Stop This World

Gracefully going from victim to survivor to servant in the heartland

Happy 2020!  Is it me, or is January always such a long month?  The excitement of the holidays are gone and you are left with coldness and darkness.  As someone who has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year is a low point and I need to monitor myself and how I’m doing.  The cold & dark certainly don’t help.  The good news is that I know this now and can do what I need to do to stay healthy.

I don’t make resolutions because I always break them.  They really don’t feel solid to me.  I’m a goal setter and achiever and I tend to review my goals throughout the year.  Honestly, over the past five years my number one goal was mere survival.  Survive mentally, financially, physically.  Now that I’m on the other side of that darkness, I’m excited to set goals of more than just survival. 

I’m excited to see where God leads me on my goals in the coming year and decade.  I tried doing life my way for 44 years.  I consulted with God during those years, but I didn’t truly let him guide me.  Of course, I thought that I knew what was best for my life and I charged ahead to burnout.  I know that God was with me all along, but I know he allowed me to make lots of mistakes along the way and saved me along the way.  I’m happy that I get a new chance at life every day that the sun rises!

I went back to something last week that I hadn’t done in over two years.  I went back to therapy.  Yes, I willingly went back to a therapist.  Why?  Well, I want to continue to better myself and to do that I need to keep on digging through my feelings.  Do I like feelings?  Not really.  If you knew my family, you would know that the stiff upper lip reigns supreme.  So, paying someone to talk about my feelings makes sense for me.

I’m trying to be proactive in seeing a therapist this time.  I’m in a good place right now, but I want to continue to stay that way into the future.  The other times I sought out help were because of traumatic events or the doctor told me to seek help for my depression.  And, I don’t know what being a survivor is supposed to look like.  Am I doing it right?  Could I be doing more?  I know that there is no cookie-cutter guide to follow on being a survivor, but I do often wonder if I’m doing okay.

What am I working on this winter?  Well, I have a HUGE fear of failure.  After everything I have been through the past five years, I’m afraid of failure again.  It keeps me very timid and not taking risks in all aspects of my life.  I know that I’m not going to please everyone and that I will have more epic fails, but I’m trying to get ahold of this before it becomes a problem.

I’m also working on establishing a morning routine.  All the successful people that I know have a morning routine of exercise, praying or meditating, reading, etc.  My morning routine is to sleep in as long as I can and make coffee as quick as I can.  Not exactly an exhilarating way to start the day.

At first, I thought it was silly to seek out a therapist for something like this, but I think it is going to be good.  She will help me be able to reflect on why I do certain things and how to correct course.  I was excited to get started on this morning routine goal and figured that we would jump right in.  I was wrong.  She asked me how many days a week do I want to do this and I replied, “every day”.  Well, she is a trained professional and asked me to think realistically in the short term. What would I be happy with in the next 3-6 months?  I told her 3-4 times per week.

A morning routine to me means getting up and making time to exercise and read a devotional without feeling rushed.  Seems easy enough, right?  Well, in the heart of winter when it is dark and cold outside, the last thing I want to do is to get up and exercise.  So, we will take it one step at a time.

Since I have spent decades setting and achieving goals, I thought that I would go about this the typical way of going all in.  The goal in the short-term is to have a routine 3-4 times per week?  Let’s make sure that happens and maybe even 5-6 times. 

The problem is that I’ve tried things like this before and I go all in at the beginning and then start to slip in week 2-3 and then just quit doing it.  The gym is great until I have no discipline and can find an excuse not to go.

This time we are taking a different approach to reaching a goal and it has challenged my thinking. 

Here’s how it is going to go:

Weeks 1 & 2 – Morning Routine 1 day/week

Weeks 3 & 4 – Morning Routine 2 days/week

Weeks 5 & 6 – Morning Routine 3 days/week

Weeks 7 & 8 – Morning Routine 4 days/week

Easy enough, right?  We will see.  The big thing that my therapist has emphasized to me is that I need to be flexible in my expectations and not get down on myself if I don’t achieve my goal that week.  I kind of have a history of not thinking very highly of myself when I fail.  I mean, I think I can handle this, but I know that down the road I’m going to have to be disciplined and do the work of establishing a routine.  I’m on the road traveling a lot for work, so everyday looks different.  My routine needs to be flexible enough that I can do it anywhere. 

When I sit back and think about this way of going about establishing a routine, it makes complete sense.  The reason I didn’t succeed before is that I would go all in right away and then get upset with myself and quit.  This new way has me easing into my goal and I’m curious to see how that goes.

So, I’m back in the saddle of goalsetting again and I couldn’t be happier.

Wish me luck!

-J.Lynn

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