Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shine: Back to the Future

Dust off your notes from last week. It's time to revisit our commitments to dreams so important we named our years in their honor. My year for instance is the Year of the Book. Robin committed herself to the Year of Me. Kat's year is named the Year of the Schedule, Katie the Year of the Phone, Lindsay the Year of Yoga, Peggy the Year of Balance, Holly the Year of Organization, and so many more.

If you haven't dedicated your year yet or you've had a change of heart and want to rename your year, no worries. Now is the time. We have eleven months of thought provoking fun ahead of us.

We'll take our cue for today's topic from Groundhog Day - the annual celebration for which we have come to know and love February 2. It is not only the day that weathermen gather to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, it is also the holiday around which the hilarious movie Groundhog Day was based.

Murray plays Phil Connors, an egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. After indulging in hedonism, Murray's character begins to reexamine his life and priorities.
One, two, three, JUMP.

That's right I'm making a leap.

In her book, "This Year I Will..." M.J. Ryan poses the question, "How do you get off the merry-go-round of doing the same old thing again? How, oh how can you have faith that this time will be any different?" Like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, how can you assure this year's dream won't result in failed attempts again and again?

I talked about writing a book at least two years ago. I started off last year with a renewed sense of promise and even told a few friends of my plans. Two years later and still no book. Holly, I am assuming you didn't wake up this year suddenly wanting to be organized and Kat, I assuming you've been in search of a schedule that works for a while. The question is what will make this year different for Holly, Kat, me, and... f or, that matter, for the rest of you?

Ryan maintains, and I agree, "we have a wealth of information and experience from the previous attempts , no matter how many those may be, to draw on this time." Rather than believing that nothing can be done about failed attempts, she suggests that successful people view failure as an opportunity to learn new things. When people have a "growth orientation" (as opposed to the previously described, "fixed orientation") they focus more on developing new strategies for success and less on simply giving up.

For example, I've learned quite a few things from my last two failed attempts to write a book. I've learned:
  • It's never going to happen if I try squeezing writing time into my already busy schedule.
  • I get easily distracted by other ideas and projects.
  • A year goes fast.
  • I have allowed the magnitude and unknown elements of this project to intimidate me.
  • I am most productive in the morning.
  • It helps me to have an outside person to whom I feel accountable.
  • I am more successful when I carve out some time every day, as opposed to big blocks of time periodically.
  • I excuse lack of progress on my book by reminding myself of the time spent writing my blog post each day.
How about you? What does your Groundhogs Day scene look like and what can you learn from it?

Signing off until tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2.


Robin said...

I'm taking a card class today! I hope Cheryl is having fun.

Claudia said...

Taking a card class today, Robin, is a great example of one way you are turning 2010 into the "Year of Me."

Anybody else want to share what their year is and what they've learned past failed attempts.

Peggy said...

Groundhog Day.... was filmed in the city next to ours, Woodstock Illinois. Actually Bubba is there today being a Student Judge for the election primaries. He's right off the square where many of the scenes took place. A little tid bit of trivia for y'all today.

I didn't stretch too far outside the box to come up with my 'Year of balance'... but I'm working on the habit of calm behavior (One definition of mental balance). I noticed this week at Sissy's volleyball tourney.... some over zealous parents have extreme difficulty when the score is incorrect. They start screaming and pointing and wont settle down until their commotion has caused such a disturbance and the score is changed. I on the other hand, when this wierd ritual of unattractive parent behaviour begins, slowly slide down to the other end of the bleachers, clap loudly when our team makes a great point and when I see that a line judge missed a call, or the scoreboard is a split second delayed... I wait... because I know that any rouse I make will ultimately not change the outcome of an event that I am just the spectator. Plus too, I don't embarrass my child. And in a way, I'm using this as a metaphor for my life!

Holly Moore said...

My groundhog day looks like this:

"Im going to get organized this year" and after a few days of trying to be organzied I fall back into old habits of chaos and lack of structure and I justify it by saying, "Well, Im not as bad as my mom...it could be worse...it's more like organzied chaos...my mom never taught me the importance of being organized"

I have learned that I can say I want to be organzied all I want and I can "try", but if I fail to commit then I will be unsuccessful...I have learned that it is not impossible for me to learn how to be organized but i have to stop making excuses

Claudia said...

Holly brings up an important point made by M.J. Ryan in her book.

We must believe we are capable of making change in order to actually have change manifest. It is why we must have a "growth orientation" as opposed to a "fixed" orientation.

When we have a "fixed orientation" we are anxious about failure and ultimately abandon any effective strategies we might have in our repertoire.

M.J. Ryan reminds us that life is about learning. When we live like that is true, we realize past failures provide important insights.

You've got the right attitude, Holly. Now order that Planner Pad!

Katie said...

For me, I just get caught in the rut of what is easier. For me, what is easier is a text or an email. It's a matter of doing what I wish I would do instead of what is easier.

I also find that a text or email is what fits better with my schedule- can do it on the fly in between meetings or on a break from class. But, that's how I've lost touch with some people. So, I need to make more time in my day for the important people and take the time to make the phone call.

Like Holly, I know not every day will be perfect, but it's the effort that matters. Progress one step at a time.

Kat said...

Just like Katie, I tend to do what is easy. Easy, for me, is doing what I feel like doing rather then what I need to be doing. I tend to get caught up in doing random tasks and not move on to what is important. In the past, I have tried to "be more productive" and then burn out after a few weeks. My hope is that by sticking to a schedule most of the time I can be more productive without the burn out of doing too much. Also, with a schedule I can do "X, Y, Z" and then be done for the day instead of wondering what to tackle next and wasting time.

Cheryl said...

Hey gang. Day 2 done. Today was AWESOME! I came to the realization and lost the fear that everything is a work in progress. Bob paints over a painting 7 or 8 times... until the turkey is Thanksgiving dinner. Smaller works. Yesterday Bob said, "Artist don't quit." and "Artist never retire." I may not be a full time painter yet but I'm heading in the right direction and I have some great techniques to practice!! I'm way EXCITED!!

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

Some good comments today, but I want to be sure to push you just enough that you are forcing yourself to answer questions you either haven't thought about or have been avoiding.

This is a personal thing between you and you, so don't feel like you have to put anything in the comment section.

Today's exercise was most designed to get you to make a laundry list of all the things you have learned from failed attempts to reach your goal/dream in the past. Once you list them you are better able to identify different/more effective strategies.

Many of you provided thoughtful comments about what you are doing in support of your Year. Others explained why they do what they do. Reflection in any form is good, so keep on keeping on.

BUT, make sure you are leaving some time to do the hard task of thinking about what you have learned from past approaches you have used.

Hard, but rewarding work. I know.

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

Cheryl... SO good to hear from you. You sound like you are doing GREAT and learning a ton.

Have you introduced Ray to your new friends?