By Veronica Mackey
The year is nearly half over, and I am starting to feel my 2016 resolutions slip away. Like most, I’m always “gung ho” about the new year. But now, I’ve fallen into a slump. There is a gnawing feeling inside that, despite my good intentions, my grand plans are rapidly unraveling.
Being Mentally Ready
It seems every New Year’s Eve folks wait for the magic of midnight. Suddenly, when the clock strikes, we have whatever it takes to lose weight, find true love or go back to school. Never mind, me might not have put any time into mental or practical preparation. Like I said, it’s magic!
Is this why we fail to get what we say we want? Are we not prepared enough? Are we too unrealistic—trying to cram too much into 12 months? According to StatisticBrain, only 8% of us are successful keeping resolutions.
Mental preparation helps us re-focus our attention on the here and now—the most powerful moment in life. It requires noticing—really noticing—everything around you, and noticing yourself experiencing life.
Here’s an exercise to keep you focused and present. Consciously pay attention to the warmth of the sun, indoor and outdoor sounds, or your own breathing. Next, say aloud what you are experiencing:
“Today is a sunny day. I see my neighbor’s children playing outside with their cute, brown puppy.” You may feel silly or even bored, but keep going. This exercise is designed to bring you back to the present—which is the only time you really have.
If you need to study for an exam, but 30 percent of you is focused on what you’re going to fix for dinner, 60 percent is worried about how to fix a problem at work, and 10 percent is replaying a hurtful comment your dad made when you were in high school, you are a “house divided against yourself.” A house divided against itself will eventually implode.
Changing With Time
Holding onto rigid beliefs can cause us to try and force results. We can be unforgiving of certain people or circumstances when things don’t happen when we think they should.
So, maybe it’s time for a new time table. Who says your new year has to begin on January 1? It’s perfectly okay to expand your deadline, pick another goal or take something off your to-do list altogether. Sometimes it’s necessary to break our own rules about tradition.
My friend Pam paid me a visit last week to vent about her “Mother’s Day from Hell.” First their only family car broke down on the way to the restaurant. Then, while waiting for the tow truck, her 4-year old had an asthma attack and had to be rushed to the hospital. Then her husband, who himself works at a hospital, got reprimanded for not showing up at work. Seems there was a mix up in communication. He thought his co-worker was going to take his shift, and the co-worker thought he was going to take the shift. He almost lost his job.
Pam is the most motherly woman I know. She literally lives for Mother’s Day. And while the ruined dinner was not the end of the world, she’d been down in the dumps for 3 weeks. Now, with $3,700 in unexpected car repairs and uncovered medical bills looming over her head, she was still trying to regroup.
“All I wanted was a nice dinner, just us and the kids,” she said. “Last year, Tom was working and we didn’t get to celebrate at all. And, for a minute, after the car broke down, I thought, who needs a car anyway. Maybe, we can just take the bus or Uber and get back to fixing it later. But with Tom working so far away, and me pregnant again, that’s just not possible.”
“Why don’t you re-celebrate?” I asked. I hadn’t realized the full impact of my words when suddenly her face lit up. “That’s a great idea!” she exclaimed. She came up with an instant plan. Tom will cook her favorite meal at home, the oldest child will help. Everyone will dress up like they are going out to a fancy restaurant and she’ll wear a tiara. They’ll set the table and use the best china. The kids will create new Mother’s Day cards and she’ll look surprised and thank them all over again.
“We need to do this to erase the bad memories,” she said. “I won’t call what happened to us devastating, but I would have gone through the next 3 or 4 months with a bitter taste in my mouth—especially with the money we’re having to put out.”
For Pam, re-celebration offers closure. It helps to emotionally compensate for the disappointment. They are celebrating Mother’s Day on June 18—the day before Father’s Day.
Being Ready Before You’re Ready
Life doesn’t happen in a straight line. Sometimes we have to do things whether we feel ready or not. When this happens, get yourself up to speed with a good “talking to.” I took this same advice only yesterday. Realizing that I have only 2 days left to deliver an unbelievable amount of work for a client who dumped it in my lap at the last moment—and I am nowhere near finishing—I said to myself: “Listen here, sista-girl. Nobody is going to get this party started without you. You have to make this happen. Now, what are you going to do and when are you going to do it?”
Almost immediately, I received the first step: “Be still and know that I am God.”