"Create the kind of life you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." Foster C. McClellan
If you've been reading this blog long, you probably already know that I'm passionate about self-improvement. Part of that is liking a challenge, but the bigger part is I get high on accomplishment. Accomplishments are to me what endorphins are to an athlete. I love to set a goal and work toward it.
I know how discouraging it is to set a goal and fall flat. I've done it plenty of times. But somewhere along the way I figured out and internalized that moving in the right direction is good, really good. Now I can be happy making improvement even if I don't reach the goal.
"Daily incremental improvements produce lasting results which, in turn, lead to positive change."*
"There is nothing noble about being superior to another person. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self."*
I'm competitive within myself. I like to break my own records. I love knowing that I'm getting better.
"We think about 60,000 thoughts a day. By writing your desires and goals on paper you send a red flag to your subconscious mind that these thoughts are far more important than the remaining 59,999 other ones."*
I think the key ingredients of the small measure of success I've enjoyed in reaching my goals is simply writing them down. This blog is a great resource for me in that way. There's always a record and that creates an element of accountability for me.
"The best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. The second best time is today." Chinese proverb
This quote is my favorite with respect to the physical body. It's hard to change a life-time of bad habits. It's hard to be encouraged by the loss of five pounds when you're 100 pounds overweight. It's hard to be pleased with walking around the block when you'd really like to be running a marathon.
Most of us didn't get a perfect start in this area but the only way we can change the pattern is to start fresh everyday and not focus on the past. Start fresh with small steps. Instead of saying today I'll only eat 1000 calories, saying today I will eat an apple for a snack.
Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improving every aspect of yourself ceaselessly and continuously.*
Evidently we don't have a similar word in English. So I've adopted this word, kaizen, as the state in which I want to live. I want to be headed in the right direction and improving all the time. That's the idea.
"Every arrow that hits the bull's eye is a result of 100 misses. Don't fear failure. Failure is your friend."*
In the spirit of that last quote, I'll now share my 2010 goals.
- Begin every day with quiet time with God.
- Buy a new Bible.
- Do my treadmill routine four times a week.
- Have a regular date night with Gordon, every other week.
- Have lunch with one of the girls once a week.
- Keep a 5 pound weight at the computer and lift repeatedly as I surf.
- Walk on my lunch break.
- Make two dinners (one for later in the week, of course) on my Monday's off.
- Have a Christmas party for Deborah and her friends making Christmas cookies and a craft.
- For snacks at work, keep only apples or carrots on hand.
- Run in a 5k.
- Have a regular coffee date with my friend Lydia.
- Take a yoga class.
- Start buying 1% milk.
- Mail a special gift to my siblings.
- Get a new clothesline.
- Ride bike to Morinville.
- Get my hearing checked.
- Get an eye exam.
- Get an estimate for a gas insert for the fireplace.
- Be a better friend.
- Read all the BBC top 50.
My list isn't grandiose at all, is it? But it's keeps me headed in the right direction. It's the beginning of February, and I'm on track, and lovin' it.
* Taken from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin Sharma, one of my favorite books.