Shifting Our Focus

“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.”

– Katherine Weber

I came across this quote today and it hit me like a slap in the face. I wasn’t searching for quotes; it was just there like it was meant for me to read. I really started to think about my life, my thoughts, and my attitude towards certain things. For the last number of years (too many years to put an exact number on), I have said to myself, “my life is a series of losses.” It is all I have been focusing on. My losses. My life has been one loss after another. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of money, or a number of other things; my life is a series of losses. However, I am not the only one who is alive on this planet. So many others feel the same way as I do. So many others have it worse off than I do. Our eyes are sometimes open only to our pain and closed to the pain other people go through. We get lost in our own pain all too often. We forget what matters. We give up. Once we start shifting our focus to others and helping others, our own lives improve as well. Not only do we make someone else feel better, but we feel better for helping someone else. I will slip and lose my focus from time to time, but before my life ends, I am hoping to help other people see things in a more positive light. After all, isn’t that what we were put on this planet for?

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Another Birthday, Another Year

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Another Birthday, Another Year

As kids, birthday’s are a source of entertainment. There is fun, cake, and gifts. They can’t wait for their special day to come along so they can play games, eat birthday cake, and open up their gifts. The next best thing to them is going to another kid’s party for fun, games, and sweets. They can’t wait to grow up. Kids would age a lot faster if it meant receiving gifts & eating sweets all the time. Thankfully, birthday’s have a different meaning as we age. The older we get, sweets & gifts mean less to us, or they should, while being with family & friends mean more.

I tend to analyze my life every year at this time. Self improvement, accomplishments and goals tend to be on my mind more so on my birthday than on any other time of the year. With another year behind me, I have been analyzing how far I have come, thinking about how my goals have changed, how to accomplish those goals, & how to improve my life.

As I age, my birthday seems to be more of a “self reflection” than a celebration. How much can a person do with a birthday in February living in Michigan anyway? I see the wind blowing and snow on the ground and that right there makes my birthday no big deal. As my father in law used to say on his birthday’s, “it’s just another day.” I used to say, “Howard, it’s your birthday! Celebrate!” Now here I am saying, “it’s just another day.”

I hope as people age, their birthday’s are a big deal. Don’t follow my lead, or my father in law’s lead and think it’s just another day. Celebrate another year of your life. No matter how old you are, there are people who do not live to be the age you are. See your family and friends and do something fun. Don’t spend all of your birthday analyzing your life. You never know when it’s your last birthday or your loved one’s last birthday, so spend it doing something fun!

Goals

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Goals

I came across this today while I was searching for inspiration regarding blog topics. I had multiple topics picked out, multiple quotes ready to blog about, but I wasn’t able to type anything. I had a blank look on my face and eventually logged out only to log back in.

Goals. I have never been one to set them, but maybe I should. I would probably achieve more and be more productive. I always have good intentions to start out with regarding a new goal and then I eventually stall out. Either it is not that important to me after all, I give up out of frustration, or I procrastinate and forget what I was working towards. The goals that stick with me, however, are the ones that matter. They are the ones that are in my head and in my heart. I don’t need to write them down to remember them and work towards them. My feet follow because my heart and head are in the lead. A near year and for me, a fresh start. Here’s to working harder towards what you want out of life. Life is way too short, so don’t take it for granted.

Keeping Motivation In Your Life

It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. If you are like me, it happens not once, but many times. We lose our motivation to do certain things. It could be a new week, month, or year and there is excitement in the air for wanting to accomplish what you did not do last week, last month, or last year. Then all of the sudden, that eagerness is gone. What happened to it? Putting things off seems to be the norm in many people’s lives, myself included. Here it is the last day of September 2013. Where did the summer go? Where did the year go? Fall is here. Winter is coming and the holidays will be here soon. Did you get everything done this month that you wanted done? In another month or so the news will start airing stories about motivation and new years resolutions. Why is that we need these reminders year after year? What keeps us from improving our lives? What can we do to put that motivation back into our lives?

A simple definition from psychologytoday.com on motivation, is “…the desire to do things.”  First you have to want to accomplish something. If that want is not there, there is no desire. You cannot have that desire given to you. You have to want it for yourself. Many of us have it to start with. Along the way many of us encounter a road block and instead of going over it, through it, or around it, we turn around and quit. For myself, I can honestly say I have never turned around and quit. I have lost my motivation, but I do not turn around and quit. I sit at that road block and think about how to go around it. It may take me months to go around it, but I do not quit. Motivation comes and goes in my life, but the key is never giving up.

There are so many examples I could talk about and this piece on motivation may turn into an ongoing blog article. There is so much to write about on losing, keeping, and struggling with motivation. One example for me is over the last several years I have started running for exercise. Growing up, two of my brothers were runners and they were running stars in my eyes. They were awesome and I was jealous because I had no motivation to do that. It wasn’t until much later in life, into adulthood, where I had that motivation to run. I started running on my treadmill first because I was too shy to get outside and run. I started out slow, but always had a goal in mind for the next run. It really didn’t take long and that desire to run was there. I found myself missing it on the days I did not run. I was able to run longer and a little bit faster. I started to enjoy running and thought nothing could break me away from it. I was wrong! Suddenly my desire to run was gone. It has happened many times before. It could be a vacation, a long weekend get a way, or the holidays and that disrupts my regular running schedule. As soon as my running schedule is disrupted, my desire to run is gone. It takes me a while to get back into it. It happened recently once again because of a week long vacation in August. We went on vacation and once I was home, that desire to run was gone. It took me a while, but I forced myself to get out there and run once again. For me, it only takes that one time and I am back. The desire is back and the want is back. Today is my day off from running and I sit here thinking about tomorrow when I can go for another run.

Going through this whole process of having the motivation and losing the motivation and gaining it back again has made me wonder, why can’t I keep this motivation at all times? Why do I have to lose the desire to run? How do I keep the desire with me at all times? What I have learned for myself is that talking to myself helps. It sounds strange, but when I tell myself what a good job I am doing with my running it keeps me going. Motivate yourself! Talk positive to yourself. Say uplifting things for encouragement to keep yourself going. Another thing that helps me is to have a goal in mind and focus on it. The longest run I have accomplished is 5.5 miles and I haven’t been back there in a couple of years! My longest run now is 4 miles. My goal is to keep the motivation going and reach that 5.5 mile mark once again. Something else that will help keep that desire going is to drop the bad habits. Whatever is getting in your way of accomplishing your goal, get rid of it! My bad habit that gets in the way of my running is negative talk. I have been the one that compares myself to others and I have to tell myself over and over that my running is not a race. I run for me. If it takes me longer to run and longer overall to reach my goal, fine, just don’t give up! One last, but certainly not least piece of motivation that keeps me going is my brothers. You see I grew up with three older brothers and no sisters. Two of my brothers were cross country and track runners while the other was physically and mentally disabled. I now only have one living brother. He lives close by with his wife and two kids and he continues to be motivation to keep my running going. My oldest brother, another running star, keeps me going even though his physical body is not here anymore. When I run I hear his voice. I run for him because he is not here to do so anymore. My other wonderful brother that has passed on did not have an easy life. When I run I think of him. I run for him because he was not able to do so in this life. All three of my brothers are my motivation in their own way.

So whatever is causing you to lose your motivation, find your way back. It is not easy, but if that desire is there, you will accomplish your goal. You will have road blocks along the way, but you will learn to go around them instead of turning around and quitting. Stay positive. Say encouraging things to yourself along the way. Surround yourself with positive people and drop the bad habits. If you focus on your goal and never lose that focus, you will have that desire to keep going.

Thank You To My Followers!

I just want to shout out a big THANK YOU to my followers. I started this blog the beginning of this month and I already have over 30 followers. Maybe not a big deal to you, but to me it is huge! I am just a women who loves to write and who is working towards a goal of being published one day. I was not expecting to have over 30 followers for my first month, so thank you to everyone who follows my blog and thank you to everyone who reads it. Even if I reach one person and brighten their day, the blog is worth it.  As always, feel free to leave comments. Thank you again!

What Is Stopping You From Living?

Money. The cause of so much stress in one person’s life and happiness in another person’s life. It makes some people go crazy to the point where they obsess over how to make more. Some good ideas and some bad ideas. We are all trying to obtain money. We need it to live, to pay bills, to buy groceries, etc…  There are certain individuals who have too much of it and don’t know what to do with it and lose it all. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had enough money to the point where there was no poverty and everyone was comfortable with their own income? If you could do anything in this world you wanted and money was not an issue, what would you do?

Would you travel the world?

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Would you live in a castle?

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Would you create the most beautiful garden?

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Would you buy an island?

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Or would you do none of those things? Maybe you would create your own business or charity. Maybe you would give to other people more. Maybe you would go after the career you really wanted. Maybe you would drop your career all together! Maybe you would write a book. Whatever you would do if money was not an option, why not go for it now? Sure I do understand that buying an island and living in a castle is a little out of reach for most people, but the point is to go for your dream. Don’t let any excuse stop you. I always use money as an excuse to not do something. I can’t travel much because I don’t have the money to do so. I can’t go after my dream career of being a writer because we need money coming in. A good friend of mine tells me to write my goals down (with money not being a reason to not do something) and your goals will eventually be accomplished. Well, guess what? My husband and I took not only one, but two vacations this past summer. Did we have the money to do so? Yes and no. We just did it. Life is too short to not do what you want. What am I doing now? Working towards my dream career of being a writer. I am just doing it. I am trying not to worry about the money issue. I am just working towards my goal and that is enough. So whatever you are putting off today because of money or any other excuse, stop putting it off and go for it! If you don’t go for it now, you never will.

Letting Go

ImageSearching the internet today I came across this quote that made me think about the opposite of “reaching for the stars”. I am not setting out to burst anyone’s bubble, to discourage anyone, or to even discourage myself, but in anyone’s life there comes a time when we have to walk that line of letting go or holding on.

There is always a lot of talk and advice about going for your dreams and not giving up. There are so many positive messages about doing what you love and completing your goals. I know people who write down their own goals and once they accomplish them, they check that off their list. That is great and if it works for them, good for them. The message is, if you work hard enough towards something you will accomplish what you set out to do. Dreams are worth going for. Hold on to those dreams. I do believe in all of that, but there comes a time when you need to decide to either let go or keep going.

There are situations in everyone’s life where it is time to let go of the hurt, the anger, and the frustration. It could be a friend hurt you, your job interview didn’t go well, you were let go from your job, someone said something negative about you or your dreams, or your goals are not developing like you thought they would. Whatever is holding you down, whatever is discouraging you, whatever is hurting you, there comes a time to let go of that hurt. There needs to be more forgiveness in this world. Not just forgiveness towards others, but forgiveness of yourself. Know one is perfect. It may seem like everyone else around you is leading this perfect, happy life, but that is not the case. Be patient with yourself and begin to let go of any situation, any memory, any comment or wrong thing said about you, and let it go. It is bringing you down and stopping you from doing what you love and stopping you from reaching your goals. Stop comparing yourself to others and concentrate on your own journey. Know matter what anyone says, it doesn’t hurt you at all to do nothing in certain situations. Allow yourself to live and let life play out. Let whatever is going to happen, to happen. Then deal with it accordingly. Life is too short to wake up each morning with depression, anxiety, worries, hurt, and frustration. Just let yourself simply be! Take a deep breath and release all the disappointment and hurt whether it was brought on by yourself or someone else. It doesn’t matter. Just let it go, move on, and “reach for the stars!”