Thursday, December 29, 2011

Commitment-phobe: How not to be one in 2012!

Unless commitment is made,

there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.

Peter Drucker

Damn! New Year's is happening in China right now and I'm missing it!

Commitment. It’s so final. You make a decision that feels like you are taking yourself out of the good life and putting yourself in commitment purgatory. The future looks dismal and bleak, like a tattered sepia photograph from the Depression era. The thought of the commitment being so forever, so final, and you get the sweats. Your stomach churns. Panic. Then comes the negotiating- your mind with yourself. One more little fling won’t hurt. Just one, then I’ll commit to my commitment forever. And then the next thing you know, the whole pack of cigarettes has been smoked, that bag of Oreos that was full twenty minutes ago is now empty and no, you didn’t go to the gym everyday like you’d promised your 2010 self.

Yes, it’s the time where New Year’s resolutions are upon us. I, like everyone else, probably didn’t stick to my commitments I made to myself last year. I think I wrote them down but somewhere in the three full house moves I made this year (yes three!) they were thrown out with the trash, which is where they belonged, because I didn’t commit to them anyway, it seems.

But in July, I decided I wanted to be a little more proactive about my health. One thing I could do is cut out sugar. Sneaking a Starbucks cookie in with my afternoon coffee had become a bad habit. But cutting out sugar forever? It seemed so final. So not fun. Because sugar is in everything. Sauces, soy milk, breakfast muffins. Everything.

At the time, three things things happened.

One, I watched a Ted talk: "Try something new for 30 days" by Matt Cutt: (It’s only three minutes, worth the watch!)

Two, My friend Keveen Gabet of Korakor launched his own 30-Day Challenge. (I guess Keveen watched the same TedTalk!) And here I decided to join Keveen’s 30-Day Challenge and I cut out sugar for 30 days. I put a calendar on my fridge and marked off the days one by one. Truthfully, I stuck to it and the month flew by. And I felt great. I even kept it up for quite a while, though Christmas has certainly killed that! (Time to cut out sugar again.)

Three: I was working in a language school in Gastown and I was teaching a lesson on future tense in a grammar class. I like to tie my lessons into something that involves the Vancouver community so students can learn as much as they can about their social environment and since Lululemon originated in Vancouver, and yoga pants are everywhere, I printed off Lululemon’s goal setting worksheet for homework in preparation for the next lesson. I told the students I would do it too, so we could all see what each other’s goals were.

Boy, was it hard! The students furrowed their brows over the sheet, not because the English was difficult, but because none of us had sat down and tried to figure out our 1, 5 and 10 year goals. We couldn’t finish in class time, but we all agreed it was a good idea to take it home and finish it as a general exercise in whatever language worked best.

But Lulu’s goal setting sheet wasn’t a 30-Day Challenge, nor was it a New Year’s resolution. Instead, It was a way to check in at different times of the year to make sure you were on top of your goals. After all, the person you are today is a direct result of the person you wanted to be in the past. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to get a very strong and positive picture of the person you’d like to be five and ten years from now?

So here is my 2012 New Year’s Resolution:

I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions are too big, too broad, too final and simply, too restrictive and boring. Instead, I challenge myself to fill out Lulu’s goal setting sheet in my sketchbook- something I have with me all the time and won’t lose. And I will do this four times a year when the seasons change. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, because these are times of renewal, just like New Years.

And second of all, I am going to start with monthly challenges- Which means my challenges will be 28, 30 and 31 days long. Otherwise, I may fall off my track and not start a new 30-day challenge for a few weeks. Just being honest here! I’m not perfect! This way, if I do fall off my track, I have a definite date to start again.

So here is to 2012! And to goal setting all year round.

(Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cram all the chocolate in I can before January 1st. Juuuust kidding!)

Link to Ted Talk

Link to Korakor

Link to Lululemon goal setting (PDF goal setting sheet found here. I challenge you to fill it out, even just once!)

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Happy New Year!


No comments:

Post a Comment