Grinding the Gears


Well, we’re a couple of weeks into the New Year. Have you dropped those ten pounds yet? Is your gym bag looking at you with undisguised disdain? Do you have your runaway holiday debt under control? For me, this year started like a two-year-old trying to drive a stick shift. The sound of grinding gears filled the air. Unfortunately, it’s always the same old story. We start with a list of goals and changes we’re going to make in the coming year. Then after two or three weeks, poof! What happens? Life.

Instead of being in-tune with the universe, it seems like the universe is actively conspiring to flatten us with a steamroller. I think it’s a test. The universe is saying, “How bad do you want it?” Plans to hit the gym three days a week are derailed by car trouble. Or maybe, you wind up getting stuck with jury duty, and poof, there goes another two weeks. In the past, I haven’t called these events excuses. In my mind, they are reasons. Two completely different things, right? Procrastinating, with style!

Whatever you choose to call them, the result is the same. Your dreams and goals for the New Year run out of gas before getting any traction. In the past, I’ve avoided the gym in early January for that very reason. Resolutioners hog up all of the machines in hopes of reaching their fitness goals by the end of the month. However, I just need to wait them out for a couple of weeks, then they’ll be gone until 2021. When the cycle begins all over again.

The good news is that you can always hit the reset button. No matter how many false starts you have had this year, you can overcome them one by one, and refocus on your goals. So let’s stop grinding the gears and throw this baby into drive! Whaddaya say?  

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Muggy Walks

Sometimes an Old Dog Can Learn a New Trick

Most of the time, walking my crazy dog Skittles is a challenge in itself. However, on muggy days, it turns into an especially frustrating exercise. You see, Skittles is a Beagle-Basset Hound and she has an extremely sensitive nose. During a recent two week span of excessively muggy weather, every smell, on every blade of grass, was turned up to 11 on the Smell-O-Meter. This resulted in massive amounts of zig-zagging during our walks, from front to back and side to side. Normally, this sort of activity would occur right before we’re leaving on a trip. It’s almost as if she knows what’s going on and she’s dragging her heels because she doesn’t want us to go. Other days, I think she’s just being a pain in the ass!

However, one day a blinding piece of insight hit me. You can’t fault a hunting dog for being a hunting dog! That’s what she was bred for. Even though it makes for an excruciatingly crazy walk when the humidity kicks up. Eventually, the air will dry out, and our walks will go north-south again. Making them much more enjoyable for both of us (well, for me at least). This got me thinking about human behavior and how hard it is to really change your ways. If it were only as easy as waiting for a high pressure system.

A few years ago, after an especially brutal vacation where just about everything seemed to go wrong, I resolved to change. I had a tendency to have my temper on a hair trigger when we were on vacation, mainly because I wanted everything to go perfectly. After that trip, I decided that even though Mr. Murphy was often an irritating travel companion, I resolved that he wasn’t going to ruin any more trips for me. During my morning prayers, I ask, “Please grant me wisdom, patience, and understanding.” This has helped me to keep my cool on vacation, as well as when my dog is acting like an out of control yo-yo. Give it a try, it works for me.

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