5 Tips for Having a Great Day

Today I thought I’d share 5 things you can do to have a great day, or at least give your day a better chance than usual at being great.

1-wear something you feel good in. Obviously, for some this has to be work appropriate, but work attire has changed dramatically over the past decade and even in the more conservative industries there are still lots of ways you can wear something you feel good, confident, comfortable and maybe even sexy in but still fit the company dress code.

2-pack snacks. I looked in my bag the other day and discovered I was out of snacks and was extremely disappointed. I make it a point to always have a granola bar of some kind or trail mix in my bag, in addition to whatever snacks I pack in a separate to take with me on my adventures that day. If you bring the snacks, you control what you eat and that’s not just about eating healthy, it’s about eating happy too.

3-have your favorite drink. Is there a type of tea or coffee or juice that you keep for special occasions? Starting your day with that is a great way to remind yourself how special you are and that your day ahead is worth enjoying.

4-watch a cute animal video. Yes, I totally went there. One of the first things I do is not check my email or the news when I get to my computer, but rather to stop in and see what’s new on my favorite Explore cameras or the latest pet videos on Care2 or the latest cute selections on YouTube. The emails and (bad) news will still be there after I’ve had a smile or two.

5-tell your partner you love them. Maybe it’s a text because they leave before you get up or a quick call while you’re both driving in to work (hands free of course) or maybe even a note on your pillow or by the coffee pot for them. Starting off the day expressing love is always better than starting with a fight.

What are your secrets for setting your day up for success?

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Passion: Present and Future

As we finish out last month’s talk on health, I want to talk about something that is sometimes necessary: starting over.  I was thinking about finishing September and getting one step closer to the end of this year and the start of a new one and I was reminded that sometimes you have to keep trying things to see where you fit in throughout your life.  What worked for you as a younger person may not work for you as an adult at this stage of your life, and what works now may not work for you in a few years.

As I was thinking about this I heard more about the phenom that is Tim Tebow.  If you’re not familiar with him, he was a college football star. He won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and continued his record setting career through the rest of his college years.  He spent a few years playing Pro football, having a few very successful (some would say lucky) plays and games, but ultimately retired in 2012.  He went on to do some broadcasting, but decided it wasn’t the right fit for him and moved to pro baseball in 2016 to quite a few heckles and jeers, but managed to hit a home run on his first at bat.

What interests me about the transitions he’s done in his life is that he keeps trying.  He was a fantastic college football player, but as it sometimes happens he wasn’t built for pro football.  Many people after they finish their pro career go to broadcasting or some related sports non-activity, which he tried.  But for some just being near something isn’t enough, they have to be truly immersed in it, as seems to be true for Tebow.

I would say the message here is two-fold.  First, that you should never give up on your passions.  Second, that you may have to keep trying and reinventing to get to your best.  Don’t give up because past success isn’t working in the present, instead, pick yourself up and try something else.

Reality Reflection: Your Great Ideas

When was the last time you had a great idea?  Maybe it wasn’t cure AIDS or world peace great but great in it’s own context.  It could be something as simple as a great idea for dinner, or a bigger breakthrough idea for a client or at work.  Great ideas don’t have to be complicated or multi-stepped, though sometimes they are, these little bursts of insight are your mind’s way of showing you that you’re smart and capable and brilliant.  Sometimes they come immediately while other times your brain has to work through things for a bit before it can spit out greatness.

Why do I bring this up? Because as we get to the end of this month and consider what’s next I wanted to make sure we talked about mental health, including confidence.  Our minds are amazing creations that keep us going, that grow if we feed them and are essential to living.  Think about the term ‘brain dead’: without brain activity there’s nothing we can do without the help of modern medicine, but if we were to lose an arm or leg or are scarred in some other way, we could still function and even have an amazing life should we choose.

So what choices have you made thus far in your life?  Have you chosen to believe that you are capable of having good ideas and that you’re an amazing and talented person or are you just focused on the voices of others who have told you you’re not good enough or that the ideas you’ve come up with are stupid?  Now I’m not saying we all only have amazing ideas and none of your ideas were ever bad or silly, just that you are fully capable of having great, life-changing ideas that can not only rock your world but others’ as well.  Some people choose to use their minds for bad things, and you may choose that as well, but I believe it’s better to use our minds for the good of ourselves and others, rather than for harm.

My encouragement today is that you believe great things about yourself and your future, because you are worth an amazing future that allows you to show off a little who you are and what you can do, is filled with great people who love you and you’re working on achieving your big dreams and goals by overcoming the challenges and obstacles you face and coming up with new great ideas every day.

Reality Reflection: Books are Awesome

This past Friday was Read an eBook Day and September 6th was Read a Book Day, and of course it’s back to school month so there’s lots of talk of learning!  I am a huge book lover, I love reading articles online and in my emails and think that reading is one of the best ways to learn.  Of course there are other ways of learning, but to me it’s one of the best and most enjoyable.  There’s nothing quite like holding a book in your hand, but eBooks have certainly revolutionized the book industry and made it much easier for everyone to be able to read, not just those who have access to physical books or a place to keep them.

I always check out book list posts when they come through my inbox because I like to know what other people are reading both fiction and non-fiction.  Sometimes there will be books that inspire you or give you a new perspective on something that you would have never picked up yourself but thanks to someone else’s recommendation you’re able to read.  I usually go first to my local library and see if I can get the book through there since it’s not necessarily something I want to keep a copy of.

One of the things I’ve been seeing lately on posts like these and especially others that talk about the benefits of reading is how down on fiction books they are.  I love reading books about and by great leaders that can help further my knowledge about business, people and personal growth.  I’ve even read a couple good history books.  But the majority of books I read are fiction books, as are the majority of books I read with kids.

Why do I love fiction books?  First because of their passion for adventure, curiosity, love, relationships, learning, growing, dedication and sense of accomplishment.  Many authors do extensive research before doing writing and do their best to make many of the details in their books accurate to how things are in the world and given the fictional setting and characters is often a more palatable way for people to learn things.  Second because they keep us adults connected to the passion and energy that kids go through life with.  We encourage our kids to read anything they can get their hands on and enjoy when they’re kids. But when they become adults we start telling them to read newspapers and serious publications because the fiction they used to read can’t be good for anything now as adults.  But as with other things, it’s not true.

I believe there’s a need for us as adults to spend time in worlds where things are a little less structured and a lot more fun.  We’re super serious because of all that goes on in the world and because of all we’ve seen.  But just because we need to know about the reality of the world around us, doesn’t mean that a little fun, adventure and out-of-the-box thinking can’t get us just as far or further than if we just work with the box.  So get out there this week and try a new author, read a favorite author’s latest book, or pick up one of your favorites and get lost in it for a little while.

A Little Quiet Health

When it comes to health we spend a lot of time talking about what to do, or the actions to take to become healthier.  In 2016 that’s a really important thing to do because of all our technology, desk jobs, TV habits and other sedentary pleasures.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those activities (I love reading), do them myself and spend a lot of my day sitting or being less mobile (it’s not great to be huffing and puffing on the phone with a client).  So it’s important that during the hours we are mobile and “doing” health activities that we really do make the most of it.

That said, just doing, blindly or not, isn’t the goal with health.  Health isn’t just about “doing” the right thing (though sometimes actions are required), it’s about a state of being, about how you feel and about how you see and interact with the world.  If you have your day scheduled from one health activity to the next you may be missing out on the opportunity to find peace and mental health.  That’s only found when you take breaks and have fun.

I know it may not seem fun to do things like meditating, napping and sitting quietly, but those times of peace and reflection help you understand your goals and if they’re really what you want or if you need to make an adjustment, and work through the challenges and situations you are experiencing in your life (rather than just reacting to them), as well as take a break from the action of the world.  Let’s be honest: when was the last time you had a good break?  Do you make time for them on a regular basis?  If not you should, even if it means you have to get a sitter for the kids or trade off with another family or your partner.  Some people choose to get up early or stay up late because that’s the best time they know to find quiet.

The other thing I mentioned was fun.  Having health means you have more opportunities for fun, and health isn’t just about ‘chores’ that have to be done.  You can make them fun family activities, like getting dinner ready together, taking hikes in the national parks near you or visiting farmer’s markets to check out new foods to try.  Health is also a great couple’s activity, like long walks, cooking classes and quiet time together.

But before you run off and get active this weekend, take some time to consider how you can work a little rest, reflection and relaxation into your life.  You’ll find it easier to get through the challenges as they happen and feel better about all the things you have to do to be healthy or become healthier.

“Ceaseless activity, constant mental and emotional commotion, is not just the avoidance of our unwanted sense of emptiness, but (it is) also complicit in its continuing cause.” Guy Finley

A Healthy Next Generation

The Bible talks a lot about parenting and how important it is to consider the next generation.  We have seen what happens when the next generation doesn’t care or doesn’t have the standards of the previous one, or is the opposite and believes that the past generations haven’t been doing a good job in their roles of caretaker, provider, protector and teacher.  Right now we’re in a mix of all these, there are those who believe we’ve been doing a great job at killing the earth through some of our practices and are making strides to change that, and then there are others who haven’t learned manners and don’t really care what happens to the next generation as long as they get to enjoy their time.

But as I said, over and over the Bible talks about how important it is to be teaching each other what is good. Yes, that means in the Biblical and spiritual sense, but also about the basic good things like love, peace, consideration, empathy, sympathy, critical thinking, community and kindness.  These aren’t spiritually motivated things specifically, but at the same time they can be done as part of your daily spiritual practice.

During His time on earth Jesus spent some time talking about and spending time with children.  He didn’t ignore them or count them out because they were ‘too young to know what the adults were talking about.’  Instead, He emphasized the fact that they were valuable and important and should be taught and loved, not just ignored until they were old enough to matter.  They’re also a great source of curiosity and wisdom that we often unfortunately lose touch with as we get older and more involved with the world and our responsibilities.  So not only should we be teaching them and thinking of them as we make choices and live our lives, we should be watching and learning from them too.

How healthy is your relationship with and attitude towards the next generation?  Are you so focused on your generation that you aren’t seeing the future ones?

Reality Reflection: The Process of Grief

Today is one of those days that makes you really think about life and how special it is.  Here in the US we’re taking time to honor those who lost their lives in 9/11. There have been ceremonies and memorials throughout the past week and into this coming week that encourage us to not only honor those who died and support their families, but also encourage us to be stronger as a nation.  Seeing and hearing the number of tributes and events this weekend is encouraging and hopeful for our future as a united nation.

This weekend also brings up a complicated topic: loss and death.  Loss isn’t something we enjoy dealing with and many of us stink at dealing with it.  Some of us pretend it doesn’t affect us, some ignore it, some deal terribly with it, some never get over it, and how others process it (because they do actually process it) varies from person to person.  Aside from intentionally hurting yourself and others during your grief process and not dealing with it, there are few wrong ways of working through loss, and you shouldn’t judge others for how they go through their grief processes.

Taking time to grieve and let go of things and people that were important to you is healthy.  While it may not be a big ‘loss’ to move houses or cities for you, others need time to process the move and changes in their life.  You may prefer to do a traditional funeral for someone as part of your grief process, while others prefer a celebration of life.  The best thing you can do for someone who is grieving is to support them in whatever way they need, but not to judge them over what they need.  Maybe they need someone to look at old pictures and remember things with them, maybe they need someone to get out and have fun with, maybe they need someone to go shopping with, maybe they want to finally see a therapist or counselor and make positive changes in their life, or maybe they just need some things to remain normal in their life and not do anything different together and be allowed to grieve in their own way when they’re alone.

How do you remember and honor people who died during events like 9/11, as well as those individuals in your life who have passed on in other ways?