My Leap List

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Changing Good Intentions into Verbs

     I am infamous for doing well on a goal for a while, falling off the wagon, and then taking weeks or months to get back on.  I've been battling giving up Pepsi since 1984.  I give it up for a while, then reward myself with a drink or console myself after a rough day.  It has been so long it doesn't even taste good anymore, but somehow it leads to another and another until I am right back where I started.  I started walking in July and only missed one day, but when August arrived, I took a few days off that stretched into weeks.  I only walked 8 days in August, 7 in September, 4 in October, and not at all in November.  I managed 30 days in July and then 19 days in the 4 months that followed.
     I am also really good at accomplishing other things I've set my mind to doing.  One year John and I made a resolution to wear our seat belts.  Neither of us ever wore seat belts before that day, but we have done it every day since then.  I worked two jobs and had two little ones at home when I went to school to get my master's degree and later my administrative license.  I finished my doctorate degree while I worked full time.  I walked 50 miles in December, all outside of walking at work, home, stores, etc.  They were 50 intentional miles with no other purpose besides getting healthy and challenging myself.
     As New Year's Eve and Day come around again, I've been deeply pondering what the differences are between the two because I need to make some important changes in my life that will be permanent.  I've realized that a few things make a difference for me:

  • My friend Melanie asked me if I ever get a "runner's high" from exercising that makes it feel worthwhile.  I told her that I honestly hate it.  Our conversation made me realize that this is true of most of the things I want to change.  I hate exercising.  I hate giving up foods I love.  I hate giving up Pepsi.  When I give myself a choice, I pick the easy way out.  When I just look at it as that's what I do or that's part of my routine each day, I don't let my mind talk me out of it.  It becomes a habit that doesn't get easier, but gets done.
  • Being accountable to other people helps me stay focused.  I don't share my achievements along the way because I am proud or want people to notice me.  I do it because I know people will ask me about it and I don't want to have to admit that I haven't been doing very well.  People asked about school or how I was doing on the walking and that kept me motivated to keep working on it.  When I was working on my dissertation, we would have days we would have to meet and share our progress with everyone.  I worked harder at those times so I wouldn't be embarrassed in front of the other people, even though they were my friends and wouldn't think any less of me if I didn't have something to share.  
  • I also do better when I am part of a team or a group, even when our progress isn't dependent on each other.  I always got team assignments done first because I didn't want to let down people who were depending one me.  It also ties back to having a support group to cheer me on and people to be accountable for my results.  I did a great job in July because my friends were doing a Diet Bet and cheering me on and challenging me to do even more than I thought I could do.  
  • I also realized that I do better when I break bigger goals into smaller goals or measurable goals, like walking 50 miles instead of just saying I will start walking again in December. 
With all this in mind, I've decided to set an emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual intention for the year.  Each intention will have smaller monthly resolutions to keep me on track and focused.  I will share my progress so I stay accountable.  I will also involve others in my goals so that I will do it for them even when I don't want to do it for myself some days.

Emotional:  I am most grounded when I express my feelings, so I will refocus on my writing.

Mental:  Reading is one of my favorite things to do, but I am not a reader anymore.  It used to be school got in the way but now it is the Internet, games, Facebook, etc.  I want to refocus on reading and learning, not on the other things that don't really matter but are good distractions.

Spiritual:  I want to do something for someone else each month.  I always feel better when I am focused on others instead of myself.  My word for the year will help me focus my energy here.

Physical:  I need to lose weight and do better with my diet so I don't keep moving into diabetes.  I enjoy sedentary activities and being in my head, so this is my weakest area.  I will make this a bigger priority this year.  I will join up with my brother and daughter to work towards 2,017 combined miles for 2017.  I will work towards 673 miles this year towards my part of the team effort.

Monthly Goals for January

  1. Emotional:  Post 4 or more entries in my blog.
  2. Mental:  Read 5 or more books.  
  3. Spiritual:  Begin working on a baby gift for Brittany, and look for other opportunities to serve.
  4. Physical:  Walk 50 miles in January and only have 2 Pepsi's a day.  

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