The first film in the Harry Potter series ends with Albus Dumbledore assigning a few last-minute “house points” to the heroes of The Sorcerers Stone. While the character goes on to say more I tend to remember his opening line of, “Another year, gone”. Check it out for yourself at about the 10-second mark in this clip. Now, I get it, maybe it’s not meant to be defeatist, but its how I hear it. In comparison, listen to the announcement of Bilbo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings opening film, The Fellowship of the Ring. Upbeat, cheerful, downright celebratory!
Of course the two situations are different. One is closing out the school year while the other is celebrating a birthday. But both are points where we pause and reflect. So is the case for today, New Years Eve. Today is also my birthday so it’s double-duty for me. A time to look back on 2019 and look forward to 2020. I’ll admit that I quite despise the concept of people setting resolutions because they are typically broken before 30 days are up. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t strive to improve themselves, but try doing it from a point of confident desire for change as opposed to the whims of a random day on a calendar. The position of the earth in relation to the sun and other planets and stars have no bearing on when you can make a decision to improve yourself.
Advice for Success
So, while I am not 111 years old, here is my unsolicited advice on how to make real and lasting change (in no particular order):
- First and foremost seek guidance and prayer. There’s nothing wrong with asking God to help you make healthier choices or to aide you in loving others more.
- How much attention do you have to give to “how” to chew your food or brushing your teeth or putting on your socks in the morning? Probably very little. That’s the beauty of a habit. Grethcen Rubin’s book, “Better than Before” is a great tool to helping you form new habits. Of course, reading the book isn’t enough, you have to apply what you learn.
- If we learned anything from the old man in the cave from the early Zelda games we know that “it’s dangerous to go it alone”. Find a few people to make the change with, accountability works wonders.
- Start small and be specific. Drink more water could mean just one swallow more or 64 oz. more. If your goal is to drink 64 oz a day then start off with drinking 8 oz a day as a goal for a week. Then up to 16 oz for another week. But don’t jump from 16 to 32. Stick to increasing in small increments. Before you know it, you’ll get there.
- Finally, don’t forget your whole self. Too often we focus on the physical. We want to eat better, lose weight, etc. Don’t get me wrong, that’s important. But just as important as Physical health is your Emotional health. Most important of all is your Spiritual health. If your goal is to walk more then listen to an audio book on Emotional Intelligence or use the time of rubber meeting pavement as a time to meditate on the beauty of God’s creation and Praise Him for putting you here in this moment. If you don’t think there’s a relationship between the Mind, Body, and Spirit … let me know how stress free you are when you get sick. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spirtually.
Have your own tricks for success? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or dropping me a note directly.
What’s a year end post and birthday nostalgia without a review of the year. There has been quite a few changes in my own life this past year. A few big ones being a job change. Still with the same organization but in a completly different role. I enjoyed doing research, but it was time for a change and I’ve landed back in the technology space. I’m down to just a few more classes to being done with school. However, I have a lot of catching up with programming languages. Learning to be more productive with my time and having a better work-life balance has also been top of mind this year.
My bride and I went through one roller coaster of a summer. But, as usual, with God’s help we came out stronger for it. Better parents and better spouses. The family as a whole is closer and stronger. Trying to help one daughter be the best version of herself and not what culture tells her she needs/should be. She’s getting there. My other daughter is finding her creativity lies not in music or art, but in making clothes and story telling. However, I’ll add that I’ve caught her singing a time or two, she’s better than she lets on. My wife is dissappering. I’m so proud of her for the weight shes lost. We both still have more to lose but I still want to give credit where it is due.
So, am I better today than I was this time last year?
Am I better today than I will be this time next year?