Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Making of a Habit

This is an article I read today at that is so clear and helpful.

I think I can speak for many when I say this journey to a healthier you isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. If all we had to do is eat better, get in some good cardio, do a little strength training here and there, and manage our stress, then certainly we should be at our goal in no time. Right?

Once again it isn't always quite that easy as many of you know. And I think I may have been given a key to the reason why we struggle to get to our goal--it all has to do with one little word--habit.

As many of you already know, I am a runner. Over the summer I worked with a running coach to help me gain a better perspective on this sport. On this particular June morning Coach Lee took me and my fellow running pals to the local high school track for some speed drills. As we were working on the drills I was having issues with my right foot not aligning correctly. Every few minutes I would hear the following words echoing across the track from the far side, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy.” It seemed like these words were a constant stream every time I ran around the track. By the time we were done, I think I heard that phrase a bazillion times. I was so frustrated because just when I felt I was doing the so-called ‘right way’ of running, there was Coach Lee shouting yet again, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy.”

We started heading back to the gym and I was not a happy camper, to say the least. I felt the harder I was trying the more I would hear those words. I finally decided to tell Coach Lee just how I felt.

And this is what he said, “I am your cue, Nancy. I am going to tell you when you start to falter so that YOU will recognize when you are falling back into your old habits. This is so you can work on recognizing it for yourself. In order for something to become sub-conscious or natural, you must make a conscious connection to the habit in which you want to break or make.”

Let me tell you, I have never ever looked at any habit, good or bad, any other way since. Here is a kid, just out of college, telling me a woman, old enough to be his mother, how to make a habit. I think that is what we often refer to as Aha! moment or as I like to see it--a blessing.

And you know, I think he is onto something. In order for us to make or break a habit we must consciously be aware of what we are doing until we change permanently; therefore, we no longer have to think, we just do. If we don’t learn how to cue ourselves to change than we fall prey to living the same way we always have.

These are the little voices inside our heads that tell us that we deserve to live a healthy lifestyle. Soon one voice is exchanged for another and then another, but when they are all working in conjunction WE HAVE MADE A HABIT! .

So from now on whenever I hear those infamous words, “Keep your feet straight, Nancy” I will not listen with a critical heart but instead be grateful that Coach Lee was willing to teach me just not to think but do.

Has anyone inspired you to make or break a habit? Do you find that it is harder to break bad habits or make good habits? What habits have you finally let go and what habits have you embraced?

By: Nancy Howard, 10/29/2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Find your voice

When you engage in a work that taps your talent and fuels your passion--that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet--therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul's code.

- Stephen Covey, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Education Ideas

How can we help children learn better? View this, read this, and view this

Surprising quote from Nietzsche

Who would have thought this sentiment could come from from the guy who seems to have invented existentialism and nihilism?

"Much more happiness is to be found in the world than gloomy eyes discover." Friedrich Nietzsche

The point is made yet again: it's our attitude that matters!

Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning "best." So it's our choice to look for the best in life's happenings.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Habit of Self-Denigration

Today, I spoke to 2 women who are doing so much in their lives. Yet both feel terrible about themselves. One is depressed, and the other is looking at what she hasn't done. When I point out to each of them how successful they are in certain areas, they seem to automatically contradict me or point out something they haven't done.

It's the "automatic" part that makes me suspect that these women are in the habit of feeling bad about themselves - at least in some part.

I know the habit of self-denigration very well in my experience, and it is a VERY hard one to break. How do you do it?

Start with awareness. Be aware that you do it. Notice when you put yourself down. That's the first step toward change.

Then accept that you do put yourself down. A little bit of understanding "why" helps.

Mostly though, it's important to switch thoughts. If you catch yourself doing it, stop. Substitute a positive thought. For example, if you catch yourself saying "I'm so lazy," instead try saying "I'm so silly for thinking I'm lazy!" or "I must be tired because if I had energy, I'd do it" or "maybe I don't want to do this thing, that's why I'm not doing it." Just try it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Attitude is just about everything

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

~W. Clement Stone

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reaching a Healthy Weight

Check out if you want to get to a healthy weight. I'm finding that it is helping me articulate and then make progress toward my goals.

Focusing on reaching a healthy weight is so much more empowering than "trying to lose weight." Who wants to be a loser? Not me! And that's probably why I have been unsuccessful in previous "weight loss" campaigns.

Rob Riopel from Peak Potentials said at a seminar that he doesn't like to talk about losing weight because we usually try to find what we lose. And I always find my lost weight again. He suggested reframing it as "releasing weight." That made so much sense to me.

Now, I catch myself saying "losing" weight and realize it feels so depressed and "loser-like" - no longer feels natural. I much prefer thinking of it as letting go and releasing of weight I no longer need.

In my early 30's, I put on a lot of weight when I worked for a government agency and few people respected me. I needed to be able to "throw my weight around" plus eating seemed to soothe my anxiety and stress.

It occurs to me, as well, that the phrase "gained weight" is not useful for me. "Gains" are usually positive. However, in my case, adding on weight was not a positive thing. It was putting on a disguise, a shield, some armor to protect myself from the outside world that felt hostile and unfriendly. So the weight was not really a "gain" - it was protection and a burden. So maybe a better term is "took on weight."

Today, I don't need to take on any more weight or burdens. I can shed or let go of excess in all areas of life - from clutter to pounds, from ill-fitting clothes to random stuff.

It's a relief to talk about my weight - something of which I've been ashamed. So I am letting go of the shame - yet another unnecessary burden.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Nelson Mandela quote

This is an amazing quote that tells me to be fully myself, as powerful as I am and can be.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Focus especially on making choices that move you toward your greatness, your power. Sometimes I know I am headed in that direction because some others around me get upset. As long as I stay in my own power, sure and confident in my decision, these others get the opportunity to conquer their fear and anger. My sureness and confidence allows me to be loving and compassionate toward them, rather than upset at their upset. The love I extend feels safe and can help dissipate fear.

Friday, October 3, 2008

ONE GOAL - Great advice from BizWeb E-gazette (with my added comments)

Here's a great answer to the question of "why am I not making money on the web?" I apply this answer to other questions like "why am I not reaching my goals?" and "I keep trying, but I'm not succeeding - why?"

The first thing you need to do is focus your efforts to a SINGLE project. For most people that starts with minimizing information overload and paralysis by analysis.

Reduce the number of newsletters and ebooks you read each week. Do not worry about losing out on the latest information. Chances are, you already have enough information to put yourself on the path to success if you just use whatever you've got now instead of perpetually reading, studying and learning the so-called latest method in internet marketing.

Do you think the gurus got to where they are by constantly reading e-books without doing actual marketing?

Spend your time such that it gives maximum returns everyday. Maximum returns are NOT attained from reading e-books, watching videos and listening to podcasts. You don't make any money doing those activities.

Sure, learning is essential but if you spend too much time on educating yourself, you can actually minimize your income potential. So set aside just two hours every Friday for those learning activities.

The next step is to start spending ALL of your other work time doing tasks that actually make you money.

I'll add that it's beneficial to focus on ONE GOAL instead of several. Work toward that one goal.

First, of course, we need to settle on that ONE GOAL. Choosing sometimes seems impossible.

My experience is that when I focus on ONE GOAL, I start to experience success in that area. That success provides more motivation for me to keep working at that ONE GOAL. Eventually, this success feeds my motivation and energy to tackle another goal.

Selecting the ONE GOAL can be difficult. I try to determine what's most important to me RIGHT NOW.

* Am I worried about money, afraid I won't be able to pay my bills or retire in the future? Then the ONE GOAL is to achieve financial stability.

* Am I overweight and worried about my health because of it? Am I afraid I'll get diabetes or have a heart attack or stroke sometime in the future? Then my ONE GOAL is to release my extra weight, to let it go!

Essentially I know enough to do almost anything. If I don't, I can set aside some time to learn more. Also I can learn from my experiences from doing. So I just take action - the next step.

Check out Bizweb2000 for more info.

Worthy of Love by Karen Casey

I have to share this amazing passage. It brought tears to my eyes with its simple and powerful message.

The salvation of man is through love and in love.
--Viktor Frankl

The panhandler on the busy street corner reels forsaken. The elderly woman whose phone doesn't ring stares through a gap in her drawn drapes and wonders if she's been forgotten. And awaiting the prayed for visit from a potential foster parent, the child is fearfully certain he won't be acceptable.

The tragedy is that so few of us have experienced whole and unconditional love from the significant people in our lives. So few of us are certain of our value in the lives of others. For parents and teachers we performed to earn their favor. From friends we expected acceptance, yet sometimes we bought it. And because we haven't known the pleasure of unconditional love but have been perpetually in search of it, we've not felt adequate to offer it to others. It's difficult to give away what we fear we don't have; yet, paradoxically, that's the key to our salvation.

As we give others our love, we'll likewise experience a greater measure of it. And it need not come from outside. It will, instead, well up from within. We each have the power of personal salvation. All we must do is love.

From Worthy of Love by Karen Casey