The beginning of a new year is usually filled with anticipation and goals for the coming months and renewed vows to make changes that will improve your life. The most common goal heard about is to start dieting and lose weight. Many gyms are full the first few weeks of January with people resolving to keep up an exercise schedule and watch the pounds drop off. But by the end of the month, the amount of people at the gym starts to wane and hopes of a change start to drop off as busy schedules kick in and motivation lessens. By the 2nd or 3rd month into the new year goals are completely forgotten and nothing has changed from the previous year. Life continues to move on, time slips by and change never happens.
I think it’s safe to say that new years resolutions can actually be discouraging to many and when they’re not met year after year, feelings of failure settle deep in our thoughts regarding our discipline, motivation and even ability. We begin to think we don’t have what it takes and start settling for a lifestyle we are unhappy with. We develop a false belief system that says, this is who I am and I’m not capable of change that will lead to a more fulfilling life. When a false belief system like this takes root in our thinking, it develops into a stronghold of the mind. A stronghold effects our daily thinking and behaviors so subtly that we don’t even realize it’s there. It becomes a part of who we think we are and how we behave. It’s like seeing life through a filter and not the full potential we are capable of.
What are you saying about yourself either out loud or internally? Are you encouraging yourself and speaking positive affirmations or are you constantly beating yourself up and speaking negatively about who you are? What you speak is what you will dwell on. And what you dwell on is what you will believe about yourself. What you believe about yourself will effect your behaviors and actions and determine how you live your life.
How much time do you take to invest in your mental and emotional health? Are you aware of the condition of your soul (mind, will, emotions)? Do you take time for quiet, reflection, journaling, and emotional outlets? Your level of investment into yourself will determine your level of impact on others. If you’re burnt out and constantly feeling stressed, irritated, anxious…etc you will not have much to give to your family, friends, co-workers and people you do life with. In order to feel fulfilled in your quality of life you must see yourself as a priority.
Who are you investing time into? Are you putting your family as priority? It is important to recognize the people in your life who you want to impact and do life with. If you are spending a lot of your free time with people you do not see in your future you may be neglecting the people who you care about most. Who you spend your time with will shape who you are and who you will become. Choose wisely and surround yourself with people who challenge you to be better and support putting family first.
Are you always tired, stressed, or lethargic? When’s the last time you had a doctor’s appointment to check on your health? If you’re not feeling well or lacking energy a crash diet or fast is not going to fix anything. First become educated on what nutrients and supplements your body needs as well as the amount of sleep. Learn your body and what it needs. Develop a healthy lifestyle of drinking plenty of water and cutting out junk food first before you try a diet to lose weight. If you are not in the habit of exercising, take small steps towards it like taking walking, jogging or biking. Setting far-reaching goals of strict exercise regimen’s will not last long if you do not have a healthy lifestyle to maintain it.
Are you living into your priorities? Are you happy with the schedule you are on? One season may look different than another regarding time management. It’s important to constantly be evaluating what’s working for you and what’s not. A tweak here or there in what you are investing your time into could make a world of difference in how you feel. No matter what type of personality you are, a schedule is always helpful in managing time. If you are a spontaneous, “free bird” but feel constantly lacking time you may need to come up with a flexible schedule each week. Time that is not managed well is time wasted.
Are you constantly feeling stretched or tight for money? Are you in loads of debt? Are you living within your means? Do you have a budget? Many people want to avoid these important questions because the answer is overwhelming and scary to think about. But avoiding money management will not only hurt you today but also your future. Living comfortably and having enough does not just happen and the answer is not getting a better paying job. If you want to live the life of your dreams you have to plan for it and be willing to sacrifice now so you can have more later.
Are you living a life of joy and peace? Are you connected to God who is your creator and life-giver? Are you laying down burdens and worries that are out of your control? No one has the ability to live out their full potential without staying connected to God who gives your life purpose. If you are only living for today your life will lack the deep fulfillment and meaning it was meant for. Living without spiritual purpose is like a hamster on a wheel; constant excursion without gain. Don’t wait until you feel you need God to connect with Him. As a spiritual being you were created for relationship with Him. Without it you will never feel satisfied.
You will not need to set goals in hopes that you will have the discipline to follow through if you are continually evaluating these core elements of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Life is a journey and contains many, many seasons that will change throughout it’s course. We cannot expect to live the same way in different seasons. One season may require more focus on a specific core element then another. The key is taking the time to slow down enough to examine where you are and what changes you need to make.
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