The practice of choosing three word that will frame a year is a tool I learned from Chris Brogan (a fantastic resource for business owners). He described the practice well in this post.
In short, the goal is to pick words that you can read daily, words which will guide you in your actions, thoughts and behaviors for a year. It’s a simple exercise, yet if you spend two minutes on it you’ll see that you likely need thirty minutes.
So what were are my three words for 2018? First, let’s review 2017. Oh, right. I can remember them. Needless to say those words did not frame my year in 2017. Nor did the words I used in 2016 shape my year. So what’s going to be different about this year? A few things.
First, the words that I’m going to work on I’ve already started working on since the beginning of November, 2017. I use an app called Streaks to log various streaks. With my gratitude practice, I did that every days in December 2017. I meditated 29 of 31 days in December. Rope stretching was dismal – did it handful of times in December 2017.
I have a goal to do the trio of rope stretching, meditating and a gratitude practice every day for 2018, taking things a day at a time. Rather than having three new habits to start in January 2018 I now only have one. And the good news is I’ve roped stretched before for extended periods and know that if I can just get through the first 5 days, 10 days, 20 days, I will feel fantastic.
Here are the three words, followed by a motto for 2018.
Listen to the girls. Listen with an open mind and an open heart, not only to the girls, but friends and family as well. That said, I need to listen with caution to feedback. A runner that emails me and has followed my training suggestions for years and is struggling deserves empathetic attention; the runner who is unwilling to run by feel may not warrant an email reply.
Still trying to figure out how to listen on social platforms. I hope to have a system by the end of January.
Embracing baby steps is the approach to gaining fitness and eventually running PRs is advice that thousands of coaches give to athletes. I need to heed this advice.
I don’t have to do the trio of rope stretching, meditation and gratitude for the next 31 days. I just have to do it today. I don’t have to write 500 words every day (and I can’t during the Boulder Running Camps) but rather I need to write most days.
It’s been so easy for me to get fired up and work like crazy for a week, or two (or three or four). But like The Tortoise and The Hare fable, I, like the Hare, end up having to stop and catch my breath. While there is a block of time in the summer – camp – where I have to work long days and be the best ambivert I can be, then take a break to unplug and recharge, the rest of the year I can move like a tortoise. So ten months of Tortoise and two months of Hare. (Note: The Hare period is really fun – camp is my favorite time of the year)
Your day is your week is your month is your year. – Chris Brogan
The comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a calendar method that helps him stick to his daily joke writing. He suggests that you get a wall calendar that shows you the whole year. Then, you break your work into daily chunks. Each day, when you’re finished with your work, make a big fat X in the day’s box. Every day, instead of just getting work done, your goal is to just fill a box. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
Pick up Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, especially if you’re a coach and want to know the proper way to merge another coach’s training into your own system (spoiler – you need to give credit to the source/coach). Great book.
Back to the word Tortoise.
I have running goals for 2018 and the only way I can get from where I am now to where I want to be is baby steps. Can’t leap to get there.
“Monkey Mind” is described on Wikipedia as “a Buddhist term meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.”
I close friend told me a year or two ago that I need to be mindful of my monkey mind tendencies. That observation and advice is spot on.
Meditation over the last couple months has helped me understand that when I sit and meditate I spend a lot of time moving through various layers of the monkey mind chatter. Sometimes I sit long enough that things get calm. Most of the time things stay noisy. My guess is that it will take practice to quiet the noise. That’s what I’m hoping. I’m a beginner. Maybe with enough practice I can get a bit closer to Suzuki’s Beginner’s Mind.
The second reason I’ve chosen Monkey is to remind me that most people I’ll encounter in a day have their own monkey mind issues. If I go back to listening well, then I need to do my best to quiet my mind for a moment before I listen to them. We all know the importance of listening with an open mind and an open heart; I need to listen empathically, something that doesn’t come naturally.
…okay, now on to the motto…
Do The Mundane
Listen, do the trio each day, be kind to the girls, be empathetic with people I care about, sleep enough, eat a clean meal most days, drink a serving of green juice each day, write most days, exercise in a way that will get me back to the type of running I want to do.
It’s cool, especially in Colorado, to say “Do Epic Sh*t!” I’m not cool, I’m not hip and I’m old enough that I would look silly trying to convince someone that the things I do on a regular basis are epic. I’m a single father who is working hard to make a living in running. Mundane tasks, done daily, will help me reach my goals.
What are your three words and what is your mantra for 2018? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org