Category Archives: Personal Growth and Development

Habitual Snowballs

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Ever noticed how bad habits tend to gravitate to one another? And how there’s a momentum associated with habits in the positive or the negative direction?

This is why, especially if you are struggling in building positive habits, it is a great idea to recognize any positive pattern/habit that you have established and been even moderately disciplined in throughout your life and hone it and build upon it. Then, subsequently you will build momentum and aquire other good habits more easily.

For example, in my life I have always been disciplined in the area of exercise. I was involved in many sports and physical activities most of my life, regular exercise naturally became a part of my routine and thus my life.

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There’s my exercise snowball; rolling downhill picking up speed!😉

I have always struggled in the discipline of organizational skills & time management and I once had a mentor tell me that if I was half as disciplined in this area as I am with exercise I would have great success in this area. She suggested that I apply the same principles just in a different area. Essentially she was simply telling me to develop the habit in my life the same way I had with exercise.

Developing a habit is simply repeating something until it becomes an automatic part of our life that we do without question or conscious decision. Once you make the decision consistently enough, it sticks.

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This was me trying to push my organizational/time management snowball uphill. Ugh😁

I’m happy to say that I am now working on developing small disciplined positive habits in this area and let it roll downhill naturally. No more pushing!! Even if I was a Mario super brother lol!

Another mentor of mine once said it is a wonder that developing the positive habit of flossing is just as tough as quitting the negative habit of smoking. Lol. Seems like a drastic analogy but it we give it truthful thought, we can see how this makes sense. Most of the daily actions we engage in are brought on by habits we create and have become unconscious. We are, in fact, creatures of habit and the trick is to develop our unconscious mind to engage in positive habits we create over time. Our unconscious mind is insanely more powerful and influential of our actions than our conscious mind!

Just like a snowball rolling downhill, habits build upon each other and create great momentum in our life. A ball of negative habits can be likened to an avalanche as they will definitely lead to utter chaos once compiled. However, creating positive habits that build upon each other creates a positive momentum that leads to peaceful functionality, productivity, and ultimately a lot more freedom! Don’t forget that you have to pack that initial little snowball and get the ball rolling!

Tear In My Heart

You know how paper cuts can be the absolute worst offenders on our skin? Strange really. And probably the exact opposite of what we would be prone to think.

Ironically, as I was already pondering this thought & the possible analogies, I guess I unconsciously decided to prove it to myself lol. My son broke one of my coffee mugs the other day and when I went to pick up the pieces, one of the sharp edges cut the palm of my hand. A seemingly teeny cut has produced a constant annoyance of blood and a surprisingly consistent irritating pain. Of course it could be the precarious location of the cut and it’s interference with daily tasks.

The interesting thing is that life is so much like this. It is often the seemingly insignificant tiny matters that are the culprits of the biggest irritants and distractions on a consistent basis; the little weeds that choke the life right out of us if we allow it.

I feel like I could go a so many different directions with this analogy. BUT… I started out with the thought of speaking about the relation to a tear in our heart. Even with the heart tear analogy I feel like it could have different meanings: A tear caused by a small offense or a linage of small offenses over time. Or, even worse, a heart tear from the infectious spread of heartache that happens due to unmet expectations. However, I believe the worst offender yet to be the seemingly smallest tear in your heart that happens as a result of an unconscious letdown of your guard because hope and desire finally overcame fear and reservation.

You know what I’m talking about. You unconsciously hung your heart out on your sleeve for just a short time and BAM it got clobbered! Then it moves straight into gut wrenching pain and heart ache.

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So, what’s the moral here…..Keep your heart on lock down? I would love to explore possible answers and explanations to the old adage: “is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?” But….I believe that is a stand alone topic for a separate writing. So…lets go this route:

Since we were young we’ve heard that common little phrase…. don’t get your hopes up. How sad. Hope is everything! You should always get your hopes up!! And keep them up! Even if it is sometimes accompanied by gut wrenching pain. At least then you know that you’re alive and passionate!

Here’s a great line from the song that inspired and provoked this writing:

“Sometimes you gotta bleed to know that you’re alive and have a soul” 21 Pilots

I love that line. Action is the only thing that cures fear. Unfortunetly, all too often we tend to shoot only for mediocrity, mostly due to our fears and focus on past failures. We let our past and present circumstances define us, and we listen to our own limiting beliefs that shout that what we have become is all we will ever be.

That is never true and is always subject to change. It is always a choice though and the Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”

So, I’ve been walking around over the last few days with this little bitty cut, most of the time forgetting it’s even there. Then I go to do something, just an average everyday task, and I am reminded of the little cut over and over again; yet no one even notices this teeny thing unless I show it to them.

I feel like this is exactly the way that our heart is. We often walk around with what we dismiss as just a tear in our heart but it is in turn affected by every day matters. Vice versa, it affects our every day actions and decisions and the choice to love with all of our heart or to put that self imposed armor back on, or worse case: build or rebuild an impenetrable wall.

We only live this life one time. No do overs. Choose to live passionately. Choose to have courage. Choose to make a positive difference. Choose to love. You will be stronger for it.

This will be a “loose” closing. Truthfully, because I don’t know exactly how the story ends;) A lot of my writing is inspired by music. So, I will close this with a few more song quotes that I love that seem fitting for this topic:

“I’ve been restless on the inside, wondering about this heart of mine. I’ve been desperately trying to find a way to prove that I’m still alive.” ~Big Daddy Weave

“When everything feels like the movies. Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive.” Goo Goo Dolls

“…and maybe someday we will live our lives out loud, try to find a way to make things better now” ~Rob Thomas

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Slight Edge Your Way to Better Health & Fitness!

In our culture we tend to think it’s all about the quantum leap; an abrupt, extreme change. You know what I’m talking about…it goes something like this: one day when I have…..or, when such and such is over…or as soon as I get a different schedule, more time, different shoes, when the baby is older, etc. The truth is that the perfect circumstances never come and we seem to commonly believe that “one day when” will come and suddenly some big break will happen. It really just isn’t so.

Contrary to these popular beliefs, it is always way more about the little decisions that we make and the little things that we do that all add up to BIG positive results! Real progress and success in anything we do come through a principle coined “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson in his best-selling book. Research and countless examples have proven that little things over time add up!

You may have heard this old Oriental Proverb:

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step!

It’s true!! Then you just keep taking more steps, keep showing up, keep making the positive healthier choices consistently and you will achieve the results you want! Remember the old movie, What About Bob? Baby Steps!!

Little things make a big difference and showing up is often half the battle!

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to get great!

The best part is that your efforts will begin to multiply by an amazing force called momentum. It’s kind of like a domino effect, but in a positive direction! There is a plant called the water hyacinth that has baffled scientists for years with it’s amazing ability to duplicate itself. You find it floating on ponds in warm climates across the world. The crazy mind-boggling thing about this plant is that on day one of the month you may not even notice it, on day 15 it may cover about a square foot, and even on day 29 half the pond is still open water, but on day 30 the entire pond is entirely covered by the Water Hyacinth’s phenomenal ability to double itself and you will not see any water at all!!

So, do not be discouraged when you don’t always physically see the results right away! They are coming I promise! Keep baby-stepping and slight-edging your way to better health with the right decisions consistently over time!

Remember that these little things are usually easy to do, but very easy not to do!

Maximize the time and energy that you do have!

Here are some practical ways that you can put these principles to work:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park further out in the parking lot
  • Make an appointment with yourself 2-5x/week to exercise
  • Get a fitness tracker to track your steps
  • Choose healthier options at meal time, even if it’s just part of the meal
  • Decide before! (In the moment we tend to make more emotional based decisions)
  • Tell Somebody!! (Letting others in on your goals brings accountability and encouragement)
  • Mentally go over your reasons why you are striving for these results every day!

**The Slight Edge principle isn’t just for fitness!! You can apply the slight edge to any endeavor to ensure consistent, lastly success!**

 

Lisa M. Jones

Exercise Physiologist

Certified ACSM Health Fitness Instructor & AFFA Personal Trainer

BS in Exercise Physiology, BS in Coaching

 

 

 

 

 

Toughen Up!!

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TOUGHEN UP!

A Book Review

When I looked up “Tough” in the dictionary one of the definitions I found was this:   “strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling” Well, I don’t know about you but I have definitely had some adverse conditions in my life, as well as some rough or careless handling of my life and my feelings by people in my life. Many times by the people closest to me. That’s tough. I personally believe that being truly tough is finding the balance of having tough skin and a soft heart at the same time in order to navigate the battle field of life and the bullets that come what may, yet still love at the same time.

I have heard it said that relationship pain is the hardest pain to deal with and if you are breathing then you are dealing with adverse conditions periodically.

So, regardless of what particular situation each of us is dealing with currently the ability to toughen up to withstand, persevere, and strive for excellence in our life is essential and this book is a wonderful tool to put in your arsenal on that journey!

Who wouldn’t want to be inspired and motivated to do more in life and to learn success principles and tools to apply to move forward in any endeavor? If you do, then Toughen Up by Claude Hamilton is a must read for you! For mental toughness is a necessity for true success on any path.

To say this is a “good read”……or even a great read, would be cliche at best. For if you merely read the pages and skim the words of a book of this caliber; you have truly missed the specific intent. Rather, to give it the appropriate praise, it is a thought provoking journey through the lessons learned and reapplied of one very courageous man’s life, that invokes a desire to toughen up and be courageous. Written in an uncanny, conversational style that can be perceived as a heart to heart from a friend who cares enough to provide a mirror to your soul to hopefully awaken a desire to live the life you were designed for, passionately pursuing it with excellence and a focus on true priorities instead of merely existing to meet your obligations. Thank you Claude for blazing a trail that others can be proud to follow if they so dare to Toughen Up!

To get a copy of Toughen Up:

http://www.lifeleadership.com/Shopping.aspx?Search=Toughen+Up#.VBCgVPldWyt

http://www.lifeleadership.com/Shopping.aspx?Search=toughen+up

 

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!

One day I was just minding my business and this old song popped in my head and then….

-This idea just randomly grabbed ahold of me tightly……

Stop, Collarborate and Listen…turns out that wasn’t just some random advice from the late 80s rapper Vanilla Ice. Uh yes, yes I did….just “bust a rhyme” (I wonder if “kids these days” have any idea what in the world that means? Well then, we will just LOL & SMH about it for good measure;)) And for now I will keep my day job! Because, I’m certainly not here to rap or to engage in apologetics; unless of course we count much needed & anticipated apologies that might would be provoked from the thoughts following this writing. Now, back to our antiquated philosopher friend…Vanilla. No, we are not baking…or rapping…please stay focused…Help a sista out. For focus is obviously not one of my temperament strengths; rather a weakness that I must work on daily. Hmmm…come to think of it…principles of that would fit in nicely here as well. Now, where were we? Ah yes, the philosopher. I mean, the brother totally had a point. Seriously, let’s break this down…

STOP…I mean that’s heavy….and the more we think (dear heavens I know that is a toughy in this day and age) about it we realize how heavy…and deep. In the song, he pauses here for dramatic effect. Noted? STOP….I mean, really, when do we ever? And the times you are examining the back of your eye lids hardly qualifies. We are a society who almost never stops. Forget the roses…have you even smelled yourself or your children lately? What is the “aroma” that we infiltrate those around us with? Are we oozing with overwhelmed-ness & irritation and close to burn out because we just go through our ever chaotic schedules somewhat robotically and never stop? When we are caught off guard daily by the insignificant irritating inconveniences that inevitably cross our path, do we keep charging through, leaving a “piece of our mind” in the aftermath, or do we stop and consider the source of frustration in others that caused it and how we might could help put out the fire instead of heaping more fuel onto it?  Do we have a clue about the state of affairs and the gaping wounds of our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, & nation? No. Because we never stop to really see. Not look; see. Not judge; see. A great book I read proposed the challenge to “seek first to understand then to be understood.” I love this. It is my desire to live that out and succeed more often at it. I could certainly camp on this first point a while but I would rather you just STOP and contemplate it. The Bible, for thousands of years has been whispering sound advice such as “be still” and “have a day of rest” but it often gets drowned out by the noise and the ever growing pace of our techy world.

Oh how we must STOP and cherish the time. For time is truly our most precious commodity and the only one we can never acquire more of.

COLLABORATE: to work together with someone or a team to accomplish something.

In a world where social media & texting are all the rage, where has the team work and true community gone? At an alarming rate, people are struggling to keep the skills of face to face conversation and communication. Nothing replaces this. For we were not meant to live in isolation; in a pseudo dichotomy where true feelings,aspirations, and dirty laundry are aired on public display and sent into cyber space for some hopes at feelings of relief and justification, maybe a few comments of sympathy, and enough “likes” to feel validated & affirmed in our thoughts and actions. When what we really desire is an empathetic hug and a “live” word of praise or affirmation; people sharpening one another and building each other up. We must collaborate. When minds that think alike, even with some opposing views, come together synergy happens and benefits everyone. It is truly amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

LISTEN. Good grief; to what? There’s so much information and noise out there, the skill of filtration is an absolute necessity. You could scroll for days through social media feed. The struggle is real.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a very influential book that has been 70 years in print. One skill set discussed in it is the “six ways to make people like you.” At first I thought this to be such a strange title, it sounded to me like manipulative techniques were fast approaching. However, deeper review proved the intention to be the opposite: a brief list of sincere character traits that can be developed to make one a good friend, thus naturally attracting others to like you.  Being a good listener and encouraging people to talk about themselves is one of the six. Not in the way of following some technique, but rather genuine listening. Truly listening is such a beautiful quality to possess. For we all want to be heard and know that our opinion matters. Everyone has a story if we take time to listen to it. The gift that we give to others when we truly listen really is valuable. It’s priceless, and for everything else there’s MasterCard;) You knew something was coming….we were getting way too serious. If we take ourselves too serious in this life, we really get in trouble;) Seriously though.. I once heard a great speaker say “when talking to a friend, dig as if you are mining for gold!”I love this!!! Ask questions sincerely and then listen! For everyone has gold inside of them!;)

I challenge you to look for situations that can be made better if you simply Stop, Collaborate, and listen! I would be willing to bet there’s at least one situation daily that could be made better and put a smile of accomplishment on your face for handling it in such a manner. And hey, you can even rap while you’re doing it if you wanna! Some of you may want to do so silently though;)

Leadership Application:
Positive recognition is one of the most powerful motivators there is. Therefore, if we Stop, check out the situation in our world & arena of influence, Collaborate and work as a team, and Listen to one another more we would be amazed at the results. It is truly amazing the enormity of what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

The Road to Success is Paved With Positive Thinking

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A guy was walking past a tattoo parlor in China as he noticed some pictures of tattoos in the window. His eyes fell on the one that read “born to lose.” He just had to know. So, he walked into the parlor and asked the tattoo artist “do people really pay to have that tattooed on their body??” The man responded: “before tattooed on body; tattooed on mind.” Wow! That is a powerful little story of a really big truth. You’ve heard it said that our thoughts become our words which become our actions and our actions become our habits. Your habits will make you and will be one of the most crucial determinants of your success.  So, if our habits in seed form are our thoughts, we need to get control of our thoughts and have as many positive ones as possible! The great news is that we get to choose our thoughts!

Here are some great habits to create to get on the positive thinking road to success:

  • Don’t think about what you’re going through; think about what you are going to! Everything worth doing comes with some kind of price, sacrifice, trial, and frustration. However, focus on where you are going, the goal or prize at the end, the end result, and the why behind the what! This will always get you there quicker and with a better attitude, better results, and energy to pursue the next goal!
  • Get your but out of the way and put it where it belongs!
  • Stop saying “I would, BUT” and start saying “I can because”

Instead of giving yourself reasons (excuses) why you can’t, look for and find ways that you can! ~Wally Amos

  • Every time you have a negative thought that provokes you to complain, put your but where it belongs! Ex: Negative thought: I hate all this traffic on the way to work, BUT I am grateful I have a job. Ex: I hate that I feel out of shape, BUT I am going to fix that by exercising and eating better.
  • Pattern Interrupt: When you notice that certain things trigger negative thoughts and complaining, stop and ask yourself why. Then, determine if this trigger is something that is avoidable or if you need to choose different thinking towards it.
  • Choose, Choose, Choose: Choose to think on things that are lovely and praise worthy. Choose positive thoughts. Choose a good attitude; it affects everything in your life. Wherever you go, there you are!
  • Write out Some Positive Affirmations: Chances are most of your negative thinking comes from lack of belief in yourself or your self-esteem and self-image could use some improvement.  Writing out positive affirmations about yourself where you can frequently review them is a success principle that is highly under-rated!
  • Flip it For Real: I could have titled this article: The Road to Failure is Paved with Negative Thinking. BUT, I didn’t because we are talking about positive thinking here. What thoughts or phrases in your life can you flip?

Remember our childhood friend, The Little Engine? What did he think? Turns out those stories aren’t just for children. When his thinking was poor and negative he was stuck in a rut and didn’t have the belief to accomplish his goals and dreams. Belief is huge. When he began to think positively, he began to believe, when he started to believe, he started to perform. Then little by little, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” turned into “I know I can, I know I can, I know I can. And, he did! And so can you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfWGoLj1JCM