Monday, January 2, 2017

Plans and Goals for 2017

It's become a tradition for me here at the Stick Chick Blog to make plans and goals for the upcoming year each early January.  To see my prior efforts in this regard, see my lists for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Once again, I want to remind you that these are NOT "New Year's Resolutions", as those are silly and most people give that stuff up by the end of January, and that's certainly not MY intention.  I'm different.

It has nothing to do with the sticks, knives and other weapons I tend to tote about with me, nossir.

This year I'm going to look at this a little differently.  In prior years, I wrote a concrete list of things I'd like to do or accomplish, for my martial arts training, for my blog, and for my life.  Then I checked back every so often to see how I'm doing on that list.

Eh, that's not really doing it for me. Things change, often rapidly, and new opportunities come up that may interfere with what I think I want or need at the end of the prior year.  It's silly to call a goal "failed" if it no longer applies.

So, instead of a checklist of "stuff", this year I'm thinking of my goals and plans in terms of a theme.  My focus this year will be to do things that will contribute to the theme of the year.

That being said, I've decided that 2017's theme is:
 STRENGTH
Why strength?  I have been feeling for some time that there's a gap in where I want to be, and where I am, in terms of being strong.  I'm not physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially as strong as I want to be.

Let's take each of those points and define ways I can tackle that in 2017.

1) PHYSICAL STRENGTH

Will I be able to accomplish this year what I have failed to do for the last two years and get into SOME sort of program that will make me physically stronger?  If I want to do things that will play into this year's goal, I have to.

I'm on the slippery slope to 50 years old, and while I do not expect myself to ever be as strong as most of the people I train with (young males for the most part), I can still do things that will result in 1) not losing strength I already have as well as 2) improving on that strength that's already there.

This will also include making sure I stay physically healthy as much as I am able.  Not only avoiding injury if possible, but honestly, I need to make sure I am carving out more time to heal and rest.  I've been running (pretty) hard for a couple of years.  I get sick more often than I'd like, and I need to do everything I can to make sure I don't lose a week or more to another migraine.

Another way to enhance my physical strength is to be better at my technique - that is, I may not be able to hit as hard as someone bigger and younger than I am, by pure muscle, but the force I generate can be overcome my lack of physical strength due to using good technique.

2) MENTAL STRENGTH

I am an other-directed sort of person.  That is, I don't have a lot of internal motivation to do stuff - I do better when I have to meet with another person.  That's why I go to classes and a bunch of seminars and make "appointments" with friends to train, versus training solo in a park or going to the gym.

Without that appointment, I tend to procrastinate and get distracted into doing stuff that maybe isn't the best use of my time.

I have got to find a way to work in this fact with my need to do things on my own, without having that "other" trigger to get motivated to do stuff.  This may be having to make "appointments" with myself, perhaps, but I have to get better disciplined at that sort of thing without needing other people.

Long story short, I need to develop better work habits, both in my hobbies and in other areas of my life.  That's how I'll become mentally stronger.

Yes, I find this as disturbing as you do.


3) EMOTIONAL STRENGTH

I think this is one area that I'm generally pretty strong in, but like all things, I could use a little improvement.

I need to stay focused on those things that make me a better self, vs. things that weaken or diminish me.  I would also like to become more charitable in interpreting the behaviors and statements of those around me.

I am not certain concrete steps I can take in regards to this (if you have suggestions, let me know in the comments!). 

4) FINANCIAL STRENGTH

This facet of strength is actually related to a long term shift in thinking I've been undergoing.

I'm less into things these days, and more into experiences.  For me, becoming "rich" isn't having a big house, or cars, or what have you, it's being able to live my life getting to do the things I'm interested in doing in family life, martial arts training, writing and studying history, just to name a few pursuits.

We've set a new rule for now - every new item in the house means two items leave (that is, not things that we use up, like soap and food, but objects). Not only do I think that will curtail purchases we don't need to make, it will mean that every purchase we do make will have to count more.

So, my new bo and my new naginata means four knick-nacks gathering dust go to the donate pile. Hey, if I donate all this stuff, that also makes me financially stronger due to the tax write-off - SWEET!

So in 2017, I will do a much better job in spending money for experiences, not things, and not wasting it on things I don't absolutely want more in my house than the two things I am going to have to give up to acquire it.

Less of leaving large piles of cash lying around for babies to throw out the window, too.

This facet of strength also relates to this blog.  I've just passed the three-year anniversary of the Stick Chick Blog back in December 2016.  It's time for this blog to grow up a little, and I will be moving to a new platform and a new look very shortly - and a new mission.  Stay tuned for this big change, as big things are coming and I'm pretty excited about the potential.

So there you go - this new year is all about strength, baby, and I'm going to stay focused on whatever it takes to be stronger in 2017.

So what are you thinking you'd like to achieve or improve in 2017? Let me know in the comments!