The Holidays are on us already?
The failure turned into a game changer for me.
freedigitalphotos.net, courtesy of Stuart Miles
Before I tell you my new insane challenge, let me bring you up to speed in my life challenges. Summer 2013 posed itself for grand adventures and goals. Hopeful hearts! Daring dreams! I thought I was ready to tackle them all..
I was not.
My grand challenge was to do several thousand things: write 1000 words a week, run 1000 miles as a family (between 4 of us), read 1000 minutes…you get the idea. Sounds awesome doesn’t it? I was so excited for the finish line. I lined up some great activities. I told you guys about them. I knew I would feel so accomplished when I looked back at my victories. But…I didn’t finish ONE. My devastation and feeling of utter failure was so extensive that it literally stopped my blogging in its tracks. Not because I failed the challenge (check the blog, I’ve done that before), it was due to the fact that the confidence in myself plummeted. This grand challenge became a metaphor for all I as doing. I thought, “If I can’t finish this, what am I doing? I have started and left undone so many projects. When will it end?” I was almost through…almost.
My 10-year-old, on the other hand, had her own goal. She joined up with our local library to read 20 minutes a day all summer.She wanted to win the prize they offered for any kids who would accomplish this goal. So, she signed up on the official list. Next, she gathered some good books. She made sure we got her to the library every week for her check in. When she checked in every week, she received a little prize of sorts and she met with other kids who were doing the same thing. Usually there was also a neat presentation (except the bug one…yuck!) Before you knew it, the end of the summer came and she did it! She was so proud and so were we. Her summer was actually grand!
When I look back, I can tell the difference. My grand summer failed before it started. The complete lack of self-discipline that reared up in my life and caused my forced hiatus (I haven’t blogged since June!) served as a wake up scream not just call. The wise proverb cautions to “count the cost” before diving into anything. Wise words indeed.
Looking at my daughter’s success has taught me several keys to a successful life challenge:
Start with the payoff: My daughter really wanted to win a prize. In doing so she could take it home, look at it, have a physical reminder of what she accomplished. I never had a prize outside of the ethereal “good feeling”. I love gifts. I should have had something tangible to help myself keep that goal in mind.
Involve other people, especially an expert: The librarian that my baby had to check in with every week was extremely affective for motivation. She didn’t want to let her down. Meeting with her friends every week was also extremely helpful. I had no one (I don’t remember you sending me any words of encouragement…but I didn’t exactly reach out either.)
Break down your goal into small steps and reward those milestones: Again, I did nothing to that effect. My daughter got something every week with her check ins. She had a little pass-book in which she would give herself a sticker every day she read. Stickers are great rewards! (Are you telling me you would pass up a gold star even today? I would love if the star were made of real gold nowadays though.)
Make it routine: I am so proud that my kid made her daily reading part of her every day. Right after lunch, every day. If we had a trip, she read earlier. Got it done. Me, I waited. I would put it off. I would let life dictate my actions to me instead of me dictating life.
Just taking these few steps would have perhaps totally revised the course of my summer. A grand plan would have led to the completion of the grand challenge. I told my daughter this summer that I didn’t know if I would blog again. In the depths of utter disgust and despair, what you ask brought me back?
That actually has to do with my daughter, too.
Her middle name is Hope.
I just checked my pulse. I’m not dead yet. I have another chance. There’s always another challenge. I may be back to square one, but this time I’m planning, prepping, and yes for me praying. I believe in hope. I am not saying challenges won’t go uncompleted. That may happen. But more than that I will give this challenge, this blog, this life an actual chance. I have to count the cost to the finish, not just in for the beginning. And if I go down, it will be in a blaze of glory (great song, right?) and I will incinerate knowing I gave it the best chance I could. No what ifs. No do-overs. No regrets. I’ll just move on.
I believe we are all meant for great purposes, but often those purposes still need planning. Chance won’t bring continued success. Thank you, my daughter, for your example and for your belief in your momma. I write again, I believe again, I start again in part because of you.
So what is the new insane holiday challenge you ask? I am in the midst of an insane holiday challenge:
Lose 10 pounds by January 1st.
Looking for something more? Sorry. It’s crazy enough for me. Yes through the holidays. Yes in the face of sugar cookies. Yes in the midst of eggnog, hot chocolate, Christmas parties, fudge, and all other forms of fattiness you can imagine. Yes in the business and stress. Yes with all the kids around.
And yes, I will lose ten pounds. I am already down 5. 5 to go.
- My payoff: New clothes. I have a pair of jeans I can’t wait to fit into!
- The other people: Well, there’s you (can I count on ya?) I have a Facebook group that I have joined and the women involved are extremely inspiring, especially our leader Pam who is a friend of mine. I would hate to let her down. I also pray about it. Prayer covers everything, even this. I need His help.
- Small steps: I have to check in every Friday with my weight count. There are several bonus challenges. One of which I won a coffee gift card. That was definitely motivation. I could use another small step reward. You can help me with that at the end of the post.
- Make it routine: I have decided not to make this about a diet but about real life. I am not depriving myself but more just watching what I eat and how often I do it. Exercise has been a bit of a challenge. I still need to work that into my everyday. Right now I have told myself no fun foods though unless I exercise. That has helped. Now if I could just remember that wake up challenge…and get my rear in gear! My goal is to work out right away in the morning for at least 30 minutes.
So that’s my insanity for the season. Here’s to living a full life! I hope that you don’t wait for next year to start making choices to fulfill your goals. Count the cost and meet the challenge head on.
I hope you will!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you will the results in 2014!
Merry Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)