What New for You?
Are you overwhelmed with all the advice to make your New Year resolutions today? To set your big goals for 2015? It happens every year- as predictable as the dropping of the Waterford crystal ball in Times Square.
And every year, it sounds like such great idea, doesn’t it? Begin the New Year in a new way. Replace those bad habits and failures of last year with a renewed zeal to move forward. Climb that mountain, loose that weight, quit that dead end job.
How many years have you thought of those great ideas?
Ideas, resolutions, goals.
On January 1, they are all the same; they represent an aspiration to be the best you can be.
But by January 31, or the 10th or even the 2nd, we realize the difference.
Ideas without action are daydreams.
How do you take that great idea beyond the daydream state?
Ask yourself if it’s what you really want in your life.
Can you see yourself doing, being or having the life experience you imagine?
Wouldn’t it be nice to see the view from the mountaintop?
Wouldn’t it feel wonderful to wear your skinny jeans?
Wouldn’t it be glorious to have your own business?
Sure, but can you see yourself taking the journey to get there?
What one action can you take today to begin that journey?
More importantly, what single action will you take every day going forward?
Make it doable, make it fun.
Buy the hiking shoes. Skip the cola today. Look into getting a business license.
Life is more enjoyable when you’re moving forward.
The turning point of an idea is committed action.
Before you know it, it’s a resolution.
You could even call it a goal.
It’s a New Year.
There’s no better time than today to live your new life.
Create the Best Memorial
A memorial is defined as “something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.” The word is on everyone’s lips today. This day is set aside for the very purpose of remembering.
As if any human mind needs to be reminded of the past.
Our lives are a compilation of past events and remembrances. We use those memories constantly to justify our beliefs and to dictate our actions. Some of us choose to live in those “good old days” and discount the importance of the Now, of the moment we are in.
The events of our past are effective as tools for learning. What did we do in the past that brought us closer to our goals? Remembering that action will help us continue to succeed.
What misstep in our past produced an unfortunate result? The lesson we learned is always good to remember. Staying mired in the bad feelings, thoughts of inadequacy, of hopelessness, do not serve our highest good.
Allowing ourselves to live fearfully because of a past event will color our present choices with a veil of negativity. Keep the wheat; let go of the chaff.
As noted by Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
Remember and honor those today who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Celebrate all who continue to represent your interests.
Use the Now of this day to put those valuable lessons to use and move forward to create your life as a testament to the good that has been accomplished by those who have gone before you.
Your life, well lived is the finest Memorial.
Today I was a participant in a workshop put on by renowned composer and author, David Friedman. Taken from information in his groundbreaking book, The Thought Exchange, David outlined how our minds are conditioned to think the same thoughts over and over. Thoughts we have sometimes believed as truth since childhood.
Yet as adults, we are frustrated when our lives do not improve no matter how hard we work to produce new results. The disconnect occurs because we are using the same old thoughts about what is possible in our lives.
In order to change our results, we must start with changing, or more precisely “exchanging” our thoughts. We are conditioned to believe what we think about something is the only thought possible for us. It is our belief, our truth. In reality there are unlimited numbers of thoughts that are possible.
Do you think you are incapable of doubling your income?
Do you think you will never find your soul mate?
Do you think opportunities have passed you by?
Imagine you can take that long held thought you have back to the store and exchange that thought for a new one.
What? How is that possible? I know, that thought of yours may not look so good, but it is comfortable and has served you well. It has kept you safely where you are, if not happy.
Just like trying on a new pair of shoes, selecting a new thought about what is possible for you will create some physical sensations. There’s a rub on the heel, it pushes on your little toe. It feels uncomfortable.
If you exchange your old thought of “I can’t” to a new thought of “I can,” you will feel uncomfortable. A knot in your stomach. Your heart may race. You may feel nauseous. You will want to revert back to those comfortable old shoes.
Hold the new thought. Stay with the sensations. Allowing yourself to feel the uncomfortable sensations is the key to taking on a new thought about yourself. Positive thinking feels good in the moment, but a lasting change of thought requires acknowledging those uncomfortable sensations and proceeding anyway.
Whatever you see in your world is a reflection of the thoughts you have about yourself. When you look in a mirror, if you do not like the color shirt you see, do not expect the mirror to change it. Only you have the power to exchange your thoughts to reflect a new belief about yourself.
“When we were able to be with our sensations, infinite possibilities opened up.” David Friedman
I’m Directing This Flick
Today is my favorite day of the year. The freshness of Spring is in the air, the birds are chirping, and, oh yes, today is also my Birthday.
As a child I never knew if the day would be spent playing outside with friends on the verdant, newly sprouted grass or cozied up inside with a round of hot chocolate for all as the early Spring winds blew whirlwinds of white snow off the two foot high snow banks outside. If I was still living in the north, this year I would be drinking hot chocolate today.
It’s a time of year full of surprises. Of course there are the April Fool’s Day pranks. My Grandmother would not believe it when my Dad told her my Mother had given birth to me. “I know what day it is,” she skeptically replied.
No joke. Here I am. And on this first day of the rest of my life, I’ve decided on a theme for the next 59 years.
“My life is a feel good movie of my own direction.”
That means I choose to not include the drama, the tragedy and the fear that are part of all the other movies that people choose to live in everyday.
“But it’s not my fault,” is the common explanation on the lips of the victims of circumstances. Yes, it is easier to blame another for what happens in your life. When you do that, you give up your own control. Would you let someone push you out of the driver’s seat of your car and recklessly careen down the road? Of course not.
Your Life. It is Your Life.
Why allow someone else to drive you where you don’t want to go?
Nothing is more important than that you feel good. Like a feel good movie you want to see over and over again.
“Today, no matter where I am going, no matter what I am doing, no matter whom I am doing it with…nothing is more important than that I feel good.” Abraham- Esther & Jerry Hicks
Move Along- the Best Option
“Move along, you don’t fit in.” If you heard this when you were eight years old, you would be crushed. They don’t want you in their game or to be part of their club. Childhood is not a time when you want to stand out. Your most important goal is to fit in.
You’re not eight years old anyone. Are you still trying to fit in?
Super Bowl mania took over the airways this past weekend. Football fan or not, you had to watch it if only for those commercials, right? How could you face your friends and coworkers if you didn’t even know the final score?
How many things do you do because you feel like you have to? It’s expected…if you want to fit in.
What if every choice you made was based only on your own opinion?
If no one else cared or would even ask if you watched the Super Bowl, would you still watch it? Or would you choose to spend your time doing something you really enjoy?
There are consequences for not fitting in. You move along- to something better. You enjoy YOUR life!
“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.” Warren G. Bennis
An Artist’s Expression of You
There’s a certain fascination with what artists do. While the rest of us breathe to live, they create just as naturally and with the same necessity. What is an artist who does not create?
Are you frustrated? Sometimes irritable? Feel like something’s missing in your life? All signs you are looking for creative expression and may not see the need or the opportunity in your daily life.
I don’t have any training.
I don’t own a paintbrush.
I’m not artistic.
Trying to be what you perceive you are not is unsettling. But if you think all artists must know how to paint, let’s turn that notion up side down.
Artists create their vision into outward expression. They release what is inside of them and create the image in tangible form. We celebrate the artist who paints, who writes, who performs. That same artistic opportunity is available to all of us. Our medium for creation is our mind. Our canvas for creation is our life.
All artists begin with an image in their mind of what they want to create. Not knowing every brushstroke, or every word to use, or movement they will make in the creative process, they begin with an intention to manifest in physical form what can no longer stay within them.
You are a creative being, an artist of your own life. Express the image of what’s inside you. Imagine your life. Create your life. Celebrate the artist that you are.
“True artists are almost the only men who do their work for pleasure.” Auguste Rodin
Are You Living a Blue Monday?
How’s this for a Monday morning pick-me-up? I just read that the third Monday of January is the most depressing day of the year. It’s called Blue Monday. And it has nothing to do with the phases of the moon or the weather.
By the third Monday, over two weeks of the New Year have passed and you have already lost track of the resolutions you made. Remember those promises to yourself- exercise, read more, spend more time with family, etc., etc. Another new start and you’ve veered off the path to a successful new year. Humph!
Stop putting yourself down.
Besides, today is only the second Monday of the month.
The perfect day to assess if that resolution was right for you.
If you’re finding it difficult to maintain a new behavior, it’s because your reason for staying the same as you are is too strong. Ask yourself what you get from not exercising, from watching TV instead of reading, from working or being with friends instead of being with your family. Whatever behavior you resolved to change is too important to your current sense of identity to easily alter it.
In order to bring on lasting change, you must first see yourself as the person you want to become. Imagine every detail of what your life would be like as the person who has made this change. Each time you’re tempted to not do what you say you want to do, ask yourself what would your better self do. Bring a clear picture of that you into your mind. You don’t have to be accountable to anyone else. “To thine own self be true.”
You have the next seven days to practice being that new you.
On Blue Monday you can smile with satisfaction. No reason for you to be depressed.
You are living the dream!
“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” Vincent VanGogh
Making It Matter
Your eyes slowly open. From the sliver of daylight peeking through the curtains on your bedroom window it must be just about time to wake up. Do you stretch, breathe in a deep breath and put your feet on the floor? Or do you roll over, hunker under the covers and pretend you didn’t see the daylight?
The alarm will do its job sooner or later. Zzzzzzzz.
Driving to work, traffic is backed up…again. A car on your right is signaling to move over into your lane. Do you ease off the accelerator and motion your hand to invite them to get ahead of you? Or do you look the other way and speed up to the bumper of the car in front of you?
You need to get to work and fast- since you rolled over earlier to catch some more zzz’s.
Home again and what a relief. Now for some “me” time. Do you fix yourself some grilled chicken and veggies, put on some soft music and start reading a few pages of an inspiring book? Or do you order pizza delivered, plop down in your comfy chair to watch your favorite TV show that’s on tonight?
After a tiring day, you have to relax somehow.
Our daily habits seem inconsequential. But habits are what make us who we are. They are choices we make without thinking of the consequences.
What if you did think about it?
What if you made it matter and made a different choice next time?
You may just find a more enjoyable result.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
You Have the Habit of Health
Day two of this new year. What positive habit have you incorporated into your daily routine? In my last post, I said the most effective way to add a new positive habit is to link it to a habit you already have, like reading a few lines of a book while you brush your teeth.
Today I’ll tell you about a habit that may be new for you, but it’s one that we all can benefit by implementing. A few years ago, I was having some health challenges that included severe migraine headaches. I went to see my doctor and she immediately observed I was dehydrated. It showed in my blood work and also on my skin that looked dry with deep lines appearing on my face.
Oh course she recommended drinking more water. I visualized a row of eight 8 oz. glasses of water on the countertop that I would never drink in a day. But I really wanted to relieve those headaches and not look so drawn out.
Dehydration is a condition that affects almost everyone. Our bodies are up to 65% water, so when we do not replenish the fluid that we loose naturally through perspiration and urination, a large part of us literally “goes away,” and our body suffers. If you neglected to put oil in your car, think about those grinding gears as the engine tries to function.
Now I rarely have a headache and when I do, I know the reason why. What’s the easy solution that keeps me running smoothly?
Link the habit of drinking water to a habit I already have. Every morning as I pour my cup of coffee, I pour a large glass of water and drink that down before indulging myself with coffee. After six or eight hours of not drinking while you sleep, you are especially dehydrated in the morning.
One glass down, seven to go. Whenever you use the bathroom, you are in the habit of washing your hands. Link to that habit, drinking a glass of water. Whatever goes out, must be replenished. That will add another four of five glasses per day. If you’re not releasing liquid that often, that means you’re not drinking enough.
Another way to ensure hydration is to always ask for a glass of water when you eat out and don’t leave the restaurant until you drink it all. This also works with your meals at home. Have a glass of water along with your usual beverage, especially when drinking alcohol which tends to be dehydrating.
That’s seven glasses. How can you possibly down another? As you go to bed at night, link to your evening ritual pouring a glass of water to set on your nightstand. Take a sip before closing your eyes and any time you wake up in the night. You will wake up refreshed and less dehydrated.
There, you did it!
Your choices become your habits of health.
“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Aristotle
No Resolutions this New Year
You’re off the hook. No New Years resolutions are required this year. Resolutions, no matter how well your intention, don’t work. They’re too big, don’t feel natural and sometimes daunting. There is a much more effective way to begin your new year, one that guarantees success.
Biting your nails.
Embellishing the truth.
That just shows you that habits, once adopted do not just go away.
What about the good habits? At some point in your life a parent drilled into you the habit of brushing your teeth every day. Now you naturally perform that habit without thinking.
After being embarrassed by a college roommate when I hadn’t shaved my legs in a week, I decided to make shaving my legs every day a habit. That simple action became and still is part of my daily grooming ritual. It makes me feel better about myself.
So back to this New Year. There may be something in your mind. You know, if you did it every day, your life would improve. But how, in your busy day, do you fit in one more thing?
The secret to creating a new, positive habit is to assign it a time slot.
The easiest way to find time is to link the action to a habit you already have.
Say you want to read an inspirational or self help book this year. No time as you rush through your morning- or is there? Prop a book up in your bathroom and read a few lines as you brush your teeth. Totally painless because you’re standing there, thinking about something anyway. Your day will undoubtedly be more pleasant.
You may have thought of resolving this year to be a better conversationalist, or to meet new people. No time to join a club or church. Instead make a habit of speaking to everyone you see, in the elevator or passing on the street. Just a hello or small talk is enough to stretch your social boundaries. It will also make the recipient of your gesture feel better about themselves. No telling where this could lead.
What else would you like to do in the New Year? Be more grateful? Add that to your nighttime ritual, just before you turn out the lights. Jot down a note to someone you appreciate- just a line or two will do. That simple habit will release endorphin into your system and you will sleep peacefully. And imagine the smile on their face when they open the mail box.
Our habits create our life. Only you create your habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle