It's turned into a kind of bad joke - the same promises made every December only to be forgotten or denied by February. It's understandable in a way; we like the idea of Change - taking positive steps to improve something - but human nature dictates we seek stable conditions and resist the very change we say we want.
That resistance is facilitated by the fact that in our increasingly hectic, overfull lifestyles we're pulled between wanting to make the change and seeing it as yet one more demand on our time and energy.
But what if the change we most need to make is to become a better steward of that precious time and energy?
There's an addage that says something like, "Slow down and get further ahead," or its opposite, "The faster I go the behinder I get!" The past few months have definitely been that way for me, and if it hadn't been for the wonderful 2 1/2 week vacation I'm now taking, I might have reached burnout.
I've noticed that constant 55-hour workweeks, coupled with 500 miles weekly of commuting and active roles in two organizations don't allow much time for maintenance of personal relationships, relaxation, sleep or exercise. All this adds up to reduced effectiveness and productivity, which leads to even longer workdays, more mistakes...it's a pretty brutal cycle.
It's a cycle that must be broken before I wind up broken myself!
So, here we go:
- Work a little less, but be better at it. 45-50 hours instead of 50-60 (there is an entire subset of activities needed to make this happen!).
- Reevaluate extracurricular activities - do they really help me and my practice?
- Be more selective about leisure activities like online forums and social networks - can I do a better job of maintaining my friendships using emails rather than Facebook?
- Set aside an hour a day for purely relaxing.
- Spend more time at home.
- Exercise 30-60 minutes a day.
- Eat better - I eat only seafood and a little poultry, but the carbs more than make up for it.
- Make bedtime a hard deadline, and make sure I get a solid 7 hours every night (me and the pets need to discuss this - they have a habit of getting me up thirty minutes ahead of my alarm!).
We'll see! I'll try to keep everyone up to date as I work through this.
Happy New Year!