The morning I began writing this column, it didn’t seem like a usual morning.
It was a Wednesday recently when I was only ‘two-days in’ to my 2020 ‘list’ of things to continue, to start, and to stop. Call it planning, call it resolutions – but I’ll call it profound change; if you look at me now, I look the same, but I don’t feel the same, and things are not the same – plenty of change, quite a few decisions, and results and manifesting through incremental and relentless change.
Principal among those first actions I took were around diet, exercise, and water. Lots of water. I’m neither a proponent nor skeptic about dietary efforts around water. Candidly, more water – less food, is the objective. Most people who know of it would say I’ve just pulled a page from the Weight Watchers doctrine.
I grew up hearing the ‘8 glasses a day’ and always wondered what size glasses?
And do bigger people need more? Do tiny people need less? I always thought it was a principle or guideline – probably a good one, but I’ve never tried it seriously as a tool to lose weight, or more importantly, to better regulate my health. So, let’s call that Project Water. I’ll probably meet an engineer whose answer to questions about the glass being half-full will counter with, “the glass is too big.”
Now, to the meat of this. Or rather, the ‘less meat, more vegetables’ of this.
Enough about food – that could generate an entire book, changing habits requires more in-depth work than changing the menu. I’ve been stopping by the fridge to see what I could snack on many times a day since I was a child. Now I have a sticky note (I’ve drawn a padlock on it) on my fridge, which says: “open only for meal prep three times daily.” I realize some days an observer would say I am using it as a guideline rather than a rule, but now I’m confronted by that sticky-note every time I visit the fridge. So far, I don’t think it has impacted my waistline any more than the mall-walking has, but the consciousness change has been dramatic…
Where am I going with this?
Glad you asked.
I’ve been doing a lot of non-health related things as part of my 2020 list; I’ve been cutting costs, making business plans, reaching out to different people, and re-ordering my business and personal priorities – with substantial impact. I won’t detail them here; a) I don’t want to bore people, and b) a lot of it is private. Simply put, I’m testing the value of everything I do. I’ve been moving things around, so I see each room, each set of routines, differently. Changes are refreshing, especially if they save steps, time, and money.
One big surprise.
I have, finally, got my services from Shaw – the primary local provider of bundled services (internet, phone, cable TV) – rationalized after much trouble, much time on hold, many conversations, and two technician visits. The obvious, reduced costs are substantial; 2/3rds from reducing services, 1/3rd through negotiating better pricing. The impact of 2 TVs instead of 3, 1 phone line instead to 2 phone lines and a fax line are rather passive – new boxes are shiny/new things, but otherwise, it’s just about the money.
So I thought.
The most significant impact is not learning how to manipulate the channel changing functions on the box/remote – in fact, it is simpler because of fewer channels. Again, not much impact aside from cost-saving and learning to use a better/newer/ more straightforward tool. The surprise came in the ‘altered channel package.’ I don’t have the comedy channel, don’t have a lot of others – most of which I didn’t watch. CNN is gone too. So far, I think I’m saving more than money. It isn’t that I don’t already overdose on news and media access, but I quickly realized I have become addicted to CNN. I watch specific shows and often have had it on during the day or evening as a default.
It is quieter now. I still get lots of news, get it in a timely fashion – but I’m listening to more music now, listening to more radio, to more podcasts – and listening to the previous sweet sound of quiet more. Somebody suggested I should add FOX so I can balance my biased CNN brain…
Seriously, and my point here, we can change many things consciously. Move the furniture, rearrange our routine, switch suppliers of goods and services – as quickly as we can improve our diet, exercise, and sleep habits. We will achieve the desired and expected results in direct proportion to our commitment and effort.
But what we don’t expect, cannot anticipate, and will value most of all – are the surprises that come from altered routines. Change of what the body does, rationally, will have some impact on the mind but not much – because we decided in our mind, and then manifested the result. Conversely, when something happens we didn’t plan, we react to it, and then think about it…
I have freed up time for exercise, sleep, listening to music, and quiet thinking time, which, if I was to tally it up, is probably 3-5 hours daily, possibly more. I did this with a piece of paper, three columns, and a decision to plan my 2020. It’s still autumn, it’s still December, it’s still in DRAFT with edits being made daily – and it has changed my life. You might react to that being a bit dramatic, that it changed my life. It has. So far, in many temporary ways, but these new ways could become permanent habits soon. Some of great value, some of none. Some will save money or time or effort. Others will have impacts I cannot yet imagine.
Most of all, a reminder we all need:
MY LIFE NEED NOT BE STAGNANT
Change doesn’t require resources as much as it requires choices and sticking with things – unless they are things we need to get unstuck.
Either way, it’s just choice-making, but with an action attached.
Keep going, don’t stop, make another change, make another choice… have you got 20/20 vision yet?
Loved what you covered. I would also include over population and using up resources that aren’t being replaced. I’ve read that nuclear is the only possible energy answer at this time, but we’re averse to that. - LH, Lethbridge, AB
Good morning Mark, I not sure I would have guessed your opinion on climate change was as you stated below. Your words expressed my own thinking on the issue of carbon and pollution very well. I believe the UN and the political types are selling us a bill of goods with their own agenda behind it. Their agenda is not going to have a good outcome for the rest of us. I just wanted to affirm your thinking and say you expressed it very well. Have a wonderful holiday season. Best regards, MM, Calgary, AB