At the health club I attend, folks are constantly taking turns using the 20lb and 25lb weights. There are many sets of these, and they look worn out and sometimes broken. And yet, people keep fighting for them.
At the other end of the rack, you can find the heavy dumbbells. Those weigh between 80 to 150lb. There’s just one set of each weight. Yet nobody fights for those. They just sit there, waiting.
They are there waiting for the folks who train the hardest. Those people just walk in and grab the shiny weights, while the rest of us fight for the beat up ones.
I have found that life tends to be like that as well. The scarcest, shinier things tend to be available for the taking, only if you have worked hard enough to be in position to make use of them.
Keep working hard, keep getting better, keep working at excellence. Then stroll in and grab your shiny weights.
I decided to take a break from social media for 30 days, so instead of sharing pictures and experiences from my annual pilgrimage to Automattic’s Grand Meetup on Instagram and Facebook, I decided to document it in my blog.
Lent is a season associated with sacrifice, penance, and introspection.
Many people, both religious and not, have the habit of “giving something up” for lent. I believe the original intent was to emphasize sacrifice, but over the years it just became equal to “I’ll just do this other delicious thing instead.” I have been guilty of this in the past.
This year I’m deciding to look at it from another angle.
I’m not giving anything up for lent. I’m not saying “no” to a few things. Instead, I’m saying “yes” to a few other things.
And when we say “yes” to something, it typically means you’ll have to say “no” to something else.
But the “no” in this case is just a secondary effect. It’s not the end in itself, but a byproduct of another, more fundamental end.
This lent I’m saying yes to being more intentional and more focused on what matters.
This lent I’m saying yes to being more intense about what’s in front of me.
This lent I’m saying yes to modeling better behaviour for my family.
How am I going to do that?
Well, I am planning on saying “no” to two things.
Social media is a major time suck for me. I loooooooove social media. I love to know people’s opinions on things, I love posting funny things I come up with, and I love the banter with my friends and strangers.
So I’m going to stop engaging in social media for 40 days.
I started today and immediately saw a jump in my productivity and focus. I’m looking forward to using the extra mental bandwidth for things that matter more to me.
If you’d like to stay connected with me during this time, click on the sidebar to follow my blog, and comment on my posts. I’ll be checking it 🙂
I have to admit I’m addicted to my iPhone. When there’s any sort of break in my day, the impulse is to pull it out and check stuff.
I’m not giving up my phone for lent, but I am going to stop using when my children are with me.
I don’t want to be that father whose kids are going about their lives around him while he is sucked into his little gadget.
After 10 years of parenthood, I have realized that kids learn from observing behaviour. I want my kids to not be addicted to gadgets, and then they see me buried in my phone, they learn that that’s how life is, and that it’s OK to be constantly checked out from real life.
So, unless I need the phone to play some silly music for us to have a dance party, the phone is going to be put away.
So those are my plans for lent!
How about you? Are are you doing anything differently this lent?
Just as I did last year, and after seeing the great results that I got, here is my post with my 3 words for 2017.
These are the three areas of my life which I intend to focus on, so decisions about how to spend my time and efforts will be guided by these words this year.
Why 3 Words?
First of all: new year’s resolutions suck. They are too vague, and they are too generic. “I’ll get in shape in 2017.” What does that mean? Get in the shape of what?
After realizing that, I swung the other way: instead of resolutions, I decided to set goals that were SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). They work fantastically well. That’s how I wrote and published a book, for example. The problem with specific goals is that they are too specific. If you set a goal for yourself in January, and later in July you lose the passion or the desire to achieve it, dropping it will feel like giving up. So you either spend a lot of time and effort to achieve something you’re not crazy about after all, or you give up and feel like a failure. Goals are great if you really know what you want to do.
A word, or a theme, is a much more flexible target without being as vague and unclear as a new years resolution.
Themes, rather than specific goals, guide you in the decisions you make during the year. They are like a compass. If you have a compass, you can always go to a different place if you change your mind.
For example, one of my words for last year was “strength.” I wanted to get stronger. That meant a number of things: eating better, exercising, etc. It was not a specific goal (“I will lose 20 pounds by September” or “I’ll be running 5 kilometers in 30 minutes by July”), but it did guide my decisions when it came to how to spend my spare time, what snacks to eat during the day, etc. At the end of the year, I can say that, yes, I did get stronger and I’m happy with the decisions I made throughout the year.
So here are my 3 words for 2017.
OK, that’s two words 🙂
In the last couple of years, as I focused on work, writing, podcasting, changing my career path, exercising, etc, I feel like I have lived mostly on the outside of myself. With that, my spiritual and interior life took the backseat.
I believe that how you live on the inside is what really matters in the end.
So this year is the year I refocus on my interior life.
This will mean I will take opportunities to retreat, to pray, to meditate. I will work on being more humble, on thinking less about me, and on being there for others.
This is another word for better focus.
I multitask a lot. This means that rarely do I give my undivided attention to something or someone. I’m going to change that.
2017 is the year in which I become better at focusing with intensity. This is the year when I stop multitasking and learn to really lean in to the task before me. This is when the duty of every moment gets my undivided attention.
In 2017 I will do one thing at a time, and I’m going to do each thing well.
The result of that is that I will be able to immerse myself in projects, and at the same time, give of myself to those who need my time and attention.
I plan on regrouping my thoughts so I can focus on fewer projects. This means I will re-think my writing and podcasting, as well as my hobbies.
I’ll have to plan my time better. That will mean thinking carefully about my projects and scheduling time in my calendar to ensure I will have the margin to dedicate myself to one thing at a time.
This will also mean that I’ll be looking less at my phone and social media. Unless, of course, it is the right time to do so.
The last few years I created a lot of output.
Whether it was blogging, podcasting, writing a book, or making new people, I produced lots.
As a result, I feel like I haven’t really taken much in lately. I miss reading. I miss learning new things. I find that I am not growing as much as I would like to.
In 2017 I will read more. I will read at least 2 books per month.
I will also learn new things. I am blessed to work for a company in which there are many opportunities for learning, so I will take them as often as I can.
I will learn to cook more meals so I can help more at home in that area.
I will go back to learning code.
In 2017 I will feed my brain.
Let’s get started!
I hope this serves as inspiration to you to do better this year. If you’d like, go ahead and share below what you’d like to do in 2017. Be bold. Think big. And have an amazing 2017.