One Thing This Year

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Years past have gone by leaving memories in their wake.  Some of them were planned, coaxed or designed into being.  A few bombasted their way into my heart unexpectedly, forever leaving nooks where they lay cherished.  This year I would like to do something different.

For a long while, I’ve let the blog breathe in hibernation, while I concerned myself with being the best company for my ailing mother.  When she passed, I didn’t think to come back to blogging, though frequently I thought of writing about her, the lessons she passed on to her children and the world, the person she was and the life she fathered.  I would like one day to tell of how she died and the way every day towards the end she taught me how to live.

That is for another blog.  For today, I’d like to say welcome back, to me and Joyful adventures.  I also have a small announcement to make.  After many years of wondering how I would do it, I’ve launched into a new project that is about mutual development.  It’s self-development plus one.  Allow me to explain.

Have you ever thought it would be great to have a record of your effort at becoming a better person?  That someone can be there as a sound board to reflect back to you what you are doing right, wrong and encourages you to take the other step?  Or that someone close can be there to share the fruits of your efforts – the glory, the satisfaction, the joy of staying true to your promise?

This is a recurring wish for me.  I thought about writing letters to pass to a law firm who would only release the letters to me at a designated time in the future.  I’d open these despatches understanding that here is a person who is loving and kind, who had taken the time to cheer me along the journey.  I would write a letter in response, address it to the me-in-one-year, to send her a blast of love and support from the past.

Finally this year, I’m rolling it out – the One Thing This Year project – where I invite a few friends to witness my journey on an area of focus that I choose.  In return, I bear witness to them.  The how is up to each of us because I trust that even when we don’t have the answers, we have the ability to ask and find them.

Focus on One Thing.  Trust your wisdom.  Support the tribe.

In the path to becoming the one you intend to be, your best self, to practice alone can breed illusions, and it can be lonely.  This is why I created OTTY.  Not only to recognise the beauty and strengths of others as they continue to work on their commitment but to be privileged with a group of self-helping people reflecting back at me as well.  So there you have it, three components of OTTY.  The self as a teacher, The other as the reinforcer, and The lesson that comes from within.

OTTY 2018 starts March 1 and ends December 31.  Witness here.

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The most common mistake we make when we commit to something

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Commitment is a HUUUUUUGE word.  For those who are not deterred by it, kudos.  And those among us who continuously try to commit and fail, have heart.  I am one of you.  The good news is, I may have found the reason why I keep promising and breaking promises to self.

When I commit to something, the Clever in me ‘knows’ what to do.  I write down a list of how to make things happen, not just what I need to do but also how I can adjust my thoughts and attitudes.

All this gets jot down on paper.

(Notebook gets shut.  I never see the page again.  A few years later, the same idea hits me and I repeat this scribble-shut-see ya habit.  Hello, Scenario 1.)

I put the paper somewhere prominent.  I’m not going to falter now.  Ha Ha!  Conviction lasts about three days or sometimes longer (hurrah).  And then (insert the scenes we know so well.  Personalise liberally.  The end result is usually the ideas get back on the shelf, banished to dust).

My biggest challenge comes in tiny packages of distractions.  They are so small and inconsequential seeming that I just say yes to them, willingly.  Perhaps part of me knows that when I do that, I’m letting my commitments slide.  There’s a whole plethora of other things going on here and I won’t get into all that psychology.  I want something tiny of my own to hold on to, to say that I can do one thing differently, and that one thing is going to make all the difference.

Here it is, free and easy: Know what not to do.

When you make a commitment, understand what it takes both in what you do and what you cannot do.  There is no in-steads.  There is only In.  Everything else goes to the Out pile, until your newborn commitment can stand on its own sturdier legs.

After Yes, Know the No.  All the best.