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Saturday, January 2, 2021

Stop - Start - Continue: 2021

Beginning in 2012, my first post of the year has used the stop - start - continue model, one I learned about during my years as an adult educator. I've asked readers each year to share with me and others three (or fewer) actions they feel good about committing to for the coming year, using whichever pieces of the model seem most appropriate. Although past response to this annual plea has been lukewarm, I don't give up easily. I'm tempted to say that if I can make three commitments today - given the week I've just had - you have no excuse for not making at least one. However, I'm too evolved to resort to guilt trips. 

In 2021, I will stop avoiding playing songs from my old, i.e. pre-jazz, repertoire. I recently realized the reluctance to play songs that helped me earn a living from 1971-1978 was based on silly stories I'd told myself about that music after I began studying jazz. So many of those tunes - simple as some of them are - still give me immense pleasure. More important, other people love hearing them. 

In 2021, I will start phase two of my jazz repertoire project, i.e. the recording of the 300 standards I memorized from November, 2011 to July, 2019. And, as soon as Covid lifts, I will also start volunteering to play those same tunes in some local nursing homes.

In 2021, I will continue a new discipline initiated in 2019. For all of that year, my wife and I wrote short memory and/or gratitude statements on different color post-its that we then each placed in a jar in a visible spot in our kitchen. When we read all of the post-its aloud to each other as 2020 began, we were overcome recognizing how rich and varied 2019 had been. Imagine our joy when we read all the post-its we wrote over 2020 yesterday and - even with Covid-19 and all its restrictions - the year just past was equally rich and varied though we barely left Brielle. This is a discipline clearly worth continuing, don't you think?

How about you? What will you stop, start, continue in 2021?         



  1. Stop watching so much political TV.
    Start a morning meditation practice.
    Continue my Nia practice which brings me JOY.

    1. Ines; Thanks for giving thought to the whole model. Three manageable actions which can yield nothing but positive results.

  2. Good afternoon, Pat and Happy New Year. There are a number of different ways I could go with this - and I'm sure others will come after I post this - but here it goes:
    Stop - Telling myself that I'm going to do something and continue to procrastinate - Or simply Stop Procrastinating
    Start - The many things that I've been procrastinating about - Eating better, exercising more, practicing, practicing and practicing, and reading.
    Continue - Hoping to be able to continue doing live performances again, soon. I've mentioned on many occasions my love for there Theater. I'm hoping for the opportunity to continue to be part of live performances again.
    Be well ... Here's to better and safer days ahead

    1. RRGRMG; Happy new year to you as well. And continuing thanks for your support of my blog and in this case, giving thought to all three pieces of the model. Because your stop and start are connected - re procrastination - indulge me as I suggest that zeroing in on just one thing to start doing (vs. four) might be more manageable. And taking that one start step also increases your likelihood of immediate success. In turn, that first taste of success could enhance the chances that you'll then move on to items two, three, and four either in 2021 or beyond.

  3. Point(s) taken, my friend. Thanks for the suggestions

  4. Stop: cramming useless factoids into my head just because somebody on my Google news feed thinks they're important for me to know. Example: Kim and Kane are probably going to get a divorce. Really? Why should I spend more precious moments of my life traveling down that rabbit hole. Guess what? Dammit I already did just now! Stop me before I hurt myself.
    Start: My wife Karen and I are beginning a daily ritual of reading some inspirational messages from various authors who have works with short digestible messages. Example: Mark Nepo has book with a message for each day of the year entitled, "The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have". Also reading from "True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart" by Thich Nhat Hanh.
    Continue: Balancing my guitar theory learning (which can get really nerdy) with actually learning and practicing songs! Just bought a new Stratocaster that is set up for easy note bending technique which is a hallmark of blues and rock. I am also continuing to dip my guitar toes in the Jazz pond which upon further exploration is not that far off the blues/rock reservation.
    Thanks as always, Pat, for the platform you have provided for we readers to provide some commentary of our own!

    1. Steve; You are a mensch for continuing to read and comment here. And, I fully endorse all three steps in your stop-start-continue. I especially like the turn of phrase "....dipping my guitar toes into the jazz pond..." vs. "...the blues/rock reservation". Mixed metaphor? Maybe, but who cares when I can plagiarize both those apt images for my future use. Finally, you're so welcome for "...providing a platform..." etc. I'm thrilled you (and a few others) see it that way.