Wordplay Wednesday: Two-Word Tenets : Precepts Simplified
Two weeks ago, I wrote about my plan to abandon resolution-making and instead adopt precepts, which are “words to live by.” I have deliberately chosen this more gentle and gradual approach to changing certain aspects of my life, because I realize, perhaps rather belatedly, this is the only way true and lasting transformation takes place.
I am using the precepts from 365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio as my guide and muse for this endeavor. Each morning I read the quote or saying for that date and then use it as the jumping off point in my Morning Pages journal. My responses can be a bit of a stream of consciousness ramble, but eventually I find some direction in the tangle of thoughts and words.
My next step is to clarify and distill the precept(s) down to a two-word tenet that I can use to direct my actions in many areas of my life. I like the idea of making my goals short and memorable and therefore livable. As I said in the previous post at the beginning of the year, I am trying to develop ways of being rather than doing. These precepts/tenets therefore become a way of living that does not need to be completely overhauled at the beginning of a calendar year. It takes away the stress and pressure of having to start so many new habits at once, which for me seems to never result in lasting change.
I have been pleased to realize that the topics of the precepts and my journal responses have already circled back to repeated themes in the first 17 days. The best way to learn and retain anything is through many repetitions which leads to what scientists call “overlearning.” Overlearning leads to a behavior being more likely to be maintained over a long period of time. This is what I need to pursue : meaningful, long-lasting change rather than a temporary burst of frenzied activity.
Here are the tenets I have adopted so far:
These may appear to be too general, but within each tenet there exists a multitude of behaviors that can be nurtured. For instance under “ Choose Kindness”, I can decide each day how I can show compassion toward others and toward myself. In kindness to others I need to be aware of those around me who may require encouragement or a smile or perhaps more tangible assistance. In kindness to myself I can choose to eat better/ move more or engage in an activity that feeds my soul or mind.
With “ Keep Trying” I can remind myself that this path of change is a journey, not a 50-yard dash and that when I inevitably encounter difficulties, I just need to keep going.
I am looking forward to seeing where the ideas of precepts and tenets lead the course of the year and beyond.
Do you have a tenet that you live by?