Monthly Archives: November 2014

Give Thanks – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

In honor of Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, today’s Motivational Monday was taken from Healthline.com in an article titled A Dose of Gratitude: How Being Thankful Can Keep You Healthy, written by Robin Madell

What if there was a solution to stress so simple that it involved nothing more than feeling thankful for the good things in your life? In fact, there is. That solution is called gratitude.

Studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been a leading researcher in this growing field, termed “positive psychology.” His research has found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits.

Emmons’ findings, along with those from other researchers such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

  • take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance
  • get more regular exercise
  • eat a healthier diet
  • have improved mental alertness
  • schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor
  • cope better with stress and daily challenges
  • feel happier and more optimistic
  • avoid problematic physical symptoms
  • have stronger immune systems
  • maintain a brighter view of the future

With that list of benefits, who wouldn’t want to try it? To get started giving thanks, consider integrating some of the steps below into your daily life.

Focus Attention Outward

Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. According to Emmons, gratitude is defined by your attitude towards both the outside world and yourself. He suggests that those who are more aware of the positives in their lives tend to focus their attention outside of themselves.

Be Mindful of What You Have

You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Edward Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do. These findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Recording what you feel grateful for in a journal is a great way to give thanks on a regular basis. Emmons found that those who listed five things they felt grateful for in a weekly gratitude journal reported fewer health problems and greater optimism than those who didn’t. A second study suggests that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly writing.

Reframe Situations as Positive

It’s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. For example, rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side. You might now have more time to direct towards other priorities.

Happy Monday, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Brave Enough – Motivational Monday!

Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

Today’s a two for one- a funny video with a positive message for the week. These adorable clumsy baby elephants are hilarious to watch and also show us their bravery. They fall, but keep getting back up. So start out this week with a laugh, and don’t let a step back keep you down. It is the falls that teach us how to keep going. Happy Monday!

 

Adopting a Puppy!

Adopting a puppy is a massively huge life change. It’s kind of like deciding to become a parent (in my case a single parent) to a hyperactive, needy, headstrong (but lovable) fur-baby who has the advantage of having four fast legs and cupie doll eyes. This fur-baby has sharp pointy teeth and uses its claws as weapons. Things will get chewed up, your schedule will dramatically adjust, and both your place and your car will be distinctly cleaner and messier at the same time. You will be picking up things you never thought to before, and keeping all your shoes in the closet. There will be chewed up bits of dog toys, plastic water bottles, sticks and pine cones littering the floor. There will be wet nose spots on your windows and fur all over. You may have to invest in a new vacuum… and that expensive dog bed will get destroyed and will be replaced with a $5 blanket from Walmart. This puppy will need to go outside frequently to relieve itself, and will want to stay out longer when it is freezing outside. This puppy will use you as a chew toy, bark in your face, and have numerous strange quirks you never stop discovering. But this puppy will also follow you around adoringly, romp and play, and will curl up next to you on the couch with their head on your lap and your heart will melt. They will learn a new trick, greet someone politely or actually leave something alone that you command and your heart will burst with pride. Owning a puppy is one of the most frustrating, but rewarding things you can do.

Growing up I always had a dog or two, and so it felt like a space was missing when our last dogs passed away three and four years ago. This May after a lot of thought and after having waited several years for the right time, I decided to start looking. Of course my Charlie was at the very first shelter I went to. I had enlisted my brother to help and we both fell for him. How could you not want this adorable face?

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My trainer said most new puppy owners go through a ‘honeymoon’ phase before the troubles begin. Charlie and I had no honeymoon phase. He’s as stubborn as I am, which is really saying something. It was touch and go for a month or so, but we found common ground and now I can’t imagine not having him.

He was a bit of a trouble maker at first:

Actually, Charlie is still a troublemaker:

No matter how many crazy things Charlie does, or how frustrated I get, he’s totally worth it. He makes me laugh, he is my personal space heater as well as my shadow, and he’s a snuggle bug with a heart of gold:

If such a big change isn’t for you, get an older and calmer dog. When Charlie gets a friend to play with that is what will happen. Remember, adopt- don’t shop!!

To see more goals I accomplished this year click here.

Winners Never Quit – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit. Everyone will fail and make mistakes sometimes. It’s those who pick themselves up and try again that have an opportunity to succeed. Sometimes it takes several times to get it right, but the point is to learn from from what didn’t work for the next time. Happy Monday, and go get em’!

 

Getting Colorful at The Color Run!

Back in May my friend Anna and I had a father/daughter day at the Color Run! It is advertised as the ‘Happiest 5K on the Planet’ and it really is. We had so much fun, starting even before the word ‘GO!’ Here’s to good time with friends and family, and checking off a goal on my 2014 Manifesto!

A picture of the ‘before’- clean white shirts and no extracurricular color in sight. The threatening rain showers ended right before we hopped out of the car, so we were free to get messy!

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We got our first taste of color at the yellow powder station. We learned quickly to hang out at the stations for a few minutes- liberally applying color ourselves to each other- whether it was invited or not. 😉

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The Kansas City run we were in started in the parking lot near the Chiefs stadium, looped up around the Royals stadium and ended in the far parking lot. You don’t even feel like it’s work – running or walking. There were water stations set up strategically, and a big party with lots of extra color at the end. Here are the ‘After’ pictures!

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The theme of the run was ‘Kaleidoscope’ so they had a big one for groups to pose in. Lots of hamming it up ensued. 🙂

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If you get the opportunity to participate in a Color Run, do not hesitate to do so, you will love it! You exercise, get colorful, and it is super easy to wash off in the shower. Just make sure you bring along sheets for your car ride home!

How to Motivate Yourself – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

For today’s Motivational Monday post, check out the article from TIME magazine below, and have a great Monday!

How to Motivate Yourself: 3 Steps Backed By Science
Eric Barker June 30, 2014

1) Get Positive

When do we procrastinate the most? When we’re in a bad mood.

Via Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess:

“So procrastination is a mood-management technique, albeit (like eating or taking drugs) a shortsighted one. But we’re most prone to it when we think it will actually help… Well, far and away the most procrastination occurred among the bad-mood students who believed their mood could be changed and who had access to fun distractions.”

Meanwhile, research shows happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.

What does the military teach recruits in order to mentally toughen them up? No, it’s not hand-to-hand combat.

It’s optimism. So how do you get optimistic if you’re not feeling it?

Monitor the progress you’re making and celebrate it. Harvard’s Teresa Amabile‘s research found that nothing is more motivating than progress.

Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work:

“This pattern is what we call the progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress—setbacks in the work. We consider this to be a fundamental management principle: facilitating progress is the most effective way for managers to influence inner work life.”

Okay, so negativity isn’t making you procrastinate and holding you back. But what’s going to drive you forward?

2) Get Rewarded

Rewards feel good. Penalties feel bad. And that’s why they both can work well for motivating you.

Research shows that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things.

Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People:

“Researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. It accounts for about 75 percent of personal motivation toward accomplishment.”– Dickinson 1999

So treat yourself whenever you complete something on your to-do list. (Yes, this is how you train a dog but it will work for you too.)

Having trouble finding a reward awesome enough to get you off your butt? Try a “commitment device” instead:

Give your friend $100. If you get a task done by 5PM, you get your $100 back. If you don’t complete it, you lose the $100.

Your to-do list just got very emotional.

So you’re feeling positive and there are rewards (or penalties) in place. What else do you need? How about nagging, compliments and guilt?

3) Get Peer Pressure

Research shows peer pressure helps kids more than it hurts them.

(And face it, you’re still a big kid, you just have to pretend to be an adult most of the time — and it’s exhausting.)

Surround yourself with people you want to be and it’s far less taxing to do what you should be doing.

Via Charles Duhigg’s excellent book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:

“When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.”
The Longevity Project, which studied over 1000 people from youth to death had this to say:

“The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.”
And the research on friendship confirms this. From my interview with Carlin Flora, author of Friendfluence:

“Research shows over time, you develop the eating habits, health habits and even career aspirations of those around you. If you’re in a group of people who have really high goals for themselves you’ll take on that same sense of seriousness.”

So we’ve got all three methods going for us. How do we wrap this all together and get started?

Sum Up

Got today’s to-do list? Great. That means the most rational thing to do now isstop being rational. Get those emotions going:

Get Positive
Get Rewarded
Get Peer Pressure
You can do this. In fact, believing you can do this is actually the first step.

What’s one of the main things that stops people from becoming happier? Happiness isn’t part of how they see themselves so it’s harder to change.

Think of yourself as a motivated, productive person. Research shows how people feel about themselves has a huge effect on success.

Via The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People:

“For most people studied, the first step toward improving their job performance had nothing to do with the job itself but instead with improving how they felt about themselves. In fact, for eight in ten people, self-image matters more in how they rate their job performance than does their actual job performance. – Gribble 2000
Still unsure if you’ll be able to beat the procrastination demon? Then skip right to #3, peer pressure.