Archive | December, 2015

Resolutions

31 Dec

At the beginning of a new year, many people make resolutions. This generally involves a determined resolve to stop doing something, or start doing something, or change something in our lives or our behaviors. Sometimes we can be successful when we resolve to instantly change, but often we fail because when it comes to changing ourselves a hard line in the sand is rarely effective. We all have things we want to change from time to time but instead of making a resolution to immediately stop or begin something, it’s often more effective to set a goal rather than expect our decision to create an instantaneous transformation. Goals are positive things we can work toward and we can take action to adopt the desired change one step at a time. Then we can move forward in ways that are comfortable and incorporate change in our lives little by little until it is achieved.

The quickest way to feel overcome and defeated is to expect more from ourselves than we can reasonably deliver. If we want to lose weight, no matter how much it is, it’s not going to happen overnight. If we remember how long it took us to gain it, and then give ourselves at least that long – or longer – to lose it, we’ll have a more positive experience. Behavior traits we want to eliminate take time. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to eliminate them all at once. They are learned patterns we’ve developed and repeated over and over. We can certainly change them, and if we give ourselves the opportunity to do that one step at a time we’ll be successful. For instance, if we use swear words and want to eliminate them from our speech, we can. But odds are that because they are a customary part of our daily vernacular, they will pop out from time to time. If we decide to be aware when we say them, and then try again to eliminate them each time we slip, over time we’ll be successful.

Learning to be patient with ourselves as we try to change is imperative. Impatience will not help us get to the goal any more quickly. We can give ourselves space and time to learn the new patterns and adopt whatever change we are seeking. We can be our own best friends and show the patience and support a best friend would offer. There isn’t anything we can’t do if we want to badly enough. We can accomplish any goal we set, we can change any behavior we choose, and we can go forward any way that’s best for us. Setting goals and then working toward them one step at a time will ensure success. Nothing can stop us if we keep our eyes on the prize. Being reasonable with our expectations, giving ourselves the time we need to correct our course, and exercising patience as we change will help.

Today if you’ve decided it’s time to make some changes set the first goal toward getting there. By taking it one step at a time you’ll reach every objective you seek. There is plenty of time to accomplish whatever you want to do, and get to wherever you want to go. Take the first step today, and each day forward take another one. Before you know it you’ll reach the target and be successful. You have everything you need to do this. Today is a good time to start.

Influence and Impression

30 Dec

There is a constant myth that Napoleon Bonaparte had a chip on his shoulder because he was very short, and today people sometimes refer to shorter men who are disagreeable as having a “Napoleon Complex.” However, historians say Napoleon was actually taller than the average male for his time and seemed short because he was surrounded by body guards who were much taller. If they are right, his short stature was just an interpretation of how he compared to those around him, and not a true reflection of who he was. When we think about that, it changes the entire picture. If he wasn’t short and didn’t have a complex about his height, the reputation associated with him is unwarranted. We, too, may be considered to be something we really aren’t simply because of where we are or with whom we are associating. It may be assumed that we have specific qualities because they are the attributes of those around us. We can seem to be very different than we really are because of situations we place ourselves in. They say perception is reality, and that’s often true. If we think something is happening a certain way, we believe it’s fact. But we can be wrong. And others can be wrong about us.

There is an old saying that “birds of a feather flock together.” That means we tend to spend time with others who are like us. We may feel more comfortable around others who share our perceptions and beliefs. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have friends and acquaintances we enjoy or with whom we spend time that are very different than we are. We all know all kinds of people, and sometimes our differences are very pronounced. If those differences are things that others find disagreeable or uncomfortable, they may be concerned that we share them. And like Napoleon, we may find we gain a reputation for being something we really aren’t. When that happens it can be complicated, especially if it impacts relationships close to us. Even though it’s just a perception and not reality, those we care about may confuse the two and we may find ourselves in a difficult state of affairs.

There is nothing wrong with having all sorts of friends around us. But if we notice their choices are damaging or hurtful in some way, we may want to re-evaluate our time with them. For instance, if we have a friend who deceives and struggles with the truth, our association with them may lead others to believe we share the same characteristics. Or if we have an acquaintance that has been in trouble for breaking the law, there may be some carryover of influence. This doesn’t mean we should only have people close to us who share our values and standards, however we should be aware of the influence of association. But there is a flip side to all of this. We have the power to influence as well. If we are strong in our beliefs and personal choices, if we set an example for a higher standard, we can be a positive force to those near us. And if we are, we may well impact them for good. And then our association with them will change, and others will see their growth and instead of worrying about us will be happy we were there for them.

Today if you’re concerned about an association or friendship you have because of differences in your personal choices, be the one who sets the example. Display behaviors that are positive and helpful. Others will be influenced by your good works and may be impressed to make a positive change in their lives. You can set a great example and be the light that leads the way.  We are all influenced by those around us. Today let your influence be excellent.

Seeking Greatness

29 Dec

We can be any kind of people we choose to be. It doesn’t matter what circumstance we are born into, whether wealthy or poor, we can decide what kind of person we want to be. We can be lazy and do the least amount necessary to get through our days, we can be industrious and try hard to excel, or we may land somewhere in the middle. When it comes to our personal choices we are in charge. In most situations, the old adage that someone else made us do something isn’t real. Influences are all around us and if we choose to fall prey to them instead of choosing what we know is best for us, we are responsible for that decision. If we want to be great, noble people, we can be. We can change lives by setting a good example, and we can change our world by choosing what is right.

The question of right or wrong always comes into play when we think about our choices. How we define those two parameters will determine how we go forward. For some of us, lying and cheating are an acceptable means to an end. But if we want to be great, honesty must be adhered to no matter what. There is no such thing as being too honest. Honesty is an all or nothing deal. We either are or we aren’t honest. If we think it’s a part-time situation, and we are only honest when it benefits us, we are actually dishonest in every way. The values we determine to live by and the standards we set for our lives determine the type of people we become. And who we are is reflected in what we do. It doesn’t matter what we say we’ll do or who we say we are. The truth is who we are is what we actually do. Living our lives means just that – living them. How we choose to do that determines what kind of character we become.

It’s never too late to change our course if we feel we’re on the wrong road, or headed down a path that will not take us where we most want to go. We can stop at any time and reset our direction. If we’ve become affiliated with others who are making choices we don’t want to make, we can distance ourselves from them. If we’ve done things we now regret, we can begin to do what is needed to repair the situation. There is nothing permanent in this life. Everything is fluid and ever changing. We will rarely be in a situation that is cast in stone and unchangeable. But changing it requires that we change first. If we take a good look at our lives and our decisions, we can decide how to go forward. Sometimes we need only make small adjustments, and sometimes we have to change many things, but we are capable of doing whatever is needed. We can be more than just good people. We can be great people by making strong, noble decisions and choosing the right in every instance every day. It takes practice but if we are diligent, we can become the very best versions of ourselves as possible. And that is what will change the world for the better. We have a lot of power to lead the way, and we can share it with those around us.

Today if you don’t feel you’ve been doing your best and you want to be great, start by making better decisions. Think clearly about where you want to be and then choose the paths that will take you there. There is greatness in you. Re-chart your course and show everyone the very best you have. You have the power to be an amazing influence for good. Use that power today and change the world for the better.

What We Have

28 Dec

Today, getting more, being more, doing more, and buying more seem to be a constant focus. The message we hear over and over is that no matter where we are, or what we have, it isn’t enough. We should be striving for more in one way or another. If we believe it, we may spend more money than we have for things we don’t need but think we deserve, and do things we don’t really want but feel we should achieve. It can be confusing to figure out where we are and where we want to be with all the influences around us telling us where we should be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our lives are our own to design and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of them. We don’t have to dress a certain way, we don’t have possess material things that show status, and we don’t have to become people we don’t want to be. We are enough as we are, and often what we already have is enough to make us happy.

There are limitless things we can do with our lives, countless things we can acquire, and an infinite number of expressions we may adopt. They all have their benefits and draw backs, and we can choose whatever we like. We can get hung up trying to impress others and mimic a lifestyle they embrace instead of one that is genuinely our own. If we don’t want to work out in a gym but prefer to walk in the park, we should walk in the park. If we can’t afford a new car even if everyone around us says we need one or deserve one, we don’t have to buy it. We don’t have to put on airs or pretend to be something we aren’t. We can recognize and accept that who we are and what we have is sufficient. If it doesn’t match what someone else thinks we should have, it’s their problem to deal with. Not ours.

Being grateful for where we are and what we have is a blessing and will bring us contentment and satisfaction. Constantly chasing after something new, something better, or something we feel we deserve can be exhausting. If we’re always chasing something we don’t have, it’s impossible to be grateful for what we’ve already got. We end up living in the future, waiting until we get this or that, or until we achieve one goal or another, and our lives go by day after day without our notice. Each day we have is a gift and the most important thing we can do is live in the moment and appreciate our days as they go by. We are enough just as we are today. We can strive for greatness but while we work on getting there, we can appreciate where we are now. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our lives, but we have a lot already, and it’s good to recognize that. Everything we want will come to us if we want it badly enough. While we’re moving toward it, we can embrace our lives as they are right now and be happy. Happiness is a gift we give ourselves. Setting our own personal standards helps us achieve it.

Today if you’ve been pushing forward and only looking ahead to what is coming next, stop for a moment and see where you are. You have a lot already and while you’re seeking for something more, don’t forget to appreciate today. You’re great right where you are now. Be happy with what you’ve already achieved and continue to press forward with your eyes on the goal but your feet firmly planted in the present. You have a great life. Live every day wide awake and aware of all you have. You’ll be happier and more content going forward.

Lost and Found

24 Dec

We have all kinds of experiences in our lives, good and bad, usual and odd, and sometimes even crazy things happen to us. We form all kinds of relationships with friends, co-workers, acquaintances, lovers, would-be lovers, and family. Sometimes if we are captivated we can be pulled from our normal choices into situations where we might begin to believe things that aren’t true. If we’re really drawn to someone and want them to be special in our lives, and they lie to us or manipulate us, we may not see it, and if we do, we might even overlook it. It’s possible to get so caught up we lose our way, and we may make allowances for things we wouldn’t have tolerated before. Getting lost and caught up can make us forget who we are, what we really want, and where we want to be. It can be a confusing time if the other person continues to tell us everything we want to hear, but their actions belie everything they say.

It’s not hard to get lost when we want something very much. We can be manipulated because we want things to go a certain way. We play along when we aren’t sure, and if we feel uncertainty, we may ignore it. Even when nothing makes sense we can be willing participants in the lie because we want so badly for it to be true. But lies are not truth and never will be. Even when convincing ourselves that things are okay, there may a niggling suspicion they are not. If we’re ready we’ll pay attention to the small whisper in the back of our minds, and try to see things more clearly and objectively. However, if we’re so entrenched and deeply involved, it’s hard to see or hear anything but what we’re living.

Making personal connections is important to us. We want to feel loved and cared for, and we want others in our lives. It’s healthy to want to share our lives with those around us, but it can be destructive to believe in false situations. We may lose who we are in the process. Getting lost happens, but we can find our way back when we’re ready. If we pay attention we will find the truth. We are very perceptive and even when we don’t want to see it, we can perceive when things aren’t right, when truth isn’t being told, and when we’re headed in the wrong direction. But seeing it and changing it are two different things. If we want real happiness in our lives, we must live truthfully. If we want a real connection with someone, it needs to be honest. If we’re in relationships that don’t offer complete truth and honesty, we will get hurt. Those types of relationships never succeed over time. How long we keep them in our lives is our choice. We are in control of our decisions and no matter where we are now, if we want to change our course, we can. We deserve happiness and we deserve the very best. And we have everything we need to make sure we get it.

Today if you realize you’ve been caught up in a situation that has taken you away from who you really are, and things aren’t making sense, begin to correct your course. You know who you are, and you know what you want. You deserve complete honesty and happiness in your life. Today remember what a gift you are to the world. You are worth more than you can imagine.