Throughout this time of Covid-19 isolation, we have been encouraged or forced to look at our lives and realign where needed.
Often we look first at our weaknesses. We consider what we are not doing well and spend our time trying to improve those areas. Instead, it would be much more beneficial for us to build on our greatest strength.
Sometimes, we don’t know what is our greatest strength. Perhaps that is because we compare ourselves to others and want what is his or her strength, or our weaknesses become our focal point. Then our strengths move to the background instead of the forefront. They are hidden or just not given much attention.
One way to identify your strength is noting your energy level for any given goal. We all have more energy when we work in our area of strength. Do you know why? It is because you enjoy that time so much that it feels almost effortless. You have a gifting in that area. The more you enhance that area of your life, the more energy you have. Our weak areas often drain us of energy. Our strong ones make us happy.
Interestingly though, when we feel fulfilled for using our strongest gift, we also have more energy for our weaker areas. They are more pleasant to handle.
If you have more time now to realign, think about your strongest gifting. Do you need to give it more consideration? If so, make life easier for yourself by focusing your energy on what you do well.
You will accomplish more...and be happier doing it!
So how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Often they do not last longer than the middle of the month. The reason being, I think, is that we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. For example, we rarely exercised last year. Suddenly, because it is January, we are going to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Admirable – yes! Realistic – No!
When we cannot meet our expectations, we are so disappointed that we don’t exercise at all. We wouldn’t think to start with a goal of 15 minutes two or three times a week. Instead, we set high goals, fail, and then tell ourselves. “There is no use in trying.”
It is the same with changing our eating habits. Once we have blown the goals we set for ourselves, we feel so badly that we quit. Rarely do we say, “Well, I blew it this week, but I will get back on track.”
We are so hard on ourselves that we would rather give up the desire for change and reinforce how “no good” we are than acknowledge we simply lacked some discipline.
But here is a thought to consider. I started something several years ago that worked so well for me that I wrote about it in Home with a Heart at the beginning of Time for Mom.
The idea is to make a goal of changing only ONE thing about your CHARACTER – not your diet, exercise program or spending habits each year. I thought this might be more attainable and beneficial, so I tried it. And I really liked it because I had the year to reach ONE goal. If I didn’t think I had improved as much as I wanted in that area in the year, I simply set the same goal the following year.
To be honest, once I set the same character goal for seven years in a row because it was so important to me. I kept asking God to help me. I determined to see it take place. By the end of the seventh year, I said: “Ok, Elaine, time to move on!” But I still look back at the end of every year to see how I did with that important goal, plus whatever else I am working on.
How about you? Would you like to try what many women are doing in Home with a Heart? Choose just one trait in your character you want to change. Then ask God to help you grow in that one area.
I think growing in character helps me improve negative habits in my life more easily than focusing on the habits. Therefore, I kissed New Year’s Resolution’s goodbye.
There are times when we have to start over in some area in life. And whether it is a large happening or small one, what is our usual first response? Fear!
I stopped blogging to cut screen time during the healing of a concussion. When I wanted to start again, I realized I lost several years of earlier blog posts as a result of creating a new website. Then I let fear stop me, over simply needing to learn a new blogging platform. Really, I had just learned to build a website, so why did I let fear stop me? I soon realized I needed a new perspective on starting over – and perhaps you do too.
Now I am ready to blog.
Blogging is a pretty small thing compared to many new starts we face – taking on a different job, being on your own again after a divorce or death of your partner, beginning a new relationship, going back to school, regaining your health or moving to a different place.
But starting over can have a positive effect on our lives, and not a fear-based response. Have you ever played one of those board games where you land on a section that says to go back to Start? You then slide backwards to the beginning of the game. All that progress you made suddenly disappears.
Thankfully, going back to Start in life is not time wasted as it is with a board game. It is like climbing stairs. Each step is a step up higher.
So, if you are starting over in an area of your life this year – whether it is something big like a move or something more personal like a new exercise routine, don’t look back and feel discouraged. And don’t allow fear to immobilize you.
Think of starting over as beginning the next adventure in your life - and take it one step at a time.