10 Ways You Can Become Stronger Today

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Spring is almost here! It’s a time of awakening, renewing, and of expectations of wonderful, warm days ahead. The same can be true for your life, starting TODAY. Make a commitment to yourself to take whatever steps you need to make a change for the better, right away. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Even little changes now can make for big improvements later. Here are some things you can do NOW to become a better, stronger you:

1. Make a list of things you want to change about yourself, based on what YOU want, not what OTHERS want. Look online, in your library, or to your community resources and friends to get ideas how to get the ball rolling on these changes.
2. Start moving. Pick up that yoga or Pilates kit or equipment you got for Christmas that’s been sitting in the corner of your room and carve out an hour to get acquainted with it. Chances are, once you start using it, you’ll love it and you’ll want to do it regularly. Regular exercise will help your circulatory system, which helps flush out the bad, and helps strengthen and renew you each day.
3. Just say “no”! Practice self-discipline by cutting out all distractions when a task needs your full attention. Make sure other people around know that your “no” means “no” but be tactful about it. When you become a people pleaser by always saying “yes,” you’ll only end up short-changing and hating yourself.
4. Just say “yes”! On the other hand, sometimes a “no” makes and keeps you weaker. If the something you’re saying “no” to is something that could change your life in a positive way, then you are just saying “yes” to fear. While a certain amount of fear is good and natural (such as in physically harmful situations), there are many situations which evoke in people a vicious cycle of fear, avoidance, and stagnation: meeting new people, starting a business, giving a presentation, etc. You can overcome these fears through practice. Just take it one small step at a time. Meet someone new through a friend. Buy a book on starting a business. You get the idea.
5. Make a schedule every day. This helps you in the area of self-discipline. That age-old line is still true today: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Discipline yourself today, and your dreams will be realized sooner than you think.
6. Learn and practice good nutritional habits. Even if you change only one bad nutritional habit today and replace it with a good one, that’s a step in the right direction. To get a better, stronger life, you need better, stronger thinking. Your brain can’t help you if you don’t supply it with good nutrition. Good nutrition is the foundation of a better, stronger you! Carve out some time today to learn about better nutrition. Then choose at least one eating habit you can change for the better.
7. Educate yourself in self-reliance. Your family, partner, and friends may not always be there for you. Make sure you can take care of yourself in any dire situation. If you don’t make enough money to live on your own, learn how to get there (do the research). If you’re in an abusive relationship, don’t let lack of knowledge or confidence keep you trapped (there is help and a wealth of material out there to learn how to stay away from or get out of this). Take responsibility for your circumstances and step up to the plate to help yourself out. Take a class at your local community college or adult education center; attend a lecture or seminar; check the library for free tax clinics, etc. Educate yourself today!
8. Read something useful for your personal development every day. Reading helps strengthen your thinking “muscles,” and getting knowledge will give you power. When you are powerful, you are strong!
9. Start a journal of your experiences along the way to becoming stronger. Everything we experience in life is there to teach us something. A journal will help you reflect on what has happened and can even help you solve problems as you think about all sides of an issue. When you face and go through difficult experiences, you forge a stronger you, just as metals are forged through fire. Buy a notebook today and write about something difficult you faced today or recently and how you handled it…or make a list of possible solutions. You will feel stronger even just by writing it down.
10. Take regular breaks from stress and hard work. You already know that you shouldn’t lift weights everyday without rest. Your muscles need time to repair themselves. As a result, they become stronger from the rest. The same is true for your mind and spirit. You know the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack [or Jill, for that matter] a dull boy [or girl].” You don’t want to be dull. You want to be sharp…and strong. So, give yourself a break and do something fun and relaxing. Even if you have to schedule it in…do it today!

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Standing Up to Naysayers

Posted on June 2, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

You’ve just gotten a great idea for a new venture in your life, one that you’re sure will make you feel happy and successful. You decide it will make you feel good to boast about this idea to your friends and family. Surely, they will be impressed by your good intentions and enthusiasm. Instead, your happy scenario implodes on you when they say: “Oh, you can’t do that…” “it’ll never work…” “most people fail at that…” “it’s too dangerous…” “you’re crazy,” etc. Suddenly, you feel…dejected? stupid? frustrated? disgusted? stripped of your dignity? all of the above? How can you avoid feeling this way? Or better yet, how can you stand up to it all and come away feeling victorious and more determined than ever to make your dream come true against the odds your well-intentioned loved ones lay out on the table?
The following has worked wonderfully for me:

1) Do your research. When you get an idea for a new venture (and before you tell the world about it), be sure you know what you’re getting into. Read up on the subject. Talk to others who have experience in it. Know what it takes to “make it.” Know the downside/difficulties of your dream, too, and how you can overcome or deal with this. Get an idea of the time and money involved in making your dream come true. Also, think about any barriers you may personally have to realizing your goal and consider how you will knock them down.

2) Make an action plan. Take out a sheet of paper, write out the actual steps you’ll take to reach your goal, and mark the dates/times you expect to complete each step. Many professional planners suggest you work backwards in your action plan. This means showing your end result first and then backtracking to show how you’ll arrive at each step before the last one. For example, let’s say you want to write a magazine article and get it published. Well, before you can get it published, it has to be a finished and approved article. Before it’s a finished and approved article, it has to be accepted in “idea” form through what is called a “query letter.” But before you can write and send a query letter to a magazine, you have to know which magazine to send it to. In order to do that, you have to research various magazines, probably in the Writer’s Market. But before you research magazines, you have to organize your idea for an article (perhaps in outline form). So now you know you must first have an idea, then organize your thoughts about it on paper, then find out which magazines might be interested in your idea, and then tailor your query letter to the specific magazine, etc. So now, when you have done research on your venture, and have made an action plan, you are ready to share your plans with friends and loved ones, if you so choose, and you’ll be ready when negativity rears its ugly head.

3) Listen to and weigh “unsolicited” advice. Realize that not all naysaying is bad. Perhaps your friend or loved one knows something about your venture you don’t. Or maybe the ones closest to you know something about your character and resolve that might be a barrier to your success. If it’s useful advice, take it and be grateful for the extra input. However, if it sounds like sabotage, and you’re armed with your research and action plan, you have all you need to hold your head high and move forward…to the next step:

4) Respond courteously and knowledgeably. First, thank the naysayer for their contribution to the discussion. If they have a valid point, acknowledge it and share how you’ll heed their “warnings,” or how you’ll break down “barriers,” or just ask for their input on these problems. If the naysayer is mistaken or out-of-date with their information, say so and explain why—you’ve done your research and you know why. And if they just say you can’t do it and that’s that, take the challenge with gusto and say “watch me!”

5) Make it happen! Through self-discipline, stick to your action plan and use your daily to-do list to attack your plan in manageable chunks. If you need extra motivation, buddy up with someone else who’s also on a new venture so you can give each other progress reports along the way. And remember, if “it” doesn’t happen when you expected it to, you didn’t fail. You just had a great learning experience, and perhaps it will take a little longer. But you will keep at it, and the rewards will be worth the effort. Never say nay!

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How to Be a Woman

Posted on May 13, 2008. Filed under: how to, personal development, Uncategorized, women |


Note: At Steve Pavlina’s website, he wrote an article called “How To Be a Man,” and asked the question, “Now, who will write the article on how to be a woman?” I am taking him up on that challenge with my article. I had been thinking about starting a blog for women for a few months, and this assignment was just the kick in the pants I needed to get started. Thanks, Steve!

HOW TO BE A WOMAN (by Barb D.)




How does one give instruction on how to be a woman when there is no longer a clear definition of “woman” in our society? A man’s attributes seem to be crystal clear when we hear the old battle cry, “Be a man!” But what if someone were to say, “Be a woman!” What would that mean to you? You can’t get a clear picture of that, can you? We all know women who are stay-at-home moms, and/or are career women; some women call themselves feminists, others call themselves new traditionalists; some women are called bitchy and others are doormats. As they say, you just never know what you’re gonna get.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been confused most of my life about what it means to be a woman. As I was growing up, I was prepped by the media to get dolled up so I could “catch a man.” Then I was coached to get a college degree, “just in case.” But following others’ directives only built up fear and desperation in me. I thought, “Oh my god—what if I can’t catch a man and my college degree doesn’t help me either, then what? Who will take care of me?” Well, after many years of catching and losing men, plus obtaining two college degrees that didn’t do much for me, I discovered the answer had been inside myself, the whole time. With each “failure” I experienced in trying to be a woman, I experienced “gains” in trying to be just…myself…to be real…to be a genuine woman. I learned that a genuine woman is one who:

1)…knows herself. She has her own belief system based on knowing right from wrong, and from deeply thinking about what she values most. She knows what rubs her the right (and wrong) way. She knows what’s best for herself. She knows her strengths and weaknesses. All this helps her define herself on her own terms, not on society’s or anyone else’s.

2)…trusts herself. She gets her “woman’s intuition” from knowing herself, and this, in turn, gives her a belief in herself. It is God within her, her inner voice, and she listens carefully to this One. There is no need for second-guessing.

3)…thinks for herself. She sees the big picture in all areas of her life because she can step back, look at all the angles (including accepting input from others), make plans and take action for her greater good. She doesn’t let the behavior of others, whether it be through intimidation, manipulation, or pressure to conform, tell her what to think or do. Since she already knows and trusts herself, she knows she can make a decision that’s right for her.

4)…takes care of herself: Physically, by proper nutrition and exercise, so that her mind will be sharper to make better decisions; so that she will have more stamina to enjoy the physical realm and help care for her loved ones; so that she will have an energy and natural beauty that will attract others to her. Mentally, by seeking knowledge and being willing to take risks and face fears in order to grow as a person. Emotionally, by asking for what she needs in a relationship and by removing herself from an abusive or unhealthy one. Spiritually, by keeping communication lines open with her inner voice (God within her), and spending time alone each day to check in with herself. When a woman takes care of herself, she shows respect for herself; in other words, she loves herself. This opens her up to love and care for others in a genuine and unconditional way.

This last point brings me to what is at the heart of every woman, and is what she is hard-wired (and famous or infamous) for: the capacity to feel and show emotion openly. In a positive light, a woman’s emotional pulse keeps care and nurture alive in her relationships. On the other hand, women are often described as being “too emotional,” and this is generally used as a direct contrasting definition to what it means to be a man. This can be true for women who are not living in harmony with their true selves. As a woman, your emotions are the thermometer of your state of self. If anything is out-of-whack in any of the four areas discussed above, you will feel it in the emotional realm. This is a red flag that you aren’t taking care of yourself. As such, you should consider your emotional tendency as a gift—something to help guide you to being real and in control of yourself and your life. Because when you are in harmony with yourself, then you can truly be a genuine woman.

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