Kids are so great at counting. They still tell you their age in fractions. “I’ll be 5-and-a-half tomorrow,” you’ll hear them say. They are masters of anticipation. “Christmas will be here in only six more sleeps.” Some even “track” Santa on the Radar. Somewhere along the line, we lose this notion as we get older (and stop counting birthdays all together). But taking the full measure of things is essential this holiday.
Have you ever seen someone at a fitness center jump from one piece of equipment to the next? A little elliptical. A bit of treadmill. A row or two. Some weightlifting. Good for them, they’re working out. It might have even been a great workout. But they aren’t measuring anything. Nothing is tracked. Reps weren’t counted. Time elapsed was ignored. The metrics were missing. So, there’s no real basis for knowing if progress is happening or not. This can happen during the holiday season, too.
Making It Count
Taking stock during the holidays before the start of a New Year is a wonderful idea. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all. The simple notion is that when we’re measuring, we can show improvement. Just count something. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it’s something you find interesting.
Our lives are shaped by how we choose to spend our time and energy each day. Measuring can help us spend that time in better ways, more consistently. But like most things, there’s a secret to doing it best.
Measure Backward Not Forward
With all of this counting, measuring, and tracking, there’s a trap to avoid. Don’t make it about the results. Instead, measure to discover something about yourself and you’ll get to know (and understand) yourself better.
It’s been said that 90% of life is showing up. That’s a measure we should all be curious about. Are you showing up? And if you are, is it to expend energy on the things that actually matter to you? We’re all anxious for 2020 to be over and 2021 to begin. But take a quick break from looking forward. Be in the moment. And try looking back as the year winds down. Now is the perfect time to take the full measure of 2020. The good, the bad, and yes . . . even the “fugly.”
Face Unafraid The Plans That We Made
You can’t measure the spirit of the season, or goodwill. But you can track different ways that you are showing up with grateful appreciation in your life. Make a conscious effort to smile at someone every day. Send a “thank you” text or email to someone every day of the month. Make it part of the “to-do list” on your calendar, so you can keep track.
Measuring your personal value system may seem impossible, but it’s invaluable. And it can be easy if you simply make a mental check list. In fact, if you are thinking about something, then you can be tracking it, too. If your mind is crowded with distraction, ditch the mental checklist and write things down instead.
And To All A Good Write
The holiday season tends to be filled with lists. Lists of gifts. Lists of ingredients. Lists of groceries. Even seating charts. But those are for other people. Consider a list that just for you. An act of care for self. Write down three principles, or morals, or ideals that are dear to you each morning before the hustle-bustle begins. Make it a Decision Journal to track which choices you make and whether or not they align with your ethics. A perfect gift of self… to self. In this way we can ultimately do a better job of helping others.
Believing Is Receiving
Remember, the things we measure in life are the things we can improve. As we inch our way toward 2021, what are you measuring in your life? If there is something that you believe you would love to have — such as a more fulfilling relationship, a dream job, or a better local community — receiving it may very well come down to valuing it enough.
As for holiday wishes, here’s the best part: The moment you realize you already have everything you’re looking for, the universe gives it to you. In other words, it’s actually better to give and receive… if you’re open enough to accept it.
You made it through the year. And what a year it was, by any measure. But soon the bells will start, and the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing, right within your heart.
By Mark Smith, contributing author
We invite you to discover inspiring and effective ways to care for yourself and to serve others. Now more than ever, caring is what we all need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. So, become a Custodian of the Caring Movement and help create the world we need right now, the world we want for our future generations.