Last year, for the first time, I published my New Year's Resolutions (HERE), and followed up a couple times throughout the year. Perhaps not surprisingly, I finally hit some long-standing weight loss and other goals. At the start of this year, one reader asked if I use the end of the year to "reflect." No, I don't. Even my 13 year-old son, when he was about 7, had already picked up on that part of my philosophy.
"Where's your book we were reading last night?"
"I don't know, Dad."
"But we had it last night, right here!" (I was getting agitated.) "Walter, come on! You gotta know where the book is; we had it here last night, last thing before you went to bed."
"Dad," he said, "I don't think about the past."
To be clear, I sometimes think about the past. But when I do, especially if I move from "thinking about" to "dwelling on," Gary Gulman's "Holy Trinity of Regret" (would've, could've, should've) tend to rise up in my mind. Either one of those three or some useless nostalgia that can be equally demotivating. Just as thinking about the future tends to generate worries and concerns in my mind over things that probably will not happen. So, as they say, "Now is a gift. That's why they call it the present."
And "Now" is the time to reflect on and write up my 2020 personal plan, my 20/20 Vision to improve my daily routine. And I've settled on the following 3R Routine:
Rise, Run, Rest
Every day, my plan is to "Rise" with the same 3 x 3 focus I used last year: think of 3 things for which I'm grateful, 3 things I'm looking forward to, and 3 things I can do today to make my life even better. I learned the 3 x 3 from Simpleology's "Little Calendar That Brainwashes You." I used it the past two years and found that it really works for me. I found a more convenient-sized calendar as my local stationery store so will use that one this year. There's space to record the number of alcoholic drinks I had the previous day, and then 0, 1, or 2 times doing 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation (TM). That's the start of my morning: "Rise."
The day then actually begins with "Run." Not the literal kind, because I still hate running. An exercise program that I don't like is one that won't get done. So for me, "run" actually begins with writing. Most days, the writing consists of Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages." Just write for 10 - 20 minutes, whatever comes to mind. I title the day's entry with something related to whatever fragment of a dream I remember, and sometimes write about that dream if it's interesting or memorable. Funny how knowing that I'm going to write about a dream leads to remembering more dreams. So that's the first writing I do. Then "run" (actually, walk) to the gym.
"Run" is my shorthand for "living life." Most days, probably like you, I'm on the go. Traveling to clients, making presentations, volunteering, rehearsing or songwriting, whatever a particular day's activities, there's almost more to do than time to do it. Or at least it appears that way. I've started repeating one of Stuart Wilde's mantras, "I've got all the time in the world," along with Steve Chandler's reminder that "you can only do the one thing," and Voilá! I've found the time I need to do thing I need to do. And that includes Rest.
This year I'm prioritizing rest and sleep. Matthew Walkers' Why We Sleep made a big impact on me toward the end of last year, and I've been studying up on other's takes on this mysterious activity that takes up 1/3 of our lives. I also want to make sure I take that 20 minutes during the day for my afternoon TM. I still remember a monk's answer to one of my staff's questions, "What if I don't have 20 minutes in my day to use for meditation?" He answered, "Then you need an hour."
So there's my simplified, clarified 3R Routine for 20/20 Vision this year. Like last year, I'll post how it's going for me. And I welcome your comments, questions, and routines!