Get out of the muck!

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- Have you heard the one about the businessman who, while walking to work one day, decided to take a shortcut across a cow pasture? After hopping a barbed wire fence, the man began his trek across the field. Unfortunately, he soon caught the attention of an enormous bull off in the distance. The bull charged.

Looking up and realizing his predicament, the man promptly threw his briefcase down -- spilling its contents onto the muddy ground -- and ran as fast as he could back to safety. Managing to get close enough, the man dove headfirst under the fence just before being caught by the animal.

A nearby farmer who had witnessed the event ran over to help the man to his feet. "Boy, Mister, that was close! That bull almost got you!" the farmer shouted. The businessman -- bloodied, battered, and covered head-to-toe with cow pasture muck -- caught his breath and exhaled, "Yeah, and he almost gets me every time."

Without question one of the greatest qualities a resilient person can possess is determination. Those who are most successful in life have the fortitude to press on even when circumstances are at their most uncomfortable. But success also means knowing when it's time to pause and reflect, and knowing when to adjust the routine.

Question: Are you feeling a little beat-up? For instance, have you been stressing lately because there doesn't seem to be enough time in your day? Perhaps you could use a simple 30-minute tweak in routine. Here's an idea: In the morning, try getting up 15 minutes earlier than normal, dedicating that time to chores that never seem to get finished or finished on time (just be mindful of those still sleeping!) In the evening take 15 minutes away from your TV watching or Web surfing, using those moments to take a walk, to do those dreaded sit-ups and push-ups (that never seem to get done), or perhaps for some spiritual/meditative quiet time.

Think about it: you'll have shaped your routine to help you eliminate some nagging stressors and also used it to help you get more fit (either physically or spiritually) -- which, of course, reduces even more stress!

While this is just one example (among literally millions) of adjusting a routine, the principle will never change: doing the same thing over and over but wishing for different results will only leave you tired and drained. If this sounds like you, why not take some time to pause and reflect on your routines? Perhaps it's time for a change.

If you're having trouble identifying what seems to be running you ragged, find a trusted friend or two (or even a chaplain) for advice. He or she will certainly see things from a slightly different perspective, and perhaps help you steer clear of some mucky routines. God bless!