There was a cosmic event this week. For the first time in about 400 years, there was a full lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice. If you were crazy enough (like me), you went outside around midnight and stared up at the moon, which was glowing with a faint reddish tint. (What was really a cosmic event was that it was clear enough on the Northcoast to actually see the moon!)
At precisely 12:01AM January 2, there will be another cosmic event; although this one happens annually. Should you step outside and listen, you will hear a giant clunking sound rumbling across this wide land as the consciousness of the population shifts from “how much can I indulge” to “how can I undo what I’ve done to myself for the last two months?”
With that in the forefront, you are about to be inundated with experts telling you how to stick to your resolutions. The television will become awash in advertisements for gym equipment. Late night infomercials will blare (falsely): “LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT MAKING ANY CHANGES.” The back page of this newspaper might even be hosting a full-page banner advertisement with “SECRETS THE WEIGHT LOSS INDUSTRY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW.” At the risk of biting the hand that feeds me (albeit low fat and high fiber), do not buy into gimmicks.
How can you tell if they’re gimmicks? It’s back to the proverbial, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The reality is that we are where we are because of what we have done so far. Period. If we wish to be somewhere else, we must do something else.
I like to look at the construction of our lives in the same way a contractor might look at the building of a barricade. Each brick is carefully placed and cemented in its location before another is set upon or near it. Over time, piece by piece, the wall is formed. If done carefully and with planning, the structure evolves into a fine fortress, secure in it’s ability to prevent intruders. However, it can also hold us prisoner.
We are the architects or our lives but our bricks are not made of clay and cemented with mortar; rather they are the actions and thoughts we have used and reused over the decades. As example, the brick entitled “celebrate” is often locked next to the one labeled “eat.” The brick holding down “get out and walk more often” is entitled “be comfortable.”
In effect, I have to replace each brick with a new one. Should I knock them all to the ground, I am lost without landmarks, feeling unprotected. I will therefore quickly gather the fallen bricks and rebuild the structure as soon as I can.
The solution lies in making small changes, not large ones. Resolutions rarely work because we think too big. Resolve to pick the one thing that matters most and find one small step that you will do NO MATTER WHAT. Stick with it; repeat as necessary. Once you have cemented that in place, move on to the next. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Neither were you.