Poem – It isn’t them

Don’t blame other people
for your problems.
Don’t expect other people
to rescue you
either.

They are not
the cause
or the cure.

Your choices
determine your reality.
Things happen
that are beyond your control
but your reaction
is within it.

What you do or don’t do
is your choice.
How you respond
in thought, word, and deed
is your choice.

Take ownership
of your life
and take
your own life
back.
It was yours
all along
after all.

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Resolution

The way to achieve your New Year’s resolution is to achieve equilibrium.

If you give something up, you have to take something on. If you simply stop doing a bad habit, all you’ll do is think about it if you don’t replace it with a good habit.

One year I gave up smoking pot for Lent, only to drink alcohol every day instead. Then, when I gave up smoking pot completely, I started smoking clove cigarettes instead. The solution was to learn what I was trying to avoid and learn how to face it, and to start nourishing my creative side through art and writing.

Likewise, if you start doing something, you have to stop doing something else to make room for it. You only have so much money, time, and energy. Be sure that what you give up is something you need to give up. You can’t cut out sleep or food or work. These are immovable things, and necessary.

When I decided to commit to writing at least one blog post a day, I had to spend less time online checking Facebook. And I learned that deciding to eat lunch at work rather than going out every day meant I ate better, saved money, and had more time to walk, read, or work on writing projects.

Another thing to remember about resolutions is to pace yourself. Remember the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? Neither are good habits and life changes. Do a little bit every day towards your goal and you’ll get there. Have patience with yourself and the process, but keep moving in the right direction. Look at everything you are doing – does it support your goal? Then do it. If it doesn’t, then don’t.

On quitting smoking.

Many people stop doing something bad or start doing something good for their New Year’s resolution. Why not combine the two? If you are going to stop smoking, I suggest you start walking.

Take the time you were going to use on your smoke break and go for a walk instead. Many people take a 15 minute smoke break. 15 minutes is a great amount of time for a walk – but even 10 or 5 minutes is good.

Walking does for you what smoking does, but better. It is calming. It is a mental break. It takes you away from your problems, both literally and figuratively. But while smoking takes away from your health, walking adds to it.

Walking clears out your head like nothing else.

You can walk anywhere. You don’t have to have a walking path around your workplace. You can go for a walk inside your building. While it is better to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, it is important just to walk. Walk up and down some stairs. Walk around the hallways. Get outside and walk around the building. But just walk. If you limit yourself to walking outside, 90% of the time it will be too hot or too cold or too wet. Rarely will it be just right. Savor those days when it is nice outside, but don’t just walk on those days. Walk every day.

You don’t have to walk fast. Just walk. Ambling is fine. A stroll is good.

Think you are too out of shape to walk? All the more reason to walk. Just get going. Do what you can. You’ll get stronger. People don’t walk because they are in shape. They walk to get in shape.

Some people use this as an excuse – “I’ll walk a mile and then I have to walk a mile to get back where I started.” Walk in a circle. Find a path and loop around.

You may be self-conscious at the start when you are walking. That is normal. You are doing something different. You are taking care of yourself. The shame you felt from sneaking away to smoke will be replaced with pride that you are doing something to help yourself. Try to recruit others to go walking with you instead of smoking. That way you have a group. You can cheer each other on.

Realize that every excuse you come up with is your unhealthy self trying to stay that way. Your healthy self is really weak right now and you can’t hear its voice very well. See those excuses as a sign that you have to stick up for your healthy self. Just go ahead and do it. The more you put it off, the longer it will be before you start feeling better. Every little bit you do towards the good will give you energy and momentum to do a little bit more.

Go walk instead of smoking. Your life will thank you for it.