GROW, Don’t PLATEAU!

I am fabulous at reaching goals! I was an A student all the way through college, an athlete, and I led various clubs and even my sorority one year. Give me a goal or a deadline, and I’ll reach it, GUARANTEED. I have always refused to give up until my goal had been reached.

This has served me well in many areas. But, for some reason I have never learned to be consistent. That is my word for 2016. CONSISTENCY. I talked about it several weeks ago. Somehow, I never learned the skill of making changes in my life consistently and persistently on a daily basis that would keep me on a constant path of growth.

In listening to a CD put out by Success magazine in September 2015, I heard an interview with the great leadership coach, John C. Maxwell. He said, when he coaches someone, he tries to teach them to be growth-oriented rather than goal-oriented. That is not to say we should not have goals, for goals do need to be set in order to be successful. But, he mentioned he had seen countless people achieve their goals and become successful, but then plateau and eventually take a downturn.

This struck a chord with me because it could sum up my life! I would achieve a goal and then reward myself by coasting. If someone was constantly giving me new goals, i.e. teachers and coaches, then I was constantly appearing to grow and become successful.

However, when left to my own devices, I would plateau and then downturn. My life has been a rollercoaster in that way! I realize there is a natural ebb and flow to life and reaching success. But, we must be consistent in doing the mundane everyday things that will keep pushing us forward. We don’t just get to the “top” and stay there – we must continue to practice the same habits that got us there to begin with in order to continue to grow and reach new “heights.”

Here I am, now at 41, learning things I wish I had learned long ago. I can’t really blame anyone for it, though no one specifically tried to teach it to me. I never did take the initiative to figure out how to become consistent and constantly grow. Mr. Maxwell says that if you remain growth-oriented, you will hit all your goals and then some because you will constantly be learning and improving.

So this is where I am… learning to grow every day. Learning to be coachable and find the coaches for each area of my life that will push me ever forward. Learning to humble myself and ask for help when I need it. Learning to coach myself when possible. Learning to share immediately with others what I have learned in the hopes of spurring them on to be the greatest they can be as well.

It really is about the journey rather than the destination. The destination will come, if we focus on one step at a time in our growth-oriented journey.

Here’s to your GROWING!

Multnomah Falls, OR Photo: Kristin Coke

Multnomah Falls, OR
Photo: Kristin Coke

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8

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Slight Edging It

I am not known for moderation.

Ask anyone who knows me well.

I am an all in or all out type, and it takes a lot of determination for me to balance that. I have worked at it all my life. In a lot of ways this has worked well for me. When I commit to doing something, I do it wilth all I’ve got and do it well. When I have a clear goal, I stick with it and see it through. Nothing can stop me.

However, to be candid, I am really terrible at this with the things that count most. Let’s take my fitness for example. I am intelligent enough to know that my good health is the key to everything else – that I will only be happy and successful and have good relationships if I am in good health. So why do I get into shape and feel great only to slide back down the hill again gradually? I’m either hot or cold. This works for some things in life, but when it comes to proper health habits, it is like a rollercoaster ride. Once I left college and didn’t have a workout schedule set by a coach, I set off to do things my way. Somehow I felt that I could defy the laws of science and be the one who could eat what I wanted to, exercise now and then, and still stay in the same shape I was in. The highest and most twisted form of narcissism, yes? So, for 20 years I have done this up and down thing. (Anyone else out there feel this way?) Then would come the self-loathing and beating myself up. How could I be so intelligent and so stupid at the same time? And on, and on, and on….the cycle.

It’s time to stop. And finally I figured out how. I am a work in progress, but my philosophy is changing on a daily basis. I am finally learning to enjoy the journey.

ONE day at a time. ONE task at a time. ONE step at a time.

Near the end of 2014 I got my hands on a book called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. This book is changing every area of my life. I am in my second read, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you are anything like me, AND want to change, then this book is for you. GET IT NOW.

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The book can basically be summed up by this. So simple. So profound. For some reason, so hard for me to grasp, but by George I think I’ve got it. And, truly a biblical principle.

“Simple daily disciplines – little productive actions, repeated consistently over time – add up to the difference between failure and success. The slight edge is relentless and cuts both ways: simple daily disciplines or simple errors in judgment, repeated consistently over time, make or break you.”

This is not rocket science! It’s not like I didn’t “know” this. But, for some reason, reading the words makes an imprint on the brain and forces you to make a choice. The little things we do every day that are insignificant at the time, add up. It is the philosophy that must be changed. Doing things in large spurts may appear to work, or even work for a time, but in the long-run they do not. It’s just a cycle of highs and lows.

SO, for me, gone are the days of the New Year’s “I’m going to get in better shape” Resolutions that fizzle out. My resolution this year is to change my lifestyle by changing my philosophy. By setting small daily goals rather than high mighty goals for the future. I know that if I do the small seemingly insignificant things every day, that over time I will both end up where I want to be in health, career and life, AND will have learned the value of continuing those habits to remain on the path of my choosing.

My word for 2016 is CONSISTENCY. You are welcome to use this word too if you like. HA. 😉

Whatever your goals for this year and beyond, I wish you the very best! And whatever they are, if you feel stagnant in any way, I promise that if you will get the “Slight Edge” and read it – you WILL begin to move in the direction you want to go.

Here’s to a New Year and a New You!

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