Word of the year: PRACTICE

Archery Target

There has been a movement lately toward focusing on a particular word each year that sums up what you would like to achieve or have more of in your life.  In a sense, it is like boiling down all your New Year’s resolutions into one.

Last year, I tried to focus on a specific Bible verse (Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!). I did a really good job of keeping it in mind through January and into February, but then I let it slip, along with the books I was going to read daily, the journals I was going to keep, and the letters I was going to write.

But THIS year, I was ready. I had a word: BALANCE. I figured I needed more of that in my life in order to get out of bed and start living. I’ve been focused on it for six days and had a blog post going about it… and now I’ve completely thrown it out.

Riding home from the doctor’s office today, I was listening to the Blazers pregame show. Antonio Harvey, a former Blazer, was talking about how coach Tim Grgurich taught him to shoot free throws. He insisted that it was all about muscle memory, so he made the players make seven two-foot shots from a single spot on the court, then move slightly and make seven more two-foot shots. After a bunch of these, Grgurich had them take a step backwards and repeat the process with the same technique (just adding a little more power in the legs to shoot a little farther).

I started thinking about how this was like my cottage idea; once I got good at taking care of my little cottage, I would add rooms to it.  It was also like my running plan, where incremental steps would help me run farther and farther, until I get to run first one mile, then two, then three.

I realize that what these plans have in common is PRACTICE. Practicing an easy skill until it becomes second nature and then adding on a bit more difficulty. Building up that muscle memory. Making those new habits stick.

I have spent my life in search of the next great scheme, the one that is going to make all the difference. This year, though, I’m not going to put my energy into figuring out a way to reinvent the wheel. I’m just going to get down to basics and practice.

Okay, I’ll probably hatch a new scheme or two. I just know myself, and I won’t be able to help it. But I’ll try to put most of my energy into practice.

After all, practice makes perfect.

practice, v.   To act, develop, engage in, put into use, prepare, rehearse, sharpen.

practice, n.   Method, process, repetition, routine, system, training, workout.

Archery Target” by Alan ParkinsonCC BY

New Year’s resolutions for 2012

It may seem like I am a day late to be making resolutions, but I assure you that today is the Official New Year’s Holiday.  It doesn’t seem like it to me, because I have been at work for more than eight hours, but that’s another story.  Just take my word for it: I am still on time.  Really. On to the resolutions!

In 2012, I hereby resolve to:

Get up early. When I was being Patti back in October, I was getting up an hour or so earlier than usual.  I really liked the peaceful way my days would start.

Be on time. Going along with the extra cushion of time in my morning, I want to feel the peace that comes with allowing myself extra time all through my day.

Leave work on time. It seems simple: WORK from 9 – 4:30, and then LEAVE. I’ll beat the traffic and have more time at home with my family.

Blog responsibly. Daily = gooooood. Late at night = not so good. That is the path that leads to late nights online and lack of sleep. So I will be shooting for a daily post, but if I would be sacrificing sleep to do it, I’m gonna skip a day.

Shop at home. Not shop from home… shop at home. I love to shop. Love it. Love, love, love it. Whoever coined the term “retail therapy” had me in mind. That said, I am pretty frugal and don’t overspend… but I definitely overbuy. I have enough. More than enough. If you took everything from my house and put it on shelves in a TJ Maxx, I’d be thrilled to go out periodically and buy it back. So I need to shop my own shelves and…

Put what I have to good use. There’s no sense in buying books and not reading them, having music and not listening to it, having kitchen gadgets and not cooking, right? (Can I hear an “Amen,” please?) It’s an added bonus that the time spent using my stuff is that much less time I have to acquire more.

Get rid of the excess. I am going to spend six months in Europe this year. I am going to pack one small bag and live happily contentedly well. I know myself – the last time we traveled like this I missed my stuff. But I didn’t need it. So why do I think I need to have so much at home?

Follow The Rules. They are simple. I can recite them by heart: Take your medicine. Keep cool. Get good sleep. Eat good food. Drink lots of water. Get good exercise. Do a little at a time. Don’t take on too much. If I follow them, I will be healthy and keep the MS in check. Who wouldn’t like that?

Here’s a resolution for all of you for 2012:

Keep in touch. We will be on an exciting but (possibly) kind of lonely journey and will miss you. You will be living your regular lives and might forget how much we will need contact with home. I’m glad we live in the era of email and Facebook, but don’t forget that you can comment on the blog at any time!

Daily  Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! that year-end is now done, and that my family was so patient with my being gone all day.
  •  I’m lighter! I really wanted to get this blog post done early so I can get to bed early, so I can get up early. See me hitting the ol’ resolutions already?

Happy New Year!

Photo by ADoseofShipBoy

It’s Labor Day, which is our little family’s New Year’s Eve.  Each year, as the summer winds down and the new school year approaches, we start to make plans for the next 12 months: what our daily schedule will be like, what things we are going to try to accomplish, what changes we need to make.

I like the new schedule.  We have made some very concrete plans for getting certain rooms in our home decluttered and cleaned up, for exercising together as a family, and for having Family Fun Time.

Just like new school shoes, these changes don’t fit perfectly at first.  David wants me to make our new schedule accessible to him as a web document, since he knows that he is going to have trouble, at first, remembering which days we are going to the gym, when Quinland has soccer practice, and when he is the one who is supposed to start dinner.  As for me, I worry more about having too much structure in place, about David and Quinland being upset with me if things interfere with the schedule.  They both like to know what is supposed to happen when, and if something throws a monkey wrench in their expectations, they don’t like it. (“Things” often come up in my life, so this concern is warranted.)  If I am honest with myself, I know that a) they both work better with a list and a schedule, and b) I want them to work better, so c) I am the one who is really pushing for the schedule.  I know that I want the discipline of the schedule for myself as well.

  • {Clutter} released: I mentioned late this evening that I hadn’t gotten rid of anything yet today.  Quinland said, “Well, you got rid of Gina.”  (My sister left tonight to go back home to California;  I did not get rid of her!)  I decided to tackle the magazines, but after an hour, I had gotten rid of two.  I guess that’s something…