The turn of the year seems a punctuated moment to reflect on the previous 365 days and make an abbreviated list of the “Yes, keep that” and “Oof, let’s stop that.”
I felt a great sense of peace this year that, in looking back on prior introspections, I certainly didn’t have. Many of my resolutions (if you’d call them that) were angry or negative, framed something like “Stop letting people take advantage of me” or some other musing that seemed to justify apprehension toward everyone else. That’s alright if it suits you, but it can leave you lonely.
The reason a lot of resolutions fail is that they’re a goal without a plan. One might resolve to lose weight but have no idea when and how they’re going to work out or diet, so big surprise when it doesn’t happen. Any sort of “be better at ___” goal requires answering the question of what sorts of thing you’re already doing will help you get there. Do more of those. What sorts of things hinder that, and are they things you can cut back?
We’ve all met people with some eccentric habits or rituals, things that help them put their game faces on and embrace life at hand. it always struck me as the type of quirkiness you see at the cusp of genius, but one that was only right for certain people. I’ve come to think of it as inherent in all of us. The people you see daring to be weird are simply those that have been that honest with themselves, those who are willing to embrace what works for them to make it happen while the rest of us complain about how unproductive we feel.
One of my favorite TV characters, John Cage of Ally McBeal, would write his closing arguments pacing around his office barefoot. His colleagues thought of him as strange, but also conceded he was the firm’s strongest closer.
Everyone can make it happen if we’re really willing. If you find that singing in the shower pumps you up for your morning, or that putting your feet up and listening to jazz at lunch time helps you find your center, don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for it.
You can’t stop them from judging, but you can stop yourself from being affected by it.
Excuses keep us from these things, whatever shape they may take. Excuses about how self conscious we are or even excuses about how busy we are and don’t have time. We owe it to ourselves to fill our lives with these things every day and stay at our peak as often as we can. If we consistently hit a wall of being “too busy” to make time for things that help us be better, whatever IT is that’s making us so busy is probably the real thing we’re too busy for.