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Commentary Search

June Chaplain's Reflection

  • Published
  • By Capt. Benjamin McEntire
  • 169th Fighter Wing
Quit Putting It Off!
Most people have some type of procrastination problem. Sometimes that's for understandable reasons--we've got so many things demanding our time that we put other really important things on the back burner, or the problem is so big it's easier not to go there right now. Sometimes it seems like the right time to deal with the things we keep putting off never come around. Here's the secret: the right time is when you start to work on it.

For most of our personal goals and projects, the right time is as soon as we start to make it a priority. Sometimes that means setting aside a lot of time to deal with it, but for many, a consistent effort over a long period of time will do what we need. For an easy example, think about this: If someone keeps struggling to get through a physical training test with a passing score, then working on their fitness is obviously something that needs their time and effort. It's important. Still, when they have family and work priorities that take up so much time each day, it's easy to let times for exercise slide, especially when the next test is months away. The problem is that you can't start training for the PT test a month and half out and expect to do much better! To do well you have to make it a priority now, meaning you've got to come up with a training plan and start working it before it's convenient for you. It has to be enough of a priority that you can devote 30 minutes a day to running or to calisthenics.

Most of our issues in life are like that. If we make something enough of a priority that we can devote 30 good minutes to it on a regular basis, minutes where we really focus and apply ourselves, in the long run we can avoid crises that require hours of work to solve. That's true in most of our jobs, for comprehensive fitness, and even for our relationships. It's amazing how far talking to someone for only 30 minutes on a regular basis can help sustain a connection with them. It's not enough to grow a deep connection, and for our most meaningful relationships that should never be the norm, but as a minimum during our busy periods those 30 minutes can go a long way toward sustaining a healthy relationship.

While giving things enough of a priority that we invest a bit of time regularly can help keep crises from arising, there are many times in life where we need to go ahead and deal with big issues we've put off before they do harm. Relationship problems are a clear example of that. Many times in relationships, one person will avoid talking about something with their significant other to avoid the pain or conflict it would create. Often they hope the problem will go away, or if it's something on their end, that they can fix the problem so it will disappear and the other person will never know.

If we've learned anything from bad romantic comedies, that's usually not what happens. In real life, good relationships that had lots of potential are lost because one person waited too long to confess or, even more the case, to forgive. Of all the things that have destroyed relationships, a failure to forgive, particularly when it could have healed a relationship, has done the most damage. Still, so many of us wait until we feel like forgiving, even though we never will feel like it until we've actually forgiven.

Delaying can hurt us spiritually too. In our Comprehensive Airman Fitness we talk about "Spiritual Resiliency," meaning the things in our life that give us a sense of purpose and meaning, and which provide us with a moral compass. As warfighters, working through those things in our life is something that has to get attention before we go into warfare. I've talked before about how combat uniquely challenges our moral sensibilities and can devastate our sense of meaning. The more we put off working through those things that contribute to our spiritual resiliency, the more impact the hard situations will have on us.

What are you putting off that needs your attention? What things need you to make some daily investments, and what are the elephants in the room that have been sitting there too long? What needs your personal attention, and where would you benefit by having others work through some issues with you? If you've been sitting on a problem for too long, or if you'd like help coming up with a plan to deal with an issue, call us at 803-647-8265. We'd be glad to help you gain a handle on life!