Posts Tagged ‘habits’

Own_Your_ChoicesI ate a cookie this morning.

I usually eat healthy foods during the week…fruit, nuts, salads, veggies. If I eat sweets, it’s because one of my colleagues has brought in something she’s baked and I’m not going to hurt her feelings by saying “no” to banana cake. But today, I caved. I ate a cookie. A plain old, comes in a box, cookie. I have no excuses. No one forced me. No one threatened me. I made the choice. I. Chose. The. Cookie.

We all have choices every day. We choose what to wear, what to eat, what route to work, what to spend money on, where to go to church (or not), what to do with our time. Our choices are just that. Ours.

If I want to achieve a certain goal, I’m going to need to make certain choices. Sometimes those choices involve sacrificing what I WANT RIGHT NOW, for what I want down the line. If I want to be a healthy 60-year-old, I’m going to have to choose to live a healthy lifestyle. (P.S. – It probably won’t happen tomorrow. I will be eating sweets on my big day). But if I don’t make those healthy choices, I won’t be blaming someone else. It’s on me. And I’m good with that. I’m tired of seeing social media postings blaming everyone else for the circumstances in our lives.

“I can’t believe that cop gave me a speeding ticket.”
“My teacher gave me a D – just for one missing assignment.”
“I have no time to exercise (read, pray, call my dad, visit with my grandma, shovel my neighbor’s walk…)”
“It’s my mom’s fault.” (A particularly touchy one – Thankfully for them, this has not been posted by my children)

Yes, there are a lot of people in our world who have very few options.  Circumstances, and other people’s sinful choices, have kept them in bondage. But for MOST of us, we must take ownership of our choices. If we want a different result, we need to make a different choice. We want a different life. We want a smoother road, We want a better job. Or financial freedom. Or healthy relationships. It begins with one step, one choice. And only you can make it.



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It’s a new year. Time for another installation of Friday Five – five totally random bits of wisdom to jump start your year.

  • One mistake doesn’t make you a failure.

Fallen off the New Year’s resolutions wagon yet? Hope not. But, if so, get right back on. Just because you ate something unhealthy, skipped a day at the gym, forgot to read your Bible, sat around all day watching Netflix, doesn’t mean you can’t right the ship. The author (James Clear) of my 2019 favorite book (Atomic Habits) gave me lots of great advice, but one thing that really stuck with me:

“If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.”

So…change your system. If putting your new habit for going to gym isn’t working at 6 AM, move it to 5 PM, or whatever time will work better. If your new resolution to eat healthier is failing, put a better system in place to give yourself a chance at success.

You are not the problem – your system is. This stuff is gold, people. Total game changer for me.

  • Volunteer your time somewhere.

Annual bell ringing in December

As we enter this new year, make a choice to volunteer to benefit someone less fortunate. So many wonderful organizations could use some of your valuable time. And trust me on this, you will benefit more than anyone else. If you struggle with depression, grief, or just plain old “winter blues,” sign up to help out at the local women’s shelter, Salvation Army, or my favorite pay-it-forward restaurant, Groundswell Cafe, in Cedar Rapids. Of course, there are loads of other places to help out – your kids’ school is always looking for extra help, the local library could use assistance shelving books, the animal shelter will never turn away someone to feed or play with the dogs and cats. Got a knack for construction? Check out Habitat for Humanity. Somehow, when we take our minds off ourselves and our own circumstances, and place them on someone else, we end up feeling better. This won’t cure clinical depression or anxiety, but volunteering just plain feels good.

  • Be anonymous.

Do something for someone else and don’t tell them it was you. Allow someone else to take the credit for your bright idea. Share a social media post without adding your own two-cents. Give a gift without a “from” label. If you have the funds, pay for someone’s groceries in line behind you…and don’t stick around to see how they respond. Clean up the break room at work without looking to see who is watching you. I think you get the idea.

  • Go to a museum and read all the stuff.

A few years ago, I convinced my husband to go with me to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. It was fun and we really enjoyed it. We had lived here for over 25 years and never taken the time to see the exhibits. Now I have a long list of other museums in the area that I’d like to see: the National Czech and Slovak Museum (always mean to, never have); the African-American Museum of Iowa; the History Center; and Brucemore.


The view of the Czech and Slovak Museum over the 12th Avenue bridge

I just clicked on the National Czech and Slovak Museum link – their current exhibit is the art and evolution of the guitar, open until January 26th. Sounds like a good mother-son activity!

  • Don’t text and drive.

My public service announcement for the day. This isn’t a joke – this is serious stuff. Please consider others before yourself. You can wait to check that text or take that call. Even a half-second of looking away from the road (including changing the radio station) can result in an accident. I’ve set my phone to “do not disturb” while driving so any incoming texts receive a message that I’m unavailable to respond until I stop driving. It may be annoying to the sender, but it helps me stay more focused on what I need to be doing – driving. And focus is my 2020 word.

Have a great weekend!

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Books are a big part of the McGarvey household. I’m proud that I taught my boys to read, and though their literary tastes are different, I read books with them and to them until they were older teens. One winter Don and I catalogued our personal library – about 3000 volumes.

Our shelves hold a variety of genres.

We may not have a huge variety (most are non-fiction, Christian educational or children’s classics) but we’ve been known to enjoy a sports biography, mystery, or Christian thriller.

I depended on my local library while homeschooling and still check out a book or two a month. And the introduction of Kindles in our home upped our reading game exponentially.

I’m going to try to read more physical books this year, choosing different authors and genres than I’ve read before. I asked Facebook friends for suggestions from recent books they’ve enjoyed. The responses ranged from The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather to Crushing by T. D. Jakes to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I need to update my Goodreads profile to add all the suggestions I received.

One of our favorite authors – Joel Rosenberg.

All this to encourage you to stretch your reading choices this year. Make reading a habit each day so that by the end of the year, you can give me some new book ideas for 2021.

One of my favorite books

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Now that 2019 is in my rear view mirror, I’ve set my focus forward. Each New Year’s Day I set goals for my year, begin a new Bible reading guide, plan ways to improve or change behavior or attitudes. Today is no different, and yet it is. As I approach my 60th birthday, I’m not as interested in improvement and change as I am with celebrating what’s already a part of my life. Yes – I still desire to grow and learn each day, but I also know God has done some amazing things in my life, given me wonderful relationships to nurture, gifts to be grateful for. I’m going to FOCUS this year – focus on what is right in front of me and do what is necessary to live in grace and walk in love.

My 2020 devotional by Bob Goff

Still have a daily Bible reading guide (two, actually) and habits to maintain (daily movement, healthy lifestyle choices), so this year is going to be my best one yet as I FOCUS on God, His plan for me, and the people He has put into my life.

Happy New Year!

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