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Archive for Motivation

Instead Of Resolutions, Do This: Two Magic Words

Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just . . . Start.

—Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Are you like me? It’s the New Year. Time for a fresh start. Adventures and growth. A new beginning. And I make those resolutions, only to find them tossed aside by the end of January. Or sooner. I’ve even worked with goals. Posted them on the kitchen calendar, only to find them at year’s end, buried under a pile of More Important Post It Notes. What’s with that?

And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s. It can be a birthday. Or a Monday. Or the first of the month. Whatever it may be, this turn of the mind signals a new beginning. But my mind may or may not cooperate with something new. This morning I was going for my early morning walk as I usually do. But I made the mistake of looking at the temperature. Brrrr. -4 degrees. Not a good thing. Negative Nellie, that little stubborn donkey in my mind, started in. “It’s far too cold. There’s probably ice on the road. What about frostbite? Do you have enough on to stay warm?” The list was endless. Result? I didn’t go. And felt like a failure, for I have consistently walked in all sorts of weather. But not this time.

I tried to console myself (”After all, you did shovel snow in 10 degree weather.”) But that wasn’t enough for the gloomy part inside of me. Not hardly, for the resistant nattering went on and on. This self-talk almost derailed the entire day. Projects awaited, ready for completion. The home place always needs a cleaning. There’s a book I need to read. After all, I let myself down earlier. Why not continue?

That’s where these two magic words came into play. Begin again. Stop with the back sliding and dig my toes in ten feet deep. Focus. Start with one thing. And see it to completion. If my mind begins to wander, I write down what I’m thinking about (or remembering to do) and continue on. I have a non-electronic PDA, my trusty 5×7” spiral bound notebook tucked into my purse. Anything extraneous that needs to be done goes into this little treasure.

This way of tracking myself began many years ago. I was in Walmart, with my multiple Post It notes stuck together. The lady behind the Customer Service counter looked at me and said I needed one “of these.” She pulled the prototype of my PDA from her pocket, remarking it wasn’t that expensive.

And it dawned on me there was another way of running my life.

Begin again. I could simply start over. Right then and there. I don’t have to wait for any special moment to start anew. Gone on an eating binge over the holidays? I can stop at 7:12 pm on December 29th and begin again. Having an argument with someone? I can take a deep breath, consider my options and begin again. Or postpone the discussion until cooler heads prevail. What magic in those words. Bring on the New Year. I’m ready!

When you get off track, how do you reset your goals? Is it working for you? If not, use these two little words, begin again, and watch the process unfold. Enjoy the little things on the Mountain and live unstuck. May 2019 be filled with new wonders and delightful adventures for you!

Maintaining Interest

Are we alike? Sometimes I feel energetic and enthusiastic when trying out a new behavior (substitute exercise or change in eating habits) but lose steam after a while. How about getting involved with a project but abandoning it before it’s finished? Though I understand the importance of what I am doing, laziness or lack of willpower creep in to drain my enthusiasm. This makes me feel as if what I’m doing is a burden, and I am even less likely to complete the task or adhere to the new program.

Let me give you an example. I was out of town for a couple of weeks. Before that time, I was routinely at the gym three times a week, rain or snow, heat or cold. A 5:00 wake up was just fine. I rolled ut of bed, ready to go. Didn’t matter if it was dark outside or bright sunshine. I was up and ready to move.

Fast forward to my return from my trip. 5:00 a.m. came and went, and all I did was lift one eyelid and check the time. Didn’t even feel guilty about still being cozy in my bed. Sure, I got up to walk the dog around 6:00, but that didn’t help my lack of enthusiasm for a good workout.

Then, I began to remember all of the benefits of my workout. When the rowing machine was my friend, my back didn’t hurt when I was on the computer. I had more energy and felt better after going to the gym. I was also proud of myself for sticking to my schedule. And most of all, I remembered that if I got up early in the morning, my brain was still asleep. I could get to the gym, and by the time I finished my brain was just beginning to wake. (Works every time). I was back on track.

We all know that everything in life takes a bit of work, time and effort to complete. Short spurts of enthusiasm won’t see us through to the end. But what to do when interest and attention and focus wanes?

  • Set your intention. Decide that whatever you want to achieve is a top priority for you, that you will focus on its Make out a schedule that will work for you. In my case, it was getting to the gym before the day began. (No excuses).
  • Celebrate the little victories. There was a time when I was a couch potato. Cholesterol levels went through the roof and pants were very tight as I gained weight. The turning point was when my doctor recommended Lipitor. A quarter mile hill next to the house beckoned, and I began to walk. That first climb was a 60-minute struggle, with four long pauses as I went up the hill. And I decided that anything less than an hour was a victory. The next day, I celebrated 59 minutes. That was 11-12 years ago, and now the Duff and I take a morning constitutional of about 3 miles. I’m on a roll.
  • Once you decide on a goal, go with it. Even after you lose enthusiasm, keep your eye on the prize. Want to go on a 20-mile hike? Start small, then work up to it. Even if you don’t feel focused on a given day, the positive will carry you through until the end.
  • Remind yourself of the benefits. Decided to enjoy nature more? Reflect on how beautiful the scenery is as you revel in the changing seasons. Want to finish clearing out the storage unit before the snow flies? Keep the end result in mind, and you will continue to be enthused and motivated. Your goal will be accomplished in no time at all.

I’m curious: how do you awaken your enthusiasm? Leave your comments below.

Duff’s Thought for the Day—Yoda Had It Right

Do it or not. There is no try.

—Yoda, Star Wars Series

I have often thought Yoda had it right. I am comfortable with him for he is a small creature, just as I am. And we are both unafraid of venturing out into new territories. Well, maybe I am still learning from him, for I back my mom 100% when we meet a Very Large Dog. Way behind her, I am.

When my hero, Yoda, was instructing Luke Skywalker, he was absolute in his competence and intent. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what it took to be a Jedi. The only time I have a strong focus is when I know there’s a Pup-eroni treat close by. (That’s my weakness. You have any of those?) I can even learn new tricks when that’s involved. My intent is off the charts!

But back to Yoda’s Wisdom: Ever been stopped cold by a doubt? That Inner Voice telling you, “That’s impossible. You can never do that.” The Duff Wisdom says: go ahead and just do it. Ignore the rest. And enjoy the experience. Live unstuck. #UnstuckLiving

Keep Your Edge

The Super Bowl is rapidly approaching, with gala events and the hoopla involved. Big name entertainers will perform at half time and the commercials are usually mind bending. (My favorite is the Budweiser Clydesdales. Just sayin’). Two teams have competed throughout the season and are now coming down the home stretch. Players are hyped up but tired, for they have been working hard since summer. This is the ultimate accomplishment for this arena. Coaches are feverishly working out plays, practicing them in great secrecy. To be able to spring something totally different on the opposing team can mean the difference between a win or a loss. And it adds to the excitement of the game. Playing unstuck.

The Patriots are old hands at this venue, for this is the 9th time they have been to the Super Bowl. But this is uncharted territory for the Eagles. Philadelphia is listed as the underdog going into the competition. But that’s nothing new. At the beginning of the final push, they embraced the role. Some of the players wore dog masks after an early win, inspiring fans to get their own. The heads of German Shepherds and white poodles filled the stadium. The masks were bought out again last Sunday after routing Minnesota. Unstuck guerilla warfare.

How to keep their edge? The teams are at the top of their games. But how to stay sharp, be on top and win? That’s the question. One way is to disregard to hubbub and fanfare. You have practiced. You are prepared. Focus on the basics. On what you already know. Do your best. Think clearly. And work with your team. Live unstuck. #UnstuckLiving

If you stay ready, you don’t gotta get ready.

—James Brown, King of Soul


Stars. We in the White Mountains are gifted with clear skies and bright stars. I step out for my morning walk and am dazzled by all the stars I can see. Some are large with a steady light. Others are much smaller and seem to twinkle. Some are grouped in bunches, leaving a vast area of darkness between them and others. Still others have a color, or perhaps I’m seeing a planet. I know if I looked through a telescope into the sky, I would see far, far out into the galaxy, with nebula creating other formations. And as in the course of nature, some are even extinguishing themselves.

As the sunrise comes each day, the stars seem to disappear. The Morning Star, in its glory, is the last to remain. These glittering points of light are not visible to the naked eye with sunlight around, but are still there. When clouds are overhead, the stars are blocked from sight. But they are still there. During a new moon, the stars are brilliant. I can easily see them, with the shape of the Big Dipper sharp and clear. The Milky Way arches across the sky, creating a path for the imagination. During the recent full moon with its intense light, these sparkling delights were barely visible. And yet they still exist.

Just as the stars as always there, you have a treasure chest of resources within yourself. Some of these gems sparkle and shine, for you have used them for a long time. Others are waiting to be discovered or polished. Just as the stars are constant, your skills, talents, and abilities are always there. You might not be aware of them, but they are waiting for you to discover them.

The bigger stars are more prominent. Similar to skills you have developed over the years, they shine their light. Like to fish and have done that for a long time? Your “fishing star,” with knowledge of tension in the line and muscle memory as to how you pull the fish in, is fairly bright. Quilted for years and are honing your skills? Your “quilting star,” with an eye for exact lines and perfect cutting techniques, will be dazzling.

Some stars are much, much smaller. These ideas need to be nurtured inside before they can be put out to shine. How about traveling? The concept starts as a tiny seed (“I think it would be fun to head over to Durango and ride the train”) then expands your world with new adventures. That star may grow brighter as the next trip is overseas. But that first dream starts out small.

Some of these stars would include developing personal traits. Courage, inner strength, future planning or even a sense of humor would fit here. These small stars can be cultivated to someday burst into a swirling nebula of opportunities and values. Getting along in years and realize you need to know more about the computer to further your game plan? You may tap into courage and grit and begin to learn. Did life change dramatically with a death or divorce? Time to discover and polish up the stars for inner strength. Perhaps even a sense of humor.

This treasure chest within is always available to you. Your challenge should you choose to accept it is to discover the stars inside you— the skills, talents and abilities—and make them shine. Your life, your body, and your mind will thank you. For after all . . . is it possible that stars are like a handful of diamonds randomly tossed across the sky? Who knows what you will find?

Bringing over 30 years of experience to her practice, Joan is a highly qualified NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. She specializes in anxiety, panic attacks, fears, and phobias, using her knowledge to help her clients become no-limit people. Many have found her friendly ways and precise techniques to be the easiest road toward a better life.

Keep On Rolling

Professional athletes of any stripe have to keep in shape. From ping-pong aficionados to football players, from track stars to skiers, they all practice and work out, honing their skills for their best performance. Some are natural athletes, performing with ease. (Think Shaun White, snowboarding champ). While others work at it and endlessly rehearse until they smooth the skill. No matter the talent, they all live unstuck, focused on a goal.

And then there’s me, focused on walking my 10,000 steps a day to stay in my current wardrobe and ward off high cholesterol. And as the days grow shorter and seemingly darker and colder, it gets more difficult to roll out of bed to achieve this appointed goal. The Duff used to take the Big Walk, but due to age, has recently retired to the Shorter Morning Route to Relieve Himself. Once he is tucked in, I’m off.

If I time my walk just right, I am fortunate to meet up with Rhonda and Cassie. Now Duff used to take the Big Walk, but after certain distances, I would scoop him up to give him a break. My walking friends asked after Duff and I explained his situation. They probably suspected as much, for they had seen me carrying him at times. We also agreed he had the best of it: he was snug and cozy, fast asleep on the sofa. And we were not.

Before their walk on Friday, Cassie called Rhonda, asking, “Can I be the Duff today?” The response was without price. “No, you can’t stay home. And no, I can’t carry you.” And we all laughed. I’m still chuckling. The unspoken message: keep on rolling. Now that’s living unstuck.

Have you made a commitment to yourself, then found it difficult to follow through? Do friends and family help? Or hinder? Do you have a sense of humor about what you’re doing? Are you living unstuck? #Unstuck Living

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.

—Gordon B. Hinkley

The Scars Within

Veteran’s Day was Saturday. When this time comes around, I often remember the veterans that have been and continue to be in my life. My dad, who served in the Navy in the Pacific Ocean in WWII. My husband, who served in the Army in the Philippines during the same war. My many friends who fought, sacrificed and served that I might live a life of freedom. They gave up a time in their lives to ensure freedom for many. Their families who stayed behind. And I am grateful.

As a hypnotherapist, I also think of the many veterans I have worked with who returned from combat plagued with PTSD. There are many scars from war. Some are external, easily visible to the eye. But the most difficult scars are inside. Rory Coleman, a current college football player, served as an Army Corps Medic in Afghanistan. While there, a grenade exploded about 10 feet away from him. He was severely wounded and still has shrapnel in his legs. After recovering, he elected to return to his unit and finish out his term. But his dream while he recovered was to play college football. That dream motivated him and pushed him on. He lived unstuck.

Everyone has scars. Some are visible – and again, the most difficult scars are inside. Coleman said “It’s what you do after that (the combat experience). That’s what counts.” This young man decided to fulfill his life’s dream. He tried out as a walk-on for many teams. He was eventually selected (out of 22 candidates) to play at Central Florida University. When Corey’s coach was interviewed, he noted that Corey was picked up because of his determination and his fortitude. I suspect Corey kept telling himself over and over again, “You can do this! You can do this!” And he did. He is living unstuck.

Are you moving past old hurts? Leaving problems from your formative years behind? See a bright new tomorrow? Get help if you need it? Choose to live your life unstuck. #Unstuck Living #Gratitude To Veterans