Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Each Year a New Beginning.

This morning as I was comfortably seated in my bedroom, on my mother’s recovered bedroom chair and ottoman, while writing morning pages, when I caught sight of Ray in the bathroom, putting the finishing touches on getting dressed and ready for his day of golf. I took a double take. Ray looked different: in his posture, attitude, choice of clothing and body profile. Wow. It is clear Ray is losing weight. He says he can’t see it. But I can.

Ray and I have not eaten sugar or wheat product for 27 days. We have followed the HOW Food Plan where we write down all the allowed food we will eat for the day. We eat 3 meals a day (and two small 2oz protein snacks), email the listed food to a woman, and call 2 other women and ask how they are doing with their food. Oh, and we can’t weigh ourselves for 30 days! Not weighing has been the hardest part of this program for me. I have always let the numbers on the scale define me. And of course I am never happy with the numbers on the scale.

I’ve never felt so emotionally in balance, gotten more intentions accomplished, and continued working on things, without getting mad, even when I don’t understand them right away. I feel kinder to others AND myself, more patient, more tolerant and more understanding. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Hmmmmm. Eat sweets and bread? Or live in peace and comfort?

Well, for today, I know what I’m eating, and sweets and bread are not listed on today’s food plan for the day.

Each day a new beginning, each year a new beginning.

Happy New Year to you all.

I’ve got my list of updated 2008 Ideals and I’ve completed my 2009 Ideals for the New Year.

Much love and gratitude,


Here is the Ideal’s template I use (in case you are interested!):
Guidelines for Creating an annual Ideals' List for the New Year.

~Every year since 1995 I’ve made a list at the end of each year for the upcoming year. This list contains, not resolutions, but ideals/desires of things I want to do, changes I want to make, principles I want to practice, etc. Throughout the current year I look at this list. At year’s end, I review how many listed desires I took action on. Looking back over the last 13 years since I started making these annual ideal lists, I found a pattern. I am now consistently accomplishing things I’ve always intended to do but never did.
A sponsee had requested I write up a template/guideline for writing out our 'Ideals List' for the upcoming year. My friend Cupcake took on this project of writing this Guideline one day while he was working for me. I then edited some of what he wrote. It may not sound like me, but the ideas behind Cupcake's writing are mine.~
There’s no right or wrong way to do write an Ideal’s List, but I do have some suggestions. These are the thoughts that have made this tool particularly helpful for me.

• Be specific
• Review all areas of your life in considering what to include: Home, Work, Vacation, Family, Body, Spirit, Mind, Service, Attitude, Sleep, Driving.
• Dream big. You are not a failure if all the items on your list don’t get manifested in the coming year. I often have items that roll from year to year. Remember: learning about ourselves, rather than doing something perfectly, is what’s most important.
• Be realistic. This is where you get to examine the balance between reality and fantasy.
• Use verbs. Start each statement with an active verb, like choose, find, explore… For example, rather than “I want to go to Peru,” say “Travel to Peru.” The bulleted examples that follow provide other examples.

I have found that including the following topic headings (components) in my annual Ideals list very helpful: Projects, Changes, Goals, and Desires. Some components have several parts.
Sometimes a particular item may seem like it could be in one or more components. Trust your instinct or check with someone else. Don’t let confusion slow you down.
I personally place a high value on learning, and I encourage you to begin at least one line of each major component (Projects, Changes, Goals, & Desires) with the verb Learn... For example: Learn to be more forgiving, Learn to type, Learn what foods are bad for me.

A project has more than one task/action. Anything that can be broken down into smaller tasks/actions can be made a project. It takes some time and effort to get a project done.
If you are having trouble with a particular task/action, like writing a letter, consider making it a project, and then break it down into more manageable tasks.
For example, you could break down writing a letter by:

1) Scheduling the time,
2) Getting the materials (pen & paper),
3) Buying a stamp,
4) Finding the address,
5) Creating an environment free of distractions, and
6) Writing the letter.

Examples of Projects:

• Learn Spanish
• Clean out the garage
• Find that photo of Mom and Dad from the 50s
• Visit my sister in Chicago
• Track my exercise on a daily basis
• Paint the inside of the house
• Find out what in everyday life makes me happy

Creating a clear list of changes you’d like to make can remind you of what changes (in behavior, attitude, body, mind, spirit or whatever) you want to be working toward.
Sometimes changes can be a modification of existing patterns or something entirely new.
Examples of Changes:

• Spend more time with my kids
• Think about one positive aspect when I think of a negative aspect
• Arrive early to work one day a week
• Change a frown to a smile, even if it feels forced
• Find someone who would enjoy going to the movies with me
• Define the number of sponsees I am willing to sponsor.

Goals help you become the person you have always wanted to be. Be clear. The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are of having a goal be met. Setting and meeting a goal is something you will feel good about for a long time, maybe even the rest of your life. Some goals should be small and some large. Goals should feel a little harder than Projects.
I encourage you to include one goal that you KNOW you will meet and one that you know you are capable of but probably will not achieve in the next year.
Examples of Goals:

• Visit Hawaii
• Run a marathon
• Paint the inside of the house
• Pay all my bills on time so I have no late fees or penalties
• Learn how to use a digital camera
• Find my brother and try to talk to him
• Get a new car (Year/Make/Model)

Desires are a mix of what you want and what you know you should want. In naming desires, we list what changes we know we should make, but have been resistant to making. Naming desires is also the place where we identify what we would choose to make our lives fuller and more pleasurable.

The purpose of listing what we should be doing for our own good, yet we don’t quite get around to is that we have a written reminder to help keep us on track.

Examples of Desires

• Drink 4-6 big glasses of water each day, more when I exercise
• Eat less cheese
• Buy new underwear and throw out any underwear I don’t like
• Spend more on running shoes with more support
• Have a doctor look at my back
• Be more accepting of my faults
• Get a massage once a week or once a month

Completing the following statements can help you understand more about what you want for yourself. This is another way to express your desires. Answer each of the six bullets below with one short phrase:

• I wish I were:
• I wish I had:
• I wish I could:
• I want to have:
• I want to be:
• I want to do:

These guidelines are here to help write about our intentions for the coming year. I encourage you to use the topic headings/components if they work for you. If you choose to leave one out, add a different one. If you’d rather choose your own, feel free.

Concept IX p. 40 - "Now we come to the all-important attribute of vision. Vision is, I think, the ability to make good estimates both for the immediate and for the more distant future. Some might feel this sort of striving to be a sort of heresy, because we ___s are telling ourselves, "One day at a time." But that valuable principle really refers to our mental and emotional lives and means chiefly that we are not foolishly to repine over the past nor wishfully to day-dream about the future.

As individuals and as a fellowship, we shall surely suffer if we cast the whole job of planning for tomorrow onto a fatuous idea of Providence. God's real Providence has endowed us human beings with a considerable capacity for foresight, and He evidently expects us to use it. Therefore we must distinguish between wishful fantasy about a happy tomorrow and the present use of our powers of thoughtful estimate. This can spell the difference between future progress and unforeseen woe.

Vision is therefore the very essence of prudence, an essential virtue if ever there was one. Of course we shall often miscalculate the future in whole or in part, but that is better than to refuse to think at all."

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