Adjust Your Course By One Percent

 I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. Michael Jordan

Although I’ve been using weight machines and handheld weights for over eighteen months, I was recently disappointed when I learned that my bone density had again declined. I was hopping the weight training would move me in the opposite direction. 

I’ve decided to add at least one percent to my training every time I go to the gym. One more push with the weight, one more mile on the bike. James Clear in his book Atomic Habits argues for the power one percent. “If a pilot leaving from LAX adjusts his heading just 3.5 degrees south, his plane will land in Washington, D.C., instead of New York. Such a small change is barely noticeable at takeoff — the nose of the airplane moves just a few feet — but when magnified across the entire United States, passengers end up hundreds of miles from their destination.”

My take-away is that if I make even a tiny change in my workout routine, or any other aspect of my life, I can move myself to a different destination. It’s worth a try. 

Affirmation: I can do a bit more.

Coaching questions: In what area of your life do you need to adjust just one percent? What difference will it make in the long run? Are you willing to give it a try? When will you start?

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Photo by Amarnath Tade on Unsplash

Are You Feeling Lonely?

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. Mother Teresa

Nearly half of Americans report that they sometimes or always feel isolated or left out. But this loneliness epidemic isn’t just happening in America. Experts from many countries are looking at the scientific facts of loneliness and what health implications the emotion carries including heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s. 

Michelle H. Lim, scientific chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness, states, “You might meet people and be embedded within families, be married, but you might still feel a sense of disconnection from other people.” Lim sees loneliness as more to do with the quality of the relationships people hold than the quantity of people they’re encountering day to day. “You can have social isolation but not feel lonely, or you can feel lonely and not be socially isolated.”

Hiding our loneliness from each other makes the problem worse. December is a particularly difficult time for those who feel lonely. Be aware of the people around you and notice who might be feeling isolated and lonely. Experiencing a recent loss of a loved one can magnify these feelings. Ending on a positive note, Lim says, “Humans are designed to be kind to each other, and we’re designed to rely on each other and to thrive.”

Affirmation: I strive to be kind and to help others thrive.

Coaching questions: When have you felt lonely? What has caused you to feel this way? If you know someone who is lonely, how will you reach out to them? 

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Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Be Like AJ Jacobs

When trying to go to sleep, instead of counting sheep, try counting things you’re grateful for— in alphabetical order. AJ Jacobs, author

Thanksgiving, a national day of gratitude in the USA, is Thursday. However, I believe every day should be a day for giving thanks and AJ Jacobs, author of Thanks a Thousand, is just the guy to emulate. Jacobs’ book recounts his mission to thank every single person who played a part in making his morning coffee, over 1,000 people. His journey took him from his coffeeshop barista to the Colombian coffee farmer who grew the beans to the guy who designed the lid for his daily brew. Jacobs also thanked the lady from pest control who kept the bugs out of the coffee warehouse. He thought of everyone!

Scientific studies prove that demonstrating gratitude is good for our physical and mental health. Keeping a gratitude journal, for instance, helps patients in their recovery. We humans are naturally negative. Spreading gratitude is a way to make the world a better place. 

Affirmation: I’m grateful.

Coaching questions: Who have you personally thanked today? What difference does it make when someone thanks you? Think of someone who rarely receives appreciation and thank them.

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Photo by Richard Saunders on Unsplash

Remaining Hopeful In the Face of Tragedy

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. President John F. Kennedy 

Tomorrow is the fifty-sixth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If you were an adult at that time, you undoubtedly remember the day very well. As a nation we felt not only sadness but hopelessness that this could happen in our country. Today, in the midst of impeachment hearings, we may be feeling hopeless once again. 

When our world looks bleak and we feel like we’re drowning in grief, pain, regret, or anger, sometimes we must rely on hope to get us through. Tightly hugging hope to our chest is a way to stay on top of what has/is happening in our world. 

Affirmation: I’m  hopeful.

Coaching questions: What do you need to be more hopeful about? Where do you find hope? To whom do you turn?

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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Tips To Help You Stop Worrying

You can pray or you can worry but you can’t do both. Vicki

Although people often say there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible, technically it’s not true. In the King James Version, fear is spoken of over 500 times. If we expand our search to verses that encourage us not to worry or not to be anxious, it would be many, many more. 

Fear, which frequently manifests into worry and stress, is not only contrary to faith but it can cause physical harm. Here are five tips to help you kick the worry habit:

  1. Set aside designated “worry time” — set a timer, consider what’s bothering you then move on when your time is up.
  2. Write down your worries then mark those over which you have control. Erase the rest.
  3. Spend less time online surfing the bad news.
  4. Have faith that _____________ (fill in the blank) will move forward even if you stop worrying about it/them.
  5. Stop procrastinating and take care of those things you’re worrying about that are within your scope of control.

Affirmation: I can kick the worry habit.

Coaching questions: What’s on your worry list? Which of the above tips speaks to you? Which one will you implement today?

 

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Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

Feeling the Lack of Motivation? Take a Tiny Step

It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. Confucius

As I talk with people who are grieving or feel emotionally stuck, I often ask them to do one small thing they aren’t doing now. Dr. Fogg, founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford, calls these “tiny steps.” Increasing a person’s chance for success, however small, increases their motivation to do other things. Make your bed, floss your teeth, walk a block, read a chapter—take a tiny step in a new direction.  

There’s scientific evidence that levels of dopamine tend to be higher in people who get things done. Accomplishing things feels good, increasing levels of dopamine which helps motivate us to want to do more. Ask yourself, “Why does it matter that I ____?” When we connect what we want to do to our values, the chance of moving forward increases. For instance, “I want to be present for my granddaughter” or “I want to honor my mother by a life well-lived.” 

Affirmation: I can motivate myself to move forward.

Coaching questions: What’s keeping you from moving forward? What’s a tiny step you can take? When will you take it? Why does it matter that you regain your motivation? 

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Let Us Fight For Peace

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. General Douglas MacArthur

Like most citizens in the United States, I’m thanking Veterans on this annual Veterans’ Day. My relatives have fought in all the USA wars (except the Spanish American) since and including the Revolutionary War. I currently have a step granddaughter serving in the US Army. I have profound gratitude for their sacrifices. 

I believe the best way to honor our military personnel is to work for peace. Peace within our families, our communities, our country, our world. If we could find a way to eliminate the need for armies, what a wonderful world we would have. I know this is Pollyanna thinking as there is much hatred and greed in the world. However, if we don’t think it, wish for it, pray for it, peace has no chance. 

Affirmation: I believe in peace.

Coaching question: What can I do to bring peace to my corner of the world? 

 

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