I Ain’t No Quitter

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

National Quitters Day.  Have you heard of it? 

Apparently, it’s a day that has been set aside to recognize when most people abandon their New Year’s resolution.  Yes, they’ve actually done research to show that your motivation begins to waiver on the second Friday in January. This year it was January 12th.  So, all those goals you set, all those promises you made to yourself, are discarded.  Whether you vowed to exercise more, spend less money or take more time for yourself, you leave all that behind and fall back into your old habits.  It takes only two weeks to surrender to your old self.

Well, if you fall into the category of resolution quitter, all is not lost.  Let’s think about this in a different way:

What if we stop thinking of our resolutions as goals.  Instead, envision them as patterns that need to be tweaked.  What if we committed to 1%.  That’s it – only 1%, to being better every day.  That’s doable, isn’t it?   Not overwhelming at all.  Think about it.  Just 1% better at:

  • Losing that extra weight
  • Saving more money
  • Being kinder to our neighbor, our family, ourselves! 

I’m going to start my 1% tomorrow.  NO – I’m going to start RIGHT NOW.  Yes.  I envision a healthier lifestyle for myself.  I’m packing my bag for the gym tonight and won’t let excuses get in my way.  Yes, my 1% starts right now.  What about you?  Want to give it a try?

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The Perfect Picture (Almost)

Professional Speaker, Personal Development, Positive Attitude

In my last blog, I talked about fitting the pieces of the New Year together.  I got that idea from a 500- piece puzzle that was given to me over a year ago. I wasn’t eager to start it.  In fact, it sat on the shelf for many, many months.  Then for some reason, right before the holidays, I pulled it out, poured the pieces on a small card table, and began to piece it together.  I got hooked.  Every night, I sat at that table and tried to complete the scene that decorated the front of the box.

I don’t understand it.  I’m not a game person, and certainly not a puzzle person.  So why did this captivate me so much?  Around this same time, a movie was released titled Puzzle about a woman who enters a jigsaw puzzle competition.  Really?  There’s such a thing???

Well, that movie came and went from the theaters.  I never got around to watching it – until last night.  And I found the story totally captivating.

In one scene of the movie, the male character describes his obsession with puzzles.  He says:

“Life is messy, random and there is nothing you can do to control anything, but when you complete a puzzle, you know you’ve made all the right choices.  At the very end, the puzzle gives you a perfect picture.”

That’s it!  That’s why I’m enjoying this puzzle so much.  For one short part of my day, I’m guaranteed to make all the right choices.  I don’t have to guess.  Either the piece fits or it doesn’t.  I have it all under control.  For one short part of my day, I have all the answers.

With the challenges we face every single day, and the choices we lament over wondering if we’ve made the right one, I welcome the relief of this puzzle.

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Fitting the Pieces of 2019 Together

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s a New Year, and the way I see it, it’s like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together.  Now that 2018 is over, I find some missing pieces that somehow didn’t fit last year.  Let’s see:

Whoops, there’s the piece that said I was going to lose 10 pounds.  That one must have fallen on the floor.

Yikes, here’s the piece that was supposed to bring me more business.  That one must have stuck to another piece and I just didn’t see it.

Uh-Oh, here’s the piece that was going to help me slow down and enjoy the things that are important to me  That one must have stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

There’s a lot of missing pieces and a lot of goals I didn’t quite accomplish, but you know what?  I get to try again.  It’s a New Year and I can make a promise to myself to pick up those missing pieces, turn them inside out and upside down, and work with them until they fit.  I have the power to complete the picture that I see for my future. 

So, you see, you don’t have to throw the entire puzzle away.  You just have to look at it differently and see how you can make 2019 a better year.  Personally, I doubt that my own puzzle will ever be completed – and I’ve come to accept that.  My goal is to take my ever-changing life and cherish that unfinished puzzle, find the missing pieces that make it more complete, and be kind to myself, knowing I am doing the best that I can.  I truly wish you all a New Year filled with all the love, happiness and success your heart can handle.  After all, those are the most important pieces of all.

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And to All a Good Night…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Today, on Christmas day, I wish you love and peace and joy.  May your life be filled with beauty and generosity and all the happiness your heart can hold.  And above all, I wish that you never stop believing. 

So many years ago, sitting on Santa’s lap, I believed that everything was possible.  I never doubted that whatever I asked for would find its way under my Christmas tree.  Now, more than 60 years later, I still believe.  I trust that no matter what life throws my way, I will have friends and family who will reach out, hold my hand and tell me everything will be ok.

So that’s my wish for you.  It’s not a gift you will find under the tree, but one that is buried deep within you.  It’s the greatest gift of all: To Believe!  From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a magical and joyful Holiday.  And in the words of Journey “Never Stop Believing.”

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A Date with my Dad

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Miracle on 34th Street.  That’s my favorite Christmas movie.

Why?

It could be any one of these reasons:

  • Natalie Wood is as cute as a button
  • The person who played Kris Kringle is a perfect Santa look-alike
  • The courtroom scene is quite clever to prove that there really IS a Santa Claus

Yes, it could be any one of those reasons, along with a dozen more.  But the real reason is because it was my Dad’s favorite.  Every year we would sit down in front of the TV, just the two of us, and watch it.  And if you think about it, that wasn’t so easy to plan.  This was before the days of DVDs, Netflix and On Demand.  So we actually had to scour the TV Guide, find the time the movie was playing and make a date of it.

Every single year my Dad would laugh out loud at the part where Santa bopped the psychiatrist on the head with his cane.  That was his favorite part.  I can still hear his laughter as though he was sitting right next to me.

So, I guess you could say that my favorite movie has nothing to do with the story at all.  It’s my favorite because of all the memories it brings back to me.  It makes me feel warm and snuggly and reminds me of a love that I am so lucky to have known.  A love of a father for his daughter.  Every year I try to capture that feeling.  I make a “date” with my Dad to watch the movie together.  And every year I swear I can hear him laughing out loud and feel his love surround me.

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Superstitions & Traditions

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Superstitions!  Whether my parents really believed in the superstitions they passed down to us or not, I’ll never know. But what I DO know is that they still stick with me today – more than sixty years later.

To this day I can still hear my Mom saying: “Nancy, if you put your shoes on the table they will pinch your feet.”  So, the other day, after returning from DSW Shoe Warehouse, my husband didn’t understand my yelp as he placed that box of shoes on our dining room table.  Yes, some superstitions from my childhood still follow me today even though I am well aware they can’t possibly be true.

Along with that comes the traditions I grew up with.  You see, I am 100% Polish and was raised in a VERY ethnic neighborhood.  Polish customs were part of my everyday life, especially at this time of year.  One of the traditions I remember very clearly is the oplatek.  It’s a Christmas wafer with a religious scene imprinted on it.  Every Christmas Eve we would sit at the table, break off a small piece, hand it to the person next to us and offer them health, good luck and great fortune for the upcoming year.  It was a sweet gesture filled with smiles and friendship and love. 

Do you have any customs that have been passed down from generation to generation?  Are you creating new ones of your own?  What do you hope your family and friends will remember in the years to come?  Now that I’ve asked you those questions, I need to take a look at my own holiday celebrations.  What can I create so that sixty years from now my friends and family will remember me – just like I remember my family sharing the oplatek.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

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You Want Me to Do What???

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

As I already mentioned last week – I LOVE the holiday season!

Cooking!  Decorating!!  Shopping!!!  I enjoy every single part of it.  At times, it feels like you can barely catch your breath.  So, what I’m about to tell you next may not make any sense…

Find some time this holiday season and try something new!

Yes, that’s right.  I’m challenging you to STOP, take a break, don’t worry about everything and everyone else, and find some time for a little fun.  Carve out a few minutes to enjoy a little laughter. 

Every year I promise myself that I will try one new thing during the holidays.  This year, it was Caroling at the Cave in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.  It’s an actual cavern that you can tour year-round, and during the holidays they feature a women’s acapella group.  With the cave glowing with candlelight and the beautiful voices echoing holiday tunes, I felt like I had been transported to Europe.  It was quite magical.  There was even an appearance by Santa Claus at the close of the program.

It appears as though Caroling at the Cave is quite popular and you can find these events in a number of different places.  Check it out – Google it – and see if there is a Cave Caroling close to you.  And if this doesn’t tickle your fancy, find something else that does.  The point is to take a “time out” from all the holiday craziness and find something that makes your heart smile.

And please, share your experience with us.  We just may be able to add a few new things to our list for next year’s season.

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Magical Memories

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s that time of year again.  Yep, the holiday season is upon us.  And with all the stress of shopping and decorating and wrapping gifts – I LOVE IT!

Every time I open another box of decorations, it’s like I’ve discovered a new treasure.  I unwrap something I forgot I had, or even better, something that brings back a flood of sweet memories.

What is your favorite holiday memory???

One of my greatest is decorating the Christmas tree.  It seemed like every year we had a different style.  Let’s see – there was the silver aluminum tree with a round light that turned to shine four different colors on it.  Then there was the white flocked tree with huge orange ornaments and an orange light illuminating that one.  But my favorite was the live Christmas tree.  That’s the one we would decorate with tinsel.  My Mom would make us hang each strand of tinsel perfectly until they flowed over and around each branch.  It was beautiful – that is until our dog, Daisy, would crawl behind that tree and knock it over.  Yes, every single year you could count on it.  Everyone screamed as the tree crashed to the ground, ornaments shattering everywhere, and Daisy running to hide under the bed.  Looking back now, it was quite a hoot.

So this year, as I decorate my home, sans a dog, I can’t help but smile at the craziness and laughter that always surrounds this time of year.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

So please, take a moment and tell us about your favorite holiday memory.  I’d love to hear it.

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Listen to Their Stories

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I just read that November 23rd is the National Day of Listening.  This intrigued me so I turned to the almighty Google to learn more.

It appears that the Friday after Thanksgiving has been declared a day to listen – actually LISTEN to the people who surround you and hear their stories. It’s a time to record and/or video interviews with your family or friends or even stories about your community.  What a fabulous idea!

You know, it sometimes seems like the people we love will be with us forever, and there’s always tomorrow to listen to their stories, but as you get older you realize that life doesn’t always work that way. 

One of my greatest listening memories was with my Mom and helping her sort through hundreds of photos that she stored in shoe boxes.  Yes, that’s right, shoe boxes!  You see, this was a time before cell phones or computers, so we actually printed our photographs.  My Mom had three shoe boxes overflowing with photos.  Neither my brothers nor I had any idea who the people were smiling back at us in these photographs.  So, for several afternoons in a row, I sat with my Mom as, one by one, I held up a photo and said: “Mom, can you tell me who this is?”

Now, by this time, my Mom had developed dementia and couldn’t remember what she had for lunch, but she could remember with great detail what happened fifty years ago.  And so I listened to her stories.  I never thought of recording them, and to this day, that is one of my greatest regrets.  One thing I do have, though, are those wonderful memories, sitting on her patio with the warmth of the sun shining down on us, hearing the stories of her best friend, Ann, and the fights she had with her sister, and how she met my father.  Those moments we shared together are priceless and those memories will stay with me forever.

So now we come to today and this age of technology.  All we have to do is pull out our cell phone and hit the record button.  Young and old, we all have stories.  Here’s to capturing some of them.  I can’t go back and record my Mom’s voice, but I sure can start today and gather a lifetime of memories with the people who still surround me.

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Friendsgiving

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Friendsgiving – don’t you just love that word? 

Next week is Thanksgiving and for years my family celebrated this holiday with kids and grandkids and parents and everyone within our circle of relatives.  But as I grew older, I wasn’t always able to travel home and be with my family.  It was a lonely time and I did not look forward to spending the holiday alone.  And that’s where my friends came in.

At a time that could have been very empty for me, my friends would welcome me into their dorm room or apartment or house and invite me to join them in an evening of eating and drinking and laughing.  Some of my fondest Thanksgiving memories are with Mike and Christine and Destany and so many others.

So that’s why I love the word Friendsgiving.  It’s a time to be thankful to the many friends that have entered my life.  Some have stayed while others merely passed through, and all are a huge part of who I am today.  Because of them, I hope I welcome others into my life and make them feel welcomed, whether it’s a holiday or not.

So to everyone who is reading this post and to all the lives that you touch, I wish you a sincere Thanksgiving, a heartfelt Friendsgiving and a life filled with all the happiness your heart can hold.

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