How to be Happy: Just Do It!

time will pass anyway It’s right about this time of year that, if we made any resolutions at all (or as a wise friend of mine relabeled hers, simply “goals”), we’re maybe starting to flag a little. Or a lot. Let’s be honest, here. The gyms are starting to be a bit less packed, the fresh produce is rotting in the crisper…you get the idea. It’s the season of giving up! Or at least “letting-it-slip” time.

Side note – I wonder if anyone has done research to see if fast food companies have a slump in the first few weeks of the new year..and then a lovely little rebound? (mmm, fries.)

Anyhow, as you know, I made two resolutions.  They were simple but broad, and I’ve since modified them somewhat (which is FINE by the way; go ahead and tweak yours if it works for you).

NEW AND IMPROVED 2013 GOALS: (ta da!)

1) Be kinder than necessary

2) Follow through whenever possible – especially using the one-minute rule: If it takes less than a minute, do it NOW.  Thank you, Gretchen Rubin and Rita Emmett for both, individually, introducing me to that lil’ bit o’ wisdom. Sometimes I mutter it to myself as I dash around the house, doing whatever it is that should only take a minute or less. That’s weird, I know, but we’ve already established that I’m fine with that.

Today’s post is about that special time when we begin lose that motivation, when we start to question whether or not this ONE TIME only will it make any difference if we just loaf on the couch for another hour, or put off making the phone call to check in on someone, or push that one task to our list for another day.  A lot of our goals/resolutions/what-have-you are going to take time to really pay off, and it’s hard to wait! It’s way more fun to surf the Internet, or watch TV, or chat about nothing in particular. Instant gratification, baby.

And actually, the answer is, it doesn’t make much difference at all. You can put it off.

This time.  And maybe, the next time.

But here’s the rub: If we consistently give ourselves one more hour on the couch, or put off the call, etc., what then? We have goals that go nowhere. We have self-fulfilling prophecies that we work incredibly hard to fulfill without realizing it. Boo!

“It’s going to take too long” is a great excuse for not doing something. “It’ll be hard” is another. I’ve heard ’em all. I’ve used ’em all.  100% correct. Most things worth doing don’t come easily.  Which is not to say that the pursuit of our goals has to be a joyless, grim struggle. No way! Hard work can be FUN.

Yes, I just said that. Hard work can be fun. And even if it’s not “fun”, it can be fulfilling, if you remember why you’re doing it in the first place. And that’s sort of fun, too. Acceptance and Commitment therapy is big on this – values. That’s the “commitment” part in the model. We have to decide what’s worth doing in our life (values) and then decide the steps we need to take to move in that direction (goals) and then…..just do it.

Even if it takes time. Even if it’s hard. Even if it’s scary. The time will pass anyway, and you can either look back and congratulate yourself on a job well done (or at least well in progress, or at least well started), or you can make excuses.  You don’t have to be perfect. Fall seven times, stand up eight – but keep standing up!

The time will pass anyway, of that we can be certain. Let’s make it time well spent!

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