I'm at a cabin for a week, to think
Well, my "think week" has officially begun. We got here about an hour and a half ago, and it's been a whirlwind of getting set up and settling in since then.
Everything is so much more complicated with a baby involved! Bringing his swing, play mat, clothes, changing station, etc. added a lot to our luggage, and he definitely took top priority as soon as we got in the door. He needed to be seen to, settled, fed, and kept from getting too bored while we were trying to unpack, and only now has he settled down.
With that said, I was still able to get the Bluetooth surround sound set up and a fire in the fireplace, and some stew we made last week thawed for a (very) late dinner, and my wife was able to get a load of laundry in (which has proved to be a bit loud, unfortunately – but we shouldn't have to do much of it while we're here).
The cabin sits right on a river in Maine, and is gorgeous. We're super happy with it. We have everything we need, and everything seems quite functional (in stark contrast to some of the other airbnbs we've stayed in). There are some foodstuffs, spices and things leftover in the fridge and cabinets, and we brought a cooler full of food too. We're set for eating for a couple of days, but we'll have to venture out shopping before too long.
With that all said, I'm planning on going to bed early, then getting up bright and early tomorrow morning for a quick dip in the river – never mind that it's going to be 14° F! I'm just going to jump in then run back to the cabin for a hot shower. Just want to get the blood flowing for a week of thinking.
I've found that doing hard things helps me think more clearly. Whenever I take a cold shower in the morning, my thought processes are clarified for a little while, and I make decisions that I'm happier about long term.
This might be entirely due to placebo effect, but I'm not sure. I don't know who said it, but there's a good quote:
Do hard things, and life will be easy. Do easy things, and life will be hard.
Doing a hard thing like getting into freezing cold water does a couple of things, physiologically and mentally.
First, there's the adrenaline and dopamines that flood your system from the temperature shock. You just feel great physically (well, after you warm up again) – and you want to do it again.
Then there's also the satisfaction that comes from having done something challenging. Once so rewarded, my brain is primed to make additional difficult, yet also rewarding decisions.
After all, that's how habits work on a long-term scale: trigger, action, reward. Set up a trigger for an action, take that action, and then fulfill the reward center in the brain.
Don't quote me on this, but I'm willing to bet that reminding your brain how rewarding it is to do something hard on a shorter timescale like a few hours or less helps it see more clearly what lays on the other side of longer-term hard decisions.
I don't want to try to break it down too much, though. I'm not a neuroscientist or a psychologist. All I know is that if I do hard stuff, especially getting in cold water, I'm happier with the decisions I make afterward.
We'll, uh, see if I stick with it the whole week, though. I already jumped into the ocean yesterday, which is what inspired me to try going in the river this week.
Anyway, with that all said, I'm going to spend the week visualizing our goals for our twenty year, ten year, five year, and finally one year plans, a la The ONE Thing (of which I brought a hard copy with me, along with a pen and a highlighter).
I hope to emerge at the end of the week with a renewed sense of clarity and vision, a set of goals (both personal and for the family), and steps to take immediately to reach those goals.
Another deliverable for this week is a good budget that will help us reach those goals. We really fell off of the budgeting bandwagon when Quinn was born, and haven't had time to set it up again.
We're here until the 16th, so we'll spend a couple of days doing some self-authoring and writing down where we are presently (writing things down is a critical part of the curriculum), and where we hope to reach. Then we'll spend another day revisiting our long term goals and evaluating where we are in relation to them right now.
Finally, we'll spend a couple of days breaking down the difference between our current state and our long-term goals into steps we can take to reduce that difference, reverse-engineering things from our desired end state as suggested in The ONE Thing.
By the end of the week, I'll know exactly where I want to go in 2021, and what I have to do to get there, starting next week and month.
Looking forward to it.