Sandra Gibbons

Sandra Gibbons

lives in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. She writes about parenthood, lessons learned, and creating moments of happiness.

Paradigm Shift

Old thinking

As I did laundry Sunday afternoon, scooping up the contents of the washing machine and tossing them routinely into the dryer, my mind fast-forwarded to Monday morning at the office—the pangs I always felt as I recognized yet another mid-month was approaching, and here it was, now x months since I had sat down and dedicated some time, some of my precious time, to writing something out. Just writing a little something out, and yet somehow sharing everything with the world. Everything that matters in that moment, anyway.

Where had the past six months gone? Where was the enthusiasm and resolve I had just weeks after my thirtieth birthday? Like the new year's resolutions of the preceding years, my enthusiasm and resolve had withered away along with every intention, every inclination, of getting into shape or slaying the recluse inside me. And damn all of the self-promises and empty vows, that they would rear their heads into my passions and dreams and keep me immobilized.

Fast-forward to six months later, to now, and I'm a liar and an excuse-peddler. I haven't grown one bit. How can I feel like I'm not a total failure and empower myself to give it my best once more?

Paradigm shift

I focus on what I have accomplished, and how I accomplished it.

To share an example, I never really believed that I'd find it in me to cook at least three nights a week, yet here I am, three months in and perfectly capable of whipping up a quick and healthy meal in my very own kitchen. It took some dedication, some support and participation from my boyfriend to help keep us both accountable, yet here we are, over three months in, and we're still cooking meals together and feeling better about ourselves as a result.

You see, in the past several months, I've learned a very important truth when it comes to implementing big changes in life—it's foolish to expect success when I'm only considering myself as a factor in my achievement. Let's read that again and stew about it for a while. I promise it makes sense. It's foolish to expect success when I'm only considering myself as a factor in my achievement.

All things vie for shares of my time, and it's up to me alone to set the expectations and guidelines that determine how my time is spent. In the workplace, I need to ask for help, for understanding, and voice what it is I'm needing so that I can go into work a little happier—a little rejuvenated. In my personal time, I need to communicate to loved ones where my dreams in life reside and how I intend to get there, and I need to ask for space to grow and develop myself. You see, it's all about open communication and setting expectations with everyone around you—wherever they may be. Because everyone around you can be a depressant if you allow them to be. However well-intentioned or however much they care about you, family and friends are capable of stifling your growth and resolve if you don't define the rules or guidelines to which they fit into your life—if they fit into your life. Transform your relationships into stimulants for personal growth, and personal achievement will come.

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