Friday, October 15, 2010

Indefinite Goals

Many have asked me when I was going to drink long this was going to "last"...what my timeline was for this new decision. Any today, while thinking about the concept of anniversaries, I realized that if I had made an end date, this entire experience would have been different. My train of thought would be different...instead of embracing a new decision, I would be waiting for that wonderful date where I could get back to my life. For example, I tried to stop drinking for 30 days. Never in those 30 days did I discover the things about myself and others that I have in the past 10 months...why?..because all I could think about was how many days of non-drinking I had left. Even if I would have made exceptions in my decision, like weddings or birthdays or whatever, then I believe the experience would have been different...I would have awaited a wedding or birthday as an excuse to engage in something that I was trying to stop. Okay...I think my point is that...over the past 10 months I have become confident in my decision, I have accepted it, found positives in it, grew stronger from it, and supported my stance. However, if I made an end date or exceptions then I would clearly not be confident in my would not be a whole hearted life change...and I believe, that it would leave me angry/anxious/whatever during that time frame that I wasn't "allowed" to drink. I believe that this is one of those issues where there is little gray area. I can not advocate for my personal decision (mind you--a decision for my life only, not anyone else) when I am keeping track of the days till I go back on it. Does that make sense?

So, as I was thinking about this (and self approving my decision to have not made any end dates or goals or objectives or timelines or exceptions) I realized that this idea could apply to most things in life. Take exercising, for example. Many people exercise right before an event (vacation, summer, wedding, reunion, birthday, etc), so I believe that if you tell yourself "Okay I am going to exercise every day for the next four weeks", you will be begrudgingly counting down the days until the four weeks are over and you can end the exercise madness. And so I guess it depends on if this decision is something that really means something to you...but if you wanted to stick with exercising and find enjoyment out of it (even just for those four weeks), I would say not to create a timeline or end date, but instead to take the time to discover what activity you like and whole heartedly embrace that decision and roll with it...let things play out on their own. I guess I don't believe that you can effectively/enjoyably go into a decision/activity knowing and planning on the fact that you are going to stop it at some point. Having an end in sight cannot help for happiness in the present.

So my advice would be..don't make end dates for changes...just explore, alter, modify, start and stop..but do not predetermine the end.


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