Just Thinking

Goals, Gratitude, and the Gifts of the Moment

Confessions of a Worry Wart

I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.
– Charlotte Bronte

I love this quote, and its little reminder that we don’t have to do any of this alone! Just for today, forget about the past, don’t worry about the future, and just look upward!

I’m a worrier and a regretter.  I thought for awhile that this was a recent personality development. Something that came with motherhood, perhaps. That is, until I thought back to elementary school and remembered my first grade teacher calling me “worry wart.”

The memory made me laugh.

And cringe.

I guess it’s deeply part of me – and in truth, it has worn me down at times.

If you can relate at all, settle in to your cozy chair and lets chat for a bit! I’d love to share what this worry wart has learned about goals, gratitude and the gifts of the moment.

Viewing Goals in the Proper Perspective

Sometimes looking forward to my ultimate goal can be overwhelming. Sometimes the road between right this moment, and that future someday is so foggy and unpredictable that it’s hard to remain hopeful and optimistic.

Looking Forward

Sometimes it feels so far away that little choices I’m making on a daily or hourly basis don’t feel like they’ll make any real difference.

Maybe you’ve said these things to yourself. “Just one little bite won’t hurt. Skipping my walk today won’t matter in the long run. I can just make up for it next week.” Or on Monday. Or next January.

Looking Backward

And then another year passes, and I look back with regret, and forward worrying that I really don’t have what it takes to make the changes required to reach my goals.

After all, I’ve proven it, haven’t I?

Over and over again.

In this vicious cycle each new attempt begins with a darker cloud of doubt surrounding it.

Looking Upward

Long term goals are useful for setting our course in the right direction. They’re essential for re-directing ourselves when we get off course. But they’re too large and far away to be useful as a constant focus.

So where do we focus instead?

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phillipians 4:13)

For me, looking upward has included strengthening my faith. It has meant believing God’s promises, and accepting the divine help He offers.

Gratitude for the Gifts of This Moment

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee. . . (Deuteronomy 26:11)

When the scale is moving, visually confirming my hard work, it’s really easy to stay motivated in my health goals. When the progress is quick and visible, I can easily feel joy in the journey!  But this kind of motivation is fleeting and weak.

I need to find a strength and purpose to my lifestyle changes that’s independent of that momentary excitement. I need something to get me through the periods of slower progress, plateaus, and eventually, maintenance.

It turns out that gratitude is an essential key to letting go of the worry and regret that sidetrack my goals.

There’s power in appreciating the little gifts that my lifestyle changes have brought in everyday moments; the little things that make those healthy choices worth it right this minute, when otherwise they would feel difficult or even hopeless.

  • The feeling of capability and control that self-discipline gives me
  • Learning that it’s okay to feel things like hunger and worry; it’s part of the human experience
  • Being able to easily find clothing that fits
  • Feeling pleasantly satisfied rather than uncomfortably full after meals
  • The peace that comes from being content with “enough” rather than always needing (wanting) more
  • Being able to sit comfortably in chairs of all kinds
  • A closer relationship with my Savior as I rely on Him every single day
  • The clarity of mind and strength of body that comes from better nutrition
  • Better understanding of my own worth and value as I truly take care of myself
  • The freedom to try new things that I couldn’t physically do before
  • More confidence in my ability to do difficult things

Gratitude is fortifying! It makes it so much easier to make sacrifices to reach my goals.

I’m not waiting for some future date to see the payoff for better choices.

I’m seeing the benefits right now.

Thanksgiving Resolutions

I’m writing this the week before Thanksgiving. Why not make a few Thanksgiving Resolutions to celebrate the holiday with an attitude of gratitude that you can carry with you into the new year?

If you’re currently working toward a big goal, don’t worry about what’s happened in the past. Don’t fret about what might happen while you’re working toward it.

Write down the gifts that your efforts are to you right now, and let gratitude pave the pathway to your success.

And above all, keep looking upward!

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