Friday, 18 December 2015

New Years Resolutions

Here’s my guide to making, and finishing, New Year’s Resolutions:
1.  Write it down.  Sometimes I post mine as a note Facebook.  Perhaps it will be handy just to have it on a sticky note.  If a goal is important to you, you don’t want to forget it.
2.  Make it something measurable.  “Be a better person,” is vague and hard to track the progress of.  In the past I’ve had “take X amount of people out for dinner,” and “move out of my parents’ house.”  If your goal is to “eat healthier,” why not instead go “only eat X unhealthy meals a week,” or “lose X pounds.”
3.   Keep yourself accountable to others.  You may not want to post your goals for the world to see, but tell someone you trust your goal so that they can motivate you.
4.  Give yourself rewards for succeeding.  Try to not to have the reward something that will be counter-productive to your goal.  For instance, “let myself binge-watch the latest TV series” may be an acceptable reward for eating healthier, but would not be a good reward if your resolution was “watch less TV.”
5.  Have the resolution be things that are actually important to you, and know why it is important.  I once had a resolution to write a song.  Although I’ve written many lyrics, I’ve never written music for a full length song.  I ended up not finishing that resolution simply because it was something to do just for the sake of doing it, not because it was something that was important to me.
6.  Don’t stop once you’ve completed your goal.  Make bigger goals!  Always strive to push yourself!  You don’t have to wait until January 1 to start something new.
7.  It’s never to late to push yourself.  Perhaps your goal was to write a novel and it’s December and you’ve only gotten the first paragraph written.  If you have some free time, get more writing done.  You may not complete your goal, but progress is progress.
8.  Make your resolutions realistic.  It’s fine, and recommended, to have goals that will take multiple years to finish.  But make your New Year’s resolution something you can see yourself completing in a single year if you apply yourself.
9.  Have a plan in place to aid you in completing your goal.  If you don’t know how to do something, research.  Some goals cannot be completed with mere willingness.  Sometimes you will need to create a meal plan or an organized schedule.  If you’re not sure what strategy to use to tackle your goal, ask someone who is strong in that area for help.

In considering what to make as your New Year's Resolution, I would recommend you thinking past the merely physical.  When making lifestyle changes, attitude is everything.  So don't just focus on losing calories, but focus on gaining knowledge.  Try to gain experience in helpful things.  Expand the boundaries of your comfort zone by taking steps outside of it.  Try new things!  As we grow we are always changing, which is great because the world around us is always changing too.  Stubbornness is your enemy!  You don't have to stick to being your past self to "be yourself."  Become a better version of yourself!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

A Grocery Store Christmas Song

Walnuts stuffed on a crowded shelf
Hot buns calling to your nose
Carols being sung by a radio
And folks dressed up like they’re cold

 Everybody knows a turkey and some
Stuffing help to make the season right
Little kids with their eyes all algow
Sneak candy into carts out of sight

They know that Daddy is going to pay
He’s loaded with lots of other food
And every mother
riled is going to buy
A party tray and some apple pie.
A lady offering these
Sample meats to kids from
One to nine-two

Altho’ it’s been said many times
Many ways
“Would you like to donate?”

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Dangers of Minding Your Own Business

I’m going to start telling you not to keep to yourself so much, but before I go too much further, I want to clarify something.  I will not be propagating a lifestyle of being nosey and gossiping.  I do, however, want to encourage a lifestyle of paying attention to the lives of others:  looking at what they choose to display to the public and caring enough to give them advice on how to improve their lives.

I love living in Canada.  It’s a peaceful nation, where everyone usually tries to get along with everyone else.  It has a positive atmosphere that other countries envy.  Tolerance is a pretty big deal here, and that’s great.  But it does has its downsides.

Along with the acceptance of others comes an almost self-righteous pride in our ability to embrace our differences.  What follows is often the attitude that our aptitude to co-exist peacefully with others entitles us to a certain level of freedom to do what we want without judgement ourselves.  So although we live in an age where we are constantly connected to others via technology, our fear of offending others gets in the way of forming honest relationships.

But our proclivity to keep our opinions of others to ourselves does more than hamper our ability to build quality relationships.  It also means we are less likely to learn from our own and others’ mistakes.  People aren’t as willing to step in and tell someone when they are being unwise because that would seem to be judgmental or intolerant.  That leads to more mistakes being made overall, meaning that our peaceful society isn’t anywhere close to perfect.

Something that stuck with me from all the different kinds of safety courses I’ve been forced to take is that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of reaction.  It might be annoying to tell someone that they are going down the wrong path.  After all, we peace loving people would never want to offend someone else.  But in the long run it would mean less mistakes being made.

I want to promote a loving society.  What is more loving:  keeping to ourselves and not offending anyone, or stepping into the lives of others and offering them advice because we care about them?

I want to reiterate that I don’t mean for us to become busybodies always sticking our noses in other people’s business and telling them what we think of then and what we think they should do.  Yet in our lives we have the privilege of building relationships, and we can speak into others’ lives within the right contexts for the right reasons more than we thought.

Sometimes not minding our own business means just being there as a friend.  There has been countless times where a random friend just saying hello out of the blue to me was a great encouragement.  Often the people who are the hardest to get along with are the ones that most need a friend.

That about sums up what I wanted to say.  I did want to add though that the motivation for this article came with the devastating news of a local suicide.  It was the second suicide within the family, which made the news even more heart breaking.  Although I did not personally know the involved individuals, I did know people who have committed suicide, and I would do anything to go back and talk to them. 

For those of us who are Christians, there is extra motivation for us to not be content just living secluded but peaceful lives.  Every day there are people who not only are in danger of going to Hell, but also in danger of living apart from the unending joy that comes from Jesus.  We have a responsibility to speak into each other’s lives, and not just with our actions (especially since being a kind a loving person may just be mistaken as attributed to being a friendly Canadian).   Pray for the wisdom to do so in the right ways at the right times.