Crossing One Finish Line Takes You To The Next

stick_figure_race_finish_400_clr_6285You know that at this time of year I have to post something about racing...ha ha.

However, most parts of a running life are analogous to our lives in general. And no more so than when getting to the finish line. Reaching the finish line in life isn't about death but about achieving something (a goal you've set for instance). Just as a runner does not stop running when one race is over, we don't stop living or setting goals just when one goal is achieved.

You always have to have another goal or plan in mind. If not, you'll end up with the "is that all there is" syndrome. The bigger the goal or accomplishment, the more important it is to have something planned to shoot for next. Otherwise you're liable to plummet into depression so deep you don't know what to do about it.

Your achievement or accomplishment may or may not lead to the next thing you want to go after. Perhaps you're on a roll and are building up to something even larger - for example a runner might start with a 5K and gradually make it up the scale to a marathon or ultramarathon or even multi-day events. Or, it might be that you're ready to move on to something different in your life so your next goal might be completely new and unique. There is nothing wrong with that at all. What is important is that you do have someplace else to go.

Give yourself some time to rest and recuperate after you complete the race (goal) - relax and don't think about much of anything - revel in your success. Then allow yourself some time to reflect on what happened - what went right and what went wrong and what you might have wanted to do differently. Use this as constructive "life" time, not just for that particular goal. Take the lessons from this one event and see how to apply it to your life in general.

Now it's time to move on to the planning and achieving of your next goal. All you had to do is figure out what your goal was while working toward the other one. You did NOT have to plan how you were going to achieve it. Just having something to aim for next is the key. Once you've rested, relaxed and taken inventory, it's time to plan for this new endeavor. You can apply all you've learned previously to your planning efforts now!

What's your next finish line? Can you see it yet?



“A Body In Motion Stays In Motion”

bodies-in-motionWe've heard this in the TV ad for some arthritis medication and it's very true. Your joints may, indeed, be very painful when you first try to move them but once you get them going, the lubricant within will start moving around and cushion the bones so they are not rubbing against one another. Once you're up and about, you can continue to keep going without any problem. Your body is very happy moving around all the time because the pain is minimized.

In life, it's the same. Procrastination or inertia keeps you from starting something - perhaps there's a habit you wish to change and you know exactly what you want to do but you just "never get around to doing it" (I've certainly been there, done that and have plenty of the t-shirts).

However, once you get that first step taken and do something once, even if it's just a part of what you planned, then it seems easy to keep doing it. Then you want to do it again. The next time, you've started to develop more "grooves" for the new habit and it's easier to start - you might actually even be excited to start doing it. You could even get to the point where it's hard for you to stop! Wouldn't that be great. For you to get so happy about an activity that you have been avoiding for so long would be phenomenal.

Wouldn't you like to see how this works. Pick a day and a time - oh, and of course, an activity. Put this "appointment" down on your calendar so you're being held accountable for it (even if it's just accountable to yourself). Then just do it. Even if you only do a tiny little bit. See how you feel afterwards. Journal about it. Then do the scheduling thing again and again until this becomes second nature to you!

Let me know how much motion you get!


How The Most Important People In Your Life Have Ruled It

people-influencing1We all like to think that we are autonomous and have some semblance of control over our lives. But, in actuality we do not have as much control over our lives as we think. No matter how old you are, you are carrying a great deal of baggage with us. And we don't even know it. That's the difficult part.

Why does this happen? Because we are so influenced as a child and as we grow up. We believe pretty much everything that people tell us because we don't know any better. By the time we do know better, our beliefs have been so ingrained in us that we don't even recognize that the choices aren't ours.

If we're not open to exploring where our beliefs and thoughts came from, then we're stuck with what was taught us in our growing years. You have to be able to look at your beliefs and say "whoa, maybe that's not true...let me check it out." I think this pattern is how racism and other forms of discrimination are perpetuated. I think we are taught that certain colors, genders, behaviors etc are "good" or "bad" and since the people we respected and relied upon when growing up told us these things, they must be true, right? It's not easy to question things that you have believed for decades. That's hard, and often times it hurts too. Especially when you realize that the people you respected and loved might have been wrong about something. But, in order to grow we have to do it. We have to be willing to experience uncertainty and fear and the unknown in order to grow. If we stay in our little cocoons, then we don't grow or change and life will just continue to pass us by.

When you think about this concept, it's a bit easier to look at the "mass consciousness" and see how that works. So many things have changed throughout the years because people have been willing to question what they were taught. This happens in nutrition and science all the time. When I was growing up, you had to balance your food using the word "starch" - you never hear that now. Then you have the controversy about which type of diet is the best for you. Are eggs good or bad? Is meat good or bad? Should you worry about your cholesterol or not?

Medicine has changed because people have been willing to challenge and question beliefs. That's how infections were discovered and subsequently dealt with.  Cancer treatments and theories have changed throughout the years. If people just accepted what they were told, then there would be no research and no improvements in treatments.

How can you examine your beliefs and your thoughts and see what it is you need to (or want to change - maybe you won't want to change things but at least you should examine them)?

Take some time to think about your life and your experiences and even browse the news websites and see what items get your emotions going. If you can read a title of something and not get emotional or charged, then you probably don't have an issue with that concept or belief. But if you hit something that really gets you going, then you might benefit from looking at what you believe and then, more importantly, why. A good example is all the articles and discussions about police brutality. What is it that you believe about the police? About demonstrators? And then answer where you got those ideas?

Do the same about wars and about weight and about publicity or models or actors. Or anything you see around you. What do you think about various races or even gender identity? Do "Gay Pride" parades bother you or what? Go to and look at the titles of the presentations. Do they generate any emotions? What do you think about athletes making so much money? Actors making so much money? What does that tell you about your beliefs about wealth? You have to go further than just 'that makes me mad" - what is it about that thing that does make you mad? Is it that you feel you've worked very hard all your life and you "deserve" to make more money and yet these athletes just run around a court or a field and make more money than "they're worth"? Are these the thoughts that go through your head? Write them down as they come. Examine them later.  But do examine them!

Take a few days to start this process and see what happens. Any time you react to anything, you know there is a belief somewhere in there.


The Easiset Way To Change Others Is To Change Yourself

stick_figure_telepathy_caps_400_clr_5816You really can't change someone else. So don't even try. However, if you change your attitude and outlook, often times it will effect a change in the other person.

If you're unhappy with a relationship (friend, spouse, significant other, boss, fellow employee, sibling, etc), don't think that it's the other person's fault you're unhappy. You can make the most of a situation from an internal perspective no matter what's going on externally. Remember how the POWs in World War II survived in their tiny crowded rooms - they did it with their mental attitude and thoughts. They were able to project themselves away from their present and into the future, or at least into a more pleasant part of their memory.

You can do the same as the POWs - many of you may feel as if you're a prisoner of war in that relationship so this isn't that far off.

Instead of focusing on the things you don't like about the relationship or characteristics of the other person, focus on yourself and your contributions to the relationship. You can also do the "Book of Positive Aspects" where every day you write down at least 3 really good things about the other person. Don't even go to the negative aspects at all. It make take you awhile to come up with some things but do the simple little things so that you have something good to write. The point of this is to focus on good things about the other person if you have to go there at all. If you can just think about your own happiness (and you can't say you WOULD be happy if..... if they would change or if you were out of the relationship or if this or if that...."if"s are NOT allowed in this game.

Focus on where you can change or even better focus on what the Universe may be telling you. You attracted this relationship remember. I know you don't want to believe that but you did. So take a look at it and see what is going on in your head and your emotions that is attracting these things you don't like or want. Look at your beliefs and see if you can track it down that way. For example, do you believe that all men (or women) cheat on their partner? Was that your experience in your family of origin perhaps? If so, that would follow that you'd developed that belief. Maybe you believe that you don't deserve to be happy. If so, you'd naturally attract situations  where you wouldn't be happy. Maybe you think that work should be hard and you should be unhappy at work (struggle). So, you'd attract a boss who would make you work hard or you'd attract situations where you don't have enough staff or you have incompetent staff and you have to work hard to make up for that. Maybe you believe you're not good enough for a loving relationship or you don't deserve to be loved or aren't worthy of love. What do you think is going to be in your life if that's your belief? Yep, you got it....the exact circumstances you're trying to avoid.

Uncover your beliefs, do the Book of Positive Aspects and then see what happens in your life. Many times, your relationship changes for the good. Don't count on that though or that will defeat the purpose of this exercise. The purpose really is to help yourself feel better in your circumstances no matter what does or doesn't happen externally.

Think about it; try it.


Perhaps You’re Not Ready To Accept Change?

pushing_someone_to_the_edge_of_custom_text_13242aPerhaps you want something but you aren't ready to accept it. Change is not easy and it involves many aspects of your life.

In order to change you have to be able to adjust your thoughts and often your beliefs (not an easy thing to do). You have to modify your habits too. After all, a habit is a sequence of actions or thoughts that are just repeated over and over again. It's kind of like Pavlov's dogs where they respond with salivation to the ringing of the bell. I bet when you get up in the a.m. you have the exact same sequence of events - you get up, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, wash your face, maybe take a shower, maybe put some clothes on etc. Each one of us has some variation on this theme that is repeated every day. Why do we do the same things over and over and over again? It's easy and keeps us in a comfort zone. If we had to think about doing things in a different order every day, that would require more thinking and energy and probably inject some additional stress into your life that you don't need.

Any kind of change requires a rewiring in your life - whether it's in your thoughts, feelings, actions or both. So if you feel you're resistant to change, try to go deep within yourself and see if you can figure out what it is in your life that would be altered. Once you identify those areas, it might be easier for you to accept the modification in your lifestyle. If you can look at the change in a stepwise manner, you might be able to approach it with less fear. I think that when we don't really know what differences in our lives a particular change is going to make, then the fear mounts and our resistance increases. But if you can break down the dynamics of the change and what it will entail for you, then you can meet it head on and the fear won't be as much of a factor.

Sometimes we're not ready to accept change because we think that to make the change will be the same as admitting we are wrong, not as smart as the person who proposed the change or in some other way inferior. It can be pretty scary to mix up our lives and force us out of our routine. After all, how many times have you heard (or said) "it's worked ok for all these years, why change now?".   That's just a defense mechanism to keep us from having to put any effort into doing things a different way and also admit that we could have been doing something better or more efficiently. To many people, admitting that is equivalent to admitting that they've been wrong and stupid. It's not that at all. A fresh set of eyes always helps see how things can be done in a different way. It doesn't mean that any one is dumb or stupid. That's the first thing to remember when you're starting to feel defensive when you are approached with a change recommendation.

Bottom line, if you don't feel that you're ready for change, dig deep inside yourself to analyze why you are resisting. This is key to understanding what's going on in your head and in subsequently figuring out how to embrace it instead of pushing it away.