When we start out on a new endeavor, we usually want quick results. Whether it’s getting in shape, learning a new skill, investing, or building solid relationships, we like to have positive results come quickly. Who wouldn’t? It’s fun and encouraging to see results!
In most cases however, results don’t happen quickly. They usually arrive slowly.
Therefore, we must put in the effort day after day, month after month, or even year after year before results begin to appear. The time between starting and results showing up is an easy point to lose heart and give up. Yet this is also the time when it’s also most crucial to look beyond the present, to that day when the results will have shown up. When the results are slow, we must be quick to remind ourselves why we want these results and also to remain committed to the process that will ultimately bring us the results we’re working toward.
If you’re currently pursuing something and you’re not seeing the results you want yet, take heart. Know for certain that results follow actions. Focus your attention knowing that your results will occur, they must occur, if you simply continue to take the actions required to get you there.
I’m writing this week’s blog post on Friday February 14, Valentine’s day in the United States. It’s a fun holiday where you acknowledge the love between you and your spouse or significant other. As I was considering this holiday today, I got to thinking that several of our annual holidays should be observed every day of the year.
Think about it, what if we celebrated Valentine’s day every day. What if the appreciation we showed for those we love was in the forefront of our mind every day, to the same degree it is on Valentine’s day? No, I’m not saying you need to go out to dinner every night of the week, or come home with candy, flowers, or other gifts every single day. I’m talking about acknowledging that appreciation thought our words and actions every day. That would certainly mean more to those we love than limiting these actions to 1 day out of 365.
Thanksgiving is another one. What if we thought about the people and things we are grateful for every day of the year? Do you think that kind of thought might have an impact on your life?
Also, if you’re a Christian, shouldn’t Christmas and Easter be celebrated each day? Again, not the gifts and Easter eggs every day, but rather the appreciation of what Jesus has done for you. That’s worth appreciating every day!
Think about your favorite holidays, whether it’s one listed above or different one. Then consider how you can implement what those holidays stand for into your every-day life, because they’re worth celebrating more than once a year.
Over the past year I’ve had several people I know, including me, experience an unexpected medical event. I also work at a hospital, so I’m constantly reminded of the infections, injuries, and illnesses that can plague our health. While this may all sound gloomy, I think there’s’ a bright point to keep in mind:
While there are enough bad things that can happen to us that are beyond our control, there are significant actions we can take to increase the likelihood of a healthy life.
It’s amazing how so much of what we do, over a long period of time, has an impact on our health. Consider the following healthy habits:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Exercising regularly
- Drinking lots of water
- Enjoying food in moderation
- Visiting the doctor for any health abnormalities
- Getting preventative checkups
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, these healthy habits, when done together, over years and decades lead to good health. And here’s the cool part… we get to choose whether or not we do them! No one gets to decide whether or not we live a healthy life. That decision is totally up to us!
We also get to decide, consciously or not, if we want to observe unhealthy lifestyle choices. By not deciding to take care of our health, we are essentially deciding to neglect it and choose poor health as an alternative.
Why would we voluntarily choose to surrender our good health to sloppy decision making. There are enough outside forces at work against our health. Let’s not allow our own apathy toward our good health to become one of them.
“The older I get, the younger my teachers become.” ~Unknown
As a life-long learner, I’m grateful for the people who have been (and currently are) willing to teach me. Whether they’ve written a book I’ve read, created a podcast, or sat down next to me to explain something, their willingness to teach me has enriched my live. I’m especially grateful that these teachers are often younger than I am.
As someone who’s been around for over half a century, I couldn’t imagine how adversely impacted my learning would be if I only listened to people who were older than me. If I carried the belief that there’s nothing I can learn from anyone who’s younger than me, I’d be willingly disconnecting myself from the wisdom and knowledge of a significant portion of the world population. What an awful way to move through life!
If sense a negative attitude bubbling up when you have the opportunity to learn from someone younger, check yourself. You may be on the cusp of throwing away a perfectly good learning experience.
How foolish it would be to miss an opportunity to learn something valuable, simply because pride and ego deafen your ears to voices younger than your own.
I’ve been playing the electric bass for almost 3 years now, and one thing I really enjoy is getting the sheet music for a song I like and learning how to play it. While it’s fun, as well as rewarding, to learn to play a favorite song, what’s especially cool is to take what I’ve learned about one song and apply it to another.
I’m blessed to be able to play electric bass for our worship team at church. The song charts we use at church show us the basic chords (notes) we should play, but otherwise there’s a lot of room to be creative. As I was discussing a section of a favorite song I was learning (Limelight by Rush) with my bass instructor, he showed me how I could apply the same concepts that were being used in this section of Limelight to a song I’ll be playing in church this week. I was totally blown away, as well as excited about the possibilities this opened up for me.
I think most skills we learn have application beyond the context we learn them in. Concepts learned to master one skill are often transferable across other disciplines and scenarios. Being aware of this allows us to multiply the impact of what we learn by applying it broadly beyond the context it was learned in.
The next time you learn something new, think about how you can apply the concepts beyond the context in which it was learned. You’ll start to see possibilities and solutions where they didn’t exist before.
On New Year’s Day, my wife and I spent some time discussing the events and activities we’d like to do in 2020. At one point as we were listing off places we wanted to go and things we wanted to do, my wife said, “We need to get these on the calendar.” She was exactly right! So that’s what we did.
It’s amazing to me how much we can miss out on (exciting things that we actually want to do) simply because we are not intentional about getting them scheduled and making them happen. Something changed when we wrote these things on the calendar. This simple act affirmed our commitment to them. By putting the event/activity on the calendar, we’ve said, “Yes, this is something we will do!”
So often our failure to commit the time to something is the major obstacle that keeps it from being realized. What is it that you’d like to do in 2020? Is there somewhere you’d like to go or something you’d like to accomplish? If so, I’d encourage you to get it scheduled before your calendar fills up.
Commit time to those things that are important for you to achieve in 2020. Otherwise you’ll get to December 31, 2020 and realize that your lack of being intentional has caused you to miss out on what otherwise might have been an spectacular year.
I like working to improve different areas of my life. Whether it’s learning a skill, interacting with others, maintaining healthy habits, or following the teachings of Jesus, there are so many opportunities to get better every day. I find that encouraging!
However, occasionally (actually, more often than I’d like to admit) I find myself acting in a way that is contrary to the improvements I’m trying to make. To keep from feeling frustrated and defeated when this happens, I remind myself that although I missed the mark this time, I will do better next time.
I’m so grateful that missing the mark doesn’t condemn us to forever-failure status. We have so many opportunities to do better, because there is always a “next time” right around the corner.
If you’re working to make improvements in your life, but find you’ve been missing the mark, that’s OK! Simply think about what hitting the mark would look like, and commit to doing that the next time.