Hello! It's been a while...a little less than a month, I guess. No, we didn't intentionally take such a long break from reading/blogging, but life caught up with us and before we knew it, a month had passed. This is actually a good talking point for tonight...change!
A few months back we had extended a challenge to our readers--change 3 things for 3 months. The changes were to be small, feasible, and something that you really needed to work on. Mike and I chose to change the following: 1) go to bed by 10:00 every night, 2) no junk food and no eating out except for special occasions, and 3) read the bible Monday through Thursday and blog about it. How did we do? Horribly! But did we have success? YES!
So often we think that just because we didn't "lick" a bad habit or "nail" our goals, we've failed. But the truth is, just because we haven't succeeded 100% doesn't mean that we haven't succeeded at all! What do I mean? Well, let's look at the goals that Mike and I set. 1) Go to bed by 10:00 every night. Well, we had been going to bed between 11:00 and 11:30. After setting our goal, we ended up getting to bed by 10:30 on average. So did we go to bed by 10:00 every night? Nope. But we got halfway there. And we may not have gotten that far if we hadn't tried to make a change. 2) No junk food and no eating out except for special occasions. The bad news? We still eat treats nearly daily. The good news? We now eat only treats that we truly want and our portion sizes have gotten MUCH smaller, not to mention that we rarely eat daytime treats. 3) Read the bible Monday through Thursday and blog about it. Well, as our blog readers you obviously knew that we weren't fully adhering to this. But you know what? If we hadn't set that goal we probably would have opened the bible at the beginning, started reading and gotten bored after the Creation. So I'd say once or twice a week on average isn't so bad! Of course, we've beat ourselves up a bit along the way for not always striving to reach these goals, but when we reminded ourselves that we were part of the way there (and I'd say that's something to hang your hat on!), it became easier to jump back on course when we strayed.
This might sound a little like complacency. If you just stop at "halfway is good enough," then yes, you've become complacent. But sometimes it's really important to look back at the last few years of your life and think, "Have I changed?" because you will remind yourself just how far you've come and when you can see the progress that you've made, it does make it a lot easier to stay on track. As long as you don't just give up after you've partially reached your goal, you'll get there!
I suggest doing as we've done and set a time frame for when you'd like to reach your goal. After that time has passed, make an assessment of your progress and change your goals based on that assessment. Maybe going to bed at 10:00 every night just isn't realistic. Can you get everything done that need be done before then? Will you still have time to relax and unwind before bed? If you find yourself saying, "No, my original goal just isn't feasible," then consider tweaking your goal a little. If changing your goal to a 10:30 bed time gives you that extra time that you need to feel "on top," then perhaps that's a better plan for you. As for our junk food goal, I remembered back to a time when I was counting calories. At that time, I allowed myself a little treat (not necessarily full-sized) every day and it REALLY helped me to curb my sweets cravings and prevented me from going overboard, even during special occasions. So for now, a little something sweet to keep myself from over-indulging is not only helpful, but possibly necessary. And as for our reading M-Th goal, we'd still like to keep this one up, knowing that we may not always achieve this goal (or be able to, depending on what life hands us...children, heat, schedules, etc).
What did we learn/gain from our challenge? Well, obviously we got a little more sleep from the bed time goal. But I would say that this was the goal that let us see that we needed to be able to be flexible. Flexible, not lazy. That doesn't mean we let ourselves veg out in front of the tv every night, but it means that we knew that if we didn't get certain household tasks done before bed, it would cause more problems the next day, so if that meant going to bed a little bit later, then so be it. From our junk food goal...well, like I said, we've got a lot of work to do here. BUT we both did lose some weight and are now holding steady at weights we feel are ideal for us. We also noticed less garbage output and (as long as we were being diligent) we noticed a little more financial breathing room in our grocery budget. From our reading goal, we learned A LOT! Clearly reading the bible provides much insight, so the goal itself didn't necessarily need to have another purpose, but I would say that we now barely watch any tv/movies (it feels very empty to me now). We also became a little better about keeping on top of housework...I find that it's not unreasonable to fold a basket of laundry while Mike reads or blogs. And as we prepared to wind down for the night, it helped us better wind down our children for the night, leaving bedtime a much less stressful routine.
Please, please, please, keep setting goals. They don't have to be big. They don't have to be excruciating. They don't have to be impressive. But they do have to be there. When we just stop and think, "I'll get to it later," rarely do we actually get around to it. Life doesn't have to be approached with an "all-or-nothing" attitude, but should rather be approached with a "do something" attitude. Just get up and do something! Move! Try! Change! It will come to you eventually as long as you do something. You just need to have realistic expectations of yourself. And when you make a mistake, own it and learn from it. Remember, you are not your neighbor, your mother, your grandmother, your boss, or that celebrity. You are YOU and your goals should reflect the person that you are and that you hope to become.
We'd love to hear from you all about the changes you've made in your lives over the last few months. What did you learn about yourselves and your goals? Did you gain anything? If so, what...and was it beyond what you expected? If not, how could you alter your goal to make it more attainable? Please share your stories, as I'm sure every one of our readers would love to hear the inspiration that it provides.
Back to the bible tomorrow. This has been the past month's Sunday Fresh Take!