The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 8: Follow Through
I had always bounced the idea of adding a blog feature to The Smile Project website, but as an 18-19 year old, I was too self-conscious of any writing I produced to share it with the world. After doing some front-facing writing for my college’s newspaper, I decided it probably wouldn’t kill me if I started a Smile Project blog.
For weeks, I would write “blog!” in my planner and for weeks, I would scribble it out and move it to the next week. It was the task that would always come last. It was the thing I wanted to do but couldn’t follow through with. It was the item that I could come up with infinite excuses to avoid.
Until I stopped avoiding it. In January 2015, I launched what would become known as the “Hump Day Challenge.”
The idea was to spend at least an hour each Wednesday doing something you love that you don’t make enough time for. Mine was going to be the blogs. This led to #WednesdayBlogDay. Catchy, I know.
Anyway, weird names aside, I fell into a routine. Each Wednesday I wrote a blog and before I knew it, I was achieving an important goal, creating a portfolio of work, and sharing the ideals of The Smile Project in a different format than the daily “Happiness is” posts.
In January 2016, I added “Service Sunday” to my weekly task list. On Sundays, I would either interview someone who was shaking the world or I would write about some other important topic to the world of social good, nonprofits, and philanthropy. By holding myself accountable to this daily task, I was able to follow through with something that, once again, meant a lot to me.
This past January (2017), I decided to reinvent the Sunday posts. I wanted to instead think about how I could work on myself, little by little, one week at a time. I introduced the idea of Resolution posts (like this one). I had a great time for the first seven posts.
But then I messed up. My constant, steady posting slipped through the cracks as I found myself lost in other routines, stresses, and life activities. And I missed a Wednesday. Then I missed a Sunday. Then I missed another Wednesday. And another Sunday. And another Wednesday.
I hadn’t followed through. I hadn’t owned my promises – not to The Smile Project and certainly not to myself.
And while I realized I could stay frustrated with myself and my time management or lack-there-of, I also realized that would do me no good.
The only thing I could do is the only thing I’ve ever known how to do. I could write.
Resolution #8: Follow Through
It’s hard to refocus. When you feel like you’re already fighting a losing battle and you’re running uphill just to catch up. Sure, it would be easier to just start writing again and pretend I hadn’t missed a few weeks.
But on principle, I can’t agree with that option.
On principle, I know I owe The Smile Project, you readers, and myself so much more than that. I said I wanted to find little ways to improve myself week by week and here is what I am saying for the week when it seemed like I couldn’t cross anything off my “To-Do list.”
Be patient with yourself. Shake your head and start over. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a couple busy weeks. Don’t stop just because you have to readjust the way you’re looking at things.
The idea of this resolution is to accept that sometimes things won’t be as timely or “perfect” as you want them to be. But you still have to follow through. If for no other reason than the fact that you made a promise to yourself. And you deserve it.