Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rinse and Repeat

Most of us are familiar with laundry.  We wear the clothes we like, we wad them up and deposit them into a basket (or the floor), and when we run out, or it is laundry day, we wash them.  This cycle continues constantly throughout our life, with only the clothes varying.
There are many cycles in our lives, some larger and over arching like the seasons, others subtle and hidden.  We perpetrate cycles without ever knowing it, running certain habits and behaviors over and over again.  Many of us are often familiar with our cycles and welcome them like old friends come to visit.  Some of us detest our cycles, yet still we succumb to their familiarity despite our loathing.

Much of the content in Being Frank can really be summed up in one idea - break the negative cycles.  We are too frequently the victims of a vicious cycle of abuse we commit against ourselves; I see the results of my own and others’ cycles rear their heads all too often.
Amazingly, every single cycle we allow ourselves to fall into can be broken.  All it takes is a simple decision.
I use the word simple weighted with as much sincerity and seriousness as I can muster.  The idea of simple would imply that the the action of breaking the cycle is easy, which it is not.  The decision is the simple part.  We make up our mind about issues constantly during the day, choosing behaviors to manifest our experiences.  Making a decision is easy.  Following through is hard.
In a way, this is a cycle as well.  We decide we want to change aspects of our life, we craft a plan to enact the changes, we fail to follow through.  The next time around we do the same thing, accomplishing nothing more than creating frustration.  If we can find a way to break this cycle and others, we will find more fulfillment through our existence.  
One of my friends, Roland, recently exposed a cycle I have fallen into for the past couple of years.  I, like many Americans, complain about my weight, my fitness level, and my overall health.  Roland, who I have written about before, called me out.  He pointed out that while I have a goal, I don’t have a goal. Simply wanting to lose weight, even having a desired weight goal, is not enough.  He is right.  The most productive I have ever been with fitness training was while training for the Houston marathon.  While a knee injury prevented me from finishing my training, I dedicated myself to the program because I had a goal.  Roland told me I needed to set a goal, an end date, at which point my obligation would be complete.
This is certainly not the only way to break a cycle in your life.  First you must make the decision and second you must follow through, but having checkpoints along the way that motivate you to work and to change certainly helps.
Don’t succumb to the repetitive nature of our being.  Identify the cycles you no longer wish to repeat.  Make a decision and follow through.  Break the cycle.

Frank Chambers

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