Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wake-Up List

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” ~ Alphonse Karr

Many of us begin the New Year by making resolutions. By February, the majorities of those goals – even the modest ones we thought we could keep up with – slip slowly away, and the patterns of old habits sneak back into their familiar place in our lives. Very often the problem lies in the fact that we set goals for ourselves that are too hard to maintain. With little concrete support and a myriad of daily demands, the lure of a fresh new starts wears quickly out.

True life makeovers are not impossible, but a few steps need to be respected. Victoria Moran, author of “Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment and Meaning in Every Day” suggests that we should list ten things for which we are grateful before we get out of bed each morning. The items on the list don’t have to be big things – I’m grateful for my cat sleeping on my chest; I’m grateful for having dinner left over so I won’t have to cook again tonight; I’m grateful that my coffee is brewing downstairs. The list can indeed be endless and as creative as one wants to make it.

Very often, in fact, we demand a radical change when many things in our lives work well as they are. Acknowledging, and being thankful for, what already is good in our lives allows us to start our day with a feeling that there are positive things in our world we can build from.

It is also important to take quiet time in the mornings to devote a few minutes to meditation and prayer. One doesn’t have to be religious to meditate and enjoy a few minutes of silence. By doing so, the mind will have the opportunity to ease into the new day rather than being tossed mercilessly into instant chaos. I personally discovered, several years ago, that if I had any intention of beginning my day on a positive note, I had to make time to honor myself and my thoughts. That said, some mornings I could dedicate a few extra moments to it than other days, but ultimately, I could always find five minutes. We often look for excuses that will allow us to slack off, but if we truly are determined to make changes in our lives, we will find the extra time.

These are small steps, but are indeed important ones to take if we ever hope to improve our realities and create a healthier living approach. Even the fastest runners had to learn in the beginning how to place one foot in front of the other.