Slipped Up? Good For You!

Missed TargetBoy, did I slip up this week!  I failed to maintain both my June and July resolutions.  I’m catching up today, but wow, I mean, it can really feel like failure when you miss those targets, can’t it?

The question, though, is: what do you do next?  When you hit a snag in your work, a failure to perform to your expectations, a flaw in your plan, or a submission to temptation that knocks you off course, what do you do next?

If you’ve slipped, that’s good news.  It means you’re human, and it gives you a chance to learn something about yourself.  What’s your Kryptonite?  What temptation are you likely to give in to?  What are the limits of your stamina, or tolerance, or courage?  Just where are the rough spots you’ll need to watch out for?  One of the best things you can do when you slip is to ask, “what can I learn from this?”

The most common reaction, unfortunately, is to write off the whole affair.  In other words, if you slip on your diet because you were out with friends and couldn’t resist sharing the cheesecake, or if you skip a litterbox cleaning because you’re exhausted from an unusually active day, it’s easy to just give up altogether on the diet, or on your resolution to keep the litterbox clean.  When you feel like a failure, it’s almost inevitable that you will act like one.

Instead, what if you looked at it more like a speed bump in your path?  You slowed down for a moment, but then you can just get right back to what you were doing.  It may mean you’ll take a little longer to get where you’re going, but your trip might be that much richer and more memorable because you slowed down for a moment along the way.  And when you do attain that goal, or continue to provide improved health, lifestyle or living conditions for yourself, you’ll enjoy it that much more, knowing that you’ve overcome obstacles to get there.  The hardest-won prize  is often the most precious.

And while I don’t recommend allowing circumstances to become excuses, there are some reasons you may temporarily choose to let a resolution slide.  One example of such a reason is that children grow up fast!  Mine is already grown, and I know from experience that when there are opportunities to share and enjoy life with your children and other loved ones, you may, with proper conscious forethought, choose to suspend your resolution temporarily in order to take advantage of those opportunities.

It goes back to Minimal Effort(tm) Rule #1 which is: Know Your Priorities.  Your resolutions are important, and too much straying would not be in your best interest.  But if you have a higher priority, it may sometimes interfere.  Don’t let your highest priorities slide in favor of lower ones.  Ever.

The trick, of course, is to be very aware of, and very clear about, what your priorities are.  Many people choose what they call the “three-legged stool” — God, Family, Work.  I know others who have at least one more high priority to add to that list, and some very successful and happy people I know have a different list altogether.  Don’t feel compelled to use someone else’s idea of a priority list, but a model to start from is not a bad idea.  Spend quiet time thinking about your priorities and come up with your own list.  Then keep it firmly in mind when making choices about how to spend your time and energy.  Don’t waste either one on low-priority things unless all your high-priority things are taken care of.

I slipped up this week, and at first it felt like a failure.  But now that I think about it, I had a higher priority for my time and energy this week.  I am incredibly grateful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had this week and wouldn’t want to have missed them, so I will take the energy of that gratitude, get caught up from where I slipped, and get right back on track.

Here’s to another great week!

Laura

 

Advertisements

How’s Your Resolution? Get Focused!

It is near the middle of the month, and time to take a quick check to see how you’re doing on July’s resolution.  While you do that, notice whether you’ve kept up on June’s or not.  I have to admit, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my June resolution while starting and working on my July resolution.  How about you?  The good news is, the July resolution is going quite well!

Establishing a habit should take three to four weeks, but for some of us, it does take longer, so you may need to be vigilant about your past resolutions when the month ticks over and you start a new one.  Just don’t let excuses get in the way of your older (or newer) resolutions!

On the other hand, some of us get bored or frustrated when we are trying to maintain a habit that doesn’t seem to be having any good effects.  In this case, remember that a seed is growing under the ground even if you can’t see it.  Just trust that something is growing and you will soon see evidence of it.  If necessary, ask someone you trust for feedback (see my posts on getting and giving feedback) to make sure your seedling is working its way to the open air.

No matter what, stay focused on your goal, which your resolution should be supporting, and make sure you aren’t letting circumstances dictate what you can or cannot accomplish.

In my case, it helps a lot when people “like” and share my posts on Facebook or, even better, participate and comment here on this blog.  I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

 

A Time to Destroy (and Celebrate!)

FireworksHappy Independence Day!  Here in the U.S.A. we celebrate our freedom and patriotism on this day.  Fireworks will be on the agenda tonight just about everywhere.  In some places you can see multiple fireworks shows just standing in one spot!

It’s reminiscent of the words in our national anthem, “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” which speak of the destruction and sacrifice that had to happen to win the freedom we celebrate today.  And it’s very much like the Law of Sacrifice, which says that you have to give up something of value in order to obtain something of even greater value.

It’s in this spirit that I say the following: destruction can be a good thing. Often we automatically think of destroying something as a  bad thing and we strive hard not to do it or let it happen.  Yet, we can get stuck if we stubbornly cling to what we have.  Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of something you have, in order to get something even better.  On a small scale, that might mean cleaning out a closet or an attic and letting some old treasures find a new home.  It might mean tearing down a wall in order to make a great new space in your home.  It might mean taking down a dilapidated building to make room for a shining new business or living structure.  It might mean repealing old laws that no longer serve us, in order to allow new, better policies to prevail.  It could even mean the end of a relationship that is not working.

More than anything, though, it’s about how you think. You have to be willing to let go of your old thought patterns in order to build new ones that serve you better.  When you are working on building a new good habit for yourself, you will have to do some demolition of old thought patterns and habits in the process.  Be watching for that moment of resistance when you realize you are going to have to let go of something you thought at one time was absolutely necessary.  It may be a scary or even painful process, but in the end you will have something to celebrate.  And then, maybe there will be fireworks!

 

Technology: Servant or Master?

Still without electricity here, and really appreciating how much more convenient life is when we have it. This reminds me of one of the Minimal Effort ™ rules: Use technology as a servant, not a master.

Your workload can be lighter and your outlook happier when you make good use of available technology, but don’t become a slave to your gadgets. If you can’t get through dinner without your phone or get ready for your day without your TV, you may want to consider your dependence on your gadgets and whether you are the master or the slave.

This could even be the source of a new resolution for you. It’s not too late to join the Resolution Revolution and choose a great new habit to build in July.

If you do, I’d love to hear from you. What’s your July resolution? Post it here and get help, support and accountability.

Now if only my power would come back on…