January 1, 2017 · 3:42 PM
It’s that time of the year again, when people talk about “New Year’s Resolutions”, as if the turning of the yearly calendar will somehow magically give them the impetus to make changes. Rarely does it work that way, however.
A work colleague of my husband once upon a time trained to be a competitive cyclist, and he said that once one makes the decision to give up in a race – for whatever reason – it makes it all the more difficult to persevere thereafter… once resolve caves, winning it back is harder work than ever before. The same can be said of life, and resolutions. If our daily goals don’t match our long-term goals, those long-term goals will never be reached; if we give up or cave in, we’ll find daily excuses why we can’t reach for the goal “yet”, and we’ll have a growing sense of guilt that makes us less willing to face the challenge.
Resolutions at the beginning of the year are usually related to a desire to better oneself; but resolve is something that’s built on a day-to-day basis, and should be a process. If you set a mental goal – such as going to the gym twice a week – which is not in agreement with your heart’s desires, then it won’t happen; our mind and heart need to get aligned in order for us to reach any target.
So I say, rather than making a resolution, become resolved. Take baby steps to reach a goal; those steps might be to go on a walk once a week, or to take the stairs instead of the lift, or to purchase an exercise bike and put it somewhere in your home that’s a motivating place (e.g. near a window with a nice view), and then resolve to build up your stamina gradually with an initial time limit, stretching it as you feel you want to rise to the challenge. If your goal is to write more, then decide on a specific amount, and take those baby steps – make space in your schedule, or learn how to utilize “limbo” moments toward your goal; carry a notebook and pen, and use them. If your goal is to appreciate those around you more, then begin to focus on the positives, not the negatives; learn to compliment more and criticize less.
Whatever you want to see change in your life, go for it! If you fail today, pick yourself back up, dust off your knees, and try again tomorrow. Anything worth reaching is worth the effort, and every new day is full of opportunities.
Have a wonderful year, and may you look back on 2017 with satisfaction, knowing you’ve grown in positive ways!
July 21, 2016 · 3:42 AM
Challenge: Write a short paragraph (100 words or less) daily on a topic beginning with the sequential letter of the alphabet.
They say that you should start the way you mean to continue; in other words, if your daily goals fail to reflect your life’s vision, your life’s vision will never come to fruition. The great thing about it is that it’s never too late to start! Don’t wait for a New Year’s resolution; start now – whether it’s getting in shape, stopping smoking, eating healthier, completing a manuscript, or finding a job that you like… the sooner you start, the sooner your dream will become reality! If you don’t have the tools, get them; study; prepare to succeed, and you will!
December 16, 2015 · 1:29 AM
December means a lot of things to a lot of people: For some it’s a month for slowing down, or baking, or taking time with family and friends, or cuddling up on the couch with a good book while it snows and blows and freezes outside (for those of us in the northern hemisphere, at least); for others it’s a month of work stress in winding up the year-end’s tasks, or cramming in meetings and project plans that need to take off in the New Year; for others it’s stress due to shopping – either because one has no idea what so-and-so wants/needs yet one must give said person a gift, or because of the crowds that seem to defy population censuses for any given town.
For me, it’s the juxtaposition of wanting to cuddle up with a selection of books on the couch between our three cats, settling in with an Earl Grey tea and a blanket and ignoring the world for a day or two, versus reaching my goal of getting the first draft of my fifth novel done before Christmas. Said draft goal is only realistic if I keep at it, every day, disciplining myself to ignore the urge to kick up my feet and read, and (I will admit it) even ignoring the urge to write for my blogs, until I’ve written 1,000 words toward the completion of the manuscript. Once that’s done (or the equivalent in editing and tweaking), other things can be given attention. Important tasks that come at the right time are “priority”, but when they come up at the wrong time and intrude on my concentration, they are merely distractions.
So here I sit, 2:30 a.m. and finally have time to sit down to write to you. Whatever your December looks like – whether stressful or relaxed, planned to the gills or with room for the spontaneous – remember that each day we wake up is a fresh opportunity to get it right, and each time we go to bed is an opportunity to take a moment to remember the blessings that came our way that day.