An oxymoron is a contradiction in terms. Some examples of oxymora are jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, Holy Wars, pretty ugly, or freezer burn. Oxymora have long amused me, and I keep a list of the funniest ones. Several weeks ago, I added a new oxymoron to my lengthening list. I heard a report regarding a world famous, fast-food restaurant that is now selling bottled water in half of its national outlets. Being something of a health advocate, I marveled at the restaurant's marketing plan. Sure, a company should be responsive to customer needs. However, those frequenting fast-food outlets aren't there for foods that are considered health-friendly. Fast-food customers frequent these franchises for convenience and taste rather than for low amounts of saturated fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium. I would be interested in knowing why this particular company thought bottled water would sell in their outlets given the rest of their menu. Selling bottled water in a fast-food restaurant seems like an oxymoron.

Musing over this oxymoron, I started to think about how we create our own oxymora in our lives. We want to live long and healthy lives, but many of us continue to smoke or drink in excess. Or we want to remain in physical shape, but we still retain our sedentary lifestyles. Others want to retire and enjoy their leisure time, but few are doing as much as they should to guarantee that they would have gold for their golden years. Still others of us want to get good grades or a new job without doing the homework that is necessary to reach either goal.

Here are several suggestions that we can use to avoid creating more oxymora in our lives.

  • Take a personal inventory of the areas in your life that are contradictory. Write down those issues that need to be addressed. It is important to commit these areas of contradiction to paper. Suppose your list includes getting into shape, losing fifty pounds, and taking care of some medical problems. By writing them down, you are more likely to stay focused on your task than something for which you have made only a passing mental note.
  • Make an informed estimate about how long it will take to resolve those issues. A healthy weight reduction plan should get you to your goal in six months. If you were to combine your diet with moderate exercising, you would be looking good by Labor Day.
  • Write down on a calendar the starting and ending dates along with midpoint targets. By writing your goals on a calendar, the visual reminders will pace you during your journey to getting healthier and looking better. Depending upon your long-term goal, weekly or monthly targets will keep you on task. It is easier psychologically to lose two pounds a week than to lose fifty pounds by Labor Day. Two pounds seems possible while fifty pounds can be overwhelming.
  • Next, imagine how you will feel after you reach your goal. This process of imaging should be done at least five times a day for five minutes. During these imaging times, think about the way you will feel when you are fifty pounds lighter and your body is back in shape. Think about the sense of satisfaction that you will feel. Imagine how your self-esteem will be positively affected when you look and feel trimmer.
  • Finally, tell your friends about your goal. Commission them to help you reach it. Their friendly cajoling will help you to remain focused. Use the buddy system. Tell your proctors that you will return the favor by helping them obtain goals like quitting smoking or furthering their education.

Take a few minutes right now to make a list of oxymora with which you want to deal. By applying these suggestions to your list, you will be able to cut down on contradictions that you have created in life leaving only funny oxymora like bottled water at a fast-food restaurant and jumbo shrimp.