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Archive for the ‘happiness’ Tag

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

The human brain is often compared to a computer.  But that isn’t really a perfect analogy.  In a computer you can input the data once and the computer will always remember it, even if you don’t access it for a week, or a month, or a year.  The brain is more of a “use it or lose it” kind of operation.  Also, a computer is a static device.  The parts it has in the configuration they are in will be the same today as tomorrow no matter what input you place in it.  The brain grows according to focus.  And it connects like with like.

So the more time you spend dwelling on a particular thought or emotion the more you solidify it in your mind.  You also grow that area of your brain.  And those areas will reach out and make connections to other areas that are similar or that you associate the emotion with.

The more time you spend on one input the less you spend on another.  So if you spend more time focusing on good and happy thoughts that build and nurture, you have less time to spend thinking negative thoughts that tear your down and harm you.  This builds the happy areas of your brain, connects you better with that happiness, and also over time causes the negative areas to fade away and lose power.

An easy way to do this is to devote a little bit of time in the morning and night to reading a list of positive affirmations.  You can use a list that you create so it’s personalized to you, or you can use a list you’ve downloaded from the internet.  If you use Google images to search for “positive affirmation list” you’ll come up with plenty of options.  Just find the ones that speak to you or you feel a pull towards.

As soon after you wake up in the morning as you can, take the list out and just read through it 3-5 times, depending on how long the list is and how much time you can devote to the practice.  At the end of the day, preferably right before you go to sleep, read the list 3-5 times again.  If you want to have a separate list for morning and evening that works too.  Also, if you have down time during the day, or just feel you need a pick me up, go ahead and read the list again for as long as time permits.

It’s just that simple.  It takes a short amount of time out of your day.  Over time the practice reinforces the happy parts of your brain, making you naturally happier.  And it becomes a positive feedback loop.  So even when you’re not reading your list your thoughts will tend to be happier.  And over time the negativity will fade away.

So before you go to bed tonight make, or download, a list and check it twice (or 3-5 times).  Program your brain daily and the connection between yourself and happiness will literally become thicker and thicker until there is only room for happiness in your mind.  Have a great day.  Peace.

 

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The Power of Positive Thought   Leave a comment

Here’s to the power of positive thinking.  As those who regularly follow me know I have a YouTube channel where I post a weekly vlog about the ketogenic lifestyle and living a more mindful, conscious life.  I started it back in October to create a bit of accountability for me (as the camera will show my progress) but also as a way to try to give back to the community of people out there, some I know really well and some who were complete strangers to me, who’ve helped me along the way.

I try to spend a little time each week working on ways to better track how things are going on my channel and ways I can improve it.  I realized that the app I use to track it is nice but I wanted to see the big picture in a different way so I created a spreadsheet to track my views each month, and the minutes people watch.  Putting it together I noticed something interesting that made me smile.

Keep in mind that since I started back in October I’ve put at least one video up every week on Wednesday.  I have added a few extra videos in there on top of that.  But my uploading has been consistent so none of what I’m about to tell you could be explained by being off schedule or failing to upload during the week.

When I first started I was of course nervous, but also very excited about the project.  And the numbers reflected that. My channel had the most views and minutes watched since I started.  I was very positive about the channel.  My introduction video had gotten a lot of views but over the next few weeks the views tapered off a bit.  Which of course made me a little nervous.  The next month the views and the minutes watched dropped significantly.  This added to the nervousness, and the next month (December) the numbers were even lower.

And then a funny thing happened during the first video I did in 2019.  I don’t script my videos (as is apparent at times I’m sure) I simply have a topic I want to cover and just talk to the camera.  When I first started my channel I had committed to 52 videos, one per week.  So I would have been done at the end of September 2019.  But as I was talking about 2019 in the video and what I wanted for this year it came to me.  I committed in the video to a full year of videos starting with that one so that all of my 2019 journey would be on the record.

Why did this happen?  As I was filming the video I had become positive again because it was a new year with new possibilities.  And I was excited about tracking them all, not just up to October.

This morning I looked at the number of views and minutes so far for this month and that’s when it hit me.  My numbers were back up again.  Here we are only two-thirds of the way through the month and my numbers are already beating my second month’s numbers.

I’ve done a little research.  January is supposedly a lull month for YouTube so my numbers should be flat or even down.  But they’re up.  And I think it’s no coincidence that if you track my views, the minutes watched, and how positive and sure I was about my channel you’d see the exact same graph each time.

Could there be other explanations.  Sure it’s possible.  But as there’s no real downside to being positive I think I’ll just keep on with that game plan as the numbers keep getting better.  If you haven’t seen my channel before, I’ll leave my latest vlog below.  I hope you enjoy it and I hope you have a happy and positive week ahead of you.  Peace.

01/14/19 Weigh-In   Leave a comment

Time for the weekly weigh in.  I noticed while looking back over the past few weeks I may have missed one or two.  I’m sorry for that.  You guys have been supportive of me on my journey and I want to keep you up to date as much as possible on it.  In the future I will endeavor to do better.  On to the numbers.

This week I weighed in at 262.6 pounds.  Last week I weighed in at 267.0 pounds for a total loss of 4.4 pounds.  Wow.  That’s quite a weekly drop.  Considering the up and down weigh ins over the past few weeks I’m hoping this means my body has figured things out and I’m back on track to losing consistently again.

My muscle mass was 28.6% this week, and 28.2% last week.  In pounds that’s 75.1 this week and 75.3 last week.  So a slight drop in muscle mass.  Which is somewhat expected considering the overall weight loss.

For body fat I am 34.9% this week and was 35.7% last week.  In pounds that’s 91.6 this week and 95.3 last week.  So 3.7 pounds of fat lost.  That’s a lot for one week.

Which brings me back to a concern I’ve had over the past few weeks as the scale has gone up and down.  I’m wondering if there isn’t something wrong with the scale.  I like the scale and all but if it isn’t giving accurate measurements week to week it isn’t of much use to me.  When I first started I got this one mainly because of the fact that it could handle my weight.  Most scales topped out at 350 pounds, just under what my actual weight turned out to be.  So I looked for a scale that could go up to 400 pounds, which I was sure I was under.  I’m going to keep an eye on things but if they seem to be off over the next few weigh ins I’ll consider getting a new scale.

I’ve been on vacation this week so I was worried about closing the rings on my Apple Watch.  Happy to say that concern was unwarranted.  I have closed all three rings every day this week.  And I accomplished that by getting in 3 exercise sessions a day.  Usually two walks and an extra more strenuous one like maybe jump roping.

Food wise I’m doing well.  When I fast I don’t feel hungry.  I’ve increased my water intake which has helped a lot.  Feel much better.  I also have made sure to keep up better on my electrolytes.

Meditation wise is pretty much the usual story.  Slow but sure improvements mainly in quality.  The effect on my mood has been noticeable.  Of course that could also be due to being on vacation.

I’ve put in for a few more jobs.  I’ve moved forward with the dispatcher job but haven’t heard back yet on the others.

All in all it’s been a great week.  I have most of this week off before having to return to work.  It’s getting closer to decision making time on when my exact last day will be.  I’ve found out on the dispatch job the interview period will be close to the end of the month so I’ve considered working one more full pay period at my current job so I’m not left in a lurch.  Also that gives me a little time to talk to people here who work for companies I’ve applied for to see what’s going on with my application or how I might improve my odds of getting jobs with them.  But one way or another I’ll be moving on to greener pastures soon.

That wraps it up for this weeks update.  I hope you’re having a great day and I’ll see you next week for the next update and tomorrow for the next blog.  Peace.

First Vlog of 2019 Is Up On YouTube   Leave a comment

I’ve posted a new vlog on YouTube.  It is the first of 2019.  It covers how I did in 2018 in both body and mind improvements and a general overview of what I want to accomplish in 2019.  My YouTube channel is a big part of the improvements I want to make for 2019.  I’d like to see it grow and reach more people.  I have received a lot of help from family, friends, and people who have followed me along the way on my social media.  That has helped so much with the gains I’ve made.  And I’d like to return the favor with as many people as I can.  So I hope you follow me along that journey here.  I’d also love it if you subscribed to my YouTube channel and follow my journey there.  That helps me reach more people, which I’d love to do.  If you ring the bell on YouTube it will tell you immediately when I post new content on YouTube.  I hope you’re having a great day and I’ll see you soon.

Day One   2 comments

Today is the first day of the new year, 2019.  You have 364 more days to come after this one.  If you’re like most people you made a number of resolutions today on what you’d like to accomplish using those 364 remaining days.  Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

First and foremost, reconsider your resolutions one more time before you set them in stone.  Are they reasonable?  If you resolve to lose 200 pounds next year, maybe you need to take it down a notch to a more reasonable 100 pounds.  That’s still not an easy task and will challenge you to accomplish it, but it can be done.  200 pounds, not so much.  Are they within your power to accomplish?  Even with the law of attraction you need to believe you can get it done.  If you resolve to do something that your heart doesn’t truly believe you can, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  So if your resolution is to find the love of your life, but you doubt your ability to attract the love of your life, change your resolution to something that helps you move towards that initial resolution, and you feel you can accomplish.  Perhaps resolve to have greater self-love.  Or resolve to build a characteristic of yourself that you think will help attract the kind of person into your life that you’d like to have a romantic relationship with.

Second, once you’ve settled on resolutions that are reasonable and that you feel you can accomplish, create a game plan for how you can accomplish them.  Give each month, or week if suitable, a mini goal that moves you towards accomplishing your resolution.  By breaking it down into more manageable steps you’ll not view that task as so daunting.  It’s the difference between trying to jump to the second floor versus taking the stairs.

Third, track your progress.  Keeping a journal of your journey serves two purposes.  First, as you accomplish each goal you create a reminder of it for yourself to review in the future.  Feeling a little stuck or unsure if you can reach the next mini goal?  Just go back and look over all the progress you’ve made in reaching prior mini goals to remind and motivate yourself.  Second, it gives you a better overview to see what is and isn’t working.  An example would be in your journal you see that every time you have a cheat day your progress lags a bit.  So obviously you’d want to forgo the cheat day.  Or maybe you’ve resolved to be more positive, but you’re struggling a bit.  You look back at your journal and see that when you hang out with a certain friend your mood gets dragged down.  Time to start making tough decisions about who you spend your time with.

Fourth, remember to be flexible.  You thought that your resolution was reasonable and achievable but a few months in it’s clear you aimed a little too high.  It’s okay to change the resolution to a more reasonable and achievable one.  Or hopefully it’s the other way around.  Your resolution turns out to be a little too easy to achieve.  Move the goal posts farther away.  Maybe four months in you realized that what you thought you wanted to achieve with a resolution isn’t your true goal.  Your resolution was to live a more minimalist lifestyle.  You’ve gotten rid of a lot of your stuff but you don’t feel better for it.  Then it dawns on you that it wasn’t the clutter in your apartment that was bothering you, it was the apartment itself.  Change your resolution to finding a new apartment.

Finally, and this goes hand in hand with flexibility, remember that Day One isn’t the only day you can make resolutions on.  Anytime during the year you realize that a resolution isn’t working out for you, drop it.  But replace it with a new one.  Halfway through the year you’re well on your way to meeting your resolution to be a better athlete and you want to up the ante.  Make a resolution to enter a Spartan race before year’s end.  Three months in and you’re making excellent progress on writing that book you resolved to get done before 2019 is over, resolve to start another book as well.  Or maybe resolve to increase your creativity in another area like drawing or painting happy little trees.  You could be doing really well with resolutions in one area of your life, like finances, and decide you’d like to improve other areas, like fitness.  So create a new fitness resolution.  You don’t have to wait until Day One 2020 to do that.

Hopefully these tips will help you along your journey with your resolutions this year.  But the most important tip I can give you is to take the first step.  Michael Jordan correctly said that you miss all the shots you don’t take.  So try.  Even if you don’t complete the resolution, if you’ve moved from where you were to down the road a bit to where you are, you’ve done a great thing because you’re better for it.

And that’s the resolution we should make every day.  To be a little better than we were the day before.  So here’s to being better.  Have a great day.

The Year In Review   Leave a comment

Well, most of the year anyway.  I didn’t start using the blog again until March.  However I have been tracking my weight from day one of 2018.  And here we now are on day 365. A lot of progress has been made.

On Day 1 I weighed in at 352.6 pounds.  This morning I weighed in at 267.8 pounds.  Just shy of 85 pounds by .2 pounds.  Just over 7 pounds a month.

On Day 1 I was 52% body fat.  I was carrying around 183.4 pounds of body fat.  That’s a good-sized adult’s body weight, just in fat.  When I weighed in this morning my body fat was 35.8%.  In pounds that’s 95.9.  So I’ve lost 87.5 pounds of fat, 2.7 pounds greater than my total weight loss.

Unfortunately my body composition was outside the parameters of the scale I use for keeping track of my improvements.  So I can’t say for sure what that 2.7 pounds of difference is.  I have worked out a bit so it could be muscle mass.  Then again it could be water weight.  Or some combination of the two.

I see greater muscle definition as I lose weight so I’d like to believe the 2.7 pounds is muscle growth, but I recognize that as I’ve lost a lot of body fat I could just be getting a better view of what was there all along.  What’s important is I’m loving how my body is changing, so the details are just details.

My exercise game has improved greatly.  At the beginning of the year I failed to meet my move goal on 5 days of the month.  The move goal is measured in calories.  At the time I had it set for 680.  The exercise ring, which is measured in minutes has a 30 minute goal.  I only reached it 12 days that month.  The final ring is the stand ring. It makes sure you stand for at least a short time for 12 hours of the day.  I closed that ring every day.

For December I’ve closed all three rings on every day except one.  On the 7th I nodded off and failed to get my second workout in.  My move goal has been increased to 770 so I’m not only meeting my goals, they’re harder goals to meet.

Also, when I started my exercise consisted completely of just walking.  Now I do body weight exercises, jump roping, and some weight lifting.

As for who I am on the inside, well that’s changed a lot, too.  At the beginning of the year I’d do my best about trying to get in at least one meditation session a day, but often fell short of the goal.  Now I get in at least one session a day, often times two, and occasionally three.  Quality wise it’s a little harder to record because it’s a subjective analysis, but I do think that’s improved as well.  While my mind still wanders substantially more than I’d like, it doesn’t wander nearly as much as it used to.  At the beginning of the year I was happy with a 10 minute session, and now I go for 20-30 minutes when I meditate.

I feel better and more positive.  Again, it’s a subjective measurement, but in this case subjectivity is ok as if you feel you’re happier you kinda are happier, or you wouldn’t feel happier.  If that makes any sense.  I know I deal with things a little more calmly, and certainly get centered again quicker then I used to.  And I feel a lot more positively about my future.

Finance wise, I’m doing better but still have ways to go.  I’m getting bills paid off and credit card debt down.  I will be switching jobs sometime in the near future so we’ll see how that affects things.

So that’s the year in review except for the final thing, the review of pictures.  They will go from the current (olive drab long sleeve t-shirt) back in time to my oldest, the Flash t-shirt.  Feel free to leave a comment on how you think I did this year.  Or suggestions on ways to improve going into 2019.  Here’s to an upcoming great year.

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Quick Thought   2 comments

So I applied for a job last night that requires good typing skills.  Not exceptional typing skills but good ones.  I’m getting up early tomorrow to go in and take a typing test before I head to work.  As such I decided it may be a good idea to take an online typing test to see how rusty I am.

Turns out I’m plenty rusty.  The last time I took a typing test to look for a job was over a decade and a half ago.  Adjusted for no errors my typing speed was 67 words per minute.  I was actually faster than that I just oops’d a few times knocking my score down.  When the woman told me my speed I was a little disappointed.  I knew I was faster than that. She was surprised.  She said my speed was well above most who tested for the job (Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles, if you were curious).  That was my last official typing speed test.

Tomorrow I have to beat 35 words per minute. Remembering my last official test I wasn’t too worried when I heard that.  After a few practice tests online, I’m still not worried, but also not quite as cocky as I was earlier.  My first go was 45 words per minute, well under my old speed.  And my accuracy was just a smidge over 90%.  Not my best showing, even if it would have counted as a pass on the typing test.  I did the test over a few times and I’ve gotten my speed back up to 64 words per minute over a couple of tests.  So I’m certain I’ll do fine on the typing test.

Why do I bring this up?  Simply, I had a good skill back in the day that I lost to a certain extent because I didn’t make use of it.  I typed all the time back then.  I was in college and had tons of papers to write.  And a very bad habit of putting them off until the last minute.  So quick typing was a necessity.  Now, aside from the blog, I just don’t need to type that much.  So my skill has waned a bit.

Happiness works the same way.  You can’t practice happiness until you get a good “happiness speed” and then coast on it.  It’s a skill you need to hone every day.  If you aren’t practicing happiness and gratitude daily, over time you’ll lose the “skill”.  You just won’t be as happy.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson.  I’m going to test my typing skills regularly.  Maybe even invest in a good typing program to challenge myself.  I’m also going to take this little epiphany to remember to also keep up on my happiness and gratitude practice.  While keeping up my typing skills may land me a good job tomorrow, keeping up my happiness and gratitude skills will land me a good life.  And it can for you too.  Have a great day.