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Turning the Calendar

General Posted by jordan 3 weeks, 3 days ago

About ten years ago, my dad started creating an annual mantra. Some of the best include:

  • If it were easy, everyone would do it.
  • No more guilt trips.
  • If it's not delicious, dump it.
  • If you've got a good thing going, don't mess it up.
  • Take time to recognize and appreciate beauty.
  • Just because you think it doesn't mean you need to say it.

These do tend to float through my head, not just during that year, but for years to come (especially "If it's not delicious, dump it."), and I've made positive changes in my life because of them.

Changing years is a convenient time for self-reflection. My mantra for 2017 will probably be "Don't spend lots of time doing activities you hate." Although this seems obvious, I definitely need the reminder to invest my time in activities that are beneficial and pleasant. Somehow, I spent a lot of 2016 doing things I didn't necessarily enjoy, usually out of a sense of unfounded obligation.

Do you have any mantras, goals, resolutions or epiphanies looking ahead to 2017?

24 replies

  • elancaster65

    I don't normally make resolutions. Gave those up for Lent (which I don't celebrate/follow either!).

    That said, there are some mantras if you will that I try to follow.

    David's plea in Psalms 41 for the Lord to set a "guard over my mouth" so as to not say something stupid/regrettable on social media or in real life.

    "Just because you don't like the person saying it doesn't make the truth any less truthful" or something along that line. IOW, look past preconceptions and biases to see if there is truth in the matter.

    And a new one I came up with after my first failure at making beer. It's something I've been working on my whole life as I hate/fear failure.

    "Failure is an opportunity to try again."

    I may fail but if I never try or try again I leave "what may be" on the table, never to be discovered by me.

    2017 starts with definite uncertainty for not only me but for many. My faith sustains me even in times of doubt. I'll rejoice in the good times and mourn in the sad. I'll do what I've been trying to do for the better part of my 51 years; try to love God, love others and take time to listen.

    Reply

    • jordan

      Something that struck me about both your and trigjoh's comments was the theme of listening. Listening is so hard. It's more fun to just be right all the time and tell everyone about it.

      So, I'm going to start practicing listening. We'll see how this goes. I'm going to have to work on my poker face.

      Reply

  • trigjoh

    Maybe one resolution, one wish, one note of thanks.

    • I see a number of friends fighting terrible illness with grace, strength and humor, that most of us rarely exhibit during the best of times when something irks or afflicts us. Seeing that strength in someone drives me to be more resilient to life's little challenges.

    • The world is hardly going to become a less contentious place in the next few years. A wish to see people really learn from opportunity to share and LISTEN is something I hope for. There is far too much polemic vented from opposing sides of any issue. Time to see groups of all stripes actually working towards solutions that benefit people rather than special interests or those with power.

    • Also, and for this a thanks to the Gentlemint community, a chance to get organized. A recent Parlor comment about 'bullet journalling' had me scouring the internet and finding the resources and information I think can actually work for me. Excited to give this a real go. Happy New Year fellow Gentleminters! May 2017 bring you health, happiness and success in your endeavors.

    Cheers @trigjoh

    Reply

    • jordan

      See reply to @elancaster65 regarding listening.

      Also, thanks for the new word "polemic". I had to look that up!

      I think I had the comment about bullet journalling, and I'm really interested to see how it goes for you. Maybe you can share an update after a few months? I do a fairly paired down version of it, and I'd be interested to hear what pieces of it work for someone else.

      Reply

  • Razorback

    "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years."

    I will be turning 50 this month. My age has never bothered me but this particular year has given me pause to think about the future. To that end, the quote above (author unknown but most often attributed to Abraham Lincoln) rests top of mind for me. I just want to be certain I enjoy life to its fullest each and every day.

    Reply

    • elancaster65

      None of the milestone years bothered me either. Until 50. For some reason, 50 hit me harder than I thought. I'm a big, "It's just another year" kind of guy. But 50 really made me stop and take stock in what I'm doing, asking who I am, thinking a lot about my impact on those around around me and has it been for the good?

      That and discovering hair in places it never was before.

      Reply

      • Razorback

        Same here. None of the milestones bothered me. And 50 is not hitting me "hard" per se, but it does make me reflect on how much time I have left to do the things that would be most meaningful to me and to/for others. My wife and I chose not to have children when we were younger so I tend to mull over my legacy. I think that would be to do as much good in the world as I can and be an example for my nieces and nephews. Fortunately, I do not spend time looking back and wondering if I should have done anything differently. Can't change it anyway.

        I know what you mean about the hair. I do make sure to take extra care grooming the ears and nose now because nobody wants to see that. However, I have this wild one that comes out directly between my eyebrows. I pull it out and it always comes back. It is like a one-hair protest hell-bent on creating a unibrow.

        Reply

  • glen

    While it's nothing as thought-provoking as the ones below, a big struggle with myself is doing the little things and consistency.

    But I've noticed over (and over and over) that the people who truly get things done and truly make a difference are the people who do the little things, every day. (I realize this is obvious to many... I'm historically a slow learner.)

    Anyway, my goal is to not only follow through more on the little stuff, but to also learn to enjoy it in the process.

    Anyway, great topic and I've enjoyed reading the responses.

    Reply

  • Chet_Manly

    I have never considered a mantra for the year but listening to others would be about the best thing for 2017. (Ive noticed that as trend, but it could just be because of comments on multiple threads here and a some videos I've been noticing on YouTube). I've been trying to do that for the last half of 2016; finding common ground rather than focusing on how I'm different. It's gotten a bit easier since I started.

    I started with family and just tried to nod and say, non-committalal/non-confrontational type responses and let the person just have their say with really responding. I think starting with people I like and care about helped. It also helps to come here because everything is already pretty civil and hyperbole is nonexistent (sarcasm however is not, but that' never seems to be a problem). I see this a mental element for me to focus on for 2017-20??.

    As for physical things to change. I am planning to take a more direct approach to small details in life by going to bed earlier. I've self analyzed enough to see that as my primary stumbling block. I started over Christmas and it has gotten better, but once stress hits I'll be truly tested.

    Oh, and I also plan to:

    • not run a marathon or really any distance at all.
    • not learn to play guitar or violin
    • keep eating food I like
    • express my thoughts and opinions via comments and tacks on Gentlemint

    Somehow, I feel I've got those last few covered.

    Reply

    • jordan

      +26.2 for not running a marathon and for your self-analysis leading to action. My current issue is getting up in the morning, and I have yet to figure out what the problem is to start pursuing a solution.

      +1,000 for Gentlemint's lack of hyperbole. That's an extreme oddity for social media, and it's why I keep coming back.

      Reply

      • glen

        I guarantee you'll come back a million times.

        :D

        Reply

      • Chet_Manly

        Thanks for the kind words. I too struggle in the morning but I've traced it back to the night before. I'm blessed because my wife is an early riser and if I'm simply asleep early enough in the evening, her getting up is enough to wake me and then my day gets started earlier. I've just been in the "stay up late and get it done" mode any time I've done school or had extra projects to work on. I think it just has become habit over time. I feel your pain though, rolling out of bed too early is killer.

        Great thread you've started by the way. I really enjoy these running conversations that give insight into how other guys think.

        Reply

  • brian

    Great topic.

    I don't have much to add to this discussion, but I do collect mantras to a certain extent and write down my favorites in a notebook that is nearly always at my side. Here are a few of my favorites:

    • Never delegate understanding
    • Every morning when you wakeup, pretend the entire universe was created today.
    • Eventually everything connects
    • Ignore all modern distractions and embrace all modern tools.

    Reply

    • Chet_Manly

      That last one is totally new to me, but it is awesome. I'm going to borrow it.

      Reply

      • brian

        That's actually the only one on the list I came up with myself. I was thinking about what is great about living in modern times and what is not great about it. The downside is all the distractions we are inundated with (Netflix, apps, games). But the great thing is how awesome all the tools we have to work with are now. All of the digital tools, heck even modern power tools are incredible when you think about it.

        Reply

  • OperationBrandon

    I generally make a point not to have new years resolutions, as I'll almost certainly break them out of stubbornness.

    Having said that, I took the new year as an excuse to do a few things, mainly stop smoking (gone a week now) and trying to draw and write more.

    This year's likely to be quite stressful, I'm anticipating having to move, at least city and possibly country. So my most important mantra will be to appreciate what I have, live in the moment and try not to let the world beat me down =)

    Reply

    • jordan

      Good for you on the smoking thing. That's really hard.

      And best wishes on the move. Having a good perspective on that will make a huge difference in both the anticipation and the actual process.

      Reply

      • OperationBrandon

        Cheers man. It's the habit that's way worse than the chemical addiction - I'm so used to having a cig as a reward, or while waiting or whatever.

        Just got to see the move as an adventure!

        Reply