Three Steps To Find More Determination
Cinderella’s slippers, they’re definitely not. But who doesn’t need a little magic to tackle difficulties when you want to run the other way? My morning magic comes from some silly slippers that make me smile and fill me with a touch of joy.
If I need to complete tasks I’ve been putting off at home, on go my special slippers. They provide a small reminder of where my focus should be. How? Sometimes they help me press forward when the job is complicated or has emotional triggers that threaten to drag me down. When I slip them on, a little bubble of joy bursts through my circumstances. A sense of peace fills me from the soft fabric and flowers squishing beneath my toes. That small gesture helps me to not be defined by my difficulties, and to keep my focus on service to my family, my audience, and my Lord.
This week I’m sharing three steps to tap into your own determination cues, or reminders of who you are at your core, while you make progress on your goals.
Step one: Face into the hard task.
I’m starting to update our insurance records. After we lost our home in the wildfire, I had to chart a great amount of detail for our insurance company, which makes this project filled with negative triggers. To get us updated I have to fill in more charts. It feels like I’m staring down a big dragon that’s been trailing behind me. It’s difficult to look into the eyes of that beast, which is probably just a figment of old fears, and cut it down to size. Just the word “insurance” stirs up terrible memories of loss, endangerment, and worry. Moving six times in two-and-a-half years, wondering if we’d have another home base, while accounting for every sock and shoe wasn’t a fulfilling task.
On the other hand, looking at our “stuff” helps me remember God’s wonderful provision for us in a new home. It also challenges me to live with less and give away some things that might lend a smile to another family along the way.
So my first tip is to decide to tackle one big task and trust that you can move forward.
Step two: Find a focal point.
Like a ballerina who’s turning multiple times, pick your focal point carefully so you don’t get dizzy from the details. I remember when my husband was in the hospital after his stroke, just surviving the day was a real miracle, not to mention all the paperwork and trying to understand the diagnoses. A friend recommended having one hour per day at the gym so that my outlook and own health could be better maintained. It sounds simple, but that hour of grace made me pause, take stock of the day’s challenges, and move into one-day-at-a-time mode. This was a gift rather than always running full throttle, which no one can sustain for long.
One caution here: make sure your focal point is a positive one. Whatever you focus on, you do give permission to have influence over you. Positive thinking is important when you’re in or just through a rough patch.
Step three: Remember your foundation.
When your world is on end due to an emergency or high wall you must scale to rescue a relationship in jeopardy, let your anchors in life keep you from ending up in a worse place. Faith, family, and friends are all so critical then. Do not neglect letting others pamper you or just have a conversation with you—not just on line, but by phone or in person once per day. Allow yourself to remember who you are at your core. It’s not selfish to let your inner self be filled before you give it out anew the next day. You will be a better nurturer if you’ve invested in yourself. The hope is to not just survive a big challenge, but to become a better person through the experience.
What little things help you face your difficult tasks?
I took a poll this week on my Facebook account, and received lots of good input. It was interesting to note that some people thought of work or practical projects, while others thought about relationships and quality of life issues. The ideas ranged from practical organizing tools, to chocolate (always a favorite), to music, to supportive relationships, and faith. Thanks for those who participated.
Let me know where you need ideas, and we can share thoughts and resources in the comments below.
A prayer for encouragement:
Lord, help us be filled with your peace when we face mundane tasks that feel like rocks in the luggage we are carrying, weighing us down. Help us remember to look to you to carry it for us, to press on and persevere, knowing you will bring us peace, hope, and even joy at the freedom when we let go of negative memories. Help us to allow you to bring us into a new place, where we know your voice and presence better than before we encountered the difficulty in the first place. Amen.