As always, thank you for reading and sharing! Please visit http://www.lukeaustindaugherty.com and find me on social media. -Luke
res·o·lu·tionˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Before starting to create my own resolutions for this new year, I asked myself, “What have I learned about creating resolutions and completing goals during my life?” Then, I created the shortest list possible. I hope some of what I have learned can help you to refine your list for 2016 as well. As always, thanks for reading and sharing! -Luke
1. Go for quality resolutions over quantity of resolutions-
One of the biggest mistakes when setting goals is to have too many of them at one time. You only have so much time and energy. The focus that each individual goal requires will diminish how much you can focus on the other goals you have. It is much more advantageous to succeed in fewer goals than to fail at many. Also, different goals require different levels of attention and commitment. Attempting to complete lots of “big” goals during the same time span is a recipe for failure. Don’t shy away from some life-changing or lofty resolutions. Just avoid trying to tackle too many at once.If your New Year’s Resolution list reads something like, “Lose 50 pounds in six months, read a book a week, write a poem a day, do 6 half-marathons, learn to play a new instrument, learn a new language, and save 20% of my income,” I hate to be a downer, but you’ll very likely not finish that list. BUT, more than that, being partially focused on so many difficult goals may keep you from completing even one goal successfully. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose few and choose wisely.
For consideration, divide your life up into three primary realms with three subcategories each: 1. Self (intellectual, emotional, and physical), 2. Relationships (family, romantic, and friends), 3. Work/career (current job or the next hopeful job transition, continuing formal or informal vocational education, and/or entrepreneurial pursuits). Next, try to consider what goals, if set and achieved, would measurably improve your own personal health and happiness, the quality of your relationships, and the satisfaction and rewards you get from your current vocation or a potential new one. Shoot for choosing one manageable goal for each subcategory, for a total of nine overall goals. Then, toss out any less important goals that may significantly distract you from the more important. If you think all nine are worthwhile and manageable, keep them. For me, I am a big fan of bubble graphs when it comes to this activity. See my own work in progress, sketched out on packing paper from my ebay shipping table…2. Avoid “fad” and/or acquaintance inspired resolutions-
Don’t pick a resolution only because you saw it on a meme that your friend shared on Facebook or some random goal that was suggested in a magazine article. If fad excitement is the reason you choose a resolution, the eventual lack of fad excitement will likely be the reason you stop following the resolution later. So far as activities go, choose things to do that you actually like to do already. Just commit to do them more regularly and/or with more dedication than you previously have. Do you enjoy reading? Read, but read new and/or more books. Do you like to ride bikes? Ride more often, to new places, and farther than before.
3. Choose resolutions that are challenging, yet achievable-
You know yourself better than anyone. Based on your history of keeping previous goals, are the goals you’re setting now way too overboard for what you will or can actually keep? For instance, if you have set lofty weight loss goals for the last five years and then failed to keep them, gotten discouraged after a few months, then dropped them all together for the rest of the year, perhaps more realistic goals are the way to go this year. It is much more advantageous to set a two pound loss per month goal and KEEP it, than an eight pound goal, not hit it, get bummed out, and forget about it. Don’t make your actual, present self the whipping-boy for a grandiose internal idea of your future “improved self.” Set goals, that though they are challenging, you will enjoy the process of keeping the goal as much as the end result of achieving it.
4. Don’t commit to new resolutions too quickly-
If you already have all of your goals for the next year committed to by January 1st of the year, you may want to give yourself some extra time for reflection. To commit a year of your life or even months to achieving a goal is a big deal. You don’t get time back after it is gone. I suggest coming up with a tentative list of goals by about seven days into the year. Then, contemplate on that list and get a feel for what it is like to work that list for another week or two. About the third week of January, grab a coffee or lunch alone in a relaxed setting to do a final draft of your resolutions in an unhurried fashion. Tweak your list if needed and then get some real traction on your firmed-up goals. Once your resolutions are set, type them up on a sheet of paper in a large, bold font. Then, post that paper somewhere conspicuous in your home so you’ll see it every day as a reminder of the commitment you made to yourself. Hold yourself accountable to that printed list. Remember, a goal is just the beginning. Each of the goals you come up with and commit to will require you to devise an intentional plan of attack for you to be successful completing them.
5. Consider if completing your resolutions will inspire lasting satisfaction-
You’ll have to use your imagination on this one. Think about whether each of the goals you are setting now, if achieved, would still matter to you looking back in hindsight five years from now. Not only that, but would any of your new short-term goals potentially work AGAINST any of your more important long-term goals? Last, “more” doesn’t always have to be part of a goal. Simplifying life, decreasing distractions, and minimizing what you don’t desire in life is just as important as increasing what you do.
It is much more advantageous to succeed in fewer goals than to fail at many.
As you are working though your potential list of resolutions, some comedy relief may come in handy! Check out the new segment by John Oliver 🙂
My friends, be human. And tell those who mean something to you that they do. -Luke
This is another “poetry happens” type of thing from my recent trip to Michigan. If you look around the steel columns on this pier in Holland, Michigan, you’ll find lots of names and miniature works of art done in permanent marker or scratched into the paint. I decided to add my own “mark” as it were…
This steel column
The real poetry
Lies just beyond
In the tempestuous
In the deep
In the white-foam breakers
In the distant
Pulled taut (Forgive the use of “taught” in the pic. It’s hard to proofread marker on-site 🙂
By Michigan wind
It is a hell of a thing to lose somebody you love deeply. And just with the passing of time, it doesn’t cease to be a hell of a thing. Time may knock the edges off of your hurt, but it never completely goes away. At least the hurt from losing my father hasn’t dissipated after six years. I don’t even think that is a bad thing.
I am very close to being finished with the final edit of “Love is the Middle: The True Story of a Father and Son.” For more information on the book, please visit this link to a previous blog: Love is the Middle: Thoughts on Finishing Draft One
I find that it is helpful when editing, not only to read the text through normally, but also once through aloud. Doing so, at least for me, forces a slower pace and I catch mistakes that I would otherwise miss.
With that in mind, I decided that for my out-loud reading of “Love is the Middle,” I would just read the book to my kids about a chapter per day over the course of a few weeks.As of today, we only have a few chapters left and I have enjoyed reading the story to them.
The chapter we read today was about when my dad told me that he had cancer and the three years leading up to his death. Reading that chapter to my kids, like several other sections of the book, was difficult. Since I wrote the entire book in a number of coffee shops, I was forced to visit many deep emotions in a public setting. It was one thing to write the book with all of my internal dialogue quietly being translated into text on a laptop by my fingers . But, I have found that vocalizing those same words to my children is quite a bit more difficult. I not only “think” the words, but hear my own words. The mere act of speaking some of the stories in the book versus only reading them has been quite a chore at times. But, I have managed through the book so far.
As I finished up today’s chapter, which included a story about the last full “normal” day I ever spent with my dad, reading became harder for me. Then, when I saw the next chapter to come, the one that tells the account of my dad’s death and the days surrounding it, I realized that I cannot do my duty tomorrow. When I only contemplated reading that chapter aloud, I quickly realized that it would be beyond the scope of my ability. Or, if not beyond my ability, beyond what I desire to do.
I suppose I will just let the kids read the rest of the book through on their own or perhaps my wife will read it to them. But, not me. It would just be too damn hard to speak all of the remaining words. Since I have not had much luck so far predicting how the book will hit me emotionally, I have no desire to break down crying like a child in front of my children. I think that would be the most likely outcome. Rarely do I hold back my emotions from my children, but some of them need to be for only me.
I hasten to complete and publish the book. I hope you will read and share it.
This is an ever-needed reflection from Alan Watts that anyone, regardless of faith system or no faith system, can find encouragement in.
So, what would you do if money is no object?
For more information on Alan Watts, click the link:
Also, if you were encouraged by this post, please pass it along 🙂
Have a great week, Luke
This was a poem I wrote back in 2005. It was inspired by one of my twin sons, Caleb. I was practicing some of my songs at home before a concert and he just sat there listening intently and cheesing at me for a while.
I write most of my new poems on a vintage Smith-Corona Sterling typewriter. I thought that I would start to type up some of my old stuff on this other old typewriter, an Olympia DeLuxe, that my dad gave me some years ago.
Also, the paper that I used was a piece that I made by hand with a few of my kids using an Arnold Grummer Paper Mill. I think I might use some hand made paper from time to time. The only drawback is, not being perfectly white, correction tape will stand out like crazy. So, careful typing is a must! 🙂 Thanks for reading and as always, thanks for sharing! -Luke
Humanity is as the surface of a vast pond
Being visibly stirred and moved by the actions of individuals
As one passerby casually tossed a stone in, then walked away
I saw that the ripples continued long after he was there to behold them
Going this way and that
Expanding in influence from the place where they began
So my friend
Find the largest and best stone you can
And cast it purposefully into the pond
Let its ripples roll to affect
And to be affected by those of others
Throw it high, throw it hard
So that even after your tenure at the pond is over
Still its ripples will roll
And even in death
Your life will whisper
What you yelled
While your lungs still owned breath
Remind yourself today
That this will not be forever
Your transient and brief pilgrimage on the lively side of earth’s soil is short
And the length of its precarious song, uncertain
Yet, while you live, make yourself at home
Do your worst to do your best
In the eons that came before you
Nothing of you was known
But for now, you are
And when it comes that you are not
Let not the latter condition of things
Be as the state of the former
When nothing of you had ever been whispered
Leave not this world in an underwhelmed state
Or indifferent and unmoved at your remembrance
As surely as you are here now
You will not be in one hundred years
Do not hide your face from that fact
Or be afraid to face it
This is the common story of billions who have passed
It will be for the billions who live now
And for billions more who will be born
Every one of us is not but the whisper of the century to come
Let us treat the world kindly while we live
So it will whisper kindly of us
When we have turned to dust
Copyright 2013-Luke Austin Daugherty