There’s something poetic or, perhaps, nostalgic about the New Year. Ringing in the New Year is a time for celebration, reflection and new resolve. For some it’s a very calibrating. For others it’s frustrating, even painful.

This past year was a year of some high-highs and some low-lows for me. I’m thankful for both. I celebrated the highs and I learned, again, from the lows. The highs are fun. The lows can be difficult, but are functional times for growth.

We get both in life.

The key is not managing out the lows but learning from them while we are there. We can avoid them next time if we learn the lessons they afford us.

Traditionally, our culture uses the New Year as a time for implementing new resolutions. Lose weight or get in better shape, quit a bad habit or work on a new plan in a relationship—all good things worthy of great effort from us!

My story with being overweight:

Through dieting and exercise I have lost over 150lbs in the last 15 years. By not watching my diet and settling into a sedentary lifestyle I have gained about 200lbs during that same season. The up/down of the scale-based life is a battle for most of us. We don’t gain it all in one sitting, nor do we lose it all in one radical run.

The gains and losses are made between our ears. The fork simply does what the brain tells it to do.

I tend to gain weight when I’m dealing with unsustainable pace (busy) and/or unresolved personal conflict (depressed, repressed, oppressed). When I have both it’s a perfect storm for double digit scale pain.

The inner conversation is predictable and simple yet surprisingly powerful. It always involves the words I SHOULD. I’m overweight, I should exercise more. I should get back on the low-carb plan. I should join a gym.

What I really should do is stop shoulding on myself! The word “should” is vague, ambiguous, open-ended. Deciding to do something and thinking you should do something seem to be in close proximity to one another but, frankly, they’re often in stark opposition.

My good friends at Building Champions and, specifically my coach Steve Scanlon, remind me with great consistency; Craig, if you want to ensure failure – the key is simple – just be a little vague in your decision or your plan. The lesson, taught antithetically, was to illustrate the desired opposite: success.

If you want to succeed then you will have to have crystal clarity and a commitment to remove the ambiguities and all arbitrary clutter.

Good questions clear away the clutter. – Ruth Dirks

Why, specifically, do I want to lose 40lbs in 2015? Answer: because I’m 40lbs overweight. I don’t like how I look naked. I don’t feel good physically or emotionally because of the weight. If I keep this up I’m afraid I’ll die before I get to enjoy life as I desire with my wife, kids and grandkids.

There you go. Now it’s clear. I’m afraid. Fear – it’s a motivator but a lousy inspiration. Wife, kids, grandkids –now those are inspiring!

I’ve set a couple of specific goals for my life in this area.

  1. I am running and have committed to a healthier diet. I am on a training regimen to run the Wenatchee Half in April with a group of friends and family. The fact that they will time me with a sundial is irrelevant. I will be there and have done the training to get me to the finish line.
  2. I will weigh 198lbs by June 19th. That’s the due date of my yet-to-meet grandchild and coincides with a target goal that my son, Dave, & I have.

I have other goals this year too—goals that involve my business, my writing, my marriage and parenting, community…

To succeed, I need to ask good questions that clear away the clutter, to replace my shoulds, to stay focused on the goals and desired outcomes.

What have you decided to do? Who will help you and, specifically, how? When will you go see them for help? Will you quit if you get discouraged? How will you celebrate when you succeed? What or whom is the source of the fear you feel?

Take a risk – throw a reply out in the comment section. Be specificJ

I am rooting for you and you are rooting for me, yea? Yea!

As you decide and resolve, know that I pray God’s peace to be evident in your soul. If you strive for anything this year, may you experience just that – indescribable peace that comes from Him.

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