Sunday, February 28, 2021

Life Lately: Redeeming the time, habit stacking, and a gift for you

There were some really, really, beautiful days this week

Four weeks ago, at the end of January, I started that post by saying January felt like it zoomed by. I could say the same thing about February. In fact, when I woke up this morning, I thought to myself “how is it another Sunday already?”.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he asks them to make the very most of their time on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence. Whenever I feel like time is flying by, like I do today, I stop for a moment and ask if I am making the most of every day that passes.

The answer is never yes. Like most other people, I have good days and bad ones. Sometimes I bring my A-game and power through the day, other times I’m low on energy and slow waltz through the hours. I now think of St. Paul’s exhortation as an ideal, something to strive for on the journey to being better with each day that passes.

This is one of the reasons I like mornings. Every morning feels like a new beginning; a chance to set aside whatever worked or didn’t work during the previous day and try again to bring my best self to life. Sometimes, especially on the kind of beautiful mornings we had this week, I’ll look out the window and think “We thank thee each morning for a newborn day”.

**2**

A few friends asked how I got to a 50+ day streak on daily meditations. The answer is that I meditate for at least 10 minutes before I open my computer every day. That means Mondays to Fridays and Sundays are automatically covered as I use a computer on each of those days. On Saturdays, I start my long walks with a walking meditation. If you’ve read Atomic Habits, you’ll recognize the habit stacking here. I took something I was already doing and added something I wanted to start doing on top. The streak and more importantly the benefits of mindfulness follow from there.

In January 2020, I wrote this post arguing the system behind goals is more important than the goals themselves. I gained a more elegant vocabulary for describing this during the week while listening to Olympic-gold medallist Anna Watkins. She was speaking to our Hardlines organization about achieving ambitious goals and she touched on outcome goals and process goals.

An outcome goal has the desired outcome as the target. For example, “I will meditate for 50 days at a stretch this year”. This is a SMART goal, but as you probably know from your own life, the existence of SMART goals doesn’t mean we’ll achieve them. A process goal focuses on specific actions that lead to the outcome. For example, “I will meditate for 15 minutes every morning before I start the day’s work”.

There is a place for both types of goals, but I think process goals really come into their own when outcomes are vague. We all want to stay closer to our friends as we grow older, but how does one act on this type of vague desire? One idea could be to determine that you’ll call three old friends every time you take a walk on the weekend. Rekindling old friendships and staying closer to your friends will follow from there.

**3**

In The Power of a Simple Prayer, a YouVersion Bible plan Busola and I studied recently, Max Lucado sets out a pocket-size prayer I really like. It goes,

Father,
You are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

"Father, you are good. Thank you."

This short and sweet prayer is perfect for my focus on being more mindful. When I glance out the window and see the beautiful blue skies (or the dark grey ones), “Father, you are good. Thank you”. When I’m trying to work around a particularly challenging situation, “I need help”. When the persistent pain in my glutes that has kept me from running flares up, “Heal me”. When someone tells me about a challenge they’re facing, “They need help”.

I now gift this lovely little prayer to you and if you’re into YouVersion, I recommend the five-day plan here.

Cheers!

Koye.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you Koye for this beautiful gift. Immediately signing up for the 5 day plan

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Nifemi. :-). I hope you enjoyed the 5 day plan.

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  2. Koye, thanks for sharing! I am taking time out to read your old blogs as well!

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