Or a lifetime . . .
Check out my “Courage Diet”.
It is free and easy to use, and can move you in the direction of your dreams!
Wishful Thinking leads to growth and change, which usually involves a level of risk, and taking risks requires courage. My initial reaction to taking risks usually involves fear, which usually leads to procrastination.
If so, keep reading . . . I have learned to use a series of activities to increase my courage and face my fears.
The idea of combining the steps into a diet came to me after reading the book “The Joy Diet” by life coach and Oprah magazine columnist, Martha Beck. I read “The Joy Diet” about 10 years ago, and immediately started using it to create more joy in my life.
Beck lists “Taking Risks” as the fifth step of her ten-step plan for finding joy.
She encourages us to take risks that make sense and are oriented in the direction we want to go. She has one warning: the risk must be scary. (That part was easy for me!)
I hope “My Courage Diet” helps and encourages you, as much as it has guided and supported me.
To get started, all you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and the wish to change your life, even just a little.
My Courage Diet
Begin by writing a list of all the brave or difficult-to-accomplish things you have done.
List every single challenge you have faced and every fear you have conquered. Remember, there was a time when tying your shoe, passing your driver’s test, and getting your first kiss, date, degree or job – seemed very, very scary.
Try not to think, just write. Set a timer for 15 minutes – writing and creating a deadline are essential parts of the process.
Then reread your list; fill-in any blanks; round-out the details and add any other brave acts that come to mind. (You can keep adding to the list forever!)
Each day, pick one item on the list to review and revisit. Take a minute to fully picture the scene and to feel the memories and sensations it brings. Remember how good it felt to face, achieve or complete the item . . .
Sixty seconds of reminiscing can bring you a flush of positive feelings and a nice boost of courage. (This part is really important so, please do it even if it seems silly.)
Think of the music that gets you going and in a great mood.
For me “Eye of the Tiger” is a sure winner no matter what I am trying to conquer (no laughing, please). Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” (no snickering, either) and Kenny Loggins’ “This is It” got me through my undergrad degree; Alaniss Morisette and Tina Turner kept me focused through relationship upheavals; classical music helped me with my Masters and Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin and Iron & Wine’s “The Trapeze Swinger” kept me company in the Peace Corps.
It’s your pick, your list, your music.
Now, put the music in a format that is easy to access and then, listen to it! Once, twice, three times a day – at home, in the car, running, walking, whatever it takes to keep you feeling motivated.
Create a list of movies that have inspired you. Select movies based on real people, who have faced overwhelming challenges. People, who have stepped in and out of their comfort zones, and achieved their dreams.
“Rudy”, “Rocket Boys/October Sky”, “Cinderella Man”, “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and “Julie & Julia” are some of my favorites. I’ll also add “Tin Cup” to the list, it is not in my top 10, but there are some scenes I adore. (Remember all of this is up to you, it’s your choice. Be honest about what you love.)
Carve out time to watch these movies.
If you already love a movie, reading about it or watching the trailer will bring all the good feelings associated with it back to you. Or, simple, replay the film in your mind, remembering the scenes, music, and characters that made it special to you.
If you cannot think of a single inspiring movie, go to the American Film Institute’s “100 Years 100 Cheers” web site and download their list of the 100 most inspiring movies. Keep watching until you feel energized and inspired.
Make a list of books or stories that have inspired you. Include your childhood favorites.
Read them again. If you are crunched for time, read the first and last chapters or your favorite passages, or even an online summary. It only takes a few minutes or a quick glance to bring back the memories and the meaning they held for you. (Your brain is an amazing, high-tech, personalized support tool. You have primed it with good thoughts, which it will automatically release when you take a moment or two to reconnect with the moments and memories you love. Don’t let this gold mine of goodness sit idle, unearth the buried treasures that motivate and inspire you.)
Repeat diet steps 1-4, as necessary. Repetition does not imply defeat or failure in any way; rather it reveals bravery and resiliency. When we rewind and recycle what has worked for us in the past, we are showing a high level of emotional competency, and it’s a great way for us to face new or stressful choices and challenges.
Please add anything you want to the diet or change it in any way that gets you ready to take on the world.
It is your courage diet now; go for it!
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(I posted the original version of “My Courage Diet” on Wishful Thinking Works in 2010 – it works!)
Below is some of what happened on Wishful Thinking Works in 2013! Click on the photo or link below to find out more. Woo hoo!
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Each year around Anne Frank’s birthday in June, I write about her honesty, her insight, her bravery, and the impact of her words.
I now have another young female hero, Malala Yousafzai. Please know that no matter what words I use to describe Malala, her actions, or the impact they have had on the world and my heart, my words will never fully portray how listening to her made me feel.
Malala’s quest for education for girls in Pakistan and her bravery in pursuing her quest against the actions of the Taliban culminated in her being brutally shot in the head and neck by a member of the Taliban while returning home on a school bus. She was 14. Two other girls were also seriously wounded in the attack.
Malala’s interview with Jon Stewart made me feel proud of humanity, embarrassed about the opportunities I have ignored throughout my life to speak up at all costs on issues I care about, and joyful that Malala is on this earth and remains so to inspire us. Again, my words are a poor substitute for how she made me feel.
I plan to read her book, “I Am Malala” and to listen to this and other interviews again and again. Her story is not just about the actions of the Taliban or living in Pakistan, but rather it is about any group, government, or individual who denies others the right to think for themselves or to be physically and intellectually free.
When you listen to Malala and hear the joy she carries with her – despite everything she has faced – please let her joy be a reminder that happiness is always a choice.
There are many articles about Malala on the Internet, the information below is from Wikipedia:
The actions and words of thousands of brave individuals have changed our world for the better. I believe their stories can inspire us change our worlds and to create the life we really want. The key is to figure out what matters most to you and focus on that, which takes grit.
We’ll be talking more about grit in next week’s post. Until then, I hope you can find some time to listen to Malala.
That’s it for now, have a great week.
Forgiveness is not about condoning a behavior, but rather letting go of the hurt or anger we are feeling about it.
2013 is right around the corner and as with any New Year, there will be things ahead we can’t control, but forgiveness is not one of them. We are in complete control of who we forgive and when. Why not spend the next few days, exploring your feelings and options, so you enter the New Year with a fuller heart and a lighter load?
It’s not easy to forgive, but study after study shows the benefits to our physical and emotional well-being are more than worth the effort. Forgiving reduces stress and enhances our health and our happiness and fulfillment levels.
Here are some steps to get you started.
Forgiveness takes courage. We not only have to be brave enough to explore our innermost thoughts and feelings, we also have to trust that we can forgive and that we can deal with this situation and any others that might arise in the future. Make sure you congratulate and treat yourself to something special for being brave enough to forgive! Also feel free to tell a friend you trust that you are very proud of yourself – no details – just that you did something you weren’t sure you could do, and you are happy about it!
PS The “forgive” drawing is from helobiae, another great WordPress blog!
Wishful Thinking Ways
Today is the last post in our Wishful Thinking Ways series. For 14 weeks we’ve been meeting on Fridays to find new ways to create the lives we really want and to zero in on one very specific change in 2012. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series!
Today, I will be explaining a formula, which will help you achieve the change you want in your life. Before we begin, if you haven’t already, please complete the free Wishful Thinking Ways “Change Circle” sheet. Then jump on the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel, which is a great way to get off the Ferris Wheel of Denial we sometimes ride when we go round and round instead of forward in our lives by telling ourselves why a particular change is not possible. Completing the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel can get you started in the right direction. If you are new to the Wishful Thinking Ways series, click here.
I’m a believer in life coach and author David Essel’s “20/5/90 Formula”, because it works! It’s an easy to use method to create change in your life. All you have to do is create weekly, time-specific, realistic action steps, which you then work on at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 90 days!
Each Sunday night, or other consistent day of your choosing, layout the time-specific, realistic action steps that you will do for the next 5 days, 20 minutes a day. As an example, let’s say your goal is to exercise more. On your chosen day, write how you will move toward that goal over the next 5 days. Lead with the reason you have chosen that goal, and write the sentence as though you’ve already achieved it.
“I’m excited that I’m living a healthier lifestyle and as part of my goal I will exercise 20 minutes a day for the next 5 days. I will wake-up early each day and so I have time to exercise from 6 to 6:20 a.m. I will keep my exercise clothes and shoes next to the bed to make it easier for me to get up and going.”
The goal, of course, is to create weekly time-specific, realistic action steps that are right for your change. Gear the time-specific, realistic action steps to your change goal – getting a new job, starting back to school, opening a business, etc. The “20/5/90 Formula” works for everything.
The key is taking time to write a plan each week. Once you begin holding yourself accountable, change becomes easier. As you achieve each day’s step, remember to savor your success, which can make you feel more confident and motivate you to keep moving forward. And, even if you are following the same steps each week, write them down as if they are new each week. Writing is part of the commitment process.
You can do this. You can absolutely create the changes you want in your life.
20 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the next 90 days, is not a huge amount of time and the results can be amazing.
Before too long, you might find yourself committing more time each day to your goals, that’s great, little successes build to big successes by increasing our confidence, congruence and stamina.
I believe it is better to allocate more time per day, than more days per week to your goal and here’s why. If you start doing your time-specific action steps 7 days a week, the odds increase that you might miss a day. Once you miss a day, it’s too easy to fall into a pattern of beating-up on yourself.
“Man I missed a day, I said I wouldn’t and I did, I never finish anything, I’m lousy at this, why do I even try?”
Any version of a negative thought pattern can easily lead you to throw in the towel on your change process – in fact, it is a very common way to sabotage yourself.
“I didn’t ________________so I must be ___________________.” (Insert any negative term or phrase.) “This is too hard. I will never change. I don’t deserve to do better.”(Your version may sound different, but I think you get the idea.)
While using the “20/5/90 Formula”, do not under any circumstances allow yourself to use a missed day or a shortened time frame from a day to build a case for failure. Okay? You’ve been warned, missing a day is bound to happen, so I suggest creating a support statement to tell yourself, if or when you skip or shorten a day’s assigned activity. I call this your “Getting back on the horse” statement. Make your statement supportive, kind, and energizing.
“I didn’t do ____________, but that doesn’t mean I have to throw in the towel. I really do want change and I’m good at it. I’ve changed and achieved lots of other things in my life. So, even though I missed a day, I’m going to keep going and keep moving forward. I feel great when I do what I say I’m going to do and I really do want to change, so I am going to keep going.”
My example is long, but I wanted to make sure you get a feel for how to write your “Getting back on the horse” statement. As always, use your words, fill in any blanks and go for it. You can do it.
Study after study shows that if our goal is important enough to us; if we are committed to achieving it; if we are specific in our plans, and if we create an environment that provides feedback – change will take place. (“The getting back on the horse” statement is a form of support as is working with a partner on your goal.)
Let’s Do It
If you start on Sunday, April 1 by Friday, June 29, 2012 your change will be a part of your life. No fooling! June 29 might sound far away at the moment, but here’s the thing – June 29 will be here no matter if you change or not, but a new you is guaranteed to be there to greet it, if you follow the “20/5/90 Formula”. Do you want to find the same old you on June 29 or do you want to meet the new and improved, confident and congruent you?
The choice is yours. I can’t wait to hear about your success!