|Gravity vs. Flying|
|By Caterina Spinaris|
The start of the new calendar year is as good a time as any to examine our habits and our life’s course, to decide if we’d be better off by hitting the reset button and making some beneficial changes. One way to do that is to consciously and intentionally articulate what our goals are — short-term and long-term, and see if we’re getting closer to actualizing them or if we’re moving away from them through our choices. The conclusions we draw from such a self-assessment can suggest to us whether changes are in order or not. Areas we may examine can involve finances, career, appearance, physical fitness, health, relationships, parenting style, and living arrangements.
Propelled by a sincere desire for progress, we may end up making new year’s resolutions. These may range from plans to make radical changes in an area of our lives or may involve one relatively small step. How many of us follow through and make sure that these changes become (and remain) a reality and a part of our lifestyle from here on out? And what would it take for us to stick to our best intentions and make them happen and last?
Here are some of the basic ingredients for the recipe of successful change in our behaviors and our habits.
Let’s think of any existing unhealthy habits that we want to replace as operating like the law of gravity. They’re always there, whether dormant or active, whether we’re aware of them or not. We don’t have to work at having them take the steering wheel. They’re the self-driving vehicle taking us down paths we might regret. It’s the flying, the desired new habits, we need to commit to figuring out how to make happen. We have to invest in our vision of a better, healthier, “saner” ME. We too have to invest time, energy, money, courage, faith, sweat, effort, perseverance, count- less occasions of trial and error, improvements, corrections, repairs — and repetition, repetition, repetition. Persistent practice of our new, desired habit, will get us to the point where now our new habits become automated and override the prior unhealthy ones. The latter remain dormant, but they are no longer the “default setting.” The new, desired habit gets to be that hard-wired default.
We are free to choose. Is experiencing the joy and benefits of flying worth what it takes to make it happen, to break us free from the pull of gravity? Each one of us must answer that for ourselves in the depths of our hearts regarding certain of our behaviors that cause us discomfort and distress, behaviors that ultimately hurt us and perhaps also hurt the ones we love. My answer for myself is, ABSOLUTELY!
My focus this year regarding building a new habit is turning my mind toward identifying benefits and opportunities in every challenge, spotting what is going well, and detecting the hand of Love in my life, regardless of the circumstances — and being thankful, thankful, thankful for that. That’s the habit I want to build as an automated thought pattern and mindset for me. Why?
Because the payoffs of this practice, physically, psychologically and spiritually, are too many to count. What do you want your new, healthier habit to be? Where do you feel a need for improvement? Are you ready to take responsibility for making positive changes in your life? Will you commit to them? Will you figure out the steps you’ll need to take to go from your A to your Z? Will you work at removing obstacles in your path toward your goal? Will you help your brain build a life-giving new habit? Will you learn to fly?
This article as been reprinted with permission from the November 2016 Issue of Correctional Oasis, a publication of "Desert Waters Correctional Outreach".
Editor's note: Caterina Spinaris is the Executive Director at Desert Waters Correctional Outreach and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado. She continues to contribute to the field of corrections staff well-being individually and organizationally, in particularly regarding issues of traumatic stress due to exposure to violence, injury, death on the job, and also issues of organizational climate improvement.
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