Hey guys, Happy New Year!
2016 is (thankfully) dead and gone, and with the arrival of a new year I wanted to lay a bit of a long-term vision and break it down into smaller chunks. Also, I like grandiose titles because A) They motivate me, and B) If I am to be the author of my own story, I’d preference the story to be an exciting tale of overcoming, becoming, and impacting the world, rather than “was born, died, did some stuff in between.”
So this year we Lay The Groundwork, building foundational habits and character traits and gaining momentum in all of the areas I deem important or necessary to a meaningful life. It may seem like a lot on the right side there, but a lot of that is all interconnected so it really breaks down to a few things I need to do or change in order to achieve it all.
Then I have my first monthly Spread of 2017, which is basically the same as previous months because I prefer small tweaks over time. The only real difference is what I’m tracking, I’ve added or combined a few things. I do want to point out in the bottom right corner how one of the things I will be tracking (pardon the cramped writing, as it was a last-minute addition) is Have I Given My Best Today.
That was actually inspired by something I just read today in the book I’ve been reading “Grit” By Angela Duckworth, in which she talks briefly about an experiment conducted with dogs, similar in concept to the one Pavlov did with the bell.
Multiple dogs were placed in crates they couldn’t escape from while their back paws were periodically shocked (it probably didn’t feel good, but it wasn’t physically harmful or damaging). The difference was that half of the dogs had a little panel that they could push with their nose to make the shocks stop.
They did this until they had conditioned a response in the dogs, and do you know what they found? When put in a situation where they weren’t trapped and shocked again, the dogs that had the panel (control over their suffering) were pretty quick to escape while the dogs that didn’t have control basically whined, whimpered and waited for it to stop of its own accord. What the scientists deduced from this is that “… It isn’t suffering that leads to hopelessness. It’s suffering you think you can’t control.”
This is something called Learned Helplessness, and SO many people suffer from something similar in their lives, whether it’s their health, job, family, relationships, finances, you name it. But to be perfectly honest, especially if you are so blessed to live in a first world country, you DO have at least a little control over your circumstances. Mostly what’s missing is not knowledge or opportunity, but effort. So I ask myself, since I already know what I have to do, Have I Given My Best in doing it?
Next up I have a new health tracker, inspired by the “Pixel Moodlet” my darling wife used this month, and it’s pretty simple; a 6 month overview where I can track whether I’ve done it that day or not. I don’t choose to set hard fast rules for this because it is based on the idea that as long as I am consistently doing it, it will improve. I know some people like having strict guidelines to adhere to for something like this, but for me, the knowledge is available, it’s the application where I stumble. So if I become consistent in the applications I will improve and make tweaks over time and eventually come into alignment with my final vision.
Well it’s pretty simple this month, but hopefully you found some value, insite, or inspiration in this post. Happy New Year, and best of luck taming all your personal dragons this year 🙂
Carry on the conversation in the comments section 🙂