Where’s your Joy?~

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Lose anything lately?  Car keys? Glasses? Credit card?  It is so easy to lose “stuff” isn’t it?  However, according to Pastor Rick Warren “The easiest thing of all to lose is your joy. You can lose it with one phone call or email, a letter or conversation. You can watch a commercial or the news on TV and lose your joy. It’s the easiest thing in the world to lose.”  Have you been losing your joy and if you have, is it possible to get it back?

I say “yes”, but I think it’s important to figure out what’s stealing your joy before you can regain it. What’s diminishes joy in your life?  I will give you a few suggestions to consider:

What are you reading, watching or listening to regularly?

Are you constantly absorbed with negative news, rants on Facebook, or sad songs?  If we have a steady diet of things that create negative emotions within us we will begin to see our joy slip away.  I love the scripture verse that says “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philippians 4:8   Perhaps it’s time to redirect your focus to new input that encourages and inspires you.

How do you talk to yourself?

I have often said that “there are times in my life that I have spoken to myself in ways that I would never allow anyone to talk to me.”

What you tell yourself about yourself, others and everything that happens to you will determine how you feel.  We can be so harsh with ourselves. Take a little time and observe the stories you tell yourself about yourself.  Are your words life-giving or do your words regularly steal your joy? Perhaps it’s time to turn your words around realizing it’s time to apply kindness to yourself in the same way you freely show kindness to others.

Are you walking in fear?

Are you facing uncertainties and challenges that have caused you to become fearful and anxious?  Fear and anxiety are joy robbers for certain.   There are uncertainties in life, the daily news can create situations that heighten our fears, however, if we get stuck in our fears we will lose our joy only every time!  Perhaps there are some activities you can add to your calendar that will lift you from a fear-filled place to a hope-filled place:  talk your fears through with someone life-giving, exercise, pray, volunteer your time, or do something artistic. Engaging in activities that help you “get out of your head” can help lessen your level of fear and anxiety.

How’s your health?

Do you wake up refreshed? How’s your energy level? Are you proactive in taking care of yourself?  Not feeling well, not feeling energetic, or simply feeling out of shape can affect your joy.  Perhaps it’s time to make some adjustments in your lifestyle.  Do you need to laugh and play more often?  Do you need to add exercise to your daily routine? Time to prepare meals with better nutrition and take a break from fast foods for a while? Take small steps in a fresh direction and celebrate each small win! Not only will you feel better, you will feel better about yourself which can bring you renewed joy.

Joy comes from within us.   The aim is to navigate those things rob us from expressing our joy.   Joy is not happiness’. Joy is something deeper. Joy is a choice we make every day.  Joy, real joy, weathers the challenges and changes in our lives.  Guard it well.

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The Difficult In~Between.

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January is such a huge month for making resolutions for change.  Working at an athletic club I see the building swell with members starting January 1 and then watch a dramatic drop-off about the tail end of February. Why is this?

It is caused by the Difficult In~Between!!

So often we can recognize a need to make changes in our lives, we can imagine the goal accomplished; picture our success.  However, making a lasting change in behavior is rarely a simple process, and usually involves a substantial commitment of time, effort and emotion. The problem comes when we begin to challenge ourselves to take the needed steps toward the goal.

Whether the goal is weight loss, money management, becoming organized, a stronger marriage, or any other area we may find ourselves needing to grow; we still have to take regular “new” steps to reach our goal.

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For greater success in getting through the “Difficult In-Between” here are a few simple tricks:

1. Put your plan in writing. Place it somewhere that you can see it regularly.

2. Start with small do-able steps.  Break your goals down into small “manageable” wins!  As you gain success in the smaller steps you will be encouraged to continue.

3.  Work on one key goal at a time. Many times people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast.  As your new behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that takes you closer to your overall change.

4.  Grab some accountability! Everything is better with a buddy.  Find a friend, family member, or co-worker to join you on your journey. Having someone with whom you can honestly share your struggles and successes makes the goal less intimidating. 🙂

5.  Celebrate every win!!  Take note of your successes; don’t skip over or minimize the fact that your efforts matter!

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Change can be hard~~ but so worth the effort!! 🙂

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” 

~Jim Rohn