Twenty five years a go I was laying in tanning beds and doing "jazzercize" to get in shape for the beauty contests I entered as a senior in high school. Now, I'm sitting here getting ready to proof the book with four stitches just next to the smile line that runs between the corner of my mouth and nose where a small skin cancer was removed. (Yes, it hurts. Yes, when we feed everyone tomorrow I'm going to hide in the kitchen. ;-))
A year and a half a go I got fed up with myself when I couldn't even jog to the mailbox and started running. Then, I did weight watchers. Now I'm 50 pounds lighter.
Six weeks a go I became too busy to work out with a crazy schedule so I've gained five pounds.
Most Saturday mornings, I like to go see my Mom and have coffee with her. I try to call her as much as possible, so I am close to my Mom.
Every holiday season we will get together with family. Often it is stressful because we look at ourselves and say, "Hey, I don't like this about myself" or we look at someone and they look at skinny and we are jealous. Or we get with our family and wonder why we don't do this more often.
The holidays can be hard because we often feel the tug of a misalignment in our lives. We also miss those who aren't with us any more.
Sometimes it makes us be thankful: I have my health. I have my family.
But sometimes it makes us be cranky. We feel like we don't measure up. We feel like our family isn't proud of us. We feel misunderstand. We feel like we were happier a long time a go and can never regain that joy. If we focus on ourselves it is easy for Thanksgiving to become cranksgiving and that is no fun for anyone.
When you're cranky at Thanksgiving the only turkey is you.
A different kind of crank.
I'd rather us turn it into a different kind of crank. Here you are one year later than last year, ten years later than ten years a go, twenty years later than twenty years a go.. and to state the obvious, you are a product of the decisions you have made up until this point. Whatever you crank into your life day in day out is who you become.
Take a Good Look at Yourself
The first step to improving yourself is to look at yourself for who you are and what you have become. Take a good look. What do you like? What do you not like?
What is one habit, if you start it now, you would be so thankful that you did it next year? What is one thing that you're tempted to quit but if you stick it out it can have powerful results?
Let me give you some examples:
- My youngest son has been struggling. I couldn't get a handle on why he was making the grades he was, so I changed my schedule, cancelled some things and now he and I do his homework and studying together 2-3 hours a night. His grades are improving and I'm better understanding what is going on. It has made a huge difference in his life.
- Because I rearranged my schedule, I haven't had time to speak as much lately and it has tightened up our budget. I have to balance my checkbook every morning to stay on top of it.
- When you take the time to be kind and help others with their dreams, they help you with yours.
You reap what you sow. It is a fact.
You are a product of your habits. (See the Routine of Being Amazing.) How you think. What you do with your time. What you read. Who you associate with. These are all things that make you who you are.
This Thanksgiving, the moment you find yourself turning it into "Cranksgiving" look at that turkey and decide you're not going to be one. Write yourself a note of what happened the moment you took a turn towards being cranky so you can figure out the trigger.
Maybe Old Uncle Frank sets you off. Think about him. Why does he set you off? Does he not know you love him? Do you not love him? Is there something you can do between this year and next to help the relationship with Uncle Frank to help improve that relationship?
Maybe your plate is incredibly full and you're pigging out on your second helping of pumpkin pie and you look at lean trim Sally out there throwing the football with the kids in her size 4 blue jeans and you just can't stand it. Decide you're going to be the talk of next Thanksgiving and realize that you can lose weight and eat food you love if you're smart. (I lost 50 pounds on weight watchers while having a Dairy Queen blizzard once a week.)
Maybe you look at a certain member of your family and you know that he/she probably won't make it to another Thanksgiving. Decide to treat that person like a king or queen TODAY and figure out how you can live this next year with no regrets by really going over and beyond for that person. Realize that sometimes people in their final days are uncharacteristically cantankerous and "cut them some slack."
You set the pattern for future generations
And know this if you have children or nieces and nephews: they watch everything you do. You reap what you sow more than you can understand because one day you may be Old Uncle Frank or that person who won't see another Thanksgiving. You are setting a pattern that the children will follow in future years.
Thanksgiving is a great word. But it is our actions that matter as we celebrate.
Words without actions are just hypocrisy. Be real. Be thankful. Set yourself patterns for this holidays that are noble, kind, loving, and will make you and those around you better people.
You have choices today that will determine how tomorrow will go. "I" turns thank into think. When you think only of yourself you often lose the ability to be thankful. Be giving, be thankful, be unselfish. Then, you'll have a very...