January has come to an end and 2011 is well underway. How are you doing on the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the New Year? Are you still feeling focused? It’s not always easy to stay motivated when trying to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. You might think that the act of creating and writing down a goal should be enough to keep us motivated. The reality is that there are many different reasons that we might find it difficult to stay focused, but there are some methods we can use to get back on track.
Visualize the end result. No matter what the goal, create a mental picture of how things will look once you achieve it. If you set a goal to lose weight, picture how you will look at your ideal weight. If you set a goal to finish a 5K, picture yourself crossing the finish line. Think about how you imagine yourself feeling. Once you have created that mental image and visualized the end result, you are more likely to stay motivated and take positive action towards achieving your goals.
Use vision boards. Vision boards are an arrangement of images representative of the things you wish to manifest in your life. If you are saving money for a tropical vacation, then create a collage of pictures of blue oceans, palm trees, exotic drinks, etc. from magazines and travel brochures. After you create a vision board, place it in a prominent place where you will see it frequently. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all we need to keep us on track.
Set intermediate goals and reward yourself for small victories. It is only human to want results now. However, some worthwhile goals may require a great deal of effort and time to accomplish. Don’t let the time that it is taking you to achieve your goals deter you. By setting intermediate goals, you can work on each step that will eventually add up to big results in the end. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach milestones along the way. Knowing that there are little “treats” along the journey to your goal will keep you excited and motivated.
Draw inspiration from your surroundings. Motivation can come from almost anywhere. Pay attention to meaningful quotes, song lyrics, movies, etc. Talk to other people who have achieved their goals. Draw your inspiration from those things that remind you of why you want to achieve your goals.
If your focus does fade, recognize it and then refocus. Remind yourself why you set a particular goal in the first place. Don’t beat yourself up for your perceived failures, but use them as an opportunity to get it right the next time.
Happy New Year! This is the time of year that we start to think about making a fresh start. For many, this is the time to wipe the slate clean and stop smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, etc. Unfortunately, too many of us tend to set resolutions, abandon them after a few weeks, and then make the same resolutions again the following year.
Instead of setting your typical New Year’s resolutions, try to focus on setting practical, measurable, and achievable goals instead. Define what you want in terms of the end result. Once you set your goals, write them down or share them with other people so that you feel a sense of commitment to them. Instead of making a resolution to “lose weight,” set a goal to exercise five days a week and create a practical and healthy eating plan. Do not insist on intermediary successes, but continue to stay focused on the end result.
Give thanks for your successes. Many of our resolutions come from a sense of failure. “I am fat, so I need to lose weight,” or “I am terrible with money, and I need to pay off my credit card debt.” Instead of beating yourself up for your shortcomings, give thanks that things are the way that they are. Even your struggles have helped prepare you for what lies ahead in 2011.
Keep your goals visible. Post them near your desk at work, carry them on a wallet card, or put a copy on your refrigerator door so that you are gently reminded of them. Don’t forget to track your progress. Your impulses and instincts that appear as you take inspired action will help lead you to the next step.
Read more at http://SageBliss.com
The following is a response from someone very close to me to another friend who said that she does not believe in God and thinks that the majority of Christians are judgmental and hypocritical. There are some very thought-provoking points. What do you think?
Have you ever been moved by the plight of another suffering sentient being whom you have never met and felt overwhelming compassion? Has the sound or beauty of something ever moved you to tears? Have you ever felt absolute love radiating from the cosmos? Have you experienced a feeling of absolute connection to others—even people you do not know? If you have experienced anything like this, I would argue that you have felt the presence of God. It is God, using you as an instrument, to look upon his greatest creation…you.
The Christians you describe certainly are not acting very Christ-like. Some people interpret the Bible, as the absolute and literal word of God. They also condemn, largely based on an ego-centric bias, when someone doesn’t conform to their rules of spiritual understanding and practice. I have a problem with this view. Some people think that those who do not agree with them are God-less. I don’t believe anyone is God-less—there are just some people who are not yet aware of the presence of God that is everywhere and connects everything. Those who are hypocritical or judgmental of people who have different views are misguided by their inaccurate interpretation of the truth. There are some innate lessons in the Bible and many other religious works that are beautifully articulated, as best as they can be by our inadequate languages, and reflect some aspects of the substance of God.
Your choice is your choice, and one day you will know for certain one way or another. Until then, like the rest of us, you have to look around and be open to the clues.
- from http://SageBliss.com
Life is better when you are grateful. If you can learn to view your life as a gift, the experience will be much richer. Don’t make the mistake of withholding your gratitude until you have everything you want, or until you have accomplished everything on your to-do list. Being able to experience gratitude depends on your perspective. Gratitude is the natural feeling that comes from truly appreciating the people and things in your life.
Take time to notice beauty and wonder in your environment. You can’t be thankful for something you don’t even notice. Make this appreciative approach to life a habit. Write down every positive thing that happens to you, all the things you like, and the people and things for which you are grateful. Do this until you start automatically seeing the good things in life. To see wonderful things everywhere, simply train yourself to look for them.
- from http://SageBliss.com
There is a common misconception that only a select few people are truly creative, and thus able to consistently produce a steady flow of creative genius. But, everyone has a creative side. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to consistently provide great results. If you don’t practice creative thinking, this skill can atrophy.
To unleash your creativity, take in as much knowledge and information as you can. Read everything available — good and bad, and keep your mind open to the infinite possibilities of the universe. The more you know, the more you will want to know. You may be surprised at the information you’ll discover that can add color to your life.
Focus on a creative activity every day. Practice drawing or painting, get out your camera and start snapping photos, start a journal and make a point to write in it daily. Soon these things will become a part of you, and you will find that your creative thoughts flow more easily.
Try something new. Let your experiences broaden your perspective. Explore a new area of town, or spend an afternoon in a museum. Talk to a stranger in the elevator, and open up to the people around you. As you force yourself out of your comfort zone more frequently, your sense of adventure and zest for life will grow.
Embrace “crazy” ideas. Many creative thoughts were once deemed preposterous. Luckily, that didn’t stop the creative geniuses behind them from acting on them. Creativity is essentially about breaking barriers. Start practicing now, and you will soon discover your inner creative genius.
- from http://SageBliss.com
"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive thinking is making a conscious effort to think with an optimistic attitude and anticipate positive outcomes. Positive behavior means purposely acting with energy and enthusiasm. When you think and behave positively, you guide your mind toward your goals and generate matching mental and physical energy.
The function of your subconscious is to support your thoughts and behaviors by triggering matching physiological and psychological responses. Research shows that positive thinking and behavior have a powerful impact on personal performance, confidence and even on health.
Positive thinking causes the body to generate matching chemical and physical responses, such as increased mental alertness and physical energy, improved respiration and circulation, and increased beneficial endorphins. Thinking positively actually boosts your ability to perform and project enthusiasm, energy, competence, and confidence.
Conversely, negative thinking causes the body to produce matching negative chemical and physical responses, such as increased blood pressure, reduced mental alertness, increased anxiety, decreased physical energy, and flight or fight reactions. These responses decrease energy, creativity, and performance and simultaneously erode self confidence.
In order to form the habit of thinking positively and boost your success, find ways to motivate yourself every day. Think of yourself as successful, and expect positive outcomes in everything you attempt. Project energy and enthusiasm, and practice a positive expectation mindset until it becomes a habit. The importance of positive thinking and behavior can not be understated. Remember that every day is a new life to a wise man.
- from http://SageBliss.com
Can money, as the song goes, change everything? A new study from the University of Liege in Belgium shows that it can at least impair our ability to appreciate the simple things. When participants were given a piece of chocolate, wealthy folks reported more difficulty savoring–the ability to prolong a positive mood–than those who weren’t moneyed. And when exposed to a pile of cash, both groups spent less time savoring that chocolate. Authors think that continuous exposure to things like expensive restaurants makes it hard to see the pleasure of sunsets and family dinners. How can we work to cultivate a taste for the small stuff?
Get engaged. Find an absorbing, challenging pastime that allows you to feel some mastery. That can be anything from participating in stimulating conversation to rock climbing. Research shows that achieving this state, called flow by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, will allow you to function at your fullest and lead to more positive feelings about yourself and life in general.
Do good. Studies show that those who volunteer report better mental health than those who don’t. Volunteering can increase a sense of capability in the world.
Buy experiences, not things. Data suggests that in some ways money can buy happiness–when you splurge on a vacation, say, rather than shoes. The thinking: Experiences lead to lasting memories, which can result in satisfaction, meaning, and a solid sense of self. Other studies suggest that spending on leisure is smart because activities generate social connections, and strong connections contribute to happiness.
– from Whole Living magazine
for more inspiration go to http://SageBliss.com
We all feel stressed out from time to time. Financial pressures, work pressures, family pressures – so much to do, with so little time to do it all. Try these five tips to help ease the pressure and relieve stress:
- Schedule time every day to disconnect from the daily grind and relax, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Shut off your cell phone, take a break from email and do something you enjoy. Reading, playing a musical instrument, listening to music, exercising, meditating, and taking a relaxing bath are all great ways to unwind and will be beneficial to your mental health.
- Get some distance from a stressful situation so that you can better gather your thoughts. If possible, take a day, or even a weekend, away from your usual surroundings–somewhere peaceful–and relax. Take a journal along so you can jot down any ideas. Distance away from problems can bring clarity. Solutions will come more easily when you are calm and relaxed than when you’re in the heat of battle.
- Often we become stressed when confronted with changes in our lives. Change is a constant in life and refusing to accept it can cause stress levels to soar. When you are faced with a change, try to find the positives associated with it and go with the flow, rather than trying to resist it. Remember that every change presents an opportunity for you to grow. Change doesn’t cause stress–only your reaction to the change can cause stress.
- Many of us are over-extended with work, family, and other responsibilities. Trying to find the right balance can be difficult. The more we put off the items on our to-do list, the longer the list grows, and the more it contributes to elevated stress levels. Schedule a “Blitz Day” to knock out all those items you’ve been avoiding. Rise early in the morning and spend the entire day knocking out the items on your list. Your stress will be lower as you cross items off, but more importantly, you’ll realize just how effective and industrious you can be when you apply the full force of your will to accomplish things.
- Treat yourself to a pamper day. This is a day where you escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday living and enjoy some stress-free time. You’ll feel great and give your well-being a boost. Enjoy a light workout, a swim, a sauna, or a massage. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, or facial.
“According to the Buddha, you can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
- Sharon Salzberg
- How can we love someone else if we can’t feel love for ourselves?
- The more you love yourself, the more you’ll be able to love others and spread good on this planet.
- Love yourself and others will love you too. God loves every single one of us unconditionally.
- Vow to be your own best friend through difficult times.
- We cannot nourish peace in those we love until we nourish peace in ourselves.
– excerpt from Pathways to the Spirit: 100 Ways to Bring the Sacred Into Daily Life by Susan Santucci
for more inspiration go to http://SageBliss.com