2016: Year of Resolve

I’ve decided on a word for 2016…resolve.

re·solve
verb

1)  settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter
2)  decide firmly on a course of action
noun: firm determination to do something

A good friend of mine, Mark and I were out having dinner and a drink just after New Years.  We’ve been friends for over 15 years and there’s a lot of good conversations we have had over the years where one of us has gotten good advice from the other, a big kick to get off our butts, or just a good, deep challenging dialog.  We’re coaches of each other, accountability partners, and every now and then one of us calls “bullshit” on each other.  It’s a good thing.  It’s iron sharpening iron as the bible calls it.

This particular night, we spoke of what had happened this year and what we wanted to see next year.  After a long conversation, Mark brought up the word “resolve” and we looked up the definition.

After looking at it, we spoke of ‘resolve’ and what resolutions we had for this coming year and what we were going to do to get there.

When we make New Years resolutions…are they wishes or are they resolutions?  What’s the difference?
Wish (verb) feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen. (google)

A wish is to arbitrarily make a hope that something will come to pass.   Many of us have NY ‘wishes’ , not ‘resolutions’.   We come up with what we WISH will happen, maybe write it down, and then wait to see if it will happen.  Like maybe the tooth fairy or Santa will bring it over the next year.

Now what happens when you say it’s a resolution and you use the definition of the word for a verb.
RESOLUTION: to find a solution: firm determination to do something.
What’s the difference?  Do you see it?  Resolve has an action that you are required to do.

So for 2016, did you make resolutions or wishes? ASK yourself what you want to have happen in your life.  Is it to stop smoking?  Start working out?  Read more?  DO more?  BE MORE?

What is it that you want to have happen in your life!??  WHAT is it!???

Are you throwing up random words into the wind and hoping some lost fairy will sprinkle you with pixie dust?
(Let me know how that works out for you.)

RESOLVE: To find a solution: firm determination to do something

When I look at what happened last year…I wrote it down in the beginning of January of 2015.  I hit about 60-70%.  Not bad.  I had to make things happen to hit my list…I had to keep track…had to WORK at hitting the list.

If I want my life to change, then I have to know the targets I want to hit.  I  HAVE to know where I want to be.  I HAVE to do different things to get different results.  There’s a saying that says ‘if you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always got’. Then there’s something else added.  It’s a change of mind…a determination.

I don’t want last year’s results this year…I want this year to be different.

In order to look at ‘different’, I’d say we need to look at a few things.
Where you are.
Where you are going.
How you will get there.
Resolve (or mindset).
Where I am.

For me, I keep a journal.  In that journal, I document my life.  It’s not a diary, it’s more like Star Treck’s “captains log”.  I write about where I’m at in life, what I’m feeling, what’s happening, what I’m struggling with, etc.
Et cetera can mean MANY different things, but it’s a snapshot of my mind, thoughts, emotions,  involved in the events of my life…. they act as mile markers.  It’s not every day that I write things out…but it’s enough that I try to keep big gaps of time to a minimum.

Where I am Going.
In order for that to happen, I MUST set a course…a deliberate one.   Write down what you want to have happen, how you want to change and grow. What vacations you want to go on.  Be specific, set the target.

In Lewis Carroll’s story of Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat and Alice have an interaction.

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get            to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long                  enough.

This is a great example.  Alice has a ‘wish’ to be in a different place, BUT, where that is doesn’t matter where you go if you don’t know where you want to be.

I have to know where I want to be.  If I set my sight to hit that mark, then I will work backwards and set markers in place at points that lead me to that goal.  If I find that marker is off, then that’s ok because from that marker I can correct course. This is the HOW in how I will get there.

For instance…
If I want to write a book, then it’s pages per day/week/month
If I want to work out 3 times a  week, set the days in the calendar.
If I want quiet times every weekday, then when is it?  What am I doing/reading?
What is my business plan this year?   What am I going to achieve?  What marathon/iron man am I going to pay the entry fee for before I even start training?
What training schedule am I going to use?
You have to have markers so that you track your progress.

But all this takes one last step:
RESOLVE

You can be a smoker and have the goal to quit smoking.  You can research the patch, get medical advice, get your friends to help you, stop going to places that trigger the crave….but until you have the RESOLVE….nothing will save you.  You have to not only set up a method, you have to WANT to quit.

You can want to get up earlier and have quiet times or want to work out 3 times a week….but until you RESOLVE it in your mind that it NEEDS TO COME TO PASS, you will hit snooze and skip that workout every time.

Know the limits of your resolve, because in doing this, you may need to build a team around you, an accountability partner.  You may need someone to call you, check on you…you may need to put up money that get forfeited if you don’t do it.

In ‘resolve’, you also may need to die to something, cut someone off, stop answering someone’s calls…it may require SACRIFICE on your behalf to move forward…what are you willing to give up to hit a mark?

I ask again.  What are you willing to SACRIFICE to gain what you currently do not have because it’s said that how bad you want it is directly proportional to what you’re willing to do to get it.

Are you willing to stop buying junk food?
Are you willing to dump out all the alcohol in your house?
Are you willing to cancel cable?
Are you willing to get up EARLY?
Are you willing to stop going to your favorite place?
Are you willing to cut off a relationship, a friend, a bad influence?
Are you willing to admit and go get PROFESSIONAL help?
What are you willing to die for?
What are you willing to let die?

Until you’re aware of what you’re willing to give up….then go ahead and make your wish, because that’s all you’re doing.

Consider me as your Cheshire Cat.
Where do you want to go?

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Evil Groundhogs

There are times in life where you were distracted for a moment, a blink, a second…at the wrong time…and it can cost you everything.

Let me give you an example from my life a few years ago. It involved a groundhog on the side of a road.
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Let me re-phrase that
…it was an evil groundhog.

I was riding along the road one day on my Honda Shadow. It was my first road bike that I had owned for a couple years now, and the day was beautiful, sunny, probably 85 degree mid-summer day. On this particular day I had not a care in the world as I rode along the 2 lane road through Indian Hill.  Indian Hill is a suburb of Cincinnati with probably the oldest money in town where mansions are epic with gross displays of wealth, where high schoolers have better cars than most adults, and children go to Ivy League schools. This area has long winding roads, and, as the name says, it’s on ‘hills’, so it has beautiful steep winding hills to ride on. On a day like this, you can enjoy yourself on a good afternoon going back and forth over the roads.

But this story isn’t about Indian Hill…it’s about evil groundhogs. Let me get back to that.

I had been riding for a while this day and was coming down a hill that had a few long sweeping turns to it. I was coming up on another turn when I first noticed him.

“He” was a groundhog standing upright on his two hind legs, eating a blade of grass that he fed into his mouth with his two short pudgy arms and front paws. He was seated just outside the edge of the yellow line of the road…kind of between the edge of the road and the start of the guard rail posts that sat in the grassy boundary line just off the pavement, facing out, off the road.  He could eyeball me if he wanted to…but he didn’t.

As I approached the corner, I leaned, setting the bike on course with smooth transition that I estimated would carry me through the turn. The groundhog sat there, facing away from the road, and he didn’t even seem to notice my approach….didn’t even pause for a second munching on the grass. I got closer and he still didn’t even seem to notice that I was bearing down on him…and… I as got RIGHT up on him…it occurred to me that I could have reached out with my leg and kicked him! Literally kick him I was so close! And he appeared to not even notice as he continued his munching. Surely he must be seeing me? Surely he would move away from the road…or at lease PAUSE?
He didn’t.

As I glided by him…his actions, his demeanor, his gaze did not change one bit.
I was amazed.
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And then I looked up.

I had leaned into a shallow curve expecting to glide seamlessly through it…I had done it thousands of times before…but this curve was not as I had calculated it in my mind. The curve had started out gentle but then tightened up.  Also, my initial line in the turn was off…I had drifted towards the groundhog.

A horror swept over me as it registered in my mind that I was not going to make this turn.

I leaned the bike hard to the left, knowing I was going way too fast for such a tight turn and, although I was leaning and turning hard, TRYING DESPERATELY to keep the bike inside the yellow line, I knew I was in trouble. I was looking at the front tire as it ran outside the yellow line, across the remaining asphalt, and then into the gravel.

Motorcycles and gravel, on turns, do not mix. When you are working against momentum and gravity on a turn, you need your tires to stick to the road…that ‘stickiness’ is the difference between life on the edge of the road…and, well, life NOT on the road.  So when my tires ran outside the yellow line and started to run over the gravel, the bike’s hold on the road stopped and the tires slid out and the bike slammed onto the pavement and slid outward carrying me as it went towards the cable guard rails.

The bike and I were sliding on our sides and I saw the cables and guard posts I was about to collide with and pushed the bike away from me, transferring my momentum to the bike, it slid away from me momentarily and into the cables and then post to an abrupt stop. I had not stopping sliding so then I crashed into the stopped bike.

Whenever a you get into a crash or traumatic impact…in my (limited) experience…there’s a second…when everything comes to rest…and everything is quiet…when your heart beat starts again….and you squeeze out an “ohh” from your lungs.  There always seems to be this weird moment you realize that what just happened was real. You become aware that you are not dead, and you start taking inventory of your bones and your muscles. You open your eyes and start to move a few limbs, testing for things broken or bleeding.

As I did this mental reboot, I slowly picked myself up. The bike was scarred, several broken minor parts…my hand was bleeding and numbing and I could feel areas on the rest of my body where I would be sore the next day.
BUT, I was ok for the most part.

A passing bicyclist stopped and helped me untangle the bike and get it stood back up and the bike and I, but for the grace of God, went home.

I didn’t ride my bike for a week or two after that…it was a sobering experience. This is where a lot of people who own bike become people who “used to own bikes.”
I made decisions.  I still own.
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There are times in life we ride on a mental cruise control, apathetic to an upcoming bend in the road of our lives. We SEE it, but we’re distracted, not paying attention, our focus is off. Something big is about to happen and we’re not going to glide through this turn.

We’re going to crash…and those last minute maneuvers are not going to save us.

Maybe all it will cost us is a broken mirror,  brake lever, and some scrapes
…maybe something of infinitely more value.

…maybe the respect of friends at church
…maybe our wife or husband
…maybe our life…or… our very soul.
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We have approached a bend in the road and a new year stretches out ahead of us around a bend in the road we cannot see.

Don’t take your eyes off the road and watch the turns.
There are a lot of evil groundhogs out there.