PLANTING SEEDS Part II
Last year I wrote a blog about self-improvement called “Planting Seeds”.
Self Improvement is like planting seeds on acres of land. At the end of the day, you are exhausted, beaten, dirty…but you know that all of that effort was worth it. After a grueling day, when you survey your work, you see nothing but unearthed soil; it will take time for all of the seeds that you planted to grow. Many people will discontinue working on that field after day, one due to the lack of visual progress.
These seeds represent any aspect of your life that you want to improve. They can also be the beginning of new endeavors that you wish to achieve. Learning the guitar is a good example. You can easily purchase a guitar, sheet music, and even a beginner’s learning video. With these items in hand, you envision leaving a guitar in your car at all times so that you can pull it out, spontaneously, at every party you go to.
Well, purchasing your guitar is the easy part. Finding time in your day to practice is harder than you thought. After two months of learning to read music and teaching yourself the basic chords, you realize that your fingers hurt and you can barely strum out “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
This is the point where you look back at your acre and all the dirt that you’ve sifted through. Most will see little or no progress and quit. When people don’t see results, they often quit.
The truth is, if you truly desired to play the guitar, you wouldn’t quit. The majority of people choose their New Year’s Resolutions on ideals that they kind of want to do. This is why I’m not a fan of the NYR.
My thinking being, if you waited all year for January 1st to become a better person, you will likely fail. Why set yourself up for failure? Anything worth doing shouldn’t be procrastinated. If it’s not worth doing, why is it a NYR?
I know quite a few people that checked out of 2017 on the morning of January 20th. If you are one of these people…check yourself. Grant yourself the serenity to accept the things your cannot change, the courage to change the things your can, and the wisdom to not be ridiculous enough to throw away 11 months of the year because Trump is in office.
It would be helpful if, instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, we unbiasedly assessed our seeds that we’ve planted in the previous year. Cut our losses on the seeds that require too much time and effort, and root them out. Thus leaving more time to nurture the plants that have more promising fruit.
I did set goals form my seeds on Jan. 1, 2017. My goals were to brand myself as a speaker, create a quality hour of speaking content, begin writing blogs consistently, book a certain number of speaking gigs, make a certain amount of money from speaking gigs, remove specific toxic things and people from my life, and a few others that I’d rather not list.
I am currently comprising a list of goals and personal expectations for my 2018. Reflecting on 2017, my only regret is not setting bigger goals for myself.
Two major seeds I plan on cultivating in 2018 are my communication skills, and the amount that I read. I dislike reading, but I now see the value in it.
The first step I took towards these goals was challenging myself to read Dale Carnegie’s entire book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” in one sitting. I spent 13 consecutive hours highlighting and marking up the book. The following day I organized my highlighted points and constructed a to-do list of exercises to practice in 2018.
Reading this book enlightened me to a lot of things that I have been doing wrong. I feel personally responsible for the loss of a couple of friendships in 2016. Some were a blessing, and the others I intend on reconciling. I will likely wait until tempers are no longer flaring to pursue this.
Maybe I will read a book on forgiveness and acceptance. I hold on to many resentments that hinder my progress. I have every intention of working on letting these go in 2018. I will by no means be a different person in 2018. I just intend on being a better person.
New Year’s is just a calendar measuring point. The truth is, you do not start over fresh with the new year; you carry what you’ve had with you into the new year. Where ever you go, you take you with you. Cultivate you. Make yourself better. Become the person you can be proud of by December 31st.
New Year’s Resolutions should be more about what you should continue to do and what you need to discontinue doing. Plant seeds and bear fruits.
Also, try not to be eaten by bears. That’s high on my priority list!
Editor: Missy Fitzwater