Want something? Get there with #NoExcuses.

No excuses
Photo credit: abqjournalfit.com

No Excuses isn’t just the theme of this season of The Biggest Loser (although it did inspire me to cement it as my mantra this year). It’s a choice, it’s a lifestyle, an instruction guide to achieving your goals and dreams. Moreover, it’s not just about fitness, although I’m using it as strong motivation in that arena – it’s a reminder to not let anything stop you from getting to your end goal – whether it’s that new job, landing a date with someone you’re interested in, learning a new skill, or quitting a bad habit.

We’re well aware of the excuses. No time. No money. Too afraid. I might fail. They don’t like me. Not skinny enough, not tall enough. Not good enough, smart enough, athletic enough.

Well, enough is enough. It’s time to throw out the excuses and pull out all the other idioms (get back on the horse, get back on track, take a leap) that basically mean, get your act together and make something happen for yourself.

You want a promotion? Take initiative on a project and blow it out of the water. Tell your boss why you deserve a chance to go bigger and better.

You want to lose weight? Get off the couch, and start working up a sweat.

You want to eat more healthfully? Buy some fruit and vegetables, and turn down the fries at the happy hour now and then. Drink water or soda or something else instead of alcohol here and there.

You want to go on more dates? Ask people on dates. Be dateable. Make the move. Bring something to the table. Tell someone you’re interested.

You want to learn something new? Sign up for a class. It can be online, offline, alone, with a group, whatever. Read a book on it, watch a video. Just start practicing.

You want to save more money? Talk to a financial planner, make a budget, eat out less and cook more, cut down on the shopping. Start a ROTH IRA and put money into your employer’s retirement fund.

You want to travel? Figure out where you want to go, and book the trip. If you can’t find anyone to go with you, go alone. It will change your life. The money will be worth it, so will the time.

And so it goes on. I’ve talked about this before – you are the only one standing in the way of your own happiness, and your own success. Everything is a choice. From the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed, it’s your choice what you do, what you eat, who you hang out with, who you choose to love and let love you (yes, really), and where you go. Stop making excuses. Just make something happen.

P.S. What are you doing in 2012 to live a #noexcuses life? Let me know on twitter @cajunjen.

It’s completely up to you

We can’t control the weather we wake up to, what color hair we’re born with, how much our rent goes up each year, or how loud the neighbor plays his music at night. But, we can control how we react to the weather, we can dye our hair, we can move to find cheaper rent, and we can put in ear plugs or kindly ask the neighbor to turn it down.

Essentially, there are a lot of things that are not in our control (it basically boils down to Mother Nature and other people), but there are many, many things we can control — it’s just a matter of perspective. It’s funny to think about how similar situations cause us to act differently, and I’m not quite sure how to pinpoint the reason why.

Example: last week, I walked out of my apartment to a rainy, muggy day. I had a headache, and had overslept a little. I was annoyed that I hadn’t slept well, and that it was still warm for September. I got to work, in a mad mood before the day had even started, annoyed with everyone and everything. But today, I woke up fully rested, still high off a great 10k run and great fall food cooking from this weekend, and feeling good about Monday. I knew it was going to be a busy week, and knew it was chilly out, but I threw on my tights, skirt, and cardigan, and set out for work, listening to an NPR podcast on my phone and ready to see what the day would offer. I topped it off with a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and settled into my day. Even though I left the office an hour or more later than usual, and I was feeling the to-do list creep, I still came home feeling good overall.

Why? I’m still not sure. But I do know that context has a lot to do with it (my good feelings from the weekend carried me over), and that I felt in control of myself and my attitude today.

It doesn’t mean that tomorrow I’ll wake up and feel chipper and solid throughout the day again, but it does mean that it is completely up to me to make it so — or not. There were one or two things on my mind today that were weighing me down, but I’m choosing to not let it control my overall my mood. In reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I’m realizing that I’m not the only one that has to sometimes make a conscious effort to be positive, to not let the little things get to me. Sometimes, I just want to be mad. I want to be down, left alone, moody. My mind screams, THIS ANNOYS ME AND I’M JUST GOING TO BE THAT WAY. But then I remind myself that I can’t always do that — not at work, not out with friends, and not if I want people to hang out with me. So we all have those moments, those days, maybe even those weeks. Go away, we say to everyone. I’m in a mood, we tell ourselves, our coworkers, our friends.

And then we realize, in a moment of laughter, in an unexpected moment of silliness, of joy, that we’re really not mad at anyone after all. Raise your hand if you’ve tried to stay mad at someone and it’s impossible because you realize they’re just too awesome and you’re being too stubborn? (Me) It’s completely up to you. You can let the rain and the heat and the cold bother you, or you can put on a sweater, or pull out an umbrella. You can let people on Twitter saying dumb stuff annoy you, or you can temporarily unfollow them. You can sit around waiting for a guy to call you or care about you, or you can move on to someone who is available for you, right now. You can be pissed that you’re not losing weight or that you aren’t eating healthy enough, or you can get off your butt and make a concrete change that proves it’s worth your time and energy.

It’s completely up to you what you do, and how you react. So what’s your plan?

Change your attitude to make change happen

This week, our office had a time and life management expert spend several hours with us to help us clean up our act. The simple pieces relate to email organization, meetings, project management, and procrastination. But the big picture is about change, and your attitudes and behaviors that affect that.

If you aren’t happy with how something is going, you can tweak it, improve it. If it’s something little, you make the change and then life goes on. If it’s something bigger, a true lifestyle adjustment, it will take longer. It takes 21 days to make a habit, and three months before it becomes a subconscious act. It can take years to readjust feelings about someone or something – and sometimes, it can seem like just a snap of the fingers to fall back into old habits, and old emotions.

What about when you’re a roadblock to change, and it affects other people? For instance, you know that you are terrible about keeping in touch with friends or family. “I never call people, I’m bad at responding to emails, or texts.” Okay, well that’s nice that you admitted it, but what are you going to do about it? Saying it out loud doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. The burden shouldn’t all fall to the people that are waiting to hear from you. Think about how your actions are affecting others. Maybe you can’t call every week, or respond to every email, but can you set aside half an hour each month to catch up with loved ones? Put it on your calendar if it helps.

What if you’re waiting on someone else to change? That person that never responds to your texts, that doesn’t seem to make the initiative, that seems to give lip service. Well, you have a few options. You can a) keep going on like normal, and accept that you will be making most of the effort, with little or no return, b) bring it up with the person and try to come up with something that works for the both of you, or c) if it’s negatively impacting you too much, remove that roadblock from your daily life. Sure, it may mean a lot of pain, but sometimes we have to do that. It’s like quitting smoking, or drinking, or throwing out sentimental items, but it can make us happier, healthier, and more sure of who we are.

While we’re sitting around for everyone else and everything around us to change, here are a few ways that YOU can change your outlook, and make change yourself:

  • A thunderstorm ruins your outdoor picnic plans with friends –> bring all the fixings and have it inside. The point is the same: quality time with your pals.
  • A colleague constantly has input on your projects –> listen to it, and incorporate what you think works, and thank them for their thoughts.
  • Guy says he wants to meet up, randomly will reach out, but then is MIA when it’s time to make something happen. –> He’s just not that into you. Move on. It’s not worth playing games.
  • A family member or friend is consistently obnoxious about a certain topic, says inappropriate things, or generally pisses you off. –> Ignore them. Remove them from your social networks if you can. Be civil when you see them, but don’t encourage the behavior, or respond to it. Don’t let it affect your attitude.
  • A friend is in a situation in which you’ve given advice, but s/he refuses to acknowledge they are headed for a bad ending. –> You’ve done your part as a friend. Support them and let them live their life, or stay out of theirs.

What are some ways that you change your attitude to create change?

Are you standing in the way of your happiness?


True Happiness

There are the people that are always happy, no matter what. They never seem to get angry, frustrated, sad, or down about anything. They may be standing in the middle of a hurricane, with no clothes on, and no one offering them help, and they’d still find something positive to say. It’s this guy, which Gallup says is the happiest guy in the country.

Then there are most of us, who have our happy days, sad days, and maybe some roller coaster days where we swing from highs and lows and in-betweens in the normal course of our lives as we journey through jobs, significant others, loves and losses — it’s all a part of life.

And then there the people who always seem to be unhappy, no matter what. They are called Debbie Downers, Party Poopers, sour-faces, etc. Sometimes they annoy us, but most of the time, at least for me, they make me sad, because I know that they’re the only ones standing in the way of their own happiness.

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Taking the high road

How many moments a week, or even in a day sometimes, does someone or something make you want to explode and run out of the room screaming? Depending on where you work or who you live with, this could be more often than you’d like, or you could be lucky and those moments are rare.

Someone says something harsh, tries to accuse you of something, or you can’t get your idea across. Someone keeps making stupid mistakes and not learning from them. Someone doesn’t appreciate you for what you do or who you are.

We have options.

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