Self-Awareness and Some Final Thoughts

The last month has been quite a struggle for me, and the next couple months are sure to be some of the more challenging ones for me to deal with and I like to believe that I’m enough self-aware to know when I can be helpful and when I need to step back a bit.

I have been doing the best I can to turn things around, but the “spark” is just not there right now, and I’m burning through the little energy that I do have to continually try to light the fire inside.

I am going to continue with my affirmations, continue down a path where I seek out a connection with a higher power in search for a purpose. I feel this is the only direction left for me at this time.

Recently I shared the feeling of indifference that had overtaken me as I struggled to manage my goals around weight and the choices I was making.  As I was having a difficult time getting back to my routine – I heard an internal voice that said “sometimes, the Devil just wins…”.

I don’t speak in terms of “God” or “The Devil”, so this really stood out to me and I was aware of how odd it seemed. It felt foreign, but as I nodded my head in defeat – I felt a weight lift. It was a calmness – albeit a somber one. I suppose this was because the battle between what I wanted and what I was fighting to get it had ended in my acceptance of giving up.

The next thoughts that I had were around further isolation, and using the coping mechanisms that I knew of to deal with the depression, anxiety, grief, guilt, shame, and self-hatred that haunts me.

    • Whatever makes me numb
    • Whatever makes me forget
    • Whatever makes me disconnect
    • Whatever makes me disappear

Thankfully, I was able to work through these thoughts, share some of them, and the same self-awareness that told me these thoughts seemed “off” has told me to question them and their source.

As I am working through these things – my negative energy is of no use to others, and for the reason, I’ve decided to pause until I’m in a better spot. I will leave the site up until it’s renewal period as the positive content about chasing goals, and the power of choice are real and things that I’ve experienced first hand. I also believe in the law of attraction and know that until my thoughts move away from such a dark place — they aren’t helpful.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I wish you all the best in your own journeys.

Much love,

Making The Plan, Working The Plan

I am taking back my power – one choice at a time.

After attending several online meetings related to my binge eating and food addiction, I found myself struggling and had a feeling like something was off. The logical part of me couldn’t come to grips with surrendering that my eating had become out of control – but that it was then OK to eat a meal (of normal portion size) afterward. This statement within the first and second steps made me conflicted and confused. To me, the dots didn’t connect because I didn’t consider myself “in recovery” – so I was attending meetings, trying to accept my situation and give power to *something else* and then eating – with similar bad patterns. For someone with an addiction problem, abstinence is the goal – but with an eating disorder – it must be something different – since not eating isn’t an option. I suppose that it’s all about the balance and moderation, making healthy choices and avoiding the unhealthy activity (in my case – binging). My logical side – the one that had lost the significant weight before knows that there is no easy way around losing weight – it’s a method and one that required great control, persistence, determination and tenacity. The losing weight part isn’t something to me that I can let *something else* be in charge of – it’s something I need to be accountable for in the end. Through some talking – I realized and restated that I do know how to lose the weight. My issue was that when I lost the weight – the happiness I thought would be there – wasn’t. There were still other things that I hadn’t addressed that needed fixing for me to fully embrace and celebrate the change that I had worked so hard to achieve. I needed to find a combination that would offer more than that – and something that felt right for me.

I think it’s important to call out that “right for me” statement above – because this was a very similar feeling and sentiment that I had when I first found the program that I followed to lose over 200 pounds. What I want to highlight is the “feeling” – because if you’re like me – you’ll search and search until you find something that you believe will work. If it *feels* right – that indicates that you’re on the right path to *believing* it will work – which is a huge part of the battle, and one that struck me as too significant not to call out as a similarity from my first journey.

The plan that I have talked myself into is one that allows me to focus on losing the weight I have put back on. Weighing in at nearly 390 pounds has me at a state of desperation to do something that will stop the gaining and move back toward losing. Since I have had success in the past on the ultra-low calorie, low carb, high protein type plans – that is where I’ll return. It is a familiar space for me, a familiar routine, and one that I know over time (with hyper-diligence) will work without fail. I also know that it’s not long-term healthy, nor will it alone bring me to a spot where I magically find “happy”.

For that reason, I am going to continue to work on the emotional and spiritual in parallel. This may be a challenge, as it will be quite a bit to focus on and will most definitely take away from other areas in my life – and may cause me additional stress. From previous posts, you know how I feel about stress, and that I believe it drains from willpower and the effort needed to make new positive choices – rather than default, autopilot ones which may not be as positive. My anxiety is at what I would call an extremely high level right now – I am fearful to leave my house for any reason and avoid it at all cost. The lawn is about two weeks overdue for cutting, but I am not able to bring myself to being in my yard to do it. I would rate my depression at a medium level – I’m open to change and forward progress – which is always good. The daily dark thoughts have moved along for the time being.

I am taking back my power – one choice at a time.

My first official day back on the plan was Monday. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to stick to the eating plan for two full days. I know the journey ahead is long and I’m going to pack my patience with each new day. I’ll be using many of the tools that I’ve posted about previously that help me in the journey, and will hopefully be able to share new ones I find along the way.

The Concept of Good and Evil – What Influences Our Choices?

I’ve been thinking a lot about “Good” and “Evil” this past week. The concept of something outside of ourselves influencing our decisions has me thinking about Angels and Demons.

I would classify myself as a “spiritual” but not “religious” being. I do believe that there is *something else*, but I don’t put a label on it outside of that. I also have an aversion to any organized religion as I view those who choose to make themselves responsible for holding ceremonies or community outreach as a business first before anything else. I’m of the thought that I can believe in something – but I shouldn’t be pressured into paying someone else to validate that belief.

I also think that personally, I find comfort in believing that those who have passed on are still around and available to watch over those of us left behind. It’s that *something else* and the memory of the loved ones that I find myself asking for strength and guidance when I am able to ask for it.

In my last post, I mentioned that I felt that along with depression and anxiety that I feel that I may also be fighting addictive issues – most recently with my food choices. As part of my research down that path – I attended several anonymous online meetings. In one of the meetings someone mentioned that they felt quite depressed and were isolating. They talked about sabotaging themselves by ‘accidentally’ deleting all the contacts from their phone, and went on to say that “something didn’t want me to talk to them”. This statement struck me immediately as I have had that feeling of actions of sabotage that came from a spot that I find a hard time explaining. In short though – I have them often – and I would relate to this as the “evil” of my *something else*.  I’ve fought the urge to leave this blog in place this week as I have had no fewer than four moments where I was about to take it down.

At this point, we get to the main topic of this post – I’ve been wondering why it seems that there is an internal struggle between doing what is good/healthy/positive vs. bad/unhealthy/negative.

I do understand the power of positivity and the concept of we are what we think. Positive thought patterns are more likely to bring positive feelings and outlook. Negative thought patterns are more likely to bring negative feelings and outlook. This leaves me scratching my head though – as to why there can be times when I’m riding the positive wave and it can crash into a brick wall of negativity that stops it dead in its tracks. Sometimes it feels that way – but others it can be a much less noticeable negative thought that can throw things off – like a crack in a railway rail lying unnoticed but able to break the integrity of a regularly strong structure resulting in what may be disastrous.

While the idealistic view of controlling and questioning thoughts makes sense, I also tend to research (and at times over-research) things. The initial reason that I started doing more searching on this topic is because psychology and what I’ve read about how this is treated when it comes to depression, anxiety and other disorders doesn’t make me feel great about it. Let’s just say I’m not ready to say that all my thoughts and feelings are wrong and that I need to question every one of them and then apply a formula of ABC’s against them to reason my way to making my thought/emotion/belief inconsequential. It, of course, is based on my experiences, what I’ve been taught and lead to believe as true. Belief is a powerful thing. I’m reminded of a John Mayer lyric – “Belief is a beautiful armor, but makes for the heaviest sword, like punching underwater, you never can hit who you’re trying for…”

One of the best descriptions of reasoning in regards to the evolution of our subconscious mind vs. conscious mind can be found here. The person who created the post asked the question, “Why is our conscious mind at odd with our subconscious mind”There is a lot of good information in the first response, but the part that stuck out to me while trying to find the reason behind the “good” and the “evil” feeling is …

“We fear our own next bad behavior will render our idea of ourself even worse than it is, and seek to cognitively control our behavior so as to maintain our present status of acceptability (however poor that status is). And in order to control our behavior, we needed to formulate concepts of what constitutes good and evil behavior. And our feeding upon this tree of the knowledge of good and evil (to help us better cognitively control our behavior), which is our species deepest and most destructive coping mechanism, set us at odds with the part of our conscious existence, our subconscious mind , which is a threat to cognitive control of our behavior.”

Perhaps the best part of the response though – was the conclusion…

Your question about the nature of of the conflict between the subconscious mind and the cognitive mind is a rather significant question. I suggest we each work out this issue in our own life, and do so until we find some kind of meaningful answer to it for our own life.”

Which allows me to feel and believe that my search for the answers for my own life is worthwhile. Therefore – I’ll keep searching, develop a plan that feels right to me, and stay hopeful that I’ll find meaning in life – or at least maybe a bit of peace.

Another Tough Week – But I Ain’t Done

It has been another week of reflection, reaching deep inside and doing some soul searching, and although I don’t think I like the answer – I may have found an answer – or at very least – something to explore further.

My inner dialog is interesting to me, as I search out answers to what I think are problems. I’m sure that I’m not alone in my general feeling of having things that I want to change, but the tough part is when I try to understand the “why” of the conversation. There are many perspectives of “why” that come into play – the “why do you want to change that?”, “why can’t you just accept you for you?”, and the more negative “why bother?”.

I’ve been on a steady incline in the numbers on the scale and have felt quite out of control with the situation. The higher the numbers get, the more lost I feel, the more I dislike myself, the more weapons my mind seems to pick up and shred my self-esteem with vigor! It’s a nasty cycle of depression, anxiety, self-hatred, self-loathing, and learned hopelessness.

Deep, deep down – there is my logic sector. The part that reminds me that I know that everything comes down to the choices I make, and if I’m unhappy with the choices I’m making – I can change them. This sector and it’s stupid logical thinking usually frustrates me and causes me to activate another area that is more focused on emotion – it’s also the area filled with “why”. It’s a dangerous area for me because logic drowns in that area.

On this horrible one-directional roller coaster ride of weight gain that I’ve been riding lately – I’ve noticed some things and I need to be honest with myself. I’ve been binge eating. I’ve been hiding my eating, and eating the bad options when I’m alone. In a culmination of horrible decisions last weekend I overate to the point of feeling sick, and then it happened – I was sick.

After cleaning up the mess I knew that I needed to think on where I’ve brought myself to and how it is affecting me physically as well as mentally. Over lots of thought and searching, I landed on “food addiction”.

Others may have been able to get to this same conclusion earlier than I – but I’m pretty good at masking / not being *fully* honest when it’s convenient for me, so it may not be apparent to everyone around me.

I told myself that I just needed to stop with the bad food, with the binge eating, and just get back on the program that helped me lose all the weight in the first place. I listened closely for a response… and then heard a soft, meek inner voice say “I can’t”. At this moment I realized that it really may be addiction.

I gave myself some time to let these feeling soak in and didn’t immediately jump to conclusions. I was gentle with myself for the first time in a long time.

I started thinking back to the program that I was on when I lost all the weight. It was extremely restrictive and I was determined to lose the weight. I had wonderful success with it – right until the final phase. In this final phase, I was told that we could add “cheat days” back into our new healthy lifestyle. I was hesitant about this – as I had been avoiding such things with all my might for 14 months at this point.

Slowly I introduced them back in, and looking back I can clearly see that I did have a struggle with it at first. Then as weeks turned to months, I started making it two cheat days a week instead of one. Then as my stress level built and I started to see a bit of the weight come back on – I started to doubt myself and then two cheat days became three and so on. This pattern didn’t stretch (pardon the pun) to the point it has now overnight – it has been a little over a year.

I think that I’m realizing that the introduction of the cheat day was a bad thing for me, because I think (with pretty good certainty) that I’m addicted to certain “bad” foods. I also have an “all or nothing” mindset that makes it very hard to do the “all things in moderation” style of life.

So – where does this leave me? Well – I think that I have a problem that I need to make the choice to address. I know that there are options out there, and I need to battle through the feelings of anger, shame and anything else that comes up (anxiety, depression, self-hatred) that may get in the way of good progress to a better place.

I’m not certain if this will work, I’m not certain if I’ll be able to commit to the change needed to be successful. The only thing I’m certain of right now is that I’m not done… I’m not giving up just yet.

 

The Double-Edged Sword Of Choices

Choosing is not an easy task. The choice of a decision is tough, and for that moment, that unique decision point, is final and we get to live with the decision that we make. Good or bad. Sometimes when we’re at the moment of decision we can’t tell how the outcome will turn out. I’ve been thinking a lot about choices I’ve made in my life.

As I type this – I’m reminded of an old Chinese parable “We’ll See” which challenges the notion and habit we have to jump to a conclusion and label an event as being “good” or “bad” with the inability to know what waits for us down the path of that event.

As I searched out a good link to share for the above noted proverb – I came across someone else’s story in a comment on another blog. To me – this is an amazing example of an event that had every reason to be seen as unfortunate at the time and yet turned out to be life altering in a good way many years down the path.

The other saying that pops in my head is “everything happens for a reason”

I think both of those things are great ways for our mind to deal with the pain or negative feeling of an event and justify that there was a reason for us to go through it.

The one I’m struggling with a lot today is not on that same wave. It’s more on the line of living with a choice that is made at the decision point that ends up haunting me for the rest of my life. Caution: The information I’m sharing is of sensitive nature and it may be disturbing to some people.

A friend posted a video to their Facebook timeline that talked about the tough decision that many pet owners have to make if their pet family member takes ill. The video content is to the point and talks about why family members should never leave their pet if the choice to euthanize has been chosen. They make the point that if the person leaves the pet with the vet, and is not present, the pet will not understand what is going on and why their love one left them. Their last moments will be anything but peaceful.

The video, the content, and the realization of what likely happened when I made that decision to leave is tearing me apart. I am literally in tears as I type this…

In November of 2016 – after several months of health concerns, appointments, and issues with my male cat, Frazier – I had come to the tough decision to have him euthanized. The decision feels as fresh today as it was then – I still feel burning in the back of my eyes and a knot in my stomach. It was one of the hardest, most painful decisions I’ve ever made and the part that hurts more is that I had made other decisions weeks earlier that put me in a place that made it even more difficult to fight this decision.

I was not able to muster the strength and courage to stay with him in his final moments. I will forever regret this decision and the decisions that brought me to that point.

Some may say that I need to pull the forgiveness card out and allow myself some space to heal. I think that’s easy to say from the outside, but from my viewpoint – there is no forgiveness and there never will be. I’ve battled myself and this decision from the day I made it and continue to do it daily. The video that the friend shared solidified and amplified my feelings of remorse.

As I’m trying to keep darkness at bay and get back to some form of mild normalcy where I can feel even slightly productive – I’m left with the thought of how people are motivated. Motivated to chase a goal, motivated to pursue anything. It’s not so much about the “what” or “how” to move forward – but sometimes the “why” – and I’m running really low on “why”s.

Apologies for the random thoughts post and for going off the plan for this week. Here’s hoping that I’m in a better place next week.

Reflection – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As I type this – I’m on a search for inspiration for myself from myself. The past week has been a bit more cloudy than most in the past month and I’m finding that I’m moving into the hopelessness stage. As I’ve been searching to find inspiration and motivation to help drag myself up from the “funk” I’ve been in lately – I have found myself reflecting on past success. The funny part is – it doesn’t seem to be helping as much as frustrating me.

I can distinctly remember in my journey to lose over 200 lbs the first time – setting goals and working really hard to progress through each one of them. In fact, the goal levels that I had originally are listed below – each is crossed out as I hit the goal – and then at some point – I stopped crossing them out, probably because losing weight became part of me.

  1. “Let’s See The Three’s” – It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a three digit number that starts with a “3”, so that’s my first goal. It’s absolutely obtainable and I’m excited to reach that goal. There is a small in-between goal on the way to this one, which is 410lbs, the weight I was able to get to back in 2012.
  2. “Bringing Back ’98” – When I reach this goal I’ll be back to the weight I was in 1998. This is also the lowest weight that I can remember as an adult. The official weight of this goal is 368.
  3. “Three’s Across The Board” – I randomly picked this as a third goal. Achieving this will prove that my fourth goal is attainable.
  4. “The Terrific Two’s” – Anything with a two in the front counts – that means 299 or less. At this point, I’m planning that I should be moving more into a maintenance phase and looking to introduce other activity to help me keep the weight off and continue losing, but at a much slower rate.
  5. “A New Me” – Life in the two’s with a goal of reaching 280. I want to work on my mental state and start getting used to living my new, lighter life to the fullest.
  6. “Positive Motion” – Focused on activity, this goal will drive me down to the 260 lb mark as I work to continue to lose and start to learn how to maintain.
  7. “Training to Maintain” – This goal will have me arriving at 240 with the thought of maintaining that weight or lower for the rest of my adult life.

I managed to actually get even lower than this and the lowest I had weighed in at was 223 lbs. It’s amazing to think back to that point – because I was starting to fit into XL-sized clothing – where previously I was in 6XL shirts. It’s also painful as I struggle with my current motivation level and coming to grips with the fact that I’ve gained so much of that weight back on.

I look back at pictures from that time frame and I feel amazed and disgusted at the same time. It’s a very confusing and frustrating feeling.

I think at some point I need to forgive myself and start down the path again – but holding an already strong dislike for myself is not making it easy to “move forward” again. I’m also feeling a large amount of shame and find myself not wanting to be around people that had last seen me at the lighter weight.

There are other things that I noticed while losing the weight that are hold true as I gain it back. Here was something that I had put in my journal as I was looking at how some things had started to change as I started losing weight.

I’ve noticed a change in how people treat me…

This one is a sad but true fact. As I’ve been dropping the weight, I’ve noticed a large change in the way that people treat me and I’ve been noticing fewer (still lots) of stares from strangers. This has been one of the most welcome changes for me. I don’t want people to notice me – I just want to live my life without instant judgement. This seems like it will continue to get to a more manageable level, which is exciting.

Now as I’ve moved way up the ladder on my weight again – I’m noticing the stares are increasing. This time I don’t get as frustrated with other people as much as I do with myself, since I had gotten to a place where the staring was minimized quite a bit. This builds on the disdain I feel internally.

I’m at a tough spot… on the positive side – I know in my mind that it’s all about the choices I make and that I can start back with small choices, and the more of the better ones I make the better it will get. On the negative side – there is a part of me that remembers what happens when I get to the summit again. The person inside doesn’t change. The hatred I feel for myself will subside, but not disappear. The elusive “happy” feeling won’t magically appear.

Since my mind is in a bit of a fight with itself right now, I decided that perhaps the more personal post with struggles I’m dealing with was better than trying to get in the mindset to share coping strategies for stress and life balance – I think I’ll save that one until I in a more positive spot.

When You Set Goals – Think Big, Start Small

I’m a dreamer. I often set goals for myself and take action to do my best to realize these goals. I also suffer from bouts of depression that make it very difficult to feel like it is worth setting any goals let alone finding the energy to work toward accomplishing anything. As I type this blog post, I have just returned from a counselling session where it was clear that my energy and mood is at a low. Although this is not the best time for me to write out my thoughts – I had set the goal of publishing this post today and I’m going to push through and do it, because I feel that it is worth the effort for me to share my experiences in hope that you will relate or be able to take something from them. So – let’s dive in…

I believe that if you’re going to dream – why not dream big?!? Dreaming big to me is all about thinking on an idea and then growing that idea until it is just large enough to make me feel like I’m stretching the ability of what I can accomplish to the limit – and then I’ll think on it more and wonder what else is possible. I realize that statement is a bit vague – so I want to give you a real world example from my life experience.

In August 2016, I started walking in nature as an experiment to find the tie between our body and the natural environment. There have been many studies that show that spending time in nature is good for the body, the spirit and the mind. I had stumbled across a post about the David Suzuki 30×30 Nature Challenge – a challenge to spend 30 minutes a day for 30 days in nature. I thought – “why not?” and decided to give it a try.

On my first day out in the park I visited I noticed some beautiful flowers and a large observation deck that seemed quite interesting to me – so I took a picture of each. The next day, I noticed a few more interesting things and so I took pictures of those. I shared them on Facebook and by the third day I was finding things that were really beautiful (to me) that I hadn’t noticed previously. I started to feel an urge to want to share this experience and the excitement I was having with others. I had the idea of taking at least a picture a day for the 30 days that I would be out in nature and sharing them in some way with people. This is a pretty simple idea, but I thought on it a bit and thought – “what about if I created something that contained the pictures that could be shared?”. I immediately had the often present, negative voice in my head say “why?”, and “how are you going to do that?”. I held those thoughts at bay while I decided to start small – I would look to see if I had any software at my disposal that could help me with this simple project and it turned out that I did. So, I ignored the negative voice and pressed forward one small step at a time – I collected the photos each day and after 15 days of being in nature – I created and shared the item below.

I received some nice feedback about the pictures and the format. It motivated me to think on the original idea more. Each day I continued to spend in nature – I allowed myself to dream up bigger plans for sharing the beauty of this park with others. I was also collecting quite a bit more photographs to choose from, so my next “dream big” idea was selecting a subset of all of the ones taken in the 30 days and choose my 30 favorite. As weeks passed – it turned out that I had taken so many pictures that I changed the idea (grew it bigger) into 50 favorites – and I had decided stick with the “moments” theme and decided that however I shared them – I would call them “50 Moments”.

As I started to think about picking the 50 favorite photos to share – I “dreamed” bigger and thought – “what about if I found a way to frame some of the nicer photos?”. Again – my negative voice came into play – but I allowed myself the time to think on it and started small – I took a couple of my favorite shots to the local Walmart and was able to print them in a larger format 8×10 and picked up a couple frames. I hung these as inspiration for me while I continued to sort through the collection of photos, choosing the 50 that would be shared.

It was around this time that I had seen an ad for a local market that was happening at the Visitor Centre in town. This building also doubles as the “arts” centre – and displays local artists work each month. By now – you know where my mind went – “hmm. I wonder if I could put a few of my photos on display here?”. I’ve learned that it never hurts to ask – so I did just that. I collected the artist submission information and I filled out an application to have a part of a table at an upcoming exhibition dedicated to the work that would come out of the “50 Moments” idea. To my surprise – my application was approved and I had secured a spot. Within two weeks of that notification – I received another email letting me know that the other artist that was doing the full exhibition where my photos would be featured wasn’t going to be able to do it – so I was offered the full exhibition space for the month of March 2017.

Most people would have been scared to death at the thought of doing a full photo exhibition – I know that I was… but I gave myself permission to think on the idea and to dream big. What an opportunity this could be – I’ve never done a photo exhibition – heck I hadn’t really done too much in the way of framing my photos – but since I had just challenged myself and done that – “why not?” try this and do the best I can – one small step at a time.

It was October 2016 and I knew that I had several months to prepare for the exhibition – so I started small. I finished selecting my 50 favorite photos. I decided to work on taking my absolute favorite top ten and framing them as large 11×14 prints. By this time I was also starting to get better at manipulating and preparing the photos for print. I was learning new things along the way.

I knew I would need a lot more than just this to fill a full exhibition – so I started dreaming again – and I thought about the idea of creating a photo book with the 50 photos and perhaps some postcards of the top ten that people coming to the exhibition to look at and take as a souvenir. I let my mind roam again and thought about creating some additional content, a pamphlet, that talked about the other benefits I experienced while spending time out in nature. I started small – with things that I had access to – and where I didn’t have access – I looked for resources close to me that might allow me to use resources – like the local library. I was diligent in the think big, start small steps along the way and in February 2017 I self-published my photo book “50 Moments in August”. In March – I was able to fill a small room with a variety of framed photos, postcard photos, large format framed photos, information pamphlets, flyers and even a 3 x 4 foot canvas print of one of the photos. The exhibit was so well received that I was invited to submit another application for a future project.

If I were to stop here – I think you would agree that the story illustrates how a simple idea (taking a picture and sharing it for the enjoyment of others) can grow if you allow your mind to dream big. Here are just a few more things that came out of this idea as I continue to allow it to grow.

  • The exhibition was seen by a few people – one of them a local librarian – who asked me to be the featured artist in the month of August 2017.
  • I was invited to speak at the library and put together a full PowerPoint presentation filled with research that tie together the benefits of nature with the inspiration to create.  People showed up and engaged in conversation with me for almost an hour. This was way outside of my comfort zone – but an amazing experience.
  • I launched a project for those participating in the 30×30 Nature Challenge to extend their experience and to create something to be shared with others. The project is called “50 Moments Creative Challenge
  • The exhibition was seen by an artist group that led me to create a contact with another non-local artist group that was advertising and looking for stories about nature – I submitted a story and was published in their online magazine.

This is just one example of many that I have – and trust me when I say that I know that it’s not easy to fight through life’s struggles to set goals. For me – it comes in waves – there are days when the smallest step forward is going to consume all of my energy. There are others when I’m able to make progress and feel like I’m getting somewhere. Also – I hesitated to share photos / links – but I forced myself to as I think it adds a level of authenticity to let you know that I’m not making it up, but please know – I’m not trying to sell you anything.

This is what I hope you’ll take from this post –

Be Naive and Curious – Ask questions, Instead of “why” – think “why not?”

Don’t wait for someone (or worse yet – ourselves) to tell you that you can’t do something. I beg to differ – I think you can do anything you feel is worthy of doing. Explore – just because I hadn’t framed pictures I didn’t let that stop me from dreaming up the thought and belief that I could do a photo exhibit.

Be Authentic and Courageous – if you want something ask for it.

You’d be surprised how many people are happy to help you reach your goal. There are many people that have talent / knowledge that you might not know about that could help you in reaching your goal – but they can’t if you aren’t brave enough to let others know about it. This includes me – if you’re thinking of doing some project, dream or goal – let me know about it – I’m interested in your journey and how I can be supportive of it.

Be Generous and Compassionate – Work hard to Give More than you Get

It’s a cycle – if you are fortunate enough to receive – work hard to pass something on to the next person that you can help. By doing so, you’ll end up receiving more than you could imagine.

Here’s what I’m taking from pushing myself to create this post –

Even though I’m in a low spot in terms of mood and energy – I’m pushing forward with one small step at a time and I’m going to do my best to keep dreaming big.

Things We Can Do To Start Our Day Off Right

I honestly feel that it is important for everyone chasing a goal to visualize and believe that the goal is attainable. There are many things that may get in the way of you accepting the achievement of the goal as it gets closer – but today I want to talk about things that I found helped me in the morning to start my day off right.

Early Choices are Good Choices
When  I wake up in the morning – my willpower is at its peak! I find this is the best time to make decisions that help put me on the “winning” way for the day and start the momentum off on a good foot.  I was inspired by this post that talks about 10 great life lessons and the first one says that if you “want to change the world, start by making your bed”. I’ll be honest, I have never been a “bed-making” person. I always felt that I had better things to do – after all – there was a day waiting to be started and breakfast waiting to be eaten!

So – I decided to implement this change for myself mainly because it resonated with me. If I did want to change things about myself, perhaps the easiest way to start was by doing something small. It didn’t take long and I was getting into the habit of waking each morning, using the restroom and upon my return to my room would immediately weigh myself and then proceed to make my bed.

The satisfaction of knowing that you have one thing “done” and that you’ve made a decision that is small, but positive, is a great feeling. This is a feeling that can be a nice foundation to build the rest of the day on…

Daily Affirmations
Telling myself that I believed in my goal each day is one of the most important ways for me to start my day off right. Each morning I restate my commitment to my goal. In my case, I would restate my commitment to the program I was on, and would tell myself that I knew that there would be good times and bad times – that this was a journey that I was in for the long haul.

I would say my daily affirmations while making my bed, after weighing in. Doing this forced me to state my commitment to my goal – even if I had a bad weigh in, and as well – start my day in a positive way.

I learned that I needed to not only be surrounded by a strong support system of people that believed in me and were rooting me on – but that I had to find ways to believe in myself each and every morning.

In case you’re wondering – yes, I still do this same routine every day, and I commit to my new goals and to myself. This is just one of the many “Daily Choices” that I make as soon as the day starts, so that I set myself up for success. Later this week, I’m going to post audio content of my daily affirmations. Maybe you can use them or create ones of your own that you’ll listen to each morning to help get you “in the zone” for the day.

Is this something you could see yourself adopting and incorporating into your morning routine?

Habit Formation

The daily affirmation is a great way to add something new to your day and to test your level of commitment. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but if you’re able to do this for a day, commit to two days. If you hit two days in a row – commit to a week. If you are able to do it for a week, commit to keeping it up for two weeks. When you’ve done it for two weeks straight – realize that you’re halfway to having done this new, healthy commitment to yourself for a month. Let this drive you through to complete 30 days. At this point, you will have moved this action into a habit and when if you miss a day – it will feel weird.

I’ve found that once I can make the “good choice” my default choice / habit – I find it much easier to continue to make the good choice. The more good choices I make through the day – the more I desire to choose things that move me closer to my goal.