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Living Today


fireworks“Be the Change you want to see.” Gandhi.

If you want to make some major changes this year, the most important thing to realize is that you can’t do it all at once. However, just because this is true, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make amazing and valuable changes this year.

I have made several permanent changes that I wanted to make in my life. I wanted to quit smoking. I did. I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. I am living one. I wanted to have a cleaner house. My house looks pretty good. I wanted to get my bachelor’s degree. I have it. I wanted to finally write the book that had been in my head since I was in the seventh grade. I have written eleven and have several more in the works. I have done all these things all because I learned the power of the habit. Currently my goal is to start a publishing business. That is currently in the works.

Here are a few things that I learned about the process:

1. Don’t try to change everything all at once. I learned that I couldn’t make all the changes all at once. Yes, I had numerous things that I wanted to do in my life, but I couldn’t do it all at once. I had to choose which one to start first. I chose to work on cleaning and organizing my house.

2. How do you eat an elephant? Take your one change and make it bite size. I have learned that I cannot do everything at once, no matter how hard I try. I had tried to do it numerous times with the same negative results. I had decided that I wanted to keep my house on a higher level of clean so I would clean the entire house all at once only to be too tired to keep up the maintenance.

What worked better was that instead of doing it all at once, I decided to focus on what was most important and do that first. I decided that the best place to start was in cleaning my house. I chose picking up around the house (one room at a time), doing laundry (one step at a time which only took five minutes or less) and doing dishes (right after the meal).

3. Take the same bite size every day. I keep the dishes, laundry and picking up done every day. There isn’t much to do because I do it every day.

4. After a month, build up on that one bite. Once I had control of the laundry, dishes and picking up, I moved on from there. I threw out stuff. I organized stuff. I did deep cleaning. A few minutes every day.

5. Determine to get up the eighth time- Never make the excuse to stop trying. Did I always keep it all up? Of course not. I had bad days, but as Edison said, “It doesn’t matter if you fall down seven times as long as you get up the eighth time.”

6. I am going to over deliver here by giving you a sixth resolution that will help you never fail at another resolution! Resolve to pick up and read my book and learn about the one habit that will help you create all your other habits and reach all your goals. Get The Ultimate Keystone Habit by following this link to reserve your copy now.

What’s Coming Next Week?

One of my own resolutions this next year is to build the editing aspect of my business and help other authors improve the editing process of their books. Each week I will go step by step through the editing process. My goal is to teach anyone, including novices, how to navigate the editing process like a pro.


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2017 was a good year for me. What it good for you?

At the beginning of the year, most of us recognize that the beginning of a new year represents a clean slate of possibilities.

  • Gyms fill up with hopefuls looking to, finally, this year get in shape.
  • Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem have an uptick in their clientele at the beginning of the year.
  • The sales of nicotine gum and nicotine patches go up.
  • We find content galore online and off telling us how to get better organized and how to better manage our time.

When the Hype Subsides

By the first of February, almost as soon as the hype subsides, so does the enthusiasm and participation. Gyms are vacated. Weight Watcher members don’t show up for meetings. The sale of cigarettes goes back up and we must search the archives to find the articles that were so abundant in January. All that organizing we wanted to get done goes unfinished.

I was no exception. I remember back when I used to make New Year’s resolutions. I would make a laundry list of things that I wanted to change like lose thirty pounds, get fit, get organized and write that first book. The first couple of weeks I would do okay, but then something would happen, and I would skip a day and then another until finally I wasn’t doing anything that I resolved to do at the beginning of the year. Every year I would do the same and I would have the same zero results.

So, why does this happen? One of the reasons that this happens comes from the idea that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day. Another reason is that when we are going over the idea of making changes and realize how wonderful that it would be, but as we go along we realize that we don’t have the will power that it takes to maintain all of these different changes all at the same time.

Don’t Make Resolutions, Establish Habits

So, what is a person to do? How do we actually change? We take baby steps. We can make small changes a little at a time and get used to the small change that we made before moving onto a new change. If we were to take every month and make one small change every month that took only 5 minutes to do, we would improve our lives a full hour during that year.

Where to Start?

Start by reading a book and learn how to establish the most important habit you could develop.

I know there are so many things that all of us don’t like about ourselves, however, did you know that there is one thing that you should start with that would set the stage so that you could make all of life’s improvements that you would ever want to make.

I have written about it in my book: The Keystone Habit. This book will tell you about the one habit that if you do it, it can be the catalyst that can change your entire situation. Click here to get this free book to discover exactly how you can start today doing the one change that could change your life forever.

This book is not just something that works in theory. It works because it works for real people like you and me. I’ve used the information that I am sharing successfully and I am sure you can too.


teacher with a gun

In recent months, far too many times, another school shooter has wreaked havoc on schools across the country. Children (and many teachers) fear for their lives every day that on this might be the day that it could be their own school that is attacked. Many of the politicians seem to think that arming the teachers with guns might be the best solution.

But is bringing a gun into a classroom the best solution? There are a lot of reasons bringing another gun into the situation might not be best. For instance, where does a teacher keep a gun in the classroom?

On his or her person? Not a good idea in my opinion. The student doesn’t have to bring a gun into the classroom. The gun is already there. All the disgruntled student has to do now is distract and disarm the teacher and the gun is his.

Locked in a desk? Sure. During a stressful situation, a teacher must get the gun out of his or her desk and abandon the frightened students in his or her charge to go after the student.

In an unlocked desk? I don’t think so. Again, it is easy for a student to distract the teacher and get the gun out of the unlocked desk.

And even if the teacher has a gun and knows how to use it, can this teacher face down a student that they probably had in class and shoot the student? It is different for a military person to shoot someone that he or she doesn’t know than it is for a teacher (who is by nature a nurturer) to endanger the life of a student (or former student).
I really don’t believe that putting the gun into the hands of a teacher is the best solution.

Another Solution to the Crisis

Here’s what I feel would be a better solution. First, create federal legislation that hold adults responsible for all weapons that are in their legal possession. The parents should be held responsible to keep their guns under lock and key.

Second, federally paid for public service announcements explaining what can and should be done for students showing signs that an individual student is in mental and emotional distress. In addition, other public service announcements reminding parents to keep their guns out of the hands of anyone under 21 unless directly supervised by an adult. (This includes hunting).

Finally, I propose that teachers be trained on how to distract and disarm a disgruntled student in much the same manner that Jason Seaman did when he threw the basketball and rushed the student in May in Noblesville, Indiana. I believe that this training should be paid for through federal and state grants.

What Can YOU do about it?

I have always believed that if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. So, let me share what you can do to better protect school students. Whether you are for or against gun control is not the issue here. What I am suggesting has nothing to do with limiting the right to bear arms. If you agree (or disagree for that matter) I would love for you to share your comment below.

In addition, I would like you to take it one step further. Contact your state and federal representatives and tell them to cut out the partisan politics. This isn’t about gun control. Next, share this link to this post to your social media, contact your local news outlets and let them know that you care about protecting our country’s children.


cow

One May afternoon, a friend of mine picked his friend from Texas up from the airport and was driving him home when they came upon a cow grazing in the field. The man from Texas said, “what’s that?”
“Why that’s a cow.”
The Texan grimaced. “Oh, well, we have bigger ones than that in Texas.”

dog
Later, they were further down the road when they came across a boy playing with his dog on a school playground.
The Texan pointed at the dog. “What’s that?”
My friend shook his head. “Why that’s a dog, of course.”

We have them bigger than that in Texas,” the man said.

snapping turtle

They got further down the road when they came to a snapping turtle crossing the road.
The Texas now asked the same question he asked before and my friend answered. “Oh, that? That’s a tick.”
The Texan was competing with my friend, and, right or wrong, my friend decided to get the better of his Texan friend.

Who Is Really Your Competition?

I personally have never been one for being competitive. I think that the reason for that has always been that I always lost most competitions that I was in when I was a child. I never was any good at sports so I decided that I didn’t like them.
If there was a drawing I never won those either. Nor did I win drawing or writing contests either. It was as though luck has never been in my favor.
Though I never compete against others, however, there is one person that I do compete with all the time and that is the person that I was yesterday. Today, I want to be a better person than I have ever been. I want to be a better writer, a better wife, a better mother, a better book-sales person, a better teacher than I was yesterday. Sometimes I am and, of course, somedays I am not because I am only human, after all. Doing my best today is always my goal. How about you? Are you being the best you that you can be today?

Need motivation to become a better you? Check out my book Living Today, The Power of Now. Available on Kindle and in Print.

Living Today cover 2

Living Today, The Power of Now Get Your Copy Today!

• Be aware of and focus on the Now
• Obtain fire Starting Focus
• Change Bad Habits to Good Habits
• Create a Time and a Place to Dream
• What “Don’t Worry really Means
• Learn to Build a Better Today by Building on Past Experiences
• Overcome Fear and Find Faith
• Let Go of the Past
• Value Forgiving yourself and others
And much, much more


 

pinocchio

Why is it that when you’re a child, you want to grow up, but when you’re an adult, you wish you were a kid again?

My Mom has a picture of me when I was about seven years old ironing some of my doll clothes on my play ironing board. I remember playing house when I was little.  I played that I was the Mom and my dolls were my children. I couldn’t wait until I was a “grown-up”.

Now, here I am, and often, I wish I could go back to those days when I was a young child. why is it that when we are growing up, we can’t wait to grow up and then as adults, we wish we were young again. Why can’t we just enjoy where we are right now?
Have you ever seen the movie Click? In that movie, the protagonist played by Adam Sandler clicked through his entire life and ended up with a life that he never really lived.
Too often, we all put ourselves on auto pilot like this.

Get Off Autopilot, Live in the Here and Now

The truth is, we can make “living today” a habit. Like all habits, this one takes time to make automatic, so we need to find ways to remind ourselves several times during the day to enjoy the moment. Here are several ways that we can do just that.
One of the most common ways to remind ourselves to do this or any habit is to put up post-it notes to remind ourselves to be present in the moment.
Another way we can do this is to program our phones to give us a reminder to be present.

Finally, we need to look at ways to shake things up. I am constantly looking at what I am doing and how I can improve the way I do it.
In addition to “changing to keep us motivated”, another more important reason to change exists. Change keeps us on our toes and when we’re on our toes, it stimulates our brain. Have you ever heard that if you don’t use it, you lose it? Well, that’s exactly what happens with our brains when we live on automatic or habitually, our minds become sluggish. Sluggish minds deteriorate.

Being aware of what we do is the first step to the kinds of change that excite us.
What changes can you make in your life that will help you live today? For insights in how you can live each day to the fullest, read my book Living Today, The Power of Now.

Living Today cover 2

Living Today, The Power of Now Get Your Copy Today!

Today, and only today, you have the power of now, and it is strongest when you know that you are on the right path.
• Be aware of and focus on the Now
• Obtain fire Starting Focus
• Change Bad Habits to Good Habits
• Create a Time and a Place to Dream
• What “Don’t Worry really Means
• Learn to Build a Better Today by Building on Past Experiences
• Overcome Fear and Find Faith
• Let Go of the Past
• Value Forgiving yourself and others
And much, much more


blue skies

I remember my first day of the first grade. I remember getting up early and being excited to go to school I remember how much I enjoyed learning to read and how much of a challenge learning to write was for me. I loved school. I enjoyed it most of my elementary years in school. I missed very few days of school because I loved it so much.

As I got older, though, I gradually grew to dislike school and it became harder for me to get up in the morning to go to school Now mind you, it wasn’t because I couldn’t get up in the morning. I remember when there were snow days and the announcer told us that the school doors would not open that day, I was up early to make the most of every day.

Sometimes we just get bored.

It has been true every day. When something was new and exciting, I will get up early and throw myself into my day. However, as time goes on, the excitement wains. Why is that? One reason this happens is that when we get familiar with something it becomes mundane and common and the excitement goes out of what had once been exciting.
What can you do about this? How do you keep the fire burning? Sometimes we can keep the fire burning by making a game of a certain aspect of a project. For instance, let’s say that you have a project where you must do numerous menial tasks that are boring. Instead of dreading the project or procrastinating starting the project, count how many of these tasks you can do during a specific length of time. Next, put this number on a graph and then the next day see if you can do more of those tasks in the same length of time. Keep doing this every day until you finish the project.

Other times we burnout.

Sometimes we get so driven by a project or what we had been passionate about that we take ourselves to the point of exhaustion. This happens because we don’t know how to pace ourselves. This sort of thing can happen when we are trying to make major changes and make them too quickly.

This burnout can also happen when what we are doing is not aligned with our true passions. Take a step back and look at what you are doing and decide what isn’t as it should be. If you are doing what you really want to do, perhaps you are just taking on too much. Determine exactly what needs to be done, and then decide what absolutely needs to be done by you.

I watched a documentary about the Beatles and when they decided that being “The Beatles” was no longer fun, they broke up and went their own separate directions. They all remained friends, but their careers took different paths. For a long time, they had been passionate about being “The Beatles” for years, but that had changed, and they had the courage to allow themselves to move on.

You might not need a complete break from the project, but you might just need time to get away. I know that by a certain time during the evening, I almost always reach a point where I am unable to write another word. I know that it is time for me to quit for the evening and leave the writing until the next day. I would then get up in the morning, refreshed and ready to start the day again.

Take the time to celebrate life

So how do we keep our motivation going? How do we maintain a momentum that doesn’t quit? I think the most important thing is that we see ourselves making progress in some way. Another way is that we find new and exciting aspects of our work that keeps us from getting too familiar or burned out from what we are doing. In addition, we need to vary our pace and take time to rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Life is short and should be celebrated every time we awaken to a new day. We need to remind ourselves that life should be celebrated.


a path

Recently, I listened to a YouTube video where Jeff Johnson said, “Habits will either create lifestyle growth or inhibit lifestyle growth. “

Most of my life I have been working to improve my habitual life. Here are a few things that I had learned over the years about building good habits and getting rid of those habits that do not contribute to growth.

Made Changes Incrementally

I learned that I needed to get rid of bad habits incrementally rather than trying to do it “cold turkey”. When I quit smoking 27 years ago, I had to stop smoking menthols before I quit smoking all together. Then I went from smoking a pack a day to smoking 15 per day down to 10 per day and so on until I was down to smoking two or three a day, and then I was able to quit.

I broke habits that didn’t bring me growth by first disconnecting with triggers. For instance, I would smoke as soon as I got out of bed. I determined to put off my first cigarette until after I ate breakfast. Once I put off smoking the first cigarette beyond breakfast I then stopped smoking when I drank coffee.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

One of the bad habits that I am trying to break right now regards eating junk food. I decided that I would replace the junk food with fresh fruit and nuts. This is just one step that I am taking to improve my diet. More habit changes are in the works.

Build new habits around habits that are already established. We all have habits that we have already established. I get up, make my bed, take my shower, brush my teeth, and then I write in my journal for fifteen minutes and then I exercise. I am building this new habit incrementally-exercising for five minutes per day weeks 1-3, ten minutes weeks 4-6 twenty minutes weeks 7-9, twenty-five minutes weeks 10-12 and 30 minutes weeks 13-15.

Change Begins in the Mind

Probably the most important aspect of changing habits, however, is the changes that happen in the mind. The most important aspect of changing habits has to do with “why change?” We change because we first become emotionally desperate to change. We change because we need to change more than we need to stay the same.

Know Your Why

Journaling why we want to quit is more important as we become more adept in the habit change than it does when we first start the habit change. As time goes on, we forget how painful the old habit had been. When we are tempted to go back to the old habits, it helps to go back and read what we wrote when we first quit. It reminds us of where we came from and the struggles that got us to where we were now.

Having an accountability partner is helpful. Having a mentor (sponsor) or being part of a group that are trying to change in the same ways that you are, are the powerful social influences in habit change.

What have you personally done to change your own habits? What habits have you changed and how did you do it?

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