Do something in the desired direction

I avoided playground equipment as a child, especially the monkey bars. I could grasp the bar, even swing one arm forward to the next bar. But then I was stuck, dangling helplessly over the blacktop below. I simply could not release my other hand from the first bar. I’d hang there, willing my arm to move, until my hands and fingers gave out and I dropped to the ground. It seems odd that I was less afraid of falling to the ground than I was of swinging to the next bar.

Man on monkey barsImage via Wikipedia

Controlled failure was easier to face than uncontrolled failure.
And that’s where many of us “lose the grip” when it comes to our New Year’s resolutions.
We stop after we make the list.

You may have heard the statistic that people who write down their goals are 80 percent more likely to accomplish them. That’s quite a number.
But just the act of putting pencil or pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and scribbling out a list of wishes and dreams cannot be considered the equivalent of sprinkling pixie dust and thinking happy thoughts. If you actually want to accomplish what you’ve written, you’ll have to take the next step.

Do something in the desired direction.

Look at your list. Now, what can you DO that will move you in the direction of that goal, or resolution?

Let’s say one of the items on your list is to visit Paris in the springtime. You’ve written it down, and like a child who has sent a letter off to Santa at the North Pole, you await the day when the FedEx man arrives with your all-inclusive, paid-in-full Parisian adventure package.

I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s probably not going to happen. And if it did, you’d likely discover yourself unable to take advantage of the opportunity because you haven’t taken the necessary (read: boring) steps to get ready to go. Or ready for success. Or ready for a relationship. Or ready to lose weight.

“But,” you whine, “I can’t DO anything about going to Paris.”

Statistical demographics plan of Paris and the...Image via Wikipedia

Preparation doesn’t take a lot of money. It takes effort and thought and energy.

  • Go to the library, pick up books on travel. Get some of those “You Can Speak French In 10 Minutes” CDs.
  • Visit a travel agent. Collect brochures about France and Paris. When is the best month to go for the kind of weather you’re expecting?
  • Do you have a passport? Is it current?
  • Do you own a decent set of luggage? The converter for your curling iron and hairdryer so you don’t burn your bangs off at scalp level?
  • Where do you want to go in Paris?  How long will it take?
  • Have you researched places to stay and modes of transportation?
  • How much is it going to cost? Do you have a savings plan in place? 

Let’s take another example: “I want to lose weight.”

Daily Calorie IntakeImage by laurenatclemson via Flickr

  • Don’t start by putting yourself on the concentration camp diet program. Start by analyzing what you’re currently consuming in calories, and what you’re burning through daily activity.
  • Research how skinny people eat and how they grocery shop. (It’s markedly different than the way most of us shop.)
  • Create an eating plan that works for YOU so that you’ll start burning more calories than you’re taking in. 
  • Clear the cupboards and pantry of those items you know you can’t fit into your diet.
  • Read books, articles, blogs, etc., about weight loss, about nutrition. Keep yourself stirred up about what you’re doing by filling your mind with information and encouragement. 

So many of us feel trapped in our circumstances. But in practically every situation, there’s something you can do right now to take a step in the desired direction.

Jesus was awesome at encouraging people to take a step, to DO something.
He told the man with the withered, deformed hand to “stretch forth your hand.” And when the man did, he was healed. Jesus told the paralyzed man to “take up your bed and walk.” Was that the one thing the paralyzed man could not do, or was that one one thing he needed to do to get the “ball” rolling in the right direction?

You don’t even have to wait until New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. You can start now. Start, and don’t stop, until you’ve reached your desired destination.

Quick question: What’s number one on your list for this coming year and what could you do about it today?

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