Being True To Who You Are

“About all you can do in life is be true to who YOU are…Some will love you…Some will respect you…And some won’t like you at all… Make no apologies for who you are.  Have no regrets for whom you’ve become.  Continue to be true to yourself and watch the miracle of YOU unfold.” ~

It wasn’t long ago, actually just hours ago that I was faced with a dilemma:  Should I retract a comment I made or should I stand firm?

The question of retracting only came up because of the reaction said comment had from someone I thought I knew.  However, the more I thought about it, the more this reaction became a clear portrait of the person I thought I knew.

So I held my ground.  It is true that you cannot make everyone happy, so I opted for keeping myself happy and not retracting.  Today I feel better because of it.

But how many succumb to the pressure of outside forces?

Ridicule, at times, has been the modus operandi of those who wish to intimidate us into their way of thinking.  As of late, dialogue between parties has been severely damaged if not broken all together.  No one seems to want to listen, no one seems to want to talk.  Everyone just wants to yell.  The louder the better.  Most think that because an opinion is not equal to theirs that the voice should not be heard, that its input has no value.

Long ago I made the decision to express what I believe for what I believe is who I am.  If you’re not in agreement with my opinion you have choices.  You can ignore it and move on.  You can present yours and open dialogue.  Or, you can try to intimidate me into accepting yours as my own.  Guess which one will not work.

When you’re faced with a dilemma such as mine, I challenge you to “Be True To Who You Are.  It’s The Only YOU You Have!

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It Takes Strength. It Takes Courage.

It Takes Strength.  It Takes Courage ~ Author Unknown

“It takes strength to be firm, it takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer, it takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain, it takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in, it takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friends pain, it takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse, it takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone, it takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love, it takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive, it takes courage to live.”

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Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions And How To Keep Them

If you are like most humans, you have been struggling over the past couple of weeks with your New Year’s Resolutions.  You know you have to make them, or at least one, but the problem is you never (or hardly ever) keep them.  “If there was only a way”.

New Year’s has always been a time to look to the past.  More importantly, a time to look to the future, hoping that we have learned from the past. “What could have been and how can we make it happen.”

Resolutions at New Years are important and ever so popular because it’s like we start with a clean slate.  “What we couldn’t do, or we know we have to do, has a new chance of being.”

So are you really like most?  Here’s a list of the top 10 resolutions made by most people almost every year:

#10 – Get Organized

#9 – Help Others

#8 – Learn Something New

#7 – Get Out of Debt

#6 – Quit Drinking

#5 – Enjoy Life More

#4 – Quit Smoking

#3 – Tame the Bulge

#2 – Get Fit

#1 – Spend More Quality Time with Family & Friends

“Okay”, you say … “so how do I keep my resolution?” you may ask…

Here are my tips that may help you improve your chances:

1 – Be Realistic.  The surest way to fail is to make your goal unattainable.

2- Plan Ahead. Don’t make your resolution overnight.  If you make your resolution the last-minute, you will be making it based on your mindset at that particular moment.

3- Be Specific. “I’m going to lose weight” is not good enough.  To broad.  Instead, say “I’m going to loose 15 pounds by June 30th and I’m going to keep it off”.

4-  Outline Your Plan. How are you going to lose those 15 lbs  Six months mean an average of 2.5 lbs per month or better yet .625 lbs per week.  Now it’s looking more achievable, isn’t it?

5- Talk About It. And then talk about it some more.  Get your circle of influence involved.  Family and friends will help you get there.

6-  Track Your Progress. AND tell the world.  Accountability is a wonderful thing.  How much did you lose this week?  How far are you from your goal?  How did you do it?  What’s next on your plan?  Did I mention that you MUST tell the world?

7- Reward Yourself. This does not mean that you can eat a whole box of chocolates!  Instead, celebrate your success by rewarding yourself with something that you enjoy that doesn’t contradict with your resolution.

8- Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Obsessing over an occasional slip up will not help you achieve your goal.  Do the best you can each day and take it one day at a time.

9- Stick To It. Experts say it takes 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your lifestyle.  Your new habits will become second-nature in no time.

10-  Make It YOUR own. Any resolution you make must be your own.  Do not do this for someone else.  Do it because it’s what you want to do.  Whatever your reasons, they have to be yours… Period.

Quick Facts about Resolutions:

–  63% of people say they are keeping their resolutions after two months.  Bet the other 37% did not have a specific plan.

–  67% of people make three or more resolutions.

– People make more resolutions to start a new habit than they do to break an old one.

How about you?  How are you doing with your resolutions? (yeah, I know its early but you’d be surprised how many folks have already broken theirs or didn’t even make one). Did you make the same resolutions this year as you did last year?  Why?  How will you improve your chances of keeping them?

Resolve to Resolve

“Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve” ~ Benjamin Franklin

One of the greatest advises I’ve ever heard.

New Years’ resolutions don’t just happen.  You don’t wake up January 1st and decide that “this” is what you’re going to resolve this year.  If that’s how you do it, I have a bit of bad news for you.

A good resolution is one that has a chance to succeed.  Like any other goal you make for yourself, it has to be planned, thought out, dissected, chewed up, spelled out, shared, and yes… written.

New Year’s Day is full of good intentions.  We “resolve” to lose weight, to eat better, to exercise more.  Maybe we want to be a better spouse or parent.  Or it could be to improve our relationship with our employees, our employer, our customer or suppliers, our friends or neighbors.   You may want to be a better communicator; to listen more and talk less.

If you belong to and regularly frequent a gym, you know that the first few weeks of the year the building is full of people with great intentions.  Great intentions but no plans.  You know this to be true because after a short period of time, the crowds return to  normal,  left with just those who are serious about their goals.

There’s no feeling like that of achieving a goal.  A small one, medium or large one.

I challenge you to work on your New Year’s Resolution starting today.  Isn’t there something you been itching to do?  to accomplish?  A change you wish to make? An item off your bucket list?  I bet there is.

Think about this.  Write it down.  Set a date.  Work it backwards.  Spell out small steps you’re going to take today, tomorrow, this week, this month, etc.  And yes… share your resolution!  Tell the world, tell someone, just. tell. someone!  Accountability is a wonderful thing.

 

Friday’s Thought

We live in an era where communication has brought us so close together, but yet we have drifted so far apart.

With all the social media channels available today, we are able to pick and choose who we talk to, who we ignore and who we simply block.  Our “e-circle” of friends revolves around our common interests, our families and a few of our closest friends.  And this is how it’s supposed to be.

However, we have no problem sharing information that would have otherwise been unthinkable just a few short years ago.  We, sometimes, expose our most inner secrets to the world, and then we yell and complain because our privacy has been violated.  We demand that rules and regulations be set forth to protect us from, well… ourselves.

I have created an on-line circle of friends in three different social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Dailymile) with whom I mostly share my fitness and exercise passion.  Facebook is an exception.  I have amassed a circle of friends that in addition to the above mentioned include family, personal friends, classmates, co-workers and some (well, maybe more than just “some”) that share my political views.

I do not believe in using the “hide” option on Facebook.  I will, and have on three occasions, removed someone from my friends list, but not because I disagreed with their views but because they were disrespectful.  This, on my pages, I will not tolerate.  I have been more aggressive on removing followers from my Twitter account.  This I do when I realize that there really is no common bond to keep us together.

My Dailymile account is used for tracking my training.  I have tried others but this seems to be to do the job just right.  Additionally, the community that Dailymile has created is tremendous at giving feedback and support to each other.  This is extremely important to me.

All this is good and well, however it comes with a hefty price.  We have sterilized our world, we only allow a few certain chosen few in.

Today, communication with total strangers is non-existent.  When someone stops you on the street, the supermarket, the restaurant, the gym, your first thought is “what do they want?”

Add to this the advent of the smart phones, mp3 players and texting features and we totally emerge ourselves in our own private world, allowing no one in for even the slightest of moments.

It is very rare to see two strangers strike up a conversation today.  It is not because society has chosen to go down this path, it is because we do not have the “courage” to say hello to someone we don’t know.

As they years have piled up on me without much notice, I have become more aware of my surroundings and I have become more apt to say “hello, how are you today?” than I would have just a few years ago.  I have grown to enjoy the looks of dismay and disbelief when I do this, as well as the smiles that some people give you when you do take the time to just say “hello”.

So my challenge to you my friend is simple.  Take off your earphones, put down your phone and smile.  Say hello to a stranger without expecting much in return.  Who knows, that simple act of friendship may be just what that person needs to turn their day around.

A Birthday Reflection and a Whole Lot of Gratitude

As I celebrated the anniversary of my birthday, I found myself very  grateful that although the years found a way of piling up before me, I can boast that I do not feel my 56 years.

Yeah, I’ve got aches and pains, and sometimes its a bit difficult to get out of bed in the morning, but somehow I find the will to put my feet on the ground and thank the Lord for the strength he gives me each day to accomplish things I could have never imagined just a few short years ago.

Each day for the past twelve months I tried to be a great husband, father and grandfather.  I attempted at being a superior friend, employee and partner to my customers.  But, it is not for me to be the judge of how well I accomplished these.  I can only hope that that my best was good enough.

Looking forward to the next 52 weeks I know that I am going to need more strength, more focus, more inspiration than any other previous year in my life, for it is the events that are yet to come that will test my resolve.

So it is with this in mind that I pray for fortitude beyond my reach.  I pray for strength unbeknown to me.  I pray for patience I have yet to know I have.  I pray for understanding.  And, I pray for that guiding light to always be there to show me the way.

Validation

Could anyone you know use a boost?

Catch this great little 15-minute video on the value of a smile, being encouraging and resilient, and the impact we have on others.

This video may be a little longer than it needs to be. The premise plays out in the first minute.  The hook is in the sixth minute.