Monday, January 24, 2011

for better

I've wanted to start a new blog for a while-- I found in past years that keeping track of my life online helps to keep me motivated. I am on the verge of (finally) finishing college, and I wanted to enumerate and quantify my goals for the rest of the year.

Yet, even the task of coming up with a name for my blog seemed like it was too much. I wanted an original, non-cliche title-- something that invokes interest, not yawns, yet something that seemed less high school and self-absorbed than whatever I would have come up with 10 years ago. I firmly believe that how you start something shapes how successful you can ultimately become, but this often renders me incapable of starting, much less finishing some grand plan. Thus, I decided to walk away from the naming issue for the night, and tried going to bed. However, while getting my pjs on, something caught my eye. J had left a copy of Tara Parker-Pope's For Better on the bookcase, and I thought the title would function perfectly as a starting point for my blog. If nothing else, I want to dedicate this year (the rest of 2011) to accepting that I don't have to do things perfectly, just better (than I've done throughout the past couple of years). [Though Parker-Pope's book focuses on "the science of a good marriage," I am aiming to apply the notion to the rest of my life, not just my relationship.]

For years, I've been trying to work out more, read more, fight less, eat less, smile more, laugh more, stress less, and do more. However, my goals invariably turned impossible: year after year, I would start a work-out plan that demanded I transition from not doing anything to working out 6 days a week, an hour a day. Most of my other goals have suffered the same fate-- in an attempt to see results quickly, I would over-schedule and under-perform, leaving me frustrated and unable to make any long-term changes. I would like to end this awful cycle. I fully believe that I can make real, substantial changes in my life, if I can practice being more patient, and actually internalize the fact that things will never go perfectly. 

I was reading a Yahoo article the other day about people who have lost a substantial amount of weight, and (most importantly) have kept it off for a long time. Though most of the information was nothing new, there was one piece of advice about getting off-track that stuck with me. The woman called it the "flat tire analogy": when you get a flat tire, you fix it and move on-- you don't poke holes in the rest of your tires. I think this analogy is perfect for how I am currently running my life-- the vast majority of times when I encounter difficulty or failure, I give up entirely, rather than learning from my mistake and moving on. 

It is time for me to move on: I am ready to fail at many things, so that I may become successful in a few. :) It's time to be better (not perfect). 

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