Sunday, December 29, 2013

Five minutes or next year?

"Never loan money to a geologist; we think 100,000 years is a short time." Beth Stevenson

 One of the tough things for a person that is depressed is goal setting.  What is the point of setting a goal for the next year if getting through the next 5 minutes is a monumental task?  I remember the encouraging words someone gave me during my darkest days. "Just take it one day at a time."  I grumbled back, "If I had to think about an entire day, I would have committed suicide a long time ago."  That is when I learned to live 5 minutes at a time.  My goal was to make it through the next 5 minutes.  Those dark days are less a part of my life.  More days are filled with sunshine and brightness.  I am realizing that as I battle back the depression, my view is lifted to other possibilities.  Goals seem possible.

I joked for years that I didn't make resolutions on January 1 because I hated the sound they made when they shattered on January 2.  Today I looked up the word resolution.  This is what I learned:
a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organizationalegislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolutionjoint resolution.
a decision or determination; a resolveto make a firm resolution to do something. Her resolution to clear herparents' name allowed her no other focus in life.
the act determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.; the act ofresolving.
firmness of purpose; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resoluteShe showed herresolution by not attending the meeting.
the act or process of separating into constituent or elementary parts or resolving.

The one the leaped out at me was number 4...Firmness of purpose.  I can have a firmness of purpose without breaking.  Since May, I determined to improve my health through exercise, changing my eating habits, and losing weight.  I wavered on some days but that firmness of purpose would bring me back to what I wanted to do.  I realize now that my belief about resolutions was distorted by the black & white thinking I was raised with.  I was raised with the idea that resolutions were rigid and the first mistake I made destroyed my resolve.  How silly is that?  A resolution sounds very much like a boundary.  I can select healthy boundaries and set my goals within those boundaries.  Last May, I resolved to improve my health.  I have done that.  Years ago when I started counseling, I resolved to improve my relationships.  I have done that.  More years ago, I resolved to understand and take back my life from a shadow warrior that I learned was is a work in progress but I am doing that, too.  Whether I call it a resolution, a goal, or just a vague idea I want to improve myself, the purpose is to get me moving and out of the rut of just putting one foot in front of the other.  Vic is one of my fitness gurus that I get his emails as reminders to exercise and pay attention to what I am eating. (  He reminded me in the last email that small changes can accomplish greater things than larger radical changes since I am more likely to stick with a small adjustment.   It reminded me of a paper I wrote years ago on 7 simple changes.  I chose changes in three areas: physical, emotional, and spiritual.  This principle helped me to make some great strides to reclaiming my life.  I haven't done it as consciously as I worked through 10 years of counseling since I seemed to have more than enough on my plate from counseling assignments.  Now, I check in with my counselor about once a month with an occasional extra session when life is rough, you know like Christmas time. This year I progressed to the point of me deciding in what direction I need to move my life.  I am very excited about the possibilities.  I am looking at continuing to resolve to improve my physical health.  I plan to expand that resolve to improve my emotional and spiritual health.  I plan to revisit the 7 simple changes I learned to use over 20 years ago.  This year, the best is yet to come.

I am blessed with knowing that there is more to life than putting one foot in front of the other.  


TR said...

I love the 'take it 5 minutes at a time'. When I was at dinner stuff with family and friends this past holiday, I often would say, take it one dinner at a time, but I like the 5 minutes.' It doesn't feel daunting, then. xxTR

Ruth said...

Amazing things can happen 5 minutes at a time.