MOVE and SHAKE
Where are you on the Richter Scale of Life?
A major earthquake fault line lurked beneath the lovely spot we landed on to celebrate Christmas. It reminded us that lives can change instantly so we should record on today's gift of life that which is most treasured. Jolts in our lives seem to rattle loose our New Year's resolutions to the point that they seem displaced. The lightening speed of days rushing by may even contribute to forgetting plans that had seemed immovable.
Cleaning the garage can seem ominous and easier to put "out of sight, out of mind." Well-intended Christmas exercise gifts soon gather dust. Holiday treats come like thieves in the night to steal our resolve to stay grounded in good-eating goals. Earth-shaking world events can wreak havoc with our faith and invite fear to come onboard. We can get immunized against everything from shingles to swine flu but where is the shot in the arm for preventing procrastination? Unfortunately, that injection comes from the inside. Though others may influence motivation for change, the actual paradigm shift in our personal tectonic plates, must come from within.
Like the words of the wise and colorful Cheshire cat Alice encountered in Wonderland, "If you don't where you are going, any road will get you there." If your heart is set on a certain outcome, then the direction you take is imperative. So the first consideration for a resolution would be to identify just where you want to end up at the close of the time period you create as your target of accomplishment. The bulls-eye target logo for the Target stores can serve as a "red alert" reminder to keep your eye on the goal. The outer rings of a target can represent less strategic, obligatory or nice to-do resolutions, but the prominent dot in the center is where you want your effort-arrow to pierce.
Self-fulfilling prophecy suggests that as we think, speak and act, we will do. The scriptures substantiate that idea in these words: "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The "act as if" mindset helps you role-play success until you win it. Some smart analyst determined that it takes 21 days to form or change a habit. So consistent modeling of desired behavior is critical to owning it.
Steadily sneaking up on the goals-process with hopes of capturing the flag, is one typical way of conquering. Starting or quitting cold turkey is another. When I found myself in the emergency room with heart problems, I engaged in an oft-used bargaining conversation with my Creator. I knew that He knew my condition best and could influence an appropriate resolution to the problem. As if he had a poor memory, I introduced myself to Him by name and provided this update. "My wheat grinder has been in almost daily use as I prepared wholesome food. As we speak, alfalfa sprouts are growing in a jar by my sink. Plucking fresh fruit from our trees provides daily nutrition. I run twice a day. What is sabotaging my efforts to have a healthy heart?" This one-word answer was posted in bold letters across my mind . . . CHOCOLATE. I resisted the answer with, "No! Not the 'C' word!" Growing up with Santa's gift of Junior Mints in my Christmas stocking and ice cream bon-bons as my favorite movie theater treat, I was resistant to the answer. After another jolt jumped from my chest and took my breath away, I reluctantly whispered, "O…K…I'll never taste chocolate again in mortality." Somehow I hoped my response had created an intentional loop-hole, just in case chocolate was available in heaven! Sometimes mentally wrapping your temptation in foil and throwing it in the freezer can eliminate the distraction long enough to recompose your determination and get on with your goals. By the time your "21 days" have passed, your added power can let the habit go (or come) as needed.
Walt Disney is credited with saying, "If you can dream it, you can do it." His version of Cinderella says that "A dream is a wish your heart makes." It's lilting tune makes it seem oversimplified but a dream can put the gears in motion to move forward and launch New Year's Resolutions. Next, choose the course that will take you to your wish or goal. The ensuing work involved will often be buoyed up by reflecting on your first motivation. Every accomplishment begins with a dream. Find your own song and hum your own tune. Music is a powerful way to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. A goal is what you cherish enough to spend precious time on. So stay determined to reach your goals. Be like the mouse in full-body armor who grabbed the cheese from the mousetrap with confidence. Keep your most determined image of yourself before you. This photograph is the image my husband says best describes my ability to stick to my "guns" and not give up.
The caption could easily have read: "No, thank you. No hot chocolate for me. I will not partake!" Having quit "cold turkey," it has now been 24 years since I have tasted chocolate. Sometimes change hurts a little. Sometimes it feels like deprivation. Sometimes it requires buckets of sweat and tears. However, the reward of self-mastery is worth all the pain.
Be your own cheerleader. Envision yourself in whatever team colors you love and cheer yourself on. Positive self-talk is the most valuable voice you may hear, next to the voice of the spirit of God whispering into your mind and heart. For best results, listen to both. Sometimes they are one and the same. Laziness, fear, failure to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success are some of the enemies along your path to the bull's-eye of success. "Neglect not the gift that is in thee." Find other cheerleaders and mentors to wave the green flags along the way to help you keep accelerating to the checkered flag of victory.
What's up? The greatest life-coach and flag-bearer that can ever be on your team. He loves you and wants you to keep on keeping on until you see the checkered flag of heaven welcoming you home after a life well-lived and a job well done. We can return home with more than we came with when we resolve and work at pacing ourselves to be better. It's "next year." Now is the time to prepare to meet God. Shake up what has settled on the bottom and stir up some successful milestones to celebrate! – Nana's Notes