Conflicting Positive Priorities
I’m reading Ray Dalio’s new book Principles: Life and Work as this year comes to a close. It’s the perfect way to walk, not run, thoughtfully into a new year.
This morning I was faced with a decision that arises nearly every moment of every day. What should I do with the next hour, next few hours, this coming day?
I’ve become VERY good at choosing default activities when in doubt. Years ago it might have been to stare at my computer and hope I was being productive by doing so. I had not learned to recognize self-burn out in my 20’s and even into my 30’s, so in fact it was a really bad use of time quite often.
As my 40’s kicked in, it was “when in doubt, work out”… that my little mantra rhymed made me convince myself it was a sign from above. In 2015 I started Bikram Yoga and here we are closing 2017 and Bikram is my true default to almost any question. If I go to Bikram, I tell myself, I will have a better chance of living to 90, enjoying most of it, and continuing from there (that’s my audacious goal… 2060 and beyond!)
But in the meantime, as Ray’s book points out so well, there are “problems” in the way of achieving my goal. And there is certainly no single solution to all of those problems. Although I think Bikram is a great default, it can’t always come before the root causes of some of the things that hold me back.
Luckily, I’ve worked on some of those this past year. A biggie for me is planning… I don’t do enough of it. OK, even that is misleading… I’m horrible at it. I hate it. I have tried every planner known to our generation, and I actively reject them even as I consciously know that’s a bad decision. There’s also what I’ll call “regular” workouts. These could be light weights, elliptical, Peloton, or even a hike or chopping wood in -15 degree weather (ok, I’ll wait till it gets above 0)… but I’m defaulting always to Bikram, at the cost of other priorities.
Today I was about 3 minutes from popping in the car to make the 9am class in WRJ. Maggie was already heading there, when I realized that to achieve my overall life goals – and make small but tangible progress towards them today – I was going to need to skip Bikram and focus on my other priorities.
One of those happens to be writing a daily blog. So now that’s done!
Next will be 30 more minutes of reading Ray’s book and sipping my coffee (kind of procrastinating, but it’s New Year’s Eve and Bo is hanging with me watching Paw Patrol, and that’s immensely fun!) and then I’ll do 45 on the elliptical and work on planning out the rest of today and even tomorrow. And tomorrow at 4:30pm, I’ll be at Bikram to start 2018 on the right foot… not as a default, catch-all solution, but as a planned, thoughtful activity helping me reach my goals.
Walking thoughtfully into 2018 feels pretty good. Sprinting is too tiring.