Sunday, November 25, 2012

Time to Train!!!

All right!  Here we go!

As all of my regular readers know, I have a horrible tendency to get stuck in a cycle that goes like this:
  1. Get tired of being lazy and accomplishing nothing
  2. Decide to do something about it
  3. Make a list of outstanding goals and steps to turn my life around
  4. Stick to the list for about a week
  5. Start to get overwhelmed and tired
  6. Start slacking off
  7. Forget about the list
  8. Start failing again
  9. Repeat
Unfortunately, ever since starting this blog, my failure to stick to my goals has become very obvious.  I honestly have the best of intentions, and do not want to fail, but there always seems to be something in the way.  

Well, it's time to change that.  After listening to a new Matthew Kelly talk entitled, "Don't just try, TRAIN!" I realized what I needed to do.  I make lists, set goals, create schedules, but rely on the adrenaline to help me succeed.  Instead of making practical plans that I can implement with my current schedule, and which can eventually help me improve, I write out expectations which are too high, and then try to reach them- instead of training to do better.

So, this Advent, I am going to start training, and I'm inviting you all to join me!  We'll call this "Catholic New Year Resolutions"- because the Catholic liturgical calendar begins again on the first Sunday of Advent.  And, they are year long resolutions, because that is what training implies.  When a person trains, they're working to gradually change their lives for the better, with the intention of maintaining the goals once achieved.  For example, if my goal is to start reading the Bible every day, once I've successfully read the Bible regularly and finished it, I don't stop since I reached the goal, I keep going, start it again, read over the passages I found difficult, keep working- because as long as I am human- there will always be room for improvement, because I will never be perfect.  Or, if I want to start working out, once my body reaches the appearance and physical fitness level I dreamed of, I can't just stop exercising or making healthy eating choices, I have to maintain certain habits so that I do not lose what I've finally achieved.

Here's what we're going to do!  First, pick one spiritual, mental, and physical goal you want to reach this year.  For example, maybe you want to pray a rosary a day, read a book a week, and run a marathon.  Those are big goals, but don't worry, we're going to take it slow.  Second, tell a reliable friend, relative, advisor, about your goals, so that you have someone to keep you accountable.  If you want, you can leave a comment telling me about them, and we can also help keep each other accountable.  Third, create reasonable baby steps to help you be on your way considerably by the time Christmas comes.  So, to use our example, decide that by the second Sunday of Advent, you want to be praying a decade a day, and by Christmas, you want to be praying two Rosaries a week.  For the mental goal, by the second Sunday of Advent, be spending at least fifteen minutes a day reading, and by Christmas, a half-hour a day.  For the marathon, by the second Sunday, be running every day for at least thirty minutes- even if it's just a jog, and by Christmas, be able to run a 5k.  These are very small goals, but they are huge steps towards reaching the big goals by next Advent.

As the weeks continue, I'll post encouragements, personal updates, you can comment about your progress, and I'll share the other fun things I'm doing to prepare for Christmas.  The goal is to be able greet the baby Jesus on Christmas without being ashamed, knowing you are truly trying to make yourself worthy of His gift.

What's your job this week?  Do the three things listed, and start implementing them.  Then, next week, we'll be going full-force!

Today, I'm going to pray about what I need to improve, make a plan, and I'll post it tomorrow.  I'd love to hear what you all are planning as well!

Get ready, get set, it's time to train!!!

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