Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 3

There’s no happier person than a truly Thankful, content person Joyce Meyer

This week, in an effort to help others overcome depression, I am focusing on gratitude. There are several steps for overcoming depression and gratitude is an essential step.

Just think how happy you would be if your sole intent was to find the negative in everything you encounter. (Not Very right?) Yet, that is what some do – not intentionally but from thought patterns that they have developed over time.

Is there a co-worker who drives you crazy? Are you constantly fussing about your children’s cleanliness habits or lack of? What about those inconsiderate ways of your spouse or family member? Are you concerned that you are always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop? Has some incredible trauma been a part of your life?

During my near-death experience, I saw the reverence, love, and honor that everyone had for each other in heaven. Other than God, no one was perfect but everyone radiated an air of love and goodwill. Everyone celebrated the good in each other and genuinely supported each other. I believe there is a lesson there. I walked away from my near-death experience with a greater understanding of what make heaven heaven.

We are on earth now, having a mortal experience. There is an important purpose for mortality. We have come to learn, grow, and improve. We have come to develop faith. We are no longer surrounded and enveloped by God’s love, as we were in heaven, but we can choose to love, honor, and reverence each other on earth as well. It is not easy work but it is work that our lives will be blessed for.

If you would like to overcome depression or just improve your life, you must develop an attitude of gratitude! Our thoughts and emotions are powerful things. So powerful, they can help heal us or help make us ill. There is a book, published in 1995, that speaks powerfully to the power of thoughts and emotions, etc. making us ill. It is called the 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson. It is a wonderful book! Whether you are suffering from depression or any other illness, it is worth your time and effort to read! Greg Anderson was diagnosed with terminal cancer (a second time) and then studied the patterns and changes made by individuals who had survived terminal illnesses. As you might have guessed, he adopted those changes himself and has lived to teach others about how to heal and overcome illness (even terminal ones).

I hope you will take the time to read Greg Anderson’s book! I also hope that you will work to increase your gratitude! Today’s article shares more information on how to have an attitude of gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year when giving thanks is top of mind. The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, causes us to think about all of the special things in our lives and express gratitude for them. This is a favorite time of year for many, in large part because we are surrounded by loved ones and visibly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.

If you’re like me, you wish this feeling could last all year long. Just imagine feeling proud, thankful, and joyful on an ongoing basis, not only during the holiday season.

A major step in that direction is developing an “Attitude of Gratitude,” according to New York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes. Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly-inspirational new book, The School of Greatness. As Howes simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.”

But what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Here is a menu of tactics (just pick a few!) he endorses to help develop this mindset:

  • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
  • Start a gratitude journal – Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
  • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you – oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!

If the gratitude process is hard to get started, begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow. This is a mindset habit that is recommended by Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within.

Every day won’t be perfect, but focusing on what we are grateful for tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

And in addition to improving mood, recent studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude leads to better physical health as well. Paul Mills, a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, conducted studies that looked at the role of gratitude on heart health.

Among other things, he found that participants who kept a journal most days of the week, writing about 2-3 things they were grateful for (everything from appreciating their children to travel and good food), had reduced levels of inflammation and improved heart rhythm compared to people who did not write in a journal. And the journal-keepers also showed a decreased risk of heart disease after only 2 months of this new routine!

So try adopting some of the above tactics, even just one or two, in order to develop an overall grateful mindset. It takes a bit of work, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life.

Today’s article was written by Andrew Merle and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/how-to-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude_b_8644102.html

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 2

God gave you a gift of  86,400 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say Thank You?   William Arthur Ward

As I worked to overcome my severe depression, I found I needed to turn to the Lord daily in my efforts to get better. Through that entire process, He taught me many things. He taught me me to trust in the journey and He taught me the importance of my mindset.

One day, He inspired me with a story that I then wrote down. I call the story The Counters. As I wrote the story, I knew that it was really the Lord that was providing the story to me – not my vivid imagination. When the story was written, I was profoundly affected by the message of the story. I knew the lesson of the story was meant for me.

I am currently working to turn my story into a children’s book so I won’t go into the details of the story, but suffice it to say that being a counter is not a good thing. I realized I was a counter. I counted good events in my life and bad events in my life. I felt it was unfair for the bad to outweigh the good. I took my lesson to heart. I quit being a counter.

“Counters” are so busy counting all of the negatives that they fail to see their blessings. I knew better. I had and still have an incredible amount of blessings to be thankful for. I know that life is not fair. Now, I have learned to quit expecting life to be fair and to focus on the good, positive and amazing blessings of life that the Lord has provided to me.

As you read today’s article, I hope you will take time to reflect on your blessings. What do you have to be grateful for? Then take a second and express a sincere Thank You to someone!:

3 Ways To Develop Gratitude (The Great Healer)

Such an approach, though, eventually imprisons us in the very small world of our own needs, pushing away other people, and closing down the possibility of real growth. We may seek relief in a variety of ways – from the pleasures of physical entertainment, to the call to community service, and the possibilities of peace offered by spiritual practices and religion – but we often find that these tactics don’t provide the relief that we had hoped for, leaving us feeling more apathetic and cynical than before.

How can we escape this downward spiral?

All that ails us and the world, and the cause of all cynicism and apathy, I believe, comes from the lack of one essential factor in our lives: gratitude. The greatest human spirits have recognized that gratitude is the most rewarding and transformational practices that we can undertake. Cicero, the versatile Roman philosopher, stated:

Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all the others.

In a similar vein, the thirteenth-century Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, advised:

If the only prayer you said your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice.

What exactly is gratitude, though? One definition that I discovered notes that gratitude is “an emotion that involves indebtedness toward another person,” and that this emotion arises when one receives something that meets the following criteria:

• It is valued by the recipient.
• It is costly to the benefactor.
• It is given with positive intention.
• It is given graciously, without any societal or professional obligation.

According to this definition, when these four criteria are met and we allow the emotion to arise, we experience gratitude. The problem with this definition, though, is that it makes gratitude conditional. When one of the criteria is not met – for example, when we don’t value the gift, or when we don’t believe that the gift is costly (monetarily, emotionally, or temporally) to the giver – according to this definition, we are excused from feeling gratitude.

Ethical, religious, and spiritual traditions encourage us to adopt a higher perspective on gratitude. From this point of view, gratitude is something far more profound than a momentary feeling of thanks for a specific valued gift. At its deepest potential, gratitude comes from an existential awareness that our bodies, our minds, our families and friends, the world in all its miraculous diversity, and all that we have are gifts. And that these gifts are given to us unconditionally, in love, at every moment of our lives.

This concept can be very difficult to incorporate because, as noted earlier, we tend to associate gratitude only with the receipt of a gift that we perceive to be valuable. When unwelcome events inevitably happen in our lives – disappointments, illness, conflicts – we naturally feel bitter and can easily believe that there is nothing to be thankful for. Conversely, when we get things that we think we want, we may be tempted to take all the credit, and believe that we have achieved these successes solely based on our own efforts and attributes. True gratitude, however, calls us to feel grateful not only for our successes, but also for our problems, our mistakes, and even for people who treat us unkindly. We can actually feel gratitude for our most difficult struggles, because these are seen as ultimately beneficial in our lives, even if the intention is not always immediately clear to us.

Gratitude can solve all that ails us because when we are truly grateful we immediately rise above our fear-based needs to dominate, control, or retreat in to cynicism. And when we approach people and situations with gratitude we will naturally be drawn to positive action, discovering new possibilities that we could never have imagined in the protective shell of self-isolation. These actions can take many forms, depending on the needs of the other person and the situation in the moment, but will always be beneficial for humanity.

Although gratitude is a feeling, it must be cultivated through action. The following offers several suggestions for developing gratitude:

1. Make a gratitude list: Srikumar Rao, who teaches a hugely popular class at Columbia Business School, and is author of “Are You Ready to Succeed”? recommends that we write a daily list of the things that have occurred for which we are grateful. These do not need to be major events, but can be the little occurrences that we usually ignore – the train arriving on time, good weather, a satisfying meal, a stranger’s warm smile – and the wonderful people and things in our lives that we all to often take for granted – our families, spouses, friends, jobs, homes, health, bodies.

2. Say “Thank you” to others: Stay alert for opportunities to express gratitude to others as often as you can. You will find that even when you are not feeling grateful, simply saying “thank you” will connect you to others, and will have an impact beyond the moment.

3. Develop a daily gratitude prayer: All religious and spiritual traditions stress the essential nature of gratitude, and place it as the bedrock of faith. Within many of these traditions the first prayer that a practitioner says every morning is “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.” This is a prayer of gratitude to our Creator for the very miracle of our lives.

These practices remind us that gratitude is available to us at any moment and under any circumstance, even – or especially – when we are not feeling particularly thankful. Seen from the highest perspective, gratitude is the door that opens to individual and world transformation, revealing our true nature, binding us to each other, and to the Divine.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-alan-lurie/gratitude-the-great-heale_b_266952.html

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The D’s of Depression – Depend on God, Part 3

You attract the right  things when you have  a sense of who you are   Amy PoehlerWe have been addressing overcoming depression for the last couple of weeks. There is nothing, in my opinion, more essential in overcoming depression than knowing who you truly are.

I know that overcoming depression is not an easy task. For me, utilizing the strength that God was willing to lend me and relying on His guidance were key in my recovery.

Listening to God’s voice does not always come naturally. It often has to be worked at. So often, we are in the mire of depression because we have allowed ourselves to become overwhelmed physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.

There is no better way to get back on track that to use God’s power to heal and instruct. He knows what we need and He can both strengthen us and guide us to the resources we need.

For some, realizing that God can and does speak to His children may be a foreign concept. I assure you that He does and can talk to us. I have been the beneficiary of His guidance many times. It was through His guidance that my husband became a chiropractor and I found and received the help I needed to overcome both my depression and my 24/7 migraines.

I cannot promise miraculous healing but I promise that as you seek and learn to listen to God’s messages to you, you will find strength, comfort and answers!

Today, I continue with the series written by Rev. Mark Roberts and listening to the spirit and the divine guidance of God. I hope you will enjoy his thoughts and I hope as you come to know yourself better, that you will find God, find yourself and find healing! My prayers are with you!:

Divine Guidance and Spiritual Direction

In my opinion, spiritual direction can be a valuable means through which God can guide us. Allow me to explain what I mean and why I think this way.

For most Protestant and/or evangelical Christians, the phrase “spiritual direction” is an unfamiliar one. The title of “spiritual director” conveys very little and can in fact be misleading. Those who lack understanding of what a spiritual director does might be apt to misunderstand the role because of what the term “director” conveys. We might picture a spiritual director as somebody who “directs” our spiritual lives, giving orders, telling us what to do, and so on. We might even envision the kind of authoritarian discipleship that was popular while I was in college, but has been rejected by most Christians as unbiblical and unhealthy. This is not what spiritual direction is all about.

Folks in the Catholic and higher-church Anglican traditions, as well as a growing number of Protestants, would be much more familiar with the notion of spiritual direction, whether or not they have personally experienced it. I first became familiar with the whole idea of spiritual direction through the novels of Susan Howatch. In her Church of England Series, sometimes called the Starbridge Series, her characters, who are Anglican Christians in some sort of crisis, are “in spiritual direction,” that is, they are regularly seeing a spiritual director. The chief task of the director is to help them discern God’s presence and guidance, both of which they need quite desperately. (Who doesn’t?)

Howatch’s portrayal of spiritual direction is sometimes more animated than reality, but she basically hits the nail on the head. The spiritual director’s job is not to give directions so much as to help someone pay attention to God’s directions. Thus, spiritual direction is a process that helps people to discern and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.

In general, spiritual directors are wise, experienced, spiritually-sensitive Christians. They may or may not be ordained ministers, though most spiritual directors have been specifically trained and credentialed. Their training may include reading lots of spiritual classics, taking extended time for personal spiritual growth, seeing a spiritual director, being in a group with fellow trainees, and doing spiritual direction as a supervised intern.

In the last thirty years or so, Christians outside of the Catholic (or Anglo-Catholic) tradition have become more familiar with spiritual directions. This may be a result of the lowering of the wall between the Protestant and Catholic traditions. It may also be the result, in particular, of the popularity of the writings of Henri Nouwen (a Roman Catholic priest) and Susan Howatch (an Anglican novelist). For basic information on Catholic spiritual direction, visit Catholic Spiritual Direction. For a Protestant/Reformed perspective, see this informative discussion by the Rev. Kenton Smith.

I began seeing a spiritual director in 2006. I did so because it seemed like a good way for me to grow in my relationship with God. My expectations were more than realized, as I had the privilege of a wise companion in my spiritual pilgrimage. It was good to have a place to sort out my joys and frustrations as a Christian, and to have help in discovering God’s presence in my life. Though I did not begin spiritual direction with the thought that I’d be changing jobs, my spiritual director was invaluable when I was trying to figure out if God was guiding me to leave Irvine Presbyterian Church and join the team at Laity Lodge in Texas.

My experience confirms the fact that spiritual direction is not the same as counseling or therapy, even if both counselor and counselee are Christians. Though some of the methods are the same, honest sharing and sensitive listening, a counselor focuses on the individual and his or her needs, experiences, hurts, etc. In most counseling, there is quite a bit of emphasis on discovering historical and psychological causes for current feelings and behaviors. So, if I’m feeling lots of anger towards a colleague at work, for example, a counselor might help me see that this colleague reminds me of my father, and therefore my anger may be more about my relationship with my father than my relationship with my colleague. A good counselor would take me a step further, helping me to see my colleague more clearly and relate to him more fairly. A spiritual director might also be interested in the roots of my anger. But his or her focus wouldn’t be in the past, or even in my feelings and behaviors. Rather, a spiritual director would help me to discover God’s presence in my current experience. This might include finding God’s power to be less angry, or to communicate my anger more appropriately. But a spiritual director would want me to consider what God might be saying to me in my anger, and how I might experience God’s peace in a way that helps me deal with my anger in a healthy, even a godly way.

Given what I have experienced in spiritual direction, and given what I’m seeing in the Protestant/evangelical/Reformed world in which I spend most of my time as a Christian, I expect that the popularity of spiritual direction will greatly increase among folks in my tradition. There is a longing in people for spiritual growth and spiritual guidance. Spiritual direction can help satisfy this longing, and it is surely one way in which God can direct us through the Spirit. Moreover, though you can’t find the title of “spiritual director” in Scripture, the notion of discerning God’s guidance in relationship with other Christians is central to the New Testament understanding of the Christian life. The best spiritual directors both reflect this biblical understand and use Scripture in the direction process.

Today’s article was written by Mark. D. Roberts and is shared from the following website: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/how-does-god-guide-us/

 

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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul

The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can  take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must  spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone.  Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.    Aristotle

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share how you can overcome Depression. This week, I am going to concentrate on what I consider the first step: Delve into the Depths of Your Soul.

If you are looking for quick fixes, you will be sorely disappointed. Depression does not come on suddenly and it rarely leaves without some intensive personal work.

I have been there in the muck and mire of depression. I know that once we find ourselves there, there is nothing we want more than to get rid of it. If you are going through depression, you might be like me: I knew I had a great life. I had a wonderful husband and great kids and I had everything to feel wonderful about – but I didn’t.

The first step that doctors usually want to explore is medication. Explore that path if you must, but I have found that the most important place to start is with yourself.

There is often a good reason why depressed people don’t want to be alone with themselves. More times than not, a cacophony of emotions is raging within the soul of the depressed person. For me, the roar of emotions was deafening and yet I refused to hear it.

I had experienced some significant trauma and I had shoved it deep into the corners of my being – so deep I thought (subconsciously) that it would never be found or bother me again. Instead, like an eternal fountain, it all came bubbling up – demanding to be dealt with.

During the years (yes years) that I battled depression, the most important step I took was to take time to heal. Listening was a critical part of that healing. Listening to my family and my therapist was probably important but the very most important listening I did was to myself. I learned to listen to my thoughts – you know, the whisper thoughts we all have but don’t necessarily acknowledge to ourselves. As I did, I heard myself saying things like: “You can’t do that, nobody will ever love you again if you do”, “You don’t deserve to be alive”, “Do you realize what an enormous burden you are to your family?”.

As I began to really listen and acknowledge what I had said myself for a very long time, I knew that those subliminal thoughts were not grounded in truth. I also knew that although they were lies, I very much believed them.

At that point, I formed an alliance with the Lord that I continue to depend on to this day. With His help, I sought to find and then terminate each of the lies that I subconsciously said to myself day in and day out.

With the Lord’s help, I was able to identify and then remove the lies I consistently told myself. I was able to start believing in my worth and I was able to restore my confidence in myself.

You see, although I was not to blame for the trauma I had experienced, I believed that I was. Therefore, I beat myself up mercilessly. It’s amazing how much I was able to heal once I quit pummeling myself!

Coming to know myself deeply and personally was an all important step in overcoming my depression. Prior to my efforts to know myself, was I knew of myself was like tagging along for the ride. After I came to know myself, I found myself in the driver’s seat.

To overcome depression, we each have to sit in the driver’s seat of our life.

I hope, that if you are going through depression, that you will make the effort to know yourself. Today’s article shares some good information on getting started with the process:

How to Be a Success: The Importance of Knowing Yourself

by Delva Rebin

“Know Thyself” is a popular adage, but what does it really mean? The fact is that this phrase holds one of the keys to unlocking the secrets of how to be a success, but not many people are aware of its full implications.

To explain it properly, let’s use the analogy of a car. When you buy a car, you want to know everything about it. The gas mileage, the safety rating, the interior comfort, the color and model. How many people can it carry? How does it fare in difficult weather conditions? How does it feel to drive? How well does it take corners? What is the sound system like?

Knowing yourself is a bit like knowing your car. Just like with your car, you want to know how you hold up under difficult conditions. You want to know what you sound like to others. You want to know your limits, but also your potential. That is basically what the phrase “Know Thyself” entreats us to do: know everything about ourselves so we know how we will weather the trials and tribulations life throws at us.

To know yourself, it’s important to be aware of the fact that we all have four dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. The first three are fairly straightforward: the physical dimension is how we see other people and how they see us, the emotional dimension is how we relate to others, and the mental dimension is how we think. The spiritual dimension is perhaps the most often neglected out of the four. It doesn’t necessarily have to be religious, but you should always recognize that you have this dimension within you. Often, people describe their spiritual side as the one that connects with nature, and other beings, and a Higher Power that interconnects all of us.  By exploring those four dimensions, you can become more aware of yourself and ultimately shape yourself into a more complete human being.

This journey of self-discovery is important because by knowing ourselves, we can maximize our chances of becoming a success, both in our personal and professional lives. By being aware of your limits, you can better assess every opportunity that comes your way and turn down those that don’t play to your strengths. But even more importantly, by knowing your potential you will become empowered to reach beyond anything you previously thought you were capable of doing. That is one of the ways to become a success: recognize which opportunities might not be for you, but have the courage and enthusiasm to jump on the ones that are.

Today’s inspiring article is shared from the following website: http://www.dreammanifesto.com/success-importance-knowing.html

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Make a Difference by Doing Small Things

Ordinary people who consistently and diligently do simple things will produce extraordinary results David A. Bednar

I exercise 30 minutes a day every day but Sunday. It is my sanity time – regardless of what else is going on in my world. I could never explain adequately to you what that time means to me. I’m pretty sure that I don’t even completely understand myself.

I am LDS. (Most people would better recognize me if I called myself a Mormon.)

So many years ago that I can no longer remember, I made a promise to God that I would read at least one chapter of the Book of Mormon a day. I suspect it was sometime during the early days of my headaches. I have been headache free about 10 years now and I had migraine headaches 24/7 for about 15 years – so the math would say that was a long time ago.

I can remember missing one day of reading the Book of Mormon in all of that time. I remember the day well. I was so sick that I could not lift my head. (I think God understood)

By now, both my exercise and scripture reading habit is deeply engrained. I don’t need to go into the specifics but suffice it to say that I plunged into both habits with a certain outcome in mind. Now, these many years later, the reason I cling to those habits has changed. I began exercising for strength and weight loss. I now exercise for sanity. I began my scripture reading for sanity and to receive certain blessings from God. I now read my scriptures for strength and I no longer remember the promise I sought from God.

Both of my daily habits reap amazing benefits for me and I cannot imagine living without either of them. Both habits have blessed my life spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I recently read the following scripture from the Book of Mormon:

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

In this story, Nephi and his brothers have been assigned a difficult task. Nephi is also facing great opposition from his brothers. Because he has made a habit of seeking the Lord, he understands that the Lord will provide a way for the task to be accomplished.

Because the task that Nephi and his brothers set out to accomplish takes longer than anticipated, Nephi’s mother begins to complain to her husband and becomes convinced that her sons have been killed. She blames her husband and his visions for the loss she believes she has suffered.

However, the sons eventually return and in this verse, this is what she has to say:

1 Nephi 5:8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.

What point does all of this have for you?

The good things that we make a habit of make a difference. In and of themselves, they may seem insignificant. However, as they are practiced, day in and day out, their positive influence in our lives often makes all the difference.

We live in a face-paced world that often tried to convince us that little things don’t matter and that everything has to be accomplished ASAP.

During my near-death experience, I learned that the Lord does not operate at a microwaveable pace. Instead, He knows what He wants to see materialize in the grand scheme of things and He is more interested in the step by step positive progression we make than in how quick we get there. He is interested in transforming each of us into a masterpeice – He is not interested in the “quick fix”.

Nephi’s habit of daily seeking the Lord transforms him into an individual that I think any of us would be proud to emulate. His willingness to exercise faith in the Lord is noteworthy.

For me, his story reminds me of the importance of being consistent in what may seem the small things of life. A morning prayer, a verse of scripture read, the habit of sharing a simple complement; in time, they all compound into something more grand and glorious than we might have anticipated.

Today, I share an inspirational article that echoes my point. I hope you will enjoy!:

Consistency: The Forgotten Skill That Makes All The Difference

Let’s say you were given a choice right now.

You could either have 3 million wired to your bank account this very second or you could get a single penny that doubles in value every day for the next 31 days.

Which one would you choose?

Perhaps you’ve heard of this scenario before. In that case you know you should go for the penny because that option will generate greater wealth.

Still, it’s intuitively hard to believe the penny will result in more money in the end. Why?

Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff.

The Compounding Penny

Let’s say you decide to choose the 3 million and a friend of yours gets the penny. On day five, your friend will have sixteen cents. Not much compared to your three million.

On day number ten your friend is up to $5,12.

After 20 days the penny has increased to $5,243.

It’s not until now the magic of the invisible compound effect starts to show.

On day 31, the small mathematical growth improvement has turned the penny into no less than $10,737,418.24 – more than three times your 3 million.

The compounding penny is a great example of why consistency over time is so important.

On day 29 you were still ahead of your friend who at that point had about $2,7 million. It isn’t until day 30 that she finally pulls ahead, with $5,3 million.

Very few things are as impressive as the magic of compounding pennies. And what’s more, this force is equally powerful in every area of your life (1).

The Myth of the Quick Fix

Now, lets pretend your friend regretted her decision early on and threw the money away in frustration? $5,12 after 10 days doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to the 3 million, after all.

Now she wouldn’t have gotten to experience the awesome effect of the compounding penny and she would’ve missed out on the maginificent results that were just within her reach.

And yet this is exactly how most of us spend our time. We invest in the gym membership but quit after a month. We buy the guitar and let it collect dust. We switch to a healthy diet for a week. We put away 10 percent of our salary into a savings account… one time. The list goes on and on.

We’ve become so accustomed to immediate results and instant gratification that we’ve come to believe our personal transformation should happen instantaneously, the minute we decide we want it to happen.

Everywhere we look there’s promises of getting rich quick, lotteries that’ll make you an overnight millionaire, fad diets and training programs that’ll transform your appearance in a few weeks.

Fast food, one-hour glasses, thirty-minute photo processing, overnight mail, microwaved food, instant hot water, emails and text messages that are delivered anywhere in the world on seconds notice. These are all things that have made us come to expect instant results to the point that when we don’t get them we get discouraged and quit.

The truth is lasting change doesn’t happen quickly. But if you let the magic of compounding efforts do their thing, over time you can have some truly amazing results in any area of your life. This requires a skill we seem to have forgotten…

The Power of Relentless Consistency

For the most part, the results we’re looking for won’t come quickly. But they don’t take that long either. In my experience, it takes just a little bit longer than we’re comfortable going for.

  • Exercising for one hour three times a week for month will show very little, if any, results.
  • Reading one book in January won’t make much of an impact on your personal growth.
  • Meditating for 10 minutes for a couple of weeks won’t show much of an affect on your mind.

But what if you decided to drop the quick fix mentality and commit for the long haul? What if, instead of obsessing over (and very likely getting discouraged by) the short-term results, you chose to focus on the small steps you need to take each day to get where you want to be?

What if you turned your obsession to the simply daily disciplines that you know will make all the difference, and leave the results to take care of themselves? What if you decided to make a permanent change and stick to it for life?

Ironically, by shifting your focus away from the results you’d see plenty of them. Within a year:

  • You would have 150+ hours of exercise under your belt. More than enough to have a huge impact on your health and appearance.
  • You would have read 10+ books. This means tons of new insights, ideas and concepts to enrich your life.
  • You would have 60+ hours of meditation experience. This translates (among many other benefits) into improved focus, creativity, compassion, memory, less stress and anxiety.

But these estimations aren’t accurate. You see, the effects of positive change tend to compound just like the penny did, and spill over into other areas. Once you get into exercising and start feeling good at it, you’ll want to do it more. And then you’ll naturally become motivated to change your diet. And your sleeping habits.

You’ll get the energy and inspiration to read more books. You’ll learn to read faster and get quicker at understanding the concepts and ideas. Then the ideas from the books you’re reading start spilling over to every area of your life. Soon this ripple effect will showing all kinds of results you weren’t even planning for. And the more consistent you are, the more rapid your personal growth will become.

How to Develop World-Class Consistency

1. Let go of your need for short-term results. The first step to develop game-changing consistency in everything you do is to realize that true, sustainable change doesn’t work the same way that your microwave does.

If you want to transform your health, physical appearance, finances, relationships or some other area of your life you need to ignore the mainstream advice for getting rich quick and building rock hard abs in three weeks. You cannot change your situation overnight, but you can change the direction you’re heading in. And that’s enough.

  • Take a look at you long-term goals. What small action do you need to do every day to get you there? Remember, ”small” is the key word here. A five minute walk. Veggies on your dinner plate. 2 pages in a book. 1 minute of meditating. Start so small that it’s impossible for you to say no and let the magic of the compound effect start working for you.

2. Commit to your habits, not your goals. Goals can give you a burning motivation… and they can get you completely stuck. The problem with focusing too much on your goals is that they remind you of how far you have yet to go which can lead to overwhelm and in worst case complete stagnation.

If you have 40 pounds to loose, and your scale keeps showing nothing but status quo or minuscule improvements it can be disheartening. But if you decide to measure only how many healthy behaviours you manage to pull off every day, suddenly you’re completely in control of the outcome. As you keep sticking to your daily habits, the more you’ll get addicted to them, and you’ll start to build some serious momentum.

  • Start tracking your habits. Create a list of your habits and check them off every time you complete them. Be proud of your small wins and you’ll soon start building some great momentum. Apps like coach.me is great for this.

3. Review your progress. No matter how good your intentions are you will slip up from time to time, especially when you’re just starting a new habit. That’s why it’s crucial to go back and review your progress continuously. Schedule fifteen minutes once a week to:

  • Celebrate what you did well. If you’ve pulled off a great streak in your habit formations, acknowledge it! Reinforce your habits by patting yourself on the back and being proud of what you’ve accomplished. Also examine what went wrong. If a habit for some reason didn’t get done, have a close look at the reasons why and then adjust your game plan accordingly. Perhaps you fell victim for the planning fallacy and need to reschedule. Maybe you keep forgetting your habits and need to attach them to implementation intentions. Perhaps you need to change your environment a bit to promote your habit. Maybe you need to raise the stakes. Feel free to shoot me a message if you get stuck.

Fall in Love With the Process

In the gym, people tend to be most impressed with the people who are the most fit. Not me. I’m most impressed with the people who are out of shape and still keep showing up.

Why? Because those fit people already got this stuff down. At least when it comes to their exercise. They’ve fallen in love with process. And when you’re in love with the process is no longer hard work to show up at the gym. It’s just something you do. It’s part of your lifestyle and your identity. You don’t need to muster up a bunch of willpower to go to the gym. You just go because that’s what you do and you’d feel worse if you didn’t.

The out of shape person doesn’t have this luxury. He or she is in the thick of it, working hard to getting the habit working, fighting to form a new identity of an active person. To me, that’s way more impressive.

The good news is anyone can fall in love with the process. Every expert was once an amateur and every master was first a beginner. What separates them from the crowd is their relentless consistency in showing up and doing the work.

Drop your need for immediate results, focus on your daily habits and keep adjusting as you go. The results are always within reach, just slightly beyond where most people are willing to go.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Sources

1. The story about the compounding penny is borrowed from Darren Hardy’s awesome book The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success

Today’s inspiring articles was written by Patrik and is shared from the following website: http://www.selfication.com/mindset/consistency/

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