"A wise man changes his mind, a fool never." ~Spanish Proverb
Outward change begins on the inside. Whether becoming more organized, more fit, less frivolous with time, less easily offended, a person needs a change of mind before anything can manifest itself. I recently downloaded As a Man Thinketh (1903) by James Allen to my Kindle. The title of the book is based upon Proverbs 23:7 "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." I am also reading How to Live on 24 Hours a Day (1910) by Arnold Bennett. These 100+ year old texts are uncannily relevant and spoke to me in gripping ways as I read each. I was compelled as I read because I felt both of these could have been written about/to/for me. Indeed, the substance of a person's thoughts equates to the substance of a person's character, actions and life in general. I don't want to be junk - I want to be better.
The thrust of both works focuses on a person's ability to control the mind and focus on how to establish priorities. This is probably my greatest obstacle to finding success in the areas I am striving to change. There is a great difference between having an idea and experiencing a change of mind.
I am the Queen of Big Ideas. You know me, the one who is going to be more organized at home and school. The one who is really going to lose the weight and start exercising "this time". I'm the one who has lots of big plans and makes a good start, but nary a successful finish.
Allen says "(c)hange of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts". How true. If I don't start to view food differently, I will never eat healthfully consistently enough to see a change. He also says "(i)f you would protect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind." WOW. That knocked me down. I have to get beyond my big ideas and make them a way of life, a philosophy. I can eat salads all the livelong day but if I view it as a punitive action for my food sins, rather than component of healthy change, it is not truly beneficial to me. I need new habits, which are birthed only when a habit of mind precedes.
This also goes for how we spend our time. How much time do I waste looking at rubbish on television or reading statuses on Facebook? Too much. How much time have I wasted losing and gaining the same pounds? Straightening up the same messes? SIGH. What a shame. No more. Bennett notes, quite accurately, that "if one cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper terms of expenditure, one does muddle one's life definitely." Muddle. That's one word for it. My chronic inability to manage my time effectively is the worst kind of sin, for we are allotted 24 hours each day, and can never regain lost, wasted or poorly-used time. My new endeavor having read this book, is to live consciously and intentionally (before just an idea I had) by making new habits.
If this blog entry seems like a bunch of heady mumbo-jumbo, that's because it is. I need to start in my head, to establish systems that allow me the right balance of pleasure, work and rest. I highly recommend these two short reads. They are hyperlinked above and I have found them to be catalysts for putting a defined point on the general ideas I have been having about a disciplined mind and good time management.
In practical terms, I publicly subject myself to scrutiny by confessing the following intended changes:
1. I will exercise a minimum of 5 times per week (3 - C25K sessions and 2 - walks with the family, yoga, etc.)
2. I will restrict my time on Facebook to once daily at most. YES ONCE. I may even skip a day. I don't really need to see all your thoughts or post all of mine all the time.
3. I will (Lord help me now) eat according to my Weight Watchers plan by logging every morsel. I will enjoy food as fuel for my body, not reserve to be stored up in various jiggly places.
4. I will engage at least 1 hour daily in study of beneficial things like the Bible, literature, poetry and the like.
5. I will not beat myself up if I fall short in any of the above areas, though I will strive to do my best.
I can do it. It's all in my head.