Make Success the More Attractive Option

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

In Sunday’s sermon, our pastor pointed out the fact that it, according to studies performed by somebody who at least claims to know, January 12 is the date by which most New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside. That means if you got through the day yesterday with your resolutions still intact, you’re above average. Kinda sobering, isn’t it?

This doesn’t mean that most people fell off the wagon and had a bad day in the first twelve days of the year. It means they simply quit trying. Out with the new, in with the old. It wasn’t that important anyway. Besides, there’s always next year. And the year after, and the year after that. Yet, according to a Quinnipiac poll, about 75% of Americans are optimistic about a brighter future.

Well, not to be the bearer of bad news, but the words “brighter future” imply change. That means we can’t keep doing the same things we’ve been doing and expect better results simply because we’re good and we deserve it. If we want our future to change, we have to change our present. That could be simple or extreme, but the longer things stay the same, the longer they’ll keep staying the same.

I guess what troubles me the most isn’t that people slip up and fall off the wagon on their resolutions so early in the year. Falling down is a part of moving forward. We all do it. But, if the people who conduct these studies are correct, it means that the majority of people stopped even trying to get back up. They fell down, possibly into a comfortable position, and just decided to stay there.

When we decide to make a change, we often give ourselves an out … a place of refuge in case things don’t go according to plan. My wife wanted to sell our house, buy a motorhome, and hit the road. I want to buy a less expensive motorhome and keep the house. You know, just in case. Now, you can decide for yourself which of us has the better plan. But it does illustrate my point.

One school of thought says before you make a drastic change, have a fallback plan. Give yourself an out in case you need it. Of course, that gives you the option to chicken out when things get a little rough. On the other hand, nothing says commitment like jumping off a cliff in a glider you designed and built yourself. It’s called sink or swim. Success is the only option. Other than … you know.

But most of the changes we decide to make aren’t that clear-cut. If your goal is to go on a diet and lose weight, what happens if you fail? Well, you go back to eating the foods you’ve always loved and never have to exercise. If your goal was to quit smoking, failure means you get to avoid nicotine withdrawal and foul mood that goes along with it. You simply go back to what you were doing.

Unless we find a way to make failure more unpleasant than success, we’ll never change anything. “I’ll donate five dollars to a rival political party every time I use the F-word.” That’ll get your attention! Especially if you commit and don’t give yourself a free pass just because you slammed your finger in the car door. Or you accidentally broke the yolk on your egg. You know, whatever.

The best way to make failure more unpleasant than success is to focus on why you want to make a change. See yourself in a smaller bathing suit by summer. Better still, go online and order one. Commit. Get rid of all the ash trays. Commit. Write a check to you least favorite politician. Then deposit that money in your vacation account. Every day, you get to decide which is more important.

If you’ve made it to this point in the year without completely giving up on your goals, you’re ahead of the game. The odds of success are already in your favor. That doesn’t mean you haven’t slipped up once or twice. It means the dream is still stronger than the urge to give up. And as long as you keep your priorities lined up that way, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your goal.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your Tomorrow Begins Today

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Yes, I’m back. Hope you enjoyed the break. Okay, I hope at least a couple of you missed your morning dose of motivation. I’ve missed my time with you. As I’ve said many times before, sometimes these morning messages are as much for me as anyone. Either way, I’m glad to be back.

We took a nice trip across the country for a weekend business conference in Denver. And we drove, all the way from Ohio … 2,435 miles round-trip. I guess it would have been faster and easier to fly, but there’s something about experiencing the trip that makes it all the more enjoyable. All told, our (almost) new car has been in 18 states over the past two years. I guess we must enjoy it.

It was our first time in that part of the country, and it was nice to be able to spend time with a bunch of old friends and a few hundred others we’ve never met before. As a bonus, I have a cousin who works just a couple of miles from our hotel, so we were able to get together for the first time in at least ten years to share dinner and laugh about old times.

The program itself was motivating. I didn’t go out there hoping to be set on fire – I just wanted the inspiration to re-focus on my goals and come back with the energy to do something constructive. We had at least a dozen different speakers, all very accomplished in their own lives, and the message they shared was focused on one simple premise – your future begins today.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done to this point in life. We’ve all made some mistakes, and maybe we’ve accomplished some magnificent feats as well. But that’s in the past. Whether we enjoy or languish in the life we’ve built, that’s all in the past. From this day forward, we will build the life we enjoy (or suffer) going forward. It can all change in an instant. And that instant is now.

We met people from all walks of life with stories that, when you boil it all down, sound eerily similar to our own. They worked hard. They had bills. They worried about the future. They fought. They struggled. They wondered how they would ever take care of all the things they needed to do and still have time to plan for tomorrow. Sound familiar?

Some started out wealthy (at least on paper), and some were flat broke. But they all had a dream and the drive to do something about it. That dream may have been material, like a new house or car. It may have been to strengthen their relationship by working together on their dreams. It may have been to pay medical bills, save for college, or simply to have more time to enjoy the life they’d built.

Again, if you took their story and changed the names and a few other details, they could have been talking about any one of us. The difference is they got up and did something about it. They saw an opportunity to build a better life and made the most of it. And, as a result, they enjoy a lifestyle most of us can only dream of. It took time. It took effort. It took persistence. But it was worth it.

No matter what you’ve done in life, good or bad, your future begins today. You can build on the good and make it even better, and you can work past the mistakes to get back on track. It’s all a matter of desire and drive. But you have to believe it can happen – not just that it’s possible, but that if you put in the effort and never let up, it’s inevitable. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

If I learned one thing over the weekend, it was that all of those people on the stage don’t have a single thing on me – not one personal characteristic or inner gift that gives them an edge the rest of us don’t have. The only difference is how they put those talents to use. And if any one of them can do it, there’s nothing stopping the rest of us from doing the same thing.

You have dreams. We all do. They may be simple or grand, but to each of us they’re equally important. And all that separates you from your dreams is belief and action. Believe you can achieve, do the things that need to be done, and success is simply a matter of time.

That all begins today. Forget any mistakes you’ve made and look past where you are right now to where you want to be. Then make a plan and get busy. Do the things that need to be done and don’t stop until you reach your goal. It’s there waiting for you. All you have to do is go get it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved