After 17 years of writing a column syndicated in Northwest CA (and on this site), I will be in my first national magazine!
You can read the article by following this link.
I know I say this every year, (admit it, you do too) but it always seems like a surprise. Stores starting setting up Halloween displays sometime around March (slight – but not much of an – exaggeration.) Christmas displays have been unveiled in the big box outlets for several weeks already. And, almost as quickly as it began, summer has left us for cold mornings, thick jackets, and wool caps.
Especially after being hunkered down for almost two years, it can be difficult to stay on track during the upcoming “holiday party season,” that period from when Halloween candies hit the store shelves until the last New Year’s party has faded with the final chords of Auld Lang Syne. This is not new. We’ve all been around the block a few times; we know how difficult it can be to get back on track come January. We could just stay on course for the next couple of months. Yet, if we all know what this time of year is like, why do we do this to ourselves every year?
To permanently change habits, we need an accurate understanding of what they are. Most people mistakenly consider habits to be repeated behaviors done without thought; developed over time. Whereby that’s partly true, it misses focusing on the more significant elements: everything which precedes the behavior. Not understanding the entire chain condemns us to be victims of our actions instead of their masters.
That said, let’s re-define more accurately what exactly is a habit: “A recurring pattern of thoughts and feelings triggering a repeated behavior, which all work together to simplify our lives.”
We are not mindless Zombies, aimlessly wandering the landscape, driven by impulse and instinct, reacting without any control. Instead, since most of us have functioning brains, we develop patterns – rituals – which allow us to lower the cacophony between our ears and think less. The benefit of which is that it simplifies our lives by putting much of it on autopilot. After all, it’s hard to constantly be “on,” we need relief.
Six-six-six replied, “I’ve got you beat.” Twenty-twenty chimes in, “Contest over.”
We internalize our environment, affecting how we feel and even infecting our beliefs; the result is that we view our lives differently than if circumstances were otherwise. As evidence, utilizing an example from the late Zig Zigler, picture your typical morning. Imagine your attitude. Rate it on a one-to-ten scale; most of us land somewhere between six and eight most times. Now, imagine that same “typical” morning, with one aberration: you awake to voice mail from a loved one, “It’s been too long. I’m thinking about you. I can’t wait until we get together. I love you and hope your day is filled with joy.”
It is without a doubt that in scenario two, we’d face the day energized, enthusiastic, and determined. Problems that would have normally knocked us off-trail become insufficient bumps in the asphalt.
Nothing changed — except our attitude. Because it improved, we took on more; facing more upbeat the day ahead, and closing our eyes at night more fulfilled.
Yet, a question remains: “Is our attitude determined by us or by outside circumstances?”
The honest answer is it’s some of both, but with enough understanding of what determines this mindset, we can wrestle back the reins and become masters of attitude, therefore leading happier, more fulfilling lives — even amid the madness churning around us like a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
Therefore, telling yourself (or anyone else) to “get over it” is like trying to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Your emotions are as real as your limbs and they have vital functions.
Of the four “primary colors of emotions:”
It’s no one else’s right to change what you feel or to tell you you’re wrong. [Read more…]
I presume that is a common arrangement in many bedrooms. Upon the shelf of the nightstand are many books; this too I assume is widespread.
Some wait to be read. While at a bookstore, the concept between its covers was so striking that I plunked down money, thinking, “I will read that someday.” Alas, “someday” has yet to make its appearance. Being optimistic, I’m sure it will (probably about the same time as when “I get my act together”).
The second classification is books started but still unfinished. Maybe I lost interest, the story was not as expected, or simply “life kicked in.” I could give them away but feel like I betrayed them, (does co-dependence apply to books?) so I pledge to finish reading them in the future. Until that fateful moment, they too shall gather dust.
Finally comes the definitive category: Books completed. Residing here include authors such as Robert B. Parker, Dean Koonz, and Roger McBride Allen. Most are novels because I like to “escape.” However, there is one self-help book I have read over and over again. Although I do not buy into everything she says, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay is infused with 210 pages of brilliantly simple wisdom (usually the best kind).
Hay’s philosophy, outlined in the foreword, includes: