Saturday, January 01, 2011

Beginning Anew | If Not Now, When?

A New Year!  And conflating the first two words, we get, "anew."

1. over again; again; once more: to play the tune anew.
2. in a new form or manner: to write the story anew.

The New Year is a natural demarcation line between the past and the future. However, it is worth noting, that the only "time space" in which we can take action is the present. There is not a thing we can do now to change the past, and whatever we imagine for ourselves in the future will not come to pass unless we take steps now to ease that unfolding.  Our being more strong, happy, rich, compassionate, learned, skillful (pick your area) will not happen if we do not make the decision today to take action toward that goal.

In conversation with a colleague some years ago, he was relating to me a conversation he had with his son in making decisions.  He then stated a very simple question he had posed to his son:  
If not now, when?

Over the years, when I am tempted to dawdle, dither and defer--the three "D's" that contribute to the deplorable state of do-nothingness--I invoke this mantra.  It has amazing power to spur action.

Our resolutions, then, are a time for us to begin anew.  The product of our introspective efforts during this contemplative time requires three things.

Thing 1:  Set a goal/objective
Thing 2:  Concretize the needful things that must happen to reach our goal (identify what actions/steps are needed when).
Thing 3:  Measure our progress toward achieving those steps.

I will add Thing 4:  Adopt a reproachful mantra to chant when you are too tired, sick, bored, busy or stressed:  "If not now, when?"

I promise you that if you invoke that mantra, you will empower yourself.  As the queen of the three dreadful D's,  dawdling, dithering and deferring, I can state that those words have real power. Yes, it is mildly coercive that question, "If not now, when?"

I believe that there is a range of people in life that fit with in the polarities of people who catapult themselves into action sans thinking and those who cocoon themselves within thinking sans action. I preach to you (and myself!) today as one who is occasionally rooted in the polarity of thinking sans action. 

I'm not sure which is worse, action sans thinking or thinking sans action, but I do know this:  Thinking + action = a higher probability of a successful outcome than either of the other two choices. Self discipline is the antidote to most of the ills accompanied by either of those polarities.  Yes, this is a soap box post, but I am preaching mostly to myself.

I resurrected my resolutions from 2008.  I consider these resolutions (revised date of 2011) a balanced scorecard for my life.  Having turned 50 this year, I do feel that I've crossed (or tripped) over a threshold of sorts.

If you want to peek under the hood of those, you can do so here. It isn't finished, but I did want to share the idea with you. Woefully, I'm one of those people who requires a resolution under the category of "Fun". 

The software that I used to create this list is FreeMind.  You can find it here. It is free software, and you can download it at the link without fear of harming your computer.  It is a simple, yet powerful program that will help you harness your creativity and transform your ideas into actions.

I wish you a Happy New Year--a year filled with successful transformation of your ideas into actions, and may those actions yield their intended consequences.  And if not....may you have the flexibility and alacrity to adjust accordingly.