I meant to start last month. That was the plan. Then I was going to make progress a few weeks ago. Definitely, I intended to make up for lost time this past weekend. But, I started yesterday morning. The funny thing is, I expected it to be hard but it was easy. Suddenly, I wish I really had started last month. I could be so much farther now if I had.
Procrastination. Recognize it? It disguises itself as motivation for everything else but that thing you want to do, need to do, or even feel called to do.
None of us are proud of it but, most of us deal with it at some time or another. So why do we do it? A few of the many reasons we struggle with procrastination include:
- The task seems daunting or overwhelming.
- You don’t know how to do it.
- You’re worried about failing.
- You’re distracted.
- You don’t feel like you have time.
- You just don’t want to.
Have you ever noticed that when you finally hit panic mode and you are done procrastinating, the task most often ends up being easier and quicker than you had imagined it would be?
This week as I pondered procrastination, I realized it comes at a cost.
- Procrastination is like a credit card with your time. We “spend” or allocate our future time today. We pay interest by the stress and anxiety it costs to carry around the unfulfilled task until it’s completed.
- Procrastination can steal future opportunities. Because we defer until later something that should be done now, later we are not free to do what could have been doing then instead.
- Procrastination can cost us financially. Waiting to set aside money for college or retirement robs us of interest our money can earn. Procrastinating a payment can come with penalties and fees.
- Procrastination can make small issues bigger. Putting off addressing some tasks can make them grow to be bigger than they would have been if they’d been addressed when we intended.
- Procrastination can impact our impact. If we put off working on an area of influence or something we feel nudged or even called to do, we’re robbing ourselves of valuable time necessary to develop or grow in that area.
- Procrastination can show us areas where we lack discipline. When we put off healthy habits, desired patterns, or needed change in our lives, we reveal where we need to develop stronger discipline.
So what can you do? Ask yourself two key questions: Is it urgent? And, is it important? Prioritize your time to address the items that are both urgent and important first. Don’t let yourself be distracted by things that are neither urgent nor important. Re-prioritize as needed, but resist the temptation to allow distraction today to rob your tomorrow.
The next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, ask yourself what’s the real reason you’re procrastinating, what’s the cost, and is it urgent or important, then decide what to do next.
What kinds of things cause you to procrastinate? How do you over come it? I’d love to hear from you!
I sat across from my dad, parked in a wheel chair in the middle of my parent’s living room. This wasn’t the norm. Until that day he had used a cane or a walker to get around. That day was different. He fought to keep his eyes open, despite wanting to visit. I clicked on my Pandora app to give us a musical backdrop for our time together. Within a few minutes later a familiar refrain began. My dad smiled.
“In the Mood” instantly conjures images of my dad reaching for my mom’s hand. Both glowing, they’d make their way to the dance floor and escape into a world of their own. I’d witness the sweet interaction more times than I can count.
That morning I reached over and took Dad’s hands and began to sway our hands to the music. A smile swept across his face. As the music grew, I took his other hand and swayed with him hand in hand until the music ended. “We danced dad!” I proclaimed. “Yes we did,” he responded in kind. It was a sweet moment that will be forever more etched in my heart. Maybe you could even say, it was the last gift I had the chance to give him. Dad left us just a few days later.
Father’s Day is fast approaching, stirring beautiful memories for me. I’m thankful for the close relationship I had with my dad. But instead of feeling somber this year, I wanted to share a few gift ideas with you in case you’re still looking for ways to celebrate your dad.
The Story of Dad. Write out a list of memories and ways your dad has impacted you in the shape of the word “Dad.” I used a fine point sharpie on card stock, but you could use any fine point marker on paper. Frame your “Dad” with a frame from your favorite store – Target, CVS or wherever you shop. No artistic talent needed, just an open heart, pen, paper, and frame.
Outstanding Dad Lifetime Achievement Award. Type up your tribute to your Dad identifying his accomplishments as a dad. Print it on certificate paper found at Staples or supply stores. Frame as desired. For this project you’ll just need computer with any program you can add text to, certificate paper, and a frame.
Let Me Count the Ways. List out memories, and lessons learned from your dad. You can make it as fancy or simple as you’d like. I created mine in a small scrapbook album I found at Hobby Lobby. Depending on how fancy you go, you may need a little crafty perspective along with an open heart and memories.
Make the most of your Father’s Day. If your dad is here to spend it with you, it’s a day worth treasuring!
How will you be spending Father’s Day? What’s your favorite gift to your dad? I’d love to hear from you!
PS If you need specifics on how to make any of these, or need ideas for the certificate, contact me.
It’s the time of year for Pomp and Circumstance. The rite of passage has proud parents across the country straining to find their child in a sea of caps and gowns. The recent flood of postings on social media celebrating both college and high school graduations, has caused me to become a bit reflective. If I could time travel back to my own commencement, what would I say to the younger me?
- Do your best no matter what your job. Your current job is likely not your dream job but, it might be a critical step on the path to that dream job of yours. Do your best, be respectful, and dependable, always. Treat every job as though your dream job depends upon it. People notice, doors open and, future opportunities come out of today’s efforts. Take for example Xerox’s CEO Ursula Burns, she started out as an intern. Her dedication and hard work paved her path taking her from intern to CEO.
- Don’t live life on a predetermined timeline. You don’t need to be married by 30 and have children by 35 or any other age. You may have friends that get married or have kids long before you. It’s ok! It is far better to wait for the right relationship than to get married, or choose other life steps because you think it’s “time.” Don’t live the life you think you are “supposed to live” rather truly live your life.
- Never stop learning. Learning doesn’t stop once you’ve gotten your diploma. To get the most out of life, continue to learn and grow at all ages. Take advantage of professional development opportunities at your work. Explore new hobbies outside of work. And, don’t be afraid to try new things.
- The best lessons and the best opportunities are often hidden in “failures.” Disappointments will be part of your journey. You can allow them to break you or you can allow them to propel you. The choice is yours. When something doesn’t turn out the way you wish it had, step back and see how you can learn from it or how it might launch you on a better path. I was once laid off from a job I loved after 17 years. Instead of allowing it to devastate me, I went back to college, got my master’s degree, published a book, and changed careers. My lost job opened a new door with fabulous opportunities I’d never trade!
- Seek feedback from trusted or respected sources. Proactively ask “What can I do to improve?” or “How could I do this differently to get an even better result?” Opening communications for feedback will help you become a better version of you. You will encounter people who know more than you. Tap their knowledge so that you can grow. The future you will be glad you did.
- Find something to be grateful about every single day. Even on your worst day, you have something to be grateful for. Before your head hits the pillow at night, recall three things you are thankful for that day. In research studies, psychologist have found participants who find three things to be thankful for each day have an immediate increase in happiness measures. Don’t you want to be happier? Take time to be thankful. It works!
I can’t time travel back to encourage younger me but, I can continue to share the lessons I’ve learned over the years. I’m happy to say that I’ve become a lifelong learner and I do work to be grateful even on the days when it feels hardest to do. I refuse to let a bad five minutes ruin an entire day, and to interpret a bad day to mean the week, year, or my life is awful – because it’s not! Enjoy life. Live it! Celebrate your milestones and victories. And, if you’ve just graduated, Congratulations!!
Or, if you like me have a few years between you and your commencement, what wisdom would you share with younger you? I’d love to hear from you.
I was squeamish as I slid the thin cardboard beneath the overturned bowl. After considering my options, I had exhausted any other possible course of action. This was necessary. I carefully applied pressure to the bowl as to not upset it with my motion. I really didn’t want to do this. Even more so, I didn’t want to do what I knew was my next step. This was just the beginning.
My detour down this undesired path followed a text I had received from my daughter while at work. You could sum her message into a good news, bad news kind of text. Stick with me for a moment, I’m going somewhere beyond the squeamishness.
The good news was that our cat had defended our home against an unwanted invader. The bad news, the “gift” left by our cat didn’t appear to be fully deceased when my daughter flipped the cat’s dish over it. The very bad news, when I arrived home, I knew I needed to do something about it. After all, this situation wasn’t going to resolve by itself. As a responsible adult, I’d encountered what is affectionately included in job descriptions as “other duties as assigned.”
I took a deep breath and pressed the bowl tightly against the cardboard before lifting them together. I walked to the edge of the woods behind my house. With a swift motion… yeah, I’ll spare you the details and just say, the problem was solved.
There was no applause. There was no Mother-of-the-Year Award. The world didn’t notice. That’s when it hit me, often in life we’re nudged, even called to do things in our every day life that yield a similar feeling to the one I just had. We’re nudged to do something that challenges us but there’s no fanfare. It’s often what we choose to do when no one else is watching that we define who we are. It’s those moments that can shape our character and define our integrity. It can also be important in those times to remember:
- Sometimes there’s no applause. The world may stay silent when you do the right thing. But, the right thing is right even if no one notices.
- Sometimes we’re called to do “messy”. I merely needed to clean up after my cat. In life we might be called to help clean up after a big storm or flood. Or, we could teach our children to cook, or paint with toddlers. Kindness and love may take us to the intersection of compassion and messy. Embrace it!
- Sometimes our victories don’t appear glorious, but they are still victories. Success is following through on the things we’re nudged to do despite our own insecurities, fears, and doubts. Victory may be taking a dinner to a neighbor in need despite past differences. Victory may simply be the discipline to follow through on that thing you know you need to do. Take the next step and be sure recognize which steps are victories.
I never expected that the overturned bowl in my kitchen would yield wisdom. I’m hoping beyond the ewww-factor it’s blessed you too.
Click to comment and join the conversation. What wisdom have you found true about doing the right thing? I’d love to hear from you.
I tilted the container to get a better look. Something was hiding in the grey cement-like sludge at the bottom. I had already run my fingers through the thick muck to pull out each piece of glass that had sunk to the bottom of my rock tumbler.
I added more water. Soon the piece became even more pronounced. I had definitely missed it, nestled down in the muck. As the shape became visible, I was certain that it was a pale white, grey or light blue.
Imagine my amazement when I washed it off… the piece wasn’t white or grey at all, it was instead a brilliant Kelly green! I was shocked!
But isn’t that how it is in life?
When you get pulled in to the muck and mire, you no longer resemble yourself. You no longer resemble who you were created to be. You’re purpose, your impact, and your brilliance become hidden beneath the sludge of life.
A few symptoms that you’ve been pulled in to life’s muck:
- You hide how you really feel.
- Your fuse is short.
- You just don’t feel like yourself.
- You ignore your gifts and talents.
- You’re living inconsistent with your values or beliefs.
- You’ve lost your voice, your smile, or your humor, or all three.
What can you do to get out of the sludge?
- Recognize it. Before you need a solution, you need to see there’s a problem. If you could answer ‘yes’ to some of the items in the list above, you’ve already taken the first step and recognized that something needs to shift.
- Value yourself enough to seek change. Make getting out of the muck a priority. Search for opportunities to smile, laugh, be grateful, and use your talents. Also look for opportunities to shake off some of the things weighing you down.
- Find people in your circle that you can be real with. Life isn’t meant to be lived as a pre-filtered social media-ready snapshot. It’s far messier than that. In life you can’t retake a moment ten different times and only keep the one you like the best. Find a few people you can trust and confide in. It will lift your spirits and you’ll likely find they have similar struggles.
- Add margin. Find a way to regain margin. Margin is that ‘blank space’ that lets you come up for air. You wouldn’t read a book with no margin because if the words went all the way to the edge of the page with no space, it would be overwhelming. Find a way to add ‘breathe’ time to your schedule and bring back your margin. The space gives attention and value to the content that matters most.
- Pray for discernment and peace. It can be hard to recognize how our patterns, and the people and things around us can weigh on us. Pray for the vision see the situation around you for what it is. Then pray for wisdom to help you move forward.
- Get additional resources or help. If you’re feeling stuck in life’s sludge and can’t seem to move forward, it might be time to consult a life coach or counselor to help you navigate to a better place.
The next time you’re feeling stuck or pulled into the trenches of life, remember this piece of glass. It didn’t look like itself and needed to be freed from the muck to reveal its beauty. You’re worth so much more to this world. You’re valuable and have a purpose. If you don’t look like yourself, adjust and show the world who you were created to be!
What do you think, would you have thought the piece was green from the above pictures? How do you recognize when you’re stuck in the muck of life? What do you do to get free? I’d love to hear from you. Why not join the conversation.
Wondering what I’m doing with glass in my rock tumbler? Check out my previous blogs with what I’ve been up to:
Have you ever heard of Christmas in July? What about New Year’s in May? I’m guessing you’ve heard of the first, but not the latter. I may or may not have just invented that one. Working on a college campus, this time of year is all about promise, potential, and embracing the possibilities for the future – making it feel a bit like the excitement at New Year’s.
The refrains of Pomp and Circumstance bring tears to eyes as spirits leap and the promise of bright futures are considered. But, you don’t have to be a new graduate to look ahead with optimism and anticipation. As long as you have breath in your lungs, there’s a purpose in your spirit! Why not be inspired by the excitement in the air? On your journey to a brighter future, watch out for these three things that can kill your potential:
- A limited definition of success – Be willing to adapt your definition of success based on your chapter in life. Sometimes success is obvious. It’s winning a championship or getting your dream job or promotion. Other times, success is far more subtle. When life is challenging, we need to be free to modify our definition. To a new mom, success could be showering and getting dressed before noon. To someone overwhelmed by their finances success might be opening all of their mail and making a plan on how they will pay their bills. Limiting your definition of success robs you of recognizing key victories that motivate you and propel you to life’s big wins.
- The wrong playlist – What are you playing on repeat? The messages you tell yourself will carry more weight than the other voices in your life. Sometimes the messages we tell ourselves are negative words we’ve heard from critical people – a parent, a teacher, a coach, or a peer. In high school I had an English teacher that told me I couldn’t write. If I had listened to her, I wouldn’t be a published author or a speaker. The impact I have had would have been silenced. In life we all meet people who fail to see our potential. Do not be robbed of your vision because someone else lacked the ability to see your worth. Do not let their words live on as an internal whisper that holds you back. Instead, go prove them wrong!
- A fear of feedback – Try, learn, grow, and repeat. When we actively seek constructive feedback, we grow. When we ignore the feedback loop, we’re doomed to repeat the next chapter “as-is” without the opportunity to grow and do it better. As an example, one of the hardest things for a new public speaker to do is to record a presentation and watch it back. It can cause the most ambitious novice to recoil. But, it shouldn’t. When we try something new and seek honest, truly honest constructive feedback, we can become better versions of ourselves. Embrace the question “What’s one thing I could do to improve this next time?” Ask it of those you trust and admire, and ask it of yourself. The result will be personal growth.
If you celebrate commencement with friends or family this year, take time to ponder your own journey. What possibilities are you ready to pursue? Use this time of the year as a reset and regain the momentum of New Year’s. Embrace your potential. Try, learn, grow, and repeat! The future looks promising!
If you’ve been encouraged by this post, please share it with your friends. I welcome your feedback, so why not join the conversation. Let me know which one or more of these you might employ to help you reach your potential, or do you have one you can share with me? I’d love to hear from you.
It was a one word gut punch I never saw coming. The fog it caused along with the momentum it stole caught me off guard. It was only one word. How could it have been so jarring? And, the kicker…it wasn’t even spoken to me! To top it off, the person who launched the four syllable attack didn’t even know I was caught in their cross fire. They still don’t. Yet, the impact of their opinion still stung.
What happened? Someone who I respect, someone whose work has helped me grow, someone whose effort I appreciate was told they were “unqualified.” It really rocked my world. The person has an advanced degree in their area of influence, they have studied and worked on their craft, they have taught thousands but still were labeled “unqualified.”
The word penetrated deep into my soul and left me questioning how much more unqualified am I? It was an impactful personal reminder of a lesson I’ve learned, we’ve all learned before.
Words have power.
Words have tremendous power.
Once I realized the source of my derailment, I was able to do something about it. I began to get back on track and rebuild my momentum. The experience has been a bit like putting on a new prescription of glasses allowing me to see a few things around me more clearly. This new vision it’s given me has been equally jarring.
I haven’t had to look far to see words being used as weapons. On Facebook, a friend preparing for a speaking engagement was challenged by a colleague with the same cutting word I had just heard “unqualified.” Her friends flooded her page with support and uplifting comments in response. But, one post stood out from all of the others. It was a snarky judgmental reply, condemning the entire state where the woman was speaking. The sharp words stung with bitterness, completely lacking any compassion whatsoever. I was left to wonder why? Why post a comment that casts a wide net of hurt?
Perhaps because it has become easy, too easy. Social media allows us to type our raw, unfiltered, unedited thoughts and hurl them out at the masses. But we have a choice. We can choose to build up and encourage as so many of my friends comments reflected. Or we can tear down and destroy.
Our words can fall on people like an uncovered sneeze on a crowded subway train, or like candy cast from a float at a holiday parade. The choice is ours.
If we choose the sneeze method of communication:
- People will want to brush off our words in disgust.
- We will sow destructive seeds of negativity.
- The fruit we will produce is doubt, discouragement, anxiety, anger, discord, disharmony, and discontentment.
- We will repel people.
- We talk at people, not with people.
- Negativity can destroy people.
- The damage can linger for years.
If we choose the candy method of communication:
- People will hold on to our words and consider our opinion.
- We will sow seeds of growth. (iron sharpens iron)
- The fruit we produce will be love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. (the fruit of the spirit Gal 5:22-23)
- We will draw in people.
- Encouragement helps people grow.
- The benefit can linger for years.
Both our encouraging words and our destructive words impact more than the intended recipient. The ripples travel out from the point of impact, what kind of ripples depends upon our choice of words.
Words have power. Choose wisely.
I’d love to hear from you! Please comment and join the conversation. And, if you’ve been blessed by this, please share it with your friends.
Living in the north, nothing says it’s spring more than the welcome lack of snow in my yard and of course the start of little league baseball. Seeing all the recent Facebook posts of little league parades and munchkins in their uniforms brings back heart-warming memories of cheering my own son and daughter when they were younger.
Whether you love it or don’t care for it, the game of baseball can teach us a few things about life:
- It’s more fun when you participate. If you’ve ever played baseball, and ever watched a game on TV, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s more fun to play than to watch. Life is a participation sport. Don’t get stuck watching others living life to the fullest via your social media feed. Get in the game of life!
- Sacrifices are an important part of the game. In baseball, a sacrifice advances someone else at your expense. If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like to spend a sleepless night caring for a sick child, or giving of yourself so that they have what they need. Sacrifices to support those we care about are an important part of life because it helps others know they are loved.
- Backup those around you. Ever notice what happens when a fly ball goes towards one outfielder in baseball? The next nearest outfielder runs to be a backup. In life, when those around you are extending themselves, be encouraging, be supportive, and be present. You never know when they may need reassurance of your support.
- Bad seasons end. Bad seasons may feel like they last forever, but they don’t. We can be encouraged in life knowing that if we’re going through a rough patch, even the worst seasons come to an end. Teams that go through decades of drought win championships. Our seasons are the same. We will have our share of great seasons to celebrate!
- Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. Whether it’s a questionable call at the plate or an amazing fly ball that gets snagged on its way over the fence, sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. In life, we won’t always like how the shots are called and won’t be thrilled when our best doesn’t seem good enough, but, if we can rest easy knowing that if we dust ourselves off, we can continue. Be proud when you give your best, no matter the outcome. The game goes on. Life goes on.
- You don’t know when it will be over. Unlike other sports, there’s no clock in baseball. Still, you know it will eventually end. Life is the same. We need to enjoy the journey and make the most of it because we never know when it will end.
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather and maybe even a game of baseball or two. If you do get a chance to play or watch, I hope you’re reminded of these great takeaways and apply them to your life.
Which lesson from baseball hits home with you, one of these or one of your own? I’d love to hear from you! Comment to join the conversation.
And, if this encouraged you, why not share it on your social media? Maybe your friends would enjoy it too.
“What if no one believes you?” She asked. I could tell she was nervous by her expression as she approached me after a speaking engagement on a college campus. She paused before continuing on. She could no longer keep her secret silent. My story resonated with her. In fact it was as though I had held a mirror up, and she saw her own situation with a new perspective. He was a star athlete, Mr. Popular on her campus. People regularly told her how lucky she was to be his girlfriend. But they didn’t know. They didn’t hear her confessions to me at the front of an auditorium following a talk on abusive relationships. They didn’t know her internal struggle – that she couldn’t reconcile her love for him and her fear of him.
“I believe you.” I told her.
A look of relief instantly washed over her face. There in that moment, she took her first step towards freedom.
She had no bruises, but the abuse she was dealing with was still very real. The reality is controlling, manipulative, emotional or physically abusive relationships have far more warning signs than bruises. The longer someone is in a toxic relationship, the more they doubt the dangers and question their own strength, making recognizing the signs critical. If you or someone you know recognize the characteristics in this list, it’s time to get help and get out.
(This list can be true for both men and women. For the ease of writing, I’ve written “he.” All of these statements can equally apply to a “she.”)
Warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored:
Your relationship gets serious fast. He comes on strong soon after starting to date. He wants to spend excessive time together claiming he’s never felt like this before.
Your world gets smaller, not bigger. He prevents you from spending time with friends and family. In a healthy relationship, your world should grow, not shrink.
He makes you feel guilty for time with friends or online. Your patterns change to keep him happy. You spend less time with friends or on social media so that he’s happier.
He’s controlling. He wants to know who you spend time with, where you go, or who you‘re with. He wants your passwords or monitors your social media or checks your cell phone.
He’s hypersensitive. He is easily insulted and may question your loyalty or level of respect.
It’s all your fault. If he has a bad day, encounters problems, or is unhappy, it’s because of something you did. If he’s angry, he says it’s only because of what you did or didn’t do. He plays the victim and makes you feel guilty.
Your friends and family wonder where you went. People close to you comment that they never see you any more or notice the sharp change in the amount of time you spend together. You make up excuses about being busy or tired but deep down you know they’re right.
His mistakes are everyone else’s fault. It’s his boss, or his family, his past, his childhood… everything that goes wrong has someone to blame. He doesn’t regularly take responsibility for his own mistakes.
He’s jealous. He may just say he’s concerned about your safety, or make another excuse, but he excessively calls. He texts over and over or calls repetitively until you respond, even if you’re at work or he knows where you are.
He’s excessively, maybe even inappropriately generous. He buys you an expensive gifts soon after you begin dating in attempts to buy your loyalty, or treats you far more lavishly than is typical.
He’s quick to remind you of your faults and short comings. He makes you feel less than, or that you aren’t good enough for anyone else to love.
His moods shift quickly. He can switch from fun-loving to extremely angry in a matter of minutes.
He puts you down and disregards your opinion. He says he’s teasing when he calls you stupid or an idiot or any other demeaning name but, the way he talks sometimes makes you feel bad about yourself. He calls you ‘too sensitive’ if you speak up.
He crushes your goals and dreams. He belittles your aspirations, your accomplishments, your potential, or your hopes and dreams. You strive less for goals you once had because ‘it’s easier to let them go.’
He’s manipulative. He uses vulnerable parts of your past or current life against you. He makes you feel like he alone accepts you with all your faults, but he uses your faults to increase your doubt, insecurities, and shame.
He has a past of battering. He admits to hitting women in the past, but states that they or the situation brought it on.
He takes control of the finances. Regardless of how he frames it, if it’s to ‘help you’ get your finances on track or to help with your future, this trait in combination of the others on this list is a big red flag.
He accuses you. They accuse you of cheating. They accuse you of dating people who are just friends so much that you talk to those friend less so that he doesn’t question your loyalty. He blames you for things that aren’t true.
He’s hot and cold. He disengages or becomes emotionally distant to punish you or make you fear he’ll leave you.
It’s him or nobody. He convinces you that you’ll be alone without him. No one will have you. No one will accept you. No one will believe you that he isn’t Mr. Wonderful.
Please share this post because you don’t know who needs to hear this. Abuse of any kind should not be taken lightly. Let your friends and family know that you are a safe shoulder if they recognize themselves in this list.
If you’ve been or are being abused, know this: You deserve better! You deserve love that values you, treasures you, and does not tear you down. It doesn’t matter how “wonderful” other people may think he is, if he is abusing you, the truth you know is more important than what others think is true.
If you or someone you know needs help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available (1-800-799-7233) and can put you in touch with local resources if you need additional support.
If you don’t know my story, you can read about it in A Search for Purple Cows.
Other articles that you may find helpful:
Be supportive to friends or family who need your help. Be safe. Abuse is NOT love!
Please join the conversation. Did this list surprise you? Have you seen this in relationships around you? I’d love to hear from you, but please do not mention specifics of a situation that could put someone in harm’s way.
There’s something about the arrival of sunny days and warmer weather that brings hope – especially in the northeast where we had a foot of snow just ten days ago. The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, and people are smiling. This week’s drastic change in weather, had me feeling a bit like I was coming out of a winter hibernation. During the dark cold days of winter, it’s easy to snuggle into a routine that might be less than productive, a routine that says I’ll stay good and cozy right here until spring comes.
As I started pulling out my lighter clothes and doing a bit of spring cleaning, I realized I needed to clean out the cobwebs of my motivation in some areas of my life. There are a few easy traps to fall into that will confuse our thoughts, rob our progress, and steel happiness that was intended for today.
3 Thoughts that will keep you stuck:
- When / then – When / then thinking says happier days are just down the road or around the corner. When spring comes, when you get a promotion, when you find your dream house, when you pay off your student loans… then life will be easier, you’ll be happier, you’ll save for retirement, you’ll be less stressed. Then, you’ll enjoy life. When / then thinking is a trap because life is a journey. If we get stuck waiting for a condition to be met before we allow ourselves to experience all that life has, or do the things we really should do, we’re robbing today of it’s potential. Get rid of “when” and stop procrastinating life. Find ways to enjoy where you are each step of the way.
- What if – What if thinking says you might fail, people might judge you or laugh. What if you write a blog and no one reads it? What if the nudge you hear isn’t God’s whisper? Doubt sets in. Fear says stop right where you are, don’t go a step further. Inaction feels easier than the risk of a misstep because what if it doesn’t go perfectly? But what ‘what if’ doesn’t tell you is that even if you make a mistake, you’ll learn. What if doesn’t remind us that we all make mistakes. And, what if this is exactly what you need to do to make a difference of find your purpose? Trade ‘what if’ for ‘why not!’ Stretch, grow, learn and repeat. You will stand taller and go farther on the journey by participating in life.
- Can’t / Won’t – I can’t lose weight. I can’t forgive them. I can’t… fill in the blank. ‘I can’t’ weaves its way into our lives with a condemning stop sign. We can’t. It’s not going to happen. It’s not possible. But, the problem with can’t is it often means we won’t. We can’t lose weight because we won’t follow the eating and exercising plan we know we should. We can’t forgive someone of the wrong they did because we won’t take the time to really understand forgiveness and how it traps us, not the person who hurt us. When we say I can’t it’s often because we need to develop discipline we need to overcome the hurdle in front of us. Whatever ‘it’ is, is most likely possible, but first we need to recognize the trap and then change our choices to support our success.
Have you ever gotten stuck by these thought traps? I’m hoping I’m not the only one that has found one or more of these a slippery slope into passing on pursing a goal, or making progress. I was convicted a bit by the ‘can’t /won’t’ trap just this week. I’m working to unhook it from my thinking so that I can make progress towards a specific goal. What about you, what will you unlock by letting go of one of these? I’d love to hear from you!