Random Access Memory
Have you ever walked through a door into a new area and completely forgotten why you wanted to go there in the first place? You've chalked it up to not-enough-coffee or too-much-coffee or age or "senior moment" or senility. The fact is that there is a reason your memory dumps you like that. This article from Scientific American talks about a study done where researchers propose that "event models" in your memory are purged when entering a new area (such as walking through a door). Think of event models as surprise To-Dos. Short term actions to remember because you hadn't planned for them. Example: on your way home, you are told to pick up milk. You finish the drive home, enter your house, open the fridge, and remember that you forgot to get milk.
Why does everyone wait until New Years to start making life changes? Because it's a significant date. It's an easy place to purge your old self and start on your new "life model". You want to lose weight? January 1st you'll start that diet/exercise plan. You want to be a writer? January 1st, you'll write 30 minutes every day. New years, new life, new you... it's a great and natural marketing opportunity. Gym memberships soar in January.
Here's the thing: you can make any non-normal instance a "life model" purge.
Three years ago I changed my life around because I refused to use a CPAP machine in March.
Two years ago I changed my life again because I got engaged in February.
Last year my life changed in May, August, and September. Whirlwind year, and going to be hard to top.
My point is: if you've made a resolution for New Years, I hope you stick with it. Like I said in You Can Kaizen, it's all about small sustainable changes.
If you made a resolution for New Years and you fail, then I hope you find another event that kick-starts that life model purge.
Most importantly, I hope you don't give up entirely and just wait for another New Year to roll around. The book I linked above has 365 ways you can make each day a little "non-normal". Every day try to get back to what you really wanted on January 1st. You don't need the calendar to tell you when to change.
All About Accountability
To anyone who reads this, who remembers Diaryland? How about LiveJournal?
I've been blogging for the past 16 years. It's not easy, especially when you're not a teenager anymore. As you get older, you realize that your views are small in comparison to the rest of the world. You are this tiny speck in a world of eight billion. You get a job. You become your employee ID number. You get paid, you get benefits, and if you are lucky you find a really cool person to spend a whole lot of time with, and you forget that at one time, you were the most important person in the world.
In my previous job, I enjoyed helping people relive that feeling. I would focus all my energy on them, their needs, and their life story. Yes, I was paid to do it... as are all retail employees. But the reward comes from doing the job well, and getting that spark of connection from a complete stranger.
I left that job because although the customer service side was rewarding, I was not advancing. I had not moved from the same position for three years, I wasn't learning anything new, and I was becoming stagnant, boring, and bored.
So I did a really stupid thing and left a good job to pursue a dream of doing what I love: freelancing, consulting, and writing. Helping people start on their own dreams, making those connections, growing as a person and citizen of the world.
The first two weeks were great.
The first month was really productive.
The second month was completely dead.
Now I'm about to enter month three. I've been applying for real jobs through the various channels: LinkedIn, Career Sites, Temp Agencies... I've even applied to become a freelancer for TaskRabbit.
So far, nothing. I had one interview which turned into a consultation, but nothing else. The horrible thing is that I keep blaming myself.
"What am I not doing?"
"What skills don't I have?"
"What's wrong with me?"
It's exactly like online dating.
You message an interesting person. You hear nothing back. You move on... until it becomes the 30th or 50th or 100th person. Then you start wondering if maybe it's you. You pick apart your entire life, try to fix every little thing, and fail because it's really not you.
Eventually, you find self-acceptance. Then you find that one cool person to spend a whole lot of time with.
Like online dating, I will keep at it until I find the one cool job to spend the next decade of my life with. It's worked before!
So, why this blog? Despite my confidence in my intelligence, my skills, and my future as an exceptional citizen of the world; when things don't go the way I'd planned I get down on myself. I get stressed, I get frustrated, and I forget that it's not me. My fitness blog holds me accountable to my health, this blog is going to hold me accountable to the life I want to live.
I am the most important person in my life, because I am the one who decides whether or not I achieve the life I want.
Stephanie Cansian is a rebelliously positive Central Jersey citizen with her husband and their dog.