In the words of a child who says from time to time, “I can’t do it or I don’t know how” we find ourselves as parents and teachers saying a familiar chant “Yes you can.” We say these words because we want our child or student to grow up believing in themselves. With constant words of encouragement and consistently showing our children or students how to resolve their problem, we aim to recreate a more confident person. When they see how to reach their goal, they go a long ways with guidance and even further, with independent practice.
However, there are times when we as adults just don’t have it to give. We’re tired, overworked, hungry and sometimes super sensitive. We are not at our best. We need a moment to get it together because we see and feel it. We all want to be a better person. That being said, consider these 3 basic reminders or better yet 3 basic tools to add to your toolbox.
First Get Some Rest
First and foremost, the body is not a machine nor is it guaranteed to stay healthy forever. We all have weaknesses and have to treat our body right. All 4 domains mental, emotional, spiritual and physical need our daily attention because it cannot go on forever without getting replenished with the proper restoration, rest for short. Before we are able to help our child and/or student, our mind must be clear and free of fatigue. The muscles in our back, shoulders and forehead must be relaxed. Our stomach must be satisfied with healthy fruits, vegetables and water nutrients and not an over consumption of red meat, sugar, salt and additives placed in our food to cause side effects. Our spirit must also be fed with spiritual medicine that is good for the whole body. Proverbs 4:20-23 . When we experience a lack of proper rest, our body can and will eventually work against us and possibly cause it to slide gradually into obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, which can lead to consistent stress and possible early death. None of these side effects are good for the body. We must treat the body and mind with extreme care by allowing it to get plenty of rest, daily.
Afterwards Take Time to Focus and Reflect
After a goodnight’s rest, the mental part of us need to follow up with a morning moment to focus and reflect. To illustrate, let’s use a mirror. Each morning we wake up we eventually make our way to the glorious mirror in the bedroom or bathroom. While in the presence of the mirror we see a reflection of ourselves pointing back at us. We make the decision to focus and clean up our appearance by addressing our face, hair and body. The reflection forces us to look at ourselves and take action steps. We pay close attention to detail, looking at what needs to be done before moving forward. Sometimes throughout our day we address this process again in a public bathroom. We focus on our hair, our teeth, our breath, stuff possibly hanging from our nose, the way our clothes fit on our body and so much more. This is especially true with those who like to take selfies. We are looking in the camera that’s reflecting like a mirror what it sees and forces us to focus on ourselves our strengths and weaknesses before taking that snapshot. Notice the correlation between the two activities. Reflecting has to do with looking back at ourselves and focusing has to do with looking forward. Both are needed in presenting the very best of who we are mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Whereas selfie pics are mostly about our physical appearance, rest, focus and reflect is about our mental, emotional, and spiritual appearance. The inner person needs just as much work as the outer person.
Then Start Moving Towards Self Improvement
If we can understand the importance of these 3 tools: rest, focus and reflect, then perhaps we can understand they are the keys to addressing some of our weaknesses that have developed into what we call bad habits. There are no shortcuts in pursuing our dreams and goals without breaking through our weaknesses. Sometimes a weakness could be copying other people’s bad habits or allowing my emotions to dominate my common-sense thinking. If I want to break bad habits, I have to focus and reflect because this is about me moving towards self-improvement.
The good thing about this process is it is reachable if I am being honest with myself and willing to do the work. Like the child or student who says, “I can’t do it or I don’t know how.”, I have to admit my shortcomings. When a child says, “I can’t or I don’t know how”, this is a child’s way of saying I need help with this problem. Learning from a child, we need to find someone we can trust to help us with whatever our concern may be. In the process, we can’t quit or give up. We have to be willing, to stay focused, disciplined, honest and surround ourselves with a positive group of people. The great thing about reaching our goal is once we learn, we grow consistently through practice. Taking a note from the Practice U universal theme song video, you can’t help but to repeat the hook to yourself as a reminder. “The more I practice, practice, practice, the better I become, the better I become.” Simply stated, it’s the TM-I-PPP principle, doing things the right way and benefitting from it as I grow towards perfection, maturity and wisdom. Take a moment to reflect on these tools and tell us what you think.
Next month, we’ll continue our journey with 5 obstacles to expect when pursuing my dreams, goals and moving towards self-improvement. Until then, stay tuned…