I've continued to think about Franklin's Virtues (that I wrote about in this post) and the idea of working on them one at a time. A few things have become evident to me:
1. My original choice was to begin working on "Tranquillity," but I'm realizing that perhaps Franklin had it posted close to the bottom for good reason. Achieving tranquility may, perhaps, require more effort and take a longer time than some of the others. In fact, many of the previous virtues are the kind of thing that if practiced, can lead to tranquility.
2. On New Year's Eve, I practiced "Temperance" - I didn't empty the basket of homemade bread. I didn't eat every bite of that delicious cannelloni. Strangely, it wasn't a terrible effort, but it is unusual for me to stop before finishing anything that tastes good. One glass of wine. I was proud of myself (did I mention how good the cannelloni was?) and since it was New Year's Eve it seemed a bit symbolic.
New Year's Day found me perfectly willing to quit after just one helping. I love blackeyed peas, pot liquor, and corn bread. Even more than that I love peach cobbler and ice cream. Only one serving. What has come over me? I would usually eat half the cobbler with a pint of ice cream...
Temperance, therefore, is my virtue of the month. Interesting that Franklin lists it first.
3. I've noticed that other "virtues" keep popping in my mind. "Speak not but what may benefit others" is one. "Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty" - the second part is a huge failing. I can't think that the first part is much of a problem, but the failure to do some things that I should is.
4. Now, I'm still only going to worry about temperance this month, but does it hurt that some of the other things are echoing in my consciousness? Maybe the beauty of Franklin's list is that they do work together, are mutually beneficial, each virtue forming a kind of basis for future virtues.
The peach cobbler is still in the refrigerator and the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is in the freezer. One small helping at a time.
I have done as many of you suggested and printed a copy to post to my bulletin board. The list of Virtues will be my major goal. I've read that it takes 2 weeks to establish a new habit...the problem is that it takes much less than that to break a habit. Yet, even if I have to start over frequently, I'm going to make the effort.
This doesn't mean that I am not making an "uberlist" of things that I'd like to see accomplished this year. Big things and little things. There is even an Uberlist Site with lists and updates by various individuals. Thanks to Carl for this idea. I love looking at other people's lists.
For me, this is not the same as making RESOLUTIONS, but a reminder of things that need to be done or that I would like to accomplish. Something to refer to, a reminder - not a requirement. I'm working on it, adding things as I think of them, sorting them into categories.
I went to Tai Chi last night. Left the house just after 6:30 and didn't get home until nearly 10:00. Getting back into my schedule with Tai Chi is one important item on my "uberlist." It helps lead to tranquility and gives me mental energy (something I've been lacking lately). If at the end of the quarter, I've made this a habit again, it won't matter if I've accomplished anything else on the list - I'll be satisfied.