Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Change Your Actions

One August afternoon, nearly twenty years ago, I was feeling happy and independent because my dad delivered a new-to-me car. I was leaving a church function when my car wouldn't start. My elation deflated. I went from feeling free to extremely dependent. My first thought was to keep trying and pray to the car gods to miraculously start it, but my dad's voice rang louder. I could hear him saying, "You'll flood it if you keep doing that!" Under normal circumstances turning the key in the ignition would start the car, but in this situation, turning the key would not give me my desired result. I needed to change my action in order to get the reaction I wanted.

We develop tactics to navigate through and cope with life. We may not be able to name or even identify our tactics, but we certainly have them. Some face challenges quickly and directly. Some use busyness and activities as distractions from reality. Others use laughter or a hard exterior as a means to convince people—including ourselves—that we are unaffected. Over time, our strategies require change. The strategies we've learned or chosen are no longer effective—and in some cases, never were—so we need to reevaluate. In order to get different reactions, we have to change our actions.

Have your days become filled with tiring repetition, leaving you disappointed and joyless? Change your actions. Have you lost the motivation to even hope for more or better or different? Change your actions. Have you convinced yourself that improvement is not possible? Change your actions. If what you've always done isn't working it is time to do something else. If what you've always said to yourself is no longer satisfying it is time to say something else. If the life you desire seems to grow more distant from where you are it is time to try something else. What do you have to lose besides what is no longer working for you? Stop turning a key in an ignition that isn't responding.

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