On Being Deliberate

After some deliberation, I’ve decided to deliberately share my 2018 New Year’s Resolution : to be more deliberate.

Deliberate. It’s an awesome word that has popped up during 2017 and over the past 2 weeks in particular.

Being ‘deliberate’ is the ‘D’ in chapter D of the ABC’s of Learning, a cool book I’ve been reading this Christmas about how we learn (and teach) best. ‘Deliberate practice’, like free throw shooting drills, helps breaks out of the performance plateau that you get if you just play a game of basketball every weekend. You can practice a skill like a foreign language for hours; but deliberately drilling hard things with coaching and feedback — that’s where the real improvement happens.

Being deliberate came up as I watched videos of swim coach Terry Laughlin talk about his ‘total immersion’ technique of swimming: making each stroke deliberate, concentrating on where your body is positioned, putting your hand at a consciously chosen x/y axis point in the water. By being deliberate, you can use teach yourself to use less energy and get more distance each stroke.

Being deliberate has come up as my husband and I organized our kitchen over the Christmas break (yep, we’ve become those people!). We analyzed how we use our kitchen space and realized we had our mugs in a hard-to-reach high shelf while our most accessible shelf was cluttered with useless junk. We spent half an hour deliberately throwing out the junk and moved our mugs to the now freed up lower shelf. It was a cup of tea!

And as usual, I’ve gotten inspiration from my husband, Oyvind, on this too. Being ‘deliberate’ is one of the four values he introduced at his company, Poq. It asks everyone to make conscious choices about what to do to — and not to do — from what clients to take on, to what software to develop next. It works, and his company is thriving.

But what does it really mean to be ‘deliberate’? And how is this a New Year’s Resolution?

According to the dictionary, ‘deliberate’ means ‘done consciously and intentionally.’

I love that definition. To think carefully about what to do. And then to do it with purpose, knowing why you do the thing you are doing. Asking, what are you trying to achieve? And is this the best way to achieve that?

It sounds simple, but it’s a big ask, and one I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve (like most New Year’s resolutions!).

For me, being deliberate in 2018 means thinking consciously and intentionally about how we organize our home (beyond our mugs), where we put our stuff, what we put on the walls, what stuff we have and don’t have. That will require effort on the weekends, with some trash bags, and trips to the charity shop.

It means being deliberate about how I spend my time. Where, with whom, doing what. Both at work and not at work.

It means being deliberate about how I sit, stand, hold my posture, swim.

About what I eat and drink.

About what I read, watch.

What I write, say.

About what I practice.

About what I preach.

About how I listen.

So I’ve shared this with you as an Aabservation, deliberately. To see if it resonates with you and to get feedback.

And to ask you to help me stick to this resolution!

All the best for a happy and healthy 2018,