Updated: Dec 25, 2020
I got my weekly email from Home Depot the other day and they were featuring appliances. I had to look closely at the picture because it looked like the refrigerator (you know, that place where you keep cold and frozen food) had a massive screen on it that would make a Tesla jealous. So, I clicked through and sure enough the Samsung refrigerator has “Family Hub 2.0” with voice technology. Think like your favorite voice driven speaker (Alexa or Google Home) with a huge screen on your refrigerator. Access all your favorite recipes and it will even read them to you. You can even add items to your shopping list and have them delivered (in certain markets). Instead of using a magnet to put your children’s art on the fridge you take a picture and post it to the screen (cool or creepy – you decide).
It is possible you have been waiting for just this device, and if so congratulations, it has arrived. For me, however, it seems more like an expensive distraction. Then again, I probably have 100 cookbooks and love to peruse them for great ideas – something easily done online these days (and I still do that from time to time as well). It does seem a bit like overkill to me still, I am happy to do my searching on my laptop or tablet (or cookbook) and use that in the kitchen – don’t need it on the fridge – but thanks anyway.
It is easy to get distracted by glitzy and new things and forget about the basics. Yet the basics are just that, the basics. If I want to be healthy and my fridge is full of junk food, high sugar treats, and old moldy stuff it won’t matter if my fridge can talk or not.
When it comes to basics it is hard to get more basic than my personal motivation. No matter what I want to do in the kitchen, at work, or in any aspect of life the most basic factor is my level of personal motivation. This is not the glitzy “watch a video” and feel pumped kind of fleeting external motivation, but the intrinsic (inside) motivation that takes me through hard times and helps me really enjoy the good times. This type of motivation is stronger, more durable, and more powerful than any external motivation could ever be.
You may read the words personal motivation and feel like I am making a judgment about you, but that is not the case. Your personal motivation is simply what it is, no judgment required. It is helpful to understand your motivation is built on core skills of self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-efficacy. These skills can be developed, no matter your background, education, race, or any other factor. This is a deeply personal journey, and no one can do it for you. As you work to develop these skills they act as a catalyst to energize your life to greater goal accomplishment, more balance, and hope.
During the Christmas Season here are 3 nudges to help you remain focused on the basics - even if you have a lot of distractions :
Prioritize simple family traditions, whatever your family looks like. Simple traditions may involve a Christmas card, reading the Christmas story or watching a video ( this is one of my favorites https://www.comeuntochrist.org/light-the-world-2020/the-christ-child) , Dickens famous Christmas Carol, a phone call, a particular type of gift (my wife gets me pajamas every year - which we open on Christmas Eve). You get the idea. Simple traditions remind us of the things and people that matter most.
Limit any kind of screen time. This may be harder for people under 30, but the evidence is clear that this helps you connect with those around you and have greater peace and even joy. Choose blocks of time during which you will have your screen (phone, tablet, TV, etc.) turned off, or perhaps better leave them off except for specific blocks of time. If you have family calling or connecting, great, schedule it during those blocks of time. If you are single or otherwise depend on technology to have any connections try to schedule times when you turn "things" off, pause, breath, read, do crafts, journal, puzzles, service, whatever.
No matter the degree and duration of your struggles take a moment to note 3 things you are grateful for. If things are really tough, this can be hard. When times are tough, however, the practice is even more powerful. You can use a gratitude journal (like Oprah), and when times are tough or your having a bad day it can bring a smile, some perspective, and needed reminder that there is good with the bad. This powerful practice works for men, women, families - no matter your culture, language, or background.
I hope you enjoy your toys and gadgets carefully wrapped under the tree this Christmas. I hope you take time to also enjoy the basics simple traditions, limiting screen time, and noting your gratitude's. Certainly, if you build the basics into your traditions everything else about the season will be brighter – even a talking refrigerator.
HVASF exists to reinforce intrinsic motivation, the foundations include values, self-efficacy, self-compassion, and self-esteem. I have created affirmations and related insights which you can learn more about on my website www.hvasf.com. More recently I have partnered with artists to create beautiful art and affirmations and placed them on useful things like cell phone covers, my shop can be found here hvasf.redbubble.com. Have a great day - and if you want to see posts and updates please share your email, and check out my Facebook page, and if you think it could be a positive part of your life - like the page.