Personal Development Not Personal Punishment – Day 288 of 365 Days to a Better You

Tomorrow marks the midway point of #NoSodaNovember. No soda has passed my lips for 15 days. To celebrate, I’m going to have a single Dr. Pepper tomorrow before jumping back in the wagon for the rest of the month.

Honestly, I’m not particularly craving the Dr. Pepper. I’m simply doing it as a reward for succeeding for 15 days and as encouragement to go 15 more.

Personal development must not become personal punishment. The goal, whatever the current personal development mission, is to do better not instantly become perfect.

You see people turn personal development goals into forms of extreme denial that almost invariably boomerang around into new excess. Someone goes from eating two Big Macs, a large fry, and a super size coke one day to swearing they’re only going to eat rice cakes for the rest of their lives the next.

Conscious, purposeful denial is useful in trying to change a behavior, but don’t become dogmatic or tyrannical about it. Consider the following when taking this approach.

  1. Abrupt changes in direction are usually challenging to maintain. Consider making gradual shifts. That allows you to build habit and commitment to the change rather than a sense of loss or a desire to rebel.
  2. Reward yourself along the way. Don’t undo all you’ve accomplished, but as long as it doesn’t risk your well-being or spark addiction, indulge yourself a little. The goal is balance and betterment not perfection.
  3. Don’t make it a struggle of extremes from binging to austerity and back. Slow and smooth wins the race.
  4. Give yourself credit for progress rather than beating yourself up for setbacks.
  5. Do what feels good and what maintains the integrity of your goal.
  6. If you do have a small setback, don’t allow it to become a breakout of regression. Accept, forgive, and get back on track.
  7. Your goal is worthy, but don’t make getting there a thankless, miserable existence. What goal is worth that?

So, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy my Dr. Pepper tomorrow. I’ve earned it. Drinking one is not giving in and it’s not a fault in integrity. Then I’m going to finish the month strong.

Whatever your current goal, remember to enjoy yourself along the way. You would never work for a boss who wouldn’t let you have a break or fun and you won’t work for yourself that way either.

In case no one else has told you today, YOU are awesome!

Ray

Advertisements

Break Your Own Habits – Day 281 of 365 Days to a Better You

If you’re not careful, life can become one big habit. If you’re not careful, life can become one big habit. If you’re not careful, life can become one big habit.

To choose, is a sacred human right. Yet, scientists estimate that 95 percent of human thinking is unconscious. Why do you drive the same route to work each day? Why do you watch the same shows every week? Why do you always order the same thing every time you go to that restaurant?

You might answer because that’s the fastest way to work, I like those shows, and that’s my favorite dish at that restaurant. Maybe, but do you feel that easy groove you’re in? Do you feel how doing the same thing day after day becomes a habit you don’t even question?

Did you consciously decide to drive to work that way again today or did your body just get up and do it?

Sometimes there’s value in changing it up just for the sake of changing it up. Sometimes there’s value in watching a different show or ordering a different meal just to be consciously choosing instead of letting habit take over.

It prevents you from just living a life that you chose years ago and keep repeating and puts the power to choose your life now back in your hands.

If you always go right, try going left. Break the mold your life has gelled into and re-choose your life again.

The result will be not only a greater diversity of experience, but a greater feeling of ownership for right now.

In case no one has told you today, you ARE amazing!

Ray

Ray
Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

A Culture of Compassion and Dialogue – Day 272 of 365 Days to a Better You

Say something, do something, or be someone I don’t like and I’ll flame you, unfollow you, or even block you. If I REALLY don’t like what you said, I may seek to enlist others to ruin your career or even cancel you from our culture.

I reserve the right not to expose myself to ideas that challenge my worldview. If you cross that line, I reserve the right to destroy you. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a famous celebrity or a long-lost friend from elementary school.

Meanwhile, I also reserve the right to be completely hypocritical about how and when I apply these standards, if they’re violated by political, religious, or cultural heroes of mine and it causes me too much cognitive dissonance to apply my standards to them, I’ll ignore and defend them to my last tweet.

This is the mindset of what some have called “Cancel Culture” or what I’ve called for years the Unfollow, Unfriend Culture. Social media, with it’s ability to block or delete someone with a single click, has simplified this, as have prevalent cultural mindsets that subdivide human beings into real and false tribes. Either agree with me 100 percent or I’m instantly clicking you out of my life.

What all of this really is, in my humble opinion, is the mindset of an infantile ego. It’s a small child stamping her feet to get her way. It is not the mindset that creates a compassionate, free, or democratic society where dialogue happens. It’s a recipe to further and further divide us into smaller and smaller circles ending with us being alone and ruled by that childish ego.

We’ve given this brand of ego the ability to create its own despotic fiefdom in our minds.

Is this the enlightened society we want? Do you REALLY want to disown your cousin or your best friend from second grade because he or she voted for someone different or fails one of your cultural litmus tests? What of their humanity? What of yours?

Is it really sound judgment to dismiss people that way? Think how complex and contradictory you are. Shouldn’t they be given the same slack?

I absolutely believe this mindset is an existential threat to critical thinking, freedom, and the compassionate society we must be building in the 21st century. I run several Facebook pages. I’ve never blocked one person, even when they’ve been disrespectful to me. Instead, I try to remind them of their humanity and mine and reestablish that connection. I’ve been instantly blocked on Twitter for daring to disagree, but I’ve never blocked one person. I simply don’t believe in it. Free speech gives other people the right to disagree even with my most cherished ideals. I never forget their humanity or that freedom because my ego is bruised.

This kind of culture only persists because we allow it to. If the social norm was to think of everyone you encounter as a free human being who is where they are in their journey based on their experiences just like us, maybe we’d have more compassion and understanding for their position.

I want to close today with an affirmation of sorts; a kind of pledge. Are you willing?

Affirmation: I refuse to participate in a culture that demeans, dismisses, and cancels other human beings. I’m beautiful, but far from perfect myself. I choose to see that beauty and accept that imperfection in others. I don’t know everything and I haven’t experienced everything. I accept that others can look at life and reach different, reasonable positions from mine. I reserve the right to dialogue respectfully with others in an attempt to persuade them, in the best tradition of a free society. However, I refuse to strip them of their humanity or diminish mine in that process. A sane, enlightened world is possible and I will do my part to bring that world to life.

I love and respect each and every one of you. No matter how similar or disparate our experiences or our views. Namaste and Aloha. I bow to greatness in you and I come to you with respect

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

The Inner Journey Begins – Day 247 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today those of us residing in Earth’s northern hemisphere crossed the threshold from Summer to Autumn. While Spring into Summer and Autumn into Winter are certainly transitions, they’re really just expansions of a trend already underway. Winter into Spring and Summer into Autumn represent transitional moments that result in profound shifts.

There’s little doubt that human psychology is hugely affected by the seasons. While the season change goes almost unnoticed in our modern culture, the ancients took note of, celebrated, and revered these rites of passage.

If you think about it, Spring and Summer with their growing warmth, expanding light, and blooming of life represent the outer world and our external life. The six months that began today, comprised of a gathering darkness, a pronounced chill, and the symbolic death in the natural world around us, are a metaphor for the inner journey.

In mythology, darkness often represents the night of the soul where the traveler dies to his old self and finds rebirth as a hero, ready to emerge back into the sunlight of the outside world. It is from darkness that light emerges. It is from the depths that the greatest heights are reached. It is in “the belly of the beast” that our true mettle is tested,

I’ve always found it important to connect with these cycles and metaphors. In the darkness, there is opportunity. It’s hard to argue that human life, culture, and psychology can be divorced from the natural forces that shape us.

So, let us embrace the darkness. Let us use this metaphor as a reason to go deep within, touch what’s real, and come back stronger for the experience.

We all walk this inner journey. It’s a journey we must travel alone. There it’s just you and the universe, you and your emotions, you and your thoughts. Not even the closest people in your life can walk that road with you.

We can walk it consciously or unconsciously. That is our choice. This time of the year, nature is leading you in the direction of walking it consciously. Let’s do ourselves a favor and answer that call.

Thanks for spending a few more minutes with me. If you’re taking something away, please share it with s friend.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | PayPal

Balancing Acceptance and Not Giving Up – Day 240 of 365 Days to a Better You

The caterpillar must be a caterpillar, while never ignoring he is becoming a butterfly. You and I must accept our caterpillar-ness in this moment without conceding our butterfly-ness for a single moment.

I’ve found that deep breathing and affirmations work well together. So, I often incorporate breathing right into the affirmation.

Today’s affirmation is: Breathing in, I completely accept that what is is. Breathing out, I am absolutely determined Ed to change it!

I’ve been using a version of this affirmation for years. It hepls me balsnce two very important, but seemingly contradictory, principles. Those are acceptance and a strong desire for change.

Acceptance of what is is a critical foundation for any change. I can’t thin’ of an instance where denial of a present reality is useful or healthy. However, that reality might be something you’re absolutely determined to change.

  • You accept your current state of health as your real starting place, but you want to inspire change to live healthier. You can modify this very flexible affirmation to something like the following. Breathing in I accept that I am out of shape. Breathing out I am exercising every day to change it!
  • You accept the current state of conflict in the world. You can modify this affirmation to something like: Breathing in, I accept that peace is not our current reality. Breathing out, I am working like hell to change it!

You can apply this affirmation to virtually any current and desired state of affairs.

Using the affirmation regularly grounds you. It commits your mind to both acceptance and a determination never to give up on what you know can be. I recommend using your affirmation with with more aspirational affirmations to tilt the balance in favor of the desired state.

Examples:

  1. Breathing in, I accept that I have a C in chemistry. Breathing out, I am working my butt of to make that an A.
  2. I am a great student!
  3. I own chemistry!
  4. I am acing my final chemistry exam!
  5. I deserve to make straight A’s!

Give this a try. I think you’ll find it an effective way to deal with the now, while continuing to work for your goals.

Thank YOU for reading this blog. If you’re getting value from it, please like, comment, or share it with a friend. You’l find more motivational and thought-provoking content on my other social media accounts. Let’s connect there too.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | PayPal

 

Five Steps to Constant Motivation – Day 234 of 365 Days to a Better You

You often hear sportscasters talk about a team getting “Big Mo” on their side. In that context, they’re referring to momentum. I’m talking about the other “Big Mo” – motivation. If you have the latter, I can practically guarantee you’ll have the the former.

What is Motivation?

It’s an internalized drive that pulls your powers of heart, mind, and body in a purposeful direction. It pushes you toward action and achievement and away from stagnation and procrastination. It’s something within that lights your fire, drives ambition, gives you a zest for life, and provides a reason for getting up in the morning.

Where Does It Come From?

Inspiration. Many use motivation and inspiration interchangeably. They’re similar concepts, but their source is different. While motivation is the internal fire, inspiration is the external spark that lights it. Ate you looking for motivation? The good news is its inspiration can come from a million places – a movie, a book, an experience, a sudden insight, a conversation with a friend. There’s no end to the constant sparks around you ready, as soon as you’re willing, to light that fire inside.

How to Make Motivation Work for You

Great! Now you know what motivation is and where you can dip your candle to get the flame going. How do you use it and keep it burning?

  1. Purpose – undirected motivation is a fire that soon flickers out. You must have a compelling goal that keeps feeding the fire.
  2. Action – stationary motivation quickly fizzles. Once you have a purpose, start moving toward it. Don’t wait. Procrastination is water on your fire.
  3. Goals – your purpose is a big, all encompassing target. Have small, achievable goals along the way towards it. Nothing feeds the fire like success.
  4. Celebrate – celebrate those little successes along the way. This adds incentive to keep acting in the direction of your goals and purpose.
  5. Dream – dream big, colorful dreams that employ as many of your senses as possible. The more senses that are involved the more real the dream. While goals are the intellectual objectives, dreaming is the emotional engine that keeps the whole train moving down the track. It sucks in the inspiration from all around you and keeps pushing you to act.

If you do these five things, rinse, and repeat, you’ll never be unmotivated in your life again.

Have a beautiful and MOTIVATED day!

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | PayPal

Busy Isn’t Productivity Drop Useless Tasks – Day 195 of 365 Days to a Better You

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” The great business guru Peter Drucker penned those words and he’s pegged many of us well.

If you really went through your day with a fine-tooth comb, how much of what you do is not really contributing to reaching your big goals – work goals, relationship goals, life goals?

Henry David Thoreau supported this idea that being busy and getting real things done are not one and the same. “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”

Organizing your emails, your sock drawer, or conducting meetings where everyone leaves with no more of a clue what their action items are is not productive. The email organization may be beautiful when completed. Your sock drawer may save you 15 seconds every morning. You may do killer facilitation of that meaningless meeting. What they all share in common is they haven’t really moved the ball forward for you.

Power hack: Audit your day today. Find those time-wasters and that busy work and remove it from your day, the rest of your week, and your whole calendar. You can achieve greatness with disastrous email filing system, a messy sock drawer, or one less mind-numbing meeting. You can’t be great by not using that time to do things that really move you forward.

Warning! Some of those time-sucks are like comfort food. You feel better with an organized email. You feel like you’re getting stuff done because you’re having meetings.

Measure your outcomes not your activities. Did you achieve milestones that move your closer toward your goals or not? That’s the only measure at the end of the day.

Keep smiling. Keep shining. You are one in a trillion! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing this post.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us