Change (8)

As kids, we’re told to break bad habits. What we should and should not do become so ingrained in our minds that we get sick of it! We end up rebelling throughout our teen years, discarding many of those childhood lessons.

Then, maybe somewhere on the backside of 25, we come full circle and realize we need to break those habits which once seemed to give life such flare. Now all they offer us are hangovers and regret. The good news is, we’re adults now. We don’t have to do or not do something because some adult told us so. We’re in control!

The following are three everyday habits that should be addressed. Though you may still be in the chaos of your teens and early twenties the sooner you address them, the better. You don’t have to wait until 30 to cut out toxicity and start achieving your goals.

Keeping Bad Company

When you’re younger, accepting and interacting with a large swath of people is the right call. It helps us gain experience, molding relationships, and finding quality friendships. The problem, however, is that many people get stuck in this first stage. They keep seeking many friends instead of quality friendships, and maybe feel like it’s wrong to cut out toxic people in their lives.

It is not your responsibility to fix other people. Many people you need to distance yourself from will do everything in their power to keep you the same. That way, they have no reason to change. They’ll belittle new, healthy pursuits, monopolize your time, and tempt you into bad habits and poor decisions.

Keep supportive people who are going places in life. People who value you and enable you to get where you want to be, those are the ones you deserve.3960819690?profile=RESIZE_710x

Putting Things Off

School teaches us habits, good and bad. Many of us learned that an assignment with a far-off due date means we won’t have to do anything until the last night or two. Several months of college partying for two nights of stress. That’s not a bad deal!

A study at Case Western Reserve University rated college students on a scale of procrastination, then tracked their stress levels, academic performance, and overall general health throughout the semester. ( The procrastinators did well at first, feeling less stressed. In the long run, though, they felt more and more stressed and performed worse than their non-procrastinator peers.

If you’re putting something off, start by asking yourself why. Sometimes finding that more in-depth answer will be the key.

Eating Poorly

It’s hard to show people the benefits of eating right without having them do it for a while. People focus on future benefits, like losing weight or fewer trips to the doctor. Without any here and now reward, though, it’s hard to make it through that stick of celery.

The truth is that eating healthy gives you more energy, makes you happier, and yes, helps you lose weight. Eating poorly does the opposite in exchange for a short-term benefit.

The key is finding a way to enjoy healthy food. For some people, dipping that celery into peanut butter is enough. Many delicious dips spice up a vegetable tray. There are also healthier meat choices like turkey or chicken rather than red meat—baking or grilling rather than frying.

Be Relentless

Habits need to exist to support us, not hinder us. If a habit is making us late to bed, late to work, depressed, or upset in any way, it has to go. Plain and simple. You can’t just post on social media that you’re quitting and hope that works. You need to find a new, better habit to replace it. Don’t settle for anything less!

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10 Ways to Develop Creativity

Creativity is something we all use in some form, but many believe they aren’t creative. But the creative mind can be developed. Developing a creative mindset takes practice. The more you do the things, regularly, that flex your creative muscle, the more you will develop a natural ability to be creative.3855569082?profile=RESIZE_710x

Developing your creative muscles helps reduce stress and improve your problem-solving ability. Begin with these 10 steps to build and enhance your creativity.

  1. Be mindful and observe what others are doing around you. The way we see our surroundings and our environment helps build our creativity. Notice and appreciate everything and everyone around you. This opens your mind to new possibilities while helping you build on the collection of experiences to draw from for inspiration.
  2. Be willing to take risks to develop your creative skills. While you will fail, you will be boosting your creativity and building skills you can use later.
  3. Every time you make progress with using your creativity, you are building your confidence. Reward yourself for your creativity.
  4. When you approach a problem, remember there are multiple solutions. Look for a variety of solutions instead of going with your first one. This helps build problem-solving skills and creative thinking skills.
  5. Start to keep a creativity journal. Use it to keep track of your creative process and any ideas you come up with. Go back and reflect on what you have accomplished. Use it to try to find other solutions to any problems you may have solved already.
  6. Use a mind map or flow chart to connect ideas and look for creative answers to any questions you are facing. For the mind map, write down the central topic or word, then link the related ideas around the center word. This gives you a visual for seeing ideas and how they are connected. The flow chart can be used to track what needs to happen when in a project or event. Mind maps can also be used to visualize the final product and what needs to happen to get to that finished product.
  7. Develop your creativity by changing your environment. The change can be as simple as clearing your desk, painting your walls, or moving your furniture. Or you can try taking your laptop to work in a different setting such as a restaurant or park.
  8. Fight your fear of failing. If you fear you will make a huge mistake or fail when you try doing something new, it can keep you paralyzed from being creative. Mistakes are always going to happen. The trick is not to give up and to learn from them.
  9. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Do this regularly to develop your creativity. Changing things and doing things outside your comfort zone boosts creativity. Start with something small if you aren’t ready to climb a mountain
  10. Take time to daydream and let your mind wander. Daydreaming leads to creative problem-solving while boosting your creative thinking. As it wanders, your mind accesses memories and emotions as well as those random bits of knowledge you’ve forgotten. Focus on the area you want inspiration.

Practice is key to developing your creativity. If you don’t do your activities, regularly, whether they are mental or physical, your creativity fades. There are many ways to develop your creativity. Just find the ones that work for you.


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Coping with Difficult People

Everyone has someone difficult in their lives. It could be a family member, a friend, or a coworker. There’s the drama queen - this person lives and breathes drama. Nothing is a simple reaction - everything is an overreaction.3796010814?profile=RESIZE_710x

Then there’s the complainer - the person who is never happy or satisfied with anyone or anything. They never saw a rainbow in their life and continually gripe. There’s the dream killer. Whatever dream you have and are excited about, they’re going to tell you everything that’s going to go wrong and give you case after case of people who tried and flopped.

You may be dealing with a perfectionist, or a know it all - or the sarcastic person who ridicules people. Maybe it is the person who makes snide, hurtful remarks, then brushes it off by saying, “they were joking.”

Regardless of which type of difficult person you have to deal with, the results are the same. They drain your mental energy, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself being affected by some of their habits.

There are ways that you can have a solid plan for and put in place so that these people don’t get to impact your mental well-being. If someone is spewing negativity, or they’re railing about something that you know has the power to affect you, first, take a deep breath and slowly let it out to center yourself.

Then, ask yourself if there’s any truth to the statements or situation. If there is, decide if it impacts your happiness, finances, relationships, or your job. If not, let it go.

There’s no need to jump into the middle of a drama that’s not yours. If the problematic person is bringing or creating a situation that does have something to do with you, ask yourself if you can change it.

If so, ask what the best way to deal with it is. If there’s no action that you can take, then let it go. Trying to solve the unsolvable is a recipe for success. Recognize that sometimes, there is no closure, and you have to move on, leaving things as is.

Don’t engage with difficult people who are just looking to complain, insult, or tear you down. It’s not your battle. Let them be angry or miserable, and don’t take on that burden.

With proper self-care habits, there should be firm boundaries in place for dealing with difficult people.

You can say that you don’t want to hear something if it’s negative or gossipy, or you know it’s not going to serve a purpose in your life. You can also state that there’s nothing you can do if a difficult person is pressing you for help you don’t have or don’t want to give.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t help the other person. Walk away from stressful people that are negatively impacting your life. Go and recuperate from the stress by relaxing and rejuvenating yourself with something positive that nurtures you.

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Coping with Change

Life never sits still. Its always moving, always changing. But changing to change is wasted motion. Sometimes, change is good, but sometimes, it’s not. The people in your life may be the motivation for the difference. You may marry or divorce. You may have lost a loved one. It may be a necessary job change, but it could be that you may lose a career that you loved. You may have to sell a house or buy one.3782297374?profile=RESIZE_710x

Change is something that can be easy to deal with, and you might feel excited and ready for it. But sometimes, it wasn’t what you wanted, and you weren’t expecting it. That can be excruciating to handle. 

Finding a way to cope with change and learning how is an integral part of self-care. Remember that you’re not a machine. You have a wide range of emotions, and you will feel them as you implement changes. You might be up one day and down the next. If you’re going through some change, take it easy on yourself. Understand that eventually, things will return to normal, or you’ll get used to your new normal.

If the change that happened was one that you didn’t want, and it involves another person, don’t jump on board the blame train. There’s no happy ending destination when you waste time traveling the blame train. Just accept that this change has happened and go about the business of learning the best way to deal with it. Accept that it will be a while before things turn out the way you’d like them to.

Change can be a long or short process. Just be patient and keep hanging in there. When the change that you’re coping with is not a pleasant one, reach out to people who are supportive of you. Let them know what’s going on. The people who care about you want what’s best for you. They’ll be happy to listen and help with whatever you need. Getting the emotions out can be beneficial when you’re coping with a change so that you don’t keep everything locked within. 

Sometimes, a change is so unpleasant that it rattles you. As long as you focus your attention on what’s wrong, on what’s uncomfortable about the situation, your emotions will settle there.  All you’ll see is the downside of what’s occurring. For example, you might focus on all of the bad that comes with losing a job rather than seeing the good that could come from it - such as now you’re free to start your own business or move somewhere you’ve always wanted to live and start over. 

An uplifting way to practice self-care during a change is to make sure you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Take care of what you can today, and don’t fret about tomorrow’s problem that the change may bring. Taking care of yourself needs to be at the top of your list. Keep your focus on your needs. Rest when you need to. Take five minutes to get alone and meditate if you need to. Whatever your mind or body requires, do it.

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Sometimes, you come to a point where you feel as though your efforts aren’t getting you any closer to your goal. You could feel as though you’re working hard, but you’re just not getting any traction or seeing the results that you want to.

This is a frustrating time because you think you’re doing everything correctly, so there shouldn’t be any reason why you’re not getting closer to your goals. The reason behind your lack of progress might not have anything to do with your strategies at their core, but rather bad habits you have that are holding you back.3601412532?profile=RESIZE_710x

There are so many everyday bad habits that can ruin your productivity and keep you back from being successful. One set of bad habits revolves around poor time allocation. People have such a difficult time trying to manage their hours productively, and they end up not leaving themselves enough time to work.

They often waste their time on all kinds of different things, whether it be social media, hanging out with friends, or just doing miscellaneous tasks. There are a lot of distractions out there that can hold you back from doing work, but you have to ignore them.

Another aspect of bad habits pertains to your health. A healthy mind and body are vital if you want to be successful - otherwise, you won’t be able to perform to the best of your abilities.

For example, many people don’t get enough sleep at night, leading to them being, slow, and grumpy in the mornings and during their workdays. Similarly, many people don’t keep up with their diets as well as they should.

Whether it’s about being in shape or not, having a poor diet can mean you’re not getting enough of the right nutrients, which can cause a variety of health problems like headaches and fatigue that can wear you out and prevent you from working at your best.

You must be able to resolve these habits and form new ones as soon as possible - otherwise, you might find it challenging to achieve success. It takes some time to develop new habits, and you have to stick with them.

If you just let these bad habits go unchecked, it could lead to some problems for you down the line. The last thing you’d want is to be held back from success because of something as small as a poor diet.

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Breaking Bad Habits in 5 Steps

Breaking bad habits made simple. We do not go out looking for our bad habits. One day we see the destructiveness of our habits. Some we tell ourselves are harmless, like watching too much tv. Even more serious ones like smoking, drinking, and overeating, we can justify them with social proofing. Over time we see how these behaviors hold us back from accomplishing our dreams. 

Your behaviors, minor or significant these five steps to breaking bad habits will work. You can defeat them and become the person you always wanted to be.

The Five Step Formula

  1. Why does the habit exist? The stage has been set when we either become stressed or bored. Discovering the triggers is invaluable in figuring out how to the best way to change your patterns. Take a week and look hard at yourself. Use a pen and paper to write down when you slip into your undesirable habits. What was going on right before you slipped into the habit? What does this tell you about yourself?


  1. Get motivated. What are the new behaviors you would like to replace the old ones? What are the benefits of changing? These benefits are important. Write them all down. These benefits need to be heartfelt to keep you motivated and on track. Visualizing yourself as a success is a large part of the motivation. Develop a clear picture of how the new you will look. It will be you in short order. You can do this!


  1. Develop an action plan. You have your desired goal written down. Without a plan on how you will achieve the goal, you will fail. Setting goals are great, but you’re going to fail if you don’t also establish how you’re going to get there. Make achievable steps that you can measure. If you want to stop overeating, one action could be to have a list when you go food shopping and only get what is on the list. Then stick to the list.


  1. Check your Progress. Do not drive yourself crazy with how you are doing. Set up regular times to review your progress. Remember, you are breaking bad habits. These patterns have been ingrained over a long period.  When you slip, get back on track. Beating yourself up will accomplish nothing.  Adjust your plan if necessary, but do not quit.


  1. Do not do it alone. Using an accountability partner is a potent tool. You can easily talk yourself into relaxing your goals. Being accountable to someone else give you the strength to stay the course. If you need professional help, then, by all means, get expert advice. How you get the job done is not the important thing. It is breaking bad habits and installing new ones in their place. While these steps are simple, they are not easy. It will take all the discipline you can muster.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Importance of Growth Mindset

The importance of your mindset is there are two approaches to your life. They are going to be total opposites. They do not keep company with each other.

You can approach life with a “fixed mindset,” or the other mindset is called a “growth mindset.” It holds that those with a growth mindset when embarking on a venture are more successful than those using a fixed mindset.

If you have a fixed mindset you assume that you are too old to learn a new skill set. Also, your potential and abilities are God-given and can not be changed and improved. The “growth mindset” are continually looking for ways to enhance their skill set.

If you fall into the fixed group, feelings of powerlessness rule your beliefs about changing your skills and talents. While the “growth” group believe they are the ones who make decisions about changing their attitude and competence level.

This is a very broad view of fixed and growth mindsets. Here are a few other differences. 

What is your attitude towards obstacles and mistakes? 

Faced with an obstacle, are you quick to become discouraged and throw in the towel? You conclude it just was not meant to be. Or God knows what is best and this is not it. The growth mindset has an optimistic outlook on the obstacle. They approach the problem with “it is what it is” and look for solutions and move forward.

The differences so far are the fixed mindset sees no room for learning and growth, while the growth mindset has positive and healthier options. The growth group will educate themselves and put to use the experience of others to overcome the obstacle. Thus living with a sense of accomplishment, the growth mindset will not see obstacles just opportunities for solutions.

Mindset Affects Your Health

Your mindset plays a role in our health. If you are discouraged continuously or depressed, your immune system is suppressed. The fixed mindset is more susceptible to illness and has a longer recovery time than the growth mindset.

The growth mindset is healthier and happier. Happier people are sick less often and for shorter periods.

Change Your Mindset

Psychologists and other professionals agree that the individual has control over how they view life.  It does not matter how long you have had a fixed or negative mindset; you need to decide to change and take some action immediately. Making the decision and waiting for the magic wand will not have any effect on your mindset. You need to take action now!

What does this mean the importance of your mindset? It means you are not doomed with a fixed mindset. Your past results are not permanent and you can always develop a growth mindset.

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Struggle is Good!   I Want to Fly!

I was talking to Todd today. This story came to mind. It helped me keep the course and not quit many a time. I thought I would retell it here for you. Maybe it will help you as it did me.

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first, the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

            But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.

As instructors, our gift to you is stronger wings…

via Butterfly Struggle Story

Image by smarko from Pixabay

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