Fighting Old Habits

“The key to forming good habits is to make them part of your ‘rituals.’ I have a morning ritual, afternoon ritual, and Sunday ritual. It’s one way to bundle good habits into regular times that you set aside to prepare yourself for the life you want. Rituals help you form habits.”—Lewis Howes

With no real easy way to tell you this. Your head is going to be at times, your most formidable adversary. Wanting to stay status quo. Comfortable in misery. So much so you don’t feel the pain at a level like the beginning.

Changes in our lives, new paradigms to replace old thought processes is what is needed now. The past will not give up easily. Prepare yourself for a title fight.

If you’re a Christian, the enemy is preparing an attack like you’ve never fought. Why? He wants you to continue miserable. He hopes that you will implode. As we move further in this chapter, I will share with you how I made it through the toughest times.

self improvement, self help, joy, happiness

The enemy will attack you to keep you down. He is afraid of losing you to an excellent team. So he will fight you in the form of:

  • Depression (not diagnosed or medicated) Just feeling depressed.
  • Keep your mind on past mistakes.
  • I am feeling hopeless.
  • I am reliving the past over-and-over in your head.
  • Dark thoughts of self-harm. (NEVER AN OPTION)

Working through this will be difficult, and you will be tested. You can and will get through this time.

We are making it easier to understand. We all buck change at work. If a policy changes everyone in the office complains. “Why are they changing, the old way worked.”

Let’s say, for example, you’ve done the same thing, the same way for years-and-years. Change won’t come easy. Excuses like:

  • I’m too set in my ways.
  • I’m too old to change now.
  • Too hard f*&^ it.

Don’t fool yourself into these false statements. You can change, you’re not too old, stop limiting yourself!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”—Nelson Mandela

Allow yourself to change. It won’t happen overnight; I can tell you I still fall into traps; however, I can happily report that the bear traps are further apart.

So how do we bring about real change, especially when confronted with real pain? Here is how I brought myself out of the dark:

  1. Learn to quiet your mind. Declutter all the garbage that goes through our minds. Meditation can be life-changing if you practice daily.
  2. Something that seems innocuous has tremendous value — taking times daily to slow your breathing for sixty seconds only. Slows your pulse, helps relax your body, relieve tension. Tension causes aggravation. Breathing several times per day for a minute or so will slow you down.
  3. Do something physical every day. Walk, gym, run, get off your butt, and do something to relieve stress in your body.
  4. Helping others will get you outside yourself. Reminding you that life is not all about you. Be a blessing to someone!

Changing our lives takes time and work. You can’t all a sudden tell God you want to make a million dollars this year, order a Pizza and wait. Sorry life takes real work.

The most important of this is discipline and organization. Set reminders daily to do the tasks laid out in this book. Otherwise, you wake up a week later and go, “crap, I was supposed to meditate every day.”

If you want lasting and real change, fill your calendar with an activity that fosters change.

You are fighting with yourself. I call it kicking your own ass. Your noodle will run from the pain of change. Your mind is falsely convincing you that you cannot change. It’s too hard. Don’t listen to these false prophecies of your life. Years of conditioning will take time to shake off old paradigms.

At times this will seem relentless the attack on you to stay status quo. The enemy will come at you in ways that look as though you cannot win. You will feel alone, like nothing you can do will ever help. Surrender to God. Let him know that you can’t see a way, but you know he will take away.

When I first moved from my home in South Texas to live in West Texas. My ex-wife wanted a divorce that I honestly at the time did not want a divorce. Financially in dire straits, the woman I believed to be my soulmate now gone.

Could not at the time be in more of a dark place. I had so many times thought I had no reason to live. Scary how close that came to pass. For whatever reason, I never acted on dark thoughts. Thank God I did not.

With some lucid moments of I need to start over. I began to think about life without my wife. I decided I would get into Church and try to understand the spiritual side of my life. I was drawn to this need to find a Church home.

After finding a Church that was recommended to me by someone that I trust, I became a regular attendee, most times staying for two of the three Sunday services. Because my head would clutter with such garbage; I was fighting so hard to hear what the Pastor said; it was exhausting.

Most Church services end with a call to give your life to Jesus Christ. To confess, you’re a sinner and that you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior. For a few weeks, I had faithfully attended sitting mostly in the back of the sanctuary.

One Sunday during this altar call; I raised my hand. The Usher came and gave me a CD, and I confessed and prayed the short prayer to accept Jesus Christ. At the end of this part of the service, the Pastor headed across the stage stopped and turned.

He began to say “sir, sir,” not realizing he was trying to get my attention for a moment. As I realized he was trying to get my attention. Pastor Don said to me God had put in his heart for whatever I was doing artistically to keep going, don’t stop.

Here is the real kicker to the story. I had been blogging, take pictures with my camera and stating to myself that for the last half of my life I was going to do what I wanted to do not what I have to do. I wanted to be a freelance writer and photographer.

Not one person in this Church, including the Pastor, knew me from Adam. I stayed to myself and never said as much as a good morning unless first approached.

No way could the Pastor know that I was doing or working on anything artistically. This Pastor stopped in the middle of the ending of this service to tell me that God told him to say to me, keep doing what I love to do.

To say the very least, I was utterly in shock. It took a bit for this to sink in. Nothing in my life to this point was so profound.

This event helped me to go further and keep trying. Freely I admit stumbling and falling post this event. However, remembering that God has come into my life then and several times since then.

When I thought a couple of times all is lost something would happen to show me that even with a Mustard seed of faith left, God would bless me so that I knew he was still protecting me.

My point of this is even in your darkest moment when you see nothing, but my life is worthless not also worth being here. God if you try, if you fight through when you cannot see anything but dark, let God know you are trying to hold on, God will answer.

Today after many events from small to abundant miracles. God has convinced me that if I focus my faith, he will lead me through anything. Now I run after God.

The old me would not have hung in the darkness to realize the blessing. I would have long before quit and moved on. That is the old paradigms I must break. When enough-is-enough, you will change. My time was when I moved to West Texas, once you make that decision, you will be amazed at how life opens for you!

No matter what happens, you cannot quit. Take one more step, always.

Let me share with you why having patience will serve you well.

The dream job of a lifetime is something that you now focus your attention too — searching far and wide for this wonderful job. Some time goes by with nothing happening, and you cannot see any hope.

What you don’t know is that a beautiful person occupies the job you seek; someone that has had a fantastic career, beloved by all at the job. This person is getting ready to retire; the job will come available for you to apply for and get!

This person is another thirty days from retirement, and well-deserved retirement. God has you in mind so that this job will cross your path. Your search has gone on for five months with no results, so you quit thirty days before the position of a lifetime comes available.

Your focus moves on to something else, and the Universe moves on because you did.

Stay in faith even when you don’t see a way God is making a way. You won’t know what is having to take place in front of you before God can move this part of your destiny to unfold for you. The Universe won’t cut you in line. So have patience!

Here is the real kicker that will blow your mind. You can’t move yet because God is blessing someone you don’t know with something you currently have. He is driving your life around to be a blessing for someone you don’t even know.

Point is none of us know. So why stress over a fair outcome that may take a little more time. How many times have you quit than if you had not your life might be completely different? Think about that. Patience can make all the difference in your life. Faith, Hope, resolve, need to be your mantra!

A chapter from my book Tying It All Together. Click the book cover to see all my works on Amazon.

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Sign a Peace Treaty with Yourself Today

“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.”–Marvin Gaye

This quote is so accurate. Making peace with yourself is liberating. It’s also authentic if you don’t make peace with yourself, you cannot find it anywhere else.

Self-destructive behavior, depression, will keep you from finding inner peace. So many suffer years without any relief. These and other situations will require some real self-evaluation to get some needed help. There is no substitute for professional advice.

life, love, happy

In working out my own life to find peace with myself. To enjoy myself! Some days are a struggle, but the good news I catch myself so that I can breathe for a moment to remember I am okay.

How I got to this point:

  • Found a sizeable Pastoral Counseling center.
  • Learned to meditate.
  • Read books with self-improvement themes.
  • Read the Book of Proverbs!!!
  • Attend Church, found an excellent bible based church.
  • Pray

This is just a few things I have done. Practice being positive as silly as that might sound. Keep using affirmations over, and over again. It works!

NO matter what you’ve done in your life. If you’re not the same person you were, then don’t sentence yourself to a life of despair. Change and move on. Enjoy a new life and a new you.

It takes a bit of work, but completely worth the time!

Questions or comments:

Life Change to Bring Full Circle, Get outside yourself!

“No matter what has happened to you in the past or what is going on in your life right now, it has no power to keep you from having an amazingly good future if you will walk by faith in God. God loves you! He wants you to live with victory over sin so you can possess His promises for your life today!”–Joyce Meyer

Bringing our change full-circle requires us to get outside ourselves. I can hear you screaming. I am trying to change me! Ask yourself a question. If you’re in a relationship and everything is always about you how long will that last?

Well, short answer not too long. Also, how fair would that be? Not fair at all.

I like our quote says no matter what we’ve done, where we are God loves us. If we want to bring this full circle, the changes we’re making to bring happiness. We have to learn to give something of ourselves. You cannot always be me, me, me!

having a heart

Here are some ideas to quickly get outside yourself:

  1. Give a smile. A genuine smile to someone today. It’s free.
  2. If you’re standing in line at a coffee shop, buy the person behind you a coffee. Make a new friend.
  3. Grocery store, leave $5 or $10 with the cashier towards the person behind you to help pay the next person in line part of their grocery bill.
  4. If you know someone is having a hard time financially give them a gift card from a grocery store. Put some gas in their car. Let them know it’s not about the money, it’s that you want to help. Someday, they may help you back.
  5. If you know someone that is heading out for a job interview, pay for a new haircut, offer to take a woman to the nail salon, take interview clothes to dry cleaners and pay, give them a ride, pay the bus fare, see you can find tons of ways to show someone you care.
  6. Volunteer. Church, hospital, Goodwill, Community Center.
  7. Visit someone in a nursing facility. Plenty of retirees who sit lonely in nursing homes with no visitors.
  8. Go to the hospital, visit the chapel, and pray for the patients and family. If there is power in prayer, you can give that! If possible, pray with someone in the chapel.
  9. Pick up a pound of trash. Trust me, you can find a pound of waste. One garbage bag of trash off the street, may not seem like much. A step is always a step, size does not matter. A pound of waste!
  10. Plant a tree. Check with your community to see where you can plant a tree. My thought, if you can plant a fruit tree where you know folks can benefit. Maybe a piece of fruit of a tree you planted kept someone from going hungry that day.

You can always pray to God to help you. Continue to work on you to change for the better. Before you can break through, you will have to learn to look back not to view your past but to grab the hand of someone that needs help.

Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

This quote has been attributed to Sigmund Freud, William Gibson, and a host of others. I found it both straight to the point and funny. Whoever can take credit for it!

We all learn to keep certain people at arm’s length, or we allow them into our experience. Taking care to protect our emotions.

Learn to not allow toxic people to steal your joy. If needed, these folks may need to exit your life if you deal with issues concerning them. You don’t have to allow that, ever!

self help, confidence, friends

Sometimes we have to move on from relationships to make room for the new. Changing seasons in our life will bring new friends, mentors, and essential people that God sees fit to move into our life experience. Be open!

Embrace those that lift you up, challenge your status quo. Lots of people are searching for the same quality of life you are. I find great people at Church that follow a path of happiness.

meditation, yoga, peace

Find people that bring joy to your life. Don’t let anyone steal your happiness!

Questions or Comments:

Toxic Relationship Stops NOW

“Your past does NOT define your future.” This will become very clear as the story moves forward. Are you ready for a change? If so, then welcome.

It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female. Either side can be on the receiving end of a toxic relationship. The article is written to both genders.

When you dwell into the past then thoughts of “I’m not worthy” “I’m worthless” will stop you in your tracks. It’s time to get our thinking into a healthy mindset; it’s time to smile again.

stress, spouse, self help

We really do this when it comes to letting go of relationships. Looking in that rearview mirror for clues. Answers that may never happen. It’s challenging to let go of contacts when we don’t understand fully why they ended or must end because it’s toxic.

Sometimes we’re in toxic relationships that it’s necessary for us to move on for our own sanity. Sadly, in this type of relationship, we get ourselves beaten down to the point that toxic behavior is allowed and accepted from ourselves. For some, the connection itself means more than our own serenity.

Allowing ones’ self to fall prey to this type of relationship is far more comfortable than what you might think. We convince ourselves that this person will change, or something about ourselves we can change that will make our toxic partner love us.

The first thing doesn’t believe you have no options. For example, a housewife with young children no family close, and the list goes on. So, acceptance becomes easier than facing the pain. This life is not your portrayal of a doormat. “Woo-Hoo I landed the part of a lifetime Doormat!” Not only NO but heck NO!

What now seems like a no-way-out scenario. Is temporary if you make it so.

This story will help:

Let’s pretend for a moment that the relationship of our dreams is at the top of a vast mountain we must climb to the summit to live happily-ever-after. Stay with me, I know it sounds cheesy.

Our emotions are so heavy for the beautiful relationship we have to carry them in a backpack. So we load love, passion, desire, tranquility, and fulfillment into our pack. This is a lot of heavy emotions we’re carrying up the hill. The good news, for now, is that it all fits and we can carry it. The summit does not seem so far away.

Now comes our partner who has a few things we need to carry for them. These toxic emotions are incredibly dense.

What could be so much?

  • Control
  • Jealousy
  • Anger
  • Narcissistic behavior
  • Abuse both physical and mental (If physical violence is a part of your life, reach out for professional help, contact your local law enforcement. Protection and assistance are a phone call away)

So as the relationship begins “your hike up the hill,” the emotions mentioned above get stuffed in your backpack. Not all at once mind you but slowly as you ascend to the summit. With each step, the pack becomes more burdensome, and your ability to combat these new emotions diminishes due to mental fatigue.

Until finally you just fall from exhaustion from the toxic emotional weight of the pack.

This becomes a dark place where we just see no light. The trail becomes so obscure we’re not able to see any hope (light at the end of the path to guide us). If you’re in this place, breathe! We’re getting ready to turn on the light to guide your way. Hope exists.

So what happens now? The answer is the flashlight that is in the bottom of your backpack that is now stuffed so tightly you cannot reach inside to get it. You’re going to have to unload the pack enough to get to the light. The flashlight holds the key to lighting your way.

Here are some simple steps bringing light to start now:

  1. Take a moment and breathe, yes breathe. Find a place that you can take a couple of minutes to just breathe. Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Then just breathe for at least one minute. Relax your body. Relaxed clear mind! 
  2. Start walking every day. Do this for a couple of reasons. One you need strength, two you have an opportunity to clear your
  3. Learning to make your mind, relax your body. Power comes from within when you can harness that strength, see yourself while meditating towards that which you truly desire.
  4. Accept that YOU are allowed to be happy. Allowed to have the life you want. Your current situation is not a sentence.
  5. Educate yourself with suitable material. Apply what you learn to gain strength and enlightenment. Make an investment in your own happiness.

Would you like to know what the good news is? Five new negative emotions were added to your backpack. You now have five steps that have helped you remove enough garbage out of your pack so that now the flashlight that guides your way is within reach in your bag.

Grab it!

Now, let’s finish our climb.

With a lighter pack and light to see the trail. You can stand up and finish the journey. Toxic relationships are not anyone’s destiny. Getting out of it may have some pain that must be endured. Our steps outlined help you develop the strength to take the strain.

With your lighter pack and flashlight in hand begin your walk. The summit is now is starting to come apparent from the fog that WAS your life. Practice every day, these simple steps, and you will be amazed at how quickly your emotional strength will recover.

See yourself at the top of the mountain. Now we need to add a little to what happens when we get to the top of our mountain.

At the top of the mountain, the summit, the pinnacle of your happiness. From this vantage point, you see, happiness, love, joy, and freedom to live the life you dreamt of. With the strength to say what is acceptable and what is NOT acceptable in your life experience.

We all may enjoy a life filled with trials and tribulations, but those trials are not acceptable when induced by someone that professes to love us.

You now have the tools to begin the journey. Remember, you’re not alone, and you are worthy of happiness.

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Helpful Resources:

Pastoral Counseling (reach out to a local Church that offers Pastoral Care)
Marriage Counseling (many centers work on a sliding scale for payment)