Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have an Adventure

I can't believe we're already 10 days into the new year! Hope you are all well on your way to reaching your goals.

Most of us experience something resembling a daily routine. We get out of bed, wash and dress, go to work, come home, make something to eat, do some sort of activity, go to bed. The next day it starts all over, with maybe a few changes. If you're like me, the routine gets boring and makes you restless.

When you get to this point, an adventure is what you need.

When I say adventure, I don't mean something worthy of an action movie. Doing anything outside your comfort zone can be an adventure! Remember my fear of driving through Manhattan last month? Because of a mis-programmed GPS, I ended up driving over the (very narrow) Manhattan Bridge and through the heart of Chinatown instead of missing Manhattan entirely on my way to New Jersey. I will admitt, it was VERY scary at first. But some good things happened too. I was able to see beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, and by the end of the trip I had a huge sense of accomplishment. I felt if I could drive through downtown Manhattan, I could do anything.

Think of an adventure you could have. Below are wikiHow's tips on how to have an adventure:
1. Try new things. Every new thing is a small adventure, whether it's eating sushi for the first time or exploring a city you've never visited before.

2. Keep an open mind. You won't have any adventures if you never try anything new, or if you try every new thing with the attitude that you definitely won't like it.

3. Lonely adventures are not at all thrilling. Take your friends with you for adventures. Sharing the path is so much more fun and enlightening than doing it alone–most of the time, anyway.

4. Learn to see the dramatic in potentially worrying or frightening events. An annoying thing like getting lost can turn into a thrilling safari, if you look at it right. Change your perspective and uncover your adventure.

Make a list. Think of all of the things you have always wanted to do, no matter how big or small. When life gets too mundane, pull out the list and pick out one to do. Eat at a new restaurant, take a class, book a trip. When we look back years from now, we won't remember the routine. We will remember the adventures.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Next year

I have had this song on my iPod for a couple of years, and I like the fact that he lists out all the resolutions he feels he should have and admits that he probably won't do any of them. But, despite being scared, the one thing he IS going to do is to tell someone how he feels about them. And really, isn't that what is most important? Our relationships with others?

When we make resolutions they are often self centered. I will lose weight, I will be more successful in my career, I will improve my mind. Not that this is bad, self improvement is necessary and important. However, what are we doing to make the lives of others better? How are we sustaining our most important relationships with our significant other, family, and friends?

This year, amongst my goals for health and success, are goals for my relationships and the 'greater good'. My friend Kelly and I are creating a club that contributes to a different charity every month. I've planned visits home to see my family. I'm making more of an effort to do more random special things for my boyfriend (he certainly outdoes me in this category). I want 2010 to be full of experiences that bring more joy and happiness into others' lives, and mine too. I won't remember if I'm 10 lbs. overweight on December 31st, but I will remember the good things that came about.

Make a resolution to bring joy and happiness into people's lives. By doing so you will bring the same into yours. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just for today

When my mom heard I was writing this blog, she gave me some motivational quotes and clippings she had saved over the years. Cleaning out my office today (step one in my road map for 2010) I found this one. Called 'A New Year', this was the New Year's column of Ann Landers and was based on the original credo of Alcoholics Anonymous:

'New Year's Resolutions

Just for today I will live through this day only, and not set far-reaching goals to try to overcome all my problems at once. I know I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." He was right. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. I will chase them out of my mind and replace them with happy thoughts.

Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those things I cannot correct.

Just for today, I will improve my mind. I will not be a mental loafer. I will force myself to read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.

Just for today, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll make an honest effort to quit. If I'm overweight, I'll eat nothing I know to be fattening. And I will force myself to exercise-even if it's only walking around the block or using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Just for today, I'll do something I've been putting off for a long time. I'll finally write that letter, make that phone call, clean that closet, or straighten out those dresser drawers.

Just for today, before I speak I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will look as good as I can, dress becomingly, talk softly, act courteously and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today I'll not improve anybody except myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it, thereby saving myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour to relax alone. During this time I will reflect on my behavior and get a better perspective on my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions. I will expect nothing from the world, but I will realize that as I give to the world, the world will give to me.'

It doesn't feel so overwhelming when we just focus on the present. We can have big dreams and goals, but we just need to focus on what small part needs to be done today-not what needs to be done over the course of 2010. I hope this helps you prepare for an amazing 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Be New and Improved

The thought of ending the current year and starting a new one always excites me. The chance to wipe clean the slate and put all bad decisions behind me is so refreshing. Each year I write in my journal what I accomplished this year and what I hope to do in the coming year. Sometimes I have succeeded, sometimes I have fallen short. Regardless, the new year gives us an excuse to reflect on ourselves and how we can improve our health, mind, relationships, and bank accounts.

I have found that the 'resolutions' I make that go unfulfilled are because of fear. I often overwhelm myself with big ideas and when faced with taking action it all just seems so daunting. The what if's take over and I find myself backing away for fear that I will end up worse than last year.

Not this year. I took this week off from work so that I could relax and spend some time figuring out my plan for 2010. Instead of big resolutions I am breaking them up into chunks. I urge you to do the same. Figure out what you want to happen in the next year. Dream big, but spread your goals out over time. Doing something small for 365 days can produce big results. Ponder these small changes that yield big results:

-Cutting just 200 calories out of your diet daily will make you 20lbs lighter by 2011
-If instead of feeding your daily Starbucks habit you put the $3 you would have spent in a jar, at the end of the year you will have $1,095
-Resolve to learn one new word a day and you will have expanded your vocabulary by 365 words

As Buddha said, "A jug fills drop by drop."

Map out the new year, and the route to a new and improved you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How true...

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

-Alan Cohen

A little something to think about on this week's blog topic:)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Embrace Change

Many people are afraid of change when what already exists is comfortable. Current conditions may not be ideal, but people are willing to forgo what could be when the existing is just ok.

I got an email from a property manager in my department a couple of weeks ago. We had just renovated a large dining room at one of the high end independent living communities in my company, and he said that the residents were unhappy with the new chairs and were not being quiet about it. They complained that the chairs were larger than the old ones and that they were backing into each other and damaging the walls.

The chairs that we replaced were very old. Rigid straight backs and ripping vinyl seats, not exactly great. The new chairs were the standard chairs we had been using for the past 3 years in a large chunk of our 500+ communities accross the country. Most communities were beyond ecstatic to get new chairs, so why was this community being so difficult?

They refused to embrace change. Instead of being excited to have brand new, ergonomically correct, smooth gliding chairs, they chose to be upset that these new chairs were different from what they were used to. They chose to let their disastisfaction not only ruin their mealtimes, but also fill their time with complaining amongst themselves and to the company. There were no suggested solutions, just resistance. Simply resisting something new brought huge amounts of negativity into their lives.

Luckily with some creativity the dining room was resituated so that there was no more banging into one another. Many residents were finally happy with the change. We did recieve one more complaint letter after, but you can't please everyone.

When faced with change, always look at what it can result in. Often the good will outweigh the bad, if you choose to look at it that way.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I love you New York, but you scare me...

The theme for this week came at a good time because tomorrow I am doing something I love. I am leaving for a place I have only been twice but have been in love with since I was a child-New York City.

When I was three I liked to climb into the lower cabinets in my parents' kitchen, shut the door, and pretend it was a car. One day my mom knocked on the door and asked, "Where are you going?" I replied, "To New Ork!" I had seen the big sparkling city on the soap operas my mom watched day after day. Bright lights, beautiful people, 'New Ork' just seemed like the most wonderful place in the world.

Even though I am very excited to go, I do have a bit of anxiety about this trip. I am doing something that I have never done before, and that many people are afraid to do-ever.

I am driving a car in Manhattan.

Luckily it is only to the Battery Park garage to drop off my rental car on the way back from my project in NJ, so it's not like I'm driving around the perimeter of Central Park. Still, I feel very intimidated. My first time in New York I realized that if you didn't start rolling forward before the light turned green you got honked at. There is no hesitating, you must be an aggressive driver-which I most certainly am not. Fear inducing or not, it has to be done in order to get to my destination.

So after tomorrow I will mark something off my list of things I never thought I would do. Hopefully it doesn't come with any tears or rental insurance claims. Regardless, take this into consideration: doing something you love may come with some anxiety, but in the end the experience will be worth it.