A FRESH START
By Wendolynn L. Allen
Once again, the cycle has completed itself and must start again. Another year has come and gone and a New Year has so graciously been bestowed upon us. In light of the unfortunate tragedy that took our country by surprise as 2001 was drawing to a close, this “New Beginning” takes on a whole new meaning for us all. There is no doubt that, over the past couple of months, we have been forced to face the reality that tomorrow is not promised to us, for each day is a special gift. What a gift we have been given, to once again be able to breath the air of God’s great Earth and move about freely in such a wonderful country. Now is the time to decide what value we will place on such a blessing.
This is the season for “New Year’s Resolutions”. The time when everyone takes account of their actions and determines whether it is time to change or if they can afford to stay the same. A very wise man once said, “when the cost of change is less painful than the cost to stay the same, people will change.” This is the key incentive many use to initiate the process of change within themselves, however, one may take account of their actions and determine to change, but it may soon be discovered that simple willpower is not enough to alter a habit that warrants “New Year’s Resolution” status.
Behavioral modification is an intrinsic adjustment that requires planning and consistent effort rather than a simplistic “mind-over-matter” attitude. A modification of this magnitude necessitates a literal re-education of one’s mental reasoning. Time is the main investment here. There is no “quick fix” to changing a lifestyle habit, and physical fitness (good or bad) is a lifestyle habit. Another wise man once said that “what you have is a direct result of what you have been doing, so, if you want something you have never had, you must do something you have never done.” This something requires assessment of your past, consideration of your present, and planning for your future. In other words, it calls for a great investment of time: time to re-think what you have been doing, time to determine what you need to be doing, and time to see your hard work pay off. The biggest battle in sticking with a “New Year’s Resolution” is that if after one week we don’t see the results we want, we talk ourselves into maybe one more week of gut-wrenching willpower before we abandon the resolution completely. But, what have we done in those weeks to prepare ourselves to adjust to a new lifestyle? Willpower is an emotion, or results from the overwhelming emotions one may have about a particular subject. Just like other emotions, there are times when willpower is high and there are times when willpower is low. In order to show consistency in our life, we must balance willpower with knowledge and wisdom otherwise we run the risk of being a consistent roller coaster. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Willpower is definitely necessary, but it is only a jumper cable and is unable to continuously make the car run. If willpower is a jumper cable, then knowledge is the battery and wisdom is the understanding of how to connect the jumper cable to the battery in order to get the car running, then remove the cable while the car is still running.
This New Year, make a fresh start in your pursuit of total fitness (mind, body, and soul). Gain understanding of your current condition by asking yourself why you do the things you do. Don’t be ruled by your emotions, but let them serve as a healthy motivation to push you along the path of your well-developed plan to wisely alter negative behaviors.
This is the first day of the rest of your life, make it a FRESH START.