It’s the beginning of March and for most of us our New Year’s Resolutions are stalling by now, with the anticipation of the new beginnings now wearing on our hopes. It is because of this waning resolve, because of our daily trials and self-doubts that I write this article to offer encouragement to anyone that needs to be reminded that every one of us struggles at different times with reasons to continue trying; to carry on; and to keep fighting for our dreams, whatever they may be.
Some of us may be struggling with a mountain of debt and financial/job worries; while others are fighting to fulfill a desire in our hearts; and others may just be trying to find our purpose in life. There may be some of us dealing with health issues, weight loss problems and fitness goals; while others may be dealing with loss; depression or loneliness. There are so many issues that often come up in life that I cannot think of one person that has never had to deal with at least one of them, (for some of us it may even be several at a time). I know this list is far from inclusive, but whatever you are currently fighting probably seems like the worst trial ever because you are in the middle of it now.
I have heard several clichés for these types of struggles, and often I flinch when well-meaning people recite them to me during my times of turmoil. (We have all heard them… everything from “keep your chin up”, to “never give up”. For those of us with a belief in God there are many more than even these, and although I never doubt these Biblical verses and quotes, they can get difficult to hear repeatedly when I am in the midst of one of life’s storms.) Then there is the added annoyance of all the generic advice and pre-packaged formulas on how to fix the problem.
I’m sure that most of us have heard of “S M A R T” goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (for those of you who have not), but I am equally sure that some of us have difficulty following through with that concept from beginning to realization. Having said that, I do think that there is value in having an end goal and then breaking it down into manageable, orderly steps. But that does not make it any easier to stand at the bottom of a mountain and maintain confidence in one’s ability to reach its summit. And this is where the problems for many of us lie…
I have often even heard it thought of as laziness or poor planning and for those of us who suffer from lack of “follow through” we can be our own worst enemies. We get down on ourselves, our abilities and tend to think that things will never change, so we often just give up.
A better approach (for me at least) is to cut myself some slack. I cannot change what I did or didn’t do last year, yesterday or even a minute ago so I am not going to spend this moment or any of the next punishing myself for my own feelings of failure. My aim is to work on just this day; just right now and let the past and future take care of themselves. There is some value in my knowing the bit-size pieces that I must take in order to reach the end goal, but I can’t do them all at once, so I want to focus on just one – the one I need to do now.
If I only get one thing done today I will still be one step closer to my goal than if I spend my time wallowing in my failures instead. So for today, right now, I will attempt to do just this one thing, and although it might take me longer than some to conquer my mountain, I am confident that I will get there too!
As I sign off I remember one of my favorite sayings (not because it’s a particularly happy thought, but because it rings so true):
“Anything worth having (or doing) is never easy in the getting, but that is usually what makes it worth it.”
So whatever you are going through I wish you luck, and the fortitude to find your own way through whatever it is.