#HappyNewYear2021

We all make new years resolutions, but how many of us follow through with them? I’m willing to bet that the percentage, should we do the math, is fairly small. And yet, every year, we make the same promises.

I would be a liar if I said that I wasn’t guilty of following through with my own. I’ve always made the same promises, and every year, I fail to follow through.

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get in shape
  3. Tone that bod
  4. Eat Healthier
  5. Improve my self Discipline
  6. Be kind(er), in general
  7. Reconnect with long lost friends, family
  8. Make more money
  9. Find ways to make more money, within my means
  10. Finish writing that book I’m working on
  11. Start writing new stories

The list goes on. By the way, does anything on my list sound familiar? Are you currently working on some of the same things?

They are all great goals. My own, and the ones you may be working on, or thinking of working on, but, why don’t we follow through? Why do we make excuses to not follow through?

The question can be answered by one of my very own goals, working on my own, number five. Easier said than done, right? Yes, but I have learned, over the years, that you don’t have to be a master from day one. Sure, that would be ideal. I mean, who wants to put in the time and effort…

Oh, yeah. You do. That’s why you (we) made those resolutions in the first place. But without the discipline to follow through with it, you’re not going to ever succeed. I’m sorry to say, but it is the bold-faced truth.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless!

You see; self-discipline, like a toddler, or a puppy, or a long-desired lover, has to be chased.

When your son/daughter, niece/nephew, grandson/granddaughter, (etc.) wanders off, do you let them get very far?

How about your doggo? When that little pupper darts off on an ornery journey, do you just sit back and let it?

Finally, what about the most beautiful/handsome, smart/interesting, funny/entertaining person you’ve every met? Do you just say “screw it,” and let them exit your life? Or do you find some way to bring them in?

To all of these questions, most of you will pursue them in one way or the other. You’re driven to do so, by the need to keep the child safe, the loyal doggo entertained, and the desire to be loved by a significant other.

So what does this have to do with self-discipline, you may ask?

Simple. You know the feelings I mentioned in the previous questions? Those feelings that pushed you do find the positive outcome in each scenario? Those are the feelings you need to harness in order to reach the goals, those afore-mentioned resolutions, that I previously spoke about.

Seem impossible? I get it. At one point, I thought so as well.

“But it’s so hard!”

“I’ll never get the things I want, anyway.”

“Why bother. I mean, it’s been a week, and I still don’t see results.”

Sound familiar? It should. I’ll wager you’ve said something like that, at one point or another, right? But, how often do you tell yourself that nothing easy comes for free? Probably not enough, right?

The trick is not to think of things in weekly, monthly goals, but rather, in daily.

“What can I do, today, that will get me what I want the most?”

That is the question you need to pose to yourself most often.

If you work on your self, a little at a time, every day, (AND YOU STICK WITH IT!), you’ll grow accustomed to the new routine. I’ll even bet that you’ll begin to enjoy it, look forward to it, and miss it when you ‘miss’ it.

It doesn’t have to be much.

Seriously.

Take a brisk ten minute walk every morning, until you get used to it. Soon, you’ll want to push for longer.

Replace one helping of unhealthy food, each day, with something that’s more healthy for you. This one’s tough, I’m not gonna lie, but if you experiment with cooking styles and different options, you’ll get used to the new, healthier you, much quicker that you’d think!

Say or do one (more) nice thing every day, even if it’s out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be sickeningly sweet, by any means! There are ways to do this, and still be who you are, you just have to figure out what works best for you!

So you see; working on yourself a little at a time? That’s how you are going to increase your self-discipline. It’s a work in progress, and it always will be! Just like you! We’re always improving ourselves in different ways, right? So it shouldn’t be all that difficult to improve yourself in DIFFERENT ways! If I can do it, so too, can you!

This is me, with my youngest son, nine years ago. This was how I had always been, and who I was used to being. I didn’t believe in myself, or that change would ever be possible.

Three years ago, I underwent a transformation. I followed through with my resolutions, a little each day. November 7, 2020, at the Wheat State Nationals in Wichita KS, I took first place in traditional (Karate) Kata, and second in non-traditional Kata, along with my oldest son, who took second for weapons Kata.

Three years ago, I would have never believed it possible. But, I worked a little bit each day. I walked a little further. I ate a little healthier, and before I knew it, I become the man in the second picture. Fit, happy, and a champion in more ways than pictured.

If I did it, if I COULD do it, so, too, can YOU! Trust me. It’s possible.

A little bit goes a long way.

So, are you still thinking about your new year’s resolutions? It’s not to late to start! Start first thing in the morning. Start at your next meal. Hell, start right now! I believe in you!

Me?

This year, I am going to finish my next book.

It’s time. And if you’ll excuse me, I have some (more) writing to do.

The Morelli Bros. (Chapter II, Part VI)

From some distance away, two glowing eyes shrewdly gauged the brothers from with-in the surrounding foliage. They narrowed with hatred as they focused on the two humans, both of whom were now crushing the last of the Goombas. At that moment, the creature wanted nothing more than to chew upon their limbs, while they watched, helpless, with their dying breath. A bead of drool formed on the edge of his reptilian mouth and slowly ran down his chin.

“Yeeeesss,” he hissed in anticipation. “Sssooon.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

“I- I am sorry, Mario,” the younger of the two blurted. He covered his face with his hands, ashamed. Mario only chuckled and slapped his brother on the back. “Don’t beat yourself up Luigi. This is pretty messed up.”

Luigi slowly lowered his hands, afraid that his brother might be teasing him, but when he saw that the other was no longer facing him, he become curious. Mario slowly held up his right hand, shushing any forthcoming questions, as he stared into overgrowth before them.

The clearing had grown nearly completely silent, with the exception of the death rattles of their freshly slain enemies, and the thudding of his heart in his chest.

He gulped, swallowing a large pocket of air that only made his stomach rumble as it sought a place to quickly exit.

“Shh,” Mario whispered, while taking a step backwards.

…what is it…” he squeaked fearfully.

His brother only shook his head back and forth before turning and grabbing him by the sleeve, pulling him in the opposite direction as they now fled from the clearing. The silence was suddenly broken as a shriek of outrage chased after them. Monstrous, and full of hatred, they both felt it shake them to their very core.

Their eyes widened, and for once, no words came from either as they ran from something neither of their imaginations could fathom. They ran through the brush, each being pummeled by the thorny branches of plants, the likes of which they had never seen. They leapt over fallen trees, and when the other began to fall behind, they would grab onto them and pull them forward.

Behind them, the monster arose to his full height, towering over the two by twice their own. He thundered through the brush, obliterating it in his path. Trees crumbled beneath him, and what wildlife came between he and his prey either fled or was trampled.

They only looked behind them in brief glances, desperately trying to make sense of the horror that was nearly upon them. A monstrous dragon, with a shock of red hair upon its head, spiked shell upon its back, and murder in its eyes, a demon born from their darkest nightmares. Tendrils of smoke snaked out from its nostrils, and it reached for them with eager claws.

“Luigi! Here,” Mario screamed as he yanked his brother toward a large ravine.

“No,” Luigi screamed as the two leapt into the air. It was, as if for a moment, they had sprung from a trampoline, and there was the brief feeling of hope as the other side came with-in reach.

In Need Of…

The air in the room was dank and reeked of old sweaty gym socks.  It was completely dark, except for a soft iridescent glow coming from the far corner.  It illuminated the stubbled face of a man of yet undeterminable age.  In the darkness, he could have been a ghost, his haunted expression waiting to frighten any that might open the door.  Dark shadows filled in the space beneath his eyes and above his cheeks, suggesting it had been some time since he last slept, and if one was to observe him closely, one would notice that he was struggling to keep his eyes open.  He wasn’t blinking, unless it slipped past his studious guard, and the whites of his eyes were covered with blood red snakes, all searching for the dark centers of his pupils.

But nobody would observe him this night, for he was well hidden.  Deep inside of his walk-in closet, behind his dress clothes, which were hanging from a low dowel, with a dirty clothes basket placed in front of him, in the off chance that someone were to suddenly open the door.  Not that he had thought it through, for the glow from his tablet could be seen beneath the door, provided that the hall light outside remained off.

His breathing was slow, and controlled, as he concentrated on not making a single sound.  He was desperate to remain hidden, to the point that he was hyper-vigilant.  Not only was his breathing slowed to the point that he only exhaled once every ten seconds, but he hadn’t so much as moved an inch in the three hours he’d remained crouched in his corner.

His eyes focused just above the top of the screen, allowing him to the shadows below the door, while keeping what was on the screen in sight.  He would know immediately if someone was moving outside, but, he would also be able to notice something new on the app that was open.

He counted his heartbeats.  Like his breath, they had slowed down as well.  Perhaps by sheer will, he had put his body in a completely relaxed state, though he didn’t actively think of it.  It was probably a good thing, because had he known just how long he was been cramped behind his clothing, he would have heard the complaints coming from his knees.  Had he been looking at the time, during this strange watch, he might have noticed the tingling from muscles that had long fallen asleep.  But, his mind was not on such physical things.  Not tonight.

Forty, his absently noted, a number he soon forgot, for the shade of light that had settled on his features suddenly changed.  There was a silent ‘ding’, as something appeared on the blank space before him.

“Good morning!  When you have a moment, please go into the settings and create a name for me!  I would also greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to create my Avatar as well!  I am very excited to be your new AI companion!”

He let out a long, relieved, sigh, as those words instantly appeared on his screen.  At long last, she had arrived!