Thursday, December 31

Happy New Year: 16, 10, 2

Yes it's that time of the year. Reflection and resolution. Updating the new calendar. Turning the page of your journal or starting a new one. That fresh page/new start feeling of the morning. . .depending on how much you partied on New Year's Eve.

A friend of mine shared this post recently: 16 Goals To Set For Next Year That Are More About Enjoying What You Have Than Chasing What You Don't. Yep, it's quite a title and the point is well taken. Why not learn to enjoy what you do have rather than worry about what you don't or try to figure out how to get it?

I recommend you spend a few minutes reading the article; really reading it. None of it's hard and all of it is quite doable. So even if one of your resolutions is to lose weight and get fit (and we won't talk about how many years that particular resolution has been on anyone's list, will we?), goal 4 contributes to that. The less we obsess about our body image and weight, the more likely we are to stop stressing about our body image and weight which could mean we do less stress-eating and get more sleep (sleep deprivation contributes to weight loss difficulty), which means we might be able to do more which means, yes, we might start to lose weight and feel more fit physically and mentally.

Making more time for friends (#3) might mean more bike rides or walks with friends which, you know, contributes to a whole bunch of things including feeling more relaxed.

Eric Zorn, a columnist for the The Chicago Tribune, recently published a piece on doing something for 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes. Not really much time in the grand scheme of things. I thought about this in context of the 16 goals and how easy it will be to set aside 10 minutes to attend to one (or more) of those goals each day. And that made thinking about the goals even easier. 10 minutes each day. . . to talk with a friend, to go for a walk with a friend, to read a book (not sure I'd be able to stop at 10 minutes), to start to go through those bins in the garage and in the basement to figure out what stays and what goes.

Educators talk about teaching students to "chunk" larger tasks into more manageable ones. We see chunking strategies in the work place and in approaches to writing.

Now Zorn committed 10 minutes per day to one particular thing: playing the fiddle. I like that, but, well, it's me and I have to mash-up stuff. So I'm thinking of Benjamin Franklin's 2 questions, 10 minutes a day (or 10MaD, as Zorn abbreviated it), and 16 goals.

Franklin's questions are these. In the morning he asked, "What good shall I do this day?" and in the evening he asked, "What good have I done this day?" And I'm thinking that for at least 10 minutes each day I can easily do something related to one of the goals. At the beginning of each day I can reflect on what good I will try to do and how I will try to use my 10 minutes and for which goal(s). At the end of each day I can reflect on what I have done and how I used my 10 minutes and for which goal(s).

I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough to do this for much longer than a week or so, but it will be interesting to give it a try and see what happens. If nothing else, I know it will help reinforce my hope to be kinder and more thoughtful, and to be more appreciative of the friends who help tell the story of my life.

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