we all, as Tim McGraw sang it, “lived like you were dying.”

So before you act in a way that is contrary to how you feel (IE acting hateful or hurtful towards someone you love) think of what you would want to say or do for their last day alive.
It may change how you act, hell it may change how you live.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Summer of 2014, so far…

I have to say I am disappointed. This was to be a summer of affirmations for me, a time when I did ‘it’ because I wanted to, because I was able to do ‘it’ on my own.
However, the summer quickly turned into me not doing ‘it’ because I did not really want to and I am no longer accountable to anyone. There is no consequence (IE letting a loved one down) except my own regret or guilt, which has never motivated me into anything.

I did the goal setting, with at least one deadline. I had several big projects lined up, a plan to work outside in the morning when my ‘energy’ is highest and chill/organize the house in the afternoons. Nothing has been done.

I wanted to write this summer in vast quantities, even if it was just to get a jumpstart on my weekly ‘tongue-in-cheek’ newsletter for the school year…here I am more than half way through the summer and this is the first I have written (I’m avoiding cleaning the kitchen by writing this).

On my bathroom mirror is a self-directive statement, which says, “Get your house in order.” Yet I have not gotten ‘my house in order’.

What is the secret to motivation, in particular self-motivation? I say I want ‘X’, I make goals with deadlines for ‘X’, and I set daily reminders…but ‘X’ has not been achieved. On more than one occasion, I have written that achievement never gave me that inner glow of pride, for me it is the planning and the process I enjoy, maybe the one trait that makes me a good team member. While I do not enjoy achievement, I apparently dislike not meeting my goals too, just not enough to get up and do them.

I have shared about my struggles with depression (some would say whined) and I must concede that the big D has played a part in all this. This summer was to be a game changer: divorce, only one job with the summer off, and relearning to stand on my own feet.
As Nickleback sang, “This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I want it to be.”
At one low point I considered inpatient care (therapy was too dependent on me to do the self-work unsupervised) but like weekly therapy I found inpatient options to be too cost prohibitive, besides who would feed the dogs (the dogs are a good excuse not to do a lot of things).

Where to from here?
Reassess my goals and deadlines?
Reassess my life plan? (That is a huge issue, what plan?)

This muddling through life is not always easy and sometimes it is down right messy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A better version….

I am beginning to learn something I wished I had learned decades ago. I don’t have to be better than you (no one in particular), don’t have to prove anything to you (again no one in particular, different for everyone). Let me brake it down in this way, I don’t have to be stronger than the guy next to me in the gym, I don’t have to be smarter than the person next to me in the classroom, and I don’t have to be more spiritual than the person next to me in church. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, not my father, my brothers, my friends, my co-workers, or my children.

I only have to be better than I was yesterday.
I only have to prove some things to myself.
I only need to strive to become a better version of myself.

Now to determine what is a better version of me and act upon it, I find myself looking to role models. Tony Robbins (self-help guru of the 80's and 90's) highly suggests finding the top people in the areas of life you want to improve in and emulate them. Not to be them or beat them, but to improve yourself.

Role models can from so many places, friends, congregation members, and even fiction. When I think of the pinnacle father archetype that I wanted to be like I thought of my dad, I thought of Wilford Brimley in Our Family, and the father on the Waltons.
When I want to be the best friend I can be, I think of those great friends I found in literature, Frodo and Samwise, or Silk and Barak, or Rand and Matt and Perrin. When I want to be a better man, I can look to friends that embody those characteristics I want to improve and I can again look to fiction in the form of Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly, or Strider (Aragorn) in LOTR, or Belgarion in the Belgariad (seriously you people should read these).

Once we have our role model, whoever it is, then we must act.

One of the things I was lucky enough to learn early in my career was try to objectively to see what is right for this student in this place at this time.
I need to give myself that same consideration, what is right for me, in this place at this time. I cannot begin from anywhere other than where I am. In my physical fitness, I cannot begin Olympic level training I simply must start with what I can do. The same applies to all other areas as well…I must start from where I am at and simply try to improve a little every day.

It sounds so simple.