Each January, I review and renew my list of self-improvement practices. I recommit to exercising my body and vocal cords, so I can be comfortable on stage as a singer – obviously these habits provide beneficial side effects every day, not just in performance situations. “Be in the moment” has been my mantra for years – as a younger person, my tendency was to always worry “what happens next?”. Not that I don’t plan ahead, I certainly do, but I also make an effort to find a way to enjoy where I am now, right this moment. Even if I’m in the car, in traffic, and I need a rest stop soon. Here’s my little remedy for this situation: crank the volume on your iPod or radio and sing at the top of your lungs until the next rest area appears on the horizon. You’re welcome!
The next practice I’ll renew and continue is daily gratitude, requiring increased mindfulness on my part. It doesn’t always occur to me to feel grateful for the small pleasures in life, like a cup of french roast coffee in my own kitchen, a full refrigerator, or that parking space waiting just for me in front of the dentist’s office. I’m often wearing blinders against these small gifts, taking them for granted, when I should be giving thanks to the universe for allowing me these simple delights. Gratitude practice reveals more to reasons to feel grateful – I see that when I remember to look.
Each year I vow to challenge myself: learn a new computer skill, take on an unfamiliar duty within my business, add a new yoga stretch to my morning routine, smile at strangers or be more loving to my family, friends, colleagues. I like having the New Year as a reminder to press on, to do and be a better person. I haven’t fleshed out what the 2012 challenges will look like, but getting back into the gym is one routine I’ll restart this week.
For the past six or so years, author, speaker, media and marketing whiz Chris Brogan has published his January 1 edition of “My Three Words“, an alternative to resolutions where he states his focus for the coming year in three words, which for 2012 are: Temple. Untangle. Practice. Chris challenges his readers to respond with their own three and focus on defining goals and experiences related to the chosen words. My three words for 2012 match the Fisher-Price toy company’s tagline: play – laugh – grow.
What’s your plan?