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March Chaplain's Reflection

Portrait of Chaplain, Capt. Benjamin McEntire, with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Portrait of Chaplain, Capt. Benjamin McEntire, with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- If you're reading this, then statistically you have long since broken your New Year's Resolutions, if you even tried to make them this year. Most people who make resolutions for the New Year tend to give up about January 16th. While most New Year's Resolutions are positive goals and would usually change someone's life in a healthy direction, most people struggle to make them a priority.

The ability to prioritize is critical to get through life, and that's true on every level. Most good things in life (and all too often life itself) sadly meet with loss because people fail to prioritize. Usually it's a matter of slipping on a long-term goal in order to get a momentary pleasure. For example, the United Nations estimates it would take about $30 billion a year to solve world hunger, yet each year Americans spend roughly $44 billion on tobacco. A similar study shows that we spend enough on Black Friday to provide clean water to everyone in the world.

When we look at big issues like world hunger, the need for clean water or the security threats we face as a nation, we often feel overwhelmed. Yet they are the same as our resolutions. The goals seem too big, but achieving them is nothing more than choosing to prioritize in the small moments. Running a marathon seems impossible to many, but thousands do it successfully every year. Many feel like they can never lose the weight that plagues them, but many others are able to lose weight and keep it off. What makes some successful and others fail? They apply their priorities in the day-to-day and don't make them distant goals.

Almost every goal can be achieved if we make working toward it a daily priority. That's why some people are able to achieve their dreams while others think of them as a distant fancy. It takes discipline to keep one's goals a priority in the mundane activities of our life, but doing so makes the difference between success and failure. What does this look like? It looks like choosing to drink water instead of tea or soft drinks when you're thirsty and trying to lose weight. It looks like not letting a week of non-stop rainy weather stop you by choosing to run anyway when you're training for the PT test. It's choosing to cut up your credit cards when you're working to be debt free so you won't be able to buy things you don't need until you are able to pay with cash.

Big goals are a daily decision, not a long term one. That makes them tougher, but it also makes them more doable. Let's say you want to quit smoking and also have a dream of ending world hunger. What would happen if you gave an organization that feeds needy children the amount of money you would spend on cigarettes every week? You'd be out the same amount financially, but not only would you be healthier, you'd feel better that others were being fed by what you spent. What would happen if you wanted to make over 90 percent on your next PT test and decided to do 100 pushups every day by doing 10 pushups occasionally throughout the day?

Take time this week to think about your priorities and goals. What keeps you from doing the small things that would bring them to be? Whatever your goals, if you put something into place each day or each week that brings you closer, you'll find that the small changes you see can build big interest and will give you the encouragement you need to go past what you thought was achievable. If there are significant issues keeping you from meeting your life goals, whether they are to have a happy marriage, a successful career or even to lose 10 pounds, we in the Chaplain Office are here to support you. Call us at 803-647-8265 and we will be glad to help you!