Accountability and #365wordstolive

I shared a shift in how I look at goals in my previous post, #365wordstolive. My Facebook and Instagram feeds reflect that shift over the past week. I wanted to share some more insight into what you are seeing and how it came to be.

I began 2020 journaling in the Day One journaling app. It is easy to use and flexible. I found myself becoming less deliberate on posting journal entries and eventually stopped journaling. I spent the latter part of 2020 thinking about how I should look at life and better myself in 2021. Journaling seemed to be begging me to return.

Late in the year, I read Hiking Through One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul V. Stutzman. A passage in that book spoke to me. “Don’t look back. You cannot change what is behind you. To change your path and change your life, you will need a bridge. You’re at that bridge now.”

I knew the bridge I needed was journaling. I needed to add accountability to my journaling. It had to be public and not hidden in my Day One journal. Facebook and Instagram are a natural place for that accountability.

Several people have asked how I select my word of the day. I opted to let the events of the day dictate the #365wordstolive. I have included my first week’s journal entries in this post. These are likely a good sample of the unpredictability and spontaneity of the words.

The biggest challenge I face is developing the habit of writing a #365wordstolive journal entry every day. Daily journaling as a keystone habit for me, a habit that leads to the adoption of other habits. This philosophy sees progress and changes achieved through a (keystone) habit that nurtures and develops smaller habits. In other words, greater change happens when you take baby steps forward.

I hope you are enjoying the #365wordstolive. As promised above, here are my #365wordstolive from my first week of journaling.

FORWARD: This past year I read the book, Hiking Through, by Paul Stutzman. This is a story of a through hike on the Appalachian Trail. I found the author’s thoughts on looking forward insightful. You can’t change the past. You can change how you move forward. You need to build the bridge that determines your path forward. Now is the time to build that bridge.

“Don’t look back. You cannot change what is behind you. To change your path and change your life, you’ll need a bridge. You’re at that bridge now.” Hiking Through, Paul Stutzman #365wordstolive #day1

MIGHT: I try not to be a person that thinks about what might have been. I just can’t resist when looking ahead of what I want to do this year. The same applies to thinking about what might happen this year. It’s hard with the pandemic raging and a vaccine slowly rolling out. Over the last few days I have been giving thought on what I am going to do in terms of bicycle touring. I found myself using the word might way too many times. I decided this morning to replace those mights with ‘plan’. It seems like a slight change but plans can change easier than the uncertainty of ‘might’. A passage from a book I read this past year puts it into perspective.

“I bemoaned what ‘might have been’ then swiftly countered that there are no ‘mights’ on the long road. No mights or shoulds or maybes; they do not exist. John Devoy Quondam #365wordstolive #day2

TOGETHER: We are over nine months into the pandemic. Pre-COVID19, I took TOGETHER for granted. Dinners with friends, date nights, county fairs, and cycling events disappeared. I have a greater appreciation of these human connections and touches.

A vaccine will bring the pandemic under control in the future. Together and togetherness will have a greater importance to my life. Life has taught me that you gain a better appreciation of something once that something is gone from your life. #365wordstolive #day3

HAPPY: Every Monday I read the Mindf*ck Monday e-newsletter from Mark Manson. It is hit or miss but more often speaks to me. This week’s topic is happiness, and the emphasis is placed on being happy. Hmmm, that is me?! He believes the real task at hand to be happy is to build meaningful relationships and participate in meaningful activities. 

He has a valid point that humans set bad goals because the future is unpredictable. Like me, he realizes that goals should be written in pencil and not ink. Goals are guideposts and at most 30-day challenges. You can erase the goal and pencil in something new to stay on course. Think about the value of this approach.

“And I give myself the freedom to discard them when necessary.” Mark Manson, Midf*ck Monday #365wordstolive #day4

WALLS: Christmas decorations are packed away. The walls are bare. The glow and feelings of the holidays faded fast. January is a good time to look at walls; not the living room but the walls inside ourselves. These are the walls that need to come down to make positive changes in the new year.

Some walls are made of stone. Sometimes we build our own. Some walls stand for years. And some wash away with tears. – “Some Walls” by Peter, Paul, and Mary #365wordstolive #day5

I wrote the following word for the day post before the Capitol siege. I considered changing it but it stands. Where is the respect from these people? How do they respect democracy? How do they respect their elected officials? How do they respect people’s safety? How do they respect law and order? How do they respect democratic elections? I may not be respectful at this time because I am f*cking pissed off.

RESPECT: Respect has been sorely missing this past year. Politics and the pandemic made that crystal clear. Just about everyone wants to be respected and be respectful. There is something about human nature that makes that more of a chore than a natural act. It begins from within. Giving yourself respect opens you to receive and acknowledge respect. Then you can pay it forward and see real change in your world.

“Respect comes in two unchangeable steps: giving it and receiving it.”– Edmond Mbiaka #365wordstolive #day6

NUMBERS: Numbers are on my mind today as I headed to my annual physical. Test results were normal to good with cholesterol slightly elevated but in a good range. Given the stress of the past 9 months, I was surprised.

The numbers on the scale did not make me happy. I take ownership of my weight gain. I know that for those numbers to come down many things need to change, and it is hard. Those things are the 51% of the story that cannot be measured by numbers but by the mind.

“99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” ― Ron DeLegge II, Gents with No Cents #365wordstolive #day7

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