How to jump start your day: a quest for the Holy Grail

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Fantasy: I am so excited to begin each day that I jump out of bed in the mornings. Reality: I silence the alarm, squint at my cellphone and weep a little on the inside when I realize it’s time to get up. As much as I like my day job, what I’d like even more is to find that reason to jump out of bed in the mornings. Yes, I’m grateful, thankful, blessed—which the wooden sign hanging over my kitchen window calls out to those who enter the room. But aside from my morning coffee, there’s very little that excites me about the ritual I perform once I’m awake. This past weekend, however, I broke free from my daily routine and enjoyed a mini getaway up north. I’m convinced this deviation from my everyday agenda is the Holy Grail required to jump start my days. Mission: Figure out how to make it work Monday through Friday.

What gets you excited to jump out of bed each morning?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

The littlest of blessings

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At the beginning of 2013, I pulled out a jar from the cupboard and placed it in plain view. The plan was for my family to jot down things we’re grateful for throughout the year and add these slips of paper to the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to read the notes and reflect on all of the blessings we received. Not unlike a clean slate on Jan. 1, an empty jar leaves so much room for possibilities. Glancing at the jar as I write this, I’m disappointed to see only a few pieces of paper scattered across the bottom. Although I know I’ve forgotten to write down some of the “good” things over the past 11 months, overall it’s been a challenging year. Consequently, the few slips of paper we’ll review at the end of December are that much more precious. And it makes me determined to recognize even the littlest of blessings I receive in 2014.

Has it been a “good” year for you?

The good in your life

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[Image credit: PinkBlue]

Over a year ago, I wrote about how I often focus on what I don’t have, rather than on what I’m thankful for.  With the holidays upon us, it’s a fitting time to remind ourselves of the many reasons we’re grateful.  For me, even though it’s not Someday yet, it’s better to plan for my dreams than to dwell on “What’s-Not-Day.”  And, while it’s easy to recognize our appreciation of what others have done for us, it’s also important to reflect on the good we do for ourselves.  For instance, at first glance, it may appear selfish or fiscally irresponsible when I spend money and time on my Bikram Yoga classes.  However, what I’m doing helps me to be stronger, healthier and happier, as well as better equipped to handle life outside of the studio.  All of which benefits those around me.  So everything that’s good in your life may just touch others, as well.

What’s one good thing you’ve done for yourself lately that you’re grateful for?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands

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[Image credit: Sarunyu_foto]

Each day my big sister comes up with four things she’s thankful for.  Last week, she and I must have been on the same wavelength despite the 2,000 odd miles separating us, because I learned we shared equally funky moods — misery loves company, or perhaps it’s one of those “sister things.”  Either way, at the end of her email, she listed the four things she was thankful for that day.  I did the same in my reply to her and, not long afterward, discovered I didn’t really feel so funky.  After all, it’s hard to remain blue when you realize your cup is half full.  And considering I’m the only one who has control over the contents of my cup, I choose to fill it with gratefulness.  The four things I’m thankful for today are: 1) the ability to bridge the distance through technology, 2) a day job I enjoy that supports my writing, 3) the gift of sisters and friendship, and 4) fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

What are four things you’re thankful for today?

A is for attitude (adjustment)

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

I know I’ve touched on the topic of attitude adjustments in a past post (or half-dozen), but it bears repeating simply because we can all use them from time to time.  When my ankle kept me from my regular training and working out at the gym, I could have appreciated the time off from the daily commitment by catching up on some reading instead of feeling sorry for myself.  If you planned to vacation on the beach but could only afford inland, that isn’t stopping you from building sand castles or taking a stroll along the shoreline every other morning.  If your new home is half the size of your previous residence, consider yourself fortunate that you have a roof over your head with less to clean.   Then there are the old standbys: if the dirty dishes are piled in the sink and the laundry ceiling-high, be thankful you have food in your tummy and clothes to wear.  And one of my favorite quotes to date can easily be applied to improving our attitudes: mistakes are proof that you are trying.  I can safely say I am trying each day.  Multiple times … without fail.  That’s really all anyone can ask.

Where can you make an attitude adjustment today?