Always another chance

I’m a sucker for milestones. New Year’s Day? Birthday? Even when I say I’m not making resolutions, I can’t help but believe the new year brings better fortunes. First day of the month? This’ll be the month that I go to the gym every morning – I’ll be 15 lbs. lighter and in fighting shape by the 30th. Monday? This week, I’m definitely not spending money on anything not already in the budget. And I’m emailing all my old friends, not just clicking “Like” in response to their Facebook posts. Morning? Hey, I have a whole brand new day in which to do things right.

Always falls apart, of course. I end up scrambling, snacking, sleeping in, taking a break from work to read comments on local political blogs as if someone will suddenly say something profound instead of writing in my own. This is a totally stupid use of my time, I’ll think. And be right. How should it work? Get up early, stretch, do some yoga, hit the gym when winter’s late sunrises make dawn patrol impossible and head to the surf when the sun rises gloriously early. Make pumpkin-pecan pancakes or spinach garlic crêpes or tofu frittata for the family. Write for myself. Dive into work in an organized manner. Take a lunch break that involves walking the dog to the beach. Eat a salad. Work some more. Stop working in time to spend the evening doing something physical, something mental, something with the kids. Cook a nice dinner. Eat together. Drink herbal tea and read a book. Do not return to the computer. Sleep. Adjust as necessary around surf conditions. Save money for travel, for a down payment on the house, for anything. Less social networking, more sociability.

So simple. I know exactly what I want. I know what will work to get there. But why the disconnect between planning and acting?

Some people might find this corny, but I’ve always loved it:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS
by Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V
I walk down another street.

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