Monday, January 31, 2011

The Forever Clause

The idea of what resolutions are just hit me. Beyond goal-setting, they are trying out solutions to problems again. The again part is what sticks out the most to me. Deep down (and sometimes on a more surface level) I know what my issues are. I've been determined to change my habitual behaviors before. I give a little bit of thought to changing X and a couple of days later I've forgotten all about my goal.

Recently, I attended a class that discussed goal setting. An idea that was discussed was that each goal should have a beginning and an ending date. A siren in my head went off. Ding ding ding! Yes, I get it! Most of my goals have this unwritten but well understood forever clause in them. And forever is a long time to change a behavior. It's so long that subconsciously knowing that I want to change X permanently sets me up for failure. Having an end point however gives me something to build upon. If I can do (or not do) something for 3 days or a week then the next time I resolve to do it then I can increase my time up to one month. And then one year. And then it's a habit and no need to set a goal again. It's a part of me.

Last year, I took the challenge to not use my phone while driving for one month. It was painful. And I think that month was the slowest of my life. I was largely successful with only a couple of mess-ups. Now, several months later, I use my phone occasionally while driving but in the speaker setting rather than to my ear. But what has really changed is the overall number of times I feel I actually need to talk to people. In general I've curbed the behavior tremendously.

But somehow I missed the entire point of my goal. It wasn't to stop using my phone. It was to stop distracted driving. And though I can't curb every distraction (a backseat full of kids adds quite a bit), there is still much I can do.

My new resolution: Eat at home.
Start date: February 1, 2011
End date: February 28, 2011
Steps to accomplish the goal:
1. Have meals prepared one hour prior to needing to walk out the door.
2. Start loading in the car (finding everyone's shoes) 15 minutes before leaving.

Now, you may be thinking, "what's this got to do with driving?" Well, if I make time to eat at home then I won't eat in the car. My kids will also eat at home. And I won't need to pass them snacks. (Tossing a sandwich or an apple into the 3rd row usually equates to rumble strip vibrations.) I think there will be a side benefit, too. If we made time to eat at home, then we also made plans to get to wherever we're going on time and won't be in a hurry to get anywhere. And rushing around leads to all sorts of bad driving behaviors.

It's a simple plan. Only two steps. Lots of benefits - driving and otherwise. I hope I'm not in for another longest-month-of-my-life.


  1. Great idea! I should try that too...and the no cell phone goal as well!

  2. New GFC follower from the Making Friends Monday~great idea gonna have to try this one w my family~Shari

  3. Hi!
    Stopping by via the hops to say hello!
    Stop on by if you can.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am now following you. Have a blessed week!


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