Often, people grow tired of, or frustrated with, making resolutions.
Maybe because they have tried and failed in the past.
Maybe because they have lost the dream.
Actually those two reasons are tied together.
We give up on the dream because we have tried and failed so many times – to continue the charade seems pointless.
But take courage, there is still hope.
Let’s take a close look at Habits, because…
That’s where success or failure comes from.
Habits come from repeated behaviors. Period.
The key to success in creating a habit is Persistence.
Anatomy of a Habit
A habit is the result of you doing, saying, thinking – something – over and over.
I get up in the morning, get dressed, make a hot drink, and sit on the couch in the living room. My digital reader is there where I left it the previous evening. I flip it open and start my Bible app. It opens to the place I bookmarked the previous day. I read for up to 30 minutes, or until I encounter a passage that asks for reflection.
My Habit Experience
That’s automatic for me now, after more than a year of repeating the behavior.
But at first it was a challenge. I wanted to do other things, maybe turn on the TV, maybe read something other than the Bible.
I struggled with creating the habit.
I believe that God wants to spend time with me. When I crowd Him out, He is disappointed.
While I was forming the habit I had to remind myself – often – that God was waiting for me to spend time with Him.
I don’t know how many times I said, “This is important! I won’t disappoint God!”
Repeated and repeated, until it is now a habit.
Whether habits begin in behavior or in thoughts – I’m not sure it matters.
Purposeful habits begin in the thoughts – you make a decision. It’s the will taking action. Making a choice.
Act on that choice repeatedly and you have a habit.
Actually, habits are responsible for just about everything we do
during a normal day.
Changing a habit is the trick.
Take some quiet time and list your routine actions – your daily
patterns. With that done, it is likely to be easy to identify some
time – daily time – in which you could replace an old habit with
the new one of God Time.
Bible reading on the couch.
Looking for evidence of God’s love in Nature.
Journaling to record your Spiritual Journey. Writing about it
helps to establish some accountability in the Divine Relationship.
Let’s assume that you read my blog last week on Tuesday and that you followed my example as suggested in the post. You made a list of all of the new experiences in your life over the past few years.
A list of changes that came into your life without your invitation.
>A list including new things that happened to you.
>Including changes in your health or the health of a family member.
>Changes at work that required that you take on new roles or tasks or responsibilities.
>Changes in your spouse’s life – because those impact you, too.
>Changes in your children’s lives: sports, school or church clubs, music lessons, health.
>Pets that have been added or subtracted.
>Close friends that have experienced drama or trauma and you became a supporter.
>Changes at church or work or school.
You get the idea.
I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by creating the list.
This exercise helps you to realize some underlying factors that may be manifested in relationship struggles, health deficits, patience changes with close friends and family, or lack of motivation that once enabled you to accomplish more.
If you did not create a list, stop reading and take the time to make a list now. I’ll wait.
What are the possible responses to a changes list? I see two options:
Learn from the changes and challenges
Ignore the effects and try to shield yourself from events that trigger responses
Homeostasis is the wonderful word that means “things stay the way they have always been for me.” But, since homeostasis is impossible, even for a rock, the idea of staying the same is an illusion. Change is a fact of life. You can’t avoid it. Sometimes you can modify it. But you can’t stop it. Why not be a caterpillar?
You will Respond to Change one way or another. Let’s look at two options.
Option 1: Learn. Change.
Accept change and enjoy the journey to see how the difference will work out, which results in peace and calmness.
Actually, the first step in learning from the life changes in your list is already done: you’ve acknowledged that life has changed around you.
How does one go about learning from life’s changes?
Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. Change always shuts some options, but inevitably opens others. Search for the open doors. The opportunities.
When cancer came into my life, change was not an option. Things would change, I chose radical surgery. I had to give up my wedding photography business – at least temporarily. Probably permanently. A year after surgery I still cannot hold my big camera steady, but I’m working to re-gain my strength and stability.
How do you respond when life changes stop you from doing something that you have chosen to include? An important career or skill or hobby or life-style?
Replace it with another option. Review your sometimes hobby interests. Make one a direct choice. Cultivate the interest and skills that are needed to become – an artist, a writer, a gardener, a student. Gain skills and knowledge. Video on-demand courses are plentiful and inexpensive.
Create your own on-demand videos or webinars. The equipment to make that possible is not expensive nor difficult to master.
Attracting an audience or following of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – is not out of the question. But, even without a huge following, choosing and doing what you can will add meaning and satisfaction to your daily routines.
Option 2: Ignore. Resist.
Fight against change and see difference as unwelcome, worry that the way others see you might diminish, which will cause your self-image to also suffer, and you to be nervous and fretful.
I will again use my cancer experience as illustration.
Once my diagnosis became known, I had many people who felt they should share their advice with me. Uncles, brothers, and acquaintances were paraded before me as proof that I should follow their examples.
“With no surgery, my uncle has lived for 20 years after his cancer diagnosis.”
“Just ignore it. Pray. God’s will be done.”
“Take this herb or supplement or aroma therapy to get it cured naturally.”
Ignoring a life-threatening diagnosis is never a good idea. I chose to trust my doctors. Chemotherapy followed by surgery were scheduled. My life would never be the same. Different, but still good.
We’ve seen a big Resist Movement in the USA lately. I can speak from the point of human psychology regarding the effects on the resisters: their choices and efforts bring only frustration and anger into every part of their lives.
I strongly believe in resisting.
Resist the urge to Give Up.
Resist the urge to feel sorry for yourself.
Resist the feeling of helplessness that will come over you as you lie in bed, too weak to get up.
Resist the thoughts of rejection because God allowed this to happen to you.
Resist being an invalid.
Resist, I Can’t.
Resist Self Pity.
As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t,you‘re right.”
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Perhaps I should explain the Tag <EldonUp> on my blog: .
I have worked hard since I was about 8 years old. First on the farm in Maine, where I was expected to work every day at the tasks that had to be completed:
Hilling the corn, and chopping down the weeds at the same time,
Calling the cows in for milking, and making sure they were in the correct stalls,
Cleaning the gutter behind the cows after the milking, and cleaning their stalls.
Picking (selectively) cucumbers to be sold to the pickle factory. (Certain sizes of cukes are more valuable to the picklers. Our goal was to make as much money as we could.)
Haying chores: my Uncle Ben got a hay baler the summer of my eighth year. But some fields were still done the old-fashioned way – open-bed truck where one man stood to stack the hay efficiently, and a couple guys on the ground following the truck along the wind-rows, pitching the hay onto the truck.
We were pretty much self-sufficient on the farm. We grew most of what we ate. I was part of the team that cultivated and harvested. At age 8.
I learned a lot about work and family – and myself – on the farm.
To me, then, EldonUp means, Do your work. Period.
Then, of course, there’s the lawn mowing experiences. You will find a number of posts focused on those. To read one Click Here
To EldonUp means, Tough it out.
I attended a boarding high school in Mississippi. My parents couldn’t afford the tuition. I worked two and three jobs on campus, at the same time, making $0.67 per hour, to keep my bill paid. When I left there to go to college, the school owed me a couple hundred dollars.
To EldonUp means, Find a way to get the job done.
I entered teaching after college. I was not trained to do the grade levels that faced me each morning. I made mistakes, admitted them, learned from them, and didn’t repeat them. To read about this Click Here
To EldonUp means, Learn from experience, and get better at the work.
I worked in construction, as a CNA, in sales, in marketing. Success in each of these adventures was due to fast learning and hard work.
To EldonUp means, Push yourself to do more than you think you can.
There are always reasons why a certain task or goal cannot be achieved. Don’t look at those reasons; don’t focus on the reasons why you can’t.
To EldonUp means, to keep your eyes on your goals. And don’t neglect to recognize new opportunities. Look for new challenges.
Most importantly, I believe in God and the Bible.
Since I was a child I have trusted that God is in control and leads my life. The Bible encourages us to “look Up, for your redemption draws near.” I look for the evidences of the God who is Up, entering and guiding my life.
EldonUp means there is an Up in my life.
EldonUp means all of these things to me. My life experiences, what I have learned from them, and observations about them, are the focus of my blog posts.
This is not meant as a Brag, but as background about what has shaped me and my ideas.
I entered the classroom for the first time as a student when I was seven. Fifteen years later I drove away from the college campus and entered the classroom as a teacher. Forty-eight years passed. Looking back it seems like last week that I began this journey. I had no intention of getting old and retiring.
My forty-eight years took me into a one-room-all-eight-grades experience, a few middle grades classrooms, elementary school administration, a few high school classrooms, two colleges as professor, a consolidated school (pre-K thru 12th), back to a middle grade classroom, then forced retirement. Most of these years I was on contract for 10 months.
My areas of expertise: History, English, Bible, Math, Composition, Literature, technology, success for students-with-disabilities.
During the summer months, I obtained a Master’s Degree, worked construction, sales, CNA, traveled, and planned and wrote curriculum.
We have adopted and raised three children, been foster parents, and many times taken our consolidated family of seven kids camping.
After my retirement I worked in the wedding industry for a year, as Photographer, Videographer and Officiant.
As a teacher I was an early adopter of technology as instructional tools. I blogged with and for my students. I have created and maintained websites for instructional purposes and for personal interests.
Blogs in the areas of Motivation, Opinion, Instructional Methodology, Poetry, Music, Philosophy, and Photography have received my attention and care.
On more than one occasion, I began working to develop a blog, hoping for many followers with the idea of monetizing it. I did this on my own, without the guidance of a person who had already accomplished such a blog or two. Each time I gave up in frustration after a short time. I’d make lists of possible blog topics, read and study blogs on blogging, and buy books about successful blogging.
It seemed that I could not get there. This was a new experience for me. I have been successful in many endeavors over the years. I have become accustomed to success.
Three years ago I was forced into retirement. I had planned to continue teaching until I was 70. That was a dramatic blow to my ego. A year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. That was strike two to my ego.
Teaching forced structure on me. I came to depend on that structure to orient my life.
Cancer treatment forced structure on me. The doctor visits, the treatments, the tests, the schedule of appointments, making it through this one day-at-a-time created structure and routine that I needed. I am now cancer free. Doctor visits are fewer. Treatments are concluded. What to do?
Recently, I was browsing through Facebook when I saw the teaser from GoinsWriter for the free webinar on blogging. I registered, but life intervened and I missed the broadcast. I received an email the next day with the link for the re-play. I was without an appointment, my wife was gone shopping, the house was quiet – in short, I had no excuse. I watched the re-play.
Introduced to Jeff Goins
There was no hype. Jeff was calmly confident about what he was offering. He seemed to be a person I could befriend – he seemed trustworthy.
I bought the course. I re-purposed one of my websites for a blog and began reading and watching the content from the Intentional Blog Course. I wrote my first blog and posted it. Now I am working through the main course titles. I look forward to this adventure and the success that will come with it.
Perhaps you have similar experiences to mine. Let’s get together and encourage each other.