Resolutions: Good Things Gone Bad

ImageMy body is screaming to stop the madness of holiday indulgence.  While crazy tasty, the concoction of Christmas hor d’oeuvres, massive meals, chocolatinis, cookies and treats has made my system reach it’s processing limit and my derriere hit epic proportions.  Like many well-intendeds, it was time to start my resolution to lose the weight I’ve gained since Thanksgiving.  I had enough, so I launched into resolve two days ago, December 28, after yet another huge dinner…of Christmas dinner leftovers.  After happily skipping off to sleep anticipating a wonderful new day of health, I woke, felt my stomach eating the other side and growling loudly and instantly reached for the homemade Biscotti on the counter to dip into my morning coffee.  I had made it three full hours.  Yeah.  Technically I have until January 2 to begin, right?!

Resolutions are good things.  But the wheels inevitably fall off and thus they go bad.  Quickly.

The typical pattern is the same.  We are energized by the fresh start, the new beginning.  We cast off feelings of failure and disappointment and pain associated with the year behind us and we’re anxious to make the new year better.  We make our list of goals for the new year and may even post them on the refrigerator:  get fit, stop drinking, be nice, etc…  Week 1, we begin with vigor, week 2 our normal routine kicks in and we struggle against the rut we’ve created but keep trying.  Week 3, we’ve failed so often, we give it a few fleeting final attempts, and by week 4, it’s DOA.  It’s an accomplishment to have made it that long.  The intent was good.

Maybe we just need to change the method.

Maybe instead of listing goals that often focus on ceasing negative habits, we focus on ONE WORD for the entire year.  Maybe we determine a core character trait that we keep in front of us, make choices that lean into that character, and grow the entire year.  Maybe if we chose a positive trait, something we work to become, we’d find ourselves actually accomplishing many of the things on our initial lists, but achieve them because we’re gaining the character needed to do so.

Champions have common threads of character they pinpoint as essential to achieving pursuits.

  1. What goals would you like to achieve this year?
  2. What character traits must you put into gear to accomplish each?  (Discipline, creativity, determination, perseverance, focus…pick the word with the shade of meaning that will propel you forward this year.)
  3. Choose ONE word from the pile that resonates the most or would be the strongest catalyst for accomplishing most. 
  4. Create a bulletin board or use the fridge door.  Have an area for each family member.  Write your ONE WORD creatively and put it in view.  Add pictures or any illustrations of what developing that trait will help you accomplish.  This becomes your goal board.
  5. You can go a step further:  Keep a small notebook on your early morning workspace.  Write your ONE WORD and what  it will help you accomplish specifically each particular day.  At the end of the day, write the positives of the day:  small accomplishments to big things you appreciated.  This is a great practice that keeps your head in a positive, productive space.

I’m still musing on my word for this year.  In the past, I’ve chosen: whole, confidence, forward, new 

Daughter 1’s word:  RELENTLESS

Daughter 2’s word: FOCUS

What’s your ONE WORD?  Reply and let us know!

The original idea for One Word came from  









Tails of the Herd: The Day I Realized I was following the Asses in Front of Me

Unknown-1I remember waking up one day and feeling pretty much like Simba hanging on that limb for dear life, hoping to survive the stampede of the wildebeast herd.  Simba was out romping as children do, when the herd rushed around him and swept him up.  He starting running, remember the scene?, desperately trying to keep up, not to be run over or stomped to death.  God knows where he would’ve ended up if he just kept running.  He knew he had to either keep up or get out of the crush or it wouldn’t end well.  That was a smart move.

There was that moment for me.  I grew up, romping happily.  I followed the rules.  Did what I was told.  Listened to the “big” important people around me.  I washed behind my ears, got good grades, came home 15 minutes before curfew.  I went to college, got a job, a house, kids…

and then I began repeating the circle of life and guiding my children to do exactly the same.

Until I looked up and realized I was following the tail of the one ahead of me and I asked myself why I had my head up somebody elses…rumpus.

It all started when I had no idea where I was in life or how I got there.  I had just been blindly following those before me and expecting to end up in the land of everyone’s adolescent dreams when we slowed at the end.

It doesn’t work that way.  You end up where the stampede carries you, unless you find that limb and climb out of the fray until the masses rush by.  By that point, though, you’re so lost and far from home, it’ll take an act of god to find your way back or start over.  I wished I had seen it coming and never gotten swept up in the herd.

Their destination became my destination. I chased after whatever the leader of the herd was chasing and so on back to where I was.  Their course, mine.  It wasn’t planned and wasn’t all bad.  It was just a life of default.

So, I made a conscious decision to get out.

This meant I had to figure out where I was and where I wanted to go instead.

It seemed like most everybody was racing ahead to something great.  They were rushing towards “success”.  I think that’s what we thought we were doing.

Fame and fortune.  Prizes and reward.  Glitter and tinsel.

Power.  Control over life, people, circumstances.

Applause.  Attention.  Approval.

The path of least resistance.  Aka:  comfort, leisure and ease.


It didn’t seem like the means mattered quite so much as long as it ended in “success”.

The issue was that I wasn’t arriving anywhere close to where I expected.  It didn’t seem others around me were arriving there either.  I knew I was off course and I was rapidly ushering my kids to end up in the same place.

That’s when it became clear that I wanted to go someplace different and take my kids with me.  I still wanted to be “successful”.  I just wanted to define what that meant.  I wanted clarity.

After a lot of thinking, looking at the others still running and where they were ending up, studying those who were actually achieving big things, getting advanced education in giftedness, and analyzing some more, I set a new course.

The clarity changed everything.  It changed how I saw each day, filtered decisions, how I guided and encouraged my children, and even how I viewed myself, them, our endeavors and futures.  It freed us.

The funny thing is, that in breaking away from the masses, gaining clarity on where we now intended to go (and how we’d get there), we’ve been carried further than we ever expected.  The view has been MUCH better too.

Here’s a topic of convo for the table or car (of course you have to begin having convo’s with your significant/kids about all kinds of topics so it’s not bizarro that you’re suddenly having a thoughtful conversation with them).  Think of all the common destinations people have and any words that define what success is to them or others.  If you want, put the words on individual scraps of paper or cards.  Then play “Would You Rather”  Put two cards together and ask:  Would you rather have xx or yy?  Maybe it’ll sound like, “Would you rather be rich or famous?”  Then leave the “winner” and replace the “loser” card with a new word. “Would you rather be famous or have total control and freedom over your life?”  Play again and again until there’s a final card that trumps all the others.  There winds up being good discussion about the pros and cons of each.

Our winner became:  maximizing our individual potential.  < P

It was the beginning of discovering the formula.  We discovered the product:  < P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E

We’ve elaborated a little on that since:  maximizing our potential in a way that brings valuable contribution to everyone around us.

Where you are heading and why?

Determine your destination.

Zero Regrets

Every one of us has choices, and the way we frame them and make them sets us on our paths- Apolo Ohno. Zero Regrets.

It’s the New Year. Time to set goals. What are your goals for 2011?

Without clarifying what you want to do and why, life’s activities become sort of purposeless and random, right? You wind up reacting to influences that carry you somewhere until, one day, you wake up and wonder how the heck you got where you are. You just went with the flow; drifting. There’s nothing wrong with that, if your goal is to experience the adventure of being aimless, but if you have any dream of who you want to be or what you want to accomplish, you’ve got to define it. Seeing the destination provides you with direction. Having a goal frames your choices. It sets you on your path.

Know who you want to become and what you want to achieve. Define a plan for the work it’s going to take to get there, being determined to go the distance, not looking for shortcuts. Accept the sacrifices of not being “normal” and drifting with the influence of others, and team up with those who are going the same direction. Then chase it all with everything you’ve got, relentless in your pursuit…full out.

In a defining moment in Apolo Ohno’s life, when he was struggling to define, own, and pursue his goals, his dad said, “You have a choice. I don’t care what path you go on in life. I don’t care if it’s sports or academics or business. Whatever it is, it’s all fine by me. But whatever that is, you truly have to do it one hundred percent. Dedicating yourself…sacrificing because you want to give that one hundred percent, because you want to be the best or you’re not going to do it at all. If you don’t do something one hundred percent, it’s not worth doing.”

• Don’t decide what you want to be or do, decide who you want to be and what are you willing to do to get there. Do you really know what you want and what’s worth pursuing 100%?
• What’s your plan to avert distractions? How will you avoid bad influences in the first place and what’s your plan if faced with pressure from outside sources to veer off course?
• How will you gain mental strength?
• How will you train to gain physical strength?
• Who do you need around you to help you? Who is going the same direction that you should travel alongside?
• What can you do daily so you’ll have no regrets and won’t say, “what if….If I had only…”

Each day, make choices that keep you on a direct path so you arrive where you intended. Keep your eyes on your destination, be uncompromising and gain strength with every step knowing it’s moving you to becoming the person you want to be. The sacrifice of each day, the pain of giving everything you’ve got will pale in comparison to the years of regret you’ll have if you don’t frame and make your choices well. Choose to have zero regrets.

Apolo Ohno decided he wanted to be the best speed skater in the world. He made clear decisions about what he’d do, who’d he spend his time with and how hard he’d pursue who he wanted to become. He has Zero Regrets and has become the most decorated winter Olympian of all time.

Goal Tending

A generation ago, most of us played outside, all-day, everyday with friends. We played stickball, four square, capture the flag, run the bases or swam in the pond. We grew up and the world of organized sports opened up in middle school where we played a fall, winter and spring sport all the way through high school. There wasn’t much talk of playing a sport in college. Folk tales arose about athletes who magically plucked from their small towns and turned into superstars. Olympians were legendary figures straight from Olympus. They had to be.

These days, parents are looking for organized sports for their 3 and 4-year-old protégés and screaming from the sidelines in hopes that their offspring will show signs of going pro by the time their 5½. Kids are specializing by second grade and playing one sport year round so they have a shot at securing a D1 scholarship. Parents are investing gobs of money in private lessons and seeking training earlier and earlier, happy to dream about the future and boast about their phenomes. We’re possessed with providing and pushing our kids to become the best and achieve the highest. How’s this working for our kids?

Sports have goals. Clear goals.

So, what’s the goal?

Why does your child take part in sports and why do you do what you do as a sportsparent?

Take a knee.

What if both parents took a deep breath, had a Gatorade, and talked on the bench for a few minutes to figure out what your kids are doing and why? (for real…no BS, but why are your kids involved in sports?) Knowing the goal helps everyone know why they’re playing the game and what the game plan . It will help in decision-making and in keeping the correct perspective and role as a parent.

Some things to define:

• What’s the point of your child being an athlete as they grow up?
• What are your child’s goals? What are your goals for them? Do you both agree on those goals?
• In general, what do you hope for your kids’ futures? Define their future success.
• To what degree does being an athlete have an impact on your child’s future success?

All three of my kids are high-performance athletes. It’s always been their choice and they have clear, ambitious goals that we, as parents, have supported and agreed to partner to achieve them. Over the years, the reasons for participating in sports has evolved and what we do, how we handle practices, schedules, our meals, decisions on what teams/coaches and the level of training all has shifted accordingly. I am clear on “our” goals to keep our game plan smart, view of wins and losses appropriate, and our attitude and investment in alignment.

What are your child’s goal? What are yours?