The last couple of years I’ve done Three Words instead of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve found this to be enormously useful, especially when compared to the incredibly low bar set by the complete lack of success we have ever had with our Resolutions. This is the time when I like to review the year and look ahead to the next. But I have very ambitious plans for 2012, and I’d like you to be a part of them.
To give you some idea what this has been about, in 2010, my words were: proclaim, connect, and bamboo. (See more explanation here.) It turned out 2010 was the year of The Great Burnout. The first half was pretty awful; the second half began a personal revolution. It was definitely a tale of two years.
In 2011, my words were: renew, simplify, finish. I feel like I hit 2 for 3 this year. ‘Renew’ was about continuing my work on my personal health and fitness that started after The Great Burnout in Summer 2010. I see this as having been a great success this year. By the time 2011 is over, I will have run close to 900 miles! I’ve maintained my 25-30 pound weight loss, I’m wearing clothes 2-4 sizes smaller than when I started. I feel much better. So, I win!
‘Finish’ has been a mixed bag, but I’m going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and call it a victory because I rocked some first-time, big-time goals this year. I finished my first marathon in March, a lifelong dream and Herculean project considering where I started just eight months before that (i.e., with my fat ass on the couch). I also participated in a collective writing challenge in November in which I wrote 50,394 words in 30 days. (Some of those appeared on this blog. Others will appear later. Even more others are for books I’m working on.) So on these two achievements alone, I’m calling it a success. And I’ve had other, smaller successes along the way. I had wanted to do more, but I’m giving myself credit for some things well done.
Simplify, on the other hand, was a pretty big failure. We had a lot of rough patches this year. The energy required to simplify our lives got swallowed up by health crises and lots of personal things. But this has turned out OK. I am ending this year with a much better idea of what is needed to complete my simplify goal. So, I am carrying that over to 2012.
I made some big changes in my life these past 18 months. I did it by focusing intently on a small number of ambitious goals, committing myself to working on them consistently, and taking things one step at a time. Now I’m really going to up the ante in 2012.
I haven’t decided on my official three words for 2012 yet – I still have two weeks! – but I know it will incorporate ‘simplify’ in with my other goals. I’m still working on how to express all this in the three-words paradigm, but regardless, I am saying that 2012 will be the year we get our crap together.
And I am inviting you to join me in that quest. A radical life change is something a lot of us desperately need.
If there is one barrier standing between us as parents of autistic kids and a sense of being successful at parenting and managing the rest of our lives well, it’s the chaos we experience every day and our present inability to cope with it. We don’t have enough time or money, we are incredibly stressed all the time, we are scalp-deep in fear, our health is terrible, our to-do lists are miles long, our homes are an absolute mess, and we simply don’t think we can survive all the demands on us. Many of us think it’s just not going to get any better. We are already going all out, we are exhausted, and we can’t give any more than we are right now.
The equation we usually operate within seemingly only allows us one variable we can control – the amount of effort we pour into our daily lives. But we hit that point where we either can’t put any more effort in or we reach the conclusion that no matter how much energy we expend, it won’t really make that much difference. And we’re pretty much right. So there’s really only one way to proceed. (Hint: giving up ain’t it.)
Throw the equation out entirely and start over with a whole new way of doing things.
It’s obvious we do have several constraints. Some of this chaos comes from things we cannot really control. However, a lot of it is within our grasp to do something about. The question is, how?
I don’t exactly know yet, but I am challenging the prevailing idea that a life of feeling overloaded and overwhelmed is just how it has to be for us as parents of special needs children.
I’m going to state something I now believe, and I’m going to state it without any proof whatsoever. As a matter of fact, pretty much all logic says it’s likely wrong.
I believe we can triumph over the chaos, be great parents to our kids, and live the kinds of lives that make a difference for our families, our communities, and our world.
And I want to prove this is possible. Like I said, I don’t yet know how to do this. As a matter of fact, I don’t yet know much about how to do it. But I’m going to find out. We’re going to discover the way to achieve this as we go along.
And I want as many of you who want to participate in this experiment to join me. I want us to show the world it can be done.
I’ll post more details about how I plan to set all this up in the very near future along with my initial ideas. One major component of this is that I’m going to blog it all out. I’m going to do this publicly and be held accountable to my goals and progress. I’m going to document what we do in our house and what others participating discover along the way so that at the end we’ll understand what worked and what didn’t so we can all do it year after year. We’re going to learn together and make real, lasting, positive changes in our lives.
This will be a community effort – no membership fees or anything like that. All you’ll need is the commitment to see it through. If you are interested to joining me in The Year of Getting Our Crap Together and making some big life changes next year, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope everyone’s holidays are going well! More soon.