Archive for January, 2014

If You Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done……

January 29, 2014

I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a young athlete. She is a runner who is working hard to improve her time. I am not an athlete; but as a motivational speaker, I gave her my thoughts on how she should just keep practicing and eventually she would break through the wall.

She listened politely and then stopped me in my tracks. “Actually,” she said, “I think I need to change something in my running style because just practicing doing what I have been doing doesn’t seem to be working.” Well, it hit me that my words of wisdom were about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine! I thought I was being supportive and encouraging this young woman, but I was just scratching the surface of her challenge. Sometimes “just keep trying” is a valid approach, but in some cases, it just sounds a little fluffy.

She started me thinking about how we should deal with problems realistically. If things aren’t working the way we planned, perhaps we do need to stop, reevaluate the situation and try something new. After we have examined the options, if we determine that we just need to work harder and keep at it, so be it! But there will be times when we might need to consider tweaking things a little and trying a different approach. After all, if we walk into a room, flip on the light switch, and nothing happens; how long should we stand there flipping the switch on and off before we consider that we may have a burned out light bulb?

We can expect to encounter difficulties and even failures every now and then, because that is part of moving forward…and perseverance is a good thing! But even when we are sure that we are on the right track, it doesn’t hurt to pause every now and then to take stock of what is happening on our journey. There is a lot to be said for “If at first you don’t succeed, try again,” but it needs to be tempered with “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten!”

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Resolutions, Revolutions and Revelations

January 3, 2014

Well, here it is again….another new year! Another 525,600 minutes to spend making wonderful memories, trying new things, experiencing a variety of emotions, building and maintaining relationships and eating chocolate. Even though it is just a date on the calendar, January 1 represents a clean slate.

People tend to want to make fresh starts in the New Year, so we make resolutions. I like to think of it as cleaning out a junk drawer and keeping only the things that I need and will serve me well. My problem is that after I have done that, it looks good for about a month and then it once again appears as if packrats were having a party in there. That is because I haven’t really made a commitment to keeping things neat and orderly. So it is with our resolutions….we can resolve until the cows come home, but without action, resolutions don’t mean much. They just end up like my junk drawer.

If we want to improve an aspect of life, we must break the negative pattern that is keeping us out of balance. Thoughts and behavior patterns can become deeply ingrained in us and sometimes, that isn’t a good thing. If you want to change your life, you need to get out of your self-constructed box and then stand up on the box to get a view of all of life’s possibilities. Think of it as a personal revolution…you are revolting against any limiting beliefs and actions that are holding you back.

In this New Year, you will probably experience a revelation or two. It may involve making a decision to try something for the first time, or perhaps adopting a new attitude of altitude. It is possible that you may decide to choose joy over bitterness and laughter over whining. Maybe this will be the year that you put yourself somewhere on your “To Do” list and move away from things that cause you unnecessary stress. The revelation will come when you finally realize that you are sick and tired of trying to fix a problem or change a situation by doing the same things and getting the same results.

I think I will start a new tradition for myself. I am going to adopt the idea of a Joy Jar. I know people who have done this, and I think it is a great way to reprogram my brain and focus on the possibilities. Every day, you write something positive that you have experienced or a joy you have felt and put it into a big jar. After a while, you should have quite a collection. You can either wait until December 31, or dip into that Joy Jar when you need a jump-start. Reading and remembering the good things that have happened to you may help to lose the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” and have the best year ever!