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Reach your goals by showing up

No matter what you want to do – start exercising, lose weight, take control of your health, write a book, play music, start a business – you have to show up.

Showing up means doing what you say you’re going to do.

It means overcoming your excuses and doing what you have to even when you don’t feel like it. And even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere.

What could you accomplish when you show up every day?

There are so many distractions.

But there’s no way around it.

The only way to make progress toward your goals is by showing up.

Great! You’re in. You’re ready to stick with it and stick with a plan and show up. Let’s make this happen.

But first …

Set a goal.

What do you want? And remember, when you set a goal, it’s for you.

Not – “I want my husband and me to run a 5K,’ but – “I want to train so I can run a 5K two months from now.”

Make a plan.

Now that you’ve set your goal, what’s your plan? Make it something you can stick with. Don’t go crazy. Keep it manageable. Remember, you can’t do it all at once. Give it time.

Stick to it.

Here’s the important part: Do what you say you’re going to do. This is where you need to show up.

Here are some tips:

When you don’t feel like it, do it anyway.

Scenario: The plan is to run at least a mile after work. You even packed your shoes and clothes to stop at the track on the way home, but there’s no way. You had the worst day imaginable. There’s a glass of wine and Netflix calling your name.

Don’t give in! And don’t let yourself off the hook. Get your shoes on, get changed, and get out there. Do what you said you were going to do.

Especially at those times, showing up can give you a big boost. The struggle is real. You can be proud of yourself for overcoming that resistance. It’s a battle. And you whipped its butt!

That’s not a small thing. It’s huge. And the more you do it, the more you know that you’re better for showing up.

Be laser focused on your goal.

That’s what it takes to stick with it and show up even when “life gets in the way”. Make your goal part of your life.

Be patient.

You won’t get there all at once. Stay the course. Give it time.

Track your progress.

You know that feeling when it seems like you’re working really hard but you’re not getting anywhere? But then you take a closer look and you realize you’ve done a lot more than you first thought. Track your progress so you can have a better understanding of how far you’ve come by showing up.

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It’s simple but not easy: You have to show up if you want to reach your goals.

That’s the only way. And it has to come from you. No one can do it for you.

So put on a happy face and get to it!

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Practicing a Random Act of Kindness is a Choice

Have you ever heard a cosmic call for help? 

Almost like you’ve been tapped on the shoulder, like there’s some sort of alert that calls you to help out a fellow human being.

It could be something simple, like lending a hand to a stranger, or encouraging someone who’s having a bad day (or a bad moment).

At those times, it’s like something’s been put on your heart. You’re getting a call to action.

And you may really want to help, even believe you “should”, but still find reasons to keep quiet.

You tell yourself:
  • I don’t even know that guy/girl.
  • They’re going to think I’m crazy.
  • What if they get mad.
  • I don’t have time.
  • It’s none of my business.
  • I gotta get to work/home/someplace.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most people probably go through a similar internal tug-of-war in those cases. I know I do.

A call to help

I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at a department store when I noticed an older woman walk by. She seemed to be about eighty years old and she walked up and down the aisles looking in between the racks of clothes and on the ground. I didn’t think much of it.

Then I saw her pass again. She had an anxious look on her face. I noticed she hobbled a little and held on to tables as she walked past.

I figured she was looking for something she’d lost. By this time, I’d been in the store for a while and I was ready to head home. But I got that cosmic tap on the shoulder to offer to help, to at least ask her if she was okay.

Still, I started to leave the store without a word.

“I’m sure she’s fine,” I told myself and I started to leave.

Then I thought of my eighty-year old mom (who’s mobile and active, thank God). What if she needed help and people who could help her just walked away, like I was doing? Maybe she’d be okay, but having a little extra assistance could help her feel more secure. 

I turned around and looked for the woman. “Are you okay? Can I help you find something?” I asked her.

She’d lost her cane

She explained that she was looking for her cane, that she’d been at the store the day before and thought she might have left it there. It hadn’t been turned in to store staff and she needed it.

I offered to help her look for it and she held my arm for support because she was a little more wobbly than I first realized.

She seemed disgusted that she’d lost something so important with no idea where she’d left it. (I hate when that happens!) I tried to reassure her and told her that happens to everyone, young and old alike.

We walked around a while looking for her cane until she decided that she’d lost it for good, maybe at another store she’d been to the day before.

I helped her out of the store. She thanked me for my help and we each went on with our day.

I tell you the story to illustrate the point:
I had to convince myself to act, to show this simple act of kindness.

That’s a hard thing for me to admit.

There should have been no question that I would help this woman even though she might have been okay without me. Even so, sometimes having someone to lean on when you’re feeling a little shaky can make a difference.

Sometimes people are put in your path because you can give them something they need: encouragement, a steady hand, an extra hand, a smile.

And you may need to convince yourself to answer the call and offer what you can easily give. There are times you may end up walking away from an opportunity like I started to do that day.

I could have easily walked away, gotten in my car and driven home.

But I think that if I had, I would have wondered what I could have done to help her and if she was okay. And, of course, it would have been too late.

What about you?

Does this sound familiar? Do you easily answer when you’re called to practice a random act of kindness? Or do you talk yourself out of it like I almost did that day and as I’ve done in the past.

Even when the call to help is loud and clear, you have to choose to act

Practicing random acts of kindness

  • helps connect us
  • causes us to look at a person instead of looking past him/her
  • can help a person feel like someone cares
  • can make a difference in a person’s day

It’s okay if you have to convince yourself to act. Lots of us do.

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Inspiration – Pass It On

I had coffee with a friend the other day. She’d just gotten over the flu and had all the awful symptoms: fever, body aches, headache, congestion. She said, “I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. It was horrible.”

My friend explained how her flu reminded her of a co-worker who has an auto-immune disease and gets painful and persistent muscle cramps all over her body. (That made me think about how a nighttime foot cramp makes me writhe in pain.)

[Conversation paraphrased] “But, y’know,” my friend said, “you’d never know she was sick by looking at her. She’s the most positive person in the office. Never complains, always asks how I’m doing, goes out of her way to help people.”

After a couple of days with the flu my friend had renewed admiration for her co-worker’s strengthShe’s amazing. And seeing her helps me believe I can be strong too,” she said.

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Choose inspiration

You don’t have to look far for inspiration.

And you’re more likely to see the courage and strength that’s all around you when you look for it, when you choose to be inspired.

My friend found inspiration in her co-worker’s strength and positivity. She chose to be inspired by an ordinary person doing an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way. 

And I would guess her co-worker has no idea that she’s a source of inspiration to anyone. She’s just being herself, doing what she does.

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You, too, can be a source of inspiration

You may think: Me? Inspire someone? Nah!

But it’s true! You can open up a world of possibility for someone, inspire others by the things you say and do. 

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By just being you and doing what you do (like caring for a loved one or going to work with a great attitude or being a good listener) you could inspire someone who crosses your path, maybe even someone you don’t know and may never meet.

You can inspire others just like the words and actions of others can inspire you.

And you may never know the impact you make. That’s okay.

Just keep being your best self. There’s no other action required.

Inspiration. It’s a beautiful thing.

Be courageous, be strong, be happy.

Read my very first blogpost on this site about how I was inspired by a stranger.

The Greatest Showman Movie Review

The Greatest Showman is a musical dramatization of the life and career of P. T. Barnum and the creation of his “Greatest Show in Earth”.

Before the movie started, Hugh Jackman and the director (I think that’s who it was), thanked us, the audience, for our presence at the movie theatre, saying something to the effect that we had chosen to watch the movie on the large screen as it was intended to be seen. Well … you’re welcome.

And they’re right. The movie would not have been the same on a small screen.

The costumes were stunning, the scenery beautiful, choreography amazing, and the musical score captivating. One of the opening dance scenes was a sweeping number that reminded me of old Hollywood and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

There were CG effects, but they supported the scenes instead of overpowering them.

A strong cast, especially the headliners, made the movie. Hugh Jackman (He can really sing!),  Zendaya (stunning) and Zac Ephron (also stunning) all amped up their on-screen chemistry that brought the story together.

Reality vs. Art

I’ve got to say, though, I found myself wondering how historically true the movie was to actual events, especially in relation to the use of animals and the lineup of “human curiosities” P. T. Barnum featured, such as the bearded lady, the Irish Giant, and the dwarf he dressed as a little general. If you’ve read books like “Water for Elephants” or “The One and Only Ivan”, you know that the circus has a history of not treating people very well and treating animals even worse.

That’s the realist coming out in me.

And if you can get past all that and take the movie for the sheer entertainment value, it’s a great show about Phineas Barnum, a dreamer who started off with nothing and created something extraordinary. It’s not a documentary, not meant to be a history lesson, even if it is “inspired by actual events”. 

Getting back to the pre-movie show of appreciation by the makers of “The Greatest Showman” – I like that they thanked me for being there.

No doubt making a movie like The Greatest Showman was a huge gamble in itself. They certainly faced tremendous obstacles along the way. I thank them for sticking with it, believing in the project, and seeing it through.

The result is a great show in itself.

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You’re never too old to set another goal

You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

~ C S Lewis


It’s such a positive message.

So often we hear the opposite:

You’re too old for that. You’re not a kid.

We can listen to people who say, “You’re too old to (fill in the blank).” We may even hear our own voice whispering similar discouragement, those messages that stem from our own fears or excuses that say, “Don’t be ridiculous. What are you thinking?”

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Or we can listen to C. S. Lewis and believe that as long as we have the dream in our heart and we’re still breathing, it’s not too late. As long as we have the desire, even though it may not be easy or without obstacles, we can still take steps toward new dreams and goals.

Thinking we’re too old is how we let ourselves off the hook.

Excuses?

We tend to look back with regret. We say, “If only I would’ve done (something different) 5 years ago. Or even 10 years ago, then everything would be different now.”

And the more time we spend looking back, regretting something in our past, the more time we spend not moving forward.

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We convince ourselves that it’s too late instead of getting out of our own way and getting to work.

Sure, people might think we’re wasting our time. They may think it’s pointless, that we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. And we may have moments where we agree with that thinking. 

We could let all that negative thinking stop us. Or we can believe what C. S. Lewis says, that we’re never too old.

While we’re able, before it really is too late, let’s dream a new dream, set a new goal.

Let’s get started, then keep going.

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Kick off 2018 with a goal and a plan

Happy New Year!

It’s time again for Mindset Monday (on a Tuesday this week in observance of New Year’s Day holiday) .

For a few years now I’ve practiced focused reflection on the past year and looked forward to the new year by laying out goals in all areas of life, like personal, fitness, professional, etc.

Sometimes I’m pretty ambitious without realizing it. Like a couple of years ago, I wrote down a fitness goal to get to 100 unbroken double-unders (turning a jump rope twice around with every jump). I think at the time my record was like 10 in a row. Well, at the end of the year when I looked over my goals that year I realized I hadn’t even come close to my “goal”. In fact, I’d forgotten all about it.

Does that tell you anything?

Either I didn’t have a plan, didn’t work the plan, or was so half-hearted about doing double-unders I’d forgotten about it by February.

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I didn’t care enough about it to work at it.

Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, the start of a new year is a good time to think about what you want to do over the next 12 months.

What do you want to do this year?

Scratch of one of your bucket list items perhaps?

Travel to another country? Read War and Peace? Join a hiking group? Skydive? Make volunteering your time part of your routine?

Maybe it’s something you’ve been putting off for someday.

Do it. 

First – Whatever you say you want to do has to matter enough to you. Make it something that gets you excited or sentimental (finishing a triathlon) instead of filled with a sense of dread (doing double-unders).

Then, make a plan. Write it down or put it on your calendar. Visualize when and how you’ll do it. Break down the steps to make it happen if necessary.

Next, get started and do a little at a time until it’s done.

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Make someday happen in the next 364 days.

The thing about time is that it keeps going. Set yourself up now to look back on 2018 feeling accomplished, knowing that you set out to do something that mattered to you, you had a plan, and you stuck with it. That thing you meant for someday? Check.

You can do it.

I wish you a healthy and happy new year full of taking care of and doing things that matter to you.

Share what you’ll be doing this year. Post in the comments : )