Resolutions at the ready; cue long captions about lessons learnt from 2017, fresh starts and revolutions. I didn’t want to miss out on the party; but I also wanted to show compassion on your newsfeed this holiday season, so what better place to put my ramblings than here.
If this year has taught me anything, it’s the beautiful synergy between patients and moderation. I have little to none of these character traits, which probably helps to explain my track record when it comes to keeping resolutions – I have no record, it’s actually that bad!
And why such a poor record..?
I think Soren Kierkegaard put it best when he said,
‘Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown…’
Basically put, I WANT MY RESOLUTION AND I WANT IT NOW!
Before coming to the realisation that lack of patients and moderation was sabotaging my ability to achieve goals I used to:
1. Think I wasn’t working hard enough, which resulted in later nights and earlier mornings – let me just interject with another life lesson from this year,
“Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance”. – Buddha
2. Believe that I set unrealistic goals (although, my timeframes were sometimes unrealistic), therefore I needed to downgrade resolutions to match my ‘failings’.
Apparently with age comes wisdom and in this respect I’m hoping to apply the little I’ve learnt from this year. I’m a big believer that working zealously towards a goal will yield great results. However if you’re anything like me working harder can result in total burnout, which then results in falling of the ‘I’m going to take over the world in 12 months’ wagon. Falling off the wagon then leads to catching feelings because I’m too tired and stressed out to climb back onto the wagon. 2017 has taught me that whilst working harder is important, working SMARTER is even better.
Working smarter is like baking a cake. When I first started to bake I would use any old ingredients and baking utensils; so if the recipe called for self-rising flour I’d use whatever self-rising flour was at hand. Now with a little more baking experience under my belt I’ve become very selective about the QUALITY of ingredients I use and types of tools I employ. For instance, using a bread knife to fold your batter instead of a wooden spoon (don’t judge me…blank face) can yield drastically different results for your cake.
In the same way being smart about the tools you use to achieve a resolution will often have a profound effect on the outcome. For example, if you lack motivation to exercise it may be useful to invest in a personal trainer who has the right and/or better tools to help you succeed.
I remember the first time I baked a fruit cake. I had high ambitions and went for a traditional Caribbean cake. I had the fruits soaked in spiced rum, ingredients weighted out, spices mixed, tinned lined and water bath set. I placed that bad-boy in the oven and even though my kitchen was a complete wreck, in that moment I felt like a BOSS! But then I had to play the waiting game and this is where my total lack of patients set in. Two hours is a long time to wait for a cake to bake, so in true Shauna like fashion I opened the oven door just to check on things; and by checking on things, I mean completely taking the cake out of the oven and shaking the tin to see if it was baking.
Baking rule number one – COLD AIR + WARM AIR = FLAT CAKE.
So what am I getting at?
Never take a cake out of the oven until it’s ready; therefore when pursuing resolutions give yourself time. Achieving a goal sometimes means sitting still and allowing the ingredients you’ve mixed together to heat up and rise. It sometimes means not only waiting but exercising moderation whilst you wait; prime example of not carelessly pulling a cake out of the oven even though you know it’s not fully baked (by the way I didn’t just take the cake out of the oven once but three times).
The start of a new year seems to bring a desire to make extreme changes; however this year has taught me that long-terms success does not lay in making drastic changes – in fact my greatest successes came from taking a step back, examining lifestyle habits, slowly implementing a realistic plan and waiting patiently for the outcome.
My resolution for 2018 is to lead a silent revolution – a revolution that requires only two weapons (patients and moderation), because I believe it’s in cultivating these virtues that I’ll find true success.
“Perfection is the child of time and moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues”.