Acorns, Dreams, and New Year Resolutions
There is an exercise I’ve asked groups to complete in the past when “lack of motivation” begins to disrupt their goals. It goes something like this:
Step 2: Place an acorn in the palm of your hand. Step
3: Look up. A majestic tree that can overshadow you in size is staring you in the face.
Step 4: Look down. In the palm of your hand you hold the ingredients for the oak tree that consumes the sky above you.
Step 5: Place the acorn in your pocket or purse as a reminder of what can happen to your life when a dream, goal or resolution is made a priority and kept a priority!
I’m always reminded of the above exercise as each New Year arrives and so many of us make declarations to “change” habits, lifestyles or careers.
But you know how the routine goes for most. Beginning January 1st, you have a desire to commit time each day to your dream. You’re excited! You’re pumped! You can already see the finish line and taste success! All is going as planned for the first few weeks or months!
One morning, you wake up and your body is tired, the kids are sick, deadlines are flying by at work and, truthfully, your development isn’t where you thought it would be. Even your coworkers and friends may have stopped asking about your progress or offering encouragement.
While in the shower, you begin thinking about all you have to do that day, as well as making a mental list of all the things others expect of you. You’re overwhelmed and your stress level begins to elevate. And with a desire for balance, security and control, you begin entertaining a simple thought that finally becomes the first of many small defeats. I’ll skip working on __________ today and disregard the promise I’ve made to myself, so I can complete the priorities and promises I’m allowing others to make for me. (Maybe you have never actually said or thought these exact words, but I believe that is what our excuses sound like to our dreams.)
On the days we are motivated about our dreams, we feel good and life is positive. But the challenges of everyday life ensure that “how we feel” isn’t always a reliable source of fuel for long-term success. There are going to be hard times, discouraging moments, roadblocks and setbacks. Therefore, if you want real long-term results with your New Year’s resolution, remember these few tips:
- An attitude of “I’m committed as long as life and others allow me” lets priorities slip and slide straight out of our daily routine. Before committing to a New Year’s goal or dream, pledge to build a whatever-it-takes attitude to keep your goal or dream firmly in place all year long.
- When the world hears us say, “I forgot,” “I gave up” or “I didn’t have time,” many times our souls hear the words, I simply did not make it enough of a priority.
- A gentleman I remember as Father Murphy once made a profound statement I keep close to my heart, as well as a visual reminder on my desk. He simply declared, “If I give up on my dreams today, all of my tomorrows are up for grabs.” It has been more than 10 years, and I still think of that statement almost every day.
- When you need motivation this year, take time to visit an oak tree in your neighborhood or yard. Complete the exercise above and remember how the acorn became the oak. It started by taking life one day at a time, using the resources it has been given, holding its ground when storms developed, and being patient while waiting on the rain. But most importantly, remember the acorn became the oak tree first and foremost because … It didn’t give up.
Question: How does this effect your 2012?