Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good Habits in Good Areas

Christmas break is a wonderful time to see family, relax, and over-indulge in things that don’t look so good on the hips and thighs :-). Most students are ecstatic about break and rather hesitant about returning to school. However, there are a hand full of students who love the holidays, yet can’t wait for the hustle and bustle of school and events to start up once again! Which group of students do I fit? If you guessed the second group, you are correct.

It isn’t that I don’t love my family, or enjoy spending time relaxing with friends. However, there is a certain natural need in me to be productive and busy to feel good. That is right, in order for me to feel truly happy about my day, I must have a feeling of accomplishment. However, this break I have found myself being lazy, and feeling rather dull and un-inspired at the end of the day.

One of my friends recommended to me that I read the book "Make Today Count" by John Maxwell. I started reading it the 31st of December. In this book, Maxwell focuses on major areas of each person’s life: attitude, priorities, health, family, thinking, commitment, finances, faith, relationships, generosity, values, and growth. Each of these areas are major contributors as to how we feel based on how much attention we give them.

It is a goal of mine to show each of these twelve areas the time and effort needed to make me internally at peace. However, like any goal, you must start one step at a time. The first areas I have chosen to focus on health, thinking, commitment, and relationships.

In the area of health, it is quite simple. Eat healthy and exercise. I go through spurts. One month I can be very disciplined, and another I can have one day where I mess up and all the sudden I hate myself for those one or two mistakes. This causes me to fall into a spiral of bad habits. Currently, I have most definitely enjoyed to many Christmas Break delights and not enough running. Starting this Monday (yes, this is my verbal commitment to all), I will begin my normal workout routine once again, as well as healthy eating. My mother put it best, “Becky, you have to make the choice to change. Start now.” She is right. For all of us, if you want to be healthier, learn what you need to do and begin today.

While health helps me to physically feel good, thinking is an area that many of us can overlook. In Maxwell’s book, he mentions many different types of thinking (strategic thinking, possibility thinking, reflective thinking, and creative thinking— just to name a few). It is so easy for us to overlook the time we should commit to deep thinking. I began the day after Christmas journaling everyday. I have been successful thus far. Each morning, I fix my breakfast and hot tea, and as I am eating I journal my thoughts from the previous day, and what I want to accomplish in that day. Journaling is my outlet for reflective thinking. To grow in the area of realistic thinking (building of facts), I have made the habit of reading each night before going to bed. The books I read vary, and the time I read depends on how tiered I am. Overall, it is important for us to not overlook the extreme growth we can undergo by allotting time in our day to think about what has occurred, what could be, what is, and much more.

In the area of commitment, it is quite simple. “If something is worth doing, than I will commit myself to carrying it through.”—Maxwell. Whatever your priorities are, if they are truly important to you, than you must make the daily commitment to following-through with them. Commitment must be renewed each day. Staying committed to a goal or priority of yours probably isn’t easy, but that is what makes the end result that much more worth while.

Finally, there is the area of relationships which all of us struggle with at times. There is the relationship you have with your family, your friends, your teachers, your mentors, and even those strangers who you interact with each day at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. If there is one common piece of knowledge I have heard over the years, it is that relationships are the most important thing in this world. People are the most important thing in this world. We must love our neighbors as if they were us. This doesn’t mean to completely neglect your personal needs, but it does mean to throw the meaningless parts of your day to the side and take on more quality time with those you love. Write a card, call a friend, smile at a stranger. Love all, and Serve all, as the famous Hard Rock Café slogan goes!

The previous areas mentioned are the ones I have chosen to begin my focus on. Where do you feel you need to focus? Whatever you choose, tell a friend. Choose someone to be your accountability-partner to help you carry-through with your action plan. My accountability partners are my mom, roommates, and best friends here at Kansas State.

Create those good habits that are going to help you be happy. Christmas break has been a struggle for me because I have had to learn to re-focus my energy on areas I have neglected in the recent past. My sense of accomplishment now doesn’t have to be writing an English paper or completing expense reports for my FFA travels. No, my sense of accomplishment can come from those truly important parts of our lives.

1 comment:

  1. "Accountabilibuddy" One of my favorite words learned at K-State. Can't beat it. Fantastic post. It's the ideal sparknotes version of every 5-hour self-help workshop you could pay 100's to attend. I look forward to reading many more!