Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking back, looking forward

I have been blessed over the past year+ to come across some amazing people on Spark - _Ramona, MTER67 & CJROMB to name a few - who have the ability to write the most heartwrenchingly light heartedly challenging thought provoking essays (I just can't call them "blogs"... they're too darn good!) and usually they are all those things all at once.

CJ wrote one of those essays recently that's hung around my heart like a warm wet blanket since I read it. (Go read for yourself and you'll understand.)

In this essay she asks a critical question, one that I never really thought much about until recently, but the topic has been forced to the forefront of my mind: "What 3 things have to happen for me to consider 2010 a success?" This lead me to take an even a broader approach, how do *I* define success? Then the inevitable question comes to mind, "what /are/ my goals for 2010?!"

Let me back up a little bit... I've learned a lot along the way about the importance of setting goals, writing them down, breaking them down, etc. I've told many, many people the steps involved, why it's important, etc.

I just never did it myself.

I was one who didn't have much of a plan past today... and maybe tomorrow, depending on if I felt like it or not.

I wouldn't make plans for the weekend before Friday because I may or may not feel like doing something, or I was holding out for a better offer.

I remember the first of many uncomfortable discussions with my now hubby of 'where do you want to be/what do you want to be doing in 1 year/5 years/10 years?!'

I always used to dread that question.

You see... I had excellent sight, but I was lacking vision.

Lemme 'esplain... Sight is what you see right in front you, right this moment. It's what you are, right here, right now.

Vision is what you can be. It's the seeds of greatness that's planted inside you.

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~ Martin L. King

Sight is temporary. It's your current situation and it's always subject to change.

Vision is eternal and bigger than you are right now. It's the place you can go... if you just stop talking yourself out of it.

I was /really/ good at talking myself out of things.

Improving your vision is scary - it forces you out of the comfortable place you've built for yourself and into unknown territory.

Then I decreed 2009 to be the year I got comfortable with dis-comfort... I pulled out my machete and started hacking into the unknown. I actually set goals! I set timelines! I made daily, weekly action steps!

And I made AMAZING progress...

But after reading CJROMB's essay, I started to wonder - was I successful?

That was the part of the puzzle I had left out - I put had a plan down on paper and put that plan into action. I had my road map firmly in hand and some destinations marked out... but how did I measure the end result?

I mean, if I didn't meet my set goals was that an automatic "FAIL"? Did I just say, "oh well..." and walk away?

Of course not... It's all about learning and growing and adapting. Sometimes I "get it" right out of the gate - I see the value in doing something and it's easy to incorporate into my ever evolving lifestyle of choice. Other times it takes a while... do one baby step till it becomes a habit, then add another one that seems logical, and so on.

So what have I learned this year? A LOT!

Let me just tell you right here and now: When you make a grand announcement that you are changing your life, that you are welcoming dis-comfort, prepare for life to get really interesting, really fast.

It's easy to say you're doing something, but it's another to do it. When you're at the fork in the road where one side is smooth sailing, sunshine and rainbows, and the other is rough, rocky and a little dark... it takes every ounce of courage and determination to take that proverbial less traveled road.

But here I am, still on that rocky road, realizing that in learning to navigate new territory, I've grown in ways I didn't imagine possible... that weren't part of my limited vision. Since I didn't put any sort of scale to determine if the goal was successfully met or not, here's the general summary of the trip:

In physical ways I've changed - I'm becoming a leaner, stronger, more concentrated version of myself. I'm trying new things, and continually welcoming physical challenges every day. Something that I wouldn't have imagined myself doing a year ago.

Have I reached the weight I set as a goal for 31 December? That's yet to be seen. If I don't, I've gotten a heck of a lot closer than I would have without the plan and action.

I RAN in a 5K! Doode! That wasn't on the plan, but it was a logical extension. Big success in my book!

I haven't done a full on, unassisted pull up... yet. But I'm getting closer. Heck, I did _regular_ pushups this morning! First. time. ever. If I don't do the pull up, am I failure? Nope... at least not in my book. It just means I don't give up till I can do it. And when I can, I won't give up till I can do 10, then 20... you get the idea.

I am very close to my yearly fitness minutes goal yet will fall short of meeting it... however I have already exceeded what I did last year.

While the physical changes are more evident, it's the mental and emotional ones that are most telling to me. I have an accordion file that I put any pertinent documents for tax purposes and it occurred to me last night that I have more slips of paper in the "charity/donation" file than I do in the "medical" file. And most of the medical ones are for my chiropractor. I have 2 ongoing prescriptions: thyroid meds and nose/allergy stuff. The only one that gets filled like clockwork is the thyroid meds.

When I started on this journey, I had 6 prescriptions, including _2_ antidepressants and NO donations to charities... closets/cupboards overflowing with the abundance of STUFF and near depleted checking account (hmmm... coincidence? Don't think so).

That, in my opinion is a huge success!

Overall, the year has proven to be more than I expected (showing my lack of vision ;) - along the way, I have babystepped my way to measuring my improvements, setting mini-goals that include success markers (if I did 10 pushups today, my goal is to do 12 the next time I do that workout).

Looking ahead, I'm still formulating my goals and will be answering CJROMB's question of "What 3 things have to happen for me to consider 2010 a success?" for the different goals. This is a great way to close the loop as well as setting milestones to meet or exceed. To push myself just enough to continually increase my vision, my self- and greater-than-me-belief and see what heights I can achieve in a few short months.

While the theme for 2009 of getting comfortable with discomfort may be coming to a close, I know my discomfort level is just getting started, and my dreams and my belief are getting bigger!

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