Therapy advice to put in your pocket and take with you.

Posts tagged ‘self-improvement’

Taking Back Control of My Life

What do you mean I haven’t blogged in six months? How is that possible? This is a prime example of how life gets away from us. I have been focused on attending to the crises that present themselves, “putting out fires” as they say, and I’ve put the other stuff on the back burner until I have time. Well we can see how that worked out. Six months went by! I have always known this. You have to be proactive. You have to make time for the things that matter. But it sure is easy to get wrapped up with things and way off track.10313784_726687540767928_6619839759579931771_n

There is a nice trend this New Year that instead of setting resolutions that they worry will fail, people are choosing theme words that represent an attitude or a commitment for the year. One of my friends has chosen Organization as her word, and will use it to keep her life that has started to feel chaotic more in order. Another friend chose Nurture and plans to nurture her body and her family and her job. There are so many ways to apply these words. They become a Mantra that you can whisper to yourself every single day as opportunities present themselves for self-care.

The word I have chosen is Schedule. I am taking charge of my daily and weekly life. I am planning exercise and recreation, as well as chores and bill paying and even blogging! I’m not a control freak about time, that actually might be the problem. I tend to wing it. I can be very productive that way and do well at multi-tasking. But the old way tends to only focus on what the world is demanding from me rather than what I CHOOSE to see as important. So this year I am even scheduling time to schedule time. I will be realistic and build flexibility into the schedule, but being proactive will help me make sure my own priorities are attended to and not left to sit and then six months goes by.

Will you choose a word this year? If so, be sure to make it positive rather than punishing. Have it be applicable to many situations and be kind to yourself. This life changing stuff is a big deal. (Here is a link to my friend Margo’s blog about this One Word Resolution making. No Resolutions or Goals)10628115_726130297490319_2284401736206326049_n

But I’m not Catholic.

Last Wednesday began the Christian season of Lent, the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.  Every year I make a personal committment of positive self-growth during Lent.  But when I tell this to other people, they often say, “But you’re not Catholic!” Ok, you’re right, but I don’t think Catholics own the rights to Lenten sacrifice. Granted their no-meat/ fish fry season is well-known among us heathens, but obviously there is so much more to Lent.  My friend Pastor Scott Elliott shares his thoughts in the following YouTube video about the meaning of Lent.  The letting go of the old, and changing BEHAVIORS as a process of renewal.  This does not have to be a Christian-only practice. The concept of personal sacrifice for renewal is well-known.

Yogic science practices 40 days to change a habit.  I have heard people say it takes 21 days in a row to change a habit. There are stories of people who set a goal to make a change for a year, giving up credit cards for a whole year, or eating only 7 foods for 7 months. People fast for political change. Many of us set New Year’s resolutions to make personal improvement and change. Monday is the day to start the diet. National Smoke Out Day reminds smokers to quit.  All landmark dates of Mark, Set, Go!

Besides being a reminder of a Man who sacrificed his Life for ours, Lent can be a recommittment to personal growth, to positive change. A kick in the pants to keep working on self-improvement.  Of course you don’t have to start on Ash Wednesday, or follow the Lenten calendar.  Pick a day, any day, and make a committment to yourself.  In high school we had a motivational speaker named Mark Scharenbrock who taught us “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  This resonates in my head all the time.  Where do I go from here?  If we focus too much on the past we get stuck. So let’s put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.  In AA treatment they talk about “therapeutic relapse.” Does that mean it was good to start drinking again? No, but let’s learn from it, why did it happen, and how can we keep it from happening again.  This can be true with anything we want to change. Give yourself room for error, 92% is still an A.

Below are some links I found when I googled sacrifice and change. They do a good job at suggesting how to set these personal change goals and make them happen.

We all know teetotalers. We all know hypocritical church-goers. Lent is not just for Catholics or Christians, it is for anyone who wants to make a personal committment to self growth and renewal. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, let’s get started. Ready, Set, GO!

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