MKE Week 3 The Important Things About Habits

 

How can we determine what a “habit” is? Let’s see what the dictionary tells us.  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary; a particular practice, custom, or usage.  In this blog let’s examine how to get rid of bad habits, let’s look at how to acquire good habits, and lastly let’s look at 8 habits that can help improve your life.

How do we get rid of bad habits?  I’m sure we all have a few that we need to get rid of.   OG Mandino tells us in scroll 1 of the “Greatest Salesman in the World” just how it is done.  He says, Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure and must be destroyed so that new furrows can be prepared for good seed which is good habits.   The way we drive out bad habits is to replace them with new habits which will bring you closer to success.  For it is another of nature’s laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.

How do you acquire good habits? A good habit is born when the act becomes easy through constant repetition or it becomes a pleasure to perform.  If it is a pleasure to perform it, it is man’s nature to perform it often.  When you perform it often, it becomes a habit.   For example brushing your teeth & using a water pick.  The more you do these things the healthier your teeth will be and the fewer cavities you will acquire.  If you have pretty teeth, you smile more, and you are enjoyable to be around.

Frances Bridges recently did a study on Habits and I felt it was pretty powerful and so will be sharing key concepts from her study.

She discovered 8 habits that can help improve your life if you chose to implement them and practice daily.  The first habit is “Discipline”, which I have found is not an easy one to master.  Discipline is the foundation of achieving goals.  You use a “To Do List” and check off  the completed work every day.  You achieve your goals for the day, week, month, year by having the discipline to press on.  The discipline could be completing a work project, building your network, or striving to exercise more.  It is having the discipline to do things when you don’t want to do them.   As  Aristotle wrote, “excellence is not an act, but a habit.”   Having the discipline to create good habits is what will improve your life.

The second habit is “Time Management”.  Goals are met one day at a time.  The key to completing tasks for each day is to learn how to work efficiently and manage your time.  Prioritizing and  allotting the time you need for each task will keep you on schedule so that you can complete everything you need or want each day.

The third habit is “Exercising”.  Exercise helps to clear your mind, temper anxiety, and relieves stress.  Studies have also shown that exercising can improve your quality of sleep.  Carving out time to exercise will increase your energy throughout the day, encourage you to eat healthier, and helps build a routine.

The fourth habit is “Treat Yourself”.  When life gets hectic it’s good to know that some of the responsibilities in your life can be given to others to do.  For example order in dinner, send laundry out, have groceries delivered, have someone mow your lawn or clean your house, and hire someone to complete an errand.  Knowing when it’s worth paying a bit more to help yourself is a key to improving your mental success.  As Maya Angelou said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”  You like who you are by knowing who you are, living by your values and practicing habits that help fulfill your potential.

The fifth habit is “Journal Writing”.  Writing in a journal each day- logging your goals & progress is incremental.   It helps to track your productivity, motivation, and inspires new goals.

The sixth habit “Embrace Failure”.  Failure seems to be the precedent to success. Failure isn’t permanent.  Failure is temporary and it too will pass.  Thomas Edison had to fail many times; he tested more than 3,000 designs for the light bulb before he could patent his electric lamp. You need to be resilient, look for key learning moments in your failure and progress despite failure.  Failure is what builds success.  Embrace failure, keep moving, and watch for the positive results.

The seventh habit is “Limit Screen Time”.  When you are being involved with too much screen time it means you are watching TV too much, playing with phone apps, video games, being in front of a computer screen, etc.   All of these apparatuses have an effect on your quality of sleep, your eyes, your personal relationships, and social skills.  You need to turn off all these devices an hour before you go to bed.  Also by decreasing the amount of time you spend on these items will free up time to improve your quality of life.

The eighth habit is “Get Outside.  Being outside improves focus, outlook, and mental health.  It also strengthens your immune system.  Feeling the sun, breathing fresh air, and taking walks to observe nature helps you re-energize and refocuses on the important things of life.  Making some time for yourself to be outside will pay dividends as you work more efficiently throughout the day and it helps in personal relationships by being less stressed.

Good habits are the solid foundation of confidence, sense of self and self-worth. It’s a small price to pay for success. So grab some good habits & start practicing.

 

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MKE WEEK 2–HOW TO HANDLE THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE?

 

Challenges can come in many sizes from a computer program not working to a car engine not starting causing you to be late for  work.  Or a severe challenge of a hurricane destroying everything you own and wondering how to survive.   In this blog you are going to look at eight methods to overcome challenges.

The first method is try to focus on the positive and what is right around you.  Find reasons to appreciate everything in your proximity such as a beautiful butterfly or an elegant flower or a newborn baby.  Try to look for things that take your breath away.

The second method is the importance of exercising—just taking one minute every hour to do some form of movement for that entire minute.  An example is squats, 5 lb arm curls, ankle rotation, sit-ups and longevity stretch.  What can exercise do for your challenge you might ask? Basically it improves your over-all self-confidence and gives you added energy to overcome the challenge.

The third method is to get out in nature.  Enjoying nature has many benefits such as improving the quality of a person’s life and helping their brain function more clearly.  The air is fresh, clear, and away from the chaotic, stress of the city.

The fourth method is journal writing.  Every time you find yourself stuck or facing a life challenge write down your thoughts in a journal that you carry with you wherever you go.  A journal helps you to get out of your head and separates you from the impact of the experience.  You can write down the challenge, how you feel about it, and include options to solve the dilemma.

The fifth method is to celebrate your summits.  Write down all of your successes that you’ve achieved in your life on 3 by 5 note cards. When you experience a win, stop & celebrate.  This will drive your brain to keep taking the action that led to the pleasurable moment. The 3 by 5 note cards are useful for encouragement when you are feeling a little down.  Just flash the cards and it will perk you right up.

The sixth method is schedule confidence.  Tony Robbins says, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream.  If you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”  Schedule all events on a family calendar so everyone knows what is going on.  Schedule family time together as well as just “honey time”.  Once these dates are booked on the calendar then all other events can fill up the slots.

The seventh method is to be still for 10-20 minutes a day sit in silence without distractions and just be with your thoughts.  This will improve your ability to focus on finding solutions to challenges.

The eighth method is to get something done.  If you want to figure out an answer to a challenge take action & accomplish something no matter how small. Set a task related to your challenge and finish it to completion.

For me, this week was a challenge, looking on the ins & outs of a computer program.   Yet as I stuck to the process it gradually became less of a challenge and more of a victory.   As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  Challenges are not meant to be regretted but rather something to be thankful for.  Each challenge helps to build strength and character in your life.

MKE Week 1–HARMONY

 

As we look at the world around us and see all the chaos, destruction, and heartache we can’t help but wonder where is the “Harmony”?

Harmony begins with ourselves. It means the ability to control our thoughts, and determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us.  It is realizing that I am my own foundation. I am my own pillar. I am my own strength, and power.  I can choose to build harmony or trample over it with my muddy boots.

In my readings recently I came across “Eight steps that you can’t forget if you want to live in Harmony with yourself.” I felt the author was right on even though the name wasn’t given.  The first step the article mentioned was to remind yourself that you are starting fresh. You might have to repeat this concept several times, mediate on it- visualize what it looks like to start a fresh- to start over-to realize a new beginning.  Allow yourself a new beginning each day.

The second step is to breathe life into your body only with love.  Don’t take in anger, self judgement, criticism, or what you desire next.  Just take in pure love.  It doesn’t mean you are throwing discipline and good sense out the window. It just means you are covering it in love, not tension and stress whenever you breathe in deeply.

The third step is the importance of deciding your own self-worth before others do.  Decide today you are worth your weight in gold, diamonds, or your favorite rare jewel and watch how nobody can dispute that once you’ve established your own worth.  Remember insecurities haven’t a chance against a decisively positive mind.

The fourth step is to accept your loved ones just as they are.  Our loved ones are who they are, and perhaps they are even better than we give them credit for.  So stop trying to change them; change yourself only and accept them as they are.

The Fifth step is to not allow anyone to make you feel small, guilty, ashamed, or insecure. No one has permission to make you feel anything unless you allow it.  Don’t allow people to be around you who makes you feel like rubbish.  Choose wisely on who you associate with.

The sixth step is to expand your heart & mind with books and education: constant learning. Learning happens on your time and on your watch, not necessarily at school or work.  When you are learning your mind will stay young, active, and sharp.  Read books & educate yourself.

The seventh step was to end your pursuit of accumulation of stuff and replace it with the collection of experience.  The path to minimalism is paved with true peace & harmony.  It is beautiful and one that everyone can travel.  It is the joy of seeing & believing that less is more.  We have all we need when we have harmony.

Harold Kushner expresses this thought quite well in this quote: “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power.  Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”

The last thing in the article showed the importance of giving yourself permission to be human, to be who you are just as you are.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  When we are hard on ourselves it doesn’t get us where we want to go, but only crushes our spirit.  Allow yourself time to heal physically and emotionally.  Take time to build your confidence once again.

Once these steps have been accomplished Harmony will bloom again within your inner self and be reflected in the world by harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings and the disappearance of chaos .

Week 33–My Best Spent Dollar

 

My best spent dollar wasn’t on bubble gum, or even buying my favorite candy bar, it was investing in me.  A friend of mine named Sarah Dooley encouraged me to take an on-line class with her that could help me with my business and would inspire me as a person.  The class was only a dollar, but the impact it had on my life was worth thousands.

I had to get a Tweet account, a Word-Press account for my future blogs and fill out an application that was challenging.  I was required to state my feelings, to give my input, and opinions on various questions.  Several times I allowed myself to get frustrated and was ready to take the class another time, but Sarah was there to guide me each step of the way until the entire process had been completed and I hit “enter”.  Sarah would check each day to see if we got accepted and finally on the second day we found our names on the list to take the class.

It was scary but exciting at the same time. I was back in school again but it was so much better.  Every Sunday there was a webinar which began to open my eyes to what my desires were and dreams.  I discovered and wrote what my Definite Major Purpose was, at least for the time being.   I began to revamp my negative habits and replace them with positive affirmations along with using the “mental diet program” to help to decrease my critical attitude about myself.  The class required 3 to 4 hours of reading each day, unless you were a speed reader. All the time I had to remind myself that change requires work, it doesn’t come free.  For me, I had to read the material each day, contemplating its gems, and see where it fit into my life. By reading the Greatest Salesman in the World by OG Mandino & the Master Keys each day my eyes were open to tools to use that could continually reconstruct my inner self. It helped build my confidence to overcome my fears, and inspired me to take risk in my new “Hero’s Journey”. The skills that I learned from the readings broke the hard shell I had built around myself and allowed me to unbury my personal treasures such as; my dreams, my aspirations, my wants, and my creative thoughts.

Hooray!  The class had no tests, just a weekly blog, weekly tweeting, and weekly comments on 3 to 5 other blogs from other students.  Developing my old writing skills rekindled my excitement for being an ongoing learner.

Another assignment that was inspirational was designing my “Dream Board”.  We were to use key points from our DMP along with other desires that we wanted to manifest.  We were able to put pictures on it or do any creative thing that popped into our thoughts.  We had to include the tentative date that the desire was to be accomplished.  It was very enjoyable and made the DMP become more alive.

There were many other aspects involved in my beginning the transformation and process of learning how to leverage harmony within and without.  I had to learn how to love the gal in the mirror and the future me. I had to learn to let my love and kindness over flow onto others. I had to accept the concert of awareness that is renewed each day and is the touchstone of growth.

My gratitudes flow out to Mark, Davene and their staff who created this amazing class.  Also for Sarah Dooley who is persistent, caring, and never gave up on me.

In closing, was my dollar a worthwhile investment? I would say, yes without a doubt.  Anne Frank said a quote that summarizes just a fraction of my great experience: “Everyone has inside them a piece of good news.  The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”  By undergoing the Master Keys experience you open the door to discovering you and to engage in a journey that is miraculous.

Week 32–The Three Types of Exercising…

 

When most people think about exercising they think of some form of physical output like working out in the gym, taking a yoga class, doing Zumba, swimming laps, or joining some type of team.   Let’s open our eyes to not only the physical aspect of exercising but broaden our view to including other beneficial types of exercising.  There are three types of exercising that I feel are essential in order for continual growth to happen. They are: exercising your mind, exercising your body, and exercising that increases productivity.

Exercising your mind by playing word games such as scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and many others, can help keep your brain active. Lumosity is a program that is designed for your brain needs; it challenges your memory & attention. Other ways to challenge your brain is to stay involved in social activities that help to stave off loneliness as well as giving your brain a workout. Don’t believe untrue statements about being less creative & wise as you get older. Being creative, acquiring wisdom, and developing your personality can remain constant your entire live if you continue to exercise your mind.  It is important to engage your brain by reading and learning new skills. As Carl Sagan reminds us that “The brain is like a muscle, when it’s in use, we feel very good.”  According to Dr. Morley, he recommends the following exercises to sharpen your mental skills: (1) test your recall, (2) let the music play-guess the title of it and who composed it, (3) do math in your head, (4)take a cooking class- (practice memorizing some of your favorite recipes), (5) learn a foreign language, (6) create word pictures, (7) draw a map from memory(directions to go somewhere), (8)challenge your taste buds (when eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs, and spices). (9) refine your hand-eye abilities (take up a new hobby that involves fine motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling puzzles, etc.) (10) Learn a new sport (start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis). All these types of activities trigger genes and growth factors that recycle and rejuvenate your brain.

Now let’s look at exercising your body, which falls into four basic categories: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type is different, doing them all will give you more benefits, and mixing it up helps to prevent boredom along with your risk of injury.  Endurance is built up by doing a form of aerobic activities which helps your breathing, heart rate, lungs, and circulatory system. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities. Some examples of aerobic activities would include: brisk walking or jogging, yard work (mowing, raking, digging), and dancing.  Strength exercises make your muscles stronger and allows you to carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries.  These exercises are also called resistance training.   Some examples of this type of exercise are: lifting weights, using a resistance band, or using your own body weight.  Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults.  Many lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance, such as: standing on one foot, heel-to-toe walk, and Tai Chi.  Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and will help your body stay limber.  Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.  Some examples of flexibility exercises are: shoulder and upper arm stretch, calf stretch, and Yoga.

The last type of exercising is exercise that increases productivity.  According to Robert Pozen’s research, it shows that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. A habit of regular exercise will help keep you mentally sharper throughout your entire life. It has been discovered that as you age your body generates fewer and fewer brain cells.  However, when you exercise, this can help prevent the slow down process and thus have more brain cells—giving them a major advantage in the workplace. When you have an exercise routine it can give you more energy throughout the day, and the effect of exercise on your mood is immediate.  When you exercise your body releases several different chemicals in your brain, known as neurotransmitters, which reduce the discomfort of exercise but creates the sensation often referred to as “runner’s high”.  According to a British economist George Mac Kerron in his ongoing studies found that exercise makes people very happy-only sex makes people happier. And the happier you are, the more productive you can be.

I hope you have drawn your own conclusions about the importance of exercising.  In closing here are two quotes that summarize what I’ve expressed- “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are even united” by Wilhelm Humboldt. “Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise & maintain a healthy lifestyle” by Shasha Cohen. My wish for all of you is to stop making excuses, grab some friends and start a routine of exercising.

Week 31–WHY WORRY?

 

Why does it seem so easy for us to worry over things in our life?  Let’s look at four ideas that will help clear up our thinking on worrying. First, let’s define the actual term so that we are all on the same page. Second, let’s look at the purpose of why we often worry. Third, let’s focus on the harm that worrying can cause us, and fourth how to stop worrying.

Worry means to allow anxiety or a potential problem to interfere with someone’s comfort or peace of mind.  It also can be to vex or irritate by continued repetition of  interference.  It is to show fear, concern, and unhappiness via negative thoughts.

Second, why do we often worry? Does worry have a purpose of any sort?  Everyone has worried about something and this feeling is a normal human condition.  It is what we feel in response to ambiguity. When you don’t know what is going on, you allow fear to creep in, and you are uneasy about what may happen next.  Worry is an outcome of many factors such as: neurotransmitter function in areas of the brain connected to anxiety, the impact of stress, and trauma. Worry is a maladaptive attempt to get rid of anxiety.

Third, how does worrying affect you? Sometimes our subconscious makes us believe that the more we worry about a situation, the more we can prevent bad things from happening. However, worrying can affect the body in ways that might surprise you. When you worry excessively it can increase anxiety and can cause you to be physically sick.  It can also give the individual a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears which only increases their worries.  They also begin seeing anything or anyone as a potential threat. They seek relief in harmful ways such as: smoking, drinking, overeating, or taking drugs. Worrying can affect your sleeping, relationships, and your productivity at work or home. Worrying can trigger a host of health problems such as: difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dry mouth, fast heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, nausea, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, twitching, digestive disorder, premature coronary artery disease, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

Now let’s look at some techniques to use to stop the habit of worrying.  First, ask yourself if the problem you are worrying about is a real problem or is it necessary for you to worry about it?  Some people feel that worrying helps them to be more careful.  Second, make a list of your worries; identify what you are worried about and analyze whether your worry is productive or unproductive. A productive worry is one that you can do something about right now.  For example, if you are flying to Switzerland- your worry might be what plane to select and where you will be staying once you arrive.  This is a productive worry as you can go on-line and book a reservation for a flight and a hotel.  An unproductive worry is one which you can’t do anything about. For example,worrying about a blood test.  Three, if the worry is a problem then make a plan to handle it.  Plans involve specific steps to implement, such as to identify a goal and select a few ways to achieve the goal.  Remember to stick to the plan, complete the steps, and evaluate what you’ve done.  If you force yourself to do the very things that make you uncomfortable, you will rely less on worry as a coping strategy.  Four, worried people have a sense of urgency. They think they need an answer now, otherwise something bad will happen. Instead of thinking like that say,” Stop”, swap the negative thoughts with pleasant or productive thoughts. For example ask yourself, “What can I do in the present moment to make my life more pleasant?”  Persistence and consistency are both necessary to turn off the worry.  Five, remember that it’s never as bad as you think it will be.  Worriers are actually good at handling real problems once they have some new tools in their tool belt. Also as OG Mandino says in scroll 7,“this too shall pass”. Lastly, “talk therapy” can help worriers by getting to the root of their issues.

Hopefully by reading this blog you will have gained some insights about why worrying is not a beneficial option to deal with the problems in life.  Worrying is a superficial way of dealing with deep insecurities which will only go away when you deal with its roots.  As Leo F. Buscaglia helps to conclude this blog by his quote on worry, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy”. Wiz Khalifa gives us this visualization: “worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”. Lastly, a quote from Author S. Roche, “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”  Worry is your old habit, now chose a new one.

Week 30–How Do You Multiply Your Value a Hundredfold?

 

I am sure you have had this question go through your mind many times in your life.  Often the answer never seems to come and so you just suppress the thought in your subconscious and leave it alone for another time.  Let’s take it out and look at three facets of the question: (a) in order for growth to occur what has to be done?, (b) how do you nurture your mind to fulfill your dreams?, (c) what is necessary to enhance your potential?

In order to experience growth you need to prepare yourself by getting rid of old baggage and things that tear you down such as:  old failures, despair, negative attitudes, fears that keep you in bondage and continue to deteriorate your self -confidence.  A helpful method to rid yourself of this darkness is to write down all these destructive thoughts on paper and then dig a hole, put the paper in the hole and burn it.  This symbolizes that your old nature no longer exists and you are replacing it with a new beginning.

Once this step has been accomplished, you are ready to move into nurturing your mind to fulfill your dreams.  Each of us has the power to choose our destiny, and to make this happen we need to create goals for the day, the week, the month, and the year.  When you set goals for yourself, it is important that the goals motivate you, which means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If the goal is irrelevant in the larger picture or you have little interest in the outcome, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim.  Set goals that relate to the highest priorities in your life.  Goal achievement requires commitment to maximize the likelihood of success.  You must have the attitude of urgency and one of “I must do this”.  You must set “smart goals”, which means:  S= specific, M=measurable, A= attainable, R= relevant and T= time bound.  When you set “specific goals”, it means that the goal is crystal clear and well defined.  Vague or generalized goals are not helpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction, nor do they map a way to accomplish where you want to go.  Set “measurable goals”, which includes precise amounts and dates.  For example saying, “Reducing debt” is too general as you can’t determine when you have been successful or you have no way to measure your success. When you set a measurable goal, you have the opportunity to celebrate that which comes with knowing you have actually achieved something. Set “attainable goals”, which means making sure that your goals are reachable otherwise, you will feel demoralized and it will tear down your self -confidence.  Next, set “relevant goals”, which deals with the direction you want your life to go, and that will align with your career.  Set “time- bound goals”, which means that goals must have a deadline.  When you are working with deadlines, it helps you to focus more seriously on your daily, weekly, and monthly goals because you realize that achievement will come much quicker when you are focused on your goals, thus fulfilling your dreams.

What is necessary to enhance your potential?  Basically, it is continually being motivated as O.G. Mandino says, “to surpass every action which was performed yesterday, to climb today’s mountain to the utmost of your ability, and not accept the terrible crime of aiming too low.”  Always realize the importance of pursuing learning, to let your reach exceed more than your grasp, to raise your goals as soon as the old ones are accomplished, and to continue to strive to make each day better than the day before. It is important to not give up, trying even when it is difficult, and continuing on your hero’s journey no matter what the challenge may be in front of you.  Team up with a person with whom you can mastermind, and who can help mentor you along the rough spots in life.  Develop concrete objectives that will allow your goals to be met when you’ve applied the step by step process just like following a road map.

I hope, as we’ve looked at how to multiply your value a hundredfold, you have now seen some options to examine and realized that it is a continual process done over and over again in spite of the many stumbles. As Pat Riley expressed it in her quote,“ Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”  Or as Cicely Tyson says, “I want to believe that there is a mountain so high that I will spend my entire life striving to reach the top of it.”  As O.G. Mandino reminds us in the 8th scroll, one grain of wheat when multiplied a hundredfold ten times, can feed many cities of the earth.  Aren’t you more than a grain of wheat and aren’t you willing to let your greatness shine out to help others? When you do, you will experience the special blessing of this scroll along with growth, which will multiply your value a hundredfold.