“I envy ppl who find themselves in a rut & make huge life changes just to ‘shake things up.’ How great would it be to have that luxury?!” – @DaddyFiles

I don’t mean to single out Aaron (@DaddyFiles) for criticism or scorn by highlighting this tweet. Rather, I present it as an example of a problem we all have.

We often talk a good game about improving ourselves.We make resolutions about it. We read books about it. Catholics even have an entire liturgical season dedicated to it (Lent). We rarely walk the walk – at least not for long.  We all say we want to change this or that, but there’s always a “but”, an excuse, a rationalization, an escape clause.

In short, we curse the darkness instead of lighting candles. Worse yet, we moan about the world’s problems without making an effort to find out how we contribute to them or how we can make a difference.

Secular and religious writings are replete with references to this phenomenon.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5

“We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

“Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

“Search thine own heart. What paineth thee/In others in thyself may be;/All dust is frail, all flesh is weak;/Be thou the true man thou dost seek!” – from “Chapel of the Hermits” by John Greenleaf Whittier

“I’m talking to the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.” – from “Man in the Mirror” by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett (performed by Michael Jackson)

“I am.” – G.K. Chesterton’s response to the question, “What’s wrong with the world?”

“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14:38b

I think there’s a nice way to summarize this folk wisdom – this natural law, if you will – and it’s become a sort of maxim I’m trying to live by. To wit:

“If you really want obtain or achieve something, be it concrete or abstract, you’ll find a way to do it. If you haven’t already, odds are you have yourself to blame.” – Eric Williams

Your resources – time, talent, money, whatever – are currently spent the way they are because at the core of your being their ends reflect what you really want. Your priorities betray you. Actions speak louder than words, and by your fruits you are known. Anything good you have failed to attain and any end you have failed to achieve is, ceteris paribus, your own fault; you obviously didn’t want it badly enough.

The next time you’re start to think or to say, “I’d love to do/have X, but…”, stop and consider your priorities. What do you make time for and what do you spend your money on each day, week, month, year? I’m confident you’ll find that your unattained goals are reflected in the priority you didn’t give them in your life, and the priorities implicit in your daily living reflect what really matters to you.

The first step to really reaching our goals is admitting that we didn’t honestly seek them in the first place. Otherwise, we would have already met them.