“An EXCELlent Year Awaits…”

growthThe beginning of the New Year can be a very stressful time for people. We place so much expectation on what will be and all we hope for. We develop anxiety about what the world is telling us to be which results in making unrealistic resolutions; we are completely stressed out from day one. On the other hand, some tend to focus on the past and think about where they should be,” if only…” rather than using this milestone date to start over. No matter what we call our list of desires from goals to resolutions, we often force ourselves outside of our personal strengths. Working to become someone we are not can bring us to failure rather than success. I am inviting each of us into a year of excelling with the gifts we possess and realizing who we are capable of being. For me, it’s truly not about “change” as much as it is growth.

To be clear, I am not saying we should not strive to achieve things outside of our comfort zone. I am saying we all need to know where our journey is headed within this year. Our focus needs to be on what is attainable for the marathon of life rather than trying to sprint toward accomplishing everything we “want” in one year. When we set an expectation (or wish) outside of our own control, we open the door for more brokenness than we started with. Ultimately, I am talking about excelling from where we are this day to allow God’s vision for us to take over. There must be flexibility and openness, for us to be accepting that God may have different plans than we do and we need to surrender those to him while giving extra effort to see if we can get to where we want to be. “So, how do we do this?” You might ask. It starts quite simply by taking all of our ordinary situations, routines and relationships and building on the positives they hold in order to step up our every day efforts toward greatness.

To be excellent we must excel beyond mediocrity or what the world wants from us. Here is my challenge for you: Excel in 2014, don’t just change. This is a different level of thinking which takes us higher and makes us better in the process. By making the most of our personal strengths, the new life we long for will ultimately be achieved. Staying the course in the race of life is also part of what allows us to excel beyond our wildest imagination. Change in us can come about by paving a smoother path, not building a brand new road. Sadly, I watch some very beautiful people continually beat themselves up because their finish line moves every day. They become discouraged because not only does it move further away, but sometimes it goes on a road which changes complete direction. Even though it is not their fault, they take a break and sit curbside while the race continues rather than walking in the direction of what is best for them.

For example, since so many people desire to shed pounds in a new year, let’s just analyze how someone begins to create a healthier lifestyle by making changes in their thinking to excel rather than just focus on the scale (but this could be anything). Some individuals who desire to lose weight don’t always have an exercise or eating problem at all, there is something pushing them to gain weight or not be able to take it off. Through self evaluation and working to understand what controls them first, they might discover that they have a “joy” problem. Until they fix their marriage, family, career or whatever might hold them back, they cannot effectively accomplish what they have built into their yearly matrix for happiness. They need to look at their health and self image as a bi-product of who they are journeying to be, rather than the product which is causing them to be someone they are not. In other words, it might be that a person is searching for the right career and just cannot find happiness despite the money thrown at them because they are not living their passion. Until they rectify their work situation, they will still self medicate with food (or worse) and cannot make the goal of weight loss because work has broken them. This is not new news, I am just opening the door to help all of us become all we are created to be and not pursue paths that lead to dead ends. In this scenario, losing weight shouldn’t just be about shedding pounds, it should be about self discovery and finding yourself once again.

So starting today, pick the top FIVE paths from family, career, personal, friends and relationships you can work on to make this year excellent. Allow the New Year to be your chance to reconnect you with happiness by directing your energy toward what you can control. If you want to lose weight, excel where you need to in order to let the pieces fall in place. Don’t just say, “I want to lose fifty pounds!” Instead say, “I am going to limit myself to 1200 calories everyday for the next ninety days while exercising four times a week.” These are things you can control. You are more than a number so why should that be what defines success. Not only will you get to your goals but you will feel better and do it in a manner in which is attainable for you. Make the journey just as enjoyable as the destination. Make the difference and excel in all you do this whole year through.