21 Tips For An Amazing 2018

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Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Every January is a divine gift of newness. No matter what the previous year brought into your life, a new year is a grace gift where you are reminded that it is possible to author a new chapter, paint on a fresh canvas, or sing a new melody.

It has been said,  “You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it.” So, here are 21 practices that will clear the way to engage and create a greater future and present.

  1. Start each day with 10 minutes of meditation and/or prayer.
  2. Refuse to check your electronic devices until you have centered your soul after you wake up.
  3. Before you leave your home, ask God to make you a blessing to someone each day.
  4. Talk less, listen more. Pause and think before you respond to make sure you are truly listening to the other person, perhaps you will choose to respond far less.
  5. Commit to writing down at least one gratitude a day in a journal before you go to sleep. This will help you wake with gratefulness and less stress.
  6. Practice the ancient art of smiling every day, your soul will thank you.
  7. Own your mistakes and say “I’m sorry” quickly when you blow it.
  8. Ask yourself why you respond the way you do to people’s behaviors before you respond. I call this a moment of holy curiosity. Your reactions tell you more about you than you realize.
  9. Exercise a little every day, even if it is a few short walks during your day.
  10. Determine to get 8 hours of sleep each night, “game-changer alert!”
  11. Consider a Whole-30 type diet, eliminating sugary food and drinks.
  12. Drink water-water-water, half your body weight in ounces. Water is life.
  13. Grow in your generosity. Donate to charities and humanitarian groups that work to eliminate poverty. I’d recommend http://www.planetchanger.org  🙂
  14. Read a book every month. I like Sacred Space 🙂 I will be posting my list of recommended reads soon!
  15. Write down your top 3 goals. Post them where you can see them. Do one thing each day that connects to those goals.
  16. Choose kindness over rightness
  17. Choose grace over judgmentalism (pull that log out of your eye!)
  18. Choose to assume positive intent towards others when things get dicey.
  19. Limit your screen time. Break your smartphone addiction. You don’t need it in the bedroom. Turn it off, and check it in and leave it alone! You’ll be okay I promise. In fact, you’ll be better.
  20. Learn to say “NO” Life is full of many good things that keep you from the best things. Does the opportunity align with your top 3 goals? If it doesn’t just say no,
  21. Love. Pray daily that you motivation which fuels your actions would flow from love and compassion.

Grace and Peace to you in 2018

Monty

 

Colin Powell’s 13 Rules

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I stumbled upon General Colin Powell’s Rule. I was amazed and thankful that I subscribe to the lion’s share of his rule, albeit with slightly different wording. Should you need some guiding principles to move you this year, I’d suggest these.

General Colin Powell’s Rules:

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your
position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone
else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Attitude: how high will you soar?

On many occasions I have asked people what they believe is the most important factor in moving towards success, reaching goals, and accomplishments.  I have received many answers like, “luck…money…training…knowing the right people…and even God.” Those are all great answers, but in my experience there is one thing that is commonly found in the men and women who achieve much and that is the state of their “attitude.”

Thomas Jefferson noted:

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

I agree with Jefferson. A persons attitude greatly affects his beliefs, choices, and the way he/she see themselves and the world. I have often said, “Give me a person with a positive attitude and a strong purpose and passion and I can give them the tools to do anything…but if you give me a person who has all the education and tools but lacks passion, purpose and a positive attitude, there is not much I can do.”

Bad attitudes sink teams…Good attitudes encourage teams…
Bad attitudes destroy hope…Good attitudes believe in something bigger…
Bad attitudes never see the potential…Good attitudes see the invisible…
Bad attitudes major in sarcasm…Good attitudes major in faith…
Bad attitudes keep people stuck…Good attitudes free people from limitations…

One of the problems facing us today is how our culture honors, elevates and seems to worship sarcasm and the negative. Most of the sitcoms and young adult shows center around curmudgeonly characters who view all things from a negative lens…merely watch the plethora of reality Tv options and you will experience a steady diet of self centered negativity. This is the primary programming language infusing the current and next generation, and that is worrisome.

If you struggle with the “gift” of sarcasm, or a negative filter…there are some things you can begin doing to reclaim the way you think.

1. Infuse your mind with the positive: This is so critical. Most of the data that people fill their minds with is negative. The news, TV shows, etc. Choosing to fill our minds and souls with good stuff is crucial. Read inspiring stories, faith stories, positive and spiritual quotes. Choose to watch media that is positive and limit the negative media assaults. Pray, meditate, ruminate, read sacred Scripture and books that elevate your soul. In short, become aware of the data that you are feeding your mind and soul with. You will become like the data you fuel yourself with.

2. Choose to be positive: This is where self-awareness is necessary. Most people are not very self aware of their emotions, attitudes or thoughts. Slowing down enough by practicing some regular times of solitude and silence will greatly help you become more self aware. As you become self aware, you will find that you have the option to make a choice about what you are thinking. When I find my mind in a negative or pessimistic state, I always stop and ask God to help me release those thoughts to Him as well as reinfuse my thoughts with positive ones that flow from who He is. In my mind and heart I say, “I choose to think positive God-thoughts.” This helps me identify the negative thought patterns and acknowledge that I don’t want them in my mind.

3. Practice Gratitude daily: This is so powerful! If you don’t have a cheap spiral notebook go out and get one today! It will be the best .79 cents you have ever spent. Once you have it, find a spot in your day to stop and simply write even one thing that you are grateful for. Even the fact that you have a notebook and a pen and are able to write is something to be thankful for!  The more you invest in looking for the things to be grateful for and writing them down, the more you will experience a growing sense of thankfulness for life.

4. Limit the time you spend with negative people: This one is a bit harder because some of the negative people in your life are probably family and friends. If that is the case for you, note how much time you spend with those who are negative, and then invest more time to be around people who have a positive attitude and will expand your soul. The adage that you become like the people you hang out with is true. So pay attention to the thoughts, beliefs and things people say. As you become aware of the attitudes of the people around you, the better you will be able to make decisions about the time you spend with them.

5.  Choose to smile: This might seem trivial but it really isn’t. Right now, right where you are at, stop….take a deep breath in and out and then plant a big ol’ smile on your face! Come on just do it…can you feel how it begins to change how you feel and see things…it is really hard to be mad, angry, bitter or negative when you are sporting a big smile. Throughout your day as you practice self-awareness, make the choice to smile big…it will flood your soul with better feelings and thoughts which will help with your attitude.

Here are some great quotes on attitude to start reprogramming your thought life with!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.  ~Maya Angelou

When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  ~Viktor E. Frankl

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  ~Charles R. Swindoll

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.  ~Zig Ziglar

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.  ~Khalil Gibran

Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.  ~William James

Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.  ~Victor Hugo

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  ~Charles R. Swindoll

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.  ~Voltaire

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.  You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.  ~Roald Dahl

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.  ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

A New Phronesis

There were many requests for the above quote from todays talk on overcoming anxiety. As we have been unpacking some powerful truths in the book of Philippians, perhaps the center piece of the book is understanding how to live out of the new “phronesis” or mindset that we have in Christ. Paul reiterates that this new mindset is experienced as a new way to think, feel and act. Our old mindset, or way of thinking, feeling and acting, is so easily overcome with fears, phobias and anxiety, that the joy that Paul talks about experiencing seems impossible. Yet he continues to inspire us towards living in such a way that we can know and taste joy even in the midst of the hardest of circumstances.

Paul rightly understood that we move towards the things that we dwell on…the things that captivate our mind. If we are stuck in an anxiety rut, we move towards more anxiety. But, since we have received a new mindset from Christ, we can begin thinking, feeling and acting differently…and the difference results in an intrinsic joy that flow from the source of Christ Himself, who dwells within you by faith.

God supplies the peace and joy but our job is to redirect our thoughts through prayer, meditation, and choices. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Paul states:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

When the defeating thoughts that flow from our old mindset (phronesis) come, Paul calls us to stop, take hold of those thoughts, release them, and then, most importantly, replace them with thoughts from the new mindset (phronesis). In fact he lists some things to replace your negative thoughts with in Philippians 4:8-9:

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

To think about these things is the Christian act of meditation…to ponder…to dwell…to ruminate on those things which move you closer to God. God mysteriously meets us as we choose to think differently, and we are flooded with a sense of peace that defies our current reality…and this unleashes a flood of joy in our soul.

This week…take the negative, limiting thoughts of your old mindset captive…and replace them with thoughts from your new God-infused mindset. As you do, take note on how differently you begin to see things.

Monty