Happy New Year {belatedly}: How To Do Hard Things

Jan 26, 2016

Happy New Year!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? What about goals? I figure since everyone always asks I will too. As we look back on 2015 and figure what we want to be different in 2016, I wanted to list some of the realizations that I have had over the past year.

  1. Life is Hard. It is easy to survive, that takes merely not dying. But to truly LIVE, takes work. My life wants to be out of control. The house is dirty unless someone cleans it, bills are unpaid unless someone pays them, and I am unhealthy unless I make a choice to do something differently. To live a life consciously following God is hard. In Matthew 7:14 it says “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it”. We have to search and work to find the way we want to live.
  2. Relationships are Hard. I am not very good with relationships. I tend to let friendships go to the wayside. It is a struggle to keep up with others in the midst of my busy life. Many times I can let my living get in the way of relationships. I can’t go out to dinner because I have to work, I can’t take the time for a friend because I have to… fill in the blank. Relationships are also necessary. We are meant to be in a “pack.” We are meant to be in relationship with others. This is how we learn and grow.
  3. Raising good kids is Hard. I know, it is the one without kids saying this, but hear me out. I see parents daily in my practice who struggle to rear healthy, balanced children. On a plane ride from Newark to Austin last year, there was a father and his two young daughters sitting behind me. He had conversations with them throughout the flight. He had healthy snacks prepared for them as well as a variety of creative games and activities ready to go. While listening to interactions between the young girls, I could tell the level of conversation that happens in the home. The older sister showed interest in what the younger sister was doing and best of all, no kicking the back of the seats! I have great appreciation for parents who parent their children! But I know doing so is hard.
  4. Growing and Learning is Hard. If I had all the time in the world, I would get nothing done. I would like to say that I would read all the books in my library, sit around and think and change the world, but the reality is that my mind would wander, and I would end up twiddling away time on frivolous activities. Just as a tree has different seasons where at times it is putting energy into its roots, other times into leaves, and at other times into fruit, there are different seasons in our lives for growth. I want to see the fruit part NOW. I don’t want to wait for the roots and branches and leaves to grow.  We need to be able to look back on our lives and see the ways we are continuing to grow, as well as to take an honest look at our lives and see where we might be missing nutrients for continued growth (pretty sure daily binge watching of Downton Abby is not going to grow our minds!).
  5. Dreaming is Easy. Reaching goals is Hard. The most recent Jackpot was up to 1.5 Billion Dollars. It is easy to think about what we would do if we won that much money, but working day to day and saving day to day is hard. Identifying what we want in life and then making the daily decisions to reach it takes concentrated effort and self-discipline.
  6. Taking baby steps is Easy. Though all these things can be hard, the first step is to figure out where you are and where you want to be. Don’t look at the end and feel discouraged, instead just take the next step. Sometimes it’s as simple as a phone call or clearing a spot on your calendar. Manageable baby steps are how big mountains are climbed one day at a time.

As you move into 2016, I want you to take a look at what you are going to do today to change your trajectory for the future. Happy New Year, and we look forward to another Year with you and your family.



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