Monday, December 29, 2014

Goals 2015

Break out the 2014 sheet of paper with our goals on it and use it to light the fire in the fireplace.  2014 is over and the list of goals on that piece of paper were either completed, in motion or never left the page. If you are one of the few people that wrote your goals on a piece of paper - congratulations!  If you actually looked at that piece of paper with the goals and did something about it (besides lighting the fire), a hearty congratulations, a handshake and a pat on the back!  I have a confession to make (and it is not that my name is Fielding Mellish); I do not have a tightly rolled piece of paper to use at the fireplace.  I have never written down my annual goals.  Yeah, I loosely have an idea about my goals, but they are firmly lodged in my head.  Truth is that I do not write them down because I have a fear that I will fail on following through.  No written goals = no failure = (unfortunately) no action taken.

I found out that I am not alone.  Based on the University of Scranton New Year’s Resolution Statistics study, only 46% of Americans usually make resolutions, with only 8% actually achieving success.  For such a small success, it seems like I am now in the majority for not trying…  OK, that is a pathetic way to rationalize myself.  Based on that thinking, I consciously decided that I would have no goals for 2014 and I am excited to say I have been highly successful at reaching nothing.  I have only succeeded in applying the excuse up front so that I do not have to bother with a set of annual goals.  I have certainly read enough materials from thought leaders, academic studies, and courses I have taken over time that stress physically writing the goals down on a paper helps to hard wire the goal to brain, which increases the likelyhood of having success.  In addition, our goals should be realistic and have a date on when we will accomplish them.

Question is – can I make it to become a member of that 8%?  Raise your hand if you are willing to do an experiment.  I am going to present three attainable goals then revisit them at the end of 2015.  If I have success, I will continue, if not, there is a lesson learned in the exercise.  If you raised your hand, you should write down your three goals. Now the hard part, my three attainable goals:
  • I want to lose weight: Goal – lose 5 pounds in 5 months (that would put me at 174 by May).  I will do this with healthy eating choices.
  • I do not exercise:  Goal – 10 to 15 minutes a day (5 days a week) doing some exercise which I can do at home with minimal cost (i.e., planking, sit ups, etc.) for the entire year.
  • I would like to do some public speaking: Goal – Get my first official paid speaking engagement in 2015, and keep practicing at my Toastmasters chapter.
Nothing too serious, but each potentially attainable, now comes the part where I commit to these goals, so that I do not “eat my words” next December…

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Want My Present!

Giving presents.  Getting presents. When are we going to open the presents? Did you buy the presents? I have to shop for the presents.  Is it time for the presents?  Let me get the presents.  Do you think that we have enough presents?

I remember, as a kid always looking forward to Hanukkah.  What I looked forward to was not for lighting the candles, not for eating latkes, nor for eating the jelly donuts, but for getting gifts!  Christmas, bah, humbug – 1 day!  Hanukkah, hip-hip hooray – 8 days!  I remember being excited for receiving one night, if not twice, money - a shiny new penny.  That’s right – A SHINY NEW PENNY!  8 days and a shiny new penny, who could beat that?  Then after the winter break, all of us elementary school kids would talk about what we did during the holidays and share our gifts.  I think that I brought in my shiny new penny to proudly display for show and tell.  There were no ooo’s and there were no ah’s.  We learn at a young age how important getting the right gift means to us.

When we were still fairly new to the parenting business, we heard the rumor that Tickle Me Elmo was going to be hottest toy of the season.  Like two marionettes, the television advertising agency had grabbed the two sticks and not so gently moved the strings that made us run quickly to our local toy store to buy one of these hot items for our child.  G-d forbid our child would miss out on proudly displaying this magical gift that everyone will own.  GASP! They were sold out.  Gab, our eldest, was only 1 ½ years old, and we were freaked out by the possibility of her not having this toy.  Instead, we got her a Bumble Ball, hoping that she would not notice.  The poor kid tried to put it in her mouth, which triggered the toy to vibrate.  She cried hysterically and then never went near that scary toy again.


Now that our children are older, we tend towards getting gifts that are more practical, like clothing, shoes, etc.  Yes, they still get some gifts that are more fun (for example, Jingle Ball tickets).  And while I am not a shopper, nor particularly a gift giver, like my wife, it is great to see their happy little face shine with expectation, then joy, when they open their gifts.  That is true any time of the year, when it is appropriate to give a gift.  I am not sure in which religious writing it states that we should be giving lots of gifts for the holidays, but it is something has become a “tradition”, as long as we remember to teach our children about our respective holiday. 

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Oooo, Look at the Pretty Butterfly

Do we introduce the distractions in our life that cause us to lose focus on the things that we prioritize?  To be an overachiever, the ability to focus on a finite set of objectives at any one time is paramount.  However, there is a high level of discipline involved so that we can have those few things in front of us at any one time and can concentrate on them.  I know how difficult this is, as that “shiny object” that comes dancing before my eyes has distracted me on more than one occasion.  Sometimes, I am able to identify the distractions, then I can take the appropriate steps to ignore them and continue what I want to be doing, other times…

Oooo, my favorite television show is on, be right back…

When I have the time and the chance, I enjoy cooking dinner on the weekend.  For me it has always been a full experience, starting with trying to figure out what it is that I want to cook.  Rebecca has caught me when I am in a cooking frenzy, where there is a lot to do and a small amount of time to do it in.  I have the recipe at the ready, quick run to the store and now the time to prepare and to cook.  As is my habit, much to Debbie’s dismay, every dish, pot and pan gets taken out and used in the process.  In my head, there is music playing (and I do mean only in my head).  All of a sudden, that one song sticks in my head and it has to come out. 

Oooo, I hear my favorite song playing in my head, better get to the piano and play it…

I was working on an article and usually I write from my personal experiences or things that pique my interest.  There are times, however, where I do not know something, or need to get a better understand, or look up a definition.  In the olden days, I would have to pull out the dictionary or the encyclopedia.  Today, I just have to “flip” programs and look up what I need. 

Oooo, look at the pictures that Gab and her roommates posted on Face book…

We have a good laugh when we see people that we know get distracted like this.  Truth is that staying focused all of the time is hard work.  Yes, when I work on something, I get caught up in what I am doing and it becomes easier to stay focused.  Some of the time, I will avoid putting myself in a position where I will get distracted.  Sometimes, that shiny object unexpectedly rolls across my path and I lose my attention. I still need to be better at those times that I still get distracted.

Oooo, there is Lucy Lou looking all cute and needing some attention…