7 Ways to Keep Your Resolutions Past January 2nd

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Today is the last day of 2012! Where did the time go?!?! As some of us reflect on all we did or didn’t do in 2012, thoughts of what we resolve to do in 2013 come about. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you make the right kind of resolutions for 2013 and actually keep them past January 2nd!

1) Set Realistic Goals
“Lose 200 pounds” and “save $20,000” are attainable resolutions, but not very practical ones. Scale it back to something you think you can really do with a moderate amount of effort. Resolutions like “Lose at least 5 pounds per month,” and “put 5% of each paycheck in a savings account” are small enough that you will actually be able to see the work you’re putting in, but large enough to make a considerable difference in your life.

2) Remind Yourself
How can you keep your resolutions if you forget about them? With all of today’s technology, we’ve got a million and one ways to set reminders for ourselves. Use your tablet, smart phone, email, etc. to set alarms, alerts, and reminders of things you need to take care of concerning your resolutions. Write it on your calendar or in your planner. Tape a list to your fridge, bathroom mirror or computer screen.

3) Set Small Deadlines
If you resolve to reorganize your garage, write an ebook, and potty train your toddler all in 2013, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the end of the year by trying to cram it all in. Give yourself reasonable deadlines throughout the year to accomplish each task. For example: 1) Spend a few hours a weekend during the spring to organize the garage before summer; 2) Finish my ebook by August 15th; 3) Have Jr out of diapers by spring.

4) Make Them Fun
Instead of just crossing out words on a page every time you reach a goal, do something to add a little color and spice. Turn goal-reaching into a friendly competition with buddies, siblings, or your spouse. See who can be the first to reach their goal weight, kick their bad habits, or learn a new skill.

5) Share Your Progress
When people know what you’re trying to do, it’s easier to hold yourself accountable. Share your goals and milestones with family and friends. They can help keep you on track and offer support along the way. Start a blog chronicling your journey or give Facebook updates on your progress.

6) Plan In Advance
You can’t just dive into a triple digit weight loss plan or massive renovations on your house. If what you resolve to do in the new year is a major deal that will take a lot of hard work and dedication, start planning early for it. If you hadn’t thought of it until December 31st, that’s OK. Still make a plan to implement it within the 1st quarter or the first half of the New year, for example.

7) Reward Yourself
As you reach the small goals you’ve made throughout the year, reward yourself for a job well done. Rewards give you something to look forward to, help keep you motivated, and give you a sense of accomplishment. One you hit that first “lose 5 pounds per month” goal, treat yourself to a new dress. Once you meet the halfway mark to that lump sum of cash you’re saving, splurge a little on a bottle of your favorite wine. Staying motivated isn’t as hard when you have a little positive reinforcement.

A Mailbox, a Snake, and a Lesson

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A simple trip to the mailbox became inspiration for a motivating message to my readers.

Yesterday afternoon I took the brief walk down the driveway to the mailbox as I always do. As I walked I absently glanced about at the houses in the neighborhood, the kids zooming past on their bicycles, the four lazy cats dozing in the shade of my neighbor’s oak tree. I barely noticed the crunchy, sun-scorched leaves and dark chips of mulch that I could see in my peripheral vision sprinkled about the white concrete driveway.

Once I made it to the bottom of the small hill, I reached into the mailbox grabbed the papers, shook them out (in case spiders were crawling inside!), and slowly started back up the driveway.

As I waltzed up the hill, flipping through the envelopes and magazines I had just collected, I lifted my head and glanced up the path. One of the small gatherings of stray mulch I barely noticed on my way down the driveway was now much more noticeable.

Less than three feet in front of me, the small pile of mulch actually proved to be a coiled black snake!

I am deathly afraid of snakes, spiders, and all creepy crawling things. As soon as my eyes focused on the snake and my mind computed that it was no little pile of mulch, my knees went weak. I screamed, panicked, and broke out into a sweat. How was I supposed to get back up the driveway now that an anaconda was blocking it and ready to swallow me whole?! (It was actually just a simple little black snake barely over a foot long and not paying a bit of attention to me, but in my mind it was something out of a horror movie.)

My husband and son hadn’t gotten home yet so I couldn’t yell for them and I didn’t want the neighbors to see me acting like a crazy person. I could either stand in the driveway until someone came home or have a showdown with Mr. Anaconda.

After a couple of minutes of sheer terror and panic, I decided I would go around the house to get back to the door. Instead of walking the short 10 yards or so to the kitchen door by the driveway, I decided to cross the entire front yard, walk around the side of the house, cross the entire back yard, and come around to the kitchen door.

As I came around the corner and walked up the three brick steps to the door, I looked back down the massive snake pit (my empty driveway) and saw Mr. Anaconda slithering away down a storm drain.

It’s funny how when I wasn’t aware of the snake I made it to the mailbox with no problems. If I hadn’t looked directly at it on the way back up the driveway I would have been past it in a fraction of a second and back into the safety of my home, saving myself from a near heart attack.

Reaching our goals in life is a lot like my experience with the “anaconda.” As long as I focused on my destination and not the snake, I could make it. As soon as I turned my focus to the snake, I panicked, became afraid, and made it harder on myself to reach my back door.

No matter what problems, obstacles, or setbacks happen throughout our journey, we can’t focus on them. We can’t dwell on them. We need to put on blinders and point our gaze only in the direction we want to go and not let what is going in around us distract us, get us off course, or stand in the way of our destination.

When my husband sliced his fingertip in half with the hedge trimmer last month, he said he felt a prick when his finger made contact with the blade, but didn’t feel the pain until a few seconds later when he actually saw the wound and all the blood. You’ve probably been in a similar situation where you didn’t realize you had been hurt until you saw the bruise or the blood and then felt the pain based on what you saw. It’s only when we focus on the setback do we succumb to it and allow it to distract us.

The story of Peter walking on water to Jesus is another example of what can happen when you focus on what is going on around you instead of your destination. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did fine walking across the sea. But as soon as he started looking at the raging storm around him, he began to sink.

I knew there was something in the driveway as I walked past. My husband knew he had hit his finger. Peter knew there was a storm going on. But as long as none of us looked at the snake, the wound, or the rain, we made it. Once we focused on them we were afraid, we hurt, we sank.

You may know there’s something trying to block your path, but keep moving forward and focus on your goal.

Don’t let a storm, a snake, a gossiping coworker, a negative parent, a failed job interview, or a closed door distract you from reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself. Nothing can stop you but you.

Take a Chance on a Dream

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The time has come! My ridiculously busy summer schedule has finally slowed down enough to get started on my book! I’m so excited I can barely keep it together.

A good friend came to me a few months ago and told me about this weird dream she had. It was so strange, but so cool that we just had to elaborate on it and write it down on paper. We spent several weeks creating characters, organizing the plot, and even have 2 sequel ideas!

I can’t give you much detail on the story yet, but throughout the writing process I may drop you a few teaser paragraphs here and there. What I can tell you is that this story will appeal to happily married couples, unhappily married couples, those contemplating marriage in the future, sci-fi buffs, horror fanatics, and drama queens/kings. This is a mega-story like nothing that’s ever been published!

I’ve learned that when God puts a dream in your heart it’s bigger than anything you could imagine or accomplish on your own. That’s what is happening here. Those who know me personally know my dream of becoming a best-selling authoress, but never could I have created a story like this on my own. Divine intervention placed my friend and me in each other’s lives and caused this million dollar dream to manifest in her head while she slept.

Think about your goals, aspirations, and dreams. Is there a million dollar baby hiding in plain sight somewhere in your life or subconscious? Nothing in life happens by chance, only by chances taken.