Have you ever noticed that there are millions upon millions of expensive “diet” books in print-yet as a country, we have never been more obese? We have more “self-help” books yet all metrics suggest we’re more unhappy and screwed up than ever. And has the massive growth in the body of aggregate human knowledge truly helped our day-to-day lives in the grand scheme of things? Are we healthier? More prosperous? Safer? Happier? I would humbly suggest that the answer is a resounding “NO!” But why?
“We Are What We Repeatedly Do.
Excellence Then, is Not an Act-But a Habit.”
In my Opinion, the answer is simply that you cannot boil down the complexities of the human condition and the psychology of performance and success into a three word slogan, “Just Do It!” It makes for a great marketing campaign and looks swell on a tee-shirt—but life is a bit more complex and difficult. Or is it?
Usually around this time of year—as our new year’s resolutions wane and we become reacquainted with our many human foibles and shortcomings—I am reminded of a Biblical passage, Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want to do but the evil I do not want to do. This—I keep on doing.” It’s a compelling and vexing question. Why don’t we do the things we know would make us happy in favor of reverting to old habits guaranteed to leave us feeling failed, miserable, and unfulfilled?
The answer would fill a library but I will give you a tiny sliver of insight that has allowed me to begin mending and healing and improving my own life. Procrastination at its core is usually a paralyzing frustration or fear over the sheer magnitude of the task at hand. If we don’t have an hour—we won’t invest a minute. If we can’t run a mile-we won’t walk 100 yards. If we can’t exercise for 60 minutes—we reject the notion of investing 15 minutes. However, success is born of changes in habits and experts have discovered that it takes at least 66 days for changes in behavior to become instilled into our daily habits and rituals. In short—most of us quit within sight of success. We often tackle ourselves—just short of the goal-line.
The answer? Put your goals and your dreams on the lay-away plan! Many a Christmas and birthday dream have come true via a mom or dad stopping by the department store weekly with a dollar or fifty-cents or whatever tiny fraction of the purchase price they could afford. They knew that purchasing an expensive gift at Christmas or on birthdays was for many—out of the question and unaffordable. But they understood that 52 weeks of chipping away at it could make it manageable, reasonable—and ultimately achievable! Are your dreams and goals any less important or valuable?
I’ve always maintained that our lives reflect the sum-total of our choices—as do our habits. Begin your journey with a simple gesture of change. Substitute an apple for that handful of cookies or chips and you’ll begin reclaiming your body and health. Grab that book NEXT to the TV remote control and begin acquiring the knowledge and ideas necessary for your long term mission. Attend the occasional seminar or lecture instead of defaulting to Netflix or Pay-For View and further expand your needed tools for success. By chipping away at the edges, you’ll slowly but oh-so-surely conquer the greatest foe in your life—and the biggest obstacle to your success—yourself.
God makes few mistakes. Your job is not to arduously shape and craft an earthly masterpiece out of a piece of granite or timber—but merely to knock off the excess and reveal the exquisite treasure that we ALL have been blessed with–ourselves! Success and happiness occurs when we shed the habits and choices that cause us to be less than what we should be.Choose…but choose wisely.