Thursday, January 02, 2014
It's that time, that finds me scribbling lists and plans, finding me thinking over the last year and daydreaming about the next one. Even though I truly feel more in tune with the school year cycle, and thus the Jewish New Year feels more accurate to me, the calendar year is always a good excuse to look over what I said I'd do and what I'm planning on doing.
It's also helpful for me that even though there are several goals/resolutions I make every year and then don't complete, there are many that I have done that have changed our lives for the better.
Last year I resolved to: write for six hours a week, add weights and abs to my workouts, continue my book journal, write in my paper journal once a week, and start Chinook book date nights. And the results are...?
Mixed. The writing didn't happen, for various reasons. I did spend the summer researching and plotting a new project with the plan of starting serious work on it once school began in the Fall. But then, transitions are bumpy and then Chris's accident and it all went out the window.
The exercise is a similar story. I still went faithfully to my weekly Zumba class but I have a hard time fitting in a new class or routine into my schedule. I would start something or go to a new class at the Y but I just couldn't make it stick.
But, I did keep up my book journal so now I have two years worth of lists of what I read and when. It's been fun to play around with the information, for example I learned I read an average of 7.25 books per month and that, strangely enough, I read a lot more in the summer than I do in September. This surprised me until I thought again about that beginning of school time and how it's a bit turbulent for all of us to get back into the groove after the more easy-going pace of summer. So, the book journal is a success and I'm totally going to continue it.
The paper journal, I did write in. Not once a week, but more often than last year, so that's a plus.
And the Chinook book date nights were a hit! We had a babysitter every other week and tried lots of new restaurants and saw some great plays, even a ballet. It was a good incentive for us to have some adult time together and try new things. Definitely one to continue.
So, this year I want to continue what worked while also working towards those elusive writing and exercise goals. I read an article that helped me redefine what I'm trying to do with this. The idea is that a goal is a challenge to complete, then go back to your starting point. National Novel Writing Month is a great example of this for me. I have completed the challenge at least once, but when the month was over, I didn't continue the schedule, I never even finished a full draft of that novel. But a practice is something that you build in to your rhythms, something that is never finished but always evolving and growing with you.
I have a reading practice, a knitting practice, a spiritual practice. I don't even have to think about it most of the time, they are just built into the rhythms of my days and weeks, the plan I don't have to plan, the thing I reach for without even forming a thought.
So, that's what I want for my writing and my exercise. Not a goal. Steady, deliberate practice.
No small task, clearly. But I'm going to take steps: keeping track daily, having accountability people, building patterns. I know things will happen. No system or routine will stop the kids from getting sick or holidays or just off days from happening. But it's inch by inch, right?