Got a Strategy? {Day 2}

Today’s post will be brief. I just spent twelve, yes, twelve, hours unpacking, cleaning, organizing, and establishing my new living quarters. The Patrick and I have staked our claim on what was once a two-car attached garage. Our garage. The same garage in which I once backed over our dog (he survived), in which we hid our oldest son’s Batman toys in a futile attempt to break his addiction, and where at least 15 thousand mice once made their home.

Since that time, my folks renovated the space into one huge room with a wood stove, overhead storage loft, antique tin ceilings and a lovely tile floor. It’s secluded, quiet, and makes for a charming studio-apartment space. Yeah, no bathroom (we have to go into the main house), or closets, but those are manageable inconveniences.

Peace and privacy and not being able to hear the television? Priceless.

Ironically, my parents named the space the “recreation room.” Hmm. Maybe they knew something we didn’t know all those years ago … that someone in need of “re-creation” would be returning to inhabit the space someday?

That said, let’s look at the next step toward proactive, positive, effective change: developing a strategy. Whether it’s chess, checkers, Scrabble, or Words With Friends, strategy is crucial to victory. The same is true for creating lasting, desirable change in our lives.

Strategy, or stratagem, is defined as “the science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations.” (www.dictionary.com)

A simpler definition is the use of deception, trickery, or a ruse to defeat the enemy.

Who’s your enemy?
Oh, I could go on a rant about the devil and his minions, but the truth is, we are almost always our own worst enemies.

You’re going to have to devise a way to trick yourself into changing, using every technique and resource you have at the ready. Changing your self-talk, your mental ruts, your system of reward and punishment… all are tools you can use in developing a strategy for change.

For example: Let’s say you are in the habit of rewarding yourself at the end of a long day (or a hard day, or a stressful day) with a big bowl of ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup. Not a bad reward, unless you’re trying to cut back on calories. Devising a strategy for change in that instance might include swapping the bowl of ice cream for a long, hot bath or a good book and a cup of tea.

Yes, you’re going to have to shake up your routine, interrupt your environment, and probably do something completely out-of-the-ordinary (translate: weird) in order to implement an effective strategy, but it IS possible. Use your God-given creativity and inventiveness to scheme against your own self-destructive mechanisms.

Think of it this way: No one knows you better than you know yourself, and knowledge is power. If you were playing a strategy game against yourself, you’d have the upper hand, because you know your own strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else!

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