Happy September! Fall is in the air, and with it all that wonderful fall-y stuff we love. You know, pumpkin everything, scarves and sweaters, crunchy leaves, football.
While you’re sitting there reading this, donned in your scarf and sweater, drinking your pumpkin spice latte in the middle of a pumpkin patch, I’ve got one little question for you:
How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along?
Yeah, I’m going there. Feel free to take your latte and exit the pumpkin patch stage right.
I know what you’re thinking, “I thought we only use the ‘r’ word in January and February. Maddie, stop breaking the societally accepted status quo.” What can I say, I’m a rule breaker. *cue laughter*
So, let’s cut to it and have an honest (one-way) conversation about resolutions.
I’ll start: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Well, scratch that. I don’t make “New Year’s” resolutions, emphasis on the New Year’s. I think there’s a lot of hype around resolving something on January 1st, which I don’t totally understand other than the fact that there’s a great calendar selection at Target, and maybe the camaraderie of it.
(Side note: It is effective for some people and if you are one of those, I applaud you and you get a gold star for the day. You do you.)
Most of us, however, fall off the bandwagon.
Resolutions are tough. I think that when you admit that they’re tough and that it’s not easy to change an element of yourself or your lifestyle, you’re giving yourself a lot of (necessary) grace. You will never get back on the bandwagon if you’re too afraid to admit you fell off in the first place. It takes humility to say, “I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m working to get there.”
I had the privilege of growing up with a father who was a motivational speaker. And, I don’t mean that as a casual label. He was actually a motivational speaker and traveled the country mentoring people and encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.
Naturally, I have been the recipient of many motivational speeches.
The other day, my dad and I were in the kitchen talking about how the Marines are taught that when they think they have given 100% of their effort, they have actually only given 50% of what they are capable. (He told me not to quote him on that statistic, but here I am, quoting him. Take it with a grain of salt.)
Despite the validity of that statement, I like to think it’s true, and here’s why: Think of how much you are capable of without even knowing it.
It’s like that moment when you think you’re at the end of your shampoo but then you take off the cover and there’s like, SO much more shampoo in there. (Am I right?)
You, yes you, are selling yourself so short of your abilities. You’re throwing away your shampoo bottle before you’ve used all the shampoo.
I think we do that because we’re lacking the motivation to tap into that other 50% of ability that we secretly know exists because, in the deepest depths of ourselves, we know that we’re not really giving it our all. We just “signed up” for the resolution fad because marketing and the media made it seem glamorous (or so that we can have an answer to the awkward small talk at New Year’s parties when somebody asks the, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions” question).
The media doesn’t tend to mention how difficult it is to maintain those resolutions and see them through to the point of resolution. That’s why when it gets a little too hard or our schedules get a little too tight or our bandwagon hits a bump in the road, we fall off; we were never really anchored to it in the first place.
So then the question becomes, how do we anchor ourselves to the bandwagon?
I happen to think our hearts make pretty darn good anchors.
Were your resolutions words you said at a party to pass the time, or were they honest qualities of yourself or your lifestyle that you wanted to improve upon?
Usually, the answer is the former. And, that’s okay.
But, in order to get back on that bandwagon, you have to give something your all—not just what you’ve tricked yourself into believing is your all—and the only way to tap into that “extra shampoo” is by way of your heart.
What is God calling you to either add or subtract from your life? Do you need to maintain a healthier lifestyle so you can be there for your growing family? Do you need to stop caring what others think of you so that you can reach your true potential? Do you need to finish a project that you’ve been putting off for years?
Why do you want to resolve a particular something in your life? Commit your heart to that “why.”
I challenge you to revisit your resolutions (even though it’s the end of September and there is currently no media hype about resolutions) and find the heart in your resolutions. And then, get back on that bandwagon, my friend.
You may now resume your regularly scheduled pumpkin-loving fall schedule.