Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time to Celebrate!

Today I am celebrating a whole month of keeping my commitment to blog every day for a year. Even though it is such a simple little thing to do, it has been so helpful in my steady progress and improvement. This commitment has kept my focus on simple habits that has helped see me through some challenges and distractions. So far, I have only really worked on deeper breathing, drinking more water, and a morning routine (with a deadline to finish) that includes a little something from each point of the star. It has been surprisingly interesting how these simple habits make it easier to be motivated in all other areas throughout the day. Even as challenges come up that would normally derail me, I am discovering how much deep breathing is such a calming and re grounding tool that keeps me on track; and blogging at the end of the day is like a nightly personal accountability session.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Confessions of a Control Freak

I must always remember that self-improvement is just that--working on me. The best thing I can do when there is difficulty in a relationship is ask myself, "Is it I?" (see Peter's response when Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray him) That means that I am humble and open to my personal responsibility instead of being mad and blaming someone else. Even if I am not responsible, I will still benefit from letting other people own their problems. It means I keep my focus on what I can control and give up trying to fix or control someone else. I can simply love and support, but not control. There is nothing more depressing than trying to control something I have no control over. Darn it, why didn't I vote for Satan's plan? Kidding, I know it is wrong but sometimes I just want to save someone from their own destructive choices. Back to work on my own self-improvement.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heavenly Father's tender mercies

I have to express gratitude that miracles have happened and continue to happen as I have experienced my Heavenly Father's tender mercy in His direction and influence. Lately I have received many answers to my prayers in very dramatic ways. Is all I have to do is ask, then have faith that it will happen, be aware of the unique way the prayer is answered, and then offer my gratitude.

I also know that we can all be the answer to someone's prayer, and I am committed to following the inspiration that I receive because there is so much joy in witnessing God's love and concern for His children, and knowing that He will use even someone as inept as me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Swinging on the Pendelum

I believe in what I have named the pendulum principle. Anything taken to an extreme in one direction will be subject to going in the extreme in the opposite direction. For example, if I try and take my diet in the extreme and just eat celery and water, eventually I will be attacking girl scouts and stealing their cookies, then back to bizarre healthy eating, then swinging back to Neilson's frozen custard and on and on. This principle doesn't just relate to the physical, but the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. I find this also happens with my morning routine. Either I'm hot or I'm cold, I'm up or I'm down, (as I break into song). I am trying to get my morning routine of "saw sharpening" back under control and find that I am prone to swing from still wearing my exercise clothes at noon and not having even done any exercising, to having all my "sharpening" tasks completed by 6 am. I can tell if I am in one extreme or the other by the self awareness that comes from deep breathing and noticing if I am stressed, bored or at peace. Stress means I am doing too much, bored means too little, and peace is just right, just like the baby bear.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sharpen the Saw

Speaking of balance, I love what Stephen R. Covey teaches about someone trying to cut down a tree with a dull saw and having it take so long. It was suggested that they take time out to sharpen the saw and then it will be easier. Now I realize this won't come as a big surprise, but I have a tendency to be pretty dull myself; and so I find it helpful to do something in each point of the star everyday so I stay sharp (or should I say not be so dull). I just realized, the points of the star are sharp too--isn't that special! So anyway, my commitment is to always make an effort to do something physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual everyday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Balance the Star

I have decided that in order to create a more balanced focus that I want to move around the points of the star. Once again, imagine the point pointing to the top is the spiritual, top right is the physical, bottom right the mental, bottom left is the emotional and top left if the social. Finally the center is the correct principles. With all the hard work on just the physical aspect with all the breathing, drinking, and sleeping (I am so overworked!), I was feeling like my star was a tad lopsided and starting to spin out of control, and so now I will move around the star and give some attention to the other points.

I do know that when I talked about examining our core beliefs and making sure that they are in line with truth, that it becomes a focus on the connection between the spiritual point and the mental point of the star. It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel that must drive our attitudes and mental focus. "What think ye of Christ?" is a relevant question that connects our spiritual faith and mental attitude.

It is important that I am aware of my thoughts and making sure they are connected to my faith in my Savior and in my Father in Heaven. It is also important that I take advantage of the power of prayer and pray that my Heavenly Father will help me direct my thoughts because the Spirit can direct my thoughts just like my thoughts can affect how I feel spiritually. I know that examination of thoughts kind of comes into focus when I slow down and take some deep breaths.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Believe

I am learning how powerful my beliefs are--for good or ill. What I tend to believe, especially about myself, is based on past performance and tangible evidence; and those false beliefs can keep me stuck in old, unhealthy patterns. I am noticing that once I get stuck in an unhealthy belief that the pattern quickly becomes a vicious cycle. The less I believe I can be successful at something, then I seem to naturally live up to that negative belief, and then it continues to strengthen that belief and on and on and on.

That is why faith becomes so powerful because having faith is hoping "for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21) My negative beliefs aren't the truth about me and it is through faith that I can transcend my experience and unhealthy patterns and envision the true possibilities.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't interrupt the cycle

I have learned something helpful about sleeping that has made a big difference for me. I read that the average person has several sleep cycles that are each about 1 1/2 hours long and that to wake up in the middle of one of the cycles can be exhausting even if it is in the middle of one of the cycles past the needed amount of sleep. Therefore, effective sleep has to be at the end of one of the sleep cycles. For example, the hours of sleep would then be either 6, 7 1/2, or 9, depending on the person. If I needed a total of 7 1/2 hours of sleep then if say I woke up after 8 1/2, which would be in the middle of the next sleep cycle, I would be more exhausted than if I just got 7 1/2 hours of sleep.

I have followed the suggestion to stop using an alarm clock because it can go off in the middle of and thus disrupt one of the cycles. To let myself just wake up naturally means that I automatically wake up between the cycles, which for me has been either 6 or 7 1/2 hours. Since I have been doing this I wake up singing (kidding, I wouldn't torture my family like that) and I feel so much more rested throughout the day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Laying there is good enough

I am still working on the physical point of the star. If you don't know what I am talking about, see my post on January 4th.

As I have mentioned, I have a talent for sleeping. I fall asleep fast, sleep deeply, and don't have trouble getting up out of bed. I credit this magnificent talent to an experience I had while in high school. I had just finished reading the book "In Cold Blood" and starting having trouble going to sleep at night for fear I would be murdered just like that true story. Since I had to get up early for drill team practice (and heaven knows I wanted to be at my peak performance), I would lay there and worry about going to sleep, which only made it even more difficult to fall asleep.

I loved reading the Readers Digest at that time and so it was probably in an article about sleep that I learned that I shouldn't fret over not going to sleep right away because just laying in bed would be enough rest. VOILA, I would just lay there and imagine being murdered but yet still knowing my body was getting enough rest and would get even more rest if indeed I was killed. Eventually all anxiety about sleep was gone and I started to go to sleep quickly. And thanks to the early morning drill team practices, I never developed the usual teenage habit of sleeping in. I now have bad knees and hips from jump splits, but at least I can get an early start hobbling around.

Thanks Truman Capote, Readers Digest, and Lancelles for my talented ability to sleep. (Also, deep gratitude still swells in my heart for the extraordinary opportunity to wear barrel-curled wiglets in Lancelle performances.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Water

I just drink water with a 1/4 of a lemon squeezed in it. Here are the Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water. I found #12 to be true; I haven't gotten cholera or malaria.

1. Relieve digestion problems like bloating, heartburn, and constipation. With the aid of lemon water, the bowels eliminate waste more efficiently. It also helps to digest your foods and dissolve gallstones by helping your liver produces more bile – a fluid secreted by liver and stored in the gallbladder, to assist in the digestion of fats.
2. Relieve fever, cold or flu. Add juice of 1 lemon to a cup of hot water with honey and drink it. You can drink it for every 2 hours until the fever or chills subsides.
3. Help in removing blackhead, acne, and make your skin more radiant. This is due to the vitamin C in lemon which can rejuvenate the skin from within. Its alkaline nature kills some type of bacteria known to cause acne. To remove acne, apply fresh lemon juice on acne part and leave it overnight. Rinse it on the following morning.
4. Natural remedy for sore throat. Lemon has an antibacterial property. Thus, it is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to infection. For sore throat, add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon (5ml) of sea salt to 1 cup (250ml) of lukewarm water. Gargle 3 times a day to diminish the burning sensation.
5. Help in respiratory problems and breathing problems such as asthma.
6. Combat rheumatism and arthritis. Lemon has a powerful alkaline effect in the body, and therefore a natural agent against excess acid, which is in part responsible for rheumatism. Drink lemon in lukewarm water 3 times a day and if you experience severe pain, add the juice of 2 lemons 3 times a day.
7. Help to control high blood pressure. Due to the high potassium content in lemon, lemon water helps in controlling high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea.
8. Relax anxiety, combat fatigue. Lemon has calming effects.
9. Good for weight loss. Add lemon to lukewarm water boosts metabolism.
10. Assist in toothache by getting rid of the pain. The massage of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding.
11. Freshen up your breath after consuming certain alcohol, cigarettes or spices, or that is caused by insufficient salivation.
12. Act as blood purifier. Drinking lemon water can help in the diseases like cholera or malaria.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning from inconsistency

The other day I listed the benefits of drinking water and then I found the extra benefits of drinking lemon water. For a few days I was really diligent in drinking lemon water almost every hour and I was enjoying the results . In the last couple of days I haven't been consistently drinking it and i just don't feel the same. There you have it--my scientific research of the value of drinking lemon water!! Also evidence of how I am consistently inconsistent. Story of my life. Anyway I "want to" keep on with the water with lemons habit, and know that it is important that instead of telling myself that I am consistently inconsistent that I now declare, I AM CONSISTENT!!! Words have power, especially words that follow the statement "I am."

Yes. I am plugging along at the pace of a turtle. So far just working on my breathing and drinking more water. Once I get that down, I will start eating!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Turn it to Gratitude

I am discovering the profound impact feelings have on my thoughts and attitudes. When something painful happens I have experienced a positive shift when I focus on what I am grateful for instead of negative feelings. It has been said that it is not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens to us. It is my emotional response that can either have a positive or negative affect and gratitude is a very positive emotional response.

I am committed to practicing more gratitude.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Loss of a Talent

I am away from home and only have my iPhone to post on so this will be short and sweet.

Okay, after a couple of days of drinking more water, I have discovered that my much valued talent for not having to go to the bathroom very often was really just dehydration. Now I am just left with one talent--gifted sleeping. I guess I do still have one other talent--baton twirling. Funny thing is that there aren't many opportunities to use that talent. Especially for a fifty-something grandma.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bra Friends

Please forgive the cartoon but I just couldn't resist. Yes, I gave up my free agency and better judgment!

Today I have had such a great day connecting with family and friends. I AM SO BLESSED! It is absolutely and incredibly awesome to have people in my life who lift and inspire me. I have always had the great privilege to have people who have been such good examples, so fun, and such a great source of motivation. To all the "bras" in my life. Thank you. I love you.

PS I never give up a good bra or friend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Virtue of Water

The next basic physical practice--drink water. I'm going to call Pres. Obama. This sounds like inexpensive health care to me. I'll also talk to him about the health risks of smoking in case he isn't aware of them.

Top 11 Health Benefits of Drinking Water
You will be amazed of the benefits of drinking water as follow:
1. Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories.
2. Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although there are many other reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.
3. Look Younger with Healthier Skin: You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increase skin elasticity.
4. Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, thus drinking water helps you think better, be more alert and more concentrate. (I guess I don't need it for this since I don't work but just lay around watching TV and eating Bon Bons!)
5. Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature. You’ll feel more energetic when doing exercises and water helps to fuel your muscle.
6. Helps in Digestion and Constipation: Drinking water raises your metabolism because it helps in digestion. Fiber and water goes hand in hand so that you can have your daily bowel movement. (Gee, something fun to look forward to everyday!)
7. Less Cramps and Sprains: Proper hydration helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, so you’ll less likely get cramps and sprains.
8. Less Likely to Get Sick and Feel Healthy: Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu and other ailments like kidney stones and heart attack. Water adds with lemon is used for ailments like respiratory disease, intestinal problems, rheumatism and arthritis etc. Another words one of the benefits of drinking water can improve our immune system.
9. Relieves Fatigue: Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body. If your body lacks of water, your heart, for instance, need to work harder to pump out the oxygenated blood to all cells, so are the rest of the vital organs, your organs will be exhausted and so are you.
10. Good Mood: Your body fells very good that’s why you soul feels happy.
11. Reduce the Risk of Cancer: Related to the digestive system, some studies show that drinking a healthy amount of water may reduce the risks of bladder cancer and colon cancer. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with bladder lining.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Correct the Breath

I have been focusing on my breathing and here are a few things I have discovered:

1. I haven't been in the habit of eliminating my breath completely and thus a sort of up tightness stays in my body, especially in my shoulders.

2. When I breathe out completely, I feel so relaxed and peaceful. The more I do it the more automatic it becomes, especially when I feel tense.

3. I normally breathe in longer than I breathe out. Exhaling should be longer than inhaling and working at extending my exhale has been very cleansing.

4. I now feel like I am in the habit of breathing from my diaphragm, which coming from my core, feels more grounding. Weird, I know.

3. I now feel like I am breathing more like David Archeleta did in American Idol. Bless his heart!

I would have never thought that breathing is so important and have benefited from this extended focus on such a simple practice. I appreciate this quote:

"Breathing is the FIRST place not the LAST place one should investigate when any disordered energy presents itself."

Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD Ph.D., The Oxygen Breakthrough

Friday, January 15, 2010

Compassion and Understanding

Tonight my heart is breaking for the extreme pain that a long-time friend is going through.

I realize the need for compassion and understanding, and know that we all could benefit from a little more love and less judgment and criticism. I know that I want to better at holding back judgment and always realize that we all make mistakes and are in need of a little tolerance and love. I am grateful for the atonement and the opportunity to repent and be healed because of my Savior's offering for me and for all of us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Closet Yogi

I love yoga! "Because of the deep, mindful breathing that yoga involves, lung capacity often improves. Most forms of yoga emphasize deepening and lengthening your breath. This stimulates the relaxation response -- the opposite of the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response."

I am committed to a morning routine that includes 20 minutes of yoga. I find that when I say my morning prayer before doing yoga that I get the benefits of not only the breathing and stretching, I also feel inspired clarity. Yoga should be done on a empty stomach so I do it first thing in the morning in my closet. Yes, I am a closet yogi! I just wouldn't recommend doing salutation to the sun with a suitcase nearby that could catch your baby toe and point it in a different direction. Not the best way to start the day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Choose Words Carefully

I am discovering that I want to eliminate the word “should” from any quest for self-improvement. The word should is defined as being “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.” Thus in using that word, I am guilty of engaging in a form of self-criticism that has an element of control instead of choice. I have often made the mistake of believing that criticism and especially self-criticism is going to be a motivation for change. NOT SO! It is only in staying in an optimistic and hopeful attitude that real change can happen. Instead of declaring I “should” do something, I will use “I am willing” because willing means “to be ready to do something without being forced, it is cooperative and enthusiastic,” Some of the synonyms of willing are eager, keen, enthusiastic, ready, prepared. “I want to do something” is also good because it denotes desire and honors free agency. It is interesting that even just the simple choice of what word I use can either hinder or help my progress.

I am willing to eat healthy (right after I finish these delicious coconut cashews).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Take my breath away

I'm a big American Idol fan and tonight my vote is already with the cute RM from Sandy with the piercing blue eyes! Speaking of taking my breath away, I have been working on my breathing and I can already tell my lung capacity has increased (good thing it happened before tonight's American Idol episode). This last couple of weeks I decided to really work up a sweat on the treadmill and run faster. At first I was literally coughing as the bottom parts of my lungs obviously hadn't had a any action before. It took a week or so before the running and breathing became easier, and I realized the need to consistently be pushing myself because my workouts had obviously gotten too effortless.

I've got to run because I'm calling Taylee to tell her that since it didn't work out for her and David Archeleta, I've got to let her know that I've got a new guy for her. Ya baby!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Get back on track

I was doing so well with my nightly routine, which included straightening the house, focused writing on my blog, and then possible reading time in the tub. But gradually I started to be somewhat undisciplined and drifted off track, staying up later and getting up later, which then threw my morning routine off. The discipline of my morning and nightly routine is so key for me and seems to affect discipline in all areas. Today was one of those days when I got up later, ran out of time to exercise, then the hair wouldn't work right, I forgot to eat breakfast and then overate the rest of the day to make up for it, and finally ended up robbing a bank and beating Kev. Okay, that last part was a little exaggerated but I really do suffer from an all-or-nothing mentality.

Since I do so much better when I stick to a focused routine with some sort of deadline, it is time to take a deep breath and get back on track. My goal is to straighten the house and write my blog by 10 and have a little reading time before bed at 11 pm and then I will be able to get up at an early hour. Of course, I always want to be flexible enough that I don't have to let myself go crazy if I can't follow the routine perfectly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Change of Breath

About my breathing.

I have noticed that whenever I feel fear instead of faith that my breathing is quicker and more shallow. Just the practice of deep, slow breathing is very relaxing and calming. I am also realizing that my breathing isn't using my full lung capacity. Sort of like my life in general. I am not using my full brain capacity either, which isn't a big surprise, I'm sure.

I have also discovered that instead of breathing by puffing out my chest (which needs all the extra expansion it can get), in order to breathe properly I should be pushing my stomach out while I inhale (which doesn't need to stick out any further). Who would have thought that breathing improperly could have started out as a vanity issue.

Russell M. Nelson said, "when Jesus said 'repent,' He asked us to change—to change our mind, knowledge, and spirit—even our breath. A prophet explained that such a change in one’s breath is to breathe with grateful acknowledgment of Him who grants each breath."

I am committed to practice correct breathing at random times and places with gratitude. I decided to occasionally stop whatever I am doing and take deep breaths in at the count of 7 then hold for 7 counts and exhale for 7 counts. Some other times for focusing on the breath is when I am waking up and drifting off to sleep, stopped at a stop light, etc. I had even thought that it would be good to practice my breathing while visiting the ladies room. Whoa, Einstein, that wasn't such a good idea. That is not the place to practice deep, long breaths.

Focus on the Breath

•Science has proven that cancer is anaerobic - it does not survive in high levels of oxygen.
•Shortness of breath and heart disease are directly linked - the heart goes into spasm when it is deprived of oxygen.
•Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between high blood pressure and poor breathing.
•Most emotional issues, including anxiety and depression, result from the nervous system being out of balance. Breathing drives the nervous system.
•Optimal Breathing helps to promote weight loss. Oxygen burns fat and calories.
•Breathing well is the key to sleeping well and waking up feeling rested.
•Breathing provides 99% of your energy. Without energy, nothing works.
•Virtually every health condition and human activity is improved with Optimal Breathing.

"Breathing supplies over 99% of your entire oxygen and energy supply. Poor breathing causes or worsens chronic maladies such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, fatigue, depression, headaches, heart conditions, high blood pressure, sleep loss, obesity, harmful stress, poor mental clarity plus hundreds of other lesser known but equally harmful conditions. ALL diseases are caused or worsened by poor breathing."

There you have it, my goal is to focus on and improve my breathing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Let's get Physical

My friend Katy found these pants at Ross's for $.99. What a bargain! I'm surprised that they were still available because white is so slenderizing! Anyway, I am worried this is the direction I am headed if I don't start on my physical goals.

I want to start with the physical because I figure this life is my first experience dealing with a physical body. Since I believe I lived before this life (and not as a cow), then I conclude that I have already had experience with the spiritual , mental, emotional, and social parts of me. I also believe that the three temptations of Christ signify the main temptations we are faced with, and since the first dealt with mastery over food and thus the physical; then that is where I want to start. Tomorrow, I will start with the basic physical practice. See if you can guess what it is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No more excuses--I'm responsible

I am having such fun doing this. It is my chance to drone on and on and pretend someone is listening. I continue to marvel at the miracle of the internet and the endless possibilities. Thank you Al Gore!!

Okay so another important principle is to remember is that I am responsible for my own happiness because of the gift of free agency. It is up to me to succeed or not and even if outside circumstances are difficult, I am still in charge of how I respond.

I have always loved this quote, "No matter how valid the excuse, it doesn't change performance." For me this means that if I want to perform well, I won't let excuses get in my way and I especially don't want to be held hostage by another person's choices. I know that it is so easy to want to blame someone else for not reaching my potential but that is a waste of time and energy.

If I can't blame someone else, it doesn't mean that I get angry at myself if I fall short. It just means that I accept my responsibility, repent, and move forward. I know that self criticism can be brutal and in order to deflect the pain, it is easy to blame others. But the only healing and progressive thing to do is to just be accountable and seek forgiveness.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Work on the inside

Just like the hare, I wanted to race ahead and get to the goals in the outer points of the star. See my tendency to not even follow my own advice and sprint without proper warm-up! No wonder I get sore and burnt out! Anyway, I realize I need to slow down and continue to focus on the center of the star and making certain correct principles are deeply planted in my heart.

It is much more beneficial to work from the inside-out because my performance is always easier when my heart is in the right place, and thoughtful study of correct principles helps my heart to change. I know that when I have just focused on changing my behavior before the change of heart that I can only white-knuckle the performance for so long. If I haven't sufficient faith in my heart that I can lose weight, then all the discipline in the world to stop eating Nielson's frozen custard just ain't going to work .

Boyd K. Packer said it best when he said that the study of correct principles will change behavior faster than the study of behavior will. That is because faith in correct principles will change my feelings which will then make it easier to change my behavior.

The most powerful principle I need to embrace is faith. Faith in my Heavenly Father's love for me and His willingness to help me. Faith in correct principles and my ability to apply them. Faith in the power He has given me to overcome and improve.

Just like faith without works is dead, works without faith only creates temporary self-discipline that eventually ends up at the ice cream store!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Source of All Truth

I was going to start with some physical goals but I feel a need to address the fact that it is important that this process of self-improvement be guided by personal inspiration from the source of all truth. I am praying that I will always be in tune with my Heavenly Father and His wisdom and that is why the spiritual point of the star faces upward. Anything that I come up with or that I have read from a more secular source has to be in line with the correct principles I ultimately learn from Him. I also know that it is important to always remember that we are all entitled to our own personal inspiration that comes from seeking our Heavenly Father in prayer. He is our best authority, and He is the author of all wisdom.

I also love this quote by James E. Faust that helps me know there are many sources of truth.

“We claim that God’s inspiration is not limited to the Latter-day Saints. The First Presidency has stated: “The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. … We believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation”

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Shining Star

I've laid the groundwork:

-I wrote down my goal (blogging about and implementing self-improvement goals)
-I have someone to report to (anyone bored enough to follow my blog)
-I am committed to consistent baby steps, which includes a routine

Now I am following the pattern of this star as I consider all facets of myself in order to improve in a balanced way. (Since I am not proficient at graphic design, this is the best that I can do folks. Believe me, this is pretty advanced for my pathetic computer knowledge.)

Now imagine that at each point is a particular part of my life.

Top point is my spiritual self.
Right point is my physical self.
Bottom right point is my mental self.
Bottom left point is my emotional self.
Left point is my social self.

Notice that when you would draw a star that each point leads to another point. This is the way it is with all facets of my life--they are all connected and one area eventually affects all the other areas. (Especially the physical and emotional points--when I chow down on a dozen donuts, I want to cry, and when I feel emotionally upset, I want to keep on chewing to kill the pain!) Now imagine the space in the middle are correct principles that are the foundation for the outer points of the things I decide to do in each area.

Although all the principles are universal, please always know that, for example, what I do to improve my physical self could be different than what someone else chooses to do. You might want to just jog, while I might choose to jog while eating an ice cream cone because I need the extra calcium! Tomorrow, I will start with my physical goals.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Account to Someone

They say that it is beneficial to tell someone about your goals so that you are more accountable. That is why I have committed to making my self-improvement journey more public. I realize that internal motivation is always the ultimate goal but it certainly helps me to have a little external push in the form of deadlines and having someone that is checking up on me. Since my internal compass and motivation can get profoundly side-tracked because of my expertise in procrastination as well as easy distractability, I will benefit from your comments both so that I know I have people to be accountable to to stay on track, and so that I can learn from your insight. Teaching and learning is always interchangeable.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I have already discovered one of the great perks of committing to a nightly blog. Since I can think and work better in an orderly environment, it is a great incentive to get my home straightened up before I sit down to type; and thus waking up will be easier even without "Folgers in my Cup." (Yea, you know it, I've seen too many TV commercials)

Okay, so now that I have already established that slow and steady like the tortoise is more long-term beneficial than the short, exhausting spurt of the hare; I will follow the counsel in "What About Bob" and engage in baby steps. That is the best advice for those of us that are somewhat crazy. My first baby steps are just establishing a morning routine that includes a quiet, reflective time for personal study and writing in my journal about principles for self-improvement. Then I also establish a nightly routine in which I can post something on my blog. For me, routine is key, especially first thing in the morning and then before going to bed, because without it who knows where I end up. I am one of those people that can get distracted so. . . did I let the dog in?

Friday, January 1, 2010

A slow and steady start

I am keeping the commitment I made to start a self-improvement blog. In the past, when I have decided I want to do something, I have been like the hare and started to run fast and strong only to quit before the race is over. It is what I have done with New Years Resolutions. For a few weeks, I eat only vegetables and tofu, exercise throughout the day, read scriptures for hours, do my visiting teaching early in the month with a flannel board presentation, and a whole list of over-the top resolutions. But then by the third week, my diet consists of chips and donuts, I sleep on the main floor so I don't have to walk up the stairs to bed, I count driving past the house of someone I visit teach as my visit, and instead of reading scriptures, I find myself reading the farmville posts on facebook of people I don't even know. So my first self-improvement commitment is to be like the tortoise and start this blog slow and remain steady until the end.