It’s not too late to choose your three words for 2011, my much-preferred alternative to New Year’s resolutions. I’ve picked mine, and this year it wasn’t hard at all. What my life needs this year is pretty obvious.
Two of my three words last year – proclaim and connect – were mostly focused outward, and they were the two I felt least successful with. My other – bamboo – was an inward goal, and it proved to be the most essential one, far more than I realized at the time.
Looking back on the year and my three words, I got a much clearer sense of where my life is right now. I realized I haven’t done the inner work – all the physical, health, emotional, and creative work – I need to do to get to a place of feeling grounded and strong enough for everything I want to do for my family, to achieve personally, and to work toward for the greater community. So I’m making building that foundation and creating good things out of that my focus for 2011.
Renew – Continue building on my recovery from The Great Burnout. What I’ve been doing with my running and much improved diet has slowly but surely helped me renew my strength and commitment and brought me to a much better place. But I have much more to work on. This is about practicing things that are good for me (diet, exercise, reflection, reducing stress as much as is realistic) so I can be the father, husband, and advocate I seek to be.
Simplify – My life is very cluttered and disorganized, but much of that is my responsibilty. Rather than try to organize the chaos, I’ve decided to try to simplify it first. Instead of attempting to keep up with the eleventy billion things on my to-do list, I’m going to work on choosing the most important handful of those and putting the rest out of sight somewhere. And I know I’ll have to be cutthroat about some things. For example, I like being on Facebook and Twitter and get a lot out of connecting with other people, but it does come at the expense of other things around here. I may skim over that longer list periodically to see if it’s time to take action on any of them, but my goal is to keep my focus on the essentials so I can actually make progress on them. This leads naturally into…
Finish – Like I said, I have eleventy billion things I keep wanting to do. Every year that list gets longer because every year I carry over eleventy billion minus maybe three things from the year before. It’d surprise me if I even get three important things done a year. I want to change that this year. Whichever of those goals I decide to focus on and put on my essentials list, I want to finish them. I’ve been wanting to do certain things for much of my life, but every year they get deferred and never done. Life happens and you don’t always get to do what you want, but a significant part of this is still my responsibility. I can finish some and finish major parts of others, but I haven’t. I both want to explore why I’ve done this in the past and take steps to turn these wishes and ideas into reality.
My first very concrete finishing goal is to run a marathon. It’s a great symbol for ‘finish’ because it has a very literal finish, 26.2 miles from the start at a very specific place and time. I decided to go bold and set a strong, positive tone for the year. I signed up for a local marathon at the end of March and am well into my training for it. I ran 12 miles yesterday and felt pretty good. I originally planned to just do a half-marathon in April and the full in November. It’s the ‘just’ that’s gotten me into trouble in the past. It’s often led to ‘maybe’ or ‘possibly’ and ‘it didn’t work out so perhaps next year’ and then not at all. I’ve dreamed of running a marathon for the last 15 years. This year I’m doing it. And it won’t be the only thing I finish this year.
So there it is.
How are you going to make 2011 great?