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LITERALLY LORNA COLUMN: New habits in the New Year

Lorna Ross

It’s that time of year when some start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Not me.

Actually, I think they’re quite ridiculous. Yes, I’ve tried, for example, losing weight, drinking less, staying in touch with family and friends more often, etc.

Every time I would start out strong with a plan and focus, then about March when baseball season, warm weather and summertime activities begin, I’d lose that focus on my resolution.

“On to the next thing,” became my saying. For me, it became silly making a New Year’s resolution when I knew this would happen in time. Now, I review my goals once a month on a regular basis throughout the entire year. I have created a new habit.

A resolution is a plan to fix something. A resolution takes time and dedication throughout the entire year. That is not something I was willing to do, I guess. Not enough focus, too many other interests, not enough willingness.

On the other hand, I’m very goal-oriented. I always have been. I like to write down and reach realistic goals. For example, I completed my NFL jersey collection (a three-year plan) with help from others and a really good plan.

Another example: I wanted to improve my communication skills, so I joined Toastmasters. Now I’m a freelance writer. Like anything else, practice makes perfect and writing is no different.

One way I tried to improve my communication skills was to work on my listening skills. To practice, I would sit down with a baseball scorebook and listen to a Twins game on the radio. I’d keep score, balls, strikes, pitch count and even the temperature at game time. This seemed to help my listening skills, but I found I was using a lot of baseball phrases throughout my day, like the time my husband poured the last cup of coffee for himself. “You’re out!” I yelled. He looked at me with big, concerned eyes and slowly handed me his cup of coffee.

Anyway, I was making a point. Resolutions, goals or changes take time and discipline, not to mention the desire to actually want to achieve a positive outcome. Completing any of those takes creating a new habit. We get into bad habits the same as good habits, by routine.

In order to fix something you must create a new habit for yourself, a different routine and in time, whatever it is will change because the routine and habit are now one. I do believe this is where the saying “It is what it is” came from. You can create what it is and then it will become what it is. Another phrase that comes to mind is “Doing the same thing over and over expecting change is insanity.”

So go ahead and make that resolution, set those goals, but create a plan of a different routine that will develop into a habit to achieve what you want. I have found that once a month, the 27th of each month (my birthday date), I sit down with my journal, read over my goals and make some notes if necessary. This seems to keep me on track.

Also, remember that it’s OK to scratch a goal or change its timeline. After all, it’s your goal and you can do with it whatever you want. Have a great New Year everyone!

Lorna Ross has been a correspondent for the Pierce County Herald since 2015.