Something that I have learned over the years of making goals and resolutions is that in order to say yes to some things, you have to be willing to say no to others. Choices. An intentional life doesn’t just happen, does it? If that was the case, everyone would exercise, floss, eat healthily, read the Bible, and never lose their temper. Choices. Saying no to what comes naturally, to what we are used to, and what feels good. And saying yes to what might be a little scary because it’s new, what might be a little uncomfortable because it’s change, and even though we know it is what is best for us. Choices. Because if we are honest, it is the million little choices you make every day that creates your life.
How we spend our days
is, of course,
how we spend our lives.
Have you ever done embroidery or needlepoint? It doesn’t seem like each stitch is really making a difference. All the threads seem independent of each other, don’t they? But, in reality, each thread is just as important as it’s neighbor in creating the beautiful work of art that the creator of the pattern designed. It is the same way with our daily decisions. They seem unrelated and independent of each other. I mean, when we decide to hit that snooze instead of getting up a little before our family, that really doesn’t have anything to do with our bank account, right? Watching one more episode of that show on Netflix has no bearing on those 10 lbs that refuse to budge from the scale, does it? I am here to tell you it absolutely does. It is all about the choices. So how does this look in real life; in every day, where the rubber meets the road kind of living?
Have a Plan- The saying goes if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And that is very true when you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a perfect 10-year plan in place and know beyond a shadow of a doubt every step you are going to take the next 3,650 days. Thank goodness for that. But you need to have some idea in mind of what you want to do, who you want to be, and how you are going to get there.
Create Small, Manageable Steps That Will Daily Bring You Closer To Your Goal- Many times, we make the mistake of making our goals too big or too vague. The key to building a good habit is to break it down to small and measurable steps. Want to exercise daily? Start out with a goal to intentionally move 5 minutes every day. Think that won’t make a difference? Think again. Small daily actions will work for us or against us, it’s up to us to choose which way it goes. We need to lose our all or nothing mentality. Slow and steady wins the race. When you look back, you’ll see it was the small but consistent actions that made the most significant impact.
Celebrate Victories and Show Yourself Grace- Intentional living isn’t a magic formula. It also isn’t an overnight quick fix. It is a process. In a society that is used to instant gratification, this is a difficult concept to embrace. But once we understand that any movement forward is growth and be proud of the steps we have made instead of beating ourselves up for not being where we think we should be, we will begin to notice the progress we are making. That step will lead to gratitude and gratitude will lead to the desire to continue to make better choices.
It is true, many times, we have no choice in our circumstances, but it is also true that we always have a choice in our response. This includes how we respond to ourselves. When you fall down(not if but when), get back up, dust yourself off, and forgive yourself. Remember all the times you haven’t fallen down and be proud of the progress you have made. And remind yourself that baby steps are still steps.