Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 31: Another Year Ends and Tomorrow Is a New Beginning

Single-tasking has become engrained in my mind in the same way that positive thinking has. When I start to feel overwhelmed or realize that I am becoming nonproductive, I automatically think two things. First I ask myself if there is something that I should be doing. Things that I should be doing would include things like preparing a meal or going for my walk. If I do not have some obligation that I have forgotten about or become distracted from, I ask myself what do I want to do to move myself forward in the right direction. I select a task, for there are usually more than one that present themselves to my mind, and take the steps necessary to complete it. I find that single-tasking is now a habit to me, and I have had a successful month in cultivating that habit.

Now for the bad news, I have not yet gotten exercise down to a habit! It would be easy for me to make excuses. I still have a lot of fear. I have been ill much of this month. The weather has been atrocious! BUT I am not making excuses. I can exercise around my fear. I can exercise when I am ill. (Well, maybe not always but for the most part!) I can find exercise options that will work in all weather.

So how am I going to remedy this situation in the new year? First of all, I am re-evaluting my indoor exercise options. I do not want fear to hold me back from things that are positive in my life. I may not be able to conquer the fear or the weather, but I can exercise inside. Second, the hour from 2:00 to 3:00 is going to be dedicated to exercise. I can use this hour for something pleasurable and healthy for me. My family won't mind. They will support me! Having this habit will give me consistency when life is unsteady and will help me in more ways than one!

I am still going on to add a new habit for January 2009. Recently, my girlfriend was talking about goals. I have not been much of a goal person. Whenever I have tried to set goals, it often seemed that they were torn away from me no matter how hard I tried to stay on track. On the other hand, those times when I took more of a "set intentions" and "go with the flow" approach, the things I wanted were more likely to come into my life.

Over the course of the last five years, I have been pulling myself further and further away from being a goal setter. Now I find myself at a place where I am once again feeling very out of control and scared. More than ever before, I find myself also without goals. I think the older you get the less you want, or at least, that is the way that it is for me.

I have been thinking that I want a habit that has to do with goals. I want something that I can work for so that I can feel in control. On the other hand, I am not meant to be in control. I am meant to trust. I am meant to live in the moment.

Then there is the problem that creeps up when I try to decide on a goal. Let's see. I'd like for us to own a home in a beautiful spot. At this point, I'd be happy with a beautiful piece of land someplace warm that we could plant a tent on as long as it was ours! Of course, getting to a piece of land anywhere requires a vehicle. One that is safe. Of course, both of those goals require money and lots of input from the other members of my family.

I have managed to earn some money this year. That is an idea. I could have a goal to earn money. If we kept everything I earned through my paypal for savings, perhaps I could make a difference in that way. That money would be for our dream of a place for ourselves. I will have to discuss this with my family before I make any decisions.

So I will exit this wishy-washy journal entry here!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 21: An Interesting Article

Today I read an interesting article from The New York Times. The premise of the article is that there is nothing inherently wrong with being overweight. What is important is that we are in touch with our bodies and eat the healthy foods that make us feel great.

I have talked and thought about this a lot. I am fairly healthy. I know that there are things that I can do to feel better though, mostly have a better exercise habit, and eat more fruits and vegetables. There are things that stand in my way of meeting these goals, but I am working on it.

The article mentions that there is a genetic component of weight. Identical twins raised apart by parents with differing weight eating dissimilar diets weight close to the same. So why is there so much negative stigma attached to being overweight? I am not sure how it came about, but I know it had a huge affect on me!

I was a tiny child, thin, underweight by most people's standards. When I hit puberty I put on about 5-30 extra pounds (I bounced around in that range a lot.) In high school, I consistently weight 130 lbs. (at 5'2".) I was teased about my weight. My doctor told me I needed to watch what I ate. (Note, when he asked me what my favorite food was I said oranges, and he didn't know how to reply. He expected me to say some less acceptable food.) When I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked fine, but I knew there must be something terribly wrong with my appearance to lead to the teasing and even my doctor saying something. So I started dieting. Of course the rest is history. My self esteem got worse and worse.

Here I am truly overweight after 25 years of worrying about my weight.

I am no longer someone who worries about my weight. I am happier. I am healthier. Those are things that really matter. Oh! And I still think that I look just fine when I look in the mirror.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 18: Single-tasking and Weight Loss

This is a weight loss blog, even if it is not your typical one, and I know all of you readers must be wondering how single-tasking can help weight loss. It is obvious how exercise helps. You move; you burn calories. Being positive isn't quite as obvious, but it isn't that hard to see that if you want to reach a goal, you need to stay positive even during the challenging times.

I have found that single-tasking is equally as helpful as either of those habits are. Here is a list of ways that single-tasking is helping me lose weight:

1. When you are single-tasking, you only do one thing at a time. If that thing isn't eating, you don't eat! That keeps me from aimless snacking.

2. There are a lot of things that I want to do to help me to eat healthier. I want to plan my menus in advance. I want to prepare healthy foods that might take a bit more effort than less healthy fast food. I want to search for recipes that my family will like, are diabetic friendly for my girlfriend, and are weight loss friendly for me. These and more are all tasks that I can complete one at a time while single tasking. They are exactly the types of things that I use to do a little bit of and then never complete!

3. Single-tasking has increased my productivity. This has increased my self esteem. Having a better self esteem makes it easier to work towards other goals!

4. If I consider eating a task, to be completed without multi-tasking, I find that I pay more attention to my food. This mindfulness leads to me stopping when I am full and feeling more satisfied after normal sized portions.

5. Exercise is a task to be completed too! No being sidetracked by other things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 17: Single-Tasking Tips

Wow! I did not expect to take a two week break from blogging here, but health issues and seasonal expectations got in the way! I am happy to be back!

I am, for the most part, doing very well with single-tasking. It is very rewarding! On the days when I stick to single tasking, my productivity, mindfulness, and sense of peace all sky rocket! One of my challenges has been the internet. The internet is designed for multi-tasking. You see a link of interest, and you click it. You want to follow up to an article; you start writing an email. If you are like me, there are always plenty of blog entries bouncing around in your head for your diverse blogs. Some people (it often seems to me that those are younger people who have grown up using the internet their entire lives) seem to do fine with this multi-tasking environment, but I need to keep it to a minimum.

Here are some things that have helped me to succeed!

1. I keep a notebook next to my keyboard at all times. This notebook has separate lists related to various internet things that I do each on their own page. For example, there is a page listing things that my kids have been up to, and there is a page with ideas that I have for this blog. When I have an idea, I jot it on the appropriate page. When I need an idea, I open up to the appropriate page and see what's there. This keeps my mind free from clutter and keeps my ideas organized with out pulling me too far off my current task.

2. I use my bookmark function liberally! If I see a link to a sight that interests me, I bookmark it instead of perusing it. Then I set aside a time for looking at bookmarks. I might not get to everything, but the truth is that everything doesn't matter. I can stay on my current task rest assured that at a future time my task will be browsing the sites that interest me.

3. I set aside a specific time for email. I finish dealing with it then, archiving anything that might be important in the future. Archiving is quicker than filing, and I can quickly find anything I might need with a search function. Answering anything needing an answer during my email task keeps my inbox from getting cluttered with things that I will reply to some day. Because I have a specific time for my email task, I do not need to check my email frequently thoughtout the day.

4. I prioritize and organize my blog reading. Like most bloggers, I enjoy reading other people's blogs. This can get way out of hand. The first thing I did to control this was to make sure that any blog I read is serving a purpose in my life. I read blogs of people I know to keep up on their lives. I read some blogs because they are entertaining and make me happy. I read some blogs because they are community building, and I have an online relationship with the writer. Some blogs make the cut because they provide me with information. I keep a personal blog on livejournal, and most of my closest blog friends blog there so one of my blog reading tasks is to read my livejournal friend list. I use rososo to keep my other blog feeds organized. I like rososo because it has a clean non-cluttered look, and it is very easy for me to use! These two tasks take care of blog reading, and I remember to keep them there and not let them leak into the rest of my life.

5. I keep important/urgent things on my desktop, but I don't over use this! Sometimes there is something that I don't want to pull me away from my current task, but that I know I have to take care of right away. I put those things on my computer desktop. This is a good reminder to me to not let them go. If you use this system, it is easy to let it get out of hand categorizing everything as important and urgent! I keep this from happening by following one simple rule. If I don't deal with something in 24 hours, it wasn't really that urgent, and it gets moved. Also if my desktop starts to look too cluttered something is definitely wrong!

I hope some of my own tips can help someone else to stay on task and productive online. It is very important to remember to stay flexible throughout the whole process. There are going to be times when you are going to have to deviate from your task, but just remember to get back on track as quickly as possible, and you should be well on your way to an increase in productivity!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 3: Expectations

I long ago learned the value of letting go of expectations, but it is still an on going battle at times. Parents tell their kids that they expect better of them. We expect ourselves to eat right and lose weight. It seems the world expects everyone to go to college, get a good job, and move up the career ladder. As consumers of services, we expect that no mistakes will be made. Citizens expect their politicians to be above reproach. Our world is full of expectations. Having them seems normal, and to some, even good.

I have done my best to step off the expectation bandwagon. I don't expect my kids to do anything. I just live my life with them letting them be themselves and grow into the adults that they want to become. I try to live in the moment, not in anticipation of the next whether positive expectation or negative dread.

Not having expectations, helps me to go with the flow. One of the problems with single-tasking is it is easy to fall into the expectation that if we desire to complete something, we will be able to with no interruptions. This isn't always going to happen! Sometimes someone is going to really need you. Sometimes you are going to miscalculate, and something is going to take longer than you expected, and an appointment may interfere, or you might realize that it is too far past mealtime and you are starving. It is important to not be a slave to anything! Don't have the expectation that things will always go well. Keep your focus, but when necessary, go with the flow.

Being flexible and living in the moment will be the ultimate key to your success. Once single-tasking has become a habit, it will be easier to tell the difference between a true necessary reason to take a break, and procrastinating or losing focus.

On the exercise forefront, I did good today. I took not one but two walks. In addition to my usual time, I went with for a walk with my daughter Lia in the woods through the snow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 1: Single-tasking Attempt Number One

The single-tasking went pretty good today. I didn't think about it a lot, but when I started to get worried that I wasn't doing enough today, I made myself a list of three essential tasks, and I focused on them one at a time until they were done.

Now, about the exercise, I was not so good with that habit. I see exactly what the problem is too! I don't have exercise pinned tightly enough to anything else that regularly happens. The way we live our lives, it is hard to take time away from other things on a regular basis to exercise. Today, I was decorating. I could have stopped and gone, but I felt weird (I have anxiety associated with going outside) and didn't. Obviously if it was a habit, I would have gone!

I have decided that I am going to pin my exercise to 2:00. I am the type to never be late to anything! My exercise is my date with myself, and I am going to keep it! On work days, I will drag encourage Diana to do some more with me when she gets home. When I lived in the city, I walked an incredible amount. I need to get back at it. It gives me so much joy in addition to being good for me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 30: Last Evaluation and More about Single-tasking

Today I went for my walk in hail. It was small hail, but it was stingy when it hit my face. My girlfriend joined me for the first half of my walk. When she went inside, I continued walking. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I was less than ten minutes from home when I desperately had to use the bathroom. I sprinted home and did not get my full walk. I am proud of myself for attempting it in that weather though!

Tomorrow starts my month of establishing the single tasking habit. I will continue to report on and off on my positivity and exercise habits as well. My motivations for developing the single-tasking habit is to help me focus and have increased productivity, increase my joy and passion in life, and most importantly decrease my anxiety and fear levels.

There are two obstacles that I am anticipating. The first is that life will get in the way. Little things will come up in the middle of doing something, and instead of completing that task and then moving on, I will feel, on some level, obligated to "pause." I will need to remember to say both no and wait until I am done with this to the members of my family. The second is that I will grow bored of some activities or be distracted or find them difficult so I will want to break to something else. To avoid this, I will have to use a two prong approach. First of all, I will have to make sure that the tasks that I set for myself are not too challenging for me. Then, I will have to persevere refocusing as necessary when I am feeling the urge to distract myself with something else.

I will do my best to hold myself accountable by reporting on my progress here. I will also have the support of my girlfriend Diana who is as eager as I am to see me conquer my multi-tasking anxiety issues.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 29: The End of the Month Nears

As you can probably tell from the infrequency of my posts this month, November has been a month full of challenges! I have plodded on with my exercise, and I have strived to face my challenges with positivity and my exercise with enthusiasm. In spite of this, at this point with only one day left in the month, I must face the fact that I have not developed the habit of exercise. I was not consistent enough. I let too many things get in the way!

So the question I have been pondering in my head is "Do I just keep tackling exercise, or do I add another habit in December?" I have gone back and forth in my thinking. One part of me was saying, "Don't add anything else! You haven't accomplished this. You know it isn't habit yet!"

Then the other side of me says, "You could be stalled on this exercise thing forever. Keep working on it, but move onto something else! Continuing to focus only on exercise will stall progress in your life!"

I look at the pro's and con's of both arguments. I looked inside myself to see how I really felt. I intentionally set out to seek the truth, and most importantly, I remembered to stay focused on the positive in my research.

Here is what I discovered. I have not made exercise a habit, but I have made progress. If I don't exercise, I know it. At the very least, thinking about exercising every day is a habit. Also, I know why exercise is not a habit. First, instead of just exercising because it is important to me and a habit I want, I let various anxieties get in the way. That is not really being positive. I was not expecting the best. It was subtle and hidden behind a lot of positive words and intentions so I could not get to the root of the problem easily, but it is the truth. Second, I put too much on my plate and did not keep exercise in the forefront of my mind as the most important thing to do (along with positivity.)

I also realized that I have another bit of support that has been added to my exercise routine that will help me to keep it up. My girlfriend has decided that she will do at least half of my walk with me most days. She has diabetes and needs that walk to help keep her blood glucose levels under control. So not only will she be supporting me, I will be supporting her!

Because of the things that I discovered, I feel confident that well before December is over, I will have added exercise to those habits that are a part of my life. So I am going to go on and add another habit.

I wanted to add a habit that would not be similar to exercise. I wanted to choose something that I have been thinking about for a long time but just have not gotten to stick. I also wanted to pick something that would help me to exercise too, as opposed to something that might get in the way of exercise.

I got to thinking about what one thing really helped me to lose my focus in life. That one thing was working as a quick service restaurant manager. What was the worse thing about that position? The multi-tasking environment! I saw how much more productive the management team could be with a single-tasking focus, but the owner preferred to see everyone running around erratically. I suppose he thought "busy-ness" equated productivity. In my experience, the opposite is true! Focus equals productivity. Focus equals problems solved. Focus equals a smooth running operation. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to try out all of my ideas in the world of a quick service restaurant (although I'd love to get the chance sometime!)

What I can do is to use the philosophy of single-tasking and focus in my own life! This isn't always easy. I have a multifaceted life! I have five children. I have a girlfriend who works full time in the often erratic and stressful postition of a substitute teacher as well as attending graduate school in a demanding field. I write. I help run two family businesses. I maintain a handful of blogs. It is important to me to find time to read, make nutritious homecooked meals, and stay informed in several areas that are of personal interest to me. I also have a spiritual life that needs regular tending. Bouncing around with no focus does not get things done! Perhaps most importantly, it doesn't increase my joy. Instead it leaves me anxious and flighty.

So during the month of December, I intend to develop the habit of single-tasking. I will write more about how I intend to do this tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 25: Snow = Exercise

Yesterday and today, I snow shoveled instead of walking! It is quite the work out! This snow was heavy and wet and icy! My snow shovel is flimsy and cracked so I could only move so much at once! Snow shovelling is far more work and far less fun than walking! It was necessary though, and the kids didn't have to do it all themselves. Exercise and charity both at the same time is always nice!

In other news, my friend Meghan of Meghan's Mindless Mutterings is having a cool Pillsbury Giveaway just in time for the holidays! Go check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 23: Staying on Track

I got out and walked today in spite of the snow and slippery road. My girlfriend Diana walked with me which was definitely a help!

This evening, I was talking to a group of online friends about aging. There was some talk about good things about aging, and of course, the usual drawbacks.

I think the thing that helps me the most is realizing my own mortality is not limited to old age. That is truly an illusion. We are all mortal. I could die at three or twenty-three or forty-three or one hundred and three. We all need to make the most of everyday.

No one should wait until he or she is thin to live. No one should wait until he or she has all the right habits in place. No one should wait for money or love or kids to be born or grow up, etc. Live now! That is my advice to you all today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 19: Menu Plan Monday on Wednesday

Oops! I didn't post my menu plan this week. I don't know what happened, but here it is!

Monday: Crunchy Ranch Tuna Pasta, sliced tomatoes

Tuesday: Tex Mex Pasta Bake

Wednesday: Tuna Rice Casserole

Thursday: Layered Taco Bake, tossed salad

Friday: sloppy joes, tossed salad, buffalo fries

Saturday: Tator Tot Casserole, tossed salad

Sunday: Chicken and Biscuits, peanut butter brownies

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 18: Blog Absence but Not Exercise Absence

Wow! Three days without blogging in a row! I am not proud of that, but I have had an excuse of sorts. We have been hit with some snow. So rest assured, the exercise has continued! Removing snow is the worst kind of exercise in my opinion though. We are all ready to move! Diana, the kids, and I are all sick of snow already.

Do any of you have any advice about where a good place to move to would be? We would prefer somewhere with milder weather, somewhere where there are teaching jobs (my girlfriend is a teacher), and somewhere were the cost of living is reasonable. I would love any suggestions you might have!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 14: The Importance of Enthusiasm

I have lost some of my enthusiasm for establishing the habit of daily exercise. It is easy for me, when stressed, to flip flop back and forth between agoraphobia and claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is more my natural state. I want out. I want the sky overhead. I want to have room to roam. I want to lose myself in my surroundings.

When I start to flip flop, I often get to the place where I feel that I have no safe place. Right now, that is where I find myself. No matter where I go I do not feel safe, so it is really hard to walk for a whole hour!

What I need to do is to recapture my enthusiasm. So, I am excited. Walking everyday really is wonderful. It makes me feel wonderful in so many different ways! I am going to keep walking everyday at 2:00 without fail. I am going to do my best to be mindful and to enjoy my walks. I am not going to let fear of the unknown keep me from establishing this habit!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 12: Thoughts on Being Sick

It can be very hard to work on establishing a new habit when one is sick. Being positive might seem like a good idea, but there is usually another part of oneself that says, "I have a right to be miserable!" If your new habit is something like exercise, it can be hard to tell the difference between really needing to rest and using being sick for an excuse.

Here is one important thing to remember. In order to truly establish a habit, you can't regularly take days off during the 30 day commitment period. No one is perfect, so yes, you may miss a day, but that means that you absolutely shouldn't miss the next day! Missing two days could lead to you needing to start all over.

It is all fine to say that you should never miss a day you might be thinking, but what if I am really sick! Well, there are things that you can do to keep establishing a habit without compromising your sick body. For example, I am sick now. I am not horribly ill, but I have a cold that includes a headache, a sort throat, and a low grade fever. I need extra rest. I don't want to stop my walking habit though. So I walk slower or walk for less time. I stay closer to home in case I feel I should stop. If I was even sicker, I might modify further. I could see doing some simple stretching exercises or getting up and walking around the house during exercise time if I was very sick. Even meditation could be substituted for walking.

My point is that if illness strikes, keep establishing that habit, but use modification if necessary. Be honest with yourself about what you can and can't do. Talk to your support person. Make sure that you stay on track, and at the end of the month, you will be happy to have a new habit that will stick by you in sickness and in health.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 11: Update and Research News

Today was a good day as far as accomplishing things goes. I took my one hour walk right on schedule. I am still suffering from the physical effects of anxiety so I practiced mindfulness for the entire hour. It is getting much easier for me to be mindful. I use it at night when I am going to sleep now. I would have never thought that I could give up continual active thinking so easily! OK, it hasn't exactly always been easy, but really all it took was a little bit of regular practice.

On the nutrition front, many people take omega 3 supplements or try to eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. I think this is an excellent idea because research shows a strong correlation between omega 3 intake and having a healthy cardiovascular system. A recent research study set out to see if there was any difference in the longer chain omega 3's found in fish and the shorter chain omega 3's found in vegetable sources such as flaxseed. The study found that those receiving omega 3's from fish had a higher reduction in heart disease than those getting the same amount of omega 3's from vegetable sources. It is hypothesized that this is due to the fact the the longer chain omega 3's reduce inflammation more than the shorter chain sources. Inflammation is thought to be a major cause of cardiovascular disease.

Obviously if you are a vegetarian, please keep on using flax sources, but if you eat meat anyways, fish and fish oil supplements are the way to go to have the biggest improvement in your cardiovascular health.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 10: Menu Plan Monday

Wow! I have missed two days posting in a row. That was not my intention. We were away from home from early in the morning until after midnight on Saturday, but I should have gotten in a post yesterday. I did get in a beautiful walk yesterday! My beloved girlfriend knew that I had been down so she took me to Rice Creek a beautiful nature center near my home for my walk. It was wonderful! The trails might not be so accessible there for much longer so I was very happy to get in another trip.

Now for the event you have all been waiting for...

As always, if you head over to the Organizing Junkie's blog you can find a ton more menus to inspire you in your own menu planning.

Monday: crockpot chili with corn chips, sour cream, & shredded cheddar

Tuesday: pinto bean soup, wheat crackers, salad

Wednesday: chili soup, cornbread

Thursday: pizza pasta bake, Italian bread

Friday: breakfast for dinner with eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, country gravy, biscuits, blueberry muffins, juice, & coffee

Saturday: baked butternut squash, baked chicken legs, green beans amandine, gingerbread cookies

Sunday: Asian dinner with sushi, miso soup, & stir fry meat and veggies

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 7: When the Going Gets Tough...

My stress level has been out of control! It has affected everything that I do. It is like I am lost in my mind, just doing one thing after another to get done with it with no real connection to my environment or the people around me.

I didn't post yesterday. I didn't walk yesterday either. Missing two days in a row is not the way to form a habit!

I started this blog to promote positivity, passion, and play as the foundations of having a joyful, fulfilling life. I believe in this message, and I see too many others floundering with negativity to not want to share the message that there is a better way. I don't know how to make the physical symptoms of stress stop in my body, but I do know that I can keep turning my mind in the right direction.

I am dedicated to pulling my mind in the direction of positivity, passion, and play regardless of the events in my life. I will not react; I will be. That is my message today. I hope you all can join me!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 5: A Minor Setback

I have a problem with stress. Sometimes when I experience a stressful event, my body overreacts. I get pain in my heart and my stomach. I get nauseated. I don't think. To put it more succinctly I can't think, my mind just shuts down. I feel really weird inside, like all of my various tissues are vibrating rapidly. Usually I just sit really still or lie down until it passes. I shut down. It isn't really a choice. It just happens.

Of course, I don't like it. It isn't exactly like a panic attack. It is very hard to explain. Today is actually the first time that I have tried to. I didn't use to have this problem. It crept up sometime while I was with Joe (my exhusband) like so many other things did. The best way I could describe it is that I am so scared that my body and mind just shut down so that I don't have to deal with it. It is like they are trying to keep me safe.

I think the reason that I analyzed this event so much today is because I wanted to be positive. My whole self was struggling to be positive, and yet, I wasn't being negative, and I could see that. My mind wouldn't let me think anything either positive or negative. It was frustrating to experience, but not bad necessarily.

Anyways, the end result was that I didn't make my walk today. I took two short walks, one about five minutes and one about ten, and that was it. I will take my walk tomorrow. I know the importance of never missing two days of habit forming in a row!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 4: Quick Update and Progress

First, I am proud to say that today, for the fourth day in a row, I headed outside and walked for around an hour. It brings me great joy, and I see the mental and spiritual benefits from this activity everyday. My body is still adjusting. My biggest problem areas are chafing between my thighs and achy feet. I assume those will work themselves out. Most everything tends to work itself out for me.

I had some thoughts about my life journey today. I definitely see a path. First, I was unaware of who I was. Eventually I got so lost that I just fell out of life. It took a life shaking emergency to wake me up and show me that I was not living the life that I thought I was. Then began the long sometimes hard, sometimes wonderful exploratative journey of self discovery. Along the way I made lots of rules often using them as crutches to get me through difficult patches. Now I am moving into a new state. I am moving beyond rules and crutches. I am learning to be mindful of life, both who I am and who others are, and also how the world is. I chose my actions in the moment, no rules necessary. I no longer want to judge myself. I just am.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 3: Menu Plan Monday

Time to share my weekly menu plan. You might want to take a moment to visit the official Menu Plan Monday. The host is having a giveaway this week, and as usual there are 300+ links to menu plans.

Here is mine!

Monday: spaghetti w/meatsauce, salad (We have spaghetti a lot on Mondays!)

Tuesday: crockpot chili, corn chips, sour cream, cheese (We have chili a lot on Tuesdays.)

Wednesday: crockpot chicken stew, homemade bran bread

Thursday: extra simple make ahead lasagna

Friday: crispy chicken strips, corn, salad

Saturday: mini-buffalo chicken sandwiches, crudites w/dip

Sunday: sauteed chicken breasts, green beans, potatoes au gratin, cake

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 2: Breaking Away from Perfectionism

Today I ate lunch at a reasonable hour, grabbed my timer, set it for one hour, and headed out on my walk. I walked around the lawn for awhile viewing the foliage. I paced up and down the driveway concentrating on staying in the moment experiencing my walk to the fullest. Then I headed out on the road finally allowing my mind to wander where it would painting fantasies in my head.

I walked a lot farther away from home than I have in awhile. I used some techniques from my teenage years to stay out of fearful situations. I crossed the street when cars came. I turned around if there was a person or a dog. I let the situations decide which way I would walk while I thought and thought and thought. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, but I knew in the back of my mind that I had a lot to do at home so when it seemed like it should be time to turn towards home, I looked at my timer. I had set it for an hour, but I hadn't turned it on!

Well, I had no idea really how long I had been walking, so I turned around and quickly headed home. When I got home, I burst into the house and looked at the clock. I wasn't exactly sure when I had left. I have been trying hard to pay less attention to the time so I don't often look at clocks if I can avoid it. My girlfriend said that she thought it had been about 45 minutes.

In the past, I would have went and searched my IM records or other online activities trying to discover just exactly when I left the computer and just exactly how long I had walked, or I might have decided to go back out and walk another hour because I couldn't be sure that I had completed my commitment. I would have at least gone out and walked for fifteen or twenty minutes to make sure that the total was longer than an hour.

Guess what? I did none of that. I went out. I walked a long time. My legs were tired, and my mind was full of joy. That is what mattered! Letting go of perfectionism feels great!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day 1: A New Beginning

Today I started my month of exercising. Of course, I plan to continue my exercising after this month, but this month I will be establishing the habit. I knew that today would be difficult because we are celebrating Samhain today, and we had to get groceries today, and well it just isn't a typical day!

For one thing, I didn't have lunch. We were pretty much out of food so I just munched on some donuts that my mom had sent home with us yesterday. When it was 1:30, I realized that we weren't going to make it out to get groceries for at least another half hour so I asked Diana if she would rather I exercise or wait and do it when we got home. She said go! So I went. The walking itself was easy. I took it easy, and I broke it up by doing different types of walking. I am a bit achy now, but I am sure that long grocery trip after the hour of walking contributed to that.

I am proud of myself for getting out there and moving! While I was out, I felt a bit guilty because I know that there are a lot of other things that I need to do too. I shouldn't though. This is for me. It gives me energy and joy! If I feel better, then I can do more for my family, and I am more fun to be around.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 31: An End and A Beginning

Today is the last day of my month to cultivate the habit of positivity. I have had a lot of success, and turning away from negativity is definitely a habit. It still isn't always easy. The urge is probably the biggest part that has become habit. After I get the urge, I can't help but keep seeking for some way to move out of negativity's path! That can be a struggle, but it is a worthwhile struggle that always feels good in the end!

Tomorrow I begin cultivating a new habit. This one just might take a bit more determination. It will affect not only me but my whole family! I am going to start exercising everyday. I am going to write a formal statement of my commitment here.

I commit to spend the month of November cultivating the habit of exercise. I will exercise everyday after lunch for one hour. This exercise will usually take the form of walking outdoors. I will walk where ever I wish, however I wish, but I will always continue for one hour. Below are some anticipated problems, and my planned strategies for dealing with them.

First, if I am not home when I eat lunch, I will do my hour exercise when I arrive home. If I eat lunch at home, and absolutely can't stay home to finish my exercise right after my lunch, I will exercise immediately when returning home. I will do my best to eat lunch early enough on days that I know I need to go out in the afternoon to avoid this problem as much as possible. If I have delayed my exercise for some reason and get home when it is too dark to walk outside, I will spend one hour exercising in the house. This exercise could include informal things like dancing and playing actively with the kids and more formal things like exercise tapes. This same routine will be followed if the weather is too bad to exercise outside or to do the whole hour outside.

Perhaps the most important thing is that I will use my positivity to help reinforce this habit. I know how much I love being outside! I know how wonderful it makes me feel! Adding exercise on a daily basis will make my life so much better. I am excited for this to become habit during the month ahead.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 30: More Thoughts on Gossip

Yesterday, I missed posting here. My girlfriend is sick, and I went to bed really early to be with her. I felt bad about not posting here because I consider regular posting here to be part of my commitment to being positive, a checkpoint of sorts to keep me on track. Life moves on though, and I realize that there will occasionally be days that I don't post for various reasons, and I am going to be positive about being able to post here most days!

I have had the topic of gossip on my mind. Not necessarily my gossip, but other people's gossip. It seems that lots of people are eager to say negative things about others. Everyone is fair game. It seems that if you are famous you must be a bad person who deserves to be badmouthed. Any politician you aren't voting for must be a horrible person or not too smart or just out for him or herself. It doesn't stop there. I here gossip about co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family frequently!

Most of the time, I think that people don't even realize what they are doing. I have noticed that these types of conversations can arise from different places. Sometimes someone is genuinely angry at someone. It is OK to be angry at someone who you feel has purposely hurt you, but there tend to be so many factors in every situation. Do you really have a reason to be angry? Are you sure of the person's intentions? How would you have behaved in their shoes? Have you ever made a similar mistake? Is the anger helping you in anyway? Is there anything that you can do to resolve the situation? Have you learned anything from the situation?

Even if you feel that your anger is justified and that it is serving a purpose, do you have to share your views with others? What tends to make this negative talk worse, is when the one who is angry shares their views, and everyone else (who most likely have no anger and may not even really know the other party) agrees. I have seen this happen so often. No one wants to make that scene, and everyone wants to be a part of the conversation, so people start not only agreeing but adding things. Before you know it, you have a whole social situation focused on negativity!

I want to make a conscious effort to stay out of this kind of negativity to the best of my ability. When negative topics come up, I am going to focus on the positive in everyone the best that I can. If the situation can't be turned around, I am leaving.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 28: Working on Loving Myself

Today has been a mixed day. I had a period when I was feeling down on myself. It is instinct now to turn my thinking to the positive side, but it is still a struggle when the process first starts. I managed though! I am proud of myself for getting this far!

I have thought more about next month. I am leaning hard towards exercising after lunch. Mornings are just too dark and cold. I think I would like exercising in the morning, but I am not to that place yet. I still need to work out the technicalities.

I was hoping to write more about gossip today too, but I am just too tired! I will try to get that tomorrow; now, it is bedtime for me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 27: Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday is here once again. I have been doing a pretty good job following my menus. This week I only have one to carry over. There was one night when Diana had a craving for something else, and we went with it! Without further ado, here they are:

Monday: spaghetti w/meatsauce, salad

Tuesday: chili, corn chips, shredded mexican cheese

Wednesday: chicken a la king, homemade biscuits

Thursday: buttery tuna-rice casserole, crudites

Friday: dinner at my mom's

Saturday: Samhain Feast

Sunday: fried chicken breasts, scalloped potatoes, peas (carried over meal)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 26: Looking Towards Next Month

Since my goal is to incorporate one new habit a month, I have been spending some time the past couple of days thinking about next month. I have decided that I will cultivate the habit of exercise in November.

November is the perfect time to cultivate that habit. It is not too hot and not too snowy. I will be able to have the habit of exercise before the heavy snow hits and makes traipsing outside more difficult.

I haven't yet cemented just exactly what this habit is going to look like. I realize that it may change and grow also. All I know right now is that I want to cultivate the habit of exercising every day!

One of my areas of indecisiveness at the moment is timing. I know that to make exercise a habit, I need to tie it to another regular activity and a certain time of day. The easiest time would be first thing in the morning. My favorite time to exercise though is right after lunch. My problem I think is that I tend to eat lunch too late, and I am worried that if I tie my exercise to that other things might get in the way.

I am going to think on it some more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 25: Progress Report

I have been doing OK. Lots of dialogue mostly with myself everyday is the key. Movement is a big boost to my positivity too. I get outside moving everyday even if it is only for five minutes in the rain!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 24: How Do You Define Freedom?

I wrote a bit yesterday about my recent period of struggle, and how yesterday was a turning point for me. Today I had even more opportunities to grow. I had tons of energy for most of the day. Thoughts and clarifications were flying through my head at a stupendous speed.

The cornerstone of my breakthrough yesterday was the realization that I need to do the things I want to do. That may seem like a simple statement, but it really isn't. I think many people, especially women, rarely do what they really want to. Fears, anxieties, and the wrong kind of concerns about others hold them back.

Today I was thinking more about what I want to do. I was thinking about the essentials. I had a clarification about what is essential to me. My relationship with Diana is essential. It is the foundation of a lot of other things. I want to do what I want to do, and being a part of Diana is top priority in that hierarchy
at the moment. I was able to follow that thought to doing other things which made my day very fulfilling. Freedom to me includes the freedom to choose to work with and play with another person who I love and am bound to. Freedom to me also includes the freedom to choose to take care of my children full time at home. Both of those things include responsibility.

Freedom is not the absence of responsibility. I wonder how others see freedom?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 23: Growth

I have been going through a struggle in my head the last few days or so. I have worked very hard to not be negative during this time of struggle. I have stayed as honest as I could and used dialogue whenever possible to avoid negativity.

Today, I acheived breakthrough. The thing that helped the most during this difficult time was remembering that a struggle of some sort often precedes growth. If you are getting bogged down and are discontent, it is OK to think about it and talk about it and work through it. That is not being negative! That is moving forward.

It only becomes negative when you wallow in the discontent with self-pity. See it as a problem or a challenge that you need to solve and keep seeking positivity one day at a time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 22: Weight Loss Tip Wednesday

Nuts! Go nuts is the weight loss tip of the week! Lots of dieters cut out nuts thinking that they are high in fat and calories. The truth is that most nuts are high in those good fats that will help keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Nuts are all natural, taste great, and will fill you up.

The key to eating nuts is to keep your serving size small. I like to eat a small handful of nuts for a between meal snack. The fat and protein in the nuts keeps me from needing to eat again until the next meal time. If I eat a high carb snack, I often find myself hungry again in a little while.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 21: Love Yourself

It seems that most of us have been conditioned to see love as conditional. How many of our parents were disappointed in us? How many gave rewards for "good behavior"? How many of us had teachers that told us that we could do better, even that we need to do better? It is easy to say that these people loved us and just wanted us to do our best, but in reality, most of us do do our best on the things that matter to us, and if they don't matter to us, why do we need to do our best or more honestly do them at all?

How does this affect us as adults? Well, it affects us in a lot of ways! What I want to focus on today though is how it affects our ability to unconditionally love ourselves. I hear it audibly and see it in actions, people saying, "When I lose weight, I will go on that cruise." People turning away from pleasures because they haven't met some goal that they have set for themselves. People looking in the mirror and thinking that they will be good enough when...

Staying positive means living in the moment. You could not see the next moment. Now is the time to live your life! In order to live your life to the fullest, you need to love yourself to the fullest. You need to realize that you deserve a good life full of love and joy now. Don't set conditions for your love. Be yourself, love yourself, and live the life you want now! You can't get now back, so don't waste it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 20: Menu Plan Monday

Here it is Monday again, and I am ready with my menus for Menu Plan Monday!

Monday: Mexican Rice Bake (planned for last week but we went to a birthday party that night and had dinner there)

Tuesday: Creamy Chicken Bake

Wednesday: BBQ Pulled Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Coleslaw

Thursday: Chicken-Stuffing Casserole, Cooked Baby Carrots

Friday: Fried Chicken Breasts, Scalloped Potatoes, Peas

Saturday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Double Noodle Soup, Raw Baby Carrots

Sunday: Baked Chicken Legs, Fried Potatoes, Baby Brussel Sprouts, Brownies

Yes! This does seem to be the chicken and potatoes week!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day 19: Being Comfortable with Myself

I have spent some time visiting with friends and relatives the last few weeks. Being with people, especially people that I care about, can be an anxiety producing experience for me! Somewhere inside myself I feel like I am not good enough for other people. I feel like I am not going to live up to their expectations.

It is difficult for me to admit that in a public forum like this, but I suspect that many others have the same problem. The truth is that I am very in tune with myself and who I am. That is a good thing! Another truth is that I do my best at everything. I am proud of who I am.

Why then do I fall apart at the thought of being surrounded with other people, even other people who love me very much? A little bit of it is probably that no matter how strong I think I am, I am not 100 percent confident in myself. Either I am not 100 percent confident who I am, or I am not 100 percent confident that I always do my best. Most likely there is a litte bit of each, for I am not perfect.

The biggest reason though is that I am conditioned to care what others think. I care what others think about me more than I care about who I am and how I feel about myself! This is not a positive way to be. If am doing my best and being true to who I am, then that is enough. I must remember to affirm who I am regularly. I must remember to concentrate on being the best that I can be. If others disagree with me, it is OK to agree to disagree. If others judge me harshly or bring negativity into my life, it is OK to limit the time that I spend with them.

I am walking forward with positivity filled with self-knowledge and strength.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 18: Keep Moving with Play

I could write about how busy I was today or all the challenges I faced or how dialogue worked to keep me positive through the tough times, but instead I want to focus once again on the importance of movement, and how to incorporate movement positively in your life!

I moved a lot today! I played at the playground, I walked through beautiful outdoor places exploring as I went along, and when I was shopping, walked extra just enjoying looking at new pretty things. I am now exhausted, but it is that wonderful exhaustion from having a fun, movement filled day. Days spent sitting at the computer never leave me feeling this wonderful.

If you are having trouble staying positive, incorporate more playful movement into your life, and it will benefit both your mood and your waistline!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 17: Along the Road to Freedom

I mentioned yesterday in my progress report that I have been having some problems with my physical health lately. I have also been having some problems with my mental health. The physical and mental problems tend to get all mixed up together to the point where I don't know where one starts and the other begins. Sometimes I think that the physical problems cause the mental problems. If I am always in pain, then it makes sense that I will have problems with anxiety and depression. On the other hand, if I am anxious or depressed, it is only going to exacerberate any physical health issues that I have.

Despite these issues, I have been doing better overall than I have in a long time. What has been getting me through it? Positivity! Having a commitment to turn my thoughts around keeps me on the right path even when it isn't easy. I don't flounder in a place of uncertainty. I move along my chosen path even if I am not feeling quite as well as I would like.

This evening, I was talking to my partner about my needs right now, at this time in my life. I need to think, I need to learn, I need to spend quiet time by myself and with her, I need to walk outside, and I need to not have scheduled activities to cause anxiety or to distract me from what feels right and important. I need time and space to heal.

It would be easy to feel guilty about this need. It would be easy to feel angry that I am hurt like this. It would be easy to be sad about the lack of place in my life for all the time and space that I crave. I am choosing not to feel any of those things though because those feelings are not necessary. I am choosing to feel positivity that if I seek I shall find. Moving forward with positivity I will take what comes my way knowing that in the end all shall be OK.

My ultimate goal is freedom - freedom to be me but first freedom to remember me! I am positive that I am moving down the road to that place each and everyday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 16: Progress Report

I am more than halfway through the month, and it is time to report on my progress in cultivating the habit of positivity.

I am definitely doing better than I was! At the beginning of the month, everyday I would have a lapse, a time of wallowing in negativity even if brief, or a time when although not wallowing, I couldn't seem to turn my thoughts around. Those were learning experiences though!

I have learned how to use internal dialogue to work through negative feelings without letting negative thoughts take over. I have learned to make positivity a priority at all times! This is still not a habit. It is something I have to consciously work through at least once everyday, but I can see that it is happening! The habit is forming, and I am optimistic that it will get easier and easier until it is second nature to me!

My partner Diana has told me that she can see the changes happening in me. I am surprised because it seems to me that most of the changes are internal. I am glad that they are already showing to the outside world. This has in some ways been a difficult month. I have been challenged many times! On top of that my physical health hasn't been the best. I am so proud of myself for sticking with this. Just choosing a few times a day to take a few moments to turn my thoughts around is all that was needed to help me have a more joyful life!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 15: Never Forget that You Always Have a Choice

I will be honest. There are going to be times in your life when all of the choices seem yucky to you. Even at those times, it is useful to remember that we have a choice. If you don't feel like going to work, don't tell yourself that you are going to work because you "have to". You don't have to! You could stay home. Even if staying home means no pay or possibly losing your job, you still have that choice to stay home or go. Most likely you will choose go, but it is still a choice. You are not powerless.

Let's also remember that there are usually more than two choices. It is important to think outside of the box to see all of the choices available to you. Perhaps you will go to work today but will put in your two weeks notice so that you soon won't be going to that job you hate. That is another choice. Perhaps you will go to work but will make a commitment to yourself to set aside an hour a night to work on a home business or to take a course or to look for a more fulfilling job. Those are also choices. Perhaps you will go to work but while at work will make an appointment with your boss to discuss doing some of your work from home or cutting back your hours or maybe switching to a four day, ten hour a day work week. Those also are choices. Another choice might be to call in and go to work an hour late or get out an hour early or take a personal day just for today. Those are excellent choices if you just think you need a breather.

The point is that everything that you do is a choice. You have a lot of power. Remembering this can really help you stay positive. Powerlessness makes people angry or depressed. Having the power to make choices and change things you don't like can't help but make you feel more positive as you go about your days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 14: Dealing with Guilt

I have a huge problem with guilt. I have a near photographic memory, and it seems that I remember as if it had happened yesterday, every single thing that I have ever done wrong in my life. I do remember the good things too, but I don't want there to have been any bad things. Learning to deal with guilt is a huge part of staying positive for me.

What have I found that works? Just remembering a simple fact! You can't get back the past. You can't get back one single moment of it no matter how much you might want to! I can mourn things that I wish had been done or turned out differently, but I can't go back and change it. I need to stay focused on the now.

So today and every day, I am determined to move forward with positivity, passion, and play, that I might have fewer regrets in the future and a wonderful now!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 13: Menu Plan Monday

I have decided to participate in Menu Plan Monday to both promote menu planning (which I definitely think helps budgets, waistlines, & calm dinner hours) and to share a bit of what my family eats. Here are our menus for this week:

Monday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Homemade Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Bean & Cheese Burritos, Corn

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Legs, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Thursday: Tuna Macaroni Salad, Cornbread

Friday: Italian Penne Bake, Green Beans

Saturday: Mexican Rice Bake

Sunday: Chicken Rigatoni Soup, Tuna Sandwiches

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 12: Staying Out of Others Misery

"Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people
miserable, too. But it never helps." Lemony Snicket, Horseradish ~ Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

I live with five other people. Everyday at some point or other, I have to deal with someone who is caught in a moment (or more) of negativity. Everyday, I practice staying out of it. I am learning to offer love, support, and comfort without dropping into a pit of negativity myself. It isn't easy. I am glad that I still have a few more weeks to cultivate this habit of choosing positivity.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 11: Positivity Doesn't Mean Limiting Your Emotions

Another criticism of choosing positivity that I often hear is that it is wrong to suppress your negative emotions. Thinking that a habit of positivity means never being sad or angry or afraid is not the reality of the situation. Sometimes you are going to be sad. Things are going to happen that make you angry. You may find yourself in a situation where you are afraid. The point is not to not be sad, angry, or fearful. The point is to choose to face these situations with a positive attitude and to continue to seek joyful moments and peace.

I will share an example from my own life. One of our cats is missing. We have had her for three years and not only do I love her, but she was the first pet that Diana and I acquired together and is therefore extra important to me. I am very sad that she isn't here. I have looked for her in our woods and had the kids help me look under the trailer and throughout the neighborhood. I do not know for sure that she isn't coming back at this point, and so I can't even really mourn her being gone.

So I am sad. I could feel guilty that I should have not let her go outside or should have watched her every second. That would be negative. I took care of her the best that I could. We all did. Even if I had made mistakes, it would do no good to dwell on them because you can't change anything in the past.

What do I do? I think positive thoughts about her. I imagine her coming home tomorrow after a few adventures or being safe in another home. If she has died, I imagine that it was quick and painless and that she has moved on. I don't dwell on the uncertainity of it because once again, I have done all I can do at the moment. That is choosing positivity. I am still sad. I still wish that our little Tenkitty was home, but on the other hand, I am going to still live my life joyfully because weeping all day or drowning in guilt will not help Ten or myself or anyone of my friends and family!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 10: Positivity = Freedom

One criticism to positivity that I hear fairly often is that people have the right to be negative. Critics loudly (and grumpily) proclaim that they are adults, and they are allowed to be negative so they will be negative! This is so silly. The one they are likely to hurt the most with their negativity is themselves. Negativity pulls you down and takes your freedoms away. If you are wallowing in negativity, it is far less likely that you will be able to reach your goals. The truth is life is full of setbacks. Journeys rarely go one hundred percent smoothly. A key to getting through the problems to the other side is resiliency. Being resilient involves seeing the positive and not letting the negative get you down!

One thing I have noticed is that when people are negative they tend to put a lot of blame on things that they can't change. They look for reasons for the negative and when they find an explanation they hold onto it tight! This is not a good thing. To fully embrace our freedom, we need to be able to see outside of the box to find ways that we can change those things that bring us down. Believing that one is a slave to circumstance is only going to stifle your freedom in the long run.

Yes, you have the freedom to be negative. I have the freedom to do my best to avoid your negativity. I am choosing positivity to give me the full freedom to achieve my goals and live my life with joy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 9: What's Right?

I discovered a new blog today that I really like. It is Illuminated Mind. There was a post in the blog about recognizing what is right in your life. I think I am good at this, but when I succumb to negativeness, it seems that the real trigger is usually forgetting the good.

So in reminder to myself, here is the good:

Diana, a woman who I love very much and who is a soul mate to me, is my partner in life, here everyday showing her love in a million ways.

I live in a very beautiful place and get to enjoy its solitary beauty each and every day.

I have five wonderful children. The oldest is my very best friend, and the rest are here every day living life with me. They are all so helpful and even more importantly joyful!

We have a car that runs and plenty of food, and even when finances are tough, we have options.

I am relatively healthy with full use of my five senses and all of my limbs.

I am pretty and intelligent.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day 8: Weight Loss Tip Wednesday

Positivity is coming along great! I had a big challenge this evening, and I did great! My thought patterns are already changing.

I thought I'd get in the habit of adding a healthy living/weight loss tip each Wednesday. On my old blog, I use to do a weight loss tip each day. That is really a challenge so I'll try once a week here.

Many of you may be experiencing autumn weather with its cooler temperatures. This is a soup time of year! Having a bowl of light soup (as opposed to a rich cream soup) before you eat a meal will help you eat less. It will warm you up too! Consider having soup more often as the temperatures drop.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 7: Only One Goal

My only goal for this month is to develop the habit of positivity. Lots of good things are coming from this goal. I find myself doing more each day. I find myself developing morning and evening routines. I find myself enjoying my family more. The laundry is almost caught up!

The thing that I have to remember though is that even though those things are happening. They don't have to happen, at least not right now. My only commitment to myself at the moment is to keep the positive attitude flowing each and every day especially when I am stressed.

If I start to feel like all those other things that are happening are required too, it is likely that I will get overwhelmed and drop everything.

Today was a difficult day. I remained positive, but there was a lot of stress! I am reminding myself that the positivity is what matters most now! If it leads to other good things so be it. If it takes all of my concentration and energy so be it. Keeping it up day after day is what will turn it to habit, and when it is habit, it won't be so much work anymore!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 6: The Importance of Remaining Honest

Today was a day of struggles. Everything that wasn't perfect seemed to set off a bit of negativity in me. I recognized it, and my conscious mind rebelled actively against positivity! The only way to stop this is to be 100% honest with myself!

I didn't want to write tonight. I thought about skipping it. I never thought of giving up though. I know the solution to my struggles is remaining honest, especially with myself!

It is hard to give up a coping mechanism, even if it is not good for me!

I am going to give myself some mantras to help me throught tough times:

This will pass.

Walking forward with positivity.

Find fun.

Succumb to passion and play.

Choose joy!

I hope these simple phrases will be positive things that I can repeat in my head to reinforce positivity when negativity is my first reaction.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 5: Self Esteem Issues

Positivity is going well today. I have had some challenges, but they were not big challenges, and I did well.

This evening, I was thinking about goals and success, and I had a revelation. I feel like I have never really succeeded at anything difficult that I have set out to do. I know that I have had short term successes, and I know that lots of others would say that I have been very successful at many things. The point is that I don't feel that way. I am wondering if my feelings accurately reflect reality.

Perhaps I undervalue things just because I am successful in them. This could be a self esteem issue. If I succeeded, then it must not have been that hard. Perhaps I expect too much of myself. I know that I can hold myself to perfectionistic ideals.

This is all interesting for me to think about. You see a lot of my negative thoughts take the form of: "So many bad things have happened in my life because I am not good enough, don't work hard enough, am in some way flawed, etc." Being honest with myself, yes a lot of things that I didn't like happened in my life, but I know that that is the way it seems to lots of people.

In one extreme, I can take the view that I am 100% in control of my life, and that everything that has happened to me that I didn't like was because of choices I made, mistakes. In the other extreme, I can say that I have no control over what happens. I was born who I am with my particular set of traits and whatever happens is fate either determined by a Creator figure or my genes; it doesn't really matter in the end with a deterministic point of view. A world with no real choices is worse that a world were every bad thing is a sum of my mistakes in my opinion.

Where is the truth? I like to think somewhere in between. I am who I am, but I can learn and make choices also. The positive way to look at it is that I do my best, and if bad things still result, then find the joy as best as I can in the moment and move forward.

I want to keep pondering this topic. The habit of positivity is my goal for this month. I will be making more goals for upcoming months. Perhaps I can manage to succeed at something big. We shall see!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 4: The Importance of Movement

Positivity has really been flowing out of me. My moods are up and down this time of month, but I have handled the downs with philosophical positivity today and even when a major physical pain struck, I did not let it bring me down.

Everyone knows that exercise is an important part of a weight loss program as well as being good for our health. Exercise also can be a big help in sustaining a positive attitude. Moving regularly keeps our metabolism up, and vigorous exercise can even cause the release of mood boosting endorphins.

It is common to hear people complaining that they don't have time for exercise. The truth is that exercise doesn't need to take a lot of our time. Just a little bit of extra movement can have positive affects on your mood. Try taking a ten minute walk at lunch time or after dinner. Walk or bike for quick errands. Play outside with your kids! I love playgrounds.

It has been rainy off and on here (mostly on) for the past week. It has been hard to squeeze in walks during the dry periods, but I have been trying. Today I didn't manage so when my computer started working extremely slow, I decided to exercise while things were loading. Stretching and dancing just for a few minutes at a time over the course of an hour really made me feel great! It is easy to get bogged down on the computer forgetting our need to move.

To get the most benefits from moving for your mood, make sure that you relax into the moment. Concentrate on your breathing, on how your body feels, on the sights and sounds around you. Don't strew your mind with worries. Be in the moment, filling your body, mind, and spirit with the positivity of "now."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 3: Learning to Slow Down

Today has been a very good day both in the positivity department and just in general. I have had to squash negative thinking a few times, but I am getting better at it and rebelling less. One thing that I really have problems with is slowing down. If I don't slow down, I don't have time to both squash the negativity and reshape it into something positive. Just squashing it isn't enough. I need something to replace it with, or I am just left in an anxious mindless state ready to break down or accept the first thing flung my way no matter how ridiculous it might be!

There is no reason not to slow down. When I am in the midst of an unwanted torrent of negative thoughts, I nearly always have a few minutes to spend on the thought processes necessary to make it better. (This may not be true for others who work outside the home or have a more rigid schedule, but nearly everyone can take a moment, and if longer is needed, you can usually find a way to secure it.)

I think when I realize it is a tough time, I am going to concentrate on breathing. Just concentrating on breathing is a good way to slow down, giving myself the time I need to return to positivity.

Slowing down can be a positive thing in many areas of our lives. I often feel like I don't have enough fun, that everything is just rushing by so fast that I can't truly experience anything. By concentrating on my breathing and slowing down, I hope to dispel that illusion and give myself the space I need to enjoy more of the moments of my life!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 2: Precise Speech

Today was somewhat better than yesterday. The worst part of today was having random panic attacks. These attacks weren't triggered by anything in particular, and sometimes they hit when I was doing something that should have been relaxing!

All day, I have been puzzled about these episodes. Just right now (when I was about to write an entry on precise speech not my panic attacks) I thought of a possible explanation. I think the panic attacks are sort of a rebellion against giving up negativity. You see, adding positivity is great, but a part of me knows that negativity has been a coping technique that I have been using with increasing frequency in the last few years. It is hard to let go of a coping technique, even one that isn't very effective or a good thing in my life.

That is a good segue into precise speech! I have always been a fan of precise speech. I attempt to use words carefully to make myself as clear as possible when communicating with others. I found today that using precise speech when talking to myself can help me to squash negativity and turn it around to positivity. This can be a very honest coping technique in difficult situations. When we use precise speech to tell the absolute truth to ourselves, we find that things don't tend to be as bad as mindless self-chatter and random mood strikes make them out to be!

As I work through this month, forming the habit of positivity, I will keep focusing on using only precise speech and honest communication not only with others but with myself too!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 1: Fine Tuning My Support

Today is day one of my month of developing the habit of positivity. I was awake after midnight last night and was very excited when I realized it was the first of the month. I wasn't feeling my best, but my mood definitely brightened thinking about the benefits of positivity.

This morning, I awoke and was raring to go! I knew there might be struggle, but I was up for any challenges that might come my way! Well, those challenges didn't wait too long before arriving. I had an altercation with my significant other this morning. Neither of us was feeling our best, and we have been experiencing a ton of stress due to financial difficulties. This morning, that, coupled with miscommunication, led to some areas of contention between us. I knew that I didn't want to go into negative thinking mode, but the whispers of negativity were pushing up in the back of my mind. I pushed myself hard to listen to them so that I could turn the situation around. I was being very methodical, going slowly through the process. It was not easy. I was in the midst of the most difficult type of situation for me to maintain positivity during. I did not want to fail! My partner was trying very hard to do the right thing too. She knew today was my first day, and she pointed out that I should not be being negative thinking that it would help me to get back on track. She pointed it out more than once.

That was exactly not the type of support that I needed. It made me feel bad inside. Here it was only the first day, and I was failing! What I needed was quiet listening ears while I worked through my problems. We hadn't talked about this before so the situation escalated.

Later though, I had a chance to talk with her and discuss the type of support that helps me most: quiet listening while I recognize, verbalize, and then turn around the negative thinking. She knows me well and could immediately see what I meant. I realize that there will be other people whom I will have to deal with who will not support me. When I am with her who loves me the most though, it is nice to know that I will have someone who can support me to the fullest in exactly the way that I need most when I am struggling.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Three Day Countdown!

After today is done, there will only be two more days before the first, so I thought it was time to do a recap of sorts.

First a reaffirmation of my commitment: During the month of October, I am committed to developing the habit of positivity! I realize that this will involve some discomfort and a learning period, but I am committed to doing the work necessary to make this happen. I am motivated by the desire to have a life full of positivity, passion, and play! Also, although I realize that positivity is a wonderful habit in its own right, I know that being positive will make it easier to develop other positive habits and to reach my goals.

Now for an honest look at my obstacles. I have three main obstacles. The first is my own negative self chatter. In my preparation period, this has been the easiest obstacle to squash, but I will need to be ever vigilant during this month long cultivation period, keeping the pesky thoughts away so that the positive thoughts can flourish!

The second obstacle is my physical body which through chemical means creates pockets of negativity and sorrow when things go poorly. I need to remember to allow the mourning without perpetuating the negativity beyond what is absolutely necessary. Two things can help this process. First I can keep up a banter of positive self talk and positive talk to others when this state hits even if it is difficult. Second, I must make sure that I do not allow myself to wallow in this sorrow. I have to choose positivity. When these types of moods strike, choosing positivity can be extremely difficult. I see this as my biggest challenge.

My third obstacle will be other people, both other people who look down on me because I am positive, and not picking up on the emotions of my loved ones who are feeling negative. To combat these obstacles, I plan on limiting my time with negative people and pushing into my uncomfortable zones with loved ones, continuing to be positive in the face of their negativity.

I feel that I have a good plan in place for the next month. I am looking forward to making a positivity a habit by November 1, 2008!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Is the Goal of Positivity?

I have been very openly pro-positivity lately. Oddly enough, many people respond to my commitment to positivity with the question: "Where do you think that is going to get you?"

The truth is I don't think positivity is going to "get me" anywhere, at least not the way they mean. I am not interested in forming a habit of positivity so that I will make more money. It is not some weird gimmick to get it all, success, beauty, popularity, etc. I simple want to be more positive because I want to be happier, and I have seen that positivity increases happiness, and decreases stress and anxiety.

Obviously being happier as well as less stressed is going to help me move along better in a forward motion to other good things. That is not my goal though. Even if nothing in my life changed except for a habit of positivity it would be worth it to me!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dealing with Negativity: Gossip, Mourning, & Today's Trial

I like to observe and think about other people. I am a very good judge of character, and I think that is the result of all the people watching that I have done. I also like to talk about people. Not just to anyone, but with those whom I trust and whom I am close to, the topic of conversation often turns to people we know. This type of conversation is often called gossip. My goal is not to spread rumors about people or hurt anyone. My goal is to figure people out so that I can have a better understanding of how people work and ultimately be able to be closer to people. Having said that, these conversations are not limited to people's positive characteristics. They are well rounded full fleshed conversations exploring many aspects of people's personalities. It the person being discussed was there, there would definitely be things said that would make them uncomfortable.

I assume most people have these types of conversations. I don't mind thinking about people talking about me this way. This is not because I am comfortable with who I am or because I think people won't say negative things, it is because if I'm not there to hear it it doesn't hurt and because I think it is sort of cool that I would be interesting enough so that someone would want to use me as a conversation topic.

Since I have embarked on a course of positivity, I have been wondering if these conversations I have are negative. I have come to a few conclusions. First, when I talk about someone, I present a well rounded picture of them. I am very good at seeing all sides of someone and tend to stick up for people that others don't like instead of the other way around. Second, when my loved ones and I discuss people, the conversations are in no way malicious. Even when we are upset at someone or don't particularly like them, the purpose of the conversations remains understanding someone better not hurting anyone. My conclusion is that these conversations are not negative.

On the other hand, gossip definitely can be negative! Most people have found themselves in situations where someone was being pulled apart and torn down with no good intentions involved. I am not going to get involved in those situations anymore. If I can't say anything nice, I will leave. I know that arguing is not the answer, but if more people would just leave when people were being bad-mouthed, the world would be a much more positive place.

Today I had another trial in my path to positivity. Once again the past came knocking and managed to knock me right into a pit of despair. Once again, I tried to talk and to push to the positive, but it was really hard! There is one thing I think that I need to remember. It is OK to mourn. Mourning is a normal part of life. I can't get back one moment of the past, but it still affects me now. If the past is negatively affecting me, I can allow myself to experience the sadness that there were mistakes made and mourn the fact that there is no way to go back and change things. I don't need to dwell on it. Just acknowledging it is a help though! Then I can recommit to making the best decisions that I can now and in the future and move forward with positivity as best as I can!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Originally, I planned to write a post about gossip today. It is a post that I still want to write, but I have decided to take a break from my regularly scheduled programming to talk about today.

Today my girlfriend and I had to deal with some difficult issues. They were not issues between us but with the outside world. I am very proud of my girlfriend because she chose not to procrastinate on this issue, but to just handle it right away. (She really did all the dealing, but it affects me too.)

Afterwards though, I fell apart inside. I was trying very hard to not think negatively in any way, and I didn't really have any negative conscious thoughts, at least not right away, but the waves of emotional pain that rolled over me were difficult to dismiss. It is easier when I can see a negative thought pattern.

How did I handle it? Well first of all my body and mind and even soul started to shut down. That is the easiest way to get rid of overwhelming emotional pain, and I think it is OK for a little while, but eventually we all have to return to the real world. Tonight I had several obligations that I still needed to take care of so a complete shut down was not in the picture. I sat there bearing it and not quite succeeding, and I decided to talk. I IM'd my girlfriend with everything that was coming into my head. Because I had not been consciously thinking, the things I told her were coming from deep inside me, contradictory feelings of self-righteousness and guilt, fear of living and even more fear of dying. Everything that was in me came pouring out. She listened and validated my feelings, and that helped.

I still was hurting though. I finished up my required tasks as best as I could, and I engaged my daughters in banter to try to relieve my stress. That helped too so now I am calm and mostly better.

I did OK, but I have been trying to analyze the situation to see how I could have done better. First of all, even though I wasn't having conscious negative thoughts, I could have verbalized all the positives. The fact that I didn't, and that I later shared negative thoughts with my girlfriend, tells me that I was just repressing the negative. The fact is that it is very difficult to be openly positive when I feel pain, either physical or emotional. The truth is that it is possible. I have been squashing the negative pretty well when my problems are physical. I need to transfer that ability over to emotional problems too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Positivity - When Health Issues Get in the Way (Part 2)

You may say, "It is all just great to say you are going to stay positive even when you feel yucky, but when reality hits, it is just too hard!" That is why I am doing a follow up here. I need more that just positive intentions. I need plans: tips and techniques to use to keep myself positive when my body is hurting or my emotions are out of whack!

Here is my plan for staying positive when health issues get me down. The first step is letting go of perfectionism and accepting myself. So much in staying positive boils down to letting go of perfectionism. One of the reasons I get negative when I am not feeling well is because I can't do as much as well as I think I should. Instead of letting the negative internal chatter arise, I need to say, "Wait! I am me! I am doing my best right now, and this is good enough. I am good enough just the way I am!"

The second step is recognizing that I have needs and taking care of them as best as I can. If I am in pain, and I keep "doing" instead of resting, I am going to have a much harder time staying positive than if I take some time off and take care of me! If I have a cold, I need to slow down and find ways to support myself. Listening to my body and mind, I can make better decisions which will make it easier to stay positive.

The third thing I can do is to recognize the advantages of positivity. Negativity serves no purpose. It is a waste of my energy and can make things worse. Being positive, finding the positives, and looking forward to positives in the future are all great ways to make sure that I am living life to the fullest and not letting negativity make my illnesses worse.

One last note, one of the worse things about being negative is how it affects your relationships with others. When you are sick, you need positive relationships with other people more than ever. It might be tempting to think on some level that if you are complaining and letting people know how bad you feel, they will feel sorry for you and be more likely to help. With those who love us the most, this might work to a certain extent, but it definitely isn't the ideal. No one likes a complainer. It is OK to tell others that you have a health issue, and to ask for help and support when you need it. Facing your health issues with a positive, matter of fact attitude is the better way to go about it. If you are a positive, fun person to be around, people will be far more likely to want to be with you and help you out when you need it. I would much rather have others near me who genuinely like and care about me, than those who pity me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Positivity - When Health Issues Get in the Way

I was bopping around in my ever expanding bubble of positivity until "pop", ovulation hit and I found myself struggling with negativity all over again! Lots of people get PMS, a little extra irritation, maybe some physical discomfort, an excuse to let negativity creep into your life. I have PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) basically a debilitating form of PMS which causes severe emotional problems two weeks every month. Yesterday I had my first unexplained crying jag of the month. The littlest things set me off. Sometimes it is literally nothing.

Am I going to let this keep me down? No! Having health issues is no reason to be negative. You may think that the irritability of PMS is a good excuse for showing the world a negative attitude, but in the end, the one you are hurting the most is you! I don't want to feel negative. I want to be happy. I want to have fun! Even when my moods are all over the place, I can be conscious of what is happening and chose positivity and joy as much as possible. Wallowing in the symptoms of PMDD will not help me accomplish this. Yes, I realize that some days it is going to be more of a struggle to find the positive, but it is always there. It is just the hormones making me depressed, not reality.

Many of us have health issues. Some are chronic. (In addition to PMDD, I have fibromyalgia.) Some are temporary. (In the recent past, I have had toothaches and a sinus infection.) When you have a health issue, one of the hardest things to deal with is the feeling that it is not fair! I certainly understand wanting to rant and rave about this unfairness and how hard it is; I also understand having the desire to crawl under the covers and hide in the misery that is our poor health. I am not going to do those things though. I already have health issues; I do not need negativity compounding them!

I am going to accept my health issues as part of who I am today. I am going to take care of myself. I am also going to look at all of my world with positivity. When I feel negative, I am going to squash those feelings and turn them around! I am determined to be a person of positivity facing all the days of my life with optimism, hope, and joy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Staying Positive in a Negative World

So I have been working hard on my positivity. I have been listening to my thoughts and words, and watching my actions, squashing the negativity and turning it around with positive thinking. I have had many successes and occasional struggles. What is my biggest struggle right now? Staying positive in the face of others negativity! How can I stay positive when my partner, kids, neighbors, and others I come in contact with are exhibiting negativity? Time to brainstorm some solutions!

First I want to tackle my partner. She is not a horribly negative person. She struggles with many of the same difficulties I do, and she is trying to follow me on this journey. She does have some deeply ingrained habits of negativity though, and they inevitably pull me in. This of course doesn't help her turn her thinking around to the positive and can lead to a vicious circle of negativity that hurts our family and ourselves. How can I stop this cycle? First I need to recognize her behavior for what it is, a habit. In the types of situations that I am referring to here, she isn't horribly sad or angry, something has just annoyed her or she is tired, and she breaks out in negativity because that is how she has typically behaved in these situations in the past. Although it is OK for me to show empathy, these are not the types of situations where I need to share her sorrow. Instead, I can briefly express empathy while remaining my joyful self. If the mood is right, I can go further and attempt to turn the situation around through gratitude, humor, or an honest appraisal.

Next come the kids. A long time ago, I read Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family: Simple Ways to Keep Daily Responsibilities and Household Chaos From Taking Over Your Life, by Richard Carlson. I don't remember most of the book, but one tip has stuck with me all these years. He said, we'd all be a lot happier if we didn't expect our kids to be happy all the time. Although positivity is a good thing, you can't control someone else's moods and feeling responsible for your kids is just going to lead to more of the negativity that you are trying to avoid. Unfortunately, this advice is not that easy to follow. I am going to make a more concerted effort in this area though. The truth is my kids are in general far more positive than I am! I do not need to get overly concerned when one of them is in a bad mood. The best thing for me to do is to continue with my own positivity being a good example for them.

How about all the other negativity out there? Extended family? Friends? People you see when you are shopping or driving or otherwise out and about? There are several things I can do to improve those situations retaining my own positivity while influencing others for positivity. First of all, I can spend as little time as possible with people who are frequently negative. Yes, this goes for family and friends too! If they are pulling me down, I can find better ways to spend my time. When I feel I need to be with them, I will work double-time on my positivity, switching conversation topics when necessary, and leaving as soon as I feel that my positivity is being compromised. I will refrain from talking negatively about others. In more casual situations, I will not take anything personally. If I see people acting negatively, I will assume that it has nothing to do with me, and I will be quick to share a smile and a kind word. In public, a sincere smile, often turns a negative situation into a positive one. I will be a force for positivity, pointing out the good points of any situation in the face of others negative reactions.

Through preparing myself for areas of struggle, I hope to be able to reach my commitment to a month of positivity this October. Developing a habit of positivity, will make these reactions second nature so that after awhile it shouldn't be a struggle at all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Noticing Negativity

I have spent the last few days really paying attention to what I say and do. Some of my negativity I have known about for awhile, for example, the idle chatter that runs through my head when things aren't going the way I want. That subtle negativity is probably the hardest to switch around. What I have discovered though is that there is another type of negativity in my life. This negativity is actually more obvious and easier to banish. This negativity is expressed in my words and actions.

Our family practices consensual living. Our kids are equal members of the family who are allowed to have and express their own thoughts and feelings. They make real decisions and have equal say in family decisions. When we have problems, we all work together to find solutions. Of course, there are times that I find the others in my family annoying! Sometimes this annoyance becomes negativity. Little complaints here and there add up! It is OK to recognize that a situation isn't working and needs to be fixed if possible, but it is not OK to generate random negativity about either the situation or the people involved. If I find the behavior of one of my family members annoying, I have two choices. I can decide to just accept it with goodwill as being the quirk of a family member, or I can try to change it. (Ask the person cheerfully to stop, tell the person that it is bothering me and help them to brainstorm other places to do it/things to do, etc.) There is no need to be negative. It doesn't help anything!

Another area of negativity I have noticed is my behavior, thoughts, and feelings towards our pets. We have three cats and one Guinea pig, and a stray cat that doesn't exactly belong to us but is hanging around. The cats never like the change of weather or even worse the change of the seasons. The start acting erratically, and they get needy! I love each of our pets, but they can be annoying. They like to sit in front of my computer monitor and climb on the kitchen counters when I am trying to cook! Instead of getting negative about it, lately I have been seeing the humor in the situation and have been just removing the cat with gentle words and then positively gone on with my day. It makes a world of difference in how I feel!

The third area of negativity that I have been focusing on is just the random little things. It is surprising how often we let little things get us in a bad mood, a mosquito, dirty dishes, nothing I want to wear clean, a slammed door. The negativity that little things create can build up to mood altering proportions taking days that could be filled with joy and turning them into days we can't wait to end. By paying attention to my actions and words, I have been turning negativity around! I have found if I consciously change my words and actions, a change in thoughts automatically occurs.

How do I create this change? Well, if the situation I don't like is something I can reasonably fix, I do that first, cheerfully! If it is something I'd rather tolerate or don't have any choice about, I make sure that I see the humor in the situation, and then I don't let it get me down. I work hard to remove complaints and whining. I see the positive that there is. It is not always easy to face annoyances with positivity, but it is worth it to me!

Coming soon...remaining positive in the face of others negativity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The "How's" of Positive Thinking

Yesterday I talked about the why's of positive thinking. Today I'll be talking about some of the how's. I realize that changing a habit that I have had for quite awhile now is not necessarily going to be easy. To prepare myself, I am thinking about just exactly what I think positive thinking is and then translating the final product into thought patterns and behaviors that I can incorporate into my life.

The first step is to be aware of my thinking. So often, our mind chatter is unthought about. I am becoming more aware everyday of the thoughts in my mind, and when they are negative, I squash them! Of course, it isn't exactly that easy. If you try not to think something, you are very likely to dwell on it even more. So after the initial squashing, I turn the thought around. For example, if I am cooking dinner, and the thought flies through my head that I am a very bad girl because dinner is so late today, I squash that thought, and then turn it around to, "Isn't it wonderful that I am cooking a delicious and nutritious meal for my family and myself!" Oddly enough, this is a lot easier than I thought it would be. I almost make a game of it. I don't lie to myself either. None of that praise for the sake of praise! The truth is we all have good parts, and if we let go of negativity, it is easy to celebrate them!

One of the toughest areas to incorporate positivity is when something bad happens. Let's face it. Not only am I going to make mistakes. My friends and family are too. To make matters worse, sometimes bad things are going to happen to my loved ones and me, even though none of us has done anything wrong. First, I am not going to dwell on my own or anyone else's mistakes. Once a moment has passed you can't ever get it back. It doesn't exist anymore. It is time to go on from there into the future. Secondly, I am going to find the silver linings. There is always a silver lining. Job losses can lead to better jobs and new experiences. Missing a bus can lead to badly needed quiet alone time or meeting a new friend. If you keep your eyes open and expect the positive, you will find it!

Perhaps the best part of developing the habit of positivity is finding fun! Every time, I approach an activity, I am going to expect to have fun! Sometimes the fun part will be a little thing. The feeling of warm water on my hands when I wash the dishes or the sun on my face when I hang the wash. Sometimes it will be bigger things that I can't imagine ahead of time, but I can anticipate that any activity will be fun. What do we know about anticipation? If often becomes fact! Part of anticipating fun will involve letting go of negative people. This can be a tough one. Especially if close family or friends are negative. Sometimes the best you can do is reducing time spent around negativity. To combat that, I plan on surrounding myself with positive people. If I am surrounded with positive people how can I fail to have fun?

A few last thoughts on how to keep myself positive. I need to recognize and accept all of my positive parts. Stating our positive traits on a regular basis is a great way to reinforce the positivity habit! I need to recognize others positive parts. Talking negatively about others is not a part of positivity. If you can't think of anything positive to say, you shouldn't say anything at all! Positive affirmations can be the cement that holds your positivity habit in place. I am not the type to have a list of positive affirmations that I repeat verbatim at certain times of the day. My positive affirmations spring up out of my heart and soul sometimes silently chanted to carry me through a rough time, sometimes shouted outside at the top of my lungs with joy for being me alive today! The other kind are fine too. What works for me may not work best for you!