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life

The Best Time to Change

March 24, 2017 • By

I have an old friend that needs to make some changes in the way he lives. He doesn’t exercise and his diet consists mostly of fast food (LOTS of it). As a consequence, he’s obese, his energy is low, he gets sick a lot, and his marriage isn’t exactly on fire.

We’ve had many conversations (and even times of prayer) about his health, the way he eats, and small changes he could make to lose weight and improve his quality of life.

Over the years, he has made zero changes.

The tragedy of the situation doesn’t end with simply being overweight. It doesn’t take super powers to be able to see into his future. He’s headed for a mobility scooter, a heart attack, family members having to take care of him, or maybe worse.

Maybe a close encounter with death will inspire him to change. Maybe it will motivate him to eat a salad and go for a walk. Unfortunately, for many people, it takes a major crisis to get them to discipline themselves and start adjusting their lives to reflect what they SAY they value (health, family, finances, etc.)

Change is hard. We spend a long time developing unhealthy habits and they’re super tough to break. We usually don’t change until the pain of staying the way we are is greater than the pain we’ll endure changing the way we live.

The best time to make a change is before you need to.

Don’t wait until you’re $10,000 in credit card debt to change your spending habits, don’t wait until your wife leaves you to change the way you relate to her, and don’t wait until you have a heart attack before you change the way you eat.

If you saw a steamroller headed down the road toward you, you wouldn’t wait until your shoelaces were under it to get out of the way. That would be foolish! Yet, we pretty much do the same thing with our health, relationships, etc. We live in denial about the cause and effect of our decisions and then beg God for help when the self-imposed bomb drops.

Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

I think it’s important to do some self-evaluation on a regular basis. Ask yourself, “If I keep doing what I’m doing, where will I be in five years?” Or more specifically, “If I keep eating/entertainment binging/spending/parenting/leading/working the way that I do, where will I be in five years?”

Once you’ve figured out where you need to change, start moving in that direction. You don’t have to train for a triathlon, but you can start taking the stairs and maybe cutting out that second dessert. Set small goals you can keep and get back in the saddle when you fall off your horse.

The best time time to make a change is before you need to. Start making them now. It’s prudent, It’s wise, and it will save you massive amounts of unnecessary heartache in the inevitable future.


culture, life

12 Things To Do That are Better Than Looking at a Screen

February 28, 2017 • By

Everywhere I go I see people looking at screens. Families at restaurants ignoring each other for Facebook, small children watching shows on a tablet while waiting for the dentist, even people watching TV while engaged with their iPad (two-fisted screen consumption!)

Despite all the research that’s proven the negative effects of all of our screen usage, we still do it. On average, Americans spend over 10 hours a day consuming media.

There’s something incredible that happens when we turn off our phones, take a break from our tablets, and power down our TV sets. It helps us to focus, gives us time for more meaningful activities, improves our relationships, and improves sleep.

To that end, I thought I’d provide you with a short list of activities you can do without a screen. Challenge yourself to add theses screen-less activities to your life and see what happens!

1. Read a book. Reading a book stimulates the brain, reduces stress, and improves concentration. Not only that, but the right books will help you to grow and equip you to do some cool stuff.

2. Take a nap. When was the last time you took a nap? A 15 to 90 minute nap can improve brain function and creativity. Not only that, they’re awesome!

3. Go for a walk. Walking prevents heart disease and diabetes. It also improves your mood. I frequently get great writing ideas while I’m walking. Walking’s one of my favorite activities!

4. Journal. Journaling promotes mindfulness, helps you reach your goals, and can even boost your IQ! I’ve been journaling for over 30 years and I love reading through old journals to see how far I’ve come.

5. Have more sex. Ever since we decided to keep the TV off on Monday nights, my wife and I have experienced an increase in lovin’. Put away the screens, turn on some Adele and see what happens ; )

6. Have a pleasant conversation with a family member. Let’s face it, much of our interactions with family members center around taking care of business, dealing with urgent issues, and reminding the kids to get their chores done. Intentionally sitting down to talk about life is such a joy so do it often!

7. Learn to play an instrument. Learning to play an instrument increases your memory capacity, enhances coordination, sharpens concentration, and relieves stress. It’s also super rewarding. I decided to learn guitar a few years ago and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

8. Make a bucket list. All those things you want to do before you kick the bucket are much more likely to happen if you simply write them down. In fact, research shows that people who write their goals down are 50% more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t!

9. Play some board games. Board games bring the family together, improve your response time, and reduces stress. Take one off the shelf, put out some snacks, and make a night of it.

10. Do something artistic. Drawing improves creativity, memory, and problem solving skills. It’s also fun to share our artwork with others and display it around the house.

11. Do a nice surprise for someone. Doing nice things for others reduces stress, promotes mental health, and can even help you live longer. Make someone’s day and it could change your life!

12. De-clutter the house.  De-cluttering promotes clarity and focus, and (you guessed it) reduces stress. Go through the garage and get rid of what you don’t need, give away those clothes you haven’t worn and notice how much lighter you feel.

That’s just 12 things you can do without a screen but there are many more. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.