‘Keep on Trucking’ in 2015

By Patricia Cates

Many of you may not remember but in the 1970’s there was a slogan on a bumper sticker that had a thumbs up sign with the words “Keep on Trucking.” There were several variations but the one I recall had a funky font and a dude wearing bell bottoms. I think it was meant to be encouraging to those who read it, and surely brought many a smile.  It’s late January and I am curious how many people have managed to stick with their New Year’s resolutions. Do we need encouragement?  We are only three weeks in, but it’s surely been a long three weeks for some. Especially for those of us who have managed to fail to some degree.

The statistics from the Journal of Critical Psychology out of the University of Scranton reported that the top three resolutions for 2014 were:

1.     Lose Weight

2.     Get Organized

3.     Spend Less, Save More

The study also showed that 45% of people nationwide made resolutions, but only 8% managed to keep them. That doesn’t sound terribly encouraging. So why make any at all?

A wise man once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

That being said I wanted to go big this year. There are so many things that I need to work on that I actually started back in the fall. I thought it might be a good idea to gradually make a few tweaks here and there, start some good habits, and then at the New Year not have quite so far to go. Wrong. You see my problem is procrastination. I start things and then abandon them when I am about 50% done. Whether it is an organizational project, an exercise routine, or changing up eating habits, I cannot seem to stay on track for more than a few days. Something always manages to throw me off course.

Needless to say my New Year’s resolution became “Stop Procrastinating.” In order to help achieve this goal I went to the library to enlist some help.  On the focus shelf sat a terrific little book entitled, “The Procrastinator’s Handbook.  Mastering the Art of Doing It Now,” by Rita Emmett. So far it has been quite enjoyable. I had a goal to read it before the New Year, in order to be ready for the new me, and am about half way through. I am really looking forward to finishing it.

One of the exercises the book suggests is that you make a list of 101 things you want or need to do. It instructs you to walk through every room in your house and jot down anything you see that needs to be done. It even asks you to consider goals for your spiritual and mental health, your family, friends, pets and social life. I already had three separate lists I’d been working on, so I was half way there.

An insightful quip worth sharing is something called Emmett’s Law. It states that, “The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself.” This could hold true for various habits or tasks we are trying to embark upon. I found my favorite chapters to be the ones devoted to excuses, clutter, planning, and just being plain overwhelmed.

On a recent segment of a popular news show they had an expert suggest that we set aside just 10 minutes a day for household tasks.  He argues that before we know it, they will all be completed! The show spotlighted a family with 9 children and had them all working together.  It was quite inspiring. I am going to try that with my family next week.

So perhaps many of us have not been exercising or eating right, yet. Maybe we have stumbled and haven’t gotten up at 6 a.m. every day of the week, with a spring in our step and a song in our heart. Maybe drawers are still messy, and losing that weight hasn’t happened as we would have liked. The wonderful thing about all of this is that we still have a chance to do better. Tomorrow holds hope. We can take the dogs on a walk today, and the next, clean out the kitchen junk drawer. It may be past January 1st, but that’s alright. We don’t have to be down on ourselves for slip ups. I think the true tragedy would be losing the desire to better ourselves.  So I think the best advice is to just “Keep on Truckin’!” Whatever the New Year holds in store for you is truly up to you.  Be good to yourself.

“Success is never final, failure is never fatal; it is courage that counts.”

—Winston Churchill

Patricia Cates is a native Californian and a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. She obtained her bachelor of science degree in natural resources management and environmental science in 2012.  She currently resides in Pocatello.