Bringing about a breakthrough

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In “Setting goals isn’t brain surgery,” I whittle down the process into manageable, bite-size pieces. Three weeks ago I committed to writing daily and I’ve stuck to it. There have been days when I’m “stuck,” or I don’t feel particularly writerly. But it’s a priority of mine to carve time into each day to type into my keyboard or jot in my pretty ‘cest la vie’ (that’s life) notebook a thought or phrase I want to remember. Whether you seek a breakthrough in the writing process, in your career aspirations, your relationships or education, remember to 1) take yourself seriously if you want others to do the same; 2) don’t take yourself too seriously—it’s a practice (not perfect) and 3) keep the dialogue open—talk less, listen more, journal, pray or meditate and learn something new every day. No matter the breakthrough you desire in your life, it requires two things: commitment and follow through. After that, it’s about celebrating your successes.

What breakthrough do you desire?

Image courtesy of bulldogza at

Wanting and doing are two different things

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ID-10098825The saying, “It’s not about having the time, it’s about making the time,” is not a new idea. As I focus on the concept of balance this year and what it means for my life as far as work, play, fitness, relationship with self and others, as well as the pursuit of my dreams, I’m reminded that if I want to do something, it takes more than desire; it requires deliberate planning. When I don’t set aside time to tackle the task at hand, something else is bound to be more appealing or easier or convenient. Just like I make a regular commitment to practice the yoga, which can fill up 2½ hours of my day including the commute, I must pencil in time for the other priorities in my life—whether it’s journaling, deepening my connections with family and friends or decluttering and decrapifying my home and my life (see If it’s important enough, I will make the time.

What will you make time for today?

[Image credit Stuart Miles and]

Be alive with step 5

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step 5


[Image credit: Stuart Miles]


Here we are at the final step in the series “Two weeks to a new, improved you.” I’ve reviewed steps 1-4 (see Step 4 to live more… ) for a recap. Step five is your report card: at the end of 14 days, re-evaluate. You’ll circle the plans you implemented and then revisit step one where you rated the satisfaction of your life, then compare your score to the goal you gave yourself. Had you scored a 5 in your work life and implemented a plan to increase your satisfaction to an 8, yet you did nothing to make it happen? No worries! Simply recommit and re-evaluate yourself in another two weeks. After working on the first four steps, maybe you’re wondering how to even begin. I picked Nov. 1 as my start date but spent most of the day working on step four. Pick a day and, before you know it, your life will have changed in more ways than one.

Do you plan to make any changes?

Step 4 to live more (abundantly)

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step 4


[Image credit: creativedoxfoto]

If I’m all about simplifying my life, then this five-step process of evaluating my satisfaction with said life, identifying areas that don’t serve me and planning energy-renewal solutions to change  it up in 14 days is way more trouble than it’s worth. But wait, there’s more! Step four: make a commitment and take action. Now that I know what I need to change, I have begun what I’ve deemed “the list.” This includes the whats, as well as the hows (the time allotted to each task). For example, if clutter drains my energy, each week I’ve committed time to tackle the piles. If my grad school application is due Jan. 1, 2016 (life happened and I’ve had to push it out another year), I have a clear outline of what needs to happen and when. If I want to revamp my fitness goals, I simply consult “the list” for a lifestyle plan that works for me. There’s no thinking twice!

What’s stopping you from a more abundant life?

A commitment to start

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A commitment to start

[Image credit: Idea go]

With a little more than a month remaining until 2014, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. Professionally speaking, I had one goal: to write a book. The most concise writing advice I’ve ever read is: start small, join a writing class and/or writer’s group and try to write every day. So I am, I did and I do. But life is a roller coaster and, for the writer, writing is an extension of that life. Which means the best laid plans are oftentimes crammed with detours. For example, mid-year my family ran into a snag. My daughter and I became estranged and didn’t speak for a month. We were stuck, like the proverbial writer’s block. However, applying that same (writing) advice to our situation, I started out small. I relied on friends and family for support. And now she and I try to communicate daily. Although we cannot avoid life’s roadblocks, we can make a commitment to start wherever we are.

What are you committed to start?

One day at a time

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Only 30 days

[Image credit: renjith krishnan]

Tomorrow is my final day of the 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge.  It’s also the end of my resolve to avoid sweets, alcohol, caffeine and anything non-vegan.  People have told me I’ll feel amazing afterward, and it’s true.  They’ve also asked if I’m going for 60 — and what I plan to do once the challenge is complete.  I’d like to keep going.  I’ve toned and trimmed some trouble spots.  I’ve improved my strength, balance and determination.  My IBS symptoms are better than ever.  My skin is cooperating.  And I learned I can do anything for 30 days.   However, I may swap out a day or two of Yoga for the gym a couple of times a week.  Maybe add a cup of coffee back into my diet.  For me, it’s become more about living one day at a time, while accepting where my body and mind is on any given day, rather than making more commitments.  So I’ll decide on Monday.

What have you done for only 30 days?

Over the hump

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Over the hump

[Image credit: Photokanok]

Eighteen days ago I started the 30-day Bikram challenge (see All or nothing revisited), which also included making a few self-prescribed diet changes.  A lot of commitment all at one time.  So much so that, in order to maintain my focus (and my sanity), I’ve temporarily stopped working out at the gym, writing my book, keeping up with my daily chores and making any big or life-altering decisions.  These allowances have permitted me to successfully practice self-control, while at the same time nurture myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I can thank Yoga, along with the changes I’ve made, for growing me in these areas and teaching me that I’m stronger than I ever knew.  And now that I’m over the hump with less than two weeks to go, I’m beginning to think about life after the challenge.   It looks like this: I will succeed at whatever I set my mind to.

What kind of goal have you established for yourself that required making it over the hump?

I am slowly going crazy

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I am slowly going crazy

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

There’s an old Raffi tune my daughter and I sang when she was little: I am slowly going crazy, 1-2-3-4-5-6 switch, crazy going slowly am I 6-5-4-3-2-1 switch.  Sometimes I’ll still mutter the song to myself as I flit from one commitment to another.  I’ve said it before — that remaining busy helps keep my mind in the present.  It encourages me to not dwell on lack but focus on plenty.  But if you know me, I typically don’t do anything halfway.  Which means moderation is a challenge.  I’m working on that one by picking and choosing value-added activities, rather than simply filling my days with “stuff.”  This means pursuing interests and relationships that edify and add to, rather than tear down and take away from.  Saying yes to those things that fill the depleted areas in my life and no to the things that aren’t worth my time or energy.  That way, going a little crazy can be a fun thing.

Does your crazy need to be re-evaluated?

Time is money

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[Image credit: Phaitoon]

By the time I post this, hopefully I’m the owner of a new cell phone.  I’ve been using one with a cracked screen and memory problems so that it’s capable of only receiving and sending calls and texting off and on.  My contract was due for an upgrade this past Monday; however, it was hard not to buy something before I was eligible to receive the discounted price.  And when I went into the store two days sooner to look at my options and learned I could upgrade a week early, I still stuck to my original plan of conducting research before making a decision.  I wanted to ensure I’d choose the perfect phone for me.  After all, it’s a two-year commitment and I know what it’s like to regret a couple of my previous selections.  So here’s to taking my time and doing my homework.  Hopefully the best phone will have won.

What decision have you made lately requiring a little research and a lot of patience?

Going through the motions


[Image credit: savit keawtavee]

Another life lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes we have to dance the dance — go through the motions — even when we don’t want to.  As with most things in life, it takes two (or more) to tango.  And over the years, our dance partners range from boyfriends or girlfriends to spouses or children.  Or all of the above.  These moves we’re practicing possess names such as compromise, commitment, sacrifice.  So day in and day out, we go through the motions.  Sometimes we trip up, but for the most part, we muddle through.  Although no pomp and circumstance trails in our wake and no fireworks light the sky, in time we may recognize a sense of contentment filing the empty spaces.  Perhaps former dreams finally receive that facelift we’ve been saving for.  Then, if we’re lucky, when Someday arrives we’ll be dancing because we want to.

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we’re here we should dance.  ~ Author Unknown

Do you dance because you have to, or want to?

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