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From the desk of Lauren Palmer

“I could never give up my Starbucks.”

“I love sugar too much.”

“I can’t afford to save money, my life is too expensive.”

“I am not a morning person and could never get up early to go to the gym, or have a quiet time, or make my bed…”

What is it that you can’t sacrifice?

Answer honestly. I will.

If you were to ask me that very question, I would tell you this: I can’t go to sleep without the TV on. Specifically, I can’t go to sleep without a specific show being on. I’ve done it with Friends, The Office, Modern Family, and Downton Abbey. For YEARS, an episode of one of those shows has prompted sleep instead of a quiet bedroom with only the sound of a fan to lull me to sleep.

Why? Because when things are quiet, my mind races. I start thinking about the day, the boys, Brian, what needs to be done tomorrow and the like. I use TV as a crutch to keep me from having to take control of my thoughts, the familiar dialogue of the familiar characters becomes white noise and I am able to drift off to sleep. Do I think it’s “bad” to have the TV on while falling asleep? I don’t know, maybe? I know there are certainly worse habits I could engage in, but I don’t like the idea of being reliant on something so unsalable, so “nutrient poor”, so to speak. I could use that time in better ways like to pray, journal, do a few yoga poses, or read one of the jillion books stacked on my nightstand. I could use the quiet to center my thoughts and slow my breathing. Furthermore, why should I be reliant on anything to bring about a natural, biological requirement. Shouldn’t I just sleep when I am tired without the circumstantial fuss to get there? These are all excellent reasons to change, so why am I so against sacrifice? Why are you?

Friends, there have been two times in my adult life when I participated in a program that called for great sacrifice. The first was when Brian and I completed Financial Peace University, a faith-based financial course that teaches you about budgeting, living debt free, how to save etc…And the second was when I completed The Whole 30, the detox program/philosophy that has you eat only whole food for 30 days. Fruit, vegetables, meat, good fats, and some nuts are all acceptable. Flour, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and anything processed is out.

Both of these programs were tremendous shocks to our systems. Because how you spend and how you eat are often such deep-rooted habits, the change can be extremely challenging. During Financial Peace, we sacrificed extraneous expenses that had seemed so necessary. During the Whole 30, I stopped putting cream and sugar in my coffee and couldn’t rely on pizza as a quick and easy meal. It was tough! But the directors of both programs said something very similar during the introduction of the program, which I believe is what changed my mindset allowing me to get through it and truly change. In a nutshell, the message was,

“You are an adult. Absolutely no one forces you to spend/eat anything. You make the decisions, so make the decision to make wise decisions, not easy or habitual ones.”

That was it. I believed that statement and moved forward accordingly, and my life was forever changed by both programs.

What habit is holding you back? What habit annoys you? What habit has a hold of you? Whatever it is, You are an adult. That habit does not force you to continue doing it. You make the decisions, so make the decision to make wise decisions, not easy or habitual ones.

Guess what, you can live without Starbucks or sugar. You can get up earlier. There is room in the budget to save. You can write one hand-written letter a week. You are capable of exercising 20 minutes/day. You do have time to read your Bible. There is enough energy on Sundays for a little Bible lesson. You can cook tonight instead of eating out (this one is for Brian and me!) I promise you are stronger than the habit.

Tonight, I am not taking the easy way out. Tonight, I am taking control of my thoughts and going to bed without the TV on. What are you going to sacrifice?

To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.

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