One thing I enjoy most about the New Year is that for the first month, I make all these new resolutions about goals and habits I want to develop.
People often say that there’s no need to wait until a date on the calendar to come up with new resolutions to better yourself. I like the metaphorical clean slate though. It’s a time you can cut yourself some slack and say “okay, now’s the time to make the adjustments to my life that I need to make.”
Some see it is silly that it takes a year to make these changes, but I like learning from the obstacles from the past years and reflecting on things I did well.
One of my changes is eating better. I strive to go to the farmer’s market every Sunday, and it makes me happier even before I eat the food. By shopping there, I get to talk to local farmers and vendors, buy fresh local foods, and give myself a peace of mind that the food I am buying is legit and not false advertisement. What I have noticed most by consistently shopping at this farmers market is that the vendors appreciate the fact that you are buying their product. T hey care about you knowing that it is fresh, where it came from and the effort put into having it here every week.
They also care about you and want to get to know you. I was talking to the man that I buy my coffee beans from and he was asking me how I like my grounds, what method I use to make my coffee, what kind of water I use, etc. We talked for about 20 minutes about coffee, just because he cared that I was making his product the right way. He wasn’t just selling me the coffee, he was selling himself without even knowing.
I thought that was a unique experience to have with somebody who is so passionate about his line of work. The environment created when everyone is passionate about what they’re selling, competitive and wanting you to know why they’re the best is great. I enjoy asking them questions and asking why I should choose their seasoning or their coconut oil or their butter, and they enjoy telling me why. That is more valuable to me than just going to a grocery store and picking things at random. Local farmers care a lot more than the whole foods dairy man on aisle 12 who just needs the paycheck.
One of the cool parts of working on a baseball team is that you’re surrounded by creative and motivated people all day every day. They want to look to better themselves and the program, so they are constantly coming up with ways to do so. A couple of my teammates introduced me to the idea of writing in a gratitude journal. The idea is simple – every morning, write down things that you are thankful for and reflect on those. Just a few of mine – I have a pulse, I’m an uncle, I have the best parents ever. Writing them down every day, not just once a year on turkey day, is truly a life changing exercise. Cheesy? Maybe, but actually try it. Shit works! Thank you Coach Gabe Ribas for that gem of an exercise. You are the man.
I had the opportunity to go to the coaches convention in Nashville earlier in January, and had the privilege of listening to John Gordon give a speech. If you don’t know who he is, Google him, it’ll be worth it. And then write down that you are thankful you read this post and now know about John Gordon. Anyways, I took away something from that speech that I believe is an absolute game changer for me. He talked about choosing a word for the year to live by. He gave a couple of his past examples, like forgive and serve. I thought they were two unbelievable words to live by, and I loved the idea of this challenge.
So I sat later that day in a coffee shop thinking of a word, something that by the end of the year would be a part of me. First, a behavior changes, then becomes a habit, then a part of yourself. I chose “Smile” 🙂
An easy and silly word right? Hmmmm. Every time you want to be mad or stressed, could you stop and smile? Not so easy now, huh? I don’t know where I heard it, or even if it is true, but forcing yourself to smile in a bad situation does something to your brain to manipulate it into a positive way of looking at the situation. Good enough for me. Often times I get so worked up over silly things. Now, instead of being upset, I smile.
My month of January has been improved by eating better, making my bed, working out, reading more, encouraging someone else every day and practicing gratitude. I think it’s made me a better co-worker, coach, son, uncle, brother and friend. I could just be high on New Year’s resolutions, but I truly believe that by sticking to those routines, I have given myself a big time boost.
If you’re like me and enjoy giving yourself a year to make meaningful, lasting changes, then you get where I’m coming from. If you’re struggling with your resolutions, that’s cool. We all do, but don’t fall off the bus just year. Maybe just smile today. Celebrate somebody and how awesome they are. It might force your brain into a different way of thinking. Say cheese.