I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions anymore. It’s not that I don’t like them – wait, that aint’ right. I just don’t like them, Sam I Am.
I don’t like the basic premise behind New Year’s Resolutions
Hey, create a static goal and then try to complete it come Hell or high water for fear of humiliation. Fortunately, misery loves company and nobody completes them. And everybody is okay to try again, for the annual endorphin rush of the pat-on-the-back try if nothing else.
There’s no room to change, modify, or update the resolution.
Then you get called a “flip-flop,” or get teased that you can’t finish what you start. It’s negative peer pressure, no matter how light-hearted the ribbing is intended to be. And…
”Oh, sure you can change them.”
If anyone quotes that to you, they’re sounding positive, but they’re full of shit. In order to change the resolution, you inherently break the resolution. Welcome to the paradox.
I don’t need to be humiliated to achieve my goals
I spent way too much of my life feeling humiliated. I’ve focused too much of my life focused on the pain, focused on the problem. I’ve only recently – and by recently, I mean October 24th, 2014 – began to focus on the joy in my life.
It took me nearly four decades to figure out what my father did wrong in life: he focused on the pain, his perceived failure, misery, and lack of accomplishment. He became obsessed with it, and spiraled with the sin and vice until he eventually flushed his life away.
In concert, I spent most all my life focusing on the pain, trying to figure out how not to be like him, but in the end I became like him. I substituted cigarettes & PRB for food and television – and in some ways it was much worse. He only smoked the same cigarettes and drank the cheapest beer. I had all sorts of selections at my disposal. And I used most of them.
But in the last two months…
It feels like I’ve been getting over a really bad head cold. I have no idea what’s on TV anymore (unless it’s one of my five favorites, The Chicago Bulls or the Golden State Warriors – inspirational TV to me). I’ve been using My Fitness Pal, again, for the last week, quickly realizing the mountains of calories in all the shit I’ve been downing the moment I was starting to feel stressed, panicked, or frustrated during my career.
“You know what I hate about the obvious?
The Doctor & Clara. Doctor Who, “Last Christmas.” 2014/12/25 [BBC]
It’s comfortable to focus on the pain
It’s fucking easy to focus on the pain. Pain can be perfect. Pain comes with great user experience. With just a few thoughts you can create the perfect Hell, making you feel like you’re perfect and came across the perfect storm. And if you do it right, you can make yourself feel that if it wasn’t for said perfect storm, you would have the perfect life. A perfect excuse. No judgment. No accountability.
Just roll, light, and smoke.
Once there’s no fear of it getting worse, it becomes a perception of nirvana.
I wrote books of blues thinking that if I could get it out on paper, I wouldn’t have the blues anymore. I wrote one and a half of them, still have notes for the others, and it only made me sadder. It tied me all the more back to the past because I focused on the pain that inspired it so much that the pain was all I saw. There’s actually science behind that. I used it when I shot jumpshots and I use it now when I work out:
In the end, our instincts focus on security and familiarity. If we go through incredible pain and we get used to that pain point to where we can function in our day to day lives with the pain, so long as we don’t feel like our lives are in danger, we’ll get used to it. We’ll think it normal. The guilt of the suffering.
Joy isn’t for the weak
Joy takes risk. Joy takes courage. Often times, to get to it, Joy takes change. It goes against everything we’re wired to accept. It’s paradoxical, as if paradise is too high of a cliff to scale, or too wide of a sea to swim. But it’s there. Half the journey is focusing on it.
Then from there, the Joy becomes greater, and the distance traveled to get there becomes smaller.
That’s when the fear sets in
And the years of trial and error begins. But for what you get in return, data or happiness, it’s a steal, so long as you can stick it out.
I couldn’t have figured that all out in a year.
I would have, could have given up if it was only a resolution. I needed the trials, the starts, fails, stops, analysis, and extra tries to get it right. Like in business, I needed to be able to take the data, learn from it, and formulate new strategies.
Resolutions get in the way of goals
Resolutions don’t allow goals to breathe. They don’t allow goals to improve. They don’t allow goals to be custom-tailored to get us to where we need to go.
So I skipped resolutions and went straight to goals. And I started on one goal: Focus on the Joy. And I took as long as needed to get it right. It took years.
Once I got a lot better at that, focusing on the diet and health became a lot easier.
And Katie and my life is becoming even more exciting. I almost cried today when she sent me screenshots of her My Fitness Pal logins. She took what I was doing and ran with it. She supported me.
And the road became that much of a brighter, more beautiful place. It would have been hard to see something that beautiful be so beautiful if I was focusing on what kicked my ass when I was younger.