I'm finding it a bit hard to get back into the writing mode. I have all sorts of things I'd like to write--a birthday poem for Jules, a show-and-tell of some Photoshop actions Jason got me for Christmas, a review of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa (if I could convince you to read one book of non-fiction, it would be this one)--but my mind is still wandering around the harbor in Maine. I sit at the computer, and think of snow drifts and chowder and Christmas lights reflecting on the water, and typing seems rather unexciting.
However, my mind has also been full of words today. Words swirling around my mind that I'd like to choose for my 2008 Resolution. Yesterday I read Christine Kane's post Resolution Revolution (which I found thanks to Jess). I read it, and then I read it again. And then I went to sleep thinking about it. What stood out to me was this:
The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life. The DO level. It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. “I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)
The average New Year’s Resolution doesn’t address the core of the issue - the “BE” level.
The best order for creating positive changes in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.
When you start only on the DO level, then all the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.
It immediately made sense to me. In fact, I realized that I already strive to follow this method in my relationship with God (BE passionate about my faith, DO strive to be more godly, HAVE joy and peace), and yet I don't follow this concept in my day-to-day life. Which isn't to say that my faith isn't part of my day-to-day life, but rather the tone I take daily with myself and my family. I find myself in the rut of DO keep the house clean, HAVE an organized life, BE less stressed. DO not yell at my kids. DO keep track of every penny spent.
It's hard work. It's exhausting. And in the end, I never quite make it to the BE part.
I didn't even make any resolutions this year. Actually, I sort of forgot to. I knew what I didn't need to resolve to do: keep the house clean (impossible to do better than I did last year), lose weight (did last year), read more books (already finished two so far this year). I don't need to make those resolutions because those things are already built into my personality. But I do think resolutions are important. Goals are good. Focus is good. If I never made any resolutions at all then I'd never grow.
Instead of making resolutions that address the DO part of life, Christine suggests making resolutions that direct us to living at the BE level of life. So instead of a list of things to work on throughout the year that we inevitably give up by spring, choose a word--one word--that will be your theme for the year. Let that word guide you in making changes in life. If choosing one word seems impossible (as it was for me), then maybe two, no more than three. (Really, you should just read the article yourself.)
So what's my word for 2008?
After I looked through the list of words, the one I chose initially was discipline. That's it, I thought. I need to work harder. Be more focused. Stay away from the chocolate, the computer, the cleaning solvents that pollute the earth.
Then I rethought that choice. I'm hard on myself. And if I chose discipline, it would haunt me all through the year. No amount of Zoloft would get me through to next December if my daily mantra was discipline.
So I looked at the list again, and mulled some words over in my head all day long. What word could I choose that would be best for me, for my family, for my faith, for my students? What did I struggle with in 2007?
Compassion Delight Generosity Effortlessness Wealth Gratitude Abundance Creativity Willingness Change Growth Freedom Mastery Kindness Health Presence Acceptance Courage Confidence Self-Love Action Forgiveness Forgive Release Trust Knowing Patience Friendship Fun Grace Laughter Love Expansion Exploration Adventure Openness Discipline Awe Awareness Risk Gentleness Choice Spirit Prayerfulness Power Allow Artfulness Attention Beauty Joy Focus Ritual Heal Order Clarity Pioneer Peace Laziness No Yes Deliberateness Commitment Savor Integrity Listen
I choose two words for 2008: Gentleness and Acceptance.
It won't be easy, but it'll be good.
And you? Your word for 2008?