January Post-Mortem

This is a post-mortem on my New Year's Resolutions. I have not, until recently, been much of a believer in such things, but I liked the idea of public accountability. And my resolutions were not a HUGE stretch. But they have provided me with a myriad of insights.

I have been completely successful with my first resolution: to write a paragraph each week day. I kept to myself a further pledge, to write that paragraph to be read by others. If I had resolved to just write a paragraph in a journal, for instance, I don't know if I would have been as successful--again, public accountability had an effect. And in some ways, it had a deleterious effect: I felt pressure to write something semi-profound 5 days a week, and that is not easy! More important, I recognized that my writing is a reflection on me, and exposes my vulnerabilities to the world. Furthermore, as I am a proponent of my T.E.E.M. (Time/Energy/Emotion/Money) budget, I did not allocate more than an hour for writing each day. But I have found it emotionally draining some days, and I have not been proud of everything I have put out. In fact, I have often felt like I have put out some sub-standard stuff. But, great writing is rewriting, and I haven't given myself the opportunity to rewrite. And, as productivity experts like to say, better shipped than perfect!

I have not been perfectly successful with my second resolution: not to complain for a month. However, I would argue that during those moments I have complained, I have caught myself, and I feel even more enriched. It's kind of like making a lifestyle change (as I have) from standard Western diet to a ketogenic approach to eating. Sometimes I have some pizza. It kills my insides now. I may have fallen off the wagon, but it's not fatal, and I get back on that wagon. "I can be consistent or I can be human." But really, relative consistency may be more of a virtue than strict consistency. I wake up around 5/5:30 ALMOST every day, and it's painful as hell. But it's a victory when I do, and I have learned to not wallow too long when I oversleep.

In the end, as successful as I have been with my first resolution, it is actually the harder of the two. Developing the skills, the restraint, and the vocabulary to not complain takes many short but important moments, and contributes to better habits and a less passive approach to the day--"Woe is me" has no proactive power. Writing, on the other hand, takes up a greater amount of my T.E.E.M. budget than I had expected. With budgets, there are always tradeoffs. For me, the tradeoff has often been sleep or meditation, which I believe to be key spokes in the health wheel. Still, I will continue to try to find that balance, and maybe will have something interesting to report at the end of February.