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The answer may be right in front of you

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I finally decorated the exterior of my house.

We’re so far into December now, I considered not doing it at all. But I like driving up to my house at night and seeing the pretty lights hanging from my porch. It’s such a small thing, but it brings me a lot of joy.

Once I put up the lights, Christmas trees and bows, I realized just how horrible my yard looked. The leaves had all fallen in one terrific gush a few weeks back, and with our hectic schedules we hadn’t had a chance to clean, rake or any of the other things one does to make sure the neighbors don’t give you the side-eye instead of a friendly wave.

We considered hiring a lawn service. We figured it was well worth the money to get everything cleaned up so we can start our spring yard projects without leftover winter and autumn hindrances. However, as it often is during the Christmas season, we have far more good ideas than cash on hand.

In an effort to save some of that hard-earned cash, I canceled my gym membership. I rationalized that my time had become so limited, but honestly, I just did not want to go. I enjoy working out, but only on my terms. I’d much rather take a Zumba class than work on a machine. I still have some weight to lose, but I knew I was not going to utilize that membership and was tired of wasting money.

Early this week, I thought about something my mom used to say about doing chores.

“You can make a big difference in an hour. Just get to work.”

I took out the rake and tarp, and got to work. In a little over an hour, I had made a big difference in the yard. Even better, I was getting a great workout. My arms, legs and core were engaged. The quiet allowed time for me to talk with God and more importantly, listen. Putting myself in motion was the answer for not just one, but two of my issues.

As a person who is easily overwhelmed, I understand how it feels to think you will never tackle your issues fast enough to see a noticeable difference. So, we put things off until we have money. Until we have time. Until the New Year. What this week has taught me is that we already have the answers within us, and they usually manifest in the things we don’t want to do.

Let’s start doing away with New Year’s resolutions. Why wait? I challenge all of us to take my mom’s sage advice. Take an hour today to work on your house, your resume, your business or your finances. Doing so may answer more than one question in your life.

Just get to work.

LaMonique Hamilton Barnes is a reporter and copy editor for The Enterprise and The Wilson Times. She blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.

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