I was a die-hard Girl Scout. Yes, I enjoyed the campouts, badge earning, and other activities — but my favorite time of year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I am extremely competitive, and each year I would challenge myself to do better than the prior year. No one put me up to it. My parents did not pressure me or push me to sell a specific number of boxes. They also did not reward me for my achievement. It was my own crazy self that worked my ass off to do more than I ever had.
One year, one of the prizes from the local community of Girl Scout troops was a 10-speed bike. I did not have a 10-speed and wanted one badly. I knew it would take a lot of babysitting and tips from my paper route to be able to purchase that bike, not to mention selling my parents on my spending my hard-earned money. The next best way to ensure I had that bike was to sell the number of boxes required to win the bike — and I did.
A different year there was a trip to an amusement park in Ohio. I had been a few times on school trips, and absolutely loved amusement parks, so of course it was on my list to win a trip. I had my goals in mind and I made sure I met them, however crazy I was to find ways to sell boxes. Since I lived on the edge of a University campus, I would go to fraternity houses, their student center, apartment complexes, and dorms, not to mention door-to-door in my entire neighborhood to sell as many boxes as possible. I learned a lot — specifically on how to cater my communication and language to the person on the other side of the door, or the one with cash in their hands. I learned how to warm up my audience, be cute when needed, or spout off the benefits of the different types of cookies – whatever I could do to make sure they walked away with boxes of cookies in their hands.
So when I found out that Girl Scout cookies have gone online, I had mixed feelings. Girl Scouts will now be able to take credit cards and transact business via an app online. They can have family and friends in other parts of the country place an order through their specific online webpage. Here is why I have mixed feelings — yes they learn business techniques for 2015, online sales, webpages, social media, and credit cards, but I feel a lot is lost. It feels much like what happens when parents sell for their kids at work, but their kids never have to do a thing. How is that good for the kid? My parents did not sell a box for me. I sold every single one.
With selling cookies now online, I fear that kids will no longer know how to make change, do math in their heads as buyers put them on the spot with questions, and my largest concern is that they have now taken the human side out of selling cookies. Maybe I am old school, but I feel that the learning experience has dwindled for these girls.
I started with the title: “Why I hate resolutions” but I decided to change it. Why? Well, whenever I hear the word “hate” I think about my dad who always told me that hate is a strong word, and that I should not use it. The funny thing is I am sure that he used it whenever he wanted, however, somehow whenever I use the word, he comes to mind and I wrestle and wonder if there really is a better word to describe what I am thinking.
So…this year I am not going to do resolutions. I am going to have goals. Instead of sharing my specific goals (I may do that soon) I want to share my thoughts around sticking to your goals:
Do not have others talk you out of your goals. I have had that happen. On different years I have made goals to read a certain number of books in the year, or write everyday, or run a certain number of miles. There are some people in your life that think you have carved off too much. They might think that you work too hard or too much and that you should chill out. For those that understand your goals and what you are really trying to accomplish, they will not try to talk you away from your goals. They will support you, challenge you, and psych you up on the toughest of days. Watch who talks you away from your goals.
Stay resilient. Do not give up. It is easy to tell yourself how tired you are, or how hard you worked that day. I think of my goals pertaining to running. While I have never run a marathon, I have done a half marathon, and I think about the days after. Do you never run again or do you give yourself a break and then once you have had the rest needed to recuperate, you go back out and run? Are you back at it, or once you hit your goal do you give up?
Have a support system. Maybe it is one person, or a group of people. For me it is my husband. He often knows when I have hit my limit, but I am usually not willing to call it quits for that day. I have a hard time giving in if I have not done my goal for that day. He barters with me and will say you can catch up tomorrow, and remind me that today I just need to take care of myself (most especially on the roughest of days).
Stay motivated. My goals sometimes fall over a calendar year and sometimes they fall over many years. I recently found a calendar that showed that after some intense health issues, I had started walking a mile a day (that was in 2006). Now I am running 6-8 miles a day. It did not happen overnight, and it required small, mini goals to just stick to my mile a day. Over time, I craved my run however long or short it was, my goals changed, and my life changed as a result.
Decide what is most important. I could have a long list of what I want to focus on. Or, I can prioritize what matters most to me right now. My motivation lately is to try to find balance in my life. That is not something that happens overnight. It is not something that just happens in a calendar year. It happens moment by moment in the choices I make. It is a priority for me.
It is only nine days into the year and the thought that was going through my mind yesterday is why is it so hard for us to stick to things? We spend so much time talking about New Year’s resolutions and how we are going to keep and honor them throughout the year, and why is it such an ongoing conversation from year to year? Do we not have the self-control, resilience, and tenacity to follow through on what we say we are going to do? Do we just get bored? Or do we not set up realistic expectations that are obtainable?
I have not been able to decide. There is a part of me that is already hard on myself for letting a few things slide in the last nine days, where I think “wow, great track record so far this year.” Yet, why are we so hard on ourselves? What is the big rat race that we are running so fast in? Where is it taking us? I know I often carve out too many items on my to-do list for each day and it feels great when I am able to accomplish what I set out to do each day, but is that what really matters? If we look back from year to year, will we remember what we cross off on our to-do lists, or will we remember the hearts we touch, the conversations we have, and all the things we learn? I hope it is the latter.
While I do not want to add another thing to my list, I loved taking moments to capture the good that was happening in my life (and of course for Chris too) in 2013. I mentioned a few blog posts ago, that I want to continue doing that for 2014. It was fun to sit down on New Years and pull each item out of our jar and remember things that happened early on in the year. A few made us laugh and think, “wow, that made the jar” and I am sure there were many we missed that should have been documented. In any case, I think what I would like to track and appreciate is what I learn each day, week, month. Maybe there is nothing for weeks, and maybe there is a lot. Who knows, but I believe if we are consciously watching and we think about tracking it, we start to see those learnings show up everywhere. All because we watch for it. I think that will make for an even better 2014.
Rather than berate myself for not sticking to things completely, why not try, learn in the process, and celebrate the good that does happen? We have so little control over so many things in our little worlds, what we can control is what we witness, see, and appreciate. Are you with me?