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A Realistic Reset

As I reflect on 2023, this picture comes to mind: I’m sitting in the stands at a football game of my college alma mater and as the 4th quarter approaches, both students and players raise one hand with four fingers high in the air. A reminder to the team and our rival that the game was not over, we would not lose momentum and we would finish strong.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith...

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Going into the fourth quarter of 2023, my hand was raised high but I forgot to put up my four fingers and follow... I am thankful for a new year and a reset. Normally, Januarys are good for me, but I have this pattern where I lose momentum, and come fall, the unrealistic mountain I have placed before me leads to a weak finish.


Many if not most struggle with a nasty little critic called unhealthy perfectionism and its two sidekicks, extreme thinking and unrealistic expectation. This destructive trio usually causes one to strive for what is UNattainable and flip-flop from an all-or-nothing mindset (i.e. if I cannot do it perfectly, then I will do nothing), leaving you beat up in the process.



Richard Winter in his book Perfecting Ourselves to Death describes two types of perfectionism:

The healthy perfectionist is motivated by the possibility of growth and knows that it will take time, whereas the neurotic perfectionist is motivated by a sense of deficiency and urgency to be a different person now.

Don't get caught up on the two types, look deeper into what he is saying. To have a realistic reset we need to understand the difference between healthy and neurotic, become aware of our tendencies, and mentally pursue what is healthy.

Three keys to a healthy reset:

1.    A Realistic Beginning: When you set a goal, do you identify what needs to change as a deficiency within yourself (i.e. something you are lacking) OR an opportunity (i.e. an area that you would like to grow in)?

Perspective can change the mood, momentum, and possibility in an instant. Starting from a place of negativity will lead to discouragement and burnout. Reflecting on the positive (i.e. what you have done right, what you have accomplished, and where you want to go, etc.) can set you up to start right.

Healthy begins from a place of growth, not deficiency.

2.    A Realistic Process: When you set out to accomplish something, do you expect instant results?

Growth takes time and a series of progressive steps. If you expect an end result instead of progress, you set yourself up for discouragement. Quick fixes are neither realistic nor sustainable, lasting change always takes time.

Healthy operates incrementally and from a place of patience. while celebrating the little victories along the way.

3.    A Realistic Plan:  When you want to accomplish something, do you step out without identifying the actual goal or plan?

Often the reason we do not stick to or meet our goals is because they are not SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, or Time-specific). Think back on your last goal: was it specific and relevant to a bigger goal or just a broad generalization? Was it achievable for you at the time? Was it a series of mini goals that could be measured and progress seen? I'm betting if your answer is no, then you are finding yourself feeling deficient and even wondering if a reset is even worth giving effort to. Click here for more information on SMART goal setting.

Healthy proposes what is reasonable, strategizes, and sets itself up to succeed.

1 Corinthian 9:14 says, run in such a way that you may win.
Make the mind shift today to be ready all four quarters.
The winning is in the process.
Do not lose momentum and finish strong,



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