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GETTING INTENTIONAL SHEDDING THE UNNECESSARY IN THE NEW YEAR
I n today’s world of division and constant spoon-fed controversy, it’s all too easy to get fired up about the latest outrage flavor of the week. Seriously, our national discussions the past few years remind me of middle-school drama, like being on a ship in a squall. The extreme rhetoric that seemingly never ends will leave any sane person dazed and confused. I know I’m not alone in this. As we turn the corner into 2019, I want to continue making a conscious effort to focus on and be grateful for the good things in life. This doesn’t come naturally for me — I wake up thinking there’s a vulture on the headboard rather than pondering the happy, boundless possibilities of the new day. Happy morning people are annoying! So, I have to be intentional about cultivating the discipline to “always look on the bright side of life”(Monty Python, anyone?). And it’s not as though I haven’t been greatly blessed. I live in the greatest country, have a loving family, tremendous clients, and an opportunity to be a force of good in the lives of others (and have others be such a force for me, as well). It’s just that life is wearisome sometimes, isn’t it? And it helps me tremendously to practice gratitude — to “give thanks in all circumstances,”as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. And this is an ongoing process, not an instantaneous personality change. It’s kind of like the discipline I need to get into better shape. As you guys know from seeing me, I obviously love to eat. And exercise is a great idea — for other people. However, back in May, shortly after my son Pete got engaged, I saw myself in the engagement photos and thought, “Gee, I’m looking like Jabba the Hutt!”Not a good feeling. Amy
wasn’t pleased with the way she looked in the photos either, so we resolved to do something about it. Now, several months after getting on the ketogenic diet, I’ve lost around 30 pounds! The jury’s still out on whether or not it’s the miracle diet it’s often touted as. Along with calorie counting and just being more aware of what we take into our bodies, we can tell a difference not just in the way we look, but also in our mental and physical health. It’s funny how the encouragement resulting from changes like that cascades into other areas of life. Besides the keto, I’ve been trying to shift my media diet. I read a recent study concluding that people feel more depressed the more they are on Facebook. Twitter has become a snark-fest. Instead of gluing myself to social media for extended periods, I’ve been carving out hours for reading books and listening to audiobooks. Last year, I finished something like 85 books, ranging from Stephen King and Ayn Rand to topics like history, marketing, mindset, and spirituality. Getting into these healthier patterns has been just as transformative as cutting back on the calories — it’s incredible how much of a difference it makes just being intentional about what you do in your day-to-day. The world is crazy no matter where you stand, and life is often hard — that much is a fact — but trying to improve a couple of areas in my own life has given me a newfound sense of contentment, clarity, and, again, gratitude. Here’s hoping you all find something that offers the same comfort in this new year! Meanwhile, being a book-nerd, I’m always on the hunt for the next read. If you’ve got recommendations, please reach out!
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