Five years ago I went on a New Year’s cruise and made two resolutions:
To buy a condo and to find a long-term relationship. I had been focused on these items already but now I was ready to make them happen.
By January 18, 2007, I had my first date with George and by January 20 I saw the condo I would later buy. George and my second wedding anniversary was December 19 and I have owned the condo for nearly five years. I also had a secret resolution to lose weight and subsequently lost sixty pounds.
I was reminded of all this reading Atul Gawande’s Better. I have enjoyed all of his books but this one really spoke to me partially because I dropped out of UCSF Medical School and I love to read about doctors who really speak about medicine and its practice and partly because he is talking about how to be your best.
He says, “The core requirements for success are diligence, to do right and ingenuity.”
His five suggestions for “how one might make a difference” are:
1. Ask an unscripted question
2. Don’t complain
3. Count something “if you count something interesting, you will learn something interesting.”
4. Write something “you should not underestimate the effect of your contribution, however modest.”
5. Change “So find something new to try, something to change. Count how often you succeed and how often you fail. Write about it. Ask people what they think. See if you can keep the conversation going.”
I do think this is a great plan to create the change you want to see in this world. I hope you will make a resolution to adopt one or more of his ideas for how to make a difference and share it with someone!
I will tell you my resolution for 2012, to find a literary agent for our book about our story of meeting online, quitting our jobs, traveling in Asia for one year, getting engaged underwater, losing sixty pounds and keeping it off for over 2 and a half years, all while crying when snorkeling and of course learning to live without toilet paper!
This is what happens when Julie McCoy of the Love Boat meets a Paraguyan Peace Corps worker!! On our trip I worked hard to stop complaining, write something, change, count something other than the pounds I was losing and the months we were gone and ask lots of great questions.
Sometimes I think who would be interested in our personal story about finding love after 39 or the dramas of online dating when you don’t realize you are more than thirty or fifty pounds overweight. Sometimes I think no one will read our blog or our stories or come to our travel events. But our last event had over one hundred people so maybe someone is listening!
I give you these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson to inspire you to be better:
“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”
I wish you courage and that all your dreams come true in 2012.
More photos and stories about our travels and resolutions at: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/
Also at http://www.wesaidgotravel.net/
Article first published as Be the Change! Be Better! on Technorati.