I saw a joke the other day that suggested a gym or workout facility could open as a fitness center for the first two weeks of the year and then convert to a bar and grill. Sadly, this bit of humor has plenty of truth to make it real.
We’ve ALL been there. We look at ourselves in the mirror, or we reflect on how our life choices have affected us vs. what we had hoped or planned. That feeling of regret or frustration is caused by choices we have made. As water and electricity take the path of least resistance, we frequently are not willing to “do what it takes.”
Certainly, diet and exercise are at the forefront of these feelings. A quick Google search tells me that roughly 8% of people who make resolutions are successful, but only 38% of people even make resolutions. So, a very small number of people actually resolve to make meaningful changes in their lives and succeed.
- © 2016 Lutz Blohm, Flickr | CC-BY-SA
What is the elusive answer to this success?
Psychologist Dr. Marciano is the author of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, and he specializes in the area of behavior modification and engagement. He offers seven keys to achieving your goals. While most view resolutions and goals to be tied to personal improvement, I would suggest we all need to resolve to make changes in our lives that will result in a better nation.
Make your goals specific. Measure your progress. Be patient. Share your goals with friends and family. Schedule it. Something is better than nothing. Get up when you slip up.
Now, what are some changes we can resolve to make that go beyond our abs and weight?
Let’s look at each key and give some specific examples. Each of us has to do what works for us- what is achievable. If you are 5’4,” your goal should not be post or power forward for an NBA team. We have to be reasonable in our goals and expectations.
I am an advocate for the Convention of States Project (COS). While I will pick this effort as an example, the ideas should easily translate to anything. If you are not familiar with the project, go to www.conventionofstates.com to learn more. Go to www.cosaction.com to volunteer. Just as getting physically in shape and losing weight requires us to change our behavior, diet, exercise and even our way of thinking, so will a bloated and inefficient government require a change in its citizens.
A goal of a better America, while desirable, is not a realistic goal. Simply voting and posting on Facebook gives you a false sense of accomplishment. Get involved with a group such as COS and find something that suits you as to your ability. Some might only be able to send emails and make phone calls while some might become a District Captain or other active position.
Measure your progress.
As you help educate yourself, those around you, and your state legislators you will see the “light come on” as more people see what our founders designed. Resolutions will be presented to the committee, passed, and then sent to the respective body for a floor vote. Each milestone is a marker on your road to success. It is not easy, and just as some will try to keep you from reaching your personal health goals, some will make it their life’s mission to see you fail.
- © 2011 Steven Depolo, Flickr | CC-BY
Just as getting in physical shape does not happen overnight and requires lifelong personal changes, so is the process to restore our republic. The process is more likened to a marathon than a sprint. There will be hills, sprains, muscle pulls, and other obstacles. Just as with the story of the tortoise and the hare, perseverance will pay off in the end.
Share your goals with friends and family. Accountability.
If you make a secret resolution, there will be no one to help you, and no one to ask you how you are doing. It is a setup for failure. Our republic requires an active and involved people. Our government serves at the pleasure of the people, not the other way around. Engage your friends and family to help you with your goals. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 KJV 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Give yourself a deadline and hold yourself to it. Tell others your deadline so they can make sure you are working towards the goal. Failure to meet a deadline is not an overall failure. As in the marathon example, there are many things beyond our control. Success is not from never failing; it is getting back up every time you fall.
Something is better than nothing.
If my goal is to run a mile in 5 minutes and when I start my time is 10 minutes, am I not better off if I can do a 6-minute mile? I might have failed to reach my goal, but I am much improved over my former self. If we fail to reach our goals in our district or state, have we not improved the overall “political health?” If you can’t spend two hours a week helping, is an hour not better than zero?
Get up when you slip up.
As I mentioned earlier, there will be setbacks. There will be goals that are not reached. Teddy Roosevelt is not my favorite president. However, he does have some notable quotes I do like. One of them is this, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Our nation is at a crossroads, maybe more like a fork in the road (as Yogi Bera said, we should “Take it”). Just as our physical bodies will never improve as long as we eat junk food and live a sedentary life, our republic will continue to be bloated and morbidly obese and in time, will require emergency extraction by cutting a hole in the wall with a chainsaw. It will not be pretty and will not end well.
Our government has become the obese person laying in the bed demanding to be fed and threatening anyone who dares try to restrain its desires. Our resolution should be to step forward with some new guidelines and rules for the ultimate good of the patient. It will be a slow and painful process that will require a steadfast resolve. May we be the ones to step forward.
Feature photograph by Michael Murphy