Tag Archives: habits

Week 22 – Yoga and the Comfort Zone

Throughout the MKMMA course we’ve been challenged to get out of our comfort zone.  For those of us who have been even remotely faithful to the exercises, we can all attest we’ve been out of our comfort zone too many times to count over the past 22 weeks.

Now that I’m engaged and looking at getting married in the next few months, I’ve adopted the “bridal frenzy” that is “I’ve GOT to lose weight for my wedding!!!”  (OK, truth be told, I wanted to lose weight for ME…but hey, the whole wedding thing is a good excuse to kick my efforts into high gear.)

So what do I do?  I step out of my comfort zone and into…BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH…the Fitness Center!  Now let me just say that I’m one of those people that doesn’t visit a gym unless I’m dragged in.  But now I don’t have an excuse…it’s included in our homeowner’s association, so I want to take advantage of it.

The fitness center has a “motto” of sorts on all their shirts:

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

And they I see they have Zumba classes.  “Woo-hoo!  I LOOOOOVVVVVEEE the Zumba DVDs!  I’m gonna do THAT!  That’s easy!”

OK…so my first step is a baby step outside my comfort zone:  going to the fitness center.

What I’ve learned is that the classes are very different from the DVDs.  VERY different.  I felt like a fish out of water.  And I have to admit it was slightly uncomfortable being the only person out of about 30 who didn’t know what the heck was going on.

But I had fun!  So I went back.  And so far I’ve been to Zumba 3 times…and I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable.

Time to expand the comfort zone!

OK…step 2:  a class called “Cardio Strength.”  It’s an “anything goes” type of class.  The first time I went the instructor was leading a “cardio kickboxing” class for the first time.  Man-oh-man was it a challenging workout!  And yet because no one knew what was going on, I almost felt like I had the upper hand because I’ve had some experience kickboxing.  The workout was challenging, and I had a blast!!!  (And I was sooooooo sore the next day from throwing all those punches!)

That was a bigger step outside the comfort zone!

So I went back.  Unfortunately, this week’s class was running…sprints, up and down the hill, etc.  Due to an injury, I can’t run.  So it wasn’t just that it was outside my comfort zone…I could do permanent damage.

And you know what…I was sad when I left without a workout.  Hopefully next week’s class will be something I can physically do.

Time to expand the comfort zone again!

Next up:  yoga.  I already know this will be the most challenging of the classes for me.  Back in 2006 my doctor encouraged me to take up yoga for stress relief, strength, and weight loss.  I got a whole 5 minutes into the DVD and wondered how much time was left.

So here we are, 9 years later.  I’ve changed.  My body has changed.  Time to give this another shot.

The class moved slowly (to me…especially compared to the high-energy classes like Zumba and kickboxing).  I was physically able to do all the poses, though I had to exit the pose early on a couple occasions.  But I got too comfortable in one of the poses…and I fell asleep!

Apparently that’s the REAL danger of the comfort zone…you can get SO comfortable that you don’t have to pay attention…and then you get results you didn’t want.

Yoga, silence, and the comfort zoneSince I was told that wasn’t a “typical” class I went back for another yoga class today.  While this one was slightly more active — and I did NOT fall asleep — there was the issue of the silence.

Here’s what I mean:  the yoga class is quieter than most libraries.  And then you get into a pose and hold it for 30-90 seconds.  That doesn’t seem like a long time until you’re holding a pose for that long.  And then it can seem like forever!  And while I was in these poses, I found my mind wandering to all sorts of things.  And that’s when the instructor said:

Concentrate.  Focus.  Balance.

That was a “lightbulb moment” for me, because the reason I was so UNcomfortable with yoga is BECAUSE of the silence.  I had nowhere to be but in my head.  I was directed to concentrate, focus, and balance.  These things are not natural to me, and they are REALLY uncomfortable in silence!

So…while I don’t see yoga as my “thing,” it might be just the thing I need to expand my comfort zone.  Get inside my head.  Get comfortable there.  And then see what NEW experiences take me out of my comfort zone.  After all…

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

 

Week 21 – Love Is All You Need

On a cold and rainy day, do you ever just feel like curling up on the couch, lighting a fire in the fireplace, popping some gourmet popcorn, and watching a movie?

Well…that was definitely me today!

What shall I watch today…comedy?  No.  Action?  No.  Drama?  No…

Nothing seemed “just right.”

And then I saw these two little powerful words that spoke to me:  I AM.

“That’s it!”  I thought…I AM.

I AM is a documentary by Tom Shadyac.  You may or may not know his name, but you’re probably familiar with his movies, which include Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Patch Adams, and Bruce Almighty, (to name a few).

And then he suffered a “nasty concussion” as a result of a biking accident.  During his recovery, he began to question his life, his priorities, and the world around us.   So he set out with a film crew of four to interview authors, journalists, historians, scientists, and academics in search of answers the following questions:

  • What’s wrong with our world?
  • What can we do about it?

There are several lessons to be learned in this documentary.  These are the ones that really spoke to me:

Together or Separate?

There is something fundamentally different between machines and life…you can disassemble a piece of machinery and put it back together and it works just fine, but you can’t disassemble a living thing and put it back together and have it work just fine.

Yet we are running our society as if we are pieces of a machine…and the world is a machine.

TRUTH MOMENT:  I spent years on the hamster wheel that is corporate America.  Going to work day in, day out, just doing my job…just another cog in the wheel.  Many days I felt like a robot could have done my job…and I’m probably right.  There was no heart…no soul…in the job.

Wealth AND Happiness vs. Wealth OR Happiness?

Iconic Slogan by Barbara Kruger
Iconic Slogan by Barbara Kruger

Our society places a high value on “stuff.”  In fact, wealth and happiness are in many ways synonymous in our society.  Yet “stuff” doesn’t make us any happier.

Think about it:  have you ever noticed how many people are UNhappy in heir lives, even though they seem to have it all?

At any given point in our life we have a certain amount of stuff.  If we had 10x more stuff, would we be 10x happier?

Society would make us believe that’s the case.  Oh, and by the way, I’m a marketing professional…I’ve been making people believe they need stuff for DECADES!  But I’m not alone in that venture…

  • In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko says the famous line:  “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”  
  • George Carlin had a whole sketch on “Stuff” that’s pretty funny (and not safe for work!)
  • When many people get depressed or upset, they opt for “Retail Therapy.”
  • And even a whole movie about consumerism, and “Keeping Up With The Joneses

TRUTH MOMENT:  I must admit, I watched this documentary right after a shopping trip to Costco…home of the “gotta have it now, and gotta have lots of it now” stuff.   Even if that “stuff” is food and cleaning products my family uses on a daily basis…and some wine.  🙂  But now I’m thinking about all the times I’ve said to myself “If I only had ____, I’d be happy.”  And I wasn’t.

Have a Heart!

3314737024_4ea1f1671f_zMy favorite part of the documentary is learning that we – as a human race – are HEART based.  By that I mean that the heart is the access point to our higher self.  What’s interesting is that the heart just might be able to predict the future.  [Studies have shown that the heart knows what’s going to happen 3-5 seconds into the future.]

Because we’re all interconnected at a fundamental level, our thoughts and emotions affect the thoughts and emotions of others.  What we do as individuals affects the global environment…the world we live in.

And that means that everyday acts — even small acts — can build up over time into a great movement.  If you change your perceptions the world changes.

TRUTH MOMENT:  Throughout the MKMMA course, I’ve been experiences changes that have been small, incremental, and nearly imperceptible (at least to me)…but the grand sum of ALL these changes has been noticed by the people closest to me.

Love is All You Need

Tom Shadyac may have set out to discover what was wrong with the world…but instead he learned what was right with it.

  • The science of connection and unity.
  • The universal nature of compassion and empathy.
  • The mystery and magic of the human heart.

What’s wrong with the world?

I am.

[Yikes!  That doesn’t feel good, does it?]

So how about what’s RIGHT with the world?

I AM.

I love that!  And…

All You Need Is Love.  Love Is All You Need.  John Lennon

 

Week 16 – A “Kind” Makeover

I’ve had plenty of makeovers over the years…

Several different makeup looks, different hairstyles, new wardrobes…

These makeovers are typically passive.  By that I mean you just show up and let the experts work their magic on you.

But the 13-Week “Total Personality Makeover,” is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!  This makeover requires awareness and action…it’s anything but passive.

Our makeover is modeled after a concept in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography about heightening your virtues by becoming aware of these virtues, both within ourselves and the world around us.

You can read how Benjamin Franklin conducted his “makeover” – in his own words – here, or just read on for our “new and improved” version:

Make a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top as column headings and each row heading will be a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.

Now, pick a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.  For this week, everyone in our group was focused on “kindness.”

Are You Ready? … Get Set … GO!

Put your antennae up and recognize every time you exhibit that trait or observe it out in the world.  The thought is that the more you see and do an act of kindness, the more you will receive, and kindness becomes a more natural part of who you are.

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Every time you perform an act of kindness – or observe one – you put a dot in the square for that day.

Do at least 2 random acts of kindness a day…without getting caught!  (It’s not as easy as it sounds!)

I made a game out of it to increase my numbers every day (I’m pretty competitive).

If you go through this process with enthusiasm and treat it as an experience rather than an experiment you will notice some wonderful things happening both within – and around – you.

I had three main takeaways this week:

  • The more acts of kindness I performed, the easier – and more exciting! – it was to perform more.
  • The feeling behind the kindness lasts far longer than the act itself.
  • An act of kindness rarely exists in a vacuum.  It may set off a “chain reaction of kindness” with the recipient “paying it forward” to another.  Or it may inspire someone – especially children – nearby to do the same.

What’s one example of an act of kindness you performed or observed this week, and how did it make you feel?

Week 13 – Persistence: Cause or Effect?

When I was a little girl, my dad would go out and ride his bike.  Like most little girls who wanted to spend time with their daddy, I would want to go bike riding, too.

My dad was older than me (obviously!), stronger than me, had more experience riding a bike than me, AND he had a ten-speed bike.

I, on the other hand, was young, inexperienced, and had a one-speed bike…MINE.  My bike would only go as fast as my little legs could peddle.

Together we rode up and down hills that left me red-faced and huffing and puffing trying to keep up.  Dad would always ask if I wanted to stop and rest, and I would always refuse.

I can do it!  I can keep up!

Dad always said I was quite a “stubborn little girl.”

As I grew older, he began referring to me as a “determined young lady.”

Whatever terminology he used…I always considered myself to be persistent.

Persistence is defined as:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Yep!  That’s me!

I refused to back down, admit defeat, or request special treatment.

I will persist until I succeed.
I will persist.  I will win.
~Og Mandino

I have read these words as directed in The Greatest Salesman in the World, and I’ve been thinking about how I have persisted in my life…and how I have quit…and what that has cost me.

And I’ve recently changed my thoughts about persistence, because in the MKMMA we learned that persistence is a HABIT.  Persistence is not the CAUSE of success, but rather the EFFECT that is created as a result of four tiny habits:

  1. A definite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment.
  2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestion of relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

Hmmm…

So…to develop the HABIT of persistence, I must first have a definite purpose, a definite plan, a positive mental attitude, and a friendly alliance.

Where I have succeeded in life, I have had a strong grasp on the four tiny habits.  Where I have quit, I have lacked one (or more!) of the four tiny habits.

We are only halfway through the MKMMA course, and I KNOW I am strengthening ALL of these habits…

…and the RESULT is the HABIT of persistence.

To create this new habit, I am reminded that I must start each day anew with my habits:

I forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this is the best day of my life…
…If I persist long enough I win.

I’m still that little girl:  stubborn, determined, persistent.

I’m just creating new habits.

I persist.  I win.

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Week 6 – Sliding Backward: Serenity vs Love

file00016079529On the path to growth, there are many steps we take.  Some are baby steps that we may take for granted because they are easy.  (And if it’s easy, it can’t possibly be propelling us toward growth, right?)

Other steps are steep and slippery.  These are the steps we’re hesitant to take, because they take us outside our comfort zone.  We tread lightly, for fear that we may get hurt.

I experienced some of those slippery steps of growth this week.

With everything going on in my life, I reached a breaking point and my stress level was at an all-time high.  Selling a house is stressful.  Being involved in the selling of TWO houses is exponentially more stressful.  Preparing to buy a house is stressful.

Now add a frantic call from my Realtor, who let me know there was a BIG roof leak — during the home inspection for the contract on my house, for a leak that JUST got repaired last week…

and…

KABOOM!

weee 300ppiI slide into old habits.  And I don’t mean I “took two steps forward and one step back.”

Oh, no!  I got on the BIG slide!

You know the one…the slide where you spiral out of control at 100 mph until you hit the wall at the bottom like a ton of bricks.

Yep.  That’s me!  WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My kitchen ceiling is sagging.  Water is rapidly dripping onto my flooded floors.  My chairs are ruined.

My head is spinning.  Smoke is coming out of my ears.  My eyes are popping out of my head.  Yep.  I hit the wall, all right!

I felt like a character in the Seinfeld episode where everyone yells:

“Serenity Now!”

Ah, yes…SERENITY NOW!

Such a far cry from what we’re learning from Og right now…

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

How can I possibly greet this day with love in my heart???

What if this roof leak kills the sale?

How much is this fiasco going to cost me?

Financially?

Emotionally?

What will I do if the buyer backs out?

Serenity Now!

I’m making myself crazy over this, and I accelerate on my path down the slide…

My old habits are giving me a nice, comfy landing space for my emotions.  Only this time, after hitting the wall and landing with a giant SPLAT!, I realize that this place I know oh-so-well doesn’t feel so good.  It feels different.  It doesn’t feel like “home.”

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

Now, I can’t say I feel completely at ease with this statement, either…yet.  (I’m hopeful!)

I kept repeating this phrase to myself (sprinkled with a few Serenity Nows for good measure), and it seemed to help give me the courage to pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue on throughout the day.

To my surprise and delight, later that day my boyfriend told me how well I handled the situation.  WOW.  Really?  I guess I AM changing…and others are taking notice.  That’s a really good feeling.

And do you know what else is a really good feeling?

The leak is fixed, and the buyer is still on board.

Ah…now THIS is serenity!

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

After all, I have MANY reasons to love the day!!!

Week 5 – The Mind Moves Mountains…And Houses!

This has been one CRAZY week!  It’s also a week when everything came full circle for me.

Let’s start with:

I Can Be What I Will To Be

As I played with that mantra last week, I started to see things manifest in my life that I “willed” to be so.  And that got me thinking…if I can be what I will to be, simply by creating the image in my mind, can I create a situation that I will to be?

Here’s the scoop:

My boyfriend of 8 1/2 years and I had “an offer we couldn’t refuse” to buy a house and move in together.  So we decided to sell our respective houses and use the equity to buy the new house.

I kept repeating the following mantra to myself:

Dozens of serious buyers fall in love with my home and I have multiple cash offers on my house the day the listing goes live. It’s so exciting to have a bidding war on my house!

Woman thinks of Dream House in speech bubbleIt Can Be What I Will It To Be!

After all, my house is in a great location, has numerous upgrades, and is a true “gem,” though it needed a little “refresh” before putting it on the market.

I hired contractors.  They started the job…and didn’t finish.  had to finish.  I had to DO IT NOW!  To paraphrase Og, “I have lived as a quitter…it has not pleased me.”

My listing went live on Monday.  Showings were set to start at 11:00 am on Wednesday, so that meant I had to take action…SERIOUS action.  I stayed up until 3:30 am completing the work getting ready for the showings to begin.

Whenever I said my “Do It Now’s” I also repeated my mantra several times.  What happened next exceeded my wildest expectations.

In three days, I had 15 showings and 6 offers…with the SMALLEST offer being my asking price!  While they were not “cash” offers — they were all financing — the result is the same.  And as I write this, my house is under contract with an EXTREMELY attractive offer.

It Can Be What I Will It To Be.

That’s my big lesson for the week:  Not only does the mind have the power to move mountains…it has the power to sell houses.

 

 

Week 4 – I Can Be What I Will To Be

This week I discovered how much of a failure I’ve been in my life.

…modern psychology tells us that when we start something and do not complete it, or make a resolution and do not keep it, we are forming the habit of failure; absolute, ignominious failure.  ~ Charles Haanel

OUCH!  This statement really hit home for me…HARD!

I’ve always had a lot of interests…I like to explore new things and activities.  Some I like and stick with.  Some bore me and I quit.

This month I’ve been busy packing boxes to move out of my home for the past 15 years.  I look at all the “stuff” I’ve accumulated.  All the books I’ve bought but never read.  All the courses I’ve started and never finished…

I realized I’ve been a failure up until now.  And the worst part is that I’ve trained myself to be a failure!  I have literally created the habit of failure.

Double Ouch.

Failure And Success Doors. Illustration Design

The good news is, success and failure are created the same way…with our habits.  Sure, I’ve created the habit of failure in the past, but…

I Can Be What I Will To Be

Oh, how I like the sound of that!  This affirmation is a fun one.  Not just the words themselves…I enjoy playing with the emphasis on the words.

I can be what I will to be.
I can be what I will to be.
I can be what I will to be.

The light at the end of the tunnel lies in how we create habits, which is the same way we gain physical strength…EXERCISE!

It’s just like a baby learning to walk.  The first time a baby gets up to walk, he finds it difficult and fails.  The process gradually becomes easier, and the baby learns to walk.  Then the walking becomes automatic.  (Do you remember the last time you had to think about how to walk?  I certainly don’t!)

Since I’m moving, I’ve been patching up the “not-so-pretty” places in my home and adding a fresh coat of paint to get ready for a fresh start on a new chapter of my life.  And that got me thinking about the quote I mentioned earlier…

It’s time for a fresh start with my habits.  Through this course, I’m starting to put patches on my old habits, and giving them a “fresh coat of paint” by creating new, good habits in my life.

Moving, just like personal development, can be daunting at times.  You go through rough patches where you feel like you’re not making any progress, and then BAM!  All of a sudden the clouds have cleared and you wake up refreshed and renewed.

I’m not quite there yet (with either the move or the personal development), but the adventure lies in the journey.

And I Can Be What I Will To Be.

Week 3 – Thy ‘Will’ Be Done!

Willpower?
NO!
‘Will’ is Powerless!

WHOA!  That is a key takeaway for me in the third week of the Master Key Experience.

When I say I “will” be/do/have something, I am telling my “subby” there’s no rush…it will happen “someday.”

There’s just one problem…

The “subby” doesn’t understand “someday.”  It only understands things that are specific.

Hmmmmm…..

In the past two weeks we’ve begun the process of “linking” the things we want with the things we need to do, and we do this in a playful way with colors, shapes, and tricks of the mind.

We’re creating new links to new habits.

But what about the old habits that are ingrained deep within our subconscious?  They must be broken.

Thy “will” be done!

I’m now in the third week of reading Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World three times a day as directed in Scroll 1.  (OK, I admit it, I’ve slipped a few times.  Hey, I’m not perfect…just doing my best.)

This week, we changed it up a bit by marking out the word “will” in the Scroll, and when I performed this simple task, the changes in the text – as well as in my mind – were dramatically different.

Thy “will” be done!

Thy 'Will' Be Done

By simply removing the word “will,” the scroll is infinitely more powerful to read and absorb.  It’s a simple act, but it’s not easy…

You see, after reading “will” for two weeks, my “subby” occasionally still “sees” the word even though I’ve physically crossed it out in my book.  When that happens, I re-read the sentence until I get it right.

This an exercise about breaking the links from our subconscious to our old/bad habits and creating links to new/good habits.  I can already see the beginnings of change, in both my habits and my thoughts about the habits.

I am creating good habits.  And I promise to perform these good habits often.

Why?

When I perform [an act] often it becomes a habit and I become its slave and since it is a good habit this is my will. ~ Og Mandino

Today I begin a new life.  Thy “will” be done.

Week 2 – Come And Play. Everything’s A-OK!

Ahhhhhh, yes!  PLAY TIME!

Those were magical words to me as a child!  Back then life was simple and carefree.  Life was fun. Life revolved around friends and family. And my biggest worry in the world was coming home with grass-stained clothes or a boo-boo (which I had PLENTY of, by the way!).

It was a time when I believed — not just dreamed — that I could do anything.  I dreamed I of becoming an astronaut.  I dreamed of happiness, success, travel, and living life to the fullest.

Then somewhere along the way “life happened.”  My friends and I grew up and we scattered across the country.   We acquired “adult responsibilities.”  We worked.  We paid taxes.  There wasn’t much time to play.

Life was no longer the carefree experience I knew and loved.

I stopped playing as much.

I stopped dreaming as much.

And then I stopped believing.

DING!  Think that’s a connection?

My CONSCIOUS mind is saying “Come and Play. Everything’s A-OK!”

This week I’m learning how to re-train my subconscious brain by playing games and connecting with my inner child.  You see, at some point my subconscious brain was kidnapped by fear and doubt, and this play time is the “ransom” that will help me regain control of my subconscious.

Come and Play.  Everything’s A-OK!

Play games with my subconscious.  Make it simple.  Make it fun.

How do I do that?

By reading my assignments in funny voices.  By playing “beat the clock” to see if I can improve my time.  By turning chores into games.  By using colors and shapes to link the things I need to do with what I will achieve.

All of this “play time” to trick my brain into creating new habits.  GOOD habits.  Good habits that will propel me from where I am now to where I will be…in a fun way.

My subconscious has NO IDEA what’s going to happen next!
(By the way…  Shhhhh!  Don’t tell my subconscious what’s going on…it’s a SECRET!)

That said, my subconscious is no dummy…it knows I’m up to something.
(Then again, I usually am!)

What do you say?

Want to Come and Play?  Everything’s A-OK!

Leave a comment and let me know how YOU’RE going to play more.  C’mon…you know you want to!  Do it now.

Really.

Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  Do it now.  😉