Happy New Year

New Year

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A new year brings anticipation for great things. It feels like a breath of fresh air or the warmth of sunshine after cloudy days. It renews our hope and gives us energy for improvement.  It brings motivation and opportunities for our success in many areas. Yet, as I reflect on my goals for 2015 and even 2014, they are so similar because life happens and things don’t usually go as I planned.

I seriously thought about not setting goals for 2016 since I seem to have such a hard time reaching them anyway. In an effort to sort out my feelings concerning this matter, I searched the web for information on New Year’s resolutions. I found many posts addressing why they are important or why they don’t work.

In my search, I stumbled across Joey Adam’s words, “May all your troubles be as long as your New Year’s resolutions.” I laughed and thought, yeah another reason not to have a New Year’s resolution.

What’s the difference between a resolution and a goal?

A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something or the action of solving a problem,” according to https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=define+resolution

A goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result,” according to https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=define+goal

As I pondered the two definitions, I thought a New Year’s resolution is like a promise I make with myself. A goal has to be something I truly desire and not just what I think I should be doing. This gave me a new perspective on resolutions and goals and I viewed them as being different rather than similar.

All this contemplating led me to realize what a nerd I am when it comes to goals. Who else thinks about them this long and hard? I not only set yearly goals, but daily, weekly and monthly goals in both my personal and business life. So maybe I don’t need to worry about yearly goals. Could I be setting too many goals?

So much of my life is out of my control. I know that may sound like an excuse, but it’s truly how I feel. My daily direction is mostly determined by Mark’s physical and mental well-being. Our lives are so intertwined with each others by doctor’s appointments, therapy, seizures and other unexpected incidents, which always take precedence over my goals.

I want to keep this website uplifting, so I make an effort to focus on the positive, yet I experience plenty of disappointments, which is a softer way of saying failures. Most of those have to do with me not reaching my goals.

I've Failed

In the business world you may have heard the saying, “fail faster, fail often” in relationship to finding success. I agree with the concept that we can learn more our mistakes and when we recognize them and move on, the failures become stepping stones to our success.

I appreciate Dixie Gillaspie’s words, “the key to success is knowing that failing doesn’t make you a failure.”

So, now I feel better about my 2015 failures and hope I will remember what I learned from them. In fact, I’ve decided my 2016 New Year’s resolution, or promise to myself, is to not feel like a failure when I fail and to recognize and appreciate the lessons learned from my mistakes.

An anonymous person said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” Hopefully it won’t be so this year.

As the days come and go, unfortunately so does the excitement and energy which comes from a new year. That’s why I appreciate a new month, a new week and even a new day is refreshing. With so many opportunities to start over, we’re bound to succeed. I truly believe we haven’t failed until we quit trying.

Overcoming Fear of Failure

Fear of failureI try to pick a tip and a thought to go along with a story each week. Since our living arrangements are in a rehab care facility right now, my schedule is very chaotic and I’m finding it harder to write because there are so many interruptions. I’m not complaining though because I appreciate the caregiving support of nurses, CNA’s and therapists.

As I contemplated and researched for a tip to go along with my article, I Need Thee Every Hour, I thought about our biggest worry this year, a failed surgery and/or failed recovery. I have enjoyed studying ideas on how to overcome the fear of failure, which can be debilitating and an unhealthy aversion to risk. Some classic symptoms I’ve been feeling are anxiety, vulnerability, mental blocks and perfectionism.

Our ability to manage fear of failure is a predictor of success. The supremely gritty are not afraid to fail, but embrace it as part of a process. They understand there are valuable lessons in defeat.

My research took me to a great article which I have taken the following information from. http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/overcome-fear-of-failure/

  1. Consider the cost of missed opportunities– The biggest risk that people fail to consider is the benefit they lose by avoiding high risk/high reward opportunities. High risks offer the greatest reward. Without taking risks, you can’t harness opportunities. You can live a quiet and reasonably happy life, but you are unlikely to create something new and you are unlikely to make your mark on the world.
  2. Research the alternatives– The unknown is a major source of fear. When you don’t know what you’re dealing with, potential consequences seem far worse than they actually are. Take the power out of fear by understanding it. Research all the potential outcomes (both good and bad) so you genuinely understand the risk of failure and benefits of success. Analyzing these outcomes will help you see through the fear of failure and make a logical decision.
  3. Put the worst-case scenario in perspective– One of the most powerful questions may be if you fail, how long will it take you to recover? The answer is probably less than you expect.
  4.  Understand the benefits of failure– As Emerson said, life is a series of experiments, the more you make the better. Each failure is a trial in an experiment and an opportunity for growth. Even if a failure costs you financially, the educational benefits can far outweigh the loss.
  5. Make a contingency plan– In case your first option fails, have a solid backup plan. If you manage risk intelligently, you can capture the benefits of high risk opportunities while leaving yourself a safety net.
  6. Take action– The best way to reduce fear andbuild confidence is taking action. As soon as you do, you’ll begin accumulating experience and knowledge. Everything is hardest the first time. Start off with small steps and build up your confidence until the fear of failure is manageable.

I thought these steps were excellent and by researching this topic my confidence grew. Mark’s recovery is slower than we’d like, but we took a high risk for a better quality of life. We applied all of these steps and added one more important step for us—prayer. This article helped me realize we did all we could to make a wise decision concerning Mark’s health. Now it’s important to stay positive and trust in the Lord.

Life Does Not Have to be Perfect

Three tips from Barbara Larsen’s Story, Joyce, an Angel in Our Home

I see a girl not a condition1. Feelings of failure are normal. I have known Barbara Larsen for many years. She is a neighbor and dear friend. I never knew she felt like a failure nor did I ever think of her this way. I only saw the kind, loving sister she is. I am grateful for her honesty and it helped me realize that sometimes we just expect too much of ourselves.

2. Frustration is common. It’s understandable and okay as long as it’s dealt with in a positive way. Find outside help from family, friends, church or other organizations. Share the responsibilities and the blessings that come with it. Taking a break is necessary for overcoming frustration.

3. Care Centers can be the best solution. Barbara said, “It’s okay, if it comes to a point you can no longer take care of your loved one in your home. Let the professionals do it. There came a time when I knew others could take better care of Joyce than I could. It was difficult to let her go, but we still loved and supported her at the care center even though it was hard to watch her slowly leave us.”

I really appreciated the stories shared this month by three guest authors of a mother, grandmothers and a sister. Since it is the month we celebrate Mother’s and Memorial Day I thought these three stories would be a perfect match for this month. I learned a lot from each one and based the Tuesday Tips this month on their stories. Each caregiver’s loved one has passed into a better place where health is no longer an issue. Each guest author stated that caregiving was a lot harder than they thought it would be and needed to seek help from others. I echo this feeling and add, it’s a good thing we don’t realize how hard it will be or we might not be so willing. I was impressed that each one voiced the love, personal growth and appreciation for the opportunity to give care even though or possibly because it was the hardest thing they’d ever done.

Life doesn't have to be perfectThese three stories helped me realized how similar caregiving is to raising children. Not only do they have like responsibilities, but when you’re in the middle of doing it—it seems like it will never end. However, it eventually does. Just like our children grow and leave our homes—our loved ones move on and return to their heavenly home. The responsibility does end and when it does there are things we will miss. Dianne, Julie and Barbara’s stories prompted us to appreciate the time we have and to make the best of our circumstances. Hopefully, in the end we won’t have regrets and we will be at peace, realizing we did our best.

I appreciated the honesty of each one as they expressed their overwhelming feelings and frustration at times. Thank you for reminding us that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful and neither do we.

Don’t Quit

Don't give upEveryone has those days where they feel like giving up. It might be caused by being overwhelmed with a project, or after having a bad day. It might be after you get a bad report, or grade in school, or at work. Sometimes it comes during an intense work out, or hard diet to follow.

Life is like a roller coaster, with its twists and turns and you can’t predict what will happen next. Life can beat you down, but in order to succeed you need to pick yourself up and try again.

On days like these I have a favorite poem I like to read that’s framed and hanging on my wall. I keep it in my exercise room for inspiration in my workouts, but when I just need uplifting I know where to find it—in this poem.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.


Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.


Often the goal is nearer than,

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.


Success is failure turned inside out–

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author unknown

Five important points from this poem:

  • Rest if you must, but don’t quit. Rest can bring clarity, renewed energy and perspective.
  • Within every failure are lessons that must be learned to achieve success in future attempts at the same or other endeavors.
  • Failure doesn’t mean that your attempt was a loss, but that you may have made a few mistakes that made you come up short of success.
  • Success is the opposite of failure which can be turned inside out.
  • Failure and success are closely related. There is always hope of success because most often you need failure to learn how to achieve success.

This poem encourages actions and deeds that lead to success. So, next time you are up until midnight writing or studying, feeling overwhelmed, or enduring a tough time, imagine yourself facing the “victor’s cup” in the end. Give yourself something worth working towards and think of these words, ” I must stick to the fight when I’m hardest hit, It’s when things seem the worst that I mustn’t quit.”