I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

There’s an odd pres­sure when you’re try­ing to exer­cise the mus­cle of dis­ci­pline, it’s tempt­ing to want every­thing you do as a part of that to be the best that it can be. Some­times you need to just push through and exer­cise that mus­cle. When you’re start­ing out, quan­ti­ty is often more impor­tant than qual­i­ty. You need to get used to doing some­thing reg­u­lar­ly before you can focus on doing it bet­ter, oth­er­wise the fear of not good enough can hold you back and pre­vent you from mak­ing the progress you want to make.

Walking

Back in Jan­u­ary 2015 when I realised I was ill, and con­se­quent­ly start­ed a course of anti­de­pres­sants, many peo­ple encour­aged me to exer­cise. I had been a keen cyclist and they encour­aged me to keep at it and get out on my bike as much as I could. I was told, and in fact read many times, that exer­cise was a great way of coun­ter­ing some of the symp­toms of depres­sion. My issue was that the thought of going out on my bike caused me anx­i­ety and stress, both things which I was try­ing to avoid and so I dis­missed the notion as not for me. Near­ly two and a half years lat­er I’m start­ing to under­stand a lit­tle of what the mys­te­ri­ous they were talk­ing about.
About a month ago I moved into a new flat, one which I’m liv­ing in on my own, it’s great to have my own space again. As a con­se­quence of that move I’ve been doing a lot more walk­ing. It’s locat­ed in such a place that I can walk to pret­ty much every­where I need to go on a reg­u­lar basis. I can walk to my shifts at the cof­fee house, my church, a cou­ple of super­mar­kets, as well as the cen­tre of town, and I’ve been doing that as much as is prac­ti­cal­ly pos­si­ble. It’s become a time that I enjoy, an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pop my head­phones in and lis­ten to some music or catch up on a few podcasts.
Over the last cou­ple of weeks I’ve begun to notice some­thing, when I don’t get my dai­ly walks in my mood suf­fers. The real­i­sa­tion has come home to roost this bank hol­i­day week­end. On Sat­ur­day and Mon­day I did­n’t real­ly go out. I stayed home in my flat tin­ker­ing on my web­sites, mak­ing a few adjust­ments, watch­ing some TV shows, what most peo­ple call relax­ing. And it has been just that, but today I noticed the heav­i­ness creep­ing in, it made me realise what effect going out for a walk has on me.
It’s not just the small amount of exer­cise that a brisk walk pro­vides that I’ve missed today, it’s the inten­tion­al­i­ty of going for a walk. Instead of the day just pass­ing by, the act of walk­ing to work is inten­tion­al and pro­vides an ele­ment of struc­ture to my day. I need to sched­ule in the time for my walk to work oth­er­wise I won’t get there on time let­ting peo­ple down. It helps that my walk to work is a pleas­ant one down an old rail­way line, that’s what’s in the pho­to at the top of this post, for a moment I can be lost in the won­der of look­ing at the trees and green­ery as I walk. It pro­vides a chance to look at God’s cre­ation and see how the same place changes from day to day. It’s a chance to walk and lis­ten to some new music or the lat­est pod­casts, in my own lit­tle world that’s out­side in the wider world. It’s a chance to pop the head­phones out and walk lis­ten­ing to the birds and rustling of the trees. When the sun’s out it’s espe­cial­ly enjoy­able, but even on a rainy day I look for­ward to my walk to work.
Almost by acci­dent I’ve dis­cov­ered that the act of walk­ing to work pro­vides me with a moment of calm. In that walk there is noth­ing I can do for my design busi­ness, noth­ing I need to do for my cof­fee house shift, no tweets or Insta­gram pho­tos to catch up on (unless I want to walk into my fel­low walk­ers or be run over by the many cyclists), I can just enjoy the sim­ple act of walking.

Resolutions and Intentions

At the start of every year, I, along with mil­lions of oth­ers around the world, make res­o­lu­tions. We decide, often quite flip­pant­ly, to do cer­tain things. It could be to change a habit, lose weight, or to get fit­ter and just “be health­i­er”. But 99% of the time they are lofty goals that last only a cou­ple of weeks, a month or maybe six weeks if you real­ly try hard, but they rarely last.
As I began think­ing about my res­o­lu­tions for the year, I made my usu­al trip to the dic­tio­nary for a definition.

res·o·lu·tion
noun
• a firm deci­sion to do or not to do something.
• a for­mal expres­sion of opin­ion or inten­tion agreed on by a leg­isla­tive body, com­mit­tee, or oth­er for­mal meet­ing, typ­i­cal­ly after tak­ing a vote.
• the qual­i­ty of being deter­mined or resolute. 

It struck me that a res­o­lu­tion is much more than the lofty ambi­tions we make at the start of each year. They are inten­tion­al. A com­mit­tee will not vote a for­mal res­o­lu­tion into place with­out hav­ing a firm inten­tion to fol­low through with it. Yet very often we deter­mine what our new year’s res­o­lu­tions will be sim­ply by a fleet­ing desire or a momen­tary deci­sion. We base them on noth­ing more than what we think is going to be a ben­e­fi­cial thing for us to do. We’re not inten­tion­al in our thoughts and often do not stand firm­ly behind our deci­sions, evi­denced by the same res­o­lu­tions recur­ring year after year. In stark con­trast, a real res­o­lu­tion is intend­ed, it has pur­pose, it is designed.

in·tent
noun
• some­thing that is intend­ed; pur­pose; design;

A res­o­lu­tion is point­less if we have not con­sid­ered why. Why do we want to get up ear­li­er? Why do we want to use our time bet­ter? Why do we want to be fit­ter? All of these are good things but why do we want to do them? If we decide to do these things with­out think­ing about the real pur­pose, they will nev­er stick.
To make them stick, we must go fur­ther than think about why we want to do them. Once we have a firm moti­va­tion in place, we must design that res­o­lu­tion using our moti­va­tion as a basis. As it says in Proverbs chap­ter 14 and verse 15:

“A sim­ple man believes any­thing, but a pru­dent man gives thought to his steps.” 

If we resolve to just do some­thing with­out thought we not only waste time, we waste our inten­tions and we waste ener­gy. It’s hard enough to gain momen­tum when begin­ning a new thing that has a clear moti­va­tion, but gain­ing momen­tum on some­thing with­out a clear aim or goal? That’s like­ly to end in a fail­ure which has an impact on oth­er plans we make. Once we are dis­cour­aged by some­thing it’s very hard to recov­er the con­fi­dence and enthu­si­asm that we need to start some­thing. The mem­o­ry of fail­ing at one thing lingers at the back of our minds and saps at what lit­tle con­fi­dence or belief we have about the new thing.
If you’re read­ing this as it approach­es the sec­ond half of Jan­u­ary, and you’re strug­gling to stick to the res­o­lu­tions you made only a cou­ple of weeks ago, I encour­age you to stop for a moment and ask your­self why you want­ed to do them in the first place. If you can’t find a con­crete answer, maybe it’s time to recon­sid­er. So many times I’ve heard some­one declare they want to do some­thing, but because of a lack of a defined des­ti­na­tion they strug­gle, become dis­cour­aged and lose all moti­va­tion. A com­plete waste of that ini­tial­ly well placed inten­tion. Don’t waste that lim­it­ed sup­ply of ener­gy you have try­ing to build momen­tum behind some­thing that’s just a shal­low thought. Instead put it into a res­o­lu­tion that has a des­ti­na­tion, some­thing that has value.