Veteran’s Day Recap:
Well, I’m glad that is over. Veteran’s Day is as emotional to me as Memorial Day. Generally speaking, my wife and I hunker down and drag ourselves through the day. This year we both took off from work and that brought its own set of challenges, especially when the Veteran’s Day Parade and ESPN wouldn’t let us avoid as much as we desired.
The best article I read far and away was in The Atlantic by Alex Horton. The title summarizes the sentiment and is worth the read: “Help Veterans by Taking them off the Pedestal”
“That’s the problem with viewing something on a pedestal: you can only see one side at a time, and rarely at depth. It produces extremes—the valiant hero or the downtrodden, unstable veteran.”
My general approach, which has been more refined as years pass, is talk less, do more. (or in a more monosyllabic and brute fashion: Get. Shit. Done.) I appreciate Alex’s frank reasoning to drop the self applied super hero label.
On Veteran’s Day I also had the privilege to participate in WOD for Warriors with Islip Crossfit. If you live on Long Island I highly recommend three Crossfit Boxes: Islip Crossfit, Crossfit Undivided and, of course, Crossfit Lindy. Erica Pollack, of Islip Crossfit asked me to say a few words, and those words, as my family will support, invariably turned to tears. But, I think the message was well received and the WOD was a burner. If you want to get involved, I highly recommend checking out Team Red White and Blue for year round Veteran interaction and community building.
On to the Ass Kicking
These next six weeks, as merry and bright as they are at times, are also peak for lots of heart ache, stress and general self inflicted misery.
I have formulated a simple plan that has helped me get through. It requires a little time set aside for introspection, but on the whole, if I have put in the work it has allowed me to sprint into the new year. You will need a piece of paper and a writing implement.
Step 1: Visualize the optimized refreshed you of January 2nd 2014. For me, this is a lighter stronger person. When I say lighter and stronger I am not just referring to physically, but mentally and spiritually too.
Step 2: Pick three attributes that if you could fast forward to the new year you would want to manifest(poof like magic) and that can be tracked empirically. Certainly the tricky part of step 2 is assigning something that can be tracked to an empirical observation. “Happy” can be an attribute, but you have to link it to something that you can measure. Smiling for me is a good link to happiness. For an empirical tracker I would track smiles per day. “Lighter” and physical weight is my favorite for keeping away the holiday poundage.
Step 3: Write it down, sign it, keep it with you and look at it every day. The key to success for the three attributes is the ability to answer a yes or no question on January 2nd. For instance, “Lighter: I workout often and weigh less than I did on 15 November 2013 (192#)”. The question is “do I weigh less?”. Hopefully in January, it is a resounding “yes!”
Here are my other two:
“Happier: I think of my family everyday and smile.”
“Giving: I donate each week to my favorite charities and attend one fundraising event.”
See, three easy steps. When that line gets a little long, when the day drags, or traffic is a nightmare, when some one is snarky or mean, take out your little slip of paper, focus on those attributes and keep moving. Let me know if you take on this little task. Charge into the new year by kicking ass the next seven weeks!