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  • Tammy Arlene

We are coming up on the “New Year Resolution” season, where we set unrealistic goals for the upcoming year. Grand plans are made, and we may have every intention of reaching our goals. Perhaps, as the new year dawns, the thought crosses our mind that these goals never get accomplished. Perhaps we shouldn't bother with it. NOOOOOOOO! Let's cancel that negative self talk. Let's set actionable goals and stick to them.

"Negative Self Talk is a Goal Destroyer"

Are you ready to do something positive and permanent this year? I have most everything I need on my handy smart phone, but a gadget doesn't allow me to visualize my goals as I am creating them. Smart phones are great for putting action steps toward my goals into the calendar or on a "to do" list, once the goals are visualized.

When visualizing my goals, I use pen, marker, magazine cutouts, stencils, and other items. In the past, I’ve made vision boards and posted them in my home office. These worked well to keep my plans in front of me. Now I use a small 3 ring binder and keep it close at hand, so I can stay on track.

I create a cover first. I put a photo of the one I made for the new year above. I am setting goals in four areas in my life. There is something affirming about seeing it this way. I also have dividers and notebook sheets in between so I can note my progress and cancel out any negative self talk. I love marking off steps and doodling as I move forward throughout the year. I may even play with watercolor on some of the pages for fun. The dividers have pockets in them so I can store items that are related to that goal.

It is a wonderful feeling to flip through the binder at the end of the year and see how far I've come.

I'd love to hear from you about how you are setting goals for 2021.

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  • Tammy Arlene

Electronic distractions can create noise clutter in our lives. This type of distraction can cause emotional strain that is reflected in relationships with others, our ability to work, sleep, and maintain healthy eating habits.

Even when things seem quiet, there is noise if we have electronics nearby. It's a buzz that is not obvious - it is running in the background. Constant smartphone alerts, social media messages, texts and breaking news chimes, can leave a person pretty frazzled and disorganized. Just having our devices nearby can create stress.

Alerts and interruptions distract us from important tasks. We weren’t designed to “multi-task” or face constant dings and alarms. Some of these things can’t be avoided, however they can be muted. For example, I use a continuous glucose monitor so I keep my phone handy for extreme high and low alarms. I’ve turned off the other chimes.

Choose alert clutter that is not necessary and silence it. Check emails on a schedule instead of each time one pops in to the inbox. Phone calls are not always urgent, and voicemail can be handy. It may take discipline, and being firm yet kind with others, but it can be done.

Can you take time away from electronics and noise? Perhaps a walk in the forest or a park without any gadgets turned on will give you a much needed break.

Jesus took time away from the noise to focus on what was important, and we can practice this too. Even a short walk on a break can help clear the mind and relieve tension. Can you make time to give it a try?

What are your thoughts?

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  • Tammy Arlene

Let's explore this together. The first thing that comes to mind may not be your heart's answer.

According to Matthew 6:21 (NIV)

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

That quote stands out to me when I consider priorities in my life. Let’s take a moment to consider the question and use logic to find the answer. The first place we can look is our bank accounts. Where do we spend money? More importantly, what do we spend it on?

Now, take a look at your time. This is easy to do with a smart phone. Mine tracks my screen time and tells me how much time I spend starting at the gadget. It also tells me what I use and for how long.

Well, maybe I have had one (or ten) too many fancy coffees this last month. However, a couple of those were when I was connecting with others. This type of scrutiny isn’t an all or nothing thing. There is value in getting a latte as long as it is in moderation and we are not straining our finances over the indulgence.

Oops, and looking at my phone I realized I spend a lot of time on social media. Some of it is spent encouraging others, and connecting with people that I can’t see right now because of the pandemic. Maybe I can drop a card or note in the mail to them instead of looking at cat videos for an hour though. Also, I may find time I could spend with family—which is something I truly value.

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