One year :: 12 games

With all this talk of new years resolutions, you might be wondering what my resolutions are for the year so that you can grill me on if they are specific enough, measurable and attainable, realistic and most of all, timely.   Fair enough.

My goals for this year are not one but twelve.  And!  Before you protest that this is way too many to keep track of (if you don’t protest I’ll do it myself – even five was too many for me last year, and that was after much culling to only the most meaningful of resolutions.  I was supposed to simplify, after all.  You can see what good the culling did me as I failed in all those resolutions), let me offer a few additional pieces of information:

One
.  I am not going to focus on twelve goals at once, but rather one goal per month for a grand total of twelve by the end of 2009.

Two
.  It just so happens that this is how my mind works best: not spread out evenly over four or five different subjects, but focusing in on one area in brief bursts to a clearly delineated benchmark and then rotating between those four or five subjects.  I can’t say this is true for everyone, but for me this is the sanest way I’ve found to balance my many interests.

Three.  They say it takes about 30 days to create a new habit.  30 days, happy coincidentally enough, is roughly one month’s time.  So each resolution, encompassed as it is in this one month time period, will nonetheless leave a lasting mark.  The hope is to build a series of new behaviors over the course of a year, one at a time.

Four.  One month is just long enough that you can really get into a new goal or habit, but not quite so long that your brain can’t make sense of the limited time period.  Let me explain.  By focusing in on one resolution per month, it gives me a solid period of time to really dig in to the topic, focus on the ins and outs of making it work in my life.  One month is enough time to test out a routine, tweak it then tweak it again, establish a solid foundation and feel comfortable with all the changes I’ve made, and to transition into maintenance mode.  On the other hand, 30 days is not so long that the mind loses focus on the end goal and motivation slacks.  Also, if I’ve grossly miscalculated and pick a monthly resolution that is far from what I intended, 30 days is not an torturously long period of time.

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense.  When we create stepwise goals we are really stringing the days and weeks together into a progression towards a final, ultimate goal.  Along the way we solidify a series of behaviors and habits that become second nature, ones which are necessary towards the bigger picture that drives our incremental actions.  If you wanted to run a marathon and had never trained before, you might start out with a one mile walk-run, and slowly over the course of half a year or a year, build up to 26 miles.  You can think of this as adding a mile or two each month, or you can think of it as weekly running goals.  For those who prefer laying plans far in advance (oh come now, I can’t be the only one!), it can be helpful to have that additional layer with which to plan out steps to an ultimate goal.  And for those who don’t, there is nothing wrong with taking it one week at a time.  More flexibility to you, and that’s a good thing.

My ultimate goal is to live a life as closely aligned with my wellness principles as possible.  I’m a decent ways towards that goal, but there is so much further I have to go.  So I am splitting the year into 12 months, and each month I will tackle one wellness area.  Yes, there are this many areas in my life that I would like to improve.  And yes, I think it will be more fun this way.

To keep things interesting, I’m going to frame each month as a challenge to myself instead of a resolution.  Games are good for us.  They keep us on our toes.

Challenge 1: Buy Nothing New.

That’s right.  For the entire month of January, I am buying nothing new.

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