Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

May 18, 2012

7 ways to inspire momentum towards your goals

Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.
~ Bryant H. McGill

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1. Immerse yourself in a favorite activity

What activities recharge your energy? Take a moment to jot down activities that make you feel alive and fulfilled.

  • A night out salsa dancing
  • Hitting a bucket of golf balls at the driving range
  • A luxurious bath
  • Attending an art show
  • Listening to music
  • A delicious meal at your favorite spot
  • A walk with a friend
Choose one activity to immerse yourself in. Set your intention to fully savor the experience. If you find your mind wandering you might remind yourself to “savor”, ask yourself “What is my favorite part of this moment”, or pause and notice as much as you can about your surroundings, the experience, and how you are feeling in response. Savoring experiences will recharge your energy and can refocus your attention on the potential of the present.

2. Laugh

The power is undeniable. Among many other benefits, laughter triggers the release of our feel-good chemicals, endorphins. ( Need I say more?
  • Watch a favorite hysterical movie
  • Hang out with your wittiest or silliest friend
  • Start a pillow fight with a friend, partner, or your kids
  • Attend a comedy show or comedic play

In every form, laughter creates an opportunity to see the world in a new light. So, what makes you crack up?

3. Imagine yourself living your dream

Visualizing your dream “realized” increases your desire to take action. The method you choose is highly personal. Consider exploring a variety of ways to discover what inspires your goal in this moment.
For each of these activities I invite you to use these simple meditation tips to create a more enjoyable, effective experience.
  • Day dream. Lie or sit in a comfortable position and begin to imagine yourself living your dream. What are you experiencing? What does your life look like? Who are you interacting with? What relationships and connections are you creating? What happens in a “normal” day? Continue to be curious about what arises for you.
  • Create a vision board.
  • Free write. Describe in detail what life will be like when your goal is accomplished. Describe the minutia: What you are wearing? Who do you interact with? What car do you drive? Where do you live? What does your house look and feel like? How do you feel? What is your routine like? Notice anything that comes to mind.

Once you are complete, consider taking one small step towards making it a reality.

4. Do something physically challenging

Pick something fun and possibly outdoors. Choose an accomplishment-based activity that excites you. If you enjoy socializing, invite a reliable friend to join the challenge.
  • Take on a challenging hike
  • Go kayaking or paddleboarding to a set destination
  • Attend the power class you’ve been contemplating
  • Cycle to a friend’s house

At the end take a moment to relish your accomplishment. Share your win with someone who will appreciate your challenge and encourage you. You’ll soon begin to recognize how much you’re capable of and be interested in doing more.

5. Interview the inspiring

Find someone who has accomplished your goal or lives your dream and arrange a chat with them. People generally enjoy talking about themselves.

  • Listen attentively.
  • Encourage engagement. Keep the conversation flowing by asking open-ended questions. Avoid questions that invite a “Yes” or “No” answer. Have a few questions written beforehand as backup. What is their story? How did they accomplish their goal? What surprised them? What was most exciting? What was most challenging?
  • Show appreciation for their time and experience at the end of your interview in the form of verbal appreciation, a card, or whatever feels authentic to you.

After the interview put yourself in their story. What experiences would you enjoy? What would be challenging and why? Take some time to consider how this shifts your perspective of your dream or goal.

Watching a Ted talk is also a quick hit of inspiration without the social component. Learning about another’s experiences can refine what you want and refocus your actions on what matters most.

6. Brainstorm

While methods are infinite we’ll focus on a simple way to begin. You could choose to do this alone or include a trusted friend. Be open to every idea. While one might seem ridiculous or funny, it may lead to the best thought yet.

Ask yourself a compelling question. Are you excited to know the answer? Possible questions might be: What are the benefits of accomplishing “x” goal? What steps do I need to take to accomplish my goal? What support do I have to accomplish my goal? What do I need to accomplish my goal? What is my motivation? What values does accomplishing “x” fulfill?

  • Get a large piece of paper and write your ideas down. Using a variety of colors can add another level of interest.
  • Setup a tape recorder and shout out possible answers. (Can be fun with a friend.)
  • Free write a response to the question.
  • Get a sticky pad, write ideas, and post them on the wall. At the end you’ll have an interesting visual to look at. Taking a photo is one way to capture this brainstorm.

7. Explore the unusual

Try on a shifted perspective by approaching action in a new way. Below are examples for building momentum in fitness goals.
  • Seek out an expert for a new approach. (Ex: Exercise with a personal trainer, read an article with an alternative view on fitness, etc.)
  • Try something beyond your ordinary. (Ex: Attend a new class, use a different machine, jog outside instead of using the treadmill, change your routine, etc.)
  • Make it social. Invite a friend to tag along or make a point to get to know someone in the same social circle. Creating connections can build desire and momentum quickly. (Ex: Invite a friend to work out, make a point of getting to know people in your yoga class, ask someone you haven’t met to spot you lifting, etc.)
  • Set a detour goal that excites you. Set your main goal aside for two weeks up to a month and focus on a smaller complimentary accomplishment. This could be improving a certain skill, winning a competition, reaching a small milestone, etc. Be flexible with your detour goal. Remember the intention is to increase momentum. Do what works for you. (Ex: Improve your breaststroke, run a 5k, win a racquetball game against a challenger , etc.)

However you approach it, shaking things up creates renewed interest and excitement. Break the monotony.

Bring new energy to your goals by shifting your approach. Play with what works for you in this moment, for this goal.

May 18, 2012

Meditation Tips: Engage in the Process

Create an enjoyable space. Before you begin consider the room’s ambiance and adjust the lighting to your activity of choice. Add anything to the space that will enhance your comfort (pillows, music, candles, tea, water, etc.) Most important, if others are home let them know you’ll be taking solo time, when you will be available again, and close the door to distractions. (Especially important with kids.)

Be physically ready. A few minutes before you begin check in with your physical body; Are you satiated? It might be helpful to eat a small snack, drink water, or stretch first.

Let go of time. Set an alarm and resist the urge to check on how much time you have left by focusing on the moment.

Fully engage in the process. Let self judgment go and play with whatever comes up. Allow curiosity to permeate your thoughts.

Take notes. Try keeping a journal, sketch pad, or tape recorder within reach. Record any insights for later processing.

Integration is key. Set aside at least 5 minutes afterwards to allow your thoughts to steep while doing nothing. Yes, nothing at all…

This is yours. It may be helpful to give yourself some processing time before you discuss what you discovered with others. If you don’t feel compelled to share, honor that intuition by trusting yourself to share only with whom, when and if you wish to.

February 19, 2012

Dedication to Self

Friday was my beginning of weekly walks around Greenlake, a local 3 mile path.  It also brought the most rain Seattle had seen in a while.  With my windshield wipers busy pushing endless water back and forth, I imagined asking my walking partner to stay inside our meeting place and drink steaming chai instead of venturing into the weather.  Reminding myself I would be happy when we finished, I continued without calling it off.

A mile from the coffee shop I passed a drenched cyclist kneeling next to her bike, tire off, cell phone at her ear, looking hopeful and confused at a patch kit.  Weighing the safety factor and recalling our recent Hawaiian adventure that required hitchhiking, I u-turned and offered her a ride.

Nicole was on her way to the gym when she got her first flat in the pouring rain.  As we were loading her bike into my hatchback she mentioned her job had become another casualty of our current unemployment market two days prior.  This had inspired her renewed commitment to cycling; Friday was her third day riding to the gym.

Her next comment amazed me “I guess I will be taking my car to the gym today after all.”  Here I was convincing myself to keep my commitment to walk Greenlake, and here she was getting a ride to her warm home after being drenched with a flat, fully dedicated to her health.

Inspiring and such a reminder of how important self care and dedication are.

We must be prepared, at any moment, to sacrifice who we are for who we are capable of becoming.
~ Charles Dubois

With that in mind I thought a few self motivating questions when we hit a setback were in order.  Sometimes the simplest moments of self reflection can be the most potent.

  • How will I feel after I ___________?
  • What does completing ___________ create in my life?
  • How will I feel if I choose to not complete ___________?  Is that in alignment with what I want for myself?

What questions do you ask yourself when you encounter a setback?

February 15, 2012

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Recently rereading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People I was struck by how well Steven R. Covey articulates the omnipresent role perspective plays in our lives. (Part I, Inside Out)

In one second we have thousands of sensory nerves sending information to our brain.  Consider the number of cells that are working together to read this text: to differentiate letter from background, distinguish a word, interpret a sentence.

Throughout development each experience forms greater context around this sensory input, attributing a significance to each chemical exchange.  As your reading this post, your past experiences are determining whether this post is interesting, useful, or should go “in one ear and out the other”.  While sensory information doesn’t actually flow out an ear, the significance we attribute to the input determines the neural pathways the information takes in our brain. Does it lead to long term storage, trauma, loop only through the spinal cord without ever hitting the brain, etc.

Our highly-functional brain creates a pathway for what is deemed important enough to enter our conscious mind.  Just as a map is only one interpretation of important landmarks and terrain based on actual geography (fact), our conscious mind is only a partial representation of all that we experience.  This is the context for how we see the world.  We source every behavior and interaction in this projection.  As Covey puts it, this is our paradigm.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

February 14, 2012

Manage your mood

Name 1 thing that surprised you today…

Name 1 thing that moved you…

Name 1 thing that inspired you…

Gino Norris

What are your favorite quick ways to retune your mood?

December 16, 2011

How powerful is a smile?

I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.

In the 70’s a man left this note on his bureau.  After the walk from his home to the Golden Gate bridge, he jumped.

While we cannot know if he willingly caught people’s eye on his way, he consciously wrote that a smile would change his actions.  Is it possible that this 2 second act can create change for another and ourselves?

How often do we go about our busy schedules unaware of those around us?  We may be intent to get our grocery shopping done quickly, avoiding eyes with the veteran holding a sign at a stoplight, or involved in whatever our lives are full with at that moment.

What would it take to engage the 12 facial muscles used in smiling?  What might it create?

When we smile at someone, what is happening at a soul level? Could it communicate “You are a person just like me; I recognize and respect you;  I value you.”? Are we making a human connection that closes our separateness, even for a moment?  (Robert I. Simon)

I have a practice of actively greeting those that cross my path.  Most often it is with a smile and a hello.  If I am able, I like to ask how someone’s day is going, intent on really listening to their response.  While it’s simple, I enjoy interacting and seeing how people respond.  Often I see a glimmer of surprise, followed by a genuine smile in return.

Perhaps smiles are contagious?

Note: Every culture has their own interpretation of how connection is formed. If not with a smile, perhaps there is another way of recognizing another’s intrinsic value?

Just a Smile and a Hello on the Golden Gate Bridge by Robert I. Simon for The American Journal of Psychiatry, VOL. 164, No. 5
Jumpers by Tad Friend for The New Yorker Smile

November 25, 2010


“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”
St. Augustine, 354 430, Early Christian Priest, Author