The Clock is Running … What’s Your Score?

Good morning, and happy Friday! We made it through another week. I hope yours has been awesome.

This morning I have a biometric screening at work – blood test, body measurements, all those things that normally don’t start the day off well for somebody with my physique. I’ll get the results in a few days and they’ll tell me the things I’ve done well and all the things I could’ve done better. That second list will be the longer of the two. No surprises there.

It’s important to get a measure of your standing from time to time, because that’s a measure of success. If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you need to go. I know about things like blood pressure, weight, and body fat. I measure them regularly. But the stuff on the inside is a little more of a mystery. This is where I find out how all the outward stuff is affecting the rest.

And when I get my results, I’ll know exactly where I stand right now, and what needs to be fixed. I already know how to fix those things. But sometimes, we need to know the current score in order to prioritize what needs to be done next.

It’s the same with anything you’re trying to accomplish. Project managers draft detailed project plans to set milestones and track progress through the life of a project. Banks send those statements every month that shows our progress toward saving more than we spend. And the GPS shows our progress toward a desired destination. And mine seems to say “recalculating” a lot. Just me?

It’s important to stop occasionally and take stock of where you are, what you’ve accomplished to date, and then reassess your next step. Whether you’re cooking dinner or playing chess, progress is an important measure of what you need to do to keep moving toward your goal. And it lets you know when it’s time to take an unscheduled turn or pit stop to get things back on track.

As we talk about our dreams and goals, it’s easy to just throw them out there with a simple one-word timeline – “Someday.” It’s a goal, and we plan to do it at some point in life. But with such a vague definition of when this is all supposed to happen, it’s pretty hard to track our progress along the way.

Let’s say your goal is a European vacation for the whole family. Twelve countries in five days. I’ve never understood the fascination with breezing across borders without slowing down to enjoy the scenery, much less sample the local cuisine. But some people seem to enjoy that.

You probably have an idea of how much that will cost. In today’s dollars, that is. You save a little every month for several years, and watch it grow. Every year, you see yourself getting a little closer. Emergencies come along and set you back. The car needs repairs. Your kid needs braces. Then there’s college, a new roof on the house, and all the other things that come along.

And by the time you have everything in place and you’re ready to pack up and go, inflation has more than doubled the price. Now you’re back to square one. Maybe not all the way, but how many more years will it take to make this happen? And how many other things will come along to mess up your plans even more?

Cemeteries are the resting place of unfulfilled dreams. All those things a person never had a chance to do are buried right along with them. And after the funeral, the family decides to pool their resources and take that vacation mom always dreamed of … you know, in her honor. And the whole time they’re saying, “Mom would have loved this!” Yeah, probably so.

The time for living our dreams is now – while we’re still alive and have the chance to do something about it. But we have to put measures in place, so we know where we are and what still remains to be done. And we have to check along the way to see if the goal has moved. Destinations don’t move around much, but what it takes to get there may change dramatically along the way.

Life is full of surprises, some good and some not so good. By knowing where we’re going and how far we’ve come, those surprises turn into detours rather than roadblocks. Instead of getting to the end of life and lamenting the things we never got to do, we can bask in the memory of the things we’ve done. And memories live on, long after our dreams have been laid to rest.

Dream, set goals, and make plans. But most importantly of all, make sure you’re getting closer as you go. You only have the rest of your life. Make it count.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Perseverence (and Coffee) Can Make Everything Right

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

Every morning, as I make my rather large cup of coffee, I have to run it in two batches – the first is 12 ounces and the second is an additional 8 ounces. It’s simply because my coffee maker doesn’t have a mega-cup setting, and I’m not about to start my day without a mega-shot of caffeine. Those who work closest to me can fully appreciate that.

But after the initial 12-ounce run this morning, my coffee maker decided that was it for now. I waited patiently, and then not-so-patiently, and still it wouldn’t reset itself for an additional brew. I finally gave it the computer-style reboot (pulled the plug) and it decided to work, after I reset the time and all those other fun things. I hope this was just a fluke. I kinda depend on this thing to start my day.

It’s just part of my routine. We all have one. As I get dressed each day, my dog is waiting outside my bedroom door, just to be sure I’m not going back to bed. I go to the living room, sit in the recliner, and he props up across my left leg for a morning hug. Then it’s outside for him, and when he comes back, he gets his morning vitamin and eats his food while I make a mega-cup of coffee. Every day.

We do these things so automatically, we rarely even think about them. Unless the coffee maker decides to test my aging heart, in which case I have to improvise. Or panic. It could have gone either way. We improvise first, and if that doesn’t work, we panic. Can I get an amen?

When an animal does something without thinking about it, we call that “natural instinct.” Okay, I’m not sure dogs have a natural instinct to start dancing around at 7:30 every night because the human is supposed to give them a treat at 8:00. I’m not even sure it’s a habit. If you want my opinion, he’s spoiled. But I only have myself to blame for that.

And how did 8:00 become the official hour for a treat? Because the human (me) did it a few nights in a row at the end of a particular TV show. It’s funny how habits are formed. I didn’t intent do make that a nightly thing with him. It just worked out that way.

I think it’s a little amusing – it takes us about three weeks to form a new habit. If there’s something you’re desperately trying to change, do it consistently for 21 days and it’ll become a part of your life. But, since every years of a dog’s life equals seven years of a human life, that means it only takes a dog three days to form a habit. I walked right into that one.

So, what happens when I go to his favorite cabinet and the bag of treats is empty? He understands “all gone,”, but he doesn’t understand “Daddy forgot to buy some at the store last week.” It’s treat time, and there’d better be something in that magic cabinet. If not, then open the refrigerator. There’s cheese in there. He’s not stupid.

Sometimes we have to improvise. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It’s time to start cooking dinner and you realize the roast is still thawed. So, tonight we have grilled cheese. Problem solved. But when you get halfway to work and the car starts flashing that dreaded “check engine” light, you don’t have a lot of options. That’s when even the most devout atheist begins to pray.

As I stared at the coffee maker this morning, I began to wonder if I’d have to start my day with a half-cup of coffee, and how my wife would feel when she had to start her day without. We don’t have instant coffee in this house, so my only Plan B is to stop by the gas station on the way to work. And I’m sorry, but that’s just not a truly acceptable substitute.

Things will happen to mess up the best of plans. You’re on vacation and you hit a detour. The hotel you’d planned to stay in is full. You get a flat tire on the way, and finally arrive at Wally World only to find the park is closed. It happens to the best of us. But somehow, you find the resolve to keep going.

Anybody can breeze through an easy day and come out looking good. It’s how we handle those not-so-easy days that makes us who we are. Just take a step back, assess the situation, and re-focus on the goal. There’s always another way to get there. All you have to do is find it.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Into Every Life a Monday Must Fall

Good morning! I hope you all had a nice weekend.

For a day of new beginnings, Monday seems to get a pretty bad rap. We spend all weekend bemoaning its pending arrival, and then start the day with pretty low expectations because, after all, it’s Monday. Nothing good ever happens on Monday. It’s a day when all the forces of nature (not to mention the corporate gods) are aligned against us. To hear people talk, you’d sure think so.

But Monday is the start of a new week. Okay, technically, Sunday is the start of a new week. I’ve never quite understood that because the Bible says that on the seventh day God rested, and that’s supposed to be Sunday. But according to the calendar, this is the second day of the week. I guess with all the time changes over the years, that one got lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of time changes, this is a Monday we tend to dread even more than normal because, for most of the United States, we lost an hour of sleep this weekend. When the clocks moved forward in the wee hours of Sunday morning, our normal wake-up time came an hour sooner than we’re used to. That’s worthy of at least a few complaints, right?

Okay, it’s understandable that Monday isn’t our favorite day of the week. It means the weekend is over, along with any rest you may have gotten during those two days. And it means we’re back to the grind, slaving away in the salt mines for the next five days. The countdown to Friday begins today. We even have a mid-week celebration for going over the hump.

Any time we wished for another day (usually birthdays back then), my mom would tell us, “Don’t keep wishing your life away.” And you know, she was right. Every time we wish for the clock to advance a little faster, whether it’s an upcoming vacation, a birthday, date night with somebody special, or simply next Friday, we’re wishing ourselves that much closer to the end.

It’s a grim thought, but most of us don’t tend to see it in that light. “I just want to get to the good part and skip all the bad stuff in the middle.” We’ve all felt that way at times, especially when the stuff in the middle isn’t so enjoyable. I don’t know of anyone who wakes up every day to another 24 hours of sheer bliss. Some days are better than others. It’s all part of this thing we call life.

There’s something to be said for making the most of each day, even Mondays. As I said at the start of this post, it’s a day of new beginnings. Last week is behind us and we get to start fresh. Even those tasks left over from last week don’t seem so bad, because we’re able to look at them with a pair of fresh eyes. Sometimes, the job that wouldn’t go away is over in just a few minutes.

It’s also a new day to begin working toward your dreams. In fact, if you spend a few minutes every morning (especially Monday) thinking about the things you want to accomplish for yourself and resolve to spend just a little more time this week doing that, you’ll find reason for a little excitement. And when you approach anything with a sense of excitement, it’s just automatically better.

Instead of thinking of all the work you have to do, think of all the things you’ll accomplish. Instead of looking at the five days that stand between you and your next weekend of rest, look at five days in which you can find a little time to work toward your own goals. With five days of leaving the house every morning, you get five days of coming home. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Every day is a new beginning. It’s a chance to do the things you couldn’t do yesterday, or even to launch into a brand-new endeavor that will make life that much more enjoyable. And even if it’s only a day to go to work and earn a paycheck, it’s still an opportunity to make the most of the time between waking up and going back to bed.

Each moment of our life is gone as fast as it came, and we can never have any of them back. That includes Mondays. As we race through our lives, it’s important to enjoy the moments that make up each day. Some will be better than others, to be sure. But it’s our ability to find the good in most situations that will make the bad times not so bad, and the good times even better.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Define Your Dream and Make It Happen!

Good morning, and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here!

I don’t know about you, but this has been an especially long week for me. I wrote a few days ago about frustrations on the job and, though they’re nothing major in the overall scheme of life, they can make the days really drag and send you home completely exhausted. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to rejuvenate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of things to do this weekend, courtesy of not getting them all done last weekend. It seems to work that way. Time runs out, but the work never really goes away. But that’s okay. I’ll get caught up and still find some time to enjoy what should be a mild improvement in the weather. And then Monday we’ll start all over. It’s the cycle of life.

One thing on my list for the weekend is to buy a new outdoor grill. Our old one rusted out in less than two years (thank you Sears), and we’ve developed a passion for grilled food over the years, so it’s pretty high on the list of priorities.

I know there have been studies indicating that grilling your food causes cancer. Well, so what? Everything causes cancer. I’m pretty sure the food itself, with all the dyes and growth hormones is a lot more of a problem than a couple of sear marks. Besides, it’s the only way I can get salmon at home. I’m not allowed to cook it inside. And salmon is healthy, right?

Beyond that, I have some freelance work to do and some things I need to do for my business. But I don’t mind because it’s part of building our future. I think for most of us, the paycheck from our daily job pretty much pays the bills and leaves a little left over for a couple of life’s conveniences. If you want to make a real difference, you have to do something extra.

It’s all about goals, and we talk about that a lot. Everybody has a dream. We don’t always share those dreams, and sometimes we can’t even articulate them that clearly in our own mind. But they’re still there, tantalizing us from time to time as a reminder that there could be more to life than what we’re currently experiencing. And that’s a good thing.

I know the Bible tells us to be grateful for what we’ve got, and to find a way to share some of that with others. It also tells us that two men had a talent (apparently the currency of the day) and, while one man spent his talent in one swoop, the other invested his talent and made ten more. Guess which one received more praise in the scriptures?

It’s okay to want something more. It’s even okay to go out and get it, as long as we do it in a way that isn’t detrimental to those around us. And there’s something to be said for being humble instead of rubbing our good fortune in people’s faces. Nobody likes a jerk.

If there’s something you want, a burning desire that won’t go away, get up and do something about it. You don’t have to work 100 hours a week to do it. Once the bills are paid, a little extra begins to add up. It only takes a few hours a week if you’re doing something productive. We’ve all heard the expression “work smarter instead of harder.” Well, there’s something to be said for that.

I’m a firm believer that we all have within us the ability to achieve anything we desire. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting a college degree, enjoying more time with our family, or living on a tropical beach with nothing to do all day but soak it all in, you can do it. Forget where you’ve been. The past won’t get you a thing. It’s where you’re going that’s important, so make it count.

Take a little time this weekend to focus on your dreams. Write them on paper and describe them in vivid detail. Get pictures if you can. Then ask yourself what it will take to make those dreams come true. If it’s going back to school, do it. If it’s getting closer with your family, make it happen. And if it’s something that will require more money, get some. No more excuses – just do it.

No matter what you’d like to accomplish in life, the only thing standing in the way is you. If a person with two prosthetic legs can run the Boston Marathon, there aren’t too many limitations the rest of us can hide behind. Figure out what needs to be done. It’s probably easier than you think. But you just have to want it badly enough to make it happen.

That’s all for now. Have a fantastic day and an awesome weekend!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Some Things Really Can Wait

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was a mix of trying to cram in all the necessary errands Saturday so I could stay out of the snow Sunday, which means I probably spent more time in front of the TV than I should have. But I did use some of my down time to do a little business training, so I guess I can add that to the “accomplishments” list.

That’s not to say there aren’t things I should have done that I didn’t. Every Monday, as I drive to work, I look back at the weekend to make a mental list of the things I didn’t get finished. I’m sure we all do that at some level. There just never seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, plus a few of those that are just for our own amusement.

So, I begin most Mondays by adding to my “to-do” list for the coming weekend. Unless I can get lucky and knock out a few things in the evenings after work. But in all honesty, some of those things may never get done. That’s just the way it works.

And that’s okay. At least I hope it is, because there are jobs on my to-do list from 1997, and odds are I won’t be getting around to any of them this week, either. I’m pretty sure my wife gave up anyway. But the truth is, some of these tasks may not have been that important to begin with. Sometimes, we just think they are.

And it’s that way, both on the job and off – even for some of our personal goals. We’ll put something at the top of the list with all the best intentions of giving it our utmost attention. But other things can quickly take that top spot, and, after a while, we realize it may not have been so critical after all. Or we just run out of time. It happens.

And other times, we let something slide only to find later it really was a lot more important than we’d thought. And we come to that realization as the “Check Engine” light comes on, accompanied by a loud knocking sound and blue smoke pouring from the tailpipe. Maybe Dad was right about those oil changes. There goes next year’s vacation fund.

So, it’s important to revisit our to-do list from time to time. Some things can be put off a little while, and some can be erased completely. But there are some that absolutely need to move to the top of next week’s list, with no option for putting them off again.

The critical piece of the puzzle is knowing the difference. Unless you’ve got all kinds of time on your hands and the only thing on your to-do list is getting up every day for breakfast, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing some tough decisions. Sometimes we’re aided in those decisions by something a lot more desirable, like going out with friends. But that’s not always the case.

Where it gets tricky is when we have things to do that will take more time than we’ll ever have in a single day. My garage is a perfect example of that. Or maybe I should say, the clutter in my garage is a perfect example of what happens when you put off doing anything until you can do it all. The mess just keeps getting bigger. And the sad part is, most of it can go straight in the trash.

If there’s something you need to do, whether it’s for work, a job around the home, something for your business, or a book you’ve been meaning to read (or write), you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you just throw your hands up in the air and turn on the TV because you only have six hours left and there’s no way you can do that job in six hours, guess what’ll still be on your plate next week?

Break those larger jobs down into manageable chunks, and then you won’t need a whole day (or longer) to get them done. Maybe an hour here and a half-hour there is enough. Sure, it won’t get done all at once, but unless you’re cooking dinner or performing surgery, odds are it doesn’t matter. Whatever you didn’t get done will still be waiting for you later. That, I can promise.

Make time for the things you need to do but remember things don’t always go according to plan. Other things will pop up – some more critical, some not. But as the day comes to a close, don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done. Celebrate the wins and re-prioritize the rest. And be sure to make a little time for yourself along the way. You’ve earned it!

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Build Those Invisible Results

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off well.

Today begins a new month and, for anyone who started a New Year’s resolution, it’s a critical milestone. If you’re still sticking to your plan, congratulations! Whatever it is you wanted to change has now become a part of who you are. It’s a habit and, as you know by now, habits can be hard to break. So, give yourself a pat on the back.

If you’re back to square one, you’re not alone. According to a January 2019 article by Inc Magazine, the failure rate for resolutions is about 80%. For most of us, getting started isn’t the hard part. But by mid-February, most of us lose our resolve. Change takes work. And sometimes, it’s easier to just stick with what we know.

Part of the problem with resolutions is that we can be a bit unreasonable. We expect too much and set ourselves up for failure in the process. If you haven’t been to a gym in the past five years, getting there five days a week is asking a lot. Maybe a goal of at least two days a week would have been more realistic. If things are going well, you can always build from there.

Also, as we’ve discussed a few times in the past, when you give yourself a whole year to make a change, there’s no pressure. You’ve got all the time in the world, and if you haven’t even begun by now, there’s still time. But when you make Monday morning resolutions, you’re under a much tighter deadline and are less likely to just blow it off.

But I think the biggest challenge in sticking to change is our need for immediate gratification. You’re eating healthier, you’re walking more every day, you’ve cut back on the snacks, but the morning trip to the bathroom scale doesn’t show any progress at all. After seven days of that, your brain says this just isn’t working. At that point, quitting can even make sense.

What we fail to recognize sometimes is that you have to build a foundation before you can raise a building. What you’re doing today may not be evident for a week or two, maybe even longer depending on what you’re trying to change. Most doctors agree that the weight loss (or gain) you see this week is the result of what you did last week. It doesn’t show up right away.

And that’s with weight loss, where results can be measured every day. What about things where the results are a little harder to see? Like eating more vegetables to improve your health or studying for an exam that’s three months away? Your immune system is getting stronger, and your brain is being filled with knowledge. But how do you measure that?

Oftentimes, we don’t know the good we’ve done for ourselves until it’s crunch time. When everyone in the house is sneezing and coughing, you breeze through unscathed. You get your test score and you passed with flying colors. That’s when all the seemingly invisible work you were doing pays off.

But what if you got sick anyway? What if you failed the test miserably? It happens. When my daughter went through nursing school, she was devastated to find that she’d failed her microbiology class. In fairness, it’s very common for students to fail that class first time around. Some things are a lot more difficult than others.

It’s easy to get discouraged. You begin to wonder if anything you do will make a difference. Maybe this just isn’t your thing. And that, my friends, is where the rubber meets the pavement. Either you get some traction and get moving again or go sliding off into a ditch. Or, you decide not to take a risk at all and just sit there in the middle of the road watching life pass you by.

My daughter took that class again the next semester and passed. She’s a Registered Nurse today and has risen to the top of her career path. Because she had a goal and wasn’t going to let a setback end her dream. And in overcoming that setback, she learned just how strong she really is.

We’ve all got that strength inside us. We’re born with it and it never completely goes away. It’s what gave you the determination to sit, crawl, walk, and talk. All major events in a child’s development, and all things where early failures made the task seem monumental. But you did it anyway, because you refused to quit.

Challenges are a part of life. And sometimes we need to build a foundation to stand on before we can step over them. Just because you don’t see results today, that doesn’t mean they’re not building beneath the surface. Keep your eye on the goal and find that inner strength. The results will come. And all those challenges you faced will make them that much sweeter.

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

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved