Tag Archive | goal setting

Time for a Time Out

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When my kids were little, when I felt overwhelmed and pressured I would go into the bathroom and lock the door, just to be alone. As they pounded on the door, demanding to know why I was taking SO LONG, I would offer the excuse, “Mommy just has an upset tummy …” (small totally understandable white lie, right?).

It’s been a lot of years since then but the need to be alone once in a while persists. But the bathroom as a location for a personal retreat just doesn’t cut it anymore. 🙂

Even though I am legitimately a people person, “alone” is where I do my best thinking, praying, reflecting, producing, and reprogramming. And boy, did I need it this month! So earlier this week I took myself on a little personal retreat (thank you to my husband and daughter who were so gracious to get along just fine without me for a few days!).

We have access to a condo at Mt. Hood, Oregon, a three-hour drive from our home. It was me, my computer, a few books and magazines, and a knitting project for my soon-to-be-born granddaughter. Long walks in the woods. A trip to the snow. Three days with no appointments with anyone other than God. It was glorious.

This was the path to the river, right outside my doorstep:

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I sure don’t have these moments on a daily basis! The refreshment to the soul is priceless. I took smooth stones from the river, wrote my kids’ names on them with Sharpie marker, and brought them home to keep in a dish on my desk for little prayer reminders and a memento of my retreat.

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I drove a half-hour to the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood where I parked myself at what was obviously an anointed desk near the window (See top picture above; I can’t believe I caught this image with just my phone!) to work and look out at the snow. I took work with me because part of my purpose was to FOCUS … and to get some traction on a few editing projects I was struggling to stay on top of at home. It was SO MUCH MORE PLEASANT in this inspiring environment!

 

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It was surprising to me, how productive I was, and yet how refreshed and re-invigorated, on my little “working personal retreat.” I did the things “I” wanted to do. Not having the TV on (as it often is in my house when the family is around) was peace to my nerves. Spending some time in prayer, talking with God about my family, my work, and some friends who are going through hard times. Listening to classical music and working on a knitting project or perusing cooking magazines and planning my holiday baking and menus. Swimming laps in the cold air at the end of each day, in a heated pool with steam rising into the dark autumn sky. Wow, I actually liked spending time with … me!

The last day of my retreat I received an email in my inbox from a friend whose blog that day just happened to be why we need personal retreats from time to time!  It’s well-worth a read. And, if prayer is what you want to focus on, on your own retreat, my friend Cynthia Bezek has written a book called Come Away with Me that will help you do it. She has certainly been an inspiration to me in that department.

I am home again and back to reality, feeling on top of things and much refreshed. I think I’m much better for my little “time out,” and I hope my family agrees!

 

 

 

 

The Payoff of Perseverance

 

Some things just take time.

A strong marriage takes time. Losing weight takes time. Cultivating a friendship takes time. Building wealth (or getting out of debt) takes time. Training children takes time. Getting an education. Growing a garden.

Getting the picture?

Unfortunately, many of us sacrifice too quickly what could be really great investments in our future because they just, well, take too much time (or effort).

I’m thinking about the husband or wife who bails on a spouse because it’s “not good,” at least, not now. The person who spends his savings, or who throws in the towel and declares bankruptcy because discipline takes too much time (and effort).

Dumping a friend.

Leaving a church.

Quitting a job.

Dropping out of school.

 

Obviously there can be legitimate reasons for many of these. That’s not my point. My point is:

What are we doing to cultivate patience and discipline so we can get the really great pay-off that comes from perseverance?

What are we doing, one step at a time, to achieve our higher goals?

I wanted to lose a few pounds and it seemed SO OVERWHELMING, especially when all the reliable sources I was reading were telling me the only good way to do it was the old-fashioned and slightly tedious way: counting calories (ugh!).  So I found something to help me be disciplined and work toward my goal (I used Every Day Health’s Food and Fitness Journal).  I lost 12 pounds in eight weeks.

I wanted to increase my running distance and it seemed SO OVERWHELMING, so I just started noting the trees along the path in the park where I run.  This time I’ll run to that tree.  Next time I run to the next tree. The next time I’ll shoot for the next tree, or that fence up ahead, or the pond on the other side of the grove.  Now I’m running way further than I used to and I’m still increasing my stamina.

What’s your seemingly overwhelming circumstance?  Is it your marriage? Your finances? An education? A new career? Here are some ideas for getting off the starting blocks and into the race:

1. Start with an articulated goal.

2. Identify steps or strategies to accomplish it (or find a tool that can help you, like the calorie counting tool on Every Day Health or Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball plan or a savings plan on Mint.com.

3. Take one step at a time.

4. Celebrate small victories.

5. Don’t give up if you stumble. Pick yourself up and keep going.

6. Tell others what you’re doing. Tell YOURSELF what you’re doing. Say it out loud.

7. Follow through. Finish strong. You can do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Successful people don’t necessarily have better circumstances than others. Nor are they, generally speaking, particularly more lucky than others. More often than not, they’ve been learning the discipline of patience and endurance. Because of it, they’re experiencing the payoff of perseverance.

You know the old adage: How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope … (Romans 5:3-4)