Resistance to Change, Meet My New Slippers

Picture of Luna with playful look in her eye.

I have a pair of slippers that is so decrepit that they sometimes trip me as I walk. Sure, I can afford new slippers and, yet, here I am, stumbling down the hall – spilling my coffee, no less – because the right sole has peeled away from the cloth, folded itself under, and caught on something invisible. It’s no joke; slippers can kill. “Dang it,” I say, dabbing at the coffee now dotting my bathrobe, “I need to get new slippers!”  But I don’t. Like with my worn-out slippers, I tend to put up with some things far longer than I need to. Sometimes it’s just easier to live with the problem than to fix it. Other times, though, I don’t know how to make the change, or where to begin. Sometimes it’s resistance, pure and simple, making me struggle against a solution that is obvious. For example, I … Continue reading…

Mindful May: Self-Awareness on the Menu

Last month, I wrote about how sometimes we get derailed from our very good intentions or we plan more for ourselves than we can handle. For me, April was one of those times. I had a list of intended goals for myself and instead of blasting on through them like a boss, I stumbled around them like a geriatric flat-coated retriever doped up on pain meds. In my post, Tactics for the Over-committed: Four Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Productive, I offered four basic tacks I planned to use in May to keep on top of my goals, which include: 1. Accountability – having someone that helps me hold myself accountable. 2. Planning – writing down or declaring specifics for how I will succeed. 3. Letting Go – shelving tasks that fall into the “bit off more than I could chew” category. 4. Rewards – giving myself a … Continue reading…

Step Away from the Keyboard: Tips for Avoiding Ineffective Online Arguments

The Internet is a Wonderland, isn’t it? It truly is a magnificent place where truth and fantasy collide, where the media we digest can make us feel either really large or really small, where rationality is optional. Indeed sometimes logging on can be a lot like falling down a rabbit hole. Take social media (no, really, please take it!). Hailed as a monumental leap forward in human communication, this truly is a marvel that has opened doors, created friendships, and given us a nearly instant way to keep in touch with loved ones and old school mates. It is a tool for sharing and learning, and has generated more cat videos and funny photos than any time in history. It has also become a playground for marketers, a battleground for political agendas, and a cesspool in which haters thrive. The most negative and useless place on the Internet is the Comments … Continue reading…

Tactics for the Over-committed: Four Ways to Stay on Track and Stay Productive

Do All the Things Meme

There are some months when I rock my goals every day. I blast right on through each of my daily and weekly tasks, and sometimes even have energy to tack on a few more for good measure. Blam! Take that, To-Do List!! Other months, I peck at my goals like chickens in the yard foraging for bugs. April has been one of those months. My dear friend, Crystal King, launched a book this month, a novel called Feast of Sorrow. She researched, wrote it, shopped it, and reworked it based on professional feedback over about ten years. About 18 months ago, she got the call from Touchstone, the publisher who picked it up. Since then, she’s been working tirelessly with a small army of people to get all the little details right, including additional edits, blurbs, acknowledgments, and accompaniments (like working with top chefs to create a companion cookbook). And … Continue reading…

Trying New Things: Putting the Shine Back on Winter

New bag and scarf modeled by me

  Most of us start the year ready to tackle goals and do new things. By March, though, some of that shine has begun to wear off and, if you’re like me, you start longing for something to freshen things up, to polish up the motivation a little. Trying new things staves off boredom and research supports that surprising and challenging your brain with new information and tasks can help fight dementia. It also helps to distract you from the long, gray days of winter (if it happens to be March and there is still a foot of snow outside your window). For all of these reasons, I have been in the mood to try more new things, some successful (and delicious) and others a work in progress. Here’s a little run-down of some of the new things I’ve been doing this month to put the shine back on my winter: 1. 5K Sundays.  January’s a … Continue reading…

The Sketch: Stirring the Sands of Time

Sketch of a friend's grandmother

The Sketch A friend of mine recently sent me a scan of a sketch I did of his grandmother in my early twenties. It blew my mind. With only the barest of memories tickling my brain, I could almost not believe it. I did that? My friend assures me: I did that. I don’t recall doing the sketch, but I remember the shading, how I struggled with it in places. OK, I conceded; I did that. Memories swirled. I recalled that I did like to sketch back then, back before talking wires and horseless carriages. I have in fact always felt drawn to it (ha – get it?) and yet, despite encouragement from family and friends, it was never something I felt confident enough to develop fully. It always remained somewhat latent, a seed dormant in the earth just waiting to be nurtured. I keep totes full of art supplies, and … Continue reading…

Monthly Accountability Challenges: An Invitation

Hand weights, calendar and pen

Who wants to read another post about New Year’s Resolutions?! Not me! I’m sick of this self-improvement B.S.! There. That got your attention, right? It does seem that a lot of people are pretty tired of talking about New Year’s Resolutions and goals. Social media sites filled up this week with “Don’t mess with perfection” posts and photos of blank lists with “To Do: 2017” at the top. I get it. I write a lot about goals and sometimes even hear myself saying, “You’re not writing about goals again, are you?” Yes, self. Yes, I am, so hush it. But, first, Happy New Year!  As January unfolds, this is the perfect time for reflection. We cast our minds back over not just the previous year but over our lifetimes. We sing “Auld Lang Syne,” and we may even tear up a little. Should old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind? … Continue reading…

A Snowball’s Chance: Annual Goal Check-In

It’s that time of year again. Early December. Thanksgiving has passed. We are full of pie and gratitude. If you’re like me, now is the time to take another look at that Goal List from January to see if there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of completing any of the goals by the end of the year. (Shuffle papers, mumble, long pull on wine glass…) Folks, it’s not looking good. Despite that I’ve successfully rocked the monthly accountability challenges that I do with my friend, Patrice, I don’t seem to have a handle yet on three of my four major annual goals. Here’s how it’s going… 1. Read 30 books. “Readers make better thinkers,” they say, and I’m trying hard to be a critical and creative thinker. Normally this goal would not be a problem. However, this year I had a lot going on that distracted me from my daily … Continue reading…

‘I May’ May: A New Spin on Commitment

I started the month thinking about its name and the possibilities inherent in the word “may.” Finishing up my third continuous month of daily commitment to a chosen goal, I thought about loosening the reins a little and going with the flow for a few weeks. I’d commit to daily meditation but would try to relax on some of the other “should/ought to” thoughts I’d built up over the previous months. “I need to do my weights.” “I should drink more water.” “I really ought to wear something other than pajamas to work.” Those would be replaced with “may” statements. “I may do some qi gong today.” “I may work on my blog post.” “I may put on pants at some point.” I thought I’d call this my “I may May.” As it turns out, that’s not quite what happened… After Moose’s dental surgery in April, things were going pretty … Continue reading…

Start Small: My February Commitment Update

Start small. To build any habit, the number one tip for success is to start small. Nobody becomes a pack-a-day smoker by puffing down 20 cigarettes one day and saying, “Gee, that was fun. I think I’ll do that again tomorrow.” We don’t become overweight by waking up one morning and deciding to; we just make choices that, over time, add up to larger pant sizes and an unwavering love of elastic waistbands. In an earlier post, “February Commitment: My Loyalty Cocktail,” I discussed different types of loyalty we all have to one degree or another, and shared with you my commitment to stretching for 15 minutes every day of the month. The goal was threefold: To participate in a challenge with a friend and serve as her accountability partner; To improve my health; and To flex my commitment muscles and reinforce my loyalty to my own intentions. “Loyalty to … Continue reading…