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The Sunday Paper and the Seasons

by David DeFord

We can tell the current season by checking the front pages of the Sunday paper ads. Around Christmas we see toys, Santa, and big-screen TVs. In the spring the ads display swimwear and golf and softball gear. The fall ads show hunting equipment and apparel. Near Easter we see candy and pastel dresses for little girls.

You know that itís January when nearly every ad shows a perfectly fit young man or woman easily working out on the latest treadmill or exercise bike.

Check it out next Sunday.

Health clubs have to add sales staff in January. Their parking lots are filled with people who paid a full year membership, but only use the facilities four or five times.

Iíve done it. And so have you.

Itís time to ring out the old and ring in the new.

Itís time to forgive yourself and start anew.

In previous years we set our goals, got excited, bought stuff, and enthusiastically began to tackle those goals.

But when it started to get difficult we may have persevered for a time and then slipped back into our ruts. We allowed those ruts to hold us captive until we noticed that the Sunday paper ads had switched from toys to treadmills.

These failures lead some feel that goal setting doesnít work. They think that since they have failed so many times that the problem isnít in them; itís in goal setting itself.

Actually, these past failures can help you vault over your life ruts.

Rather than using these misfires as reasons to lower your sights or to stop trying to improve yourself, use them to learn what doesnít work. Make new plans, try new approaches.

Learn from your past failuresóleverage them to goal success.

Take a few minutes to ponder why you failed in the past. What internal or external triggers knocked you off of your resolve?

Did you have an internal dialogue like this?

"I really donít want to get out of this wonderful, comfortable, warm bed. I donít feel like it today. Does my back hurt? If I swallow, does my throat hurt? I need my rest. Okay, Iíll skip my exercise today. TomorrowÖ."

Or maybe you have this conversation with yourself like I do:

"Itís okay to eat thatóthis is a special occasion. I did well yesterday. I donít want to lose too much weight too fastóitís not good for me. Okay, Iíll eat it today. TomorrowÖ"

If your internal conversation goes like those above, you need to learn better responses than, ďOkay, tomorrowÖ.Ē That response hasnít worked for you in the past; learn new ones.

Here are some tips for answering your rationalizing self:

  1. Repeat to yourself WHY you want to achieve the goal. Your WHY will always be greater than you current desire. The comparison will keep you focused on your goal. You wonít want to trade your important goal for a minor, temporary convenience.
  2. Remind yourself of WHO is counting on you to achieve your goal. Does your fitness level affect your spouse? Does it affect your children, your employer? Your desire to help yourself and your loved ones will help you overcome the current temptation.
  3. Visualize your new self after you have achieved your goal. See yourself writing that last check that makes you completely debt free. Feel the pen in your hand. Hear yourself telling your spouse that youíve done it. Taste the envelope glue as you seal up that last check. Smell the smoke as you burn the mortgage. Do the burning outside, though; you donít want to burn down that house you just paid off.
  4. Reward yourself as you meet minor milestones along the way. Buy a new piece of clothing each time you reach a five pound milestone. For every week you meet your exercise goals, do something nice for yourself. Use these rewards as incentives during tough times.
  5. Promise yourself a major reward when you finally reach your goal. Cut out a picture that represents your major reward and place it in a prominent location that you will see many times a day.
  6. Spend time with positive people. Solicit their help in keeping you focused on your goals. Invite their encouragement. Join e-mail groups or web forums that lift and encourage.
  7. Daily read or listen to inspiring material. Many books, e-books, e-zines, and audio programs can help you stay encouraged and confident.
  8. Review your progress at least weekly. Are you getting the results you seek? Are you headed in the right direction? Is your plan working? If not, adjust your plan and move forward.

Ring out the old and ring in the new.

Forgive yourself of past failures and leverage those failures toward new success.

You can do this.

You can make 2006 the year you finally climb out of your rut and never return.


Quotes

Life consists not of a series of circumstances but of a series of choices. David DeFord

The faster the pitch the farther the ball will fly when we solidly connect. The more difficult the challenge, the greater the reward for meeting it squarely. David DeFord

The value of a thing lies in the cost of attaining it. David DeFord

Major improvements follow minor adjustments. David DeFord

No true victory requires the sacrifice of our values. David DeFord

I strive to improve my writing by making it active. I strive to improve my life in the same way. David DeFord

The accumulation of many well-made small choices has the same impact as the sprinkling of a few tiny drops of cayenne pepper sauceótremendous power! David DeFord

Often our attitudes bring about the treatment life hands us. By our attitudes we can influence whether we find become conquerors or victims. David DeFord


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