Is Your’s a Wonderful Life?

This Christmas we started a new tradition–watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. A classic.

I cried throughout. Despite the positive title, it revolves around situations, people, and events that keep George Bailey from the life he’s always dreamed of. And to top it off, a seemingly impossible crisis finds George a very desperate man.

Many people have been there, or will be some day. What makes life worth living? And how can we follow our dreams?

Here are two key factors:  God and being intentional.

I believe God makes life worth living because he gives me unconditional love, forgiveness, true freedom, purpose, and a hope for the future. And in turn, I can share those with others. Do we really have those things without God?

We can’t always plan how our lives are going to go. Look at George Bailey:  Nothing seemed to be turning out the way he wished, but he was a happy man in the end. At the same time, the dreams we have for our lives won’t happen unless we are intentional with how we live. For example, say you want to be a famous painter, but you spend every spare minute watching TV. A few years later, those hours watching TV haven’t brought you a single step closer to being that famous painter. (You might be able to tell I’ve been reading Quitter, by Jon Acuff)

So. New Year’s Day, I will be working my way through Michael Hyatt‘s Creating Your Personal Life Plan. That is my first step toward being intentional with my life.

What’s your plan for New Year’s Day….or your life?

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Goal Setting, Self-Discipline & Dreams

I mentioned in an earlier post that I rediscovered my joy of writing fiction. I am more than ready to jump right in!

There are two things I have heard over and over, when it comes to seriously attempting something:  Make your goals very specific, and write them down. So here I go…

I am attempting to finish and publish a novel. And there are four things I have implemented, or plan to:

  • I contacted my former writing accountability partner. We plan to hold each other accountable for our use of time, and any specific goals. I am so excited! Getting feedback from another writer can be a ton of fun.
  • I purchased Michael Hyatt‘s Get Published. This is information I have always wanted to get my hands on! I have mentioned before that we are doing Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps, so this material was purchased with money made from selling our mower.
  • Once I am done training for my marathon, I will use that time to write. Marathon training has definitely upped my self-discipline ability!
  • I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month promotes quantity–50,000 words to be exact–over quality. But it will enable me to get the gist of my story out. I can go back to tweak and research later.

This is going to take a lot of self-discipline! But I figure, when’s a better time to start? Just this evening I told someone there are too many people who never pursue what they’re really passionate about…not enough time, not enough money, too many other things to do, or they spend too much time in front of the TV. If I have the chance to accomplish my dream, I’m going to go for it!

Of course, I haven’t given myself a specific deadline to have the first draft done… Maybe it should be January 1, 2013, considering I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. What do you think?

How have you used self-discipline to pursue your dreams, or to reach a goal?

What Will You Do?

There always have been and always will be obstacles and challenges in life. They surround us. It’s how we react to them that determines where and how far we go.

What’s your breaking point? At what point do you resign yourself to the “inevitable”? What has to happen for you to consider a goal in life not worth it anymore?

Too many people give up way too easily:  It’s too far to drive. I don’t want to give up my daily Starbucks for that financial goal. I don’t have time, I need to relax…in front of the TV. Still, there are fighters!

In fact, I saw a fighter tonight. She was running toward me. Usually I make eye contact with other runners and say “hey”, but she didn’t look my direction. That’s when I noticed she was missing a leg. In place of her leg was a prosthetic. Later, we passed again. This time I said, “Hey, you’re an inspiration!” She replied, “Thank you.”

How many people would have taken up running, without a leg? How many people would have even thought of the possibility? What about areas in our own lives? Things we have no control over…Things we may be missing….Things that make us different… Are we willing to think outside the box? Are we willing to commit the hard work? Are we willing to go a different route? Are we willing to push through the pain?

Are we willing to do what it takes to achieve dreams others label as impossible?

Do what you need to do to achieve your dreams!

Castle, Rejection, & Failure

My current favorite TV show is Castle. It has all the elements I love….mystery, humor, romantic tension, and the main character is a writer. And, in my biased opinion, it’s well written. A recent episode contained a conversation between Castle and daughter that struck a chord with me:

Daughter: How do you do it, dad?

Castle: Do what?

Daughter: Well, that letter that you have framed in your office.

Castle: My first manuscript rejection.

Daughter: Yeah. How can you stand having it there?

Castle: Because it drives me. And I got twenty more of those……….. That letter, that letter reminds me of what I’ve overcome. Rejection isn’t failure.

Daughter: Sure feels like failure.

Castle: No, failure’s giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.

Most of my life I have viewed rejection as failure. Castle, though a fictional character, reminded me that rejection can be an open door to another opportunity. We may miss that opportunity if we categorize rejection as failure. Many people who have impacted the world “failed” originally, just as this video describes: