Saturday, December 22, 2018

Get Your Whole Self In New Year’s Resolution Gear!

Ever wonder why your well intentioned New Year’s resolutions fade away somewhere around March? You started off with enthusiasm and zeal, only to find yourself in the land of “eh, who needs it?” and “what was I thinking, anyway?” a few weeks down the road.

There are lots of reasons for that, the primary one being complete lack of reality-thinking. For example, the classic “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by next month!” without planning just how those unwanted pounds are going to disappear. “I’ll exercise!” Uh-huh. When? Doing what? For how long? And so on.

You know this already, but one aspect of New Year’s resolution failure you probably haven’t considered is – polarization. It’s something we see in the political world these days, whether in the US or abroad. It seems there’s a lot of “for” and “against” with little room for common ground, which makes it challenging for anything to move forward.

Well, polarization is what often trips you up in the resolutions department: part of you is “for” the resolution, and part of you is “against.” You certainly think your entire self is lined up for “lose those pounds,” or “get that promotion,” or “start my own business,” but usually there’s an equally vigorous part of you that doesn’t want to drag yourself to the gym before/after work, or doesn’t want to learn the new software/put in the extra hours toward that promotion, or deal with the hassle of LLCs and start-up funding for a new business. And that’s why you stall. Within you are two opposing forces, polarized against each other. Stalemate.

The answer, although simple, isn’t necessarily easy. Yup, you have to get all of you on board. The most efficient way is to provide the “for the resolution” side of yourself adequate resources and support. Which makes it harder for the “against” side of you to prevail.

For example, if you enroll in a group Pilates/cycling/dance class to help you shed those pounds, you’ll be more inclined to actually go do the necessary exercise. If you block out a dedicated time-slot toward doing whatever you deem necessary to earn your promotion, and give yourself a small reward once you finish your allotted time, you’ll find it easier to actually put in the time. Create a vision board for your new business, set intermediate goals for what needs to be done, reward yourself all along the way.

In other words, turn your resolution into a reality by making the steps to getting there equally real. Be aware of the “against” side of yourself (we all have one, I should know!) and counter it with “Not listening to you!” as needed.

Whatever it is you’ve set forth for yourself this New Year, you can do it. You know you can! Just get your whole self in gear and watch yourself succeed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sixty & Me: Gratitude 101 for Older Women: Give the Gift that Keeps on Giving

When I was a little girl, my mother made my sister and I write thank-you notes to whoever gave us a gift, large or small, on our birthdays or for the Holidays. This from early on, when writing even one word was a laborious, tongue-biting experience

We both hated it. We truly did not understand why we needed to write thank-you notes when we’d already thanked the person verbally. Not only that, but we were not allowed to write just any generic note either.

Mother was a stern (albeit loving) taskmaster. Each note had to be personalized to the individual who gave us the present and reflect something we particularly appreciated about the gift. I can still remember the anguish of such forced creativity!

The Power of Gratitude

And yet… my mother had been right. Gratitude is powerful. Science teaches us that gratitude tends to foster better, closer relationships. Gratitude, an appreciative attitude towards others, expressed verbally or otherwise, expands our social circles and makes it easier to make friends....Read More

Friday, November 30, 2018

Who Has More Fun, Us or Dogs?

We have a new neighbor on our hill. I met him the other day when I was taking my beloved old puppy - whose arthritis prevents him from getting a walk - out for his drive. My neighbor was walking his three pups down the hill, so of course as mutual dog lovers, we had to stop and have a conversation. One of my neighbor’s dogs only sported two legs; he had a wheeled contraption that took the place of his back legs. Another of his dogs rolled around gleefully in a doggy-perfected wheelchair with his three legs, and the last of his cuties had the more common four legs, of which three are of the regular kind, and a bionic titanium hind leg! Despite their differences, all three dogs were obviously happy, healthy, enthusiastic critters.

And my sweet 14 year old Ringo, despite his creaky hindquarters and sagging back, enjoys his car-rides enormously, muzzle straight into the wind like any self-respecting dog.

What a wonder our animal-friends are! They don’t complain about much of anything. Certainly, if an animal is mistreated or abused, they suffer, but under normal conditions, our furry-friends accept their condition and enjoy life as it is. Right then, right there. Even the small lizard that I’ve come to recognize because he has half his tail missing, plunks himself on my deck to enjoy the sun, tail or no tail.

What is it with us humans that we complain about the least little ache and pain? It doesn’t make the pain go away, actually, dwelling on pain usually makes it worse. Yet here we are, moaning and groaning while three legged dogs hop around happy.

I am reminded of six dogs that were rescued recently in North Carolina. Trapped in their cage, about to drown in the still-rising flood-waters, the dogs were set free by rescuers. The pups ran out of their cage through the water to dry land, wolfed down the food given them by their good Samaritans, and wagged their tails: “Now what?”

Unlike us, the dogs did not revisit their recent trauma, complain about their days without food, no doubt scared and cold, they simply – once rescued – resumed their doggy lives. Now granted, sometimes revisiting the past is helpful, even necessary, for us. Process the experience, sure. Look for a solution or resolution, absolutely. But what we don’t need to do is complain about it.

So I’ve decided to give myself a most unusual present this Holiday Season. I’m going to quit complaining. At least as often as I can catch myself doing it (there’s a challenge for you!). And I invite you to join me, if you like, in ditching the complaining.

After all, who seems to be having more fun, us or the dogs?!