When it hurts so good: a healthy dose of self-denial

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Habits: These good, bad and ugly boys wrestle with my will on the daily. Some studies say it takes three weeks to enforce a habit. For me, it can also take less than 30 seconds to unravel the best of intentions. Real talk: I have a few bad habits I can no longer ignore, deny or continue to associate with. Not too long ago, I believed it simply required a matter of mindful choices. However, I’ve noticed, of late, that once I engage in an undesirable habit (or three), I’ve set myself up for failure. In other words, the snowball effect takes over of its own accord. The same can be true at the opposite end of the spectrum: If I employ a habit that benefits mind, body and/or spirit, I’ve prepped for success and smooth(er) sailing ensues. It’s more than a decision to act a certain way. It’s a commitment to replace self-defeat with self-love—and a healthy dose of self-denial.

What habit(s) do you wrestle with?

It’s only failure if you don’t try

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In the spirit of new beginnings, I recently tried a food service. You’ve seen them pop up in TV commercials, on the internet: HelloFresh, Sun Basket, Blue Apron, to name a few. I reasoned that paying someone else to shop for exactly what I need would allow me more time to focus on the basics I write about in “New year, new you…” However, I soon learned it wasn’t for me so I canceled the service. Next, I decided a fitness tracker would help me #WorkSmarter toward my health goals. I bought, tried and returned three different fitness trackers, proverbial tail between my legs. The salesperson who processed one of my returns said, “I hope you patted yourself on the back for trying something new” (four somethings including the food service!). But I hadn’t quite looked at my efforts that way. Because, you see, I didn’t fail. To quote Elbert Hubbard: There is no failure except in no longer trying.

Have you patted yourself on the back lately?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Two are better than one: helping each other succeed

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You know when you’re wrestling with a dilemma and not one, but three people share roughly the same thoughts about it? That happened to me recently: an ongoing issue caused me to second guess decisions I’d put in place. One friend tells me I’m re-opening a door long-closed. The second friend texts me a quote that reads: “There may be times when it seems that you cannot go forward, but at least you do not have to go backward.” A third friend re-iterates what I hear from the first two. It seems that in many, if not all cases, others view our situations with more objective eyes than we do. I believe that’s because—whatever the circumstances—we’re likely invested on an emotional level which could cloud our judgment. Although our friends might deal with any fallout we experience, ultimately we’re the ones who live with the consequences of our actions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t accept a helping hand.

When do others know better than you?

Photo courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Do what you can: how to cultivate discipline

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On the heels of my previous post, “Persistence, determination…,” what if you don’t see the results of your consistent efforts right away? Or even within months or years of “showing up” each day? How do you fight the discouragement and keep on keeping on? That, my friends, boils down to the question: How badly do you want it? If it’s something that doesn’t occupy your thoughts 24/7 or make you excited to jump (or crawl) out of bed each morning, then whatever it is may no longer be worthy of your attention. And that’s okay. But if it is a dream that defines you or your purpose in life, then you must work through any disappointment or obstacles and chalk them up as growing pains. Maybe up your game, reprioritize. Simplify along the way. According to “Consistency Beats Talent…,” ‘Do what you can with the hours you have. Cultivate discipline. Master your time so you can maximize your production with what time you have.’

How do you cultivate discipline?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Persistence, determination: how to win at life

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We become what we want to be
by consistently being what we want to become
each day.
~ Richard G. Scott

As I write this post, the wife of my former trainer just knocked out day #178 of showing up. Not simply getting out of bed in the morning (which, for many, is a feat to celebrate), but participating in some type of physical fitness. Every day. Segue into this article I recently read: “Consistency Beats Talent, Luck, Good Intentions, and Even Quality.” I’ve touched on the topic of consistency in past posts and think it’s worthy of another mention. Because whatever it is that we want to be good at requires showing up. Persistence. Want to become a published novelist, professional dancer, artist or athlete? Be the best spouse/partner, parent, employee, student and/or friend? Then show up. Every day. This isn’t rocket science, my friends. You don’t need a special degree or training. You just need to want it badly enough.

What do you want badly enough?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you don’t like where your life is headed: live like you’ve already arrived

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Although we manifest the fruition of our thoughts—whether negative or positive (see “Dress for success”)—and we control the “more” we wish to attract into our lives (see “Be the change”), we must take this a step further and believe it before we see it. This means to shed our former way of thinking/doing/speaking and live like we already possess what we want. Remember: the words we speak—self-fulfilling little prophecies—set us up for change and either failure or success. One day I awakened and realized I didn’t like the direction my life was headed. I desired something tangible to fill the gap between real time and Someday. The answer? I began to speak life into my circumstances. And then I took action to align my surroundings with my vision. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it means I have to be the bigger person. Become vulnerable. Take risks. Because it’s the difference between surviving or thriving.

What do you need to believe before you see it?

Photo courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Walk the talk: conditioning your mind, body for success

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This past Sunday, I woke up conflicted: workout, yoga or hike? My response: When in doubt, hike it out. The moderate-to-difficult trail proved to be exactly what I needed as endurance training for an upcoming trek of mine categorized as “hard.” And, it afforded me three hours of solitude in which I mentally sketched out revisions for a book I wrote earlier this year, as well as prefaced my next work of fiction. The time I spent strategizing in the mountains served as an effective tool to condition myself for this approaching season jam-packed with writing commitments—including two back-to-back online workshops, as well as NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month)—carrying me well into the new year. Because whether it’s a hike, or a writing workshop, training and planning go hand in hand. If I’m willing to condition and equip myself on the trail, then I should do the same for my vocational aspirations. In other words: walk—or hike—the talk.

How do you “train” for success?

Mixed messages: how to make sense of it all

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Mixed messages play havoc with logic. Just when you think you understand a simple concept, doubt creeps in and you begin to question your sanity, your ability to reason—everything you thought to be true. In the publishing world, there is frequent interaction between publisher and advertisers, authors, sales reps, subscribers and so on. As concise as one can be through email, there is often room for interpretation on both sides, which may lead to miscommunication, lost time and, not uncommon, bruised feelings. With the majority of business and social communique handled via digital means, it might require an old-fashioned phone call to right a wrong or lend clarity to a situation in order to move forward. It isn’t necessarily about the mistake or misunderstanding, because we are human and they happen. It’s how we react in the moment, mindful that relationships—business or otherwise—are always hanging in the balance. And that pride goes before a fall every time.

How do you make sense of mixed messages?

Photo courtesy of Pansa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

What’s ‘in’ this season: new outlook, new you

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This past weekend, I joined another hiker for a six-mile trek through new-to-me desert terrain. As the two of us navigated the dusty trails, we discovered common interests and beliefs despite the decade that separates our birthdays. Recently, my friend quit her job because it interfered with her hikes, her yoga. Her sanity. Although she resides in a different season of her life than me—where her plans lean toward retirement—the outlook she embraces is one I strive for daily. My friend lives and breathes the old adage that there are seven days in a week and Someday isn’t one of them; that we need to do what we can [enjoy] now, so we can do it for years to come. I knew I couldn’t move the mountains ahead of me, but I could kick aside the bad habits and negative chatter that clutters my path and replace them with stepping stones—small, manageable changes—toward success. Regardless of the season.

What does your makeover look like?

 

From the ground up: a foundation built to last

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building-a-foundation

 

Guilty of sabotaging progress you’re making in life? Maybe you’ve ditched the prose you’re halfway through writing, the deadline only days away, because binge-watching Netflix appeals more. Or you wish every day was Friday pizza, wine and movie night instead of the yoga, ab or glute challenge you committed to last week. Once we fall from our carefully crafted plans, it’s challenging to get back on track. After a few of those days, however, I showed up for Bikram yoga practice but, instead of ditching my glasses, I donned them to better analyze my postures. Surprising (to me), I noticed toned muscles and, any “damage” I thought I’d done by eating poorly, was negated by a foundation of regular exercise and healthy eating I began building years ago. Same idea with my writing: a lifetime of dreaming, preparing for, educating myself and practicing the craft allows me to pick up where I leave off. A solid foundation is key to lasting success.

Where can you build a (better) foundation?

Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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