When I think of the fact that it is already the middle of July, I am amazed. 2015 is more than half over. (No, I am NOT going to tell you how many days it is until Christmas!) My focus is zeroing in on how the year is going. For me, it is passing much too quickly, and I am not pleased with some of my lack of progress toward certain commitments I made to myself. Some might call these goals, and that is ok, but I prefer the word “commitments.” How about you? Did you make some commitments to yourself at the beginning of the year? Note that I did not refer to these as “New Year’s Resolutions,” and that is intentional. Too often NYRs are only a game we play with ourselves, not really committed to the changes that would be required to keep them. Well, regardless of progress made or not made to date this year, we can only go forward. We have no opportunity to change anything that has passed. So, instead of lamenting on what we have not done, let’s focus on the rest of the year, and recommit. I developed a Three Part Process for Effectiveness that can be used as a model to assist us.
Part I is Plan. Plan what you want, not what you don’t want. Be positive in how it is stated, and use “I Will” language, being as specific as possible. One of my plans (commitments to myself) for the remainder of the year is to begin to exercise again. I have not exercised for 9 months due to Bursitis in my hips. The Bursitis is still with me, and I do not know if it will ever be gone completely. So, I have decided to get moving again anyway. My plan for this is to Exercise at least three hours a week from July 15th to August 21st. I do not plan to stop there, but to determine how the exercise is affecting the hips, and increase or decrease the amount of exercise as appropriate. I have a couple of other commitments/goals/plans, but I will not list those. You need to focus on yours, not mine! I am sharing mine only as an example.
Part II is Purge. Purge is eliminating whatever is in our way, blocking us from keeping our commitments. In my case, I will Purge clutter in my office, home and car. I know that when I have clutter around me, I am not productive or able to keep my commitments to myself. It is hard for me to quantify this, although a reasonable expectation is that I will need to commit at least an hour a day to de- cluttering between now and whenever I conquer the clutter monster. So, that can be how I record this commitment; de-clutter for at least an hour a day five days a week in my office, home and car, as needed.
Part three is Perform. Although Perform and Plan are similar, they are not the same. Performing involves doing whatever is required for the plan to come to fruition. Regarding my commitment to exercising, I will need to purchase new running shoes to be able to exercise, for the ones I have will make my Bursitis worse; they have needed to be replaced for months. Perform can also include further specificity for the Plan. An example of this is “Walk three mornings a week before nine am.”
The words, Plan, Purge and Perform are simple to remember, and can be a roadmap for making and keeping commitments to oneself. Keep it simple and manageable. You will note that my examples are personal, they do not include family. It is fine if your written commitments include family, but I decided that mine for the remainder of the year do not need to. I have spent considerable planned time with family this summer, and will spend more in these next few months without needing to make such a written commitment. Making family a commitment is easy for me; making me a priority is not as easy. And I am not getting any younger! I need to focus on my personal health more than I often do. It is quite possible that this Bursitis will improve with exercise, and that the exercise will result in the loss of the pounds I have gained as a result of not exercising. One thing often leads to another, whether those things are healthy, or not.
This post isn’t really about a system or model for keeping commitments, although I have given an example of one. It is about taking stock of where we are now, at this point in a year, and what we want to accomplish in the foreseeable future. The reason for this is simple. Time and life pass so quickly, whether or not we are paying attention. My family (all 15+ of us) just returned from a week in Hilton Head. We had a wonderful time together, and it was gone so quickly. And such is life, not just vacations. My soon to be 85 year old uncle was with us on this vacation, and as I said goodbye to him a few minutes ago, I cried. He is going home three hours away to be mainly by himself. Although he has friends around who watch out for him, it isn’t the same as being with family sharing memories. Before he left he said, “I like being here where you wait on me; at home I have to do everything for myself.” At 84, he should have someone to wait on him, at least more regularly than our distance allows.
Time waits for no one. Commit to yourself that the rest of 2015 will be what you plan for it to be, eliminating any barriers in your way, and performing at your best.
I wish you well on your journey.