i have an invitation for you…
Much like i’ve started speaking about Christmas a little early so that we can be intentional about putting plans and traditions into effect before the fact, i want to take a look at this whole going into the New Year thing.
i’ve never been a huge fan of the whole New Year’s Resolutions’ vibe, because my understanding of how they work is that you make a bunch of promises and then keep them for three days, feel bad for four and then continue with your year as per normal. Sound about right?
New Year’s Revolutions
In fact the one year i wrote a blog post about New Year’s Revolutions with the idea being to choose some intentional changes that you are going to make to revolutionise your life.
The problem with resolutions is that they are often quite general – “I want to lose weight” “I want to travel” “I want to stop making cricket predictions so that my players will stop going out”
What seems to be a lot more helpful and realistic would be to come up with some specific ideas of changes you are planning on making and then commit to them.
Whose wine is it anyway?
Many of you will know that i decided to give up alcohol for 2017 [which you can read about here] and with under two months to go – apart from one very real dream where i drank a glass of something and was SO DISAPPOINTED with myself until i woke up and realised it was just a dream – it has been the easiest of fasts, but at the same time there is a bottle of Amarula Gold in my man cave with my name on, and i am definitely looking forward to a celebratory Kahlua coffee and would be quite okay if someone bought me my traditional bottle of Nachtmusiek [chocolate liqueur, oh yes!] for Christmas.
But the point is i made a commitment and announced it – for accountability sake cos once you’ve told everyone who you’re friends with on Facebook that you’re not drinking for a year that’s a lot of eyes on you to help you keep it real – and stayed to it and it was great.
For next year i am looking to give up something again, but this time the focus is on something that is not good for me so that it will be a positive change. And i would love for you to consider giving up something as well because sometimes doing it with someone makes it easier.
The New Normal
It’s been done a bunch but i really like the phrase ‘The New Normal’ – for me in 2017, not drinking alcohol was my new normal and that feels a lot easier to facilitate than the idea of fasting or giving up even though it is the same thing.
Recently tbV and i did a healthy eating and exercise October in which she gave up alcohol for the month and we both committed to eating better and doing more exercise. i have just come back from my Tuesday morning 6.30am walk with my buddy Charles which has become a new normal for me. And if there is another guy out there who wants to join me on Thursdays, drop me a message.
i also recently started attempting a hectic workout plan called Insanity Max with Shaun T.
My mate Mahlatse and some friends of his committed to these thirty minute workouts [Disclaimer: the max i have made is about 8 minutes so far and barely past the workout – this stuff is lit, yo!] and so i’ve added them to my daily schedule and am slowly seeing results which is great.
So here are some options for you, for 2018:
# Give up an item of food or drink as you join me in the 2018 fast.
# Commit to some sort of exercise program – Val and i have been walking with different friends every week which is a nice healthy and inexpensive way to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while or want to hang out with more.
# Put together a book list of books you really want to finish in 2018 – i find that if i am intentional with my reading beforehand i get a lot more done. If you are a white South African then make it a priority to read the Robert Sobukwe book ‘How can man die better’ and the Steve Biko collection ‘I write what i like’ but also you might want to broaden your typical reading lists to add some diversity. If you typically read white male american for example, use 2018 as a chance to start reading some women, some authors from another country, into some aspect of history that you would like to know more about [i read three really incredible books on the Israel/Palestine history because i knew nothing about what was going on there] or a writer from a different faith or viewpoint in some area you have strong feelings about.
A great way to do this is to make a Facebook status and ask people to recommend the best book they read this year that they think you might enjoy or benefit from and treat yourself at Christmas to a couple of books to head into the new year with.
# Commit to learning something new – maybe a new dish in the kitchen [what is that meal your mom makes that you absolutely love? Get her to teach you!] or an online course at web design or a new language [if you’re South African and haven’t started on your black African language learning, here is your chance!] or a skill [maybe you have a friend who will commit time to teaching you something they’re good at].
# Volunteer – At the moment i help out where i can with the PJW Peace Justice Witnesses who presence themselves at the universities when stuff is going down as well as other places where things are a little volatile and a peaceful presence might be helpful. i also help out at an after school homework program at St Johns where i church once a week which is a fun time of connecting with young people, mostly from the military base next door. No particular skills needed for either of these but there are school programs, sports teams, old age homes, non profit organisations and animal shelters desperate for someone who has an hour or a few hours a week to regularly come and help out. What is one place you could volunteer at in 2018?
Those are five pretty easy and pretty life-transformative ideas that if you spend a little bit of time on thinking through them now as 2017 winds down and make a decision or two, could see you starting 2018 with a helpful shift in focus as you being to work on your new normal.
Is there something i left out that you would add? Are any of these ideas you will consider for 2018? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comments section, especially if you’re giving up a thing in 2018 cos we can stay connected and accountable with that.