New Year’s Commitments

New Year’s Commitments

ResolutionI’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  They seem too arbitrary.  Too easy to make.  Too easy to forget.

In my life, I’ve found that everyday is the perfect day to make a resolution.  Everyday is a perfect opportunity to commit to something that will transform my life into whatever I am determined to make it.

The key word for me is commitment.  Doing what I say I will do when I say I will do it in the way it was meant to be done.  This is no small feat.  Days are busy and intense, and what I’m committed to often gets buried under layers of things that seem more urgent but are in reality less important.

Fear, too, can be commitment’s nemesis.  Like so many people, I am afraid of change.  I am sometimes afraid to commit to the very things I ultimately want.  But it would be tragic to let fear of abandoning what’s not working but is comfortable determine what I am willing to commit to.  So commitment takes courage.  The best definition of courage goes like this:  courage isn’t the absence of fear but a willingness to act in the face of fear.

So what am I committed to?

Three things immediately come to mind.  Writing, health, and faith.

I call myself a writer.  And writers write.  It’s not hard to realize that I need to write.  I have two novels I’m working on.  One is a first draft and one is a second draft.  I am committed to finishing them and getting them published.  It’s great that I say I’m committed, but that is not enough.  I need to take actions towards my commitment and be accountable for them.  So over a week ago I set up a structure in my life to help me meet my commitment.  I got in touch with one of the members of my weekly writing critique group and told her my commitment.  I told her that I wanted to be working on my writing for 2 hours every weekday.  And I asked her to be my accountability buddy in this commitment.  She agreed and requested that I be the same for her.  So last week, everyday at 8am we’ve checked in via Skype to talk about what we’ll be writing over the next two hours.  The we’ve written until 10am at which point we’ve briefly checked in again to discuss how it went.

It has been a great experience so far.  And it’s given me insight into a pattern of steps I need to take to meet my commitments.  They are:

  • Say it.
  • Do it.
  • Account for it.

“Say it” is just like it sounds.  It’s declaring what I’m committed to and what actions I’m going to take to meet that commitment in a formal fashion so that it is clear what I’m committing to and what I’m going to do about it.

“Do it” means following through on those actions I committed to.

And “Account For It” means to in some way set up a structure of accountability for what I am committed to.  That could be another person I ask to hold me to account or it could be something entirely different such as a reward structure for when I meet certain commitments.

So far I have a great structure in place for my writing.  I’ve started to setup something similar for my health, but I’ve come up short in the “do it” and “account for it” departments.  That doesn’t mean I have to beat myself up for not following through.  It’s merely an opportunity to re-commit to my structure.  And finally I plan to figure out some sort of structure to support my commitment to my faith.

So this year isn’t a year for New Year’s resolutions so quickly out of sight, out of mind.  It’s a year of commitments.  Commitments I recommit to everyday, every hour, every minute.

Happy New  Year!
A new year...

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

When I was around seven years old, I went camping with my dad, and he took me fishing for the first time.  I was a tiny thing, and so when I hooked my first fish, it was so strong it lifted me right off my feet and started to pull me right into the raging river.  My dad grabbed me just in time.  The fish got away, but I didn’t.  Ever since I knew that  that my dad would always be there to catch me from falling into the raging waters of life.

My dad and I are a lot alike.  We are both philosophical and introspective.  Since I was a little girl, we would have long meaningful discussions about life and my dreams.  He always encouraged me in everything I did especially in my creative endeavors.  Whether I was acting or drawing or writing or filming a movie, my dad was always my champion.  He has never been much of a reader of fiction, so it has meant the world to me that he has read along as I’ve written the first draft of my novel.

He kissed booboos.  He smushed spiders.  He taught me to be handy around the house.  He make amazing breakfast on Saturday mornings.

Over the last few years, my dad and I have gone through a rough time in our relationship.  My health and my parents splitting up put a strain on our bond.  Things were said.  Trusts were broken.  But my dad never gave up on having an amazing relationship with me.  And I in turn have worked very hard to open my heart up to him again.  I learned to accept him for the wonderful man that he is in my life and have given him space to be a contribution in my life which is what he wants more than anything.  Lately we’ve both come a long way.  We went out to dinner on Friday night, and our bond has never been stronger.  Our communication has never been more open, heartfelt, and authentic.  The only way I can describe how our relationship felt is with the words “grace” and “ease”.

I love my dad so very much!  He has taught me so much about life and what it means to be a kind and decent human being.  Happy Father’s Day!