It doesn’t take as long as you think…

The title of this post is for me. I find this to be true in many endeavors. I am guilty of putting things off and procrastinating. I will prioritize less important things and put them in the way of more important things. I will make excuses. When it comes time to actually complete the task…it takes little time at all, or was not as hard as I made it out to be.

For example, I had a project for work that I needed to complete. Pull information from hither, thither and yon and put it all together for a group of people to see. I had two weeks to do it and put it off…and put it off again. Someone then requested the file. I pulled it up and less than an hour later I was done. Why did it take me so long?

I don’t like this about myself. This is one of the reasons that I have decided to spend the next 100 days doing things differently. By giving myself specific priorities for each day, I am finding that I am accomplishing those and many other things that are not on the list. Productivity is begetting productivity.

This is leading me to believe that positive changes in our lives don’t take as long as we think they do. They are not easy, but they don’t take forever. I still had to choose to start. That was the hard part, but I am starting to see the positive affect just a few days in.

This is not as hard as I made it out to be. I will tell myself that as many times as I need to.

8 Days and Counting

I am now eight days into my 100 day strong goal. I have made it approximately eight days longer than I have in quite a long time. It feels really good, but not good enough. It is time to push the accelerator down and keep going.

I have been examining my motives over the last several days. What is it that makes this time different? Why do I want it more this time than before? How am I going to make sure I stay on track? I don’t have all the answers yet, but I do have a few ideas.

1. I have a specific number of things every day to accomplish. This is making the whole journey much easier. I know exactly what I have to mark off my list and I set about my day early doing just that.

2. Having to report back in writing every few days is providing accountability. Even if no one is reading this, I am still accountable to myself and God.

3. By the time it gets hard, I will most likely have started to see results… Which will make it easier.

4. As far as my motives are concerned, taking care of myself is long overdue. That is motivation enough.

There’s a chance that I will make it through 100 days and not see many external changes. I’m OK with that. Something will be different on the inside. Knowing that I accomplished this will be a reward in itself.

On to day nine.

The Sunrise

I’m watching the sunrise right now. This may be my favorite time of day. Although I hate waking up early, seeing the sun peek up over the horizon never gets old. It’s beautiful and amazing and so much more.

With the start of every day, it feels like the slate is clean. We have a chance to start over and do things better than we did the day before. It doesn’t always feel true, but many days it actually is.

I also enjoy the quiet that daybreak brings. At the moment, I am driving down the road recording my thoughts to capture them for this post later. The road is quiet and not many people are out. It feels like there’s more space to breathe and think and pray and to be. I’m thankful for this.

If the slate is truly clean with the start of the morning, I need that space to shape what the day will be like. I need to carefully consider the things I will do and the good that needs to be done. I crave the thoughtful life. I need to do things on purpose.

If we’re not careful and don’t put intentions behind our actions life can get away from us. We will spend our days floating along and not making the impact we were designed to make. I don’t want that to be me. God has put me here for a reason and I want to fulfill that.

How about you? What is the reason you’re here? Are you fulfilling that purpose? I pray the answer is yes. I pray that you have fulfillment and the peace of knowing that God’s purpose for your life is being realized. I pray the same thing for myself.

I am so thankful to God for each sunrise. I will use each one to do the good He has for me.

Prodigal

He stood at the corner. The sign he held in his hands spoke volumes. Times were tough and money hard to come by. He hadn’t bathed in a week. Lord only knows where he had slept the evening before, if he had slept at all. Didn’t he have a home he could go to? What brought him to this corner? Where did he get the marker and the cardboard for his sign?

His tired shoulders slumped as the cars passed him by. The hunger pains racked his body, but not as bad as the despair did. Times had not always been like these. There had  been another day, years before. Before the women. Before the booze. Before the needles. Before despair.

He lifted his face. The streetlight changed to red once again. Slowly he panned the cars for generosity. A window rolled down and he walked to the  person seated in the car. Two dollars. That was better than most people did. He muttered a thank you as the car drove away.

The streets were wet from the rain of the day. His clothes were sticking to his body, but at least it was cooler than the normal heat of an August day. How had he sunk this far?

He had been comfortable once. He had lived in luxury. His father had a strict set of rules that he chose not to abide by though, and in anger, one day, he demanded his share of the inheritance and left. Never to look back. Never to be constricted by those rules again.

The thoughts of years passed flashed through his mind often as he watched the cars go by. Arrogant people passed by every minute. But he knew well that very few had been as arrogant as he. Thousands of dollars he had, all of it he squandered. In a short amount of time he had nothing.

Too ashamed to go home, he stayed where he was and tried to work to make his way. Habits die hard. Expensive habits die painfully. His life was now broken and, he thought, wasted.

There had to be a better life than this. The life of one of the workers in his father’s employ was so much better than what he was now doing. Even if he couldn’t return as a son, he would ask his father for a job. It had to be better than his life now.

So, he picked up his backpack containing everything he owned in the world. It was many miles back to his father’s house, but the journey was underway. It would take several days to make it back, but it had to be better. It just had to.

His legs were tired. His feet sore. He climbed the hill in front of him. His father’s house was down on the other side. It wasn’t much further. As he reached the top of the hill he paused for a moment to catch his breath. He looked down on the valley where he grew up. It was familiar, but he knew it would never be as it was. Never again would he take it all for granted, even though none of it was his.

He started walking down the hill. To his amazement, he saw a man running toward him. The man was older and well dressed. Why was he running? Who was this? It was…his father. His father was running to him. Immediately he felt fear, but that was soon gone as he realized his father was smiling…and crying.

With a swift embrace, the father took the son in his arms and pulled him close. The son’s clothes did not stop him. The smell of the man did not stop the father. The father’s son was home and he rejoiced and cried as he held him.

“Father, please forgive me for my stupidity. I have come back to ask you for a job. I don’t deserve to be your son, but I will gladly spend my life working for you to repay the cost I have been to you.”

“Son, I have waited for you. Every day since you have been gone I have searched this road for you. I believed in my heart you would return. Now you have. You are my son and you will always be my son. I love you. Nothing has ever changed that. You may work with me as we live our lives as family. Come, we must celebrate for you have come home.”

Change is fun?

Someone told me this week that she loved change. She figured it was going to happen anyway, so it is best to embrace it and, if you can, enjoy the ride. For a lot of things in life, I really can see her point. The only constant is change. Most of them can be rolled with.

This conversation made me think about the changes I am making in my life. I am on day 5 of my 100 Strong journey. I have been able to stick to my stated objectives. This has been a change for me. Not a huge one, but a change all the same. Though I haven’t seen results yet, I am committed to keep going. I want to get to the enjoyable part of these changes, not just the eat less food parts.

In my self examination I realize that I have not had concrete goals in my life since I recovered from cancer. It has been easy to not be specific with what I have wanted to do and I have been able to drift for a few years now. It is only recently that I have realized how much damage that could do to me. When we drift we are out of control. We don’t exert the agency we have in our lives. That could lead to bad places.

The moment I wrote down the 7 things I wanted to accomplish, it was very easy to accomplish what I set out to do. There really is power in writing it all down and seeing it in front of your face. I know clearly every day if I am doing what I set out to do. Whether the scale moves or not, I have the accomplished feeling of knowing that I am no longer drifting and am exerting the decision making power I have over my actions.

I had this conversation with my son not long ago about being in control. We can’t control all the things that happen in life, but we can control how we respond. It is my hope through these next hundred days that I can point to the good things I am accomplishing to show him a very clear picture of what good choices and controlling your emotions does. I need to be this example for him.

Change isn’t fun, but maybe it can be. I am willing to enjoy the ride and the changes as they come. It is my choice, so that is what I will do.