Mission: Not Impossible

13 Dec

After a brief absence from the Blogosphere, I am back.  Last week my employers sent me on a three-day training course that due to its reflective nature, left room for little else in my brain.  The course was a seminar version of Stephen Covey’s book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.  I expected it to be like many corporate training programs I have been on – interesting but a little dry, high in metaphor but low in practicality.  What I did not expect was that I would walk out at the end of the three days with a personal mission statement, a seven-week plan for applying what I learned to my life, and an invigorating feeling of “Holy crap, I can really use this stuff to change my life!”

The first useful thing I got out of this course was the process of actually turning a behaviour into a habit.  If you do something every day, after 28 days or so, the brain will have laid down new neural pathways for that behaviour.  In other words, it will be a habit, something you can do without consciously thinking about it.  The trick is to maintain the behaviour for the first 28 days.  I’m testing out this theory with my vitamins.  I am notoriously bad at remembering to take them – which is why I am currently sick, unable to run, and officially going crazy.  I am going to make sure I take my vitamins every day for the next 26 days (because I’m already on Day Three of this particular habit).  By Day 28, I will be taking the vitamins without even thinking about it.  I will also be thinking proactively, setting goals, thinking win-win  and generally being a Highly Effective Person.  OK, that might take a bit longer than 28 days, since my seven-week plan involves focusing on one habit at a time.

Formulating the personal mission statement was a very interesting exercise.  I was asked to visualize myself at my 80th birthday party, and write down what tribute I would want the most important people in my life to pay to me at that time.  Once I had figured out what I want people to say about me towards the end of my life, I was able to think about what I would need to do – how I would need to live – to get to that point.  And from there, I could draw up my personal mission statement.  It was an emotionally intense exercise, because it was so reflective.  Not only was it reflective: I found myself reflecting on things that I am not necessarily comfortable thinking about.

In the end, though, I came up with a mission statement to live my life by.  The mission will be adjusted from time to time as circumstances in my life change, but the substance of it will pretty much stay the same.  My mission, from this point forward, is the following:

  • To nurture my children, and help pave the way for them to lead happy, fulfilling lives
  • To be one half of a synergistic whole in my marriage, and for the whole to not only be functional but fulfilled
  • To be someone my coworkers value, and to make my contributions to my team really count
  • To write
  • To take care of my body so that it can run many, many miles
  • To be true to myself, and to take care of myself
  • To overcome
When I turn 80, I want people to be able to say that I accomplished all of this.  And I want a big-ass cake.

4 Responses to “Mission: Not Impossible”

  1. transplantedx3 December 14, 2010 at 12:36 PM #

    I hope I’m still here for that piece of cake ;D

  2. Veronica Samuels December 14, 2010 at 8:58 PM #

    Save a piece for me, too! 🙂

    • runningforautism December 15, 2010 at 11:12 AM #

      If you ladies are at my 80th birthday party, you’ll be allowed more than one piece of cake!

  3. vlgonvalcyte December 16, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    Kudos to your running for Autism, your amazing and true to yourself future goals. I would love to link up with more information on Autism Runs and group activities. I left my Corporate Job in my familial political business to lobby for research and funding for viruses, retroviruses and co-infections associated to a disease my son has; which very new and viable medical data is showing is also occurring in a high percentage of Autism Patients. Best Regards to you and your Family. Love the Blog! Julia Rachel….VLG on Valcyte Blog

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