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Overcoming Obstacles in the New Year

Thursday, January 17, 2013

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

January first rolled around and we all made our New Year’s resolutions. Doesn't matter what it is or what our intentions were, it's been a couple of weeks and now your initial resolve is starting to weaken as obstacles are placed in your way. You see, when you started out and made your resolution, you didn't sit down and think about what might happen in your everyday life that would make it difficult to achieve your goal.

Think about it—for instance, if you decided to lose ten pounds or eat healthier, you weren’t thinking about that kid’s birthday party where they would be foisting ice cream and chocolate cake on you. So the question becomes, when faced with these obstacles, what are you going to do to overcome them? I have three ways to overcome these obstacles that I use. I'll give them to you in order of least favorite to most favorite.

  1. Instead of giving up entirely on doing anything, I compromise. Let’s use the example above: You decided to lose weight and now it's two weeks later and you’re at the party. They have cake and ice cream and you really want some but know you shouldn't. Instead of having each, decide on one or the other. Maybe you skip the ice cream and have a reasonable-sized slice of cake. Take your time eating that piece, savor every bite and eat slowly. You'll find that if you have that small piece, after a little time has passed, your sweet tooth has been placated and you are past the diet “crisis.”
  2. I like to call this the Nike method. In other words, just do it. Say you promised yourself to walk a mile every day. But today is hump day, you were super busy and your boss was a jerk all afternoon. Now you’re home, you've eaten dinner, and you’re exhausted. You really don't want to put on your sneakers and go walking; instead, you feel like putting on your PJs and going to bed. Well, you made yourself a promise—if you don't go for that walk, you’re going to be disappointed in yourself. So, you drag yourself off the sofa moaning and groaning about how much this is going to suck and you start walking. I've done this very thing many times in my life. You'll find that more often than not, by the time you’re halfway through that walk you’re into it and chugging along. When you’re done, you have more energy than when you started and your self esteem goes up because you didn't let yourself down.
  3. This is my favorite way to do things and almost always the way I view life—think of the obstacle as a challenge. I figure if there is something I'm not comfortable doing or I think it's going to be too hard, then that is the very reason I should do it, simply to challenge myself. Doing things outside our comfort zones is how we grow as people. I'll give you a real life example. I decided I was going to get on stage to play guitar and sing. Now, I've been playing guitar for 25 years and you would think getting on stage wouldn't be a big deal, but I'd never done it. I always played at parties and campfires where I was part of the group. I was nervous about doing this, but I figured it was a challenge and something I needed to do if I ever wanted to grow as a musician. I've been doing open mics a couple of times a week since then. I still get nervous when I first get up there, but I calm down after the first song and even start to enjoy myself by the end of a set.

I hope that one of these will work for you and help you overcome your obstacles.


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