How to Be the 20 Instead of the 80 This New Year

 

New Years is just around the corner in case you’ve missed it on all the commercials and advertisements everywhere. 

Retail stores are stocking up on athletic gear. Grocery stores are stocking up on the latest health trends. Instagram advertisers are throwing the newest diets, teas, pills, and instant hot body hacks at their followers.

The funny thing is, we all fall for it. Myself included. We’re sucked into this time of year where trying new things and sticking to them feels like a great idea. We’re motivated. We find new inspiration in all of these things we see on our screens.

I even find myself thinking I’ll really start to eat healthy once the new year begins. , I’ll work out more, I’ll be more adventurous, I’ll keep my room clean, I’ll write more, I’ll read more, I’ll binge watch less, I’ll travel more. The list goes on and on.

Now, not all this motivation is bad but it definitely runs out.

It’s interesting how we wait until the first of the year to begin all these things. I’m curious if that is the reason 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. We overload ourselves all at once with all these improvements.

What if instead, we started now? Here is how you can create goals any day of the year that are reachable:

Start small: Begin with something you can easily achieve so you can show yourself it’s doable. Examples: work out at least 2 times a week, put clothes away after taking them off, write for five minutes before bed.

Reality Check: Don’t make it something you could only do if you had been consistent with it up until now. Unrealistic example: Squat 250  pounds by next week like that girl on Instagram does. Example: increase weight by 5 pounds every time you go back to the gym. meme

Visualize the improvement:  Make sure whatever you’re trying to succeed at can be measured and you can SEE the achievement. Once you have done your reality check it’s easier to see your success over time. Example: Create a chart, written schedule or take pictures to visually see the change.

Don’t wait to be inspired: If you wait to be inspired it most likely will never come. Think about your goal and picture what it will feel like if you reach it and then get to move on and create another one. ( Ha. This one is funny because my body just cringed at this idea).

This is much easier to write than actually do. I’m one to wait for inspiration and I’m also one to desire instant improvement. This is going to be just as much of a challenge for me. But, I want to be that 20 percent that makes it past February. I want to be that 10 percent that makes it past six months and the 2 percent that makes it all year.

Think of it this way, if you start today, you’ll be days ahead of everyone else…

With all that said, have a happy New Year and good luck!

 

 

 

 

There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays

Certainly, there is no place like home for the holidays but what if home just isn’t what it used to be? Having moved after 18 years in the same home, Christmas in a different home has been challenging.

“Remember when we did that at the ‘old’ house?” you siblings ask. It instantly takes you back. To that wonderful place where you grew up. Where the majority of your memories reside. Sometimes it feels like you left them behind when you moved

No matter the reason for leaving: downsizing, a new job, convenience, financials, or because your parents said so… I can’t wait until I get to pull that card. It’s still hard. It seems we have one true home, one that will always take us back to everything good.

As you return home for the holidays, or you prepare for them, it’s hard to avoid reminiscing Christmases of the past. Where you were all young, you sat at the table and enjoyed a meal as a family, you raced down those same stairs every Christmas morning screaming and anticipating the gifts under the tree.

You could smell the coffee and hot chocolate and the beginnings of breakfast. You see the lights on the tree illuminating shiny bows and wrapping paper. You would search for your name and find the biggest one.  Your parents await your arrival, tired, but never showing it. They smile as they wait for your reaction to the gifts they worked hard to buy and prepare for you.

They await the hug and instant demand to play with you.

The room is a mess but you don’t notice.

Breakfast is ready and as delicious as it smells, you want to stay and play.

You look at your siblings’ toys and get a little jealous and become eager to play too.

Christmas music plays, all the classics humming in the background as you lie on the ground; tired, cozy, and warm next to the fireplace.

There may be some hardships, but on that Christmas morning, they are nonexistent. everything is right and perfect.

Looking back, some of the greatest memories lie in that house. And maybe some of the greatest tragedies as well. But, with those come some of the greatest growth, inspiration, and strength.

Now, you sit in a house that has become a place where you reside, an address on an envelope and the current shipping location, but it doesn’t quite feel like home.

There will always be an “old” house. One that holds most of your love and will always cause you to look back and mourn what you once had there.

However, there will also be a moment where you sit in the new house and look around you. You will see the same people you lived through so much with. Those same people that were involved in the memory making, the people that made the “old” place home.

The old you might have lived there, but here and now is the new you. Making new memories with the same “old” house people. As cliche as it is, the house really isn’t what makes it a home, it’s the people living in it.

Merry Christmas to you all, wherever that may take place!

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

Sin Did it, Not Me

I’ve never related to an older man from 2000 years ago until today. Sometimes reading the Word and the people in it start to become more like characters in a story rather than people who lived and breathed thousands of years ago.

I admit I am guilty of this. I think many of us are. We assume these people don’t understand what’s going on in our lives. They couldn’t possibly know. So, what could anyone have to say that would be relevant now?

Romans 7 & 8 – Paul speaking (NIV)

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do [I do]. (7:16)

Do you ever catch yourself believing that these men and women, especially Paul and the disciples, did a lot of good and led perfect, Godly lives? You might be thinking, I could never live as they do.

Paul proves us wrong. He is transparent, honest, and completely accurate about how we live our lives here on Earth. He fails on a daily basis. This is not for anyone to feel better about themselves or to compare their spiritual walk as better or worse. It is for all lovers of God who think they are not enough, or that they are alone in this challenging life.

He goes on to say “it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is the sin living in me.”

Nothing good comes from sin.

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

When was the last time you heard someone in church say this to you? When was the last time you heard a fellow Christian admit to this? I believe Paul – from 2,000 years ago- is more relatable than many of the people around us today that we call Christians, including ourselves.

Paul writes about his failures, his inability to overcome sin completely on his own, he is open and truthful about how he lives.

You know that one thing you just can’t give up? Whether that’s an addiction to gossiping, lying, drugs, sex, or pornography and anything else that might come to mind, Paul struggled with something similar too. Just because he was a large part of history doesn’t mean he didn’t have flaws.

Failure is nothing new, neither is sinning.

Living in the 21st century does not make us special. There is nothing happening today that surprises God or that hasn’t happened in the past. It may look slightly different, but 2,000 years ago the people had to deal with murder, prostitution, gossip, terrorists, suffering, lust, lying and more. They might have different names, and we might have more resources to prove and show these things happening, but they occurred nonetheless.

Paul continues:

“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. In my inner being, I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body.”

Wow. Once again Paul is speaking for all of us. Making known the evil of the world and the evil inside of him despite his greatest attempts and desires to do good.

The enemy does not take days off.

Fortunately, neither does God. 

However, Paul describes himself as a prisoner of the law of sin.

More truth. Ever feel like you just cannot get beyond those cold, metal bars of that thing in your life that continues to push you back into the cell? Paul felt this too.

Do you ever feel like you’re the worst person out there? Or in your family, friend group or relationship? Maybe you have felt like you’re the worst of the worst and there is nothing good left in you.

“What a wretched man I am!”  translated to today: I suck, I’m not good enough, I’m hopeless, worthless and I can’t do anything right.

Paul felt this too. He then cries out and asks, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

Who will get me out of this mess? Can anyone understand what I’m going through, how low I have gone? Is there anyone who will accept me in the state that I am? Surely there is nobody who can love this.

Paul felt this too, long before you did. However, he acknowledges his sins but he doesn’t allow his feelings to take over, he does the only thing he knows how to do.

“Thanks be to God!… Therefore there is NO condemnation… because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

He offers a solution. He offers hope and peace through God. You might fail each day, each moment, as Paul did, as we all do, but there is still hope.

God will pick up his weapons and fight for you. Despite your many flaws and wrongdoings, he will still fight for you. From the first day you cried out his name, you have had the Spirit of God in you, and that can overcome the death of sin each time.

I encourage you to continue to read Romans and I truly hope these passages impact you as they have me. I fail each and every day and many times I become discouraged and hopeless but these verses have changed my perspective on it all. I hope they will do the same for you. Let me know your thoughts!

 

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)