Almost 50% of Americans make New Year Resolutions.
Losing weight, learning a new skill, and being more financially savvy are the top three. They’re followed by quitting smoking and doing more exciting things.
Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of Americans who make resolutions feel they were successful in completing or adhering to them. Just 9.2%, actually, according to this site – which has other interesting statistics related to this and other topics, if you’re curious.
Okay, you’re thinking. It’s August. Why the facts about new year resolutions?
Per my last post, Sunday Evening Reflection, I am reading a book by Marc and Angel Chernoff titled Getting Back to Happy. Although I am less than one chapter in, I must say that I’m finding the book helpful/motivating already. From the lists and bullet points to the personal anecdotes and history lessons . . . this is what I’m looking for in a self-help book. It’s already been the inspiration of one (now, two) blog posts.
As mentioned in the post linked above, I was encouraged by the book to select some destinations . . . places in my life worth walking a metaphorical (or literal) 20 miles a day to reach. In my typical over-achiever fashion, I wasn’t able to select just one destination.
Competent RN, World Traveler, Famous Author, Ninja Master. Happy Individual.
Now, I’m the first to admit that just writing those is intimidating. As far as goals go, those seem almost unattainable. Which, of course, contradicts the commonly advertised notion that goals need to be realistic and measurable. How does one measure competency or fame or mastery. Or happiness?
(Unrelated, mostly, but I did just buy a measuring cup set shaped like a monkey that does in fact make me giddy. Here is a link to a picture of it. In case you need it. Monkey FTW.)
Despite the proven ineffectiveness of New Year Resolutions, I found it tempting to push off starting towards any of those destinations until January 1st. Or, until my birthday, in October. Or next Monday, when I’m not sick with a chest infection. Or until . . .
You get the point, by now, I’m sure.
Having recognized, just prior to starting this post, that I was already searching for excuses, I turned back to the book and resolved to continue reading chapter one, which is all about turning daily rituals into pathways towards your chosen destination. I can’t say that was a bad choice. Not by a long shot. Marc and Angel are wonderfully blunt.
“If you’re not willing to create a daily ritual to reinforce your goal, you don’t really want to change your life as much as you say you do.” In another paragraph, on the next page, they go on to elaborate and write that, “Rituals are meant to change your mindset about who you are as a person and broaden your belief in what you can accomplish.”
Inevitably, of course, I do have some variations that I’ll be making to their proposed method to ritual creation. For example, they suggest beginning with one choosing one ritual that relates to one goal and committing fifteen minutes a day to it until it’s second nature. As noted above, I am something of an overachiever and my new career means I have more free time than the average person (working three 12’s has it’s benefits).
Already, I’ve decided to work towards my destinations more or less simultaneously, because that is what I can foresee working for me. The destination Happy Individual, for starters, will be inherently worked towards while the others are being worked towards.
That said, I can’t dispute that their suggestion of creating a 15 minute ritual is a good one.
After some brainstorming, I’ve come up with four fifteen minute rituals that will combine to be an hour of time, but that can be done in separate blocks as well. I’ve also included additionals – things that aren’t ritualistic, but are markers on the path.
Competent RN: I will spend fifteen minutes a day reviewing pertinent materials – lab values, medications, evidence based practices, new technologies, patient care, ect. I will also ask my mentors questions, learn from my mistakes, and be mindful when at work.
World Traveler: I will spend fifteen minutes a day reviewing things related to travel – costs, locations, reviews, tips and tricks, ect. I will also determine how much I need to save to make my first trip, set a deadline for it, and make weekly deposits into my “World Traveler Fund” – which I will do a separate post for, because I’m looking forward to making a sort of piggy-bank for it.
Famous Author: I will spend fifteen minutes a day working on my novel. I will also research self-publishing, publishing houses, and novels similar to mine to learn the market better. I will also continue to learn more about the craft of writing itself.
Ninja Master: I will spend fifteen minutes a day exercising – a jog, body-weight work out, yoga, ect. I will also be more mindful of my intake (my body needs good fuel), chart my progress, and weigh myself weekly.
Happy Individual: I will spend fifteen minutes a day in “quiet time” – morning cup of coffee with a book, listening to my favorite podcast, tending to my new garden, ect. I will also start a bullet journal of sorts to track the above rituals and my daily mood.
Looking at the goals, in this way, makes them seem much more tangible.
By shifting my focus from the destination to the steps needed to get there, I am essentially no longer daunted by the destination itself. Instead, I am feeling excitement about the journey. Of course, I’m still anticipating the destination, but now it’s not something I’ve overwhelmed by. In that sense, I almost like them better, really.
I can feel myself leaning towards the quick fix methods, but I know that way doesn’t work. If it did . . . everyone would be where they want to be. I would be there already.
Today, I will start walking twenty (figurative) miles a day. My path looks pretty clear at the moment. In taking consistent, steady steps, I can get where I want to be. At the end of August, I will have put 26 conscious hours towards my goals. On paper (screen?) it doesn’t seem like much. Little more than a day. However, the proof will be in the progress, I suppose. I am looking forward to seeing what happens.
Until next time, be that tomorrow or the day after, I hope you enjoy your life.