Good morning all,
It’s been a while since I posted anything. I have been focusing on a lot of new things which have taken most of my time. This entry is the beginning of developing additional focus on my writing. I’m excited to share with you what’s been keeping me from a regular blogging routine.
In 2015 I decided not to make any “New Years Resolutions” again, EVER! I thought, it’s too much of a commitment to say on one day that I’ll do or be something for an entire year! Right away, I knew I’d be setting myself up for failure. In my day job, I’m always thinking about how we can set ourselves up for success. So, after a bit of journaling, I decided that I could commit to anything for thirty days!
In 2015 I chose to start one good thing and stop one bad thing every month. Each month would have a single focus area for positive improvements, and efforts to eliminate something not so good. Whatever worked for me I would choose to continue just as a part of my new way of life. During 2015, I stopped chewing my fingernails, I started a fitness program, I went for a whole month without coffee (only water for all fluid intake), another month I eliminated all “fat pills” (cookies, cake, ice cream, basically anything with sugar–or all the good stuff :-)) Needless to say, I was so pleased with the success of my self-improvement approach to 2015, I decided to take it up a notch for 2016.
In November of last year, I spent a good deal of time journaling about “who am I?” What is it I have always believed about myself that I wanted to be true…not just a wish, not a something I’ll get around to…but no kidding, I wanted there to be observable evidence of truth to the things I believed about myself. Who is the person I say that I am? I always wanted to play an instrument, speak another language, be better at personal relationships, stay in shape/be healthy, write a book, etc. So I came up with a new way to organize my life so that I could set myself up for success.
I created a notebook with eight tabs. The first tab is the Activity/Progress Tracker which is nothing more than a blank month calendar template. At the bottom is a legend with alpha characters that match the first letter of the word for each of the following 7 tabs. Seven tabs, seven days in a week. So, here are my tabs:
- Activity/Progress Tracker
- Guitar Practice
- Spanish Lessons
- Writing Studies
- Personal Relationships
Each of the tabs 2-8 are filled with blank notebook pages for me to write short journal entries about progress I’m making in each of those areas. Every day, I track my progress on my activity tracker like this:
- H – Gardening 1hr
- G – 5 min Timed Chord Changes
- F – 4 miles walk/run intervals
Just like last year, I decided that I’d give it a month and if it seemed like too much work or I could not consistently keep it up to date, I’d try another way. However, after my first month, I was amazed at how little time it consumed to keep up with my progress and for the first time was able to track real progress. My objective was to make sure that in any given week, I would have at least three of each letter in my tracker. If I can’t find time three times a week to focus on Spanish, I’m not going to achieve a conversational fluency by the end of the year (okay, maybe that’s ambitious–but that’s the kind of goal setting that works for me).
The nice thing about this project is that my binder is my affirmation. I don’t need anyone to pat me on the back. Also, if I ever start to doubt myself in any of these areas, I just look at the tracker or the log entries behind each of the tabs to see that I have dedicated serious time and energy to the things I believe are important for me to achieve. So far, it has worked very well. I have seven completed months of tracking/logging. I can now play a Spanish love song on the acoustic guitar. I have a lot of Spanish practice under my belt and have basic (read, write, speak, listen/comprehend) skills. I am only 14 pounds heavier than I was when I completed technical school in the Air Force at the age of 18–30 yrs ago. I am improving my personal relationships. I joined the Nebraska Writer’s Workshop (a three hour weekly commitment) Jan 2015 and am an active weekly member–I wrote my first novel! I have read 12 and a half books since January–all while holding a full-time job and enjoying the most awesome gardening season ever.
The results speak for themselves and I now have a way to hold myself accountable to the things I say are important to me. I hope that everyone who reads this is able to glean an idea or two that will help them with their goals. One of my Writing goals is to blog more regularly. I haven’t decided upon a rhythm yet, but I’ll share what my plans are soon.