Posts tagged ‘keep moving forward’

June 30, 2012

Watch Where You are Going!

When you have a goal in mind, keep your thoughts and attention on the goal that you want to acquire. It is best to focus on what we want instead of all the possible obstacles. For example, when I am snowboarding or mountain biking down a mountain, I keep my eyes focused on the path that I want to take. If I see a rock or a tree, I quickly focus on the path around the obstacle and keep going down the hill. If I keep looking at the rock or tree, it is likely that I will keep moving towards the obstacle and will likely hit the tree.

It is best to keep you thoughts focused on the goal that you want. Your internal dialogue should include positive statements of what you want to acquire. For example, if I think, “don’t hit the tree”, my metal image is that of hitting a tree and I would be more likely to hit the tree.  Just that other day, I had an example of what can happen when you unintentionally envision what you do not want. I was surfing near a reef of exposed rocks and the last section of the wave was closing out on me. Knowing that there were rocks close by, I quickly thought, “I can’t let go of my board”. Instead of focusing on grasping the tail of my board, I unfortunately let the board slip through my fingers and it ended up getting pretty dinged up on the rocks.

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June 17, 2012

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Woulda, Shoula, Coulda…. These three words seem so innocuous, but they can end up being so insidious. Just think of most of the instances that you have uttered these words to yourself. Were you reflecting on a lesson learned or just simmering in a pool of regret? I honestly admit that these words for me fall decidedly in the regret category.

Think of how you feel when others say these words to you. Are you feeling supported? Do you feel that the other person is trying to help you learn something? Or, do you tend to feel that the other person sounds “smug” or “superior”. Frankly, I do not personally recall a positive collegial conversation that involves the triad of Woulda, Shoula, Coulda.

It is my opinion that these three words have the capacity of anchoring in a past event. These words can be used to reflect on something that has the potential to be improved, but most of the time these words convey the sentiment “I screwed up” or “you totally blew it”. For our own internal dialogue, these three words can be replaced with the more powerful “I will”, “I want” and “I can”. By changing the verb tense towards the future, we change the focus from the past that we cannot change to the future that we can achieve by learning from the feedback of past events.

When interacting with others, I feel it is best to first consider if the other person wants feedback. Sometimes people will tell us stories with the hope that they will listen and validate our feelings. For the person with the hope of thoughtful validation, “Woulda, Shoula, Coulda” can generate a feeling of invalidation. If someone truly wants our feedback on a past event, it is a lot more helpful to describe the possible options and encourage them to choose the best option for themselves.

“From what you told me, you could have done this, that or the other. The consequence of this would be X, the consequence of that would be Y and the other would lead to Z. What do you think your best option would be”.

Since we cannot change the past, it is best to focus on what we can accomplish in the future. I hope you are able to leave “Woulda, Shoula, Coulda” where they belong, in the past.

May 20, 2012

Ghosts of Habits Past

I fervently wish that I could write to you all and proclaim, “I have made it! I have no more non-productive habits”.  Sheepishly I have to admit that this is not the case.

Lately, I have experienced the influence of old habits as if they were haunting me like an old ghost crying, “feed me”, “pay attention to me” or just “hang out with me like the old days”. These habits can sneak back into our lives since them seem so familiar and in an odd way, comfortable. They fit us like a well-worn pair of shoes, they fit our feet snugly but they stink really badly. These “bad habits” may give us a sense of comfort, but we may forget the customary price we pay each time we engage in them. We may have initially adopted these habits as a form of escape. Now these proverbial “old friends” come and visit like an errant college buddy and sidetrack you from your goals.

When I made a goal to attain my optimal body weight, I worked on developing a new habit of avoiding snacking after 7 PM. This seemed like an easy habit to develop. It made sense that there was no point to eating shortly after dinner and so close to going to bed. One day after having a small party at our house, I was surrounded by crunchy, tasty salty snacks. Unconsciously, I grabbed a bowl of grub and sat down in front of the TV after the kids went to bed. My old habit sat comfortably next to me on the couch.

Some times these unscheduled visits from wayward patterns of former behavior can serve as a reminder of why you tried to leave these unproductive traditions in the past. Another item that was left at our house at our house after the party was multiple forms of alcoholic beverages. I assure you that this plethora of alcohol did not lead to me drinking myself into a drunken stupor every night. However, I did start drinking one or two beers a night for a while. After about a week of this habit, I noticed I was waking up tired and more dehydrated than usual. I also noticed that I did not feel that incredible after drinking as well. I realized that my longstanding habit of drinking socially upon occasion was a lot more enjoyable of daily adult beverage consumption.

Photo Credit: askinyourface.com

The next time old unproductive habits stop by your house for a visit, be cordial and acknowledge what these habits have meant to you. As soon as you can, show these old “friends” out the door.

Related Articles:

–       21 Days To Create a Habit

–       5 Self Improvement Tips

–       Developing Good Habits

March 31, 2012

A Dose of Inspiration

Hello all,
Tomorrow I am starting my own personal habit change challenge where I will: 1) List Daily Gratitudes 2) Journal Personal Successes 3) Find time to Meditate 4) Exercise! I huge “Thank You” for those who have agreed to join this challenge; Lynie L Vinyard Currie Rose , Sue,  and Lem .

To my personal challenge list, I am adding “read personal affirmations”. Daily affirmations are a great tool to work on one’s unconscious beliefs. “Affirmation Year”  already has a challenge for focusing on affirmations for the year.

Today, I am reblogging this inspirational story about Terry Fox! I hope this story motivates you to move forward towards any perceived obstacle!

Compassion Through Thoughts!

“Hope is the physician of each misery”.       Irish Proverb

The world faces pain each day.Some give in, but there are some who bear it, for others.Terry Fox is one such man of hope, whose hope blooms everyday, in the hearts of thousands, helping them stand and fight, never give up – not untill they achieve greatness, not till they soar high above, and till they achieve solitude and escape from pain!I feel so proud to share his story of ever-living hope, because for me the name “Terry Fox” means “DREAM” and “HOPE”.

“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles”.     Alex Karras

“Disease is somatic; the suffering from it, psychic”.        Martin H. Fischer

Terry Fox was born on 28th july 1958 in Canada.He lost a leg to osteosarcoma when he was 18.He woke up one day with a dull pain…

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March 7, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney

You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward. – Conrad Hall

I find that the best way to do things is to constantly move forward and to never doubt anything and keep moving forward, if you make a mistake say you made a mistake.- John Frusciante

I have found that in challenging times of my life, I have had the notion of imagining going back and time and making different decisions. Unfortunately, no one has a time machine. None of us can go back and change our past decisions of the past. We can only appreciate the present and keep moving forward.Other times, we may find ourselves looking at the past longingly when times are hard. But when we focus our thought on “I had it better then”, we neglect appreciating everything that we have going for us in the present. The past is something we cannot control. We only have control of our lives in the present and we can guide out path to the future. We must keep moving forward.

Other times, we may find ourselves looking at the past longingly when times are hard. But when we focus our thought on “I had it better then”, we neglect appreciating everything that we have going for us in the present. The past is something we cannot control. We only have control of our lives in the present and we can guide out path to the future. We must keep moving forward.

When our projects “fail” and we experience major obstacles in the way of our goals and objectives, we could fall into a pattern of “problem admiration”. Once we see “failure” as only a form of feedback and that obstacles are only challenges, we know that we shall keep moving forward.

The next time that you find yourself sick on the couch, receive some bad news about a friend or loved one or if you just have a bad day, please remind yourself that “this too shall pass” and we can keep moving forward towards something better.

March 6, 2012

Being Sick

Although we are all in control of healthy habits such as washing our hands regularly, eating the right foods, taking our vitamins, drinking orange juice, getting enough sleep, managing stress and exercising regularly, we can still get sick. Don’t get me wrong. I strongly suggest maintaining the healthy habits listed above since these habits greatly reduce our chances of acquiring an illness. We still cannot control interacting with someone who is virulent and does not know it.

Whatever the case, I am sick.

I wish I could say that I am not prone to getting frustrated when I am sick. There are so many things on my “To-Do list” that I would like to attend to. As I have stated before, I am a recovering cynic and there are plenty of life triggers that can facilitate a “cynical event”.  As I sit pathetically motionless in my bed, I feel a tinge of guilt as my wife attends to the needs of our children and the household.

Stop! Wait! This is just another learning experience.

When we are sick, our life goals should change. Instead of focusing on that morning workout you missed since you did not have the energy to get out of bed, focus on getting better.

1)   Delegate – As soon as possible, inform people that you work with or who you live with your energy status. If other people know your health status and there is truly an important task that needs to be completed, other people can help you out.

2)   Take care of yourself   – Your body is tired for a reason. Your immune system is fighting overtime to attack whatever virus has invaded your body. The more your rest, the more your body’s resources can prioritize fighting the unwanted invaders. Now is the time to watch guilt free TV. It is time drink lots of water, drink hot tea or drink orange juice. Sleep is a priority. If you are very sick or sick for a long time, please call your doctor!

3)   Forgive yourself  – Forgive yourself for your current status of not getting things done. Wellness does not arise out of stress. Forgiving yourself can eliminate your “but I should” and “but I want to” thoughts.

4)   Be Grateful – Even when your throat is hurting, your head is pounding, your stomach is turning and your intestines are rioting, you can find something to be grateful about. Currently, I am grateful for a soft bed and the love and support given to me by my wife and kids. In other times when I am horrifically sick, I have been grateful for the cool tile on the bathroom floor. Like forgiveness, gratitude can help re-frame your outlook.

5)   Be Here, NOW! – In this moment you are sick with no energy. Please accept the situation for what it is. Thinking about that report that is due Friday is not going to be very helpful here and now.

6)   Ease back into your routines – If we rush ourselves in resuming our daily routines and responsibilities, we can prolong the illness. Start things slowly. Try giving yourself 5 minutes of light housework and then give yourself a rest. Instead of jumping into your hardcore cardio workout or performing an insane amount of pull- ups, use your typical workout time to stretch your muscles.

I hope that you stay well this cold and flu season. May your healthy routines keep the pathogens at bay. If you do get sick, remember that “this too shall pass”.

Be well!

March 4, 2012

Setting Personal Goals

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Setting personal goals is a great accomplishment. There are many studies that demonstrated that when people take the time to write down their goals, these goals have a greater chance of being achieved.

One goal format that gets a lot of attention is the “S.M.A.R.T. Goal” format. This format is commonly used in business and is one way that employees evaluate their own work performance.  The characteristics of S.M.A.R.T. Goals are S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R=Realistic and T=Timely/Tangible.

Specific: When a goal is written with specific terminology, it has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a goal with ambiguous phrasing. When you are developing your goal, do you best to answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why for each goal.

Using our previous example of quitting smoking, answers to these specifics could be

Who = me

When = By July 4, 2012

Where = in my hometown

What=I will only breath healthy air into my lungs

Why=To decrease chances of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

Measurable – Establish concrete, observable measurement criteria for your goal.  It is best to write you goal so an observer could measure your progress towards the goal.  To be measurable, you need to be able to measure when it has been accomplished. You need to be able to describe how it would look if your goal has been completed.  The benefit of measurable goals is that you will be able to chart your progress towards goal completion.

Our example goal of smoking cessation is easy to measure since the goal is to avoid inhaling smoke.

Attainable –When identifying goal areas, it is critical that you believe that you can attain the goal. If you feel like the goal may be a stretch for you, you may need to do some work on your core believes, thoughts and feelings about you proposed goal. It would also be helpful to set up your goal so you can reach it or at least attain some success along the way. If you have a huge life ambition, it may be helpful to set a smaller attainable goal on the path towards the grander goal so you can experience progress and keep momentum moving forward.

Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent something that you are willing and able to achieve.

Timely – All goals need a time frame for completion. Most of us are motivated by a deadline. Without a timeframe, it is easy to procrastinate.

Tangible – A goal will most likely be tangible if you answered all of the specific questions of who, what, when and why. A goal is more motivating when you can imagine experiencing it with one or all of your senses.

We can “Supercharge” our S.M.A.R.T. goals a couple of ways. The first way is to add emotion into our written goal. You can see this in the example goal written above. The goal should answer the question, how do I imagine myself feeling once my goal has been completed. When you add emotionality, you engage your limbic system, which is vitally important in our decision making process as well as influencing what we remember and what we choose to pay attention to. A great book on the role of our emotional system and the decision making process is “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehar. Another important component of the emotional portion of the goal is writing it in the present tense (by a certain date, I AM feeling….). Every time you read your goal, you will more likely experience your target emotion every time you read the “I am feeling” statement.

The next thing that you can do to “Supercharge” your goals is to review them every day. There are many ways of setting up your goals so you can review them daily. You can created a PowerPoint with all of your goals, you can write each goal on index cards, you could record each goal to an audio file on a voice recorder or smart phone or you can write each goal in a notebook. To help create a mental picture of your goal, it would be valuable to paste a picture next to your goal. For example, if you have a weight loss goal, it would be helpful to have a picture of the body type that you wish to create.

Have fun creating supercharged systematic, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, tangible and emotionally charged goals to help develop your roadmap of personal development.