“Do you want a good life?”
Of course you do; everyone does! New year’s resolutions come from an awakening that another year has passed and we are not where we want to be in perhaps several areas of life, but most often the condition of our body. Statistics show that good intentions generally fade as we quickly revert to old habits. How can you increase your chances of success with your new year’s resolution? Success is more likely when you challenge more than one ‘part’ of yourself. An awareness that your struggle is with more than just your body image, it is with your “will”, your “thinking” and your “feelings”. These areas of self are at the root of your life choices that impact the condition of your “body”.
CHALLENGING YOUR WILL
At the center of real change lies a wrestling match with your WILL. What you truly want lies at the center for choosing. At the very core of your being human is the freedom one gets to make choices that ultimately scripts their life story. A closer look at the results of these choices reveals quite often that our ‘basic wants’ are not always for our ‘basic best’. Consider our insatiable desire for sweets (cake, candy, ice cream), entertainment (movies,gaming), leisure (vacations) and spectator activities (watching others do). Choosing to regularly engage in such activities, or in-activities, may bring some form of immediate sensory gratification, but do they add up to a true quality life? Looking in the rear-view mirror, or front-view mirror, at the end of the days...weeks...months that make up the year …. what were the true gains of your ‘choices’? Successful new year’s resolutions begin with recognizing and challenging one step at a time our ‘choices’ ultimately impact our destiny. The good news is that since your choices belong to you….you participate in controlling your fate.
CHALLENGING YOUR THINKING
Thinking is a function of your brain that directly impacts behavior/choices. Since all behaviors begin with thinking it is possible to demand honesty of your thought life with two simple questions, (1) “Is what I am thinking actually true?”, (2) “Does acting on these thoughts really result in the best life possible for me?”. Whether or not we are willing to demand honesty of our thought life, we cannot avoid the “results” of the choices they direct. Consider thinking that “eating a huge dish of ice cream each night or couch sitting for hours watching sitcoms, movies or gaming brings the best life”. But, be honest, in the end do these activities actually deliver the good life you desire? Failing to honestly challenge the true value your ’thoughts’ bring may ultimately end with a destiny that is too late to alter. You have experienced the very life you “thought” was good. Time has run out and you have failed to achieve the quality life for which you’ve longed. The best life possible is found by those who honestly challenge whether or not their ‘thinking’ actually delivers on that which is best.
CHALLENGING YOUR FEELINGS
Partnered with thinking, feelings have the potential to greatly influence your behavior. I say, ‘potential’, because what may come as a great shock to the modern mind is. ..you do not have to obey your feelings! In many cases one should not! Why, because feelings are not the final word on reality. We feel empty so we eat, we feel bored so we turn on the tv, we feel rejected so we withdraw, we feel afraid so we become paralyzed. A closer look reveals feelings serve as very poor guides for seeking the ‘good life’. Just ask inmates in correctional facilities across america who elevated their ‘feeling’ for crystal meth to the center of their life choices. Did gratifying their longing for crystal meth deliver a good life? You say, “I’m not a crystal meth addict!”. Perhaps not, but what are the results of the feelings to which you are submitting? Emptiness, hopelessness, fear, anger, all of which are subject to the same laws of reality as craving crystal meth…. You eventually get the results they deliver. Challenge your feelings with sober reality, “Does obeying this feeling really deliver me the best life possible?”
CHALLENGING YOUR BODY
Your body is your essential power-pack for living life on earth. But as important as our bodies are, they have limitations in delivering the good life. Elevating gratification of your body to the primary source to experiencing the ‘good life’ (pleasure, sensuality, fullness), also positions it to deliver the ‘bad life’ (pain, numbness, emptiness). You must challenge centering your life around gratifying bodily sensations because ultimately the body can never be fully satisfied. Bodily gratification ‘knows no limits!’. Ever known an alcoholic with enough drink, a food-aholic with enough food, a sex-aholic with enough sex? Is guzzling actually better than sipping? Is gorging really better than savoring? The irony is that centering life around bodily pleasure actually deadens feelings. Initial pleasure sensations eventually become harder and harder to re-experience, which awakens a relentless drive to feel something ‘more’. The more bodily gratification is sought, the less it delivers on the self-satisfaction scale. Challenging your body through training, perseverance, and practicing living within limits, ultimately delivers the real ‘goods’. Testimony is used in court to establish ‘truth’: Ask those regularly challenging, disciplining, and limiting their body by smart eating, physical activities and exercising if the results are indeed good?
Add your unique goal to a new year’s resolution:
“This year I will experience (healthier body, better relationships, financial success, career advancement, etc.) by challenging the intent of my will, the validity of my thinking, and the trustworthiness of my feelings until ultimately my body experiences the results of one good choice made day by day, week by week, month by month until I’ve lived the entire year”. With patience and diligence you will experience a better life.
That’s a PROMISE.