Resolution or Resignation? It's All About Commitment

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

Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? How are you doing so far? I normally don’t make resolutions, because I don’t like being reminded halfway through January that I already failed. But this year I did. They’re personal, and mostly related to my mindset and outlook. And, I’ve decided that 32 years after leaving the Navy, it’s time to stop talking like a sailor. Okay, I had good intentions.

Resolutions are simply a new start. Doing something we want to start doing or dropping habits that no longer fit who we want to be. It’s about change and moving forward. Out with the old, in with the new. It’s the start of a journey toward a better version of ourselves, something we aspire to be. It’s a dream. But the moment we resolve to make it happen, we commit ourselves to that dream.

According to some sources, as many as 80% of us will fail to achieve our New Year’s resolutions. Why? I guess there are a lot of reasons, and I won’t go into them here. But the main underlying cause is that we just lack the commitment. We want to make a change. We know we should make that change. But at the end of the day, it’s just a little more trouble than it’s worth. Old habits die hard.

And nobody wants to admit they lack commitment, especially when we make that commitment to ourselves. We know deep down that we can accomplish anything if we just set our mind to it, but it’s hard to fully commit to something when deep down we’re not sure we want to do it. We want the result – just not the work that goes into it.

So, we make a half-hearted resolution that sounds something like this … “I need to lose some weight this year. I probably won’t be as skinny as I’d like, and I’m not giving up any of my favorite foods, but I’ll see if I can eat a little less and maybe exercise once or twice a week.” Sound familiar?

If you read that “resolution” again closely, you’ll see it’s full of everything except commitment. “I need to” … “I’ll probably come up short” … “I’m not giving up any of this” … “I’ll see if I can” … and “maybe”.  It’s just a lot of words, mixed in with a few excuses and an overall prediction of failure. If somebody said that to you, would you put any money on their chances of success?

Another reason we fail at resolutions is because we lack belief. Oh, we know it’s possible. Just not probable.  Before we even start, we put our success in the hands of fate. “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.” That’s a nice sentiment if you don’t have any desire to influence the outcome of your own life. Instead of hoping for a miracle, how about creating one of your own?

It takes 21 days to change a habit. That doesn’t mean you can completely drop a habit in three weeks or form a new one. It means that if you keep repeating the same behavior for three weeks, it begins to fit into your comfort zone. It still takes a little willpower to stay on track, but in that short period of time, it starts to feel more natural. It’s becoming more a part of who you are.

And the easiest way to get through 21 days is one day at a time. When I quit smoking, I never once said “I’ll never smoke again.” I simply said, “I won’t smoke today.” That simple substitution of words made all the difference in the world. You can do anything for a day. And if you did it yesterday, you can do it again today. And tomorrow and the next day. One day at a time.

And if you happen to fall down, it’s only one day. You don’t have to start all over. Just pick up where you left off and get back on track. Strengthen your commitment. Write a short list of the reasons you made this decision in the first place and read it every morning until the urge to fall off the wagon starts to fade. If you can do it for a day, you can do it for life.

Change is hard, but it’s a necessary part of growth. As you envision the changes you’d like to make, don’t focus on the change itself but the end result. See yourself as the person you want to be. Reaffirm your ability to attain that goal every day. Believe in yourself, and anything is possible. Combine that belief with commitment and it becomes inevitable.

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

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Imagination is the Seed of Reality

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

Well, it’s the last weekend before Christmas. I hope most of your shopping is done. Really, because the fewer of you there are in the stores, the more room there is for me. This is the weekend when I get serious about it. Most of what I’m looking for is already sold out, but that’s okay. I can surprise her a lot easier when the selection is limited. “I thought you wanted a new sander.”

No, I would never buy my wife a sander or any other kind of appliance for Christmas, and you can bet I’ll never do it again. I’m getting a little better at reading her signals and, even though I miss the mark sometimes, my average is getting better. It’s all in the eyes. Is it my fault her glasses get a little smudged sometimes?

Last week we took a test drive in a 37-foot motorhome. I’m almost positive I saw her eyes light up a few times. Especially when I took an exit ramp a little faster than I should have. Not only do those things take a little more room to stop, they tend to be a little top-heavy in curves as well. I even made the salesman stutter, and how many rookies has he taken a ride with?

Okay, so perception isn’t necessarily my strong suit. I make mistakes just like anybody else. I interviewed for a new position with my company a few days ago and, two hours later, I still didn’t have the job. That’s okay. Maybe the computers are down, or they’re still trying to find me an office overlooking the river. It could happen.

Yes, I’m in a bit of a humorous mood this morning. But the fact remains, when there’s something we want, it’s easy to read a little more into things than what’s really there. Maybe the hiring manager was just being cordial. And I guess it’s just possible my wife’s excitement at a ride in an RV may have been relief that we got through it alive. I mean, she did kiss the ground when we got back. Twice.

It’s hard sometimes to know if what we perceive is real, or if it just feels that way because that’s what we want to believe. Anyone who has ever watched their teenage daughter go out on her first date knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve never prayed in your life, you’ll start then. And you’ll imagine how things really are based on how you want them to be. And all the while … never mind.

Dreams are a powerful force. And the more we feed those dreams, the stronger they become. We tend to see life, not as it is, but as we want it to be. Okay, there’s always a stack of bills to bring us back down to planet earth, but you know what I mean. What we imagine is what we feel. And the more we think about it, the more real it becomes.

It’s natural to imagine a reality that’s just a little different than what we wake up to each day. In fact, it’s healthy. And it’s normal to see the pieces falling into place to make those dreams come true. What we don’t know is how others factor into that. Your dream may be somebody else’s nightmare. But odds are, if they’re important to you, your dreams are important to them.

Communication is the key. It’s the only way to find out the extent to which you share a common goal. When one person has a dream, it’s likely to happen. When two people share the same dream, it’s inevitable. It may take time, and the final outcome may look a little different than you’d imagined. But therein lies the surprise of not knowing exactly what’s under the tree. And that makes it all the more magical.

So, dream. Whether it’s something you want for Christmas, a new job, a new home, or a new life. Define what it is you want, share that dream with those closest to you, and set about making it happen. You may misread a few cues along the way, and the destination may be a little different when you get there. But once you’ve set your sights on a goal, there’s not much that can stop you.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dream Or Passion?

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

If you could have one thing for Christmas, not the perfumes or ties or jewelry, what would you wish for? Think big. Like lottery ticket big. Something there’s no way you’ll find waiting for you under the tree, but you want it just the same. Maybe it’s a bigger house, a new car, a monthlong vacation, or even just monthly vacations. This is a time of year when we dream just a little more than normal.

That doesn’t mean we expect any of these things to materialize. We know how much these things cost, both financially and otherwise. It’s one thing to have the money for a monthlong vacation. It’s something altogether different having the time to take one. Most of us have to work, and employers aren’t overly enthusiastic about letting us just take time off whenever we feel like it.

Now, let me ask you another question. Of all those things you really want, which ones do you want badly enough to make it happen? You know, instead of waiting for the dream fairy to hand you the keys to a home on the beach, you actually get out and work for it until the dream comes true. There’s a big difference. One is a pipe dream – the other is a passion that just won’t go away.

It’s one thing to dream. We all do it. We see a really nice car driving down the road and think how nice it would be to own one. But it’s not a passion. It’s something that, if we woke up one morning to find it sitting in the driveway, we’d be excited. But that excitement never really goes beyond the “passing thought” stage. It’s not something we’re willing to get out and work for.

A student pursuing a degree has a goal. An employee working for a promotion has a goal. A child saving money for a new bicycle has a goal. And all of those goals have a few things in common. First, they all started as a dream. But the dream went beyond the passing thought stage and became a passion. Something the person wants badly enough to get up every day and work toward it.

Making a list of our dreams is a lot like a child making a list of things they want for Christmas. I remember my youngest sitting in front of a toy catalog, thoughtfully thumbing through the pages. My dad laughed and said, “If you have to look in a book to get ideas, you must not want it very much.” She shrugged and said, “I’m just crossing off the things I don’t want.”

Now, of all the things left in that book, the ones she didn’t cross off, how many do you think she wanted with a passion? Sure, it would be nice to wake up and find most or all of those things under the tree, but let’s be honest – some are just stocking stuffers. But if you were to ask her for one or two things she really wanted, she could tell you. It’s the difference between passion and dreams.

It’s okay to make a list of your dreams. List them all, no matter how big or small. But at some point, you have to decide which ones you just want and which ones you’re willing to work for. Prioritize the list and focus on the ones that excite you the most. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work your way up – it’s okay to focus on the biggest one first if that’s the one you want most.

Dream lists are a lot like checklists. And at the end of the day, you’re either checking things off or crossing them off. Let your passion drive those decisions. Don’t cross off something important in favor of something “realistic.” It’s been said that the only regrets we’ll ever have are the risks we never took. If your passion is strong enough, the rest will fall into place.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Secret To Youth Lies Within Your Dreams

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

It’s looking like a cold day here in southern Ohio. Well, cold by comparison. My dad, who lives in northern Florida, told me it’s supposed to get “down to the 50s” today. For them, that’s cold. For me, it would mean putting a jacket in the back seat just in case. We’re close to the freezing mark right now, and it’s not going to get any warmer as the day goes on. Guess it’s just that time of year.

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving weekend. We spent the day with family, and my wife and daughters did a little shopping. I held down the fort, which means I didn’t do much of anything. I guess I needed the break. Still, I think it’s good to take some time to reflect on those things for which we’re thankful. For me it begins and ends with family. Everything else falls somewhere in the middle.

I think most cultures and nations have a day of Thanksgiving. They’re not all on the same day, of course, and maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a reminder that we should be thankful all through the year, not just because the calendar says so. If we all celebrated every day of Thanksgiving through the year, maybe we’d be a little more appreciative of the good things we’ve got.

That doesn’t mean we can’t want something more. And, contrary to what we may have been led to believe, it’s not selfish or greedy to want something we don’t already have. That’s what gives us the motivation to get ahead in life, to do that little bit extra when we’d rather kick back in a recliner.

I can’t say it’s what gets us out of bed every morning, though it would be nice if it were true. What gets us out of bed is necessity – whether it’s a job, or kids that need to be sent off to school, or just the fact that we can’t really spend the whole day in bed, something gets us up and moving each day. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were something that excites us?

If you focus on your dream as you’re falling asleep, odds are that thought will be there when you wake up in the morning. It may not be enough to get you going. If you’re like me, it’s all the more reason to curl up a few minutes longer. But the thought is still there. And, much like that song that gets stuck in your head, if a thought is there in the morning, odds are it’ll be there most of the day.

When waking up means little more than another day on the job, life can become pretty empty. We need something that excites us, and we need to feel that all these years on the job are getting us closer to something we really want. Otherwise, we’re just working to get old. And, believe me, once you reach that point, you start aging at the speed of light. The only way to slow it down is to dream.

Find something that excites you. Put it in writing and describe it in detail. Get pictures. Then put it someplace where you’ll see it every day. The more you focus on your dream, the more it becomes a part of you. But you have to do something about it. Remove the barriers and make it happen. Dreams not only make you live longer – they make you enjoy living longer. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What’s Stopping You Now?

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

I finally got some things accomplished this weekend that I’ve been wanting to do. Okay, I should say my grandson got something accomplished for me. I paid him, so it’s fair. I like having outdoor lights for Christmas, but I don’t like climbing a ladder fifty-two times to hang them. He’s still young enough to get on the roof. And, he’s still more likely to bounce if he falls. Voila! Problem solved.

I normally try to get the lights up a little earlier, when it’s still reasonably warm. I just don’t turn them on until the week of Thanksgiving. And I’ll turn them off at the start of the New Year. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be coming down. I’m the guy who leaves the lights up until Easter. Sorry, there’s something about ladders and ice on the ground that gives me the willies.

There are some jobs we can do before they actually need to be done. Hanging outdoor lights is one of them. Though I did read a news article about a family that received a citation from their homeowner’s association for putting out decorations a couple of weeks early. I think that one falls under the heading of “get a life.” If somebody else’s celebration bothers you that much, look the other way.

But most things happen in real time and we have to respond and adapt. Sure, we can plan our work week, at least in terms of when we have to be at work and when we hope to come home. Starting time is always pretty well set in stone, but the workday doesn’t always end at a set time. That’s just part of the job. Somehow, it never seems to work that way with lunch breaks. Go figure.

When you really think about it, there are very few things in life we actually plan. For most of us, if we even have a calendar, there’s not much in it other than birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations. My wife keeps everything in her phone calendar, which means I don’t have to. At least not for anything that involves both of us. But thank God the doctor’s office calls to remind me of my appointments.

I guess the point is, we pretty much live day to day. We take things as they come, and handle the immediate needs as they arise. The rest goes into a bucket that we dip into any time we have a few minutes on our hands and there’s nothing good on TV. Seems that happens a lot more these days. The Forrest Gump channel plays the same movie all week. All that changes are the commercials.

The problem with that approach is we never seem to dig deep enough in that bucket to find the things that will bring us closer to our dreams. Unless working until you’re 80 is part of your dream, and in that case, knock yourself out. But if there are other things you want, maybe a little earlier in life, at some point you’ll need to do something about it.

We handle the important things because we don’t have any other choice. Some things just won’t be ignored. It’s the things that can be ignored that keep us from enjoying the life we desire. “I’ll get to it tomorrow.” “Next week.” “After the holidays.” If any of this sounds familiar, welcome to the club. We all do it to some extent. And to the extent that we drag our feet, our dreams slip further away.

Only you can decide which of your dreams are important and how much you’re willing to do to achieve them. But they’ll always be just a passing thought or a picture on the refrigerator until you dig down into that bucket and get busy. And the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be living those dreams. Focus on the goal and don’t let anything stand in your way. Least of all, yourself.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Opportunity Knocks, But Only if the Door is Open

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

Sometimes, when you’re looking for solutions to a problem, things begin to appear out of thin air. At least that’s the way it feels. You know what you think you need, but something you never really considered comes along and says, “Here – try me.” It may be something very familiar, or something completely out of the blue. You just never know.

Yesterday morning, as I was starting my day, I got a completely unexpected email offering me some ongoing freelance work for the next several months. It’s work I’ve done before, and for a company and team with whom I truly enjoy working. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Anybody who’s ever applied for a military career has taken the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB as it’s known. It’s a long test full of questions designed to identify your ideal vocations. At the end, they give you some recommended options from which to choose. And the whole time you’re thinking, “Who wrote these questions???” Well, that would be me.

I first stumbled across this opportunity several years ago when my contract ended in a previous job. Unemployment will get you busy, and there’s no telling what you’ll turn up. And in all honesty, most of it is garbage. I’ll never forget the guy who wanted me to write a federal grant proposal so he could get the money to save a few acres of hunting land in a divorce. I wish I was making that up.

But somewhere through all of that, I came upon the opportunity to write a series of questions relating to general shop knowledge – wood shop, metal shop, etc. That blossomed into writing for four different sections of the test, and when the assignment was over, they promised I’d hear from them again. More than 1,000 questions later, they still reach out to me every time they get a new contract.

So, I guess you could say this one didn’t literally just drop out of the air. I have a history with this company, and it’s paid off well. But if I had never gone looking for freelance work that first time, I’d have never heard about the new opportunity today. They’d have found somebody else years ago who could do the job just as well, and that’s who would have gotten the call this time.

It’s hard to tell sometimes exactly what will grow when you plant a seed. But if you never went looking for a seed in the first place, the answer is weeds – because, in my experience, weeds are perennial and grow in every square inch of ground that doesn’t have something else growing in it. The best way to avoid weeds is to choke them out with the good stuff.

Sometimes, the best things in life take the longest to cultivate. I read that a cherry seed can take up to 100 years to germinate and begin to grow. In that length of time, it’s likely the grower will have gotten impatient and planted a dozen other things right next to it. But sooner or later, a stalk with a few little leaves will begin to emerge and grow into a magnificent hardwood specimen.

It works that way with relationships, jobs, business ideas, and any number of things we really want. But unless you go looking for a seed in the first place, there’s nothing to plant and nothing to cultivate. And in its absence, weeds will grow. The most beautiful sprawling lawn was once an undeveloped eyesore. Somebody had to see its potential beauty long before it began to show.

If there’s something you want to do, something you’d like to improve, or something you think you’d like to drop out of thin air when you need it the most, now is the time to start planting those seeds. If we wait until we’re hungry to plant a garden, we’ll be eating dirt for several months before anything good comes up. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Find the solution before you have the need.

We can’t take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way. But make no mistake, if we don’t take a chance on any of them, we’ll find fewer new opportunities coming along behind them. Opportunity favors those who seek it. It only knocks if the door is open and the lights are on. But if you close the door and turn off the lights, it’ll just move on to somebody who wants it more.

Plant those seeds. Put a little faith in something that may not look so awesome on the surface. The most radiant diamond was once a chunk of coal. If you open your eyes and your mind, there’s a diamond in the rough right there in front of you. All you have to do is pick it up and do something to really make it shine.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Want to Change the Outcome, Change the Routine

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

As you go through your morning routine each day, does it ever occur to you just how much of a routine that is? With very minor exceptions, most of us do pretty much the same thing every day from the moment we get up until we get to work or begin whatever activities normally consume our day. I suspect even retired people have a routine. I’m not there yet, but I’ll find out soon enough.

My dog makes sure at least part of that routine goes uninterrupted. He’s patient while I get a shower and get dressed. But about the time he thinks I should be done, he’s patiently tapping his paws on the floor, waiting for me to sit in the recliner, give him his morning hug, and then let him out while I fill his food bowl. Then he comes in and starts the vitamin dance. He gets two. And he can count.

Dogs are such creatures of habit. And we are, too. When you get up tomorrow morning, try changing up your routine. If you normally brush your teeth first, do something else. Go to the kitchen and get a glass of water. Then brush your hair. Yes, before you get in the shower. Who cares if you’ll have to do it again? The fun part of this exercise is to see just how much it throws off your routine.

You may want to make a checklist the night before, because odds are you’ll forget something. You’ll get halfway to work and realize your computer is still sitting by the front door. Believe me, I’ve done that one without even trying. When we skip any step in our routine, intentionally or not, we’re like that confused dog, trying to find our place so we can get back to normal.

It’s all a matter of habit – habits so deeply ingrained in our very being that we do them without even thinking. Like wiping your mouth after a sip of water or closing a pen before you put it in your pocket. Oh, we miss from time to time. Something distracts us and we forget to do something. And then you get home and see a big blob of ink on your shirt pocket and realize what you forgot. Oops!

I guess I’m showing my age, because most shirts don’t have pockets anymore. Somehow, pockets have gone out of style. At least that’s what my wife keeps telling me. And that’s for women, because you carry a purse that’s big enough to hold the contents of six dozen pockets. If I need someplace to put a ballpoint pen, I’ve only got a couple of choices.

 And just like our morning routines, we have tastes in clothing, food, décor, and a bunch of other things that we’re reluctant to change. Are blue shirts a habit with me? Not really. But I do like blue shirts – with pockets. But, just like my favorite Halloween candy (peanut butter kisses), they’re getting harder and harder to find. So, I have to adapt. Reluctantly, I’ll admit. But I don’t have much choice.

We all like to think we’re spontaneous, but we’re creatures of habit more than we think. And if we want to change the direction of our lives, we have to change some of those habits. Because, just like a model train, the track always leads to the same destination unless we do something to change it. The train can’t make any turns on its own – it simply follows the track. Real trains do that, too.

It’s fun to watch a train run around in circles, but after a while it gets a little boring. The same thing happens when we put ourselves on a circular track where the scenery never changes. We get up every day at the same time, do the same things, follow the same routines, and then wonder why life never changes. It’s pretty simple. If you want to move ahead, you have to get on another track.

And that means shaking things up a bit. You have to break the routine and change some of those long-held habits. You might even have to try a different kind of candy or find someplace else to put your pen. But it’s the only way to move from where you are now to where you want to be.

Change is difficult, but you’ve done it before. All you have to do is decide on a new direction and break the routine enough to follow that path. The change may be so subtle, you barely even notice. But like a ship at sea, the smallest change can lead you to an entirely new destination. Set yourself on a new course and follow it to the end. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved