Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grit Keeps us Going

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on - Robert Byrne

You’re trying to start an exercise plan or a diet, or maybe both. Bravo to you. Perhaps you’ve tried one or both of these many times without much success. Or if you’re like most dieters, you know how to lose weight, just not how to keep it off.

I always tell people to pick plans that they think they’ll be comfortable with for life. After all, the goal is not to go to the gym for 3 months or lose 20 pounds, it’s to exercise regularly or lose weight and continue a healthy diet, right?

I like the construct of grit for helping us maintain the best laid plans. Grit is the combination of perseverance and passion for an important goal. I think your health would qualify as an important goal.

A few tips for getting more gritty:

-Find a plan you can be passionate about…don’t force yourself into something unappealing. Pick something you can be excited about.

-Pick out people who do it successfully and study how they do it…only use things you feel comfortable with that fit your lifestyle.

-Dedicate yourself…once you decide on a plan, stick to it. You can change it, but you cannot abandon the effort.

-Learn from setbacks…it’s really the only way to learn. Figure out how to tweak your program to make it work better for you.

-Run the marathon…no, not literally, unless you really want to. It’s going to take time to change habits and get where you want to go. Keep pushing since having a good challenge tends to keep us going.

Keep it up, and be that first kind of person Byrne refers to. Think about what it will feel like to be the kind of person who finishes what they start.

Keep an eye out for my Ezine article coming out soon on this topic.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gratitude Adjustment

Kristin Armstrong gives some great advice in her Runner's World piece, Feeling LuckyShe suggests that we adjust our attitudes by considering how lucky we are to be able to run.  Yup.  We're lucky we get to run. 

People always tell me how grateful they are after natural or unnatural disaster strikes and they are spared.  They comment on how they shouldn't complain because they know people in much more dire straits than they are in themselves.  I usually comment that everything's relative.  We all have our own personal pain, issues and burdens.

But I've gotta say that when you actually have the perspective than you are indeed much better off than many and can feel the gratitude for what you do have and are able to do, it's pretty sweet.  As Kristin suggests, how about thinking that you get to run you kids all over the universe, get to make dinner for them or get to work out?

I've written about gratitude before and will point out again that gratitude exercises (like keeping a gratitude journal) enhance psychological well-being  and physical health in a variety of ways.

Thanks for reading my blog.  And I still love Dido's Thank You.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Do Kids Get to Make Choices?

You may say, I always give my kids choices. Do you want chicken or pasta for dinner? I’m not talking about the small matters. I’m thinking bigger. Can your 14 year old decide what kind of clothing to wear? Who to be friends with? What books to read or movies to see? Researcher Larry Nucci says yes, they can. In fact, if they don’t, you’re going to have angry or even depressed kids.

I have to agree. Everyone is entitled to a personal domain. I may not always agree with my kid’s choice of friends, movies or language, but the big things are where I’m going to fight my battles. These include morality and safety.

Morality: No, it isn’t okay to lie about something important just because you won’t get caught; Yes, we give to the needy whenever we can, despite having to give up something ourselves to do it; No, soccer is not more important than school.

Safety: No, speeding is not okay even if you don’t get caught; No, it’s not okay to use your cell phone while driving.

Of course we all have our own ideas about what’s important morally and regarding safety. That means you put your personal parental mark on things and good for you. But you’ve got to consider what happens when you cross the boundary into the “personal.” And if you don’t think you’re kid has any personal privacy while they’re living in your house, consider this: When are they going to be able to make important choices while also having the safety net of parents?

Consider the current film An Education as a case in point. No Wikipedia entry here because it’s a total spoiler, but check out the film. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clear the Desk, Declutter the Mind

Thrilled to have published my first eZine article, I’ve found that in the week since, I’ve produced absolutely nothing of any substance. Okay, it’s only been 5 days, but it feels like a lifetime. It’s amazing how hard we can be on ourselves. I’ve talked about writer’s block before.

Instead of producing, I go through the papers piled on corners of my desk and table. Toss some, file others, cross out things in lists. I have ideas I put in files (handy for when the creative spirit moves me), things that ignite a spark of interest which leads to reading an article or two, visiting a few sites, maybe copying a few lines, which I put in yet more files of ideas.  I balance checkbooks, read mail, pay bills.

I remind myself that these activities all count. They must be done in order to get to the next level. I’ve written before about decluttering in life. It’s like winning a tournament in your sport. After it’s over, you need some rest and recovery, maybe a break completely from your play. You wash your stuff (or have your mom wash it if you live in my house), reorganize it, possibly even clean out your backpack or gear bag. You post the pic with the medal on your facebook wall. You deal with some things unrelated to it all that must be done.  Then the training starts anew for the next big thing.

I’ve facebooked the eZine link, linked it in and tweeted it. I’ve cleaned up the desk. It’s starting to look neater. I think I’m going to be ready to do some real work soon. Oh yeah, this is actually a blog entry. Whew! I’ve moved on.

Mood music to help you Move Along, All American Rejects.