Sunday, October 11, 2009
Most barriers to your success are man-made. And most often, you're the man who made them.
- Frank Tyger
Are you your own obstacle?
Are you trying to stick to a fitness plan, improve a relationship, eliminate fast food from your diet, or be a better parent? Whatever your goal, was there a time when you thought you couldn't do it? This is a natural reaction when things get tough. It's easier to find ways to justify your actions than to get over the hurdle. This week, eliminate the hurdles and barriers you've created. If you find yourself saying, "I can't" or "I don't have time," then re-analyze your goal. If you really want to achieve it, then make the time or take a different approach (get up earlier, stay organized, learn the skills). Find time for you and your goals.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I can feel the wind go by when I run. It feels good. It feels fast.
- Evelyn Ashford, American athlete
Are you setting the pace for your health?
Exercise can be extremely uplifting! Marathon runners often talk about a "runner's high." Not only does working out help your physical body become stronger and more resilient, but it also has many pluses for your mind. Taking time out of your day to exercise gives you a chance to let go of your worries, calm your mind, and concentrate on one thing--which seems impossible to most moms! Running works for most people, as you can set the pace and distance to suit your skill level. Start slowly by doing a combination of stretching, walking, and light jogging. Then gradually work up to a routine that elevates your heart rate. Be careful not to start out too fast--it might lead to discouragement and muscle soreness that will make you never want to put on your running shoes again. Pretty soon you'll be able to intensify your workout to incorporate quicker paces and longer sessions. Endurance and setting a healthy pace are keys to long-term success.
Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand.
- Emily Kimbrough
Shining your light on a friend's shade
You can't turn on a country music station without hearing a song about someone down on their luck. But what about those around you? Think about how much it means to you to receive a note in the mail from a caring friend when you're going through a hard time. Use those warm feelings to compel you to spread the love to others. We all need such encouragement and often we forget that it's okay not to be the pillar of strength when life has us by the tail. Throw your arms around someone today who might need a good squeeze, send a card to a co-worker who needs cheering up, or bake a special treat for your ill child. Friends are precious, not just in the sunshine of life, but especially in the shade.
If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average.
Persevering through failure
Of course try, try again, but when you don't succeed at something it's best not to beat yourself up or hold yourself to an unrealistic standard of achievement. Feeling as if you're a failure, simply for not reaching a goal, is not who you truly are. Do you think you're the only one who fails? Of course not! Most problems involve steps to their solution, and solving each step along the way IS an accomplishment. If you become discouraged during your weight loss journey or find your financial aspirations out of reach, keep trying! Some of life's most rewarding experiences make you sweat and persevere through hard times, only to emerge on the other side victorious and wiser for having worked so hard.
The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behaviors affect the rights and well being of others.
- Sharon Anthony Bower, author
Speak up and take back control!
Many people feel uncomfortable being assertive, which often leads others to take advantage of them. Do you ever feel like you shouldn't say something because you might hurt someone's feelings? Does your spouse shirk their responsibilities around the house and expect you to pick up the slack? While it is important to serve others often, being someone's lackey is unhealthy and it's up to you to break that cycle. Kindly address situations where you think someone is taking advantage of your meekness. Being aggressive is a negative quality that people respond to with hostility. Making your voice heard maturely and positively is a trait that will take you far and build respect among your peers.
To be nobody but yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
- EE Cummings, poet
Becoming the person you want to be
Take a look at your priorities and your goals. Where did they come from? Are they the products of soul-searching, self-analysis, and careful planning? Or are they a reaction to pressures from other people? Did you find them within yourself or within the pages of a magazine? The answers to these questions are important because they tell you if the person you're becoming is someone you want to be. Here's another way to look at a goal: do you want it, or do you just think you should want it? It's not easy to follow your own direction in life. But it's more possible than you may think. Question everything. Every priority in your life needs to justify why it's there. If you can't come up with a good reason that actually comes from YOU, maybe it doesn't belong.
He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.
- Thomas Fuller, British clergyman and author
Are you paying attention to your health?
If you want to be around to enjoy your growing family, it's never too late to start taking care of your body. Whether or not "skillfullest" is a word, Thomas knows the value of prevention versus treatment. You have a better chance of survival by using the doctor that keeps you out of the hospital in the first place. Why wait for symptoms to show up before you start paying attention? By then, it may be too late. Remember the major goals and the people that you're living for. Are you really willing to risk missing out because you didn't take precautions? You'd be amazed at how some basic, simple everyday nutrition and fitness choices and actions make a big difference in staying on your feet. Injuries and disease are a steep price to pay when many can easily be avoided.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
- George Bernard Shaw, playwright
Are you creating your own life?
Take a moment to look at the circumstances of your world. Is it what you want to see? What could you do differently to take one step closer to your ideal vision? We're all dealt different hands in life. That's how things are. To change things, you have to first accept that fact, then figure out where to go from here. We should all be able to count on each other for help, but in the end, we can't expect anyone to change our lives except ourselves. Nor should we want it that way. It's natural to feel powerless and give up in the face of hardships, but complaining and blaming do nothing except prevent action. Without positive action, you're giving up your power and asking for more of the same--a world you did not create. Where you start may not be your fault, but the course you run is still your choosing.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It is the path of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked.
- B.J. Palmer, father of chiropractic
Struggling to find your voice
In the face of conflict we might be tempted to just go with the flow and not make waves. The path of least resistance is saying "yes" when you want to say "no" and that road is always paved with regrets and mistakes. While compromise is good and a necessary part of healthy relationships, no one should have to fully deny their feelings and remain voiceless while others dominate a situation. It might feel easier to nod your head and passively agree, but in the long run you are being cheated. While there might be a whole list of justifications and excuses for stepping off the path of your principles, staying true to yourself reaps countless more rewards than selling out to appease someone else. Reconcile today the negative passivity you have displayed in the past.
Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul
- Simone Weil
What we can learn about patience from a diamond
Trying (but failing) to see your goals realized can be frustrating. Margaret Thatcher once said "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it," and she was absolutely right. You've got to believe that you will succeed! Never admit defeat as long as time and effort remain. Our greatest asset is patience; our greatest weakness is throwing in the towel. Banish discouragement and feelings of impossibility by working hard, doing more, and not giving in! A diamond was only made beautiful after millions of years as a lump of coal.
And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin, Danish diarist
What leaps of faith are you willing to take?
Trying new things can give you a real zest for life. Pushing beyond your comfort zone in a responsible way helps you grow confidence and creativity that you can apply to your everyday life. Do not let fear control what you do (or don't) do? While taking risks can be scary, doing nothing is a big mistake, as it produces nothing fruitful within you. There is a direct relationship between the things that we achieve and the effort we put forth to obtain them. To reach the fruit, you have to climb the tree first!
Sometimes you look at a person and see a cynical snake. Someone else sees a joyful lover. You're both right!
- Rumi, poet
Tending two shops
People can be hard to deal with. Are your co-workers constantly annoying you? Does your neighbor rake his leaves into your yard every fall? Is your child high-maintenance and needy? Often we let our frustrations and anger towards people and situations prevent us from seeing the larger picture. Try looking at the circumstance from the other person's point of view. Your overbearing co-worker might just be trying to emulate you by asking a million questions. Perhaps your neighbor doesn't really know where his property line ends and where yours begins. Your child may need more individual time with you, instead of competing with siblings. No person's personality can be summed up entirely by one negative trait or action. So next time someone cuts you off in traffic or swipes the idyllic apple you were eyeing at the store, remember that everyone is less-than-perfect sometimes. Know your role in people's lives and continue to be positive and mature. After all, we all do things that are worthy of a good tongue lashing sometimes!
Without forgiveness life is governed by...an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
- Roberto Assagioli
The positive cycle of forgiveness
OK, be honest. Do you hold grudges? Do you allow old drama to determine your behavior? Is there someone you just can't seem to forgive? Grudges and a non-forgiving attitude do nothing but harm both parties. You might feel like you're "winning" by not letting someone off the hook, but you're only increasing your own worry and stress. Bitterness can lead to hate, which can sour a life. Today, write a letter explaining your point of view to the person you feel resentful towards. Clear the air; forgiving him. Even if you don't send it, it is an excellent way to relieve tension. Forgiving someone does not absolve them of the wrong that you experienced. It can simply free you to live a life that isn't anchored to the hurt and resentment of past events.
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
- Italian proverb
Reinforcing Healthy Competition
Competition is a natural part of life. We are faced with competition for jobs, a mate, and even the best parking spot at the store. Approaching these situations with grace is an important way to model good relationship skills--especially to our children. Often people get angry during competition, but try to be mindful of how this frustration is unleashed. No one wants to be on the receiving end of either a sore loser's lack of composure or a boastful winner's lack of grace. Don't gloat to your friend that your daughter can run faster or read at a higher level than her child. Remember, after the basketball game concludes she is still your friend and you don't want a moment of hot-headedness to interfere with what really matters--your relationship. Modesty can go a long way!
Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.
- Kenyan proverb
Stewardship of the Earth
Reduce, reuse, and recycle sounds great, but do we really think about (and apply) earth management into our daily lives? You might not litter, but how often do you drive your own vehicle rather than carpooling? What about buying "green" products instead of commercial items made with harmful chemicals? It is easy to disregard the dangers to the environment because there are no immediate consequences to our lives. However, think about how the earth will be in 50 years if everyone lived as you are today. Set a good example to your children of stewardship for the earth by recycling, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and generally appreciating nature. Instead of going to Disney World, go on a camping trip. Turn off the TV and pick some flowers. This world is not ours alone. It is communally shared with all of the generations before us, and all of those to come after us.
They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.
- Hindu Proverb
What wealth do you possess?
There is a long-standing tradition for Buddhist monks to rise each morning very early and set out to collect alms bowls, and go out into their community to collect donations of food, usually merely rice or a simple curry. Surprisingly though, none of this food is eaten, as the monks are typically well-stocked at their monastery. Why? This age-old tradition is still in existence simply to allow the nearby townspeople to experience the joy of giving. Do you have resources or talent that you can use to help others? Hoarding what you have wastes opportunities and fails to leave a positive mark on the world. Whether you have money, talent, time, knowledge, or energy, each should be shared. No one is better off by keeping wealth--tangible or intangible--to himself or herself.
Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
- Helen Keller
Is the grass truly greener on the other side?
Do you ever feel that you're always getting the short end of the stick? Or do you constantly compare your life to others' lives? We are bombarded with daily images of the posh lifestyles of celebrities. Their expensive wardrobes and status can entice even the happiest person to drool over such luxury. But by thinking about the world as a whole, you'll find that your own life is wealthy beyond compare. Make a short list of some of your overlooked privileges. Owning a car (or two!), having access to television, computers, drinkable water, a respectable wage at your job, and all of the freedoms you enjoy that are a foreign idea to many people around the world. Be grateful for your life and over time maybe you will see that your plot in life is someone else's "greener grass."
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
- Flora Whittemore, author
Small steps that lead us to achievement
There are natural consequences that accompany every choice we make in life. Some opportunities inevitably pass us by, but we can take advantage of others. Many people feel powerless, but this is rarely the case--some opportunities just require a little thinking outside the box. Today, reflect on the doors you are opening in your world and which ones are closing. You have the power to create the life you want if you are willing to set goals and take steps toward them. Rarely does fulfilling our hopes and dreams happen overnight, but you can take one tiny move towards them each day.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Eat Healthier By Tomorrow: Three Tiny Tweaks
By Michael Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
You know how information overload is like Kryptonite to decision-making? Too much stuff in your kitchen (or hiding places -- we YOU docs know you have them), like snacks on the counter or in the glove compartment, platters with enough food for a swim team --messes with your brain's ability to make smart choices. But healthy can be easy if you change your "kitchenscape" in these simple ways:
1. In your kitchen: Ready-to-grab foods on the counter are going to make it into your mouth most often. Hide candy in a locked cupboard (or give it to your co-workers, especially ones you may not have a close relationship with, and do not replace it) and set out a bowl of fresh fruit (keep rejuvenating it). In your fridge, bring produce out of hiding. In the pantry, keep only a couple packages of one type of healthy treat-(whole-grain pretzels or unsalted nuts) on hand -- not the supersize packs from the big-box store.
2. On your table: The greater the variety of food, the more you'll eat, so present just a few options (maybe a main and two veggies) at dinner.
3. On your plate: If you use a 15-inch (yes some people have platters for plates) or 11-inch plate, you'll serve yourself more food -- and eat more -- than if you used a 9-inch one.
Bottom line: A plate, table or kitchen with too much food is like Mount Everest to an explorer: You'll eat it "because it's there." Smarten up your environment, and health and skinny pants will follow.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, are authors of "YOU: The Owner's Manual." Want more? See "The Dr. Oz Show" on TV starting Sept. 14 (check local listings). To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. (c) 2009 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Never look down on anybody unless you are helping him up.
- Jesse Jackson
Lending a helping hand
It is easy to get down on someone when you aren't in their shoes. Often we throw in our two cents when it is not only unwanted, but also unhelpful and useless. Resist the temptation to waste your breath on pointless criticism at someone else's expense. Don't give advice to people unless it is asked for, lest you belittle them and come off looking like a know-it-all. Instead, examine ways you could help that person. Rather than continuously feeling irked by a coworker's mistakes, could you lend a hand or explain a task to her in a respectful way? You never know when the shoe will be on the other proverbial foot. Help others and one day it might come back to you.
What reason weaves, by passion is undone.
- Alexander Pope
Do you follow what your heart craves?
As odd as it sounds, sometimes our logical minds can hold us back. Have you ever wanted to attempt a new career, run a marathon, or start your own business? Our brains might scream at us that it is safer to do what has been tried and true in the past, but don't let the fear of the unknown stop you! We all spend a lot of time worrying and little time examining the calling of our own hearts. What are you passionate about? Is there a way that you can honor these feelings in a responsible way? Trying new things can be terrifying, but following our passions can make us feel alive and become some of our most memorable moments in life. The thrill of love, the depths of grief, and the joys of a new career...all would be impossible without passion.
Concentration is the ability to think of absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary.
- Ray Knight, professional athlete
Are you able to focus on your goals?
Calm your mind. Quiet all of the distractions surrounding you. Concentrate on the one task at hand. Often a naysayer can cloud our minds and break our focus. What in your life distracts you? In the moment of need, silence your brain and allow yourself to stay focused. Save your worries about tomorrow and guilt over yesterday's failures for another time. Maybe you need to meditate, pray, or simply spend a few moments quietly gathering yourself before tackling the project at hand. Now is the time for just one thing--reaching your goal. Today, focus your energy, clear your head, and achieve!
The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.
- Albert Ellis
Do you accept responsibility for your choices in life?.
Do you feel in control of your life? No matter how negative events or actions may become, you are the only force that is able to determine the reaction. Often we fail to do this and instead blame the world for our feelings of sadness, rejection, and hopelessness. The reality is that your actions are a choice, and you must claim those feelings and choices. We can be our best cheerleader or worst enemy when it comes to determining the health of our emotions. Do some pep talks with yourself each morning. This will help you develop positive, self-affirming thoughts that will enhance your personal development and growth.
A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight.
- V. Borge
The power of a positive face
Have you ever contemplated how much a smile can change a person's day? Both the person who smiles and the one who sees it are positively impacted by such a small act. This seemingly tiny reflex can perk up a bad attitude, make you seem more warm and inviting, and often pass some happiness on to others. So the next time your alarm goes off for your 5 a.m. run or your dog barks in the middle of the night, smile instead of grumbling. You'd be surprised how a positive face can in turn become a positive and motivational attitude!
Adversity and loss make a man wise.
- Welsh Proverb
Victory over Trials
The need to weather hard times is constantly part of our business and personal lives. Do you ever think of these hurdles in a positive light? The next time you are faced with opposition, instead of looking at it as a source of anxiety, view it as an opportunity! Can you apply what you have learned to other areas of your life? Will this experience make you stronger and wiser next time around? Sometimes the worst and most painful experiences are the ones that help us grow the most. Having a positive attitude can deflate even the scariest situation. Overcoming adversity can help you achieve the extraordinary!
Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.
- Charles Richards
Pencil in some face time with yourself
Millions of people use organizers, palm pilots, calendars, personal assistants, sticky notes, and date books to help them manage their busy lives. Do you allow these organizers to rule your life? Do you allow space for personal time? Often we micro-manage our lives and schedule our time so much that it comes at the price of our own freedom. Instead of scheduling another meeting with your co-workers, schedule one with yourself. Make the most of today because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
For sound sleep, no pillow is as soft as a clean conscience.
Are you getting the best night's sleep possible?
Many people have difficulty getting a good night's rest. Sleep plays a crucial role in your health and well-being. Often we lose sleep because our minds are preoccupied with going over the day's events or planning for future ones. If you have problems sleeping, try creating a journal. Write out your worries and fears about what is happening in your life. Are you considering a career change? Are your in-laws coming for a visit? Do you have a strained relationship with someone? Allow your thoughts to flow out honestly to better prepare for a good night's rest.
The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him no good.
- Ann Landers
Magnifying small sacrifices
How do you treat people who cannot (or choose not to) repay you for the good things that you have done for them? Do you hold a grudge, speak ill of them, or constantly keep score? Think about a homeless man in need of a hot meal, the elderly woman who cannot open the door by herself at the store, or a lost child. Probably none of these individuals could equally compensate you for any sacrifices you make on their behalves. There remains but two choices--help or ignore. Our minds easily jump to putting them out of our minds and going about our days. But imagine the good you could do if you took a small moment of your time or the change out of your pocket. Such a small sacrifice (from your perspective of course), could have a 10-fold positive impact!
There is no difference between living and learning...it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.
- John Holt, author
Insight into learning
Every season in life is full of learning experiences. One step leads to the next and we can draw on the past and walk confidently through trials as our wisdom grows. Our thoughts eventually turn into our habits, which determine where our lives go. Put your dreams in capable hands--your own. Don't let the "wisdom of the world" become the internal voice that guides you. What has your own life taught you? What experiences have brought you to where you are now? Think about what it takes to overcome the roadblocks in your life. What skills do you need in order to achieve you goals? Take a writing class to jumpstart the book you've always wanted to write. Shadow a friend who knows how to sew, or research a trip to the country you have longed to visit. The common denominator for all successful people is having the right tools to realize their goals.
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