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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Feel Good Friday - What Makes You Feel Good


It's Feel Good Friday Yall!!!

Here is a random list of things that make me feel good.

  • Giving my cat Peanut rubs
  • Getting doggie hugs from Hurt when I come home from work
  • The song Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • Cake
  • Shopping (as long as I dont think about the money)
  • Zumba
  • laughing - for any reason
  • Having someone else do my hair
  • Spa treatments
  • The song Favorite Things from the Sound of Music

  • Just washed 400 thread count or higher sheets
  • Those first few minutes when you leave work on a Friday
  • My teddy bear Tony (yes I still have him)
  • Staying at fancy hotels
  • A Bottle of Pepsi when I'm feeling thirsty
  • Babies
  • Playing with toys
  • Thunder Cats Cartoon
  • Cooking
  • Giving Gifts
  • Long showers
  • Sleeping in
  • Reading for Pleasure, not for work or school
  • Pictures
  • Jokes (not pranks)
  • Being Helpful
  • Praying
  • A Good Cocktail, or two :-)
  • Raspberry Blue Hugs (little blue juice drinks for those of you not from Philly)
  • Mafia related books and movies (Godfather, Sopranos, Goodfellas, etc...)
  • The smell of fresh cut grass
  • White clouds
  • Sunsets
  • The smell of rain in the summer
  • Freshly waxed eyebrows
  • Flowers
  • Awarding a Contract
  • Imitating my Dad
  • Making people smile
  • And of course Chasing Joy :-)
So Please tell me, what makes you feel good???

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feel Good Friday - Learn How to Cheer Up and Feel Better.


I just love the Internet. You can find anything on it. Recently I came across this article entitled Learn How To Feel Good, Cheer Up and Feel Better Now. I am so focused on my quest for joy and feeling down in the dumps is very much the opposite of that. So, I thought learning how to feel good and cheer yourself up would be a perfect topic for Feel Good Friday.

The article gave four tips that you could use together or separately to help yourself feel good or cheer up.
  1. Create a "feel good file" - a list of of every accomplishment you are proud of from as far back as you can remember. Add to the list every time you receive a complement or achieve an accomplishment. Then read your "feel good file" anytime you are feeling down or just want a self esteem boost.

  2. Create a "personal values file" - a list of all the personal values that are important to you. Read through you list and acknowledge that anyone with those values is definitely a good person.

  3. Create a "favorite activities file" - a list of all the activities you like to do including ones from your childhood because there may be adult versions of them. When you need to feel good just pick an activity from the list and do it. If doing it is not practical simply daydream about it.

  4. Think about your personal strengths and then choose an activity that will allow you to use one of you strengths. If you are not sure of your strengths you can take the University of Pennsylvania's Survey of Character Strengths questionnaire to help you identify them.

I think these are excellent tips and I will use them to help me feel better whenever I need cheering up. I already started building my "files" and I also took the Strengths questionnaire. Here is what I have so far.

Feel Good File - my accomplishments include:

  • perfect attendance from K to 12th grade with the exceptions of 2 weeks out for chicken pox, 1 day out for a fractured ankle, and 1 day out in 11th grade for a stomach virus

  • Salutatorian of my 8th grade class

  • Graduated #4 out of several hundred students in my high school c lass

  • Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Temple University

  • Buying a house and a car on my own at the age of 25

  • Learning to recognize when I am not happy in work situations and having the courage to find new positions

  • Maintaining friendships for over 10 and 20 years

  • Not losing my faith in God after my dad died and my relationship ended

  • Starting this Blog

Personal Values File - my personal values include:

  • Intelligent

  • Kind

  • Generous

  • Logical

  • Self Improving

  • Honest

  • God-fearing

  • Considerate

  • Strong

  • Supportive

  • Helpful

  • Loyal

  • Optimistic

  • A Good Daughter

  • Faith

Favorite Activities file includes:

  • Coloring

  • Dancing

  • Cooking

  • Reading

  • Talking to Friends

  • Shopping

  • Watching TV

  • Eating at Fancy Restaurants

  • Spa Treatments

  • Playing With My Cat and Dog

  • Surfing the Internet

I found the results of the strength survey to be very accurate. They are as follows:

  • Caution - I do not do or say things that I may regret later

  • Judgement and open-mindedness - I think things through examining all sides without jumping to conclusions. I base decisions on evidence and allow my self to change my mind.

  • Fairness - I treat people fairly and don't let my personal feelings influence my decisions about other people. I give everyone a chance.

  • Gratitude - I am aware of my blessings and I do not take them or my friends and family for granted.

  • Spirituality/Faith - My beliefs shape my actions and are a source of comfort for me.

This was a great exercise and a definite self esteem boost. I'll definitely refer back to it if I feel Joy moving out of my reach.

Please share your thoughts on this as well as some of the things on your lists.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010's not so bad.


Today I was talking to someone about the positive changes I am working on. Her response was "I can tell you are really trying." This made me feel really good. I thought to myself ~ I wonder if other people can tell I am trying ~ But, how would they know? I do not talk about these changes often. ~ Why dont I talk about my self improvement goals? ~ Because I don't want people to say I that I will not be successful. ~ Because I do not want people to ask about my progress. ~ Why dont I want people to ask about my progress? ~Why dont I want to be accountable?~ If people know what I am trying to do they will know if I FAIL!!!!!

I see the error in this way of thinking. It is sort of a self fulfilling prophesy. Set goals, keep goals quite so people wont know if you fail, make only the least noticeable changes or effort towards goals so that people will not notice or question, then FAIL to accomplish goals because effort was minimal.

So from this point on I will not fear failure. As a mater of fact I will set big goals and risk being a Big Failure. If I aim to lose 75lbs and fail by only losing 25, I'd still be healthier, look better, and be more confident about doing things like dancing naked in my mirror. If I aim to pay off all of my debt in a year and fail by only paying off my student loan, I'd have still freed up more money for other things and improved my credit score. If I aim to save a $25,000 for an emergency fund in 1 year and fail by only saving $5,000 I would still be better prepared for an emergency and feel more secure. If I aim to start my own business and I fail by never making money, I would still be smarter and more confident because of the experience, I also may have found a fulfilling hobby instead. If I aim to find the Joy in every situation, I may indeed fail. There is not much Joy to be found in death or sickness. However I'm sure I'd find a lot more Joy than if I never made the effort to looked for it.

So Risk being a Big Failure and Set Big Goals. You may Fail but you will still be in a better place than if you never really try. One step closer to accomplishing goals is one step closer to Joy. Remember part of the definition of Joy is possessing what one desires, desires = goals.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Feel Good Friday - Funny Story - Weight Loss Plan


So It is Feel Good Friday. That means it's time for me to share something positive, uplifting, funny or inspirational. You know something that will make you feel good. :-)

Check out this funny weight loss joke I found at the website -Funny Story - Weight Loss Plan

"A man calls a company and orders their 5-day, 10lb weight loss program. The next day, there's a knock on the door and there stands before him a Voluptious, athletic, 19 year old babe dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck. She introduces herself as a representative of the weight loss company. The sign reads "If you can catch me, you can have me." Without a second thought, he takes off after her. A few miles later huffing and puffing, he finally gives up. The same girl shows up for the next four days and the same thing happens. On the fifth day, he weights himself and is delighted to find he has lost 10lbs, as promised. He calls the company and orders their 5-day/20 pound program. The next day there's a knock at the door and there stands the most stunning and beautiful woman he's ever seen in his life. She is wearing nothing but Reebok shoes and a sign around her neck that reads, "If your catch me you can have me." Well, he's out the door after her like a shot. The girl is in excellent shape and he does his best, but no such luck. So for the next four days' the same routine happens with him gradually getting in better and better shape. Much to his delight on the fifth day when he weights himself, he discovers that he has lost another 20 pounds as promised. He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order the seven day fifty pound program. "Are you sure?" asks the representative on the phone. "This is our most rigorous program "Absolutely" he replies, I haven't felt this good in years." The next day there's a knock at the door'; and when he opens it he finds a huge muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads, " If I catch you, you are mine!!! he lost 63 pounds that week."


Laughter... a close relative of Joy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Walking Towards Joy


On May 16th I will be Chasing Joy on West River Drive in Philadelphia. I have signed up to walk in the 31st Annual Philadlphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk. This 5k is right in line with the fitness part of my foundation for treating my body like a temple. A lifelong friend will be doing it with me so I will also be putting in some of that oh so important face time necessary for developing/maintaining meaningful relationships. I hope some other friend will join us.

In preparation for the 5k I went on nice 2 mile walk with my dog yesterday. The weather was absolutely beautiful as was the scenery. As I walked I was moved by the beauty God has given us to enjoy in the form of nature. Taking a few minutes to look at, if not smell, the roses will definately bring Joy within reach. Please enjoy some of the photos from my walk.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life Lessons


I hate school!!! But I love learning. Learning new things about others, yourself, life in general is essential happiness and joy. When people stop desiring new information, knew experiences, they withdrawal from the world. Now if I could somehow keep the learning but lose the homework, group projects, and tests school would not be so bad. LOL

I have had a life lesson recently and learned a little something that made me think a little differently. I started a new job a few months ago. This position is a bit more responsibility than my previous position. I have always performed well in school (despite my dislike) and work environments and expect nothing different in this new position. Overall things are going really well and my immediate supervisor seems pleased. Unfortunately there has been a couple of incidence that has cast me in a negative light with my supervisor’s boss.

The first incident occurred a couple weeks ago. I turned in a document to my supervisor for review that I would eventually have to present to upper management for an approval. My supervisor returned the document to me with the go ahead to submit it to uppermangement and present it in person for approval. While going over the document again preparing for my presentation I discovered three typos. When I notified my supervisor of my errors she admitted that she had rushed through reviewing it. She also informed me that she would not be attending my presentation but her boss would. I fixed the errors and informed my supervisor’s boss of the situation. She advised me to bring the corrected document to my presentation. I brought the corrected version to the meeting, presented my information and received approval from upper management. Even though things went well I was upset. Coming into a meeting with uppermanagement with replacement documents because of my typos is not the impression I’d like to give at my new job.

The second incident occurred this week. I received an email originally sent to my supervisor from someone outside of my organization because my supervisor had the day off. The email had several questions regarding the procedures for bringing in visitors. Being new at the agency I did not know the answer. I also don’t know many people so I did not know who to ask. I asked a co-worker on my team and she found someone that she thought could help me. Unfortunately he only confirmed that the person I really needed to talk to also had the day off.

I responded to the email apologizing for not being able to provide the information in my supervisor’s absence and advised that my supervisor would be in the following day before 6:30 am. Unfortunately the email sender notified her boss of my unablitly to answer the questions. The sender’s boss immediately contacted someone form upper management (my supervisor’s former boss – the same one form the incident above) for the information. For clarification, let me state we are in the middle of re-organization and as of April 1 my supervisor was given a new boss to report to, who we’d not yet met. Because of the transition it did not occur to me to ask the former boss to help me respond to the email. The former boss then came to me and chastised me stating I cannot send emails out “like that” and I should never say I don’t know and in the future to ask her (even though she is no longer in my chain of command).

What troubled me about the second incident was not someone form upper management correcting me. It was her tone and approach. She came at me as though she assumed I’d not asked anyone for help or direction and simply read the email and replied I don’t know. She talked to me as thought I was trying to get out of doing my work. When I tried to explain who I’d tried to reach for help she did not want to hear that. Her overall attitude towards me was as thought she felt I was a slacker. From her point of view, 1st I turn in work with typo’s, then I respond to emails saying I did not know the answer without coming to her for help. Sadly when I discussed this with my immediate supervisor upon her return to work she concurred that her former boss did give the impression that she thought I was a slacker.

I have never been a slacker when it comes to work. I do my job to the best of my abilities and am usually recognized/ rewarded for it. I can say confidently up to this point no one who has worked with me would describe me as a slacker.
Unfortunately none of those people are at my new job to vouch for me and a person from upper management (that I actually respect and had hoped to get to know better) has developed this opinion based on two isolated instances.

So what is the life lesson? Proofread all of your work 10 times before handing it in to be proofread? No. Never admit to not knowing something and BS your way through it or ask every one you can think of no matter how long it takes to respond? No. The life lesson I have received from this experience is maybe I should not be so quick to judge others and form opinions. The 1st or even 2nd impression is not always accurate. How many people have who may have respected and hoped to get to know me have I misjudged and not given them a chance? How many meaningful relationships have I missed out on because I jumped to the wrong conclusion about someone’s character? How many joyful experiences could those people have brought to my life?

Joy is largely about opportunity, the opportunity to experience well-being, success, good fortune, as well as the opportunity to posses what you desire. I cannot limit opportunity and still Chase Joy. So I will work on being slower to judge and allow myself more opportunities to get to know people and see what joy they can bring to my life. Who knows maybe I can bring some Joy to theirs as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Temple's Foundation


In my previous post My Body My Temple…Or My Body My Minimally Maintained Shelter??? I talked about how my quest for Joy would be futile if I did not take care of my body. If I’m tired, out of shape, and malnourished I’ll never be able to grasp joy. If I’m only doing the minimum instead of treating my body as a temple I will not have the energy to spend time with friends or work on my goals nor the confidence to try new things because I’ll know I’m not at my best.

I already laid out my blueprints – regular exercise, fruit, veggies, whole grains, low fat protein, water, sleep, and support/ inspiration. Now I have started to build my foundation. The foundation of my future temple consists of four basics - fitness, food, sleep, and support.

Fitness – I am working on being more active in general. At work I make sure I get up from my desk every few hours and take a walk through the building. When the weather is nice I take a little walk at lunch. I’m also going to the gym. I make sure I get in some jogging and weight training every week. The most exciting part of my fitness routine is Zumba. Zumba is floor aerobics to Latin music with Latin dance moves mixed in. It is challenging but also really fun. This is the first exercise that I have actually liked.

Food - It has been said that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. I believe this is true in my case. I have always worked out but I’ve also always been overweight and always struggled with my eating. I have 30 years of eating habits that need to change. I grew up eating three big meals and snacks. I’m trying to change this to smaller meals and snacks. My plate almost always had a green veggie on it growing up, but the veggie was the smallest portion and the meat the largest. I’d like to keep the green veggies but make them the biggest portion and make meat and carbs smaller. I grew up eating snack cakes and candy daily. I want these to be rare treats. So I have quite a few changes to make. Now I plan my meals and snacks ahead of time. I eat way more fruit and veggies now than ever before. I am drinking lots of water and only diet soda. I also am challenging myself to give up pastries and candy for a few months to break that habit. More than anything all of these changes with food require me to change the way I think about it. To think about how the food is really making me feel and decide I deserve to feel better and that requires better fuel.

Support – This is where it helps to be open. I hate the Food Police. I get real annoyed real quick when someone says “should you eat that” or “I thought you were on a diet”. I never like being told what to do anyway and this just pushes my buttons. So in the past I have shied away from telling people that I was watching my weight or trying to change habits. However, lately I’ve been more open and I have realized that more people will actually be supportive than try to be food police. Many people have stopped offering me unhealthy treats and make a point of telling me about good healthy recipes. I also get a lot of support and inspiration on the internet. There are so many resources – articles, diet and exercise groups and personal blogs dedicated to health and fitness. The groups can be especially helpful they often allow you to be open about your feelings in an anonymous way and get real feedback from people going through similar things. You can also find all kinds of interesting workouts and menus online.

Sleep – This is the big crack in my foundation. It is common knowledge that the average adult needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep (really closer to 8). I’m only averaging 5 during the week. This is not good. I suffer every morning when the alarm goes off. I know my body is not working at the optimal level because it is tired. I also know I would not get so sleepy in the afternoon at work if I had enough sleep at night. As a kid I never wanted to go to bed and I’ve obviously not matured in this area. I always feel there is one more show to watch, chapter to read, Facebook status to update, website to visit, etc, etc, etc…. Even as I write this I realize how silly it is. All of these things will be there in the morning. I have been working on this foundation flaw. I realize how this crack can spread to the other areas. Sleepy people do not work out, at least not with intensity, and they also tend to make poor choices opting to grab anything that will give them an instant energy (sugar) boost. I will seal up this crack in time and find a way to do all I need/want to do and still get my 8 hours beauty rest. Sleepy people are not joyful.

Like any construction project I have a schedule. Here is what my next 12 weeks of foundation building look like:

w 1 - say good bye to the vending machine
w 2 - drink a gallon of water a day
w 3 - go to bed by 12:00 during the week
w 4 - do fasted cardio once a week
w 5 - 2 salads a week
w 6 - clean/organize house 15 min every day (for time management and getting to bed earlier)
w 7 - walk/jog outside at least 1 time a week
w 8 - jog, weight train, zumba, and wii fit every week
w 9 - write down everything I eat
w 10 - track in spark people
w 11 - focus on calories - less than 2000
w 12 -3 veggies a day

I am excited to put my blueprints into action and build a healthy foundation for Joy.
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