Maybe it is just me, but it is often easier to keep a personal commitment, once I share it with others. For example, if I have plans to go for a walk or maybe visit a museum but wake up to a rainy day or just feeling rather blah, if I am heading out on my own, it is pretty easy to postpone the activity. But if I am meeting a friend for that same activity, I’ll be there! Even in the rain.
I am writing today’s blog as a way to share some personal commitments with friends (and other readers), figuring this act will help me hold myself more accountable for the results. Basically, I am cataloging a short-term bucket list. It is not full of the wild and fun things I want to accomplish eventually, like visiting Alaska or staying in a castle in Ireland. These commitments are shorter in scope and more improvement or task-oriented.
I stole the idea from a fellow blogger, who I am sorry to say I cannot name or appropriately credit. Basically, she reported on her success at completing 26 things she had planned to do by the time she was 26. She had not quite finished everything by her birthday, but she was close and was still working on the last few items. I was impressed, when I got over thinking she was just a big show-off completing so much on her to-do list at such a young age. If I mimicked her, how was I supposed to complete 57 things by next year? There was just not enough time—or maybe it was not enough energy on my part.
Rather than give up and make no list at all, I decided I would truncate the list and give myself a manageable set of tasks to complete by my next birthday. I know that small steps and little successes over time help keep the momentum going. Besides—as I say whenever I contemplate never eating chocolate again—I am not a quitter! If I am going to commit to these things, I will get them done. Hence my list of 7 things to complete by the time I am 57. Starting tomorrow, I have 8 months to get the work done!
Over the next 8 months, I am going to complete the following:
- Advertise My Educational Consulting Service: My website is ready for serving as an Educational Consultant. My goal is to get the word out, so I can secure some projects. I realize it is not the best time to be launching such a campaign: state budget woes, finals underway, and summer around the corner when many faculty are gone and spending slows to close-out the fiscal year. But I need to get started. Make that: I will get started, so when the time is right, I am a known option who can take on available jobs.
- Sort My Old Photos: This is a task that has been on my list for years and years. For the longest time, I immediately turned trip or event photos into albums—and enjoyed the process. But then other things took over and I still took trip or event photos, but they never made it to albums. Most of the time, copies were at least sent out to friends and family, especially the people pictures, but all the rest are in a closet. It is one of those open-the-door-slowly-and-hope-things-don’t-fall-out kind of closets. You know, my very own Fibber McGee & Molly Closet. My goal is to methodically sort through all those photos and scan or create albums of the keepers and get rid of the rest. Somewhere in that closet, I am leaning off the side of a cliff as part of a trust exercise and several nephews are getting married.
- Sort My Parent’s Photos: Last summer my parents moved into an Assisted Living Center. That move meant that all their stuff needed to be saved, stored or given to family members. The old photos—back to their childhood as well as all the years since then—were saved. Most are in my apartment at this point. My goal is to figure out what all is there, what can be thrown, and what needs to be saved with sisters or others as part of family history. The main core of albums and family favorites have been saved, so Mom and Dad can reminisce as they choose. I am talking about all the other stuff, the second shots, the duplicates, the missed shots—they are all here! Just how many photos of my old dog need to be saved? No matter how terrific he was.
- Eat Healthier: This is an ongoing goal. I am heavy and need to lose weight, but dieting does not really work for me. Instead, I need to be more mindful of what I eat and better at making healthy decisions. I have started by reducing the number of trips to fast-food places each week. My goal includes making certain I have healthy, easy options in the house to turn to. I have been having some success with this goal, but need to keep it paramount in my priorities. Consistency and moderation are the keys.
- Exercise More: This too is an ongoing goal. I am active everyday, but since my many surgeries over the last several years, my flexibility and stamina have diminished. My day-to-day routines are not helping in those specific areas. I plan to take deliberate action to build those specific skills. Years ago, yoga was a daily routine that served me well, as was meditation, so those activities will be my starting points.
- Read. More. Deliberately. I read quite a bit. For example, I am exploring liminal spaces by reading such works as Gretel Ehrlich’s The Solace of Open Spaces and Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits. I enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo trilogy on the advice of a friend. Such extemporaneous reads will always happen, thank goodness. But there are many, many books stacked about my apartment on my I-will-get-to-reading-this-later list. It is these books that I need to be more deliberate about: read something from the list each month, make decisions about what items need not be on the list, or maybe stop adding to that leaning tower of books without taking some off the top. Something.
- Recreate Nature Publications. Years ago, I used my nature photography to make nature photo cards and self-published booklets that combined my essays with my photos on all things nature-oriented. They were hand-created and sold at craft fairs. I had fun creating them back then. I still have the prototypes, but they are not saved on a computer. I have more nature photos to share and have written more musings about nature that could be included in these booklets. I keep meaning to create them again, this time on the computer. Then I can decide if publishing a book is worth exploring. One step at a time. At the very least, they could become part of my nature-oriented blog entries.
Wish me luck!
Some of these items have been on my to-do list for years—and I just never get to them. Now that I have gone public, maybe I will be more driven to meet these commitments to myself. I will report back periodically—but you can ask me about them at any time. Rather like a friend who would call, wondering, “Where were you? We were going to meet for lunch!” Maybe in January, I’ll be ready to make another list: 8 by 58. If you have any advice on how I can best meet these goals—or want to share your own goals—just leave a comment. I would love to hear from you
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah