Life has been very chaotic since 2012 rolled in. If this is indeed the year that heralds the end of the world, then 2012 is doing a damn fine job of trying to cram in everything it can into its precious final days. As a result, I've had a very difficult time trying to organize my thoughts into the few spare seconds of quiet time I have every day to even consider my word for the year. It was becoming so frustrating that I started to cruise other blogs thinking that perhaps I could alleviate my mental burden by insinuating myself into someone else's idea. In doing so, started to see that hundreds of people were going with what seemed obvious: Love. Focus. Balance. Joy. Bliss. It was annoying, actually, to see so many posts that felt uninspired and "easy". It seems that a lot of people picked a word just because, well....everyone else was doing it. The people whose words I admired had purpose and reason behind their selections. Like this one. Even if I went with a word that sounded trite, I wanted it to matter to me.
I did very, very well with 2011's word. (2010's word can be found here.) Last year was the year I vowed to focus on endurance. Physically I am in the best shape I've been in decades. I joined Crossfit to improve my physical endurance, but surprisingly, it actually helped me to hone the endurance I needed to work on most - my mental endurance. I am learning to be mentally tough; I am developing the ability to push aside negative thoughts that impede my success. Not just in the gym, but in my everyday life. It sometimes takes a little swearing, and more than several deep, deep breaths, but whether it's struggling through a workout or trying to survive dinnertime, I have trained myself to recognize my barriers, challenge my discomforts, and see that success lies in the ability to endure.
As the new year opened at CrossFit, our coaches informed us that we'd all be required to post a list of goals for the months ahead. I grabbed my square of paper and glanced at the completed sheets of other members to see what goals they had chosen. Then I quickly scribbled down 5 goals and tossed my entry into the box. On my drive home from my workout I immediately regretted most of what I'd committed to - not because the goals were unattainable, but because I'd chosen them without real purpose.
At CrossFit, when a person deliberately works below their actual ability it's called "sand-bagging". While I've never done that in a workout, I realized that I had just done it with my goals. I wrote down what sounded "good" and not what really mattered. I was like those bloggers who'd selected the most obvious word just so they could say that they did. Writing down the most obvious goals would have been okay, but better would have been to have chosen the most authentic goals - those which mattered to ME.
The realization dawned on me that I have a terrible habit of reacting impulsively. Worse, I often do things because I tell myself I should, not because these things actually add value to my life or make me feel happy. Run a 5k? Why? I've done it before. I don't really love running. Why did I write it down as a goal? Because it sounded good? Because I know for certain I can do it? Because other people picked it? When I stand in my closet and look at the dozens of items that are ill-suited to me I think, why? Why did I make getting dressed so difficult on myself by buying things that I *think* I should be wearing instead of items that I know make me feel good? When I lower my expectations and get mediocre results I always scold myself. Why? When I volunteer at school, when I feel irritable and angry, when I put things off until the last minute I always ask myself. Why? I shoot first and ask questions later.
Matthew 7: 7-8 says: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
I need to start taking inventory of my intentions and calculating my causes. The things I do should be fulfilling, not just fill a void. In my old(er) age it's becoming obvious that life is far too short to do things without purpose. This is the year that I hold myself accountable. This is the year that I stop sand-bagging. This is the year that I run life through a strainer and capture only the things that matter.
Because you will never get the answers you are looking for if you never ask: