TIME TO ADD!

One of the tenets of my philosophy has been adding positive to limit or eliminate negative. In my life this would translate to eating a salad to have a little less room for another slice of pizza. The premise here is that it is easier for the brain to add things verses subtracting them. It eliminates the feeling of depriving yourself and makes change easier and less painful. By doing so, your chances of success are greatly increased.

This does not always have to revolve around achieving a goal, or making a change in your life. Taking a few moments to stop and think of what you would like more of in your life can go a long way to giving you a life you really enjoy. That is the first thing I suggest we do today. Pick a time when you have a few minutes to yourself, it can even be fun to do this with your spouse or friend, as long as you both have your own list. Write down a handful of things you would like more of in your life. They can be things from the picture above, or things you just wish to do.

Here comes the part that a lot of you may find strange. Pull out your calendar, or put a reminder in your phone of days you would like to do these very events. Again, set yourself up to win by picking a day on which you can fairly depend. For example, Saturdays I work 2 jobs so there likely will not be much time to include new activities. Also, try to plan on the minimal side. What do I mean by this? Perhaps you would like to meditate 20 minutes every day? Start out by picking at least one or two days a week to do so. That way you can gain a feeling of momentum and success. Before long that momentum may carry you to every day. By contrast, if you pick every day and do not make it, it will give you a feeling of failure and that will go against having a more joyous life.

Why is this exercise so important? We schedule jobs, meetings and all sorts of obligations into our lives, it is vitally important we schedule some joy as well. If this seems like a foreign or crazy idea to you, consider how you feel as you are getting close to a planned vacation? Imagine that feeling, although perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, once a week? It will help return the passion and zest to life. Our lives, in addition to being of service to others, were meant to be enjoyed. If you are not loving your life a fair amount of time you are doing it all wrong. Sure, we all go through tough times, but having something to look forward to can even help with those.

Feel free to share with other readers some of the fun things you plan to add in 2018 in the comments below!

MY MOST IRONIC POST YET

Going into the new year a lot of us think of things we would like to change about ourselves or our lives. If you follow my work at all one of the axioms I base my work on is that it is far more productive and successful to add positive things to your life, than to work on removing negative. Just how the brain is wired. Recently, I sat down with Margie and discussed things I would like to add to my life in the coming year. This is where this post becomes ironic.

I told Margie there are three things I would like to get better at in 2018. I would like to spend more time both reading and writing, I would like to spend more time in nature (hiking, camping or even just sitting), lastly, I would like to spend more time just thinking.  When composing my last book it was often just sitting in a park watching the birds, or Starbucks sipping a coffee pondering life’s great mysteries that some of my best ideas came to me. As any supportive spouse would do, Margie simply replied (she has a gift of keeping things simple which is very helpful dating someone like myself) “Well you should do that then.”

In an effort to quickly make use of this sentiment of hers before it changed I decided to do that today. I had a survey I had to complete, then I was just going to relax and think. The advantages of this is that it engages your subconscious mind to begin thinking about what you are pondering. This is especially useful if you are spending time on things like worthwhile goals you are aspiring to, ways in which you can be of more service to your world, or even just how to make someone’s day brighter. What happens is your subconscious mind will begin to think of this very thing, and continue to do so in the background while you go about your day. Then, at what seems like an random moment, an idea will pop in your head that is a solution to what you had been pondering. This works especially well if you are an author.

Do you see my dilemma with this? As this idea occurred to me, another voice in my head spoke up. It never amazes me how many there seems to be in there. This voice said, “You should write a blog and let everyone else know this.” Which, as you can tell by what you are reading I decided to follow.

As ironic as writing about taking time away from writing is, it brought to like another principle I spoke about at my last author symposium. When we use our brains the in the same fashion over and over, like finding daily things to be grateful for, we begin to train them to do so on their own. Before long, even if it is subconsciously, the voices in our head (assuming you have more than one like myself) will begin to ask, “What can we be grateful for?” Same holds true with me being diligent in my writing and spending over twenty years looking for ways to improve life and then sharing them with others.

My message for you hear is to take time to just think, but know it may be a struggle with yourself at first. I am going to prepare to DJ now, so I will continue to work on carving away time to think again tomorrow. Have a great week my friends!

IS NOW A GOOD TIME?

Our last post was a little lengthy, so we will try to keep this one short and to the point. Today is Monday, the beginning of a new week. Time to start to be refocused. It is also August 14th, a great time to start to be refocused! What makes today so special? Everything and nothing. Confused? Let me explain.

We often wait for moments like New years day, our birthday, or even the start of the week to begin our new goal whether that be a healthier life, a more positive attitude or any other journey worth embarking on. The truth is by waiting we are just losing momentum. If you were offered to start your dream job on a Thursday would you decline because it wasn’t a Monday? If you were to win the lottery on the 3rd, would you pass because it was not the first? Of course you would not. The same holds true with anything we wish to begin.

Most of us have heard the expression “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere.” Meaning anytime is a good time to begin to celebrate. I couldn’t agree more! I want to remind you of another expression, “There is no time like the present!” If you have the urge to begin to eat healthy for example, capture that feeling by at least doing one thing towards that end right then and there! If you wait until New Years, your birthday or even next Monday, a lot of things can happen to drain that enthusiasm. Let’s make August 14th the day we turned our lives around!

ADD THEM IN ONE BY ONE

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Yesterday we talked about creating a description of who we want to be in the new year. We also talked about what things we would no longer tolerate in ourselves and our life, Things that would no longer fit in our new definition of ourselves. If you haven’t read yesterday’s blog, I highly suggest you do.
OK so pull out your list from yesterday and take a good look at it. That is who you now are. Before you tell me “I’m not there yet!” I’m going to tell you yes you are. If your goal is to be healthy and as you are reading this you are enjoying a hot fudge sundae, then I put forth you are a healthy person who is behaving unhealthy. It is time you start sarong both out loud and to yourself the new person you are. It is time to own that definition. The new year is upon us.

OK in addition to dropping things that are detrimental to the new definition of ourselves, with the new year it is time to think of what we need to add. Let’s take the goal of being healthy. What would help you there? Be honest with yourself. If the thought of working out doesn’t appeal to you right now, don’t go sign up at the gym. Maybe a food journal would be a better first step? Maybe some workout dvds for home would work better? New workout clothes? That new juicing machine?

Remember the goal is who you want to become, not what are you going to do. So the goal should not be to go to the gym more, but rather become a healthier version of myself. Now take whatever first step you are likely to stick with and will be enjoyable going forward. Then you will gain momentum. Why is that important? We will discuss that tomorrow.
For today look at yourself in the mirror and read your description of who you now are out loud. Then think of the most helpful things you can add to help you grow into that person

GIVE IT UP ALREADY!

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The year has come to an end. This is the time a lot of us start thinking about resolutions. Personally I am not a fan of them. I find them to be weak and most of them don’t last. That is why the parking lot at the gym is always less crowded in March than at the beginning of the year. So why do resolutions not last? I mentioned them being weak, that is because they seldom have purpose and a reason, or strong ‘why’ behind them. If you are ready, this year let us try something different.

Here is the idea, instead of writing things you want to do in the new year, sit down and write who you would like to become in the new year and why. Would you like to be healthier? Why is that important? Would you like to be less stressed? What benefits will that bring you? Sit down and write this out. A complete description of who you are committed to becoming and the reasons or why for that.

Now look at the picture above this blog. It is a list of things to give up to improve your life. It is a good list, offers reasons why, but I want you to create your own. Look at the person you are committed to becoming in 2016. Now think about what things in your life currently do not belong in a person like that. Write them down. This is your list of things to limit or remove from your life. Much like the list above you might want to include a why as well.

Now understand as you go through the year, especially at first, you may slip up and do, say or be some of those things. That’s ok. The goal is to do them less until you can finally cleanse your life of any behavior that does not work in your new self. If you can quit them right away, congratulations. If not, do not worry. Old habits die hard and as long as you keep at it you will triumph. Do not get down on yourself, become your own cheerleader. If you notice yourself faltering, instead of judging yourself, just notice how less you are doing it and be determined to go even longer the next time.

On a personal level, however you celebrate the new year, do so safely. I value all of you and look forward to teaching and learning from each other in 2016.

LOVE THEM ALL

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Yesterday we spoke of change and how important it was to embrace it. Here is another subject we should consider going into the next year, diversity. I know that can be a buzz word around the office and for HR purposes, but I am talking about personal diversity.

What do I mean by personal diversity? Imagine being surrounded by people exactly the same as yourself. Dating someone exactly like yourself, talking to people who think just like you do, watch the same shows, go to the same places. Life would not be very exciting. You would never learn about great new places to explore, new foods to try and new experiences to have. So in the coming year we should make a point to expand our personal social circle. Find people who can teach you, who can inspire you and who can bring something new to your life experience. It will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself in the new year!

JUST DON’T FIGHT IT

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As the old year starts to wind down and we prepare for the upcoming year there is one thing that is certain, it will not be the same. It is even hard to imagine a year being exactly the same as the last. Can you imagine eating the same things next December 28th that you ate this morning? Going to work and having the same things happen? Can you imagine having to wear the same clothes that you did on that day the year before? If all of this sounds absurd, ask yourself why. Is eating the same thing really depend on who you are with and what you can afford? Does wearing the same things depend on the weather?

The point of this is some people cannot accept, or at the very least have a hard time realizing things change. Fighting change is like trying to stop the sun from rising, it is just not going to happen. Of course there are great things in our life that we would like to never end. I have had a few of those myself, but time marches on and certainly everything from that fabulous party you were attending to a friendship, relationship or even the life of someone you care about must all come to an end. Change is the natural progression of things. If this were not the case a seed would never become a plant and we would not have food. Medicine would never be developed, houses would not be built we would never have the chance to see our children grow and develop.

So what can we do when something that gives us a great sense of joy changes? I was faced with this in the most odd circumstances just the other day. There is a building that has stood close to where I grew up. It was a car dealership at one point, a carpet store and probably some other things I forgot. I never spent a good amount of time inside of this place, but I must have walked by it a thousand or more times. It was a very unique building and I always thought it would make a great coffee shop. The other day I drove by and found it mostly demolished. For some reason I am not totally clear on it affected me more than I thought it should. I struggled with it for a while and was talking with a friend who pointed out that I can celebrate whatever the new building may be. I realized I had been living in the past and although the old building had some great memories perhaps there were even better ones to be made with the new one.

Everything is not this easy. When a relationship ends or a loved one dies we can’t, and shouldn’t just move on. Keeping the treasured memories and finding a way to honor them is one way to keep them alive in our hearts. Much like the seed having to crack open and fade away for the plant to develop sometimes the same is true in our life. Without the seed there would have been no plant, but in order for the plant to come to life the seed must have had to go away. As one of my favorite speakers Les Brown says, “sometimes it is hard to see the picture when you are in the frame”. So just know change will come and we must look for the good in the new while keeping the great memories of the past close to our heart.

BITTER OR BETTER?

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Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If you continuously compete with others you become bitter but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better”

A good quote that reminds us the only person we should try to be better than is the person we were yesterday. As the new year approaches it may be a good time to take stock of who we were this last year and who we would like to be in the coming year. Establishing a point A and a point B is a great starting point! The more honest we are with ourselves the easier it will be to decide what we need to do to become that kind of person we wish to be. My good is to make the major share of my income by the end of 2014 from writing. Obviously some of the things I have to do is search out new writing opportunities, practice my writing and marketing and work on improving both of them. I have also learned something else. What happens if I reached the end of 2014 and only 50% of my income is from writing? Have I failed? No. It is more than my current state. Earl Nightingale defined success as “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal” That means whenever we have decided on a worthy ideal or goal for our lives and are working toward it, we are a success. We are farther than 95% of everyone else. If you ask your neighbor what they want most answers are vague at best. “I want more money” or “I want a better job” So the better we clearly define the person we wish to become and begin to take determined action towards that end, the more likely we are to become a success. so take the time to do this very important step. Tonight get clear as to who you wish to become, then be honest with yourself as to where you are. It may be a touch painful, but you should be excited because the steps you must take to close the distance between Point A and Point B should be abundantly clear and a map of what you must do will be set before you.

DON’T BE A TURKEY!!

In the USA today we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is toward the end of the year where we reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. Much like New Years, where we have a holiday set aside to specifically set goals and focus on our future. Thanksgiving should be a practice and not a holiday. So instead of a few quick words before devouring lots of food Why not take all of five to ten minutes of your day to just sit down with a pen and paper and reflect over the past year and think of at least five things that have occurred or that we have accomplished that you are thankful for. Write them down. List them under 2013. I can safely say that there are many things as I reflect on the year that I can be thankful for. I am thankful for the joy I was able to bring to the town of Franksville Wisconsin. I am also proud of the way I accepted my removal from that position and being able to see the good in that. Of course I am thankful for completing my first book, and starting my second. I am also thankful for meeting a new creative partner in my new friend Margie as well as discovering a close friend and source of inspiration in my friend Kim. I am grateful for continuing developing my relationship with my sister Michelle whom I had the pleasure of discovering only a few years ago. See that was five things right there and it took me all of 2 minutes to write them down here. I encourage you to right them down for a couple of reasons. One, it forces you to take the time to really think and focus on being grateful while you are writing or typing them. The other reason is you start to develop a record of everything you have survived, accomplished and appreciated over the year. More on this later. Next flip the paper over and write 2014 on top. I know this will take even a little more time out of your holiday, but trust me this will be fun. Number the paper one through five and think of five things you are looking forward to being thankful for this time next year. Think of how great you will feel a year from now. Here is a little secret. One through four should be realistic goals and things that you are working towards. number five should be a bit of a reach. Think of one big, exciting goal that gets your blood pumping! Do not worry about whether you think it can be accomplished in a year or not, that is not your concern at the moment. Just pick something that gets you excited, write it down. My examples from this year is as follows. I look forward to collaborating on projects with several of the new creative souls I have been blessed with. I look forward to help bring other people’s books to print and help them realize their dreams of becoming an author. I look forward to continue building the people I reach with this blog and my books. There are four, so what is my big exciting fifth goal? I am thankful for becoming a full-time author in the year 2014. There it is. Not only have I written it down for myself, but I have made myself accountable to all of you reading this blog. The thought of being able to write books that bring joy to people’s lives and change their worlds and to do so for a living excites me more than you can imagine. Now by place this list in an envelope and mark it 2013 (you can also store it on a file in your computer if that works for you) around New Years day take another glance at it. Looking at what you wish to be thankful for may very well help you set better resolutions. Plus it will reinforce the thought in your mind. I also recommend doing this at least one other time during the year. The middle of the year like in June would work well. Of course the more you look at this list and imagine how wonderful it will feel to be grateful the more likely you are to move toward them. Then next Thanksgiving let us all meet back here to discuss what we have to be grateful for

SUNRISE

“There was never a night or a problem that coud defeat sunrise or hope”

-Bern Williams

This quote is almost a ‘secret weapon’ of sorts.  What does it take to keep going when the going gets tough?  What should we do when all seems hopeless and lost?  The answer can be found in this quote.  When we keep our minds, hearts and spirits full of hope, when we focus on the end result (see the post on vision boards) the obstacles and challenges that will inevitably show themselves lose a great deal of their power.  So let us keep our goals and dreams in front of us so that we may keep our drive and motivation.