I have to say I gave up the idea of New Year's resolutions a long time ago. Just take everyone's favorite -- losing weight: I guarantee the gyms and health clubs will be packed on January 1st but it won't take long till there's no line for the elliptical machine anymore. The best time to buy used exercise equipment is in February -- just a month after everyone swore "I'm really going to stick to it this time." I can however buy into the idea of a Word for the Year -- a lens through which to view my thoughts and goals, a guide in deciding my course of action, a focus. The word for this year is....
The idea came to me as I read the Discover Orienteering book I got for Christmas. In the training section the author shares a snippet about his experience with Hill Reps (just what it sounds like--repeatedly running up and down a hill to build stamina).
" Once while working out with the ... cross country team,my running mate and I were left far behind on the first hill rep because the many inexperienced runners ran much too fast the first time. On the second repetition we moved up to second place...and stayed there behind the best runner for the remaining nine hill reps. Few of the new runners completed even four reps....The lesson is to run at only 80 percent of your best pace to start, and if you cannot keep that up for three times in a row, run slower. Hill reps build stamina..."
I do a lot of things in life like those inexperienced runners-- and find I can't keep up the pace: I'll read the books of Genesis and Exodus in under a week but burn out slogging through Leviticus, I'll walk 4 miles a day, but when the scales haven't moved by Saturday I'll quit in frustration. I'll whip myself into a frenzy trying to straighten, organize and clean every room in the house at once. You know how you start to put one thing away in a different room and while you're there you find new closets to organize and you don't get back to your original task. Suddenly you've run out of energy and every thing has been pulled out and piled up, waiting for its turn to be put in its proper place.
I need to learn to set lower daily goals and stick with them (the 80 percent rule) and then worry about stepping it up, if that's even necessary. Better to meditate on a few verses daily and find a way to apply them in my life than attempt to read the Bible in a year (not that that isn't a worthy goal for others). Before I tackle rearranging all the cupboards in the kitchen, let me develop the habit of not leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight --I believe that's the first item on Fly Lady's housekeeping tasks.
There's a second quality to consistency and that's in my relationship with my son. Last spring I sat in on a workshop by Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm at our local homeschool expo and ended up throwing my plans out the window so I could listen to him all day. The key to his program in dealing with kids who are wired differently from the norm (if there really is such a thing) is to meet needs rather than punish behavior. My son has a real need for consistency. I wrote about this in my post If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Pizza Night.
Okay, for my son's sake we try our best to follow the same routine every day but there's still something he's exposed to all the time and he never knows what it will be like from day to day ......ME! Will I be in a good mood or grouchy (fortunately since my hysterectomy I don't have those monthly mood swings)? Did I get a good night's rest or will I be needing a mid-afternoon power snooze. Will I be worried, bitter, carefree, excited? My son doesn't have a thing in the world to do with my frustration when the scale hasn't moved dispite my best efforts but he has to live with my sulking about it right along with me.
The Celebrate Calm lectures helped me understand the draw of video games to kids like my Schnickelfritz--the game reacts the same way day in and day out. It won't let you advance for no reason when its having a good day and it won't kill your avatar and make you start over just because it couldn't balance the checkbook last night. So for my son's sake, I need to work on keeping an even keel. I don't normally agree with democratic politicians but I found a great quote from the governor of Rhode Island.
So that's my word for 2014. But there are many other inspiring words in the dictionary. You can check out what other Review Crew members chose for their focus word at 2014 Word for the Year Round Up. (link will go live 1/1/14)
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