What's in a day or a date??? We have discussed before the significance of a date on the calendar – i.e. a number on a piece of paper or on a phone or computer screen. We all agree dates are history, and history is what the human race does, and gets recorded, as time passes. However, it often amazes me the power, that a number on a calendar has, to drive behaviors. For example, gyms and exercise facility use, and membership, goes up ten-fold every January, and by April, this surge has ended and visitation and use of these facilities has returned to “normal.” In fact, statistics show 80 percent who join a gym in January, quit within five months. Please don’t misunderstand, my intent with this Blog is not to shame anyone for making resolutions, because God knows I’ve been in that 80% a time or two, but I’m hoping to openly discuss making meaningful and lasting resolutions…IF…making resolutions are important to you.
Yes, it’s easy to realize we’ve often times been a little more “human” than we would like and thus we know we need, and want, to change things up. I can think of at least half a dozen of my own “human” challenges where I have failed partially or completely, such as:
This year, I’m going fishing every Friday evening NO MATTER WHAT – I’m doing better but still have not met this goal
I need to drop some weight and exercise more – Many have this concern as stated above 😊
I need to write a will and get it notarized – I know it seems morbid, to some, but it is a life essential
I need to read more – honestly, I used to fall asleep all the time trying to read so I generally didn’t read much
I need to spend more time in the Bible and talking to God – The mind is strong but I let the will get weak
I need to tell my family and friends how much I appreciate them – far more often than I do
As you can see, I’m right there with most people – I fail more than I succeed or at least more than I would like to.
While researching many of the resolutions we make, I was honestly amazed at some of the strange and wacky one’s I uncovered. Many I admire people for taking these on, and others I quite honestly don’t understand. Here are the top 20 I pulled from some of the BEST “out-of-the-norm” resolutions I’ve discovered:
Collect air-sick bags from every airline
Get your photo taken in six interesting places
Subscribe to more trade journals
Master how to tell at least three great jokes
Wave to fellow motorists at 4-way stops
Make a new friend each month
Try a new food each week
Do something nice for others every day
Make a point to celebrate the little things
Take myself out to dinner and/or a movie at least once a month
Spend less than $1,825 on coffee at Starbucks this year. (Full disclosure - This is not me – I don’t do coffee😊)
Switch my username to “password” and my password to “username” to make each a lot harder for hackers to figure out.
Pay off my credit cards every month in full
Save some money for a rainy day
Write to yourself, keep up a journal and write everything on it.
Check the facts before sharing anything on Social media.
Switch off your mobile phones while eating your meal.
Delete the Facebook and Instagram app from your phone and log in only when absolutely necessary
Travel a lot to different locations without any plan or destination in mind.
Don’t make any New Year’s resolutions
With all these good intentions and struggles in mind, perhaps the best resolution is to resolve to make resolutions that we can and will achieve. Or, resolve to find a way that we can keep these resolutions. I think we all know we are creatures of habit. We know not one way or solution actually fits all, as the great thing about God’s design is that we are all very unique, diverse, and we all have special, yet differing, talents. I’m sure I’m not stating anything revolutionary to you, but the best way to make and keep a commitment, let’s say a resolution, is to make it a habit and/or to use our technology as tools to help enable and remind us.
Developing habits for success – There is a ton of good information out there to help us make meaningful changes. The Washington Post has this great article which I feel is helpful: Washington Post Smart Ways Build Good Lasting Habits.
Another good source is this article from LiveBold & Bloom: liveboldandbloom-make-good-habits-stick. In the comments about this article, one of the readers mentions the book Atomic Habits by James Clear which, I have checked out, and also seems to be a good source. This book can be found at various book stores – Amazon currently has it for $11.98.
Regardless of whether or not you seek to follow the tips of a book or article, do it yourself through a personal goal, resolution, or have another way – it is clear that whichever approach requires a true lifestyle change. Making a resolution alone is very much like going on a diet – both are doomed to fail, and usually do, because they lack fun, commitment, and accountability. Some people add accountability through technology; pedometers like FitBit, the Health app on an I-Phone, smart watches, or other tools with the general guidance being 7500-12,000 (10,000 on average) steps a day is the path to a healthy body. This works if you don’t reward it with over-eating or eating unhealthy foods. If weight loss is a goal, “Lose-it” has a great and free app (you can pay for more functionality if you wish) that lets you eat anything you want up to a calorie count – commit to using the app at every meal and snack, and you will accomplish your weight loss goal – then maintain it by committing to doing this at all meals and snacks – it only takes a minute or two.
There are certainly more goals than just weight loss. One tool I use is my calendar apps, especially Microsoft Outlook, although Google and others have good calendar apps as well. I record every task, activity, or event I need for me to achieve whatever it is that I need or want to accomplish. I literally have set reminders every morning at the same time to do very minuscule things like check my blood pressure, take my pills, or read a chapter. In fact, just 2 minutes ago I got two reminders; write this weeks’ Bog and to change my flag. (I fly two flags at all times, the stars and stripes of course and below it I always fly another support flag like the State of Indiana, the Christian flag, and the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag).
After a few days or weeks, these constant reminders become habits but I never delete these reminders because inevitably those days will occur that I get so busy that I forget to check my calendar. But then when I get a chance to catch-up, I look at my calendar and “smack-me-in-the-face” I am reminded that I forgot something. Then of course my commitment to myself is I go do whatever it was that I forgot. This works - it truly does, at least for me, because I don’t allow a day to go by that I haven’t completed the tasks on my calendar – sometimes makes for long days but I very rarely forget, and it establishes a good strong routine. Let’s say I have three key lifestyle changes resolutions or goals and they are; lose 40 pounds, read my Bible at least 30 minutes a day, and improve my personal home-managed business relationships. My day-calendar would be as simple as:
5:45: daily calendar entry - read morning Bible passages
6:00: daily calendar entry - check home business e-mails, social media, read newspaper
6:45: daily calendar entry - check office work e-mails
16:00: daily calendar entry - go for a walk
21:00: daily calendar entry - read evening Bible passages
* I also have recorded other general non-daily reminders, on certain days of the week or months, to write my blog, publish my blog, change the filters in my appliances and furnace, change my ceiling fan direction, add fertilizer to the yard, change my flag, etc.
** As you can see, I also feel it is important to begin and end my day in God’s word
In total this commits 3 hours of my day to my goals – assuming an 8-hour workday and an 8-hour sleep, this still allows me 5 hours of free time to do all those other things we tend to do. With Smart phones, I can have my calendar remind me of all these time commitments as well as stay on top of home and work business activities through alerts and notifications, each rarely taking more than a minute or two when I get an alert. The key is recording the things important to you on the calendars and staying committed to following your own plan. It’s far easier with technology constantly reminding us.
Another thing I’ve heard people do, and I do it myself, is every time you have a thought, idea, improvement, or suggested change … e-mail it or text it to yourself, and again don’t let a day go by that you have not addressed this note to yourself. Any reminder I can make for myself is helpful as we often get so busy that we will forget without the reminders.
We make these life style changes, commitments, resolutions, and/or goals because for whatever reason we have decided they are important, they are needed, or they are critical or essential to us. Thus, we were smart enough to know we need these things so anything short of success is admitting that as smart as we were at that time, was not smart enough. I truly know this is not true for all of us because it is not possible that we can’t be as smart as we are – right? So, the difference is the tools, the dedication, the commitment. I once was 270 pounds and I dropped that to 183 pounds not because I’m super dedicated, super smart, nor did I exercise my butt off, but I made a commitment that the true purpose and need for food is sustenance alone. I realized my problem was that I just love to eat, and I was letting that get in the way of the true need for food. In fact, in more cases than not, it’s our wants that get in the way of our needs. The funny things is, we can actually achieve far far more of our wants, if we focus solely, or at least more, on the needs, and only the needs. I admit with Covid, the weight has gone back up mainly because of the negative environment/climate and not compensating for the lack of “natural” exercise one gets from going to and from the office and walking to all the various meetings and such. So, I’ve had to adjust and I am – have I been perfect; far from it, but I’m back on the journey and committed to the results, understanding the basic premise that calories consumed must be equal to or less than calories burned.
As I stated, everyone’s different, so what works for one may or may not work for another. But we owe it to ourselves, our family’s, and our friends, to set the goals we know are important and then develop a strategy that will keep us on track and make it all work. We all have the ability to do this, and we can accomplish these things spending lots of dollars … or … just committing to a schedule and spending nothing but our time. Whichever way works for you – FIND IT – COMMITT TO IT – and in the end, you will love the result. But more importantly, so too will your family and friends!!!