Think More, Do Less 

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Do you ever stop and ask yourself, is what I’m doing getting me to my end goal? I do it all the time. There can be a million people following a process but if it doesn’t make sense to me, I’m just not going to do it. I question everything big or small to make sure I am not wasting time going through motions that do nothing to advance my agenda. Just tonight I helped my son study for a history exam. They were given the blank, study guide at the end of class. Did I mention the test is tomorrow? So, we spent the night searching for answers to questions that may or may not be right that get handed in tomorrow before the exam for a grade. No one goes over the questions to make sure these kids have the right answers. They go through the motions of studying information that they think is right but what if it’s not? Is there no such thing as common sense anymore? Who is accountable and for what exactly? I’m really confused about the point behind this process. We had 1.5 hours of chemistry tutoring that should have taken 45 minutes but because of the busy, useless work that came before, he was distracted when I needed him to be focused. And then we spent the rest of the night drilling in answers that we have no idea are right because of course they are worded with trickery. School just seems like such a waste of time these days and I am losing my enthusiasm due to the uselessness of the process. I can’t help and wonder if teachers ever question if this method makes any sense. I just don’t get it. Be a thinker. Be open to change. Check if what you are doing is helping you achieve a certain outcome. Don’t blindly follow. Find your own path and lead. We need more leaders and less followers. More thinkers and less aimless doers. 

A Step in the Right Direction

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Have you made any positive changes so far this year? We are so eager to point out our flaws and usually too timid to celebrate our accomplishments. This is your chance to brag. What is something you are proud of this week? I have made it to the gym two days in a row which is a new streak for me. It’s amazing how good we can feel about ourselves when we come up with a plan and actually stick to it. What have you stuck to? I’d love to hear about it!

Mom, Is An 82 Okay?

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I am super hard on my kids. I expect a lot but I no longer expect more than their personal best. This push for better, brighter, smarter, perfect is becoming an inner battle I must fight from the inside out. I cannot tell you the number of parents I know who absolutely freak out over anything less that an A. Newsflash everyone! Not every kid is capable of A’s. As a parent who is more involved with my child’s schoolwork than most, I can honestly attest that sometimes the amount of information taught in class is not enough tobe successful on tests. This expectation that you can give kids an overload on informationin a short time folllwed by an exam where you are expected to APPLY what you learn is setting these kids up for failure. Not everyone can make those connections that are obvious for a select few. All I can say is, yes Chase, an 82 is just fine. 

When’s the Last Time You Stepped on the Scale?

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Sometimes you have to have the courage to step on the scale. How in the world could you possibly know if you are reaching your goals if you don’t take the opportunity to be honest with yourself about how your doing? It’s easy to wander around aimlessly claiming to strive for a specific end result but if we don’t evaluate the steps we are taking to get there, wandering around is all we may ever achieve. Which brings me back to why I stepped on the scale in the first place.

I have been doing workout challenges for two months now. I went from basically laying on the couch to working out hard for short increments every single day. I feel great. My body has changed and more importantly my mind has transformed. I feel strong and confident and committed until I stepped on the scale. All that hard work disappeared in one short moment. That could have been it for me. That could have been the moment in time I allowed myself the excuse to duck out and quit. Guess what? That’s not happening. Instead, I was able to get real with myself and admit the truth. Yes I have been working out consistently hard but guess what? I have been eating consistently hard as well. So today I am committing myself to both working out and maintaining healthy eating. I have been very successful in both but never at the same time. So, my new challenge is to put it all together and get the best results I have ever seen.

The lesson here is to check in with yourself. Whether it’s weight related or any other type of goal. Make sure the steps you are taking will put you on the path that will lead to you successfully achieving your goal.

Empty Promises

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Commitments are so hard to keep these days. I start out with the best of intentions but my laziness and defeating self talk often stand in the way of any completion. 44 days ago I made the decision to focus less on my weight and more on becoming stronger and fitter. I took a 15 day challenge followed by a 30 day challenge and tomorrow will be 45 days of creating a stronger, better, more confident me. The more I commit to my own goals, the better I feel about myself every day. I started at a low point. I was in pain, had little motivation and believed I would never see the results I wanted to achieve. Tomorrow one challenge ends and the next one begins. My new mindset is to stop focusing on the end result. Stop comparing who I am today to who I want to be. Change occurs slowly and takes dedication and devotion every single day. Before you know it, one day turns into one week and one week into one month. My new motto is strong and steady. I will get there and every day I am one step closer. One day at a time I am learning discipline. I am retraining my brain to speak a new language. You can do this. You are strong. You are doing this. Keep on going. It really is mind over matter but it doesn’t happen over night. Sometimes you have to be your own life coach because after all, no one is more affected by your own choices than you are. Use affirmations and encouraging words and when you finally do picture yourself at the finish line, you will be there smiling.

Can Goals Become Too Important?

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Everywhere I look, people are trying to do more, be more. I can’t help but sit back and wonder to myself, are goals starting to be more important than living these days? Conversations with friends revolve around the desperate need for their kids to get straight A’s. Guess what? Not everyone is capable of getting an A in every class. What kind of message are we starting to scream to our children? Anything less than perfect is not good enough? I watch as parents spend almost 1000 dollars to help their college bound student get a better grade on the ACT test. Do we really need our kids to get into Harvard or Yale to feel like they are successful? When is enough enough? How many parents rave about their kids getting a 4.0 at the end of their college years when in the real world what matters is if they get a job and how well they do it? How many teams do we have to encourage our son to play on to do everything we can to eliminate his chance of sitting on the high school bench? How many hours do we have to spend grasping at goals that don’t mean a damn thing in the end? Is perfection and being the best worth the time we trade for it every single day? Does happiness and living have to be dependent on whether or not we ever reach our goals and do you ever ask yourself, what is the cost? 

I’m sorry but I will not raise my children to kill themselves to be above the crowd. I will raise them to appreciate their real gifts and encourage them to use those gifts to better the world. I will encourage them to appreciate time and the things that most agree are really important at the end of our lives. I will encourage them to be their own personal best and not to compare themselves to the people around them. I will show them that I love them for who they are and never make them feel it is conditional on how well they do. Not being the best but rather their personal best, will always be good enough for me. 

And It’s Done

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Have you even accomplished something you thought you couldn’t do alone? I know it’s a little bit early but today I got the artificial Christmas tree up all by myself. I know it doesn’t sound like a difficult feat but being only five feet tall, I am somewhat challenged. Not only did I get the tree up and the lights on but I also managed to get the bow on the top. I guess it’s true, where there’s a will there’s a way and once we set out mind to getting something done, it’s as good as done. 

What have you done recently that you didn’t think you were capable of?

Speak Softly

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“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ~
Ambrose Bierce  

As I contemplated what to say to my sons teachers at conferences tomorrow afternoon, I happened to stumble on this quote. Isn’t it amazing how we get what we need at the exact time in our life we need it most? I am going to purposely practice some peaceful yoga right before I go and I guarantee, because of this quote, my conversation will be much different than I initially imagined.

How To Reach Another Year of Marriage

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Next week, we will be celebrating 17 years of marriage. With so many marriages falling apart around me, I can’t help but wonder why mine is still going strong. The fact is, every couple has challenges. There will be good times, difficult times and those times that will certainly make or break you as a couple. There will be a flicker, moments when the spark you initially felt is very much alive and moments you can’t stand being in the same room. But why do some couples make it and other couples don’t?
If I had to pick just one determining factor that ultimately leads to the success of marriage, it would be commitment. Not the kind of commitment that keeps one faithful but rather a stronger commitment to the relationship and less commitment to self. It’s obvious that people have become very selfish. They want it all. The trick is wanting the relationship to work more than having a hot body or a successful career. It’s purposely choosing the relationship over a hobby or friends or anything else that can drive a wedge in between. Does that mean you shouldn’t go to the gym or take pride in your job? Does it mean you should give up your friends for the sake of your spouse? Of course it doesn’t. It just means that your main priority has got to be your relationship in a time of record divorce and infidelity. The key is putting the majority of time into your spouse and relationship and less time into the passions that drive you apart. When your time and focus is greater on any one thing more than it is your relationship, you can be sure the death of your relationship will soon be near.
I know many couples who get caught up in anniversary gifts. They want the fancy box and the pretty bow. They hold the value of their relationship dependent on whats in the box. For so many years, people will ask, what did he give you for your anniversary. I just smile to myself. The gifts we give each year can’t be put in a box. Every year we give the gift of respect, friendship, support, encouragement and the most important gift of all unconditional love. There is no greater, more satisfying feeling in the world than knowing someone loves you just the way you are, without conditions. There is no greater gift than knowing someone supports your dreams and works along side you to make them come true. There is nothing more special than knowing the person you married is the one who loves and accepts you more than anyone else in the great big world. Love says it’s okay when you make a mistake instead of listing the ways you create your own problems. Love listens and understands when everyone else tries to give advice. Love is there in the hard times and smiling along side you in the good times. Love is a gift that keeps on giving even when the relationship seems hopeless and lost. Love does not criticize, it emphathizes. Love does not blame, it searches for solution. Love does not resent, it always forgives regardless how big the offense. 

What do you think leads to a lasting relationship? What is most important to you?

A New Message To Our Kids

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What are we doing to our kids today? I have to share this story because I think it is a perfect example of why we have to take a new approach and attitude with today’s youth. I had friends over the other day. We had just attached the hook to our pergola. Have you seen the game where the ring is attached to a string and you have to strategically swing it to land on the hook? We all tried it and were having a good time. Everyone except my friends daughter. She tried once and made a comment that it wasn’t her thing and sat back down. Do we stress success so much that our teens can’t even find enjoyment out of a silly game if they are not automatically good at it? This attitude that I should only do what I am good at and I won’t even try what challenges me concerns me quite a bit. I believe this is the age the teens world becomes as small as the town they live in. I teach my kids this, just because you are in the top of your class here, or you place in the 100 fly at every local swim meet, the world is a very large place. You have very little chance of being the prettiest, the wealthiest, the smartest or whatever. Do we need to stress less importance on being the best in their tiny little circle and place more emphasis on them just being and doing their personal best? If we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else will we ever feel happy or successful? Celebrate your talents and your own uniqueness and be grateful for the gifts you are given. It is important to remind kids this age that just because they are in advanced classes because they learn at a faster pace does not necessarily make them smarter. Just because someone is more popular does not mean they are prettier or friendlier.

It was just really something to witness the other night. The older I get and the harder and more serious life gets, serves as a well needed reminder that it is so important to play and have fun and be happy. Your brain or your grade or your job does not define you. If you always struggle to be the best at everything you will miss out on the most important part of life….living.

Be the best person you can be in everything you try and do. Relax, have fun and stop trying to keep up with top this and top that. The world is too big to compare and compete if that is what determines your self worth. Keep everything in perspective and find balance. Somewhere in between is where success really lies and living survives.