Top Ten Things You Should Stop Doing

If You Want to Be Happier, Drop These Habits NOW!

Top Ten Things You Should Stop Doing

We are a generation of to do lists, multi-tasking, smart phones, and appointment calendars.  We’re convince that the MORE we DO, the happier we’ll be.  We think, “If we want happiness, we have to do do do and get get get…”

We proudly wave our “git ‘er done” mentality and vow to do just that.  And, of course we want our lunch to go – after all there are places to go, people to see, and plenty of ‘er to get done.

I won’t even lecture (well, not today anyway) about what this does to our health, psyche, and relationships. You get a free pass, I’ll go all mother hen on you about your well-being another day.

What we fail to realize, however, amongst all of our busyness, is that we can have an admirable “To Do” list, but if we keep doing certain negative, destructive things – we’re just shooting ourselves in our ever moving feet.

Think of these 10 self-destructive thoughts or actions as your To Don’t list.

  1. Don’t put things off.  If you’ve been wanting to build a tree house… go buy your lumber today! If you’ve always wanted an herb garden Martha Stewart would be impressed with, start planning it right now. If the thought of something makes you smile, imagine how much you’ll smile when it’s out of your brain and in your reality.
  2. Don’t let others determine how you feel about yourself.  Never look to other people to see your own reflection – you’ll never get the same one twice.  Taking a good, hard look at yourself is the first step in the self improvement journey.  But YOU are the one that has to take inventory.  Don’t let others build you up too high, but certainly don’t allow them to tear you down.  When someone else determines your highs and lows, don’t they pretty much have control over you?
  3. Don’t allow toxic thoughts to rent space in your mind. Here’s the dangerous thing about thoughts – they don’t remain thoughts. They become actions, they become attitudes, and they become words. Actions and words CANNOT be undone. They can be apologized for, agonized for, and can serve as huge weights on your conscience – but they can never be erased. If you entertain negative thoughts about an individual and keep feeding these thoughts with MORE negativity and hatred, it will come out – make no mistake about it. Think of negative thoughts as toxic waste. NOW, how long do you want them sticking around?
  4. Never “bad mouth” your loved ones to others.  I once read a woman’s quote that said something to the effect of how thankful she was that her name was always safe in her sweetheart’s mouth. I thought that was beautiful. She knew that if he ever spoke of her to his friends and/or family, it would be with kindness and love. When we speak of our loved ones, should they not be able to say the EXACT same thing? Are your loved one’s names safe in your mouth? Don’t run people down – especially those you love. Build them up… brag on them! People will make judgments about your loved ones by your own words – they’ll also judge just how much you love and pride you have for them from these same words.
  5. Don’t make excuses.  If you mess up, and come on, who doesn’t – own up to it.  Don’t try to laugh it off if it isn’t funny, don’t try to re-size it (up-size or downsize), and most of all, don’t try to put the blame on someone else.  Finger pointing is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t. Do. It. It’s ugly.
  6. Don’t underestimate karma.  Seriously, never ever fail to give karma her due – you’ll be sorry.  I’ve been telling my daughters about her (and her keen memory and even keener sense of justice) as long as I’ve been telling them to say please and thank you.  Karma can be a rewarding, kind, beautiful seeker of justice, but she can also seem like a cruel, vindictive something or another. Either way, she has an impossibly long memory. You can’t outrun her, you can’t hide from her.  The only thing you can hope to do is to stay on her good side.  You know the old adage that says the mother is the “heart” of the home, and that if she’s happy, everyone’s happy – but if she’s miserable, everyone’s miserable?  Meet Karma… the heart of life’s home.  When you make a point of doing the right thing (whether anyone’s watching or not), Karma keeps score and your world will be more harmonious.  But when you dodge what’s right in favor of what’s wrong, you’re instantly on her ‘ish list.  And make no mistake about it, she’ll get to you.
  7. Stop doing what you hate. If you’re working in a job that makes you miserable, find another one.  Life’s too short to spend it being miserable.
  8. Stop thinking so much about money.  That’s another thing that sort of defines our generation. We never seem to think we have enough money.  Think about it this way – if we had more, we’d just spend more.  When my husband and I were first married, we didn’t have a heckuva lot of money.  When our beautiful daughters started arriving, we had even less.  More love, more happiness, more laughter – but most definitely less money.  Today, we’ve been blessed to have enough money, but guess what?  We still spend it.  We simply pay a little more for what we wear, where we live, what we eat, and what we drive.  We were as warm, as comfortable, as full, and as mobile then as we are now.  I’ll let you in on a little secret too, we were just as happy then as we are now.  We’re the same people now as we were then.  We laugh out loud at Andy Griffith reruns, get far too wrapped up in UK Basketball and St. Louis Cardinals baseball, spoil our daughters and cats, and so on.  Money buys stuff but it doesn’t buy happiness, it doesn’t buy relationships, and it doesn’t buy memories.  If you’re sacrificing any of the three in its pursuit, you’ll be more than sorry in the end – you’ll be devastated.
  9. Don’t nitpick other people!  Sorry for the exclamation mark – I just felt compelled to yell this one out loud.  How this guy wears his hair, how that woman dresses, what this person eats, how that person talks – none of your concern.  Not your problem. In the new testament, at the point where Jesus has risen and is addressing his apostles, one of them sees fit to ask Him about another apostle.  Jesus’ response was, “What is that to you?” A very loving and long-suffering way of saying, “Now remind me how that’s any of your business sir….”  We get SO off track by looking at what others are or are not doing.  They are responsible for their own lives – how they dress, where they work, how they live… Unless it is directly… directly, now… affecting you or one of your loved ones, let it go. Why bother finding MORE things to worry about or be unsettled by? Wouldn’t life be better if one looked for things to be happy about? Also, keep this in mind – if you overly criticize people, they will eventually stop trying to please you. They’ll figure, “I can’t do anything right with this so and so… so…. I quit even trying.”  If you kill someone’s creativity and confidence, how does that benefit you OR them?
  10. Finally, stop doing what isn’t working. If you’ve been working toward a particular goal and don’t seem to be gaining on it whatsoever, it’s time for Plan B because Plan A is belly up.  You can either keep wasting time and hope it suddenly flips over and miraculously starts working, or you can abandon what doesn’t work and find something that does.

BONUS: This one is my absolute favorite one… so I set her aside from the rest. A chosen, favored one to be sure.  Once years ago, I read a quote that – if there were such a thing – would be my ‘Spirit Animal Quote.’  It said, “All I’m after is a world filled with laughter.”  I’m all about laughter and had MUCH rather be accused of finding too many things funny than of finding too few things funny.

Yes, I’m one of those who laugh out loud at commercials with talking animals, and can be found doubled over with tears in her eyes while watching funny cat videos online.

I love to laugh and the sound of other people laughing is music to my ears.  Never fail to look for the humor in situations.

Here’s an example that happened to my family recently.  I was sitting beside my daughter Brittany in a “surgery waiting room.” She was waiting to be taken back for kidney stone surgery.  She was in quite a bit of pain and was almost as worried and anxious as me. Almost. There, surrounded by about 10 other people who were awaiting surgeries, we found ourselves in a totally somber setting.

Then she pointed out something to me and we both had to laugh – a “biker” came strolling through, slowly, and took a seat. On the back of his leather jacket were the words GRIM REAPER.  Brittany said, “Oh, great. What’s he doing here?”  I told her, “I thought he’d be taller.

I don’t know, there was just something about the moment that made us laugh. She even reached for her camera phone to take a picture but the Grim Reaper sat down and his chair hid his identity.

We both decided that, yet again, we had proof of one thing – God has a terrific sense of  humor.

Just because we aren’t kids anymore doesn’t mean we have to stop looking for the fun in life. It’s there. You’ll find it if you look. Try to find the humor in as many situations as possible.

Laughing beats grumbling any day.

Sometimes we have to STOP doing things in order to START doing things.  The negatives just weigh the positives down, so ditch them on the now.

Now, I’m off to plan my epic herb garden,
~ Joi

Quote About Humor

Review: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Amy Morin's Book Should be Required Reading for Everyone

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do Review

I love it when I’m sent a book to review and I, literally, have trouble putting it down. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin is the latest book to fit this description.

I’ll tell you what reading it reminded me of: Sitting in a Baptist Church in the South on a Sunday morning as the Man of God in front of the congregation was on FIRE! He paces and preaches and preaches and paces – the whole time leaving you thinking things like, “That’s right!,” “That’s SO GOOD!,” and “AMEN!”

I’ve had the supreme privilege and honor of sitting in many Sunday morning services just like that. They’re downright tingly to your body, mind, and spirit because they serve as wonderful wake up calls.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is a wake up call in its own right. I can’t say that it stirs the Spirit necessarily, but that’s not what it’s setting out to do. THIS particular wake-up call stirs your mind and even your heart.

And does so with aplomb.

Expanding on her viral post that has become an international phenomenon, a psychotherapist offers simple yet effective solutions for increasing mental strength and finding happiness and success in life.

As a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist, Amy Morin has seen countless people choose to succeed despite facing enormous challenges. That resilience inspired her to write 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a web post that instantly went viral, and was picked up by the Forbes website.

Morin’s post focused on the concept of mental strength, how mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors—feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people’s success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best.

In this inspirational, affirmative book, Morin expands upon her original message, providing practical strategies to help readers avoid the thirteen common habits that can hold them back from success. Combining compelling anecdotal stories with the latest psychological research, she offers strategies for avoiding destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors common to everyone.

Like physical strength, mental strength requires healthy habits, exercise, and hard work. Morin teaches you how to embrace a happier outlook and arms you to emotionally deal with life’s inevitable hardships, setbacks, and heartbreaks—sharing for the first time her own poignant story of tragedy, and how she summoned the mental strength to move on. As she makes clear, mental strength isn’t about acting tough; it’s about feeling empowered to overcome life’s challenges.

Each chapter goes into great (eye-opening) detail about the pitfalls of the 13 things successful people do not do.  As you read through the book, you will (given the fact that you look human to me) recognize yourself in a few scenarios.

This is a good thing! WHEN you realize bad habits or choices, THEN you’re able to give yourself a good old-fashioned kick in the seat of the pants and vow never to go down that dead end road again.

That’s why I call these moments wake up calls. They sound off alarms that help you shake out of a deep sleep and get moving in the right direction.

Amy Morin has put together an absolutely wonderful book that reads fast but leaves a lasting impression.  Since I read it (a few weeks ago), I’ve often thought of her words.

Chapter 4: They Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

One of my favorite chapters in the book addresses the fact that Successful People Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control. Not only would it be a colossal waste of time and energy to focus on things you cannot control – it sucks time and energy AWAY that could actually be productive.

It feels so safe to have everything under control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic.” (Page 74)

The chapter includes examples and “symptoms” of this type of thinking.

We can’t possibly make all of our circumstances and all the people in our lives fit into the way we think things should be. When you learn to let go of the details you can’t control, the amount of time and energy you’ll be able to devote to the things you can control will give you the ability to accomplish incredible feats.” (Page 75)

How great is that?!

This one chapter, alone, should be required reading for everyone in the world. If you cannot control it… let it go. Not only will everyone else around you be happier, you’ll be freer.

As I read through this chapter, I thought of a few modern-day illustrations of this bad habit.

  • Women who call or text their boyfriends/husbands again and again and again while he is on the golf course, fishing, watching a game, etc.  If the truth came out…. they don’t want them THERE! They want them where they want them and yet, somehow, lost control of the situation. He wandered away! What’s a gal to do?  She can retain a little bit of control by keeping tabs on him.  Personally, I think a trip to Target would be a lot funner, but that’s just me.
  • This one’s timely – how about holiday get-togethers?  Tension often runs high because every family has that one person who acts as though no one EVER does enough for them. They’re sour and resentful because they’re unable to control what everyone else says and does.
  • Anyone with co-workers knows how maddening control freaks can be.  They aren’t the least bit interested in being a team player because they want to be the puppet master. They want to tell everyone else what “their job” is while refusing to let any “job descriptions” stick to them!

The list goes on, of course.  This is one of the most powerful chapters in the book -but  each chapter is profoundly powerful.

I know that  13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do is a book you’ll love. Even more importantly, I know it’s a book you’ll get A LOT out of. One of the first things I thought after I finished the book was, “The phrase game changer is woefully overused… heck, I overuse it on a gruesome level… THIS book truly is a game changer and could help SO MANY PEOPLE!”

I thought it then and I think it now. You need this book. Period.

On December 23, you’ll be able to buy  13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do on Amazon. Click through and pre-order  it now!

~ Joi

From the Inside Cover

The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Your Mental Strength

Everyone knows that regular exercise and weight training lead to physical strength. But how do we strengthen ourselves mentally for the truly tough times? And what should we do when we face these challenges? Or as psychotherapist Amy Morin asks, what should we avoid when we encounter adversity? Through her years counseling others and her own experiences navigating personal loss, Morin realized it is often the habits we cannot break that are holding us back from true success and happiness. Indulging in self-pity, agonizing over things beyond our control, obsessing over past events, resenting the achievements of others, or expecting immediate positive results holds us back. This list of things mentally strong people don’t do resonated so much with readers that when it was picked up by it received ten million views.

Now, for the first time, Morin expands upon the thirteen things from her viral post and shares her tried-and-true practices for increasing mental strength. Morin writes with searing honesty, incorporating anecdotes from her work as a college psychology instructor and psychotherapist as well as personal stories about how she bolstered her own mental strength when tragedy threatened to consume her.

Increasing your mental strength can change your entire attitude. It takes practice and hard work, but with Morin’s specific tips, exercises, and troubleshooting advice, it is possible to not only fortify your mental muscle but also drastically improve the quality of your life.

About the Author

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and psychotherapist. She is the only person in the psychology industry who is talking about mental strength on a global level. She lives in Enfield, Maine.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do Review

Symptoms of Growing Older: 10 Non-Physical Things to Watch Out for

Are You Better or Bitter... Grateful or Grumpy... Cool or Crusty?!?!

How Old Would You Be if You Didn't Know How Old You Are? - Satchel Paige Quote
The last time I worried about growing older, I was the ripe old age of 24. My birthday was around the corner and I remember thinking, “Holy cow, I’m going to be 25 years old… a quarter of a century!”

While I can’t help but laugh about it now, I remember it being quite a point of emphasis then. “A quarter of a century…”  The phrase kicked around in my brain for weeks.

Until I actually hit 25. Then I realized nothing different had really happened. I was still me. I still ate too much chocolate, still loved animals more than most people, still liked to color outside the lines, still wished baseball season lasted all year, and still vowed to make my daughters the most spoiled rotten little girls to ever twirl their hair and my husband the happiest husband to ever live, even if he often DID have to ask, “How? How can you spend that much money at the grocery store? How is it possible?

Hmmm… that’s quite a few years ago and – you know what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Funny thing about birthdays, they insist upon coming annually. I learned, long ago, that your age is just a number -nothing more. Norman Vincent Peale said it best, “Live your life and forget your age.”

Works for me!

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren

In this particular post, when I refer to growing older, I’m referring to the really interesting years… the particularly colorful ones beyond age 48.  Why did I choose 48? Because that’s usually the age that people begin to see the shadow cast by the big 5-0 and start to freak out just a little bit.

There are countless books, blog posts, magazine articles, and television shows that tell us all what to look out for physically as we age. We’re encouraged to have regular PHYSICAL checkups, so we can be alerted to anything unlovely before it grows into something dangerous.

This post is taking a page out of that book, but I want to look at things we all need to watch out for EMOTIONALLY and MENTALLY as we age. Below are some of the “common problems” that can turn up over the years. That’s the bad news – the good news is this: If we do regular “self exams,” we’ll be able to nip them in the bud before anyone ever even notices them.

Before we get to the 10 culprits, remember a few things:

  • Take an honest look inward with each one. All of them won’t tap you on the shoulder and say, “A-HEM” but one or even two will probably hit a little close to home. If NONE sound like you – look in the mirror and say, “You rock!” Then make a special note to never let any of them creep up on you… you’ll want to stay a rock star, right?
  • Don’t just read the words, then forget them by this time tomorrow. Carve them into your mind (especially the ones that make your subconscious clear its throat loudly) and perform regular self exams.

Top 10 Non-Physical Problems to Watch Out For As You Age

  1. Talking too much about your health. Now, don’t jump off the deep end – if someone asks how you’re doing, tell them. Just don’t fall into the trap of letting the majority of your conversations revolve around your aches, pains, weight, medications, stomach problems, or HEAVEN FORBID bodily functions. (Disclaimer: If you have serious health issues, your family wants and needs to know how you feel. Just don’t get stuck in a cycle of letting your every sentence involve your health. There’s no surer way to appear ancient than that.) This one kind of got me recently. I hurt my back recently and, I hate to brag, but this is the most painful week I’ve ever hobbled through. Anyway, I caught myself saying again and again, “My back hurts.”  I said it to the kids, the hubby, the cats, the pillows on the couch, God… as though none of them could tell with me popping Tylenol with one hand and positioning my ice pack with the other. The last time I said the words, I silently told myself, “Enough! If you say it again, I’m hiding your chocolate.” Not another peep from me.
  2. Expecting everyone else to do things for you.  Three words: Why should they? If you are physically able to perform your own chores….. shouldn’t you? My grandmother cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas meals up into her late 70’s.  Heaven help you if you dared ask if you could bring a dish or help clean up afterward! She took joy in her tasks and pride in her work.  Could she have, easily, passed off work to the rest of us? Of course. But NOT ONCE did she ever play the “age card.” She was far too smart to shine a spotlight on her age and far too proud to want to appear weak or incompetent.  She knew it was far more attractive to appear strong and capable. If you’re physically unable to do certain tasks – that’s a different ballgame. Then, by all means, politely ask for a little help. But, be honest with yourself – if you’re capable… you’re capable. Besides, staying mentally and physically active is the best thing for you. .. as long as you don’t put yourself in harm’s way or do something “dang stupid.”
  3. Moaning, Groaning, Sighing, and Complaining.  As they grow a little older, some people tend to gripe about everything they have to do. They have to sweep the garage? Prepare to hear about it for a couple of hours. They have to make a phone call? Get ready for the longest sigh you ever heard. Philippians 2:14  encourages us to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” (KJV). Different versions of the Bible use different words for murmurings and disputings such as complaining, grumbling, arguing, doubts, division, etc. Basically, this verse is God’s way of saying, “Go about your task quietly.” And don’t you wish more people would?! This isn’t an age “thing” as much as it is a personality “thing” – some people just seem to think they shouldn’t have to do any darn thing – but, as people grow older, they often tend to think everyone else should do their bid and call and IF they do have to do something on their own… well, you’re going to hear about it!.  Philippians 2:14 is a much more peaceful approach, isn’t it? Don’t be a martyr. Don’t be a victim. Is what you’re having to do really worth all that drama?
  4. Becoming too content. Wait – isn’t it good to be content?… absolutely. IF you’re referring to the type of contentment that means you’re happy and at peace. However, there is a real danger in becoming content with things we really shouldn’t ever be content with –  like our knowledge. We should always want to know more tomorrow than we know today. We should always want to learn new things. That keeps the mind sharp and the heart young.  Try to learn something new every single day.
  5. Shhhh, don’t look now, but are you becoming an old grouch?!?! Have you ever seen an older man or woman in public and instantly thought of the Grinch of Whoville fame? I certainly have and each time I wish they could see a mirror. They’d probably be horrified. Unless you just watched your best friend get abducted by two headed aliens, there’s just no need to go around looking like that.  No… not being able to find what you’re looking for in Aisle 3 is not an excuse. Having to wait in line for 5 minutes isn’t an excuse. Frankly, there is no excuse EVER to wear an expression that would frighten small children. Seriously, do you want to be that person? Whenever I see someone like that, I always want to ask them, “Really? Is life that bad?!”
  6. Being overly judgmental about young people. Okay, this one’s a pet peeve. I guess it’s because some of my favorite people – people I love DEARLY – are young people. I simply hate to hear someone running down “today’s young people.”  Are there areas where they need to “shore up?” Of course. Do some of them make highly suspect fashion or hairstyle choices? Boy do they?! But, here’s the thing – think back to when you were a young person. Would your grandparents (or maybe even parents) think you were an exemplary citizen?! Doubtful.  Being a young girl or boy has got to be tougher than ever these days – what with social media, the media, expectations, peer pressure, etc. Don’t pull out your holier-than-them vibe or make hateful expressions. Don’t say unkind, unnecessarily rude things to them. Again, do you want to be that person? Of course not. You’re cooler than that. Realize that everyone has their own journey – you’re taking your’s, allow everyone else the same freedom.  Walk along with them… but never try to make them step into your footprints.
  7. Becoming Hyper-Critical and Condemning. Come on,now.. life’s not that bad! Remind yourself that just because YOU don’t get it doesn’t mean it can’t be GOT. Whether it’s Twitter, today’s movies, today’s music (though, by gosh, you’d have a leg to stand on there), television.. whatever.  By all means, express your opinions – but don’t suck the life out of everyone else’s day in the process. Here’s a quick example. When I was a teenager, my mom would let me put the radio wherever I wanted it when we were in the car. She didn’t complain about the music I listened to – in fact, she sang along. She, invariably, got the words wrong… but she didn’t nag, complain, or try to make me feel stupid for liking what I liked. I remember one song’s lyrics she blew especially bad. The song went, “Whatcha gonna do when she says Good-Bye.. Whatcha gonna do when she’s gone..” My mom sang, “Whatcha gonna do when school’s out? Whatcha gonna do when it’s gone.”  One time she even turned to me after the song went off and said, “So.. what are you going to do when schools’ out?” I told her “Sleep and maybe watch soap operas all day.” She laughed and slipped in a little mother-in-law joke. Contrast that to what it would have been like riding in the car with an adult who starts ranting about how bad this music is – how kids today don’t know good music.. yadda yadda yadda.  Thank God my lyric-butchering mother didn’t want to be that person.
  8. Neglecting how you look.  Recently, my youngest daughter (Stephany) and I saw a lady who had to be 80 years feisty in Kroger. She had on a snappy looking hot pink top, gold bracelets jingling against one another, expensive looking ankle boots, and glittery fingernails. I told Steph, “That WILL be me one day!”  If you always embraced being a girl, keep on embracing. Guys, keep grooming… girls keep glamming. Instead of thinking, “I’m getting to old to care – it doesn’t matter any more…” take the lady with the glittery nail’s approach – I’m going to rock this age!
  9. Failing to slow down.  This may seem like an ironic one, but it’s really a problem for A LOT of people – especially men.  The further past 40 some guys get, the faster they go. Their mindset seems to be, “I gotta make all the money… gotta work all the hours… gotta make all the money…” Nope. Actually, you could slow down enough to enjoy your family and the world around you. No one ever said, from their deathbed, “Dad-gummit, I wish I’d worked more! I wish I’d chased that almighty dollar more!”  Truth be told, money would be the furthest thing from their mind. Way, way, way, way after thoughts about their loved ones. Slow down – not just your mindset, but your daily approach. You don’t have to blaze a trail throughout the house, for example. Slow down and go about your day with purpose and clarity of mind. You’ll misplace your cellphone far less often that way!
  10. Make your own sunshine. With Self Help Daily, I write a lot about happiness – how to be happy, how to get happy, how to stay happy… I throw out a lot of words, but the crux of all the verbiage is this – if you want to be happy… be happy.  Choosing happiness is the best decision you’ll ever make.  Sometimes as people grow older (remember, we’re talking about the 48+ crowd primarily), they somehow want to shift the role of making them happy to someone else. Big mistake. It’s no one else’s job or role to make you or me happy. Putting the key to our happiness in someone else’s pocket makes about as much sense as baptizing a possum. Instead of wondering when “the last time _____ called” was, call _______! Instead of complaining that no one comes to see you – either go see them or get busy having so much fun you don’t care who – if anyone – is there to see the shenanigans!  It may sound brutal (sometimes that’s what’s called for), but the reason “they” may not come around more is you’re a real downer! Maybe you  feel sorry for yourself or complain too much. Maybe you’re a world class conductor on the Guilt Trip Train. Maybe you snarl and frown so much “they” have forgotten what your smile looks like or even if you have teeth or not.  Be the sort of smiling, happy, fun, uplifting, and encouraging person that draws people to you.  Get so busy having fun and enjoying life that “they” want desperately to step in your sunshine!

The 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond (don’t laugh – people are living longer and longer) can be the happiest, funnest, most peaceful, and enjoyable years of your entire life or they can be the most negative, loneliest, grumpiest, darkest years.

The choice is your’s.  The key is in your pocket and it has been all along.
~ Joi

“There’s always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.” – Author Unknown

How to Use Your Subconscious Mind to Help You Achieve Goals

3 Simple Steps to Making Your Subconsciousness Work for You

Quote About Achieving Goals with Our Subconscious Mind
The quote above, by Earl Nightingale, is a beautiful reminder of the power of our subconscious mind. Whether we fully realize it or not, our subconsciousness is one of our most powerful weapons – sometimes all we really need to do is get out of its way.

If we were to take the quote above and drain every drop of self improvement goodness from it (something we should do with all inspirational quotes), we’d realize a few things:

  1. First of all, we should make certain that we feel as strongly about our goals as we think we do.  Have you ever found yourself struggling with a particular goal or dream only to realize it isn’t even your dream? That, in fact, you’re actually trying to live up to someone else’s goal for your life? There’s a reason that doesn’t work – YOU have to feel strongly and passionately about the goal or dream. It has to be YOUR dream. YOUR vision. YOUR passion. If it’s someone else’s dream, let them work on it while you work on your own.
  2. How do you make sure the idea is “buried deep” in your subconscious mind? At the risk of grossly oversimplifying… you put it there!  Think about the goal you want to achieve and think about it often. You aren’t working some sort of mumbo jumbo – trying to bring the fulfillment to you, you are taking yourself to the fulfillment. Proactive beats inactive or reactive every single time when you’re going after goals. Goals and dreams aren’t on wheels, you can’t coax them to come to you, you have to lace up your own skates and roll to them. Frequently thinking about these objects of desire puts the wheels in motion. This particular step is why things like “vision boards” (picture collages of images that represent goals and dreams) are so popular. It’s also why so many experts recommend “picturing” yourself where you WANT to be. Both of these exercises are ways of burying the idea deep in your subconscious.
  3. When you’ve put your subconscious mind on the path to your goals, let it works its magic. You’ll find yourself with fresh ideas for making your way down this particular path.

Your subconsciousness is your own personal superhero and he/she is just waiting for you to call them to action.

~ Joi

The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment. – Earl Nightingale

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”  – Socrates

I think Socrates hit it pretty much on the head with this one.  Then again, he never missed when he took aim, did he?


How to Find Time to Read More

We all know how vital reading is to mental health – and if we choose the right books, reading is just as vital to our physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. The problem is we’re all too familiar with another fact.. there are only 24 hours in the day!

If reading is one of the things you’re trying to find more time for, I have a quick and easy tip for you and it all has to do with location, location, location.

Place the different books you’d like to read in strategic places around your house.  Maybe these books include the Bible, a promising mystery, a couple of inspirational books you’ve been meaning to read, the latest National Geographic, a self help book everyone’s raving about, and maybe even a good old fashioned Stephen King hair-raiser (better you than me, I’m fond of sleeping).

You could place one book beside each of your most frequented spots in the house…

  1. Near your favorite “evening spot” – you can always squeeze in at least one chapter before the ballgame (or “Bachelor” episode, if you’re so inclined).  You’ll often find yourself squeezing in a little reading during commercials and… depending on how the game’s going, maybe even during the broadcast.
  2. In the bathroom.
  3. In the kitchen. I almost always have an Agatha Christie mystery going and keep it in the kitchen. I sneak in chapters while keeping watch over my cooking or while procrastinating the dish-washing.
  4. In your pocketbook.
  5. Beside your bed. There’s nothing more relaxing that doing a little reading right before bedtime – unless, of course, it’s Stephen King. I wouldn’t invite him or his minions along for an evening read.

While I prefer good old-fashioned books I can flip through, there’s also a lot to be said for e-books and Kindle books. If you’re like most people, this would mean your books are ALWAYS within arms reach.

And that is a very positive thing, indeed.

+++ If you’re looking for a great inspirational or self help book, check out my book reviews on Self Help Daily. If it’s a novel you’re interested in, check out my daughter Emily’s book review blog, She’s Got the Book!

Make each moment count double!
~ Joi

Good…. Better…. Best

As Your Choices Move Up the Scale, your Results Will Follow

Good Better and Best

Have you ever wrestled with something that was kind of in a gray (or grey for our British readers) area?  Maybe it was a habit that you couldn’t really call “bad” – but, at the same time, you certainly couldn’t call it “good.”

Years ago, a friend and I were having one of those deep conversations that can only take place over pizza. In fact, it was just me, her, two tall glasses of Coca-Cola and an extra large pizza with mushrooms, onions, and green olives.  That’s what I loved about her – she liked the same pizza toppings I did.

The girl had such good taste.

Although, like a fairy tale, it was a long long ago, I distinctly remember our conversation. We were both young mothers at the time, with lots of little girls between us – and the prospect of raising daughters, in what seemed at the time the toughest time period to do so led to many heart-to-heart “mommy conversations.” Little did we realize that late 1990’s and 2000’s would make our particular time period look like Little House on the Prairie. Even then, however, things kids were exposed to in music, television, and movies was reprehensible. We may have been pizza drunk, and we may have been incredibly young – but even we knew that life choices and decisions should be broken down into three categories:  Good. Better. Best.

Sure, watching this television show (compared to the rest) is good… but is there a better option… and, then, is that the BEST option?

Over the years, a lot of things have changed. After frequent moving on both of our parts, I’ve totally lost contact with my pizza buddy. Thanks to gluten intolerance, I no longer sit in restaurant booths shoveling pizza in my mouth and, thanks to a metabolism that IN NO WAY got better with age, I no longer drink Cocoa Colas. What is it with metabolisms, anyway? Why do they turn on us?

What hasn’t changed, though, is the fact that we should all periodically take stock of how we spend our time, the choices we make, and the the way we’re playing this game called life.

First thing we need to do is to own the fact that everything we willfully do throughout the day is because we made a choice.  If someone buys a Big Mac and large fries, they chose to eat something profoundly unhealthy.  It didn’t just happen.

If we squander our time and, at the end of the day, realize that we didn’t get a darn thing done – we chose that path. Unless someone tied us to a chair, the choice was made by only one person – and that’s the person we see in the mirror.

Every action we make or inaction we take, we choose to do so.  That’s why, whenever it comes time to talk about self improvement, self growth, or self help, the first thing we have to hold accountable are our choices.

They lead the way – everything else just follows.

One of the fastest and most efficient ways to get the most out of these choices is to give honest answers to these questions:

  • Does anything GOOD come from this?
  • If not, why am I doing it?
  • If something GOOD does come from this choice, is there a choice I could make that would bring about an even BETTER payoff?
  • If there is a BETTER choice… is it the BEST choice?

Let’s look at a quick example, because if you’re anything like me, that’s where things really begin to take shape.

I don’t have to tell you how important it is to eat healthy. You don’t look like a perfect idiot to me, so I know you get that.  We tend to kind of “misplace” this bit of common sense as soon as we drive past a fast food restaurant, don’t we? We’ll see a sign that says something like Free Drink When you Buy Two Juicy Cheeseburgers and Large Fries, and automatically say through a smile, “Don’t mind if I do.”

While the convenience of this choice might appear GOOD, I’m pretty sure we can do better.

How about ordering just one burger and an unsweet tea? That’s BETTER…. but, can we do even better than that? Is there a BEST option available?


The BEST decision would be to either go home and have a wholesome, cheaper, lower calorie lunch or find a Subway and “eat fresh.”

Let me guess, it seems like a small thing, right?  But that’s kind of what choices are  – they’re the small brush strokes that paint the big picture.  Now, which is going to make the best picture – the best strokes, of course.

Same thing with self improvement – if you want the BEST you, you have to practice making the BEST choices.  Unless, of course, you just want to settle for a “good” you…

I didn’t think so.

If you want the BEST from yourself and the BEST from life, it all starts with making the BEST decisions.  Like a single unit, they will all move in the same direction.  May as well swing for the fences!

~ Joi

The Success of Others: Does it Irritate or Inspire You?

The following isn’t really a tip or a quote, so much, as it is a thought – just a random thought.  I have a lot of those.  Random thoughts in my mind are like snow in a Christmas snow globe.

Fortunately or unfortunately I don’t have to be turned up on my head to make them flow. Not always anyway.

Anyway, here’s the question on my mind: Why do so many people hate to see other people happy or successful?  Shouldn’t we all be motivated by the success of other’s?  Aren’t they proving that it’s possible?

If our circumstances aren’t lining up the way we’d like them to, shouldn’t we be motivated when we see circumstances falling into place for others? Shouldn’t we look at them and say, “Well it IS possible for things to work out after all!”

We can even take this whole self growth, self realization, and self improvement thing one step further (the next step is often where the good stuff is): Maybe we can even LEARN from someone else’s good fortune.

The next time something good happens to someone in your world,….

  1. Be genuinely happy for them.. and tell them so. You’ll instantly look 100 times cooler than over half the people they know.
  2. Realize that this is “their time” for a rainbow and yours may very well be around the corner – headed your way.
  3. Finally, ask yourself what things they did to invite success into their life.  What GOOD habits do they practice and what GOOD traits do they possess? Long story short, where’d they get their edge?

At the end of these three steps, you will have experienced self growth and gained priceless winner.  So, really, who is the biggest winner?

Always be free with the back pats you give!
~ Joi

“No one need live a minute longer as he is because the Creator endowed us with the ability to change ourselves.” – J.C. Penney

Why Being Busy Isn’t Always Such a Bad Thing

Mental and Even Physical Benefits to "Busyness"

Quote About Being Busy
What. A. Week.

Fellow cat lovers, have you ever noticed how gleefully busy your cat gets immediately after you’ve cleaned her sandbox and given her fresh litter? It’s as though she can’t do enough or do it fast enough.

I’m so there.

And, frankly, I love it. I love busy-ness. I don’t know why, but I kind of get a charge from it. It makes you feel alive – as though every one of your senses has to stay on guard because something’s about to come around the corner like Vin Diesel – guns blazing.


That, and the fact that it’s justification for keeping chocolate and coffee in front of me. My greatest riddle in life is, “Which makes my engine hum along better, chocolate and coffee?”

I think I’ll need more work in the lab to arrive at the answer.

One of my favorite quotes is by Satchel Paige: “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” This week has been one that – on several occasions – I actually went out of my way to carve out a few chunks of time in the evening for think-free sitting. It was such an uncommonly busy week that I felt like I owed it to my psyche.  While I believe that being busy is actually a darn good thing for us body and soul, it is imperative that we make quality time for our loved ones – which, of course, includes our family, pets, and even ourselves.

My extra business has been more than just this week, actually. The past few months have been kind of crazy. It’s all good, though, because I like crazy – quite a bit, actually. It’s normal that gives me the heebie jeebies… at least I think it did. Let’s see, that would have been 1980…

I’ve been swamped with online work. Again, that’s a good thing, but I don’t have a to do list anymore. I have to do lists – they start on one page then continue on the next. Then the next. Then the next. When I hear someone complain about their to do list (emphasis on singular), I want to throw all of mine at them.

But I just smile – sometimes I wink.

Here’s one of the beautiful things about being busy… ironically, it’s THEN when you actually get the most done. It’s as though the mind says, “Well, I’m already running at a frantic pace, I might as well do THIS too.. and THIS… and why not THAT?!” We went to a particular church in Madisonville, Kentucky for years and our Pastor always said that if he needed something done, he’d look for the busiest person and assign the task to them.

Why? Busy people get stuff done.

Another benefit of busyness is the fact that it keeps you sharp. Your brain cells crave activity – in fact, I’m convinced that every cell craves activity. We weren’t designed to sit and do nothing day after day. We were designed by the Creator to get busy and stay busy.

On a mental level, staying busy forces your brain to come up with new solutions. Your brain is also challenged to become more creative and to, often, think outside of the box.  All of this may seem like chaos to us, but to our brains, it’s like a mental gym. Inactive, unchallenged brains are the ones headed for the most trouble. Never, ever resent extra activity for your brain – it’ll reward you for it today, tomorrow, and in years to come.

Emotionally, busyness is also a blessing dressed in work clothes.  When we’re busy, we don’t have time to worry, grieve, or cave in to feelings of loneliness, sadness, envy… or any of the long list of negative emotions that can drag us down. Staying busy is actually the best remedy for just about every negative emotion on the list.

The next time you find yourself having “one of those days,” don’t recoil… rejoice!  Then listen really close – you’ll hear every cell in your body buzzing.

Going Further…

What if you simply don’t have enough TO keep you busy?!  I’ve heard about this from quite a few individuals and, frankly, I’d never really stopped to consider it! Being a mother of three as well as running a web publishing business and writing leaves me wondering what that must be like.

I have a lot of days when I’d LOVE to find out!

In all seriousness, though, when your life simply doesn’t have “an awful lot going on,” it’s up to you to create the busyness.   The options are pretty amazing and once you start thinking of things to do, you’ll be amazed at just how many things there are just waiting to be done. Below are just a few…

  • Redecorate a room in your house.
  • Redecorate every room in your house!
  • Plant a flower garden (or vegetable garden or herb bed).
  • Adopt a cat or dog from you local shelter and make your life (and their life) something special!
  • Write the next great novel.
  • Learn to cook.
  • Learn a new hobby.
  • Get a full or part-time job doing something new and exciting.
  • Write a cookbook.
  • Learn to sew, quilt, or do woodworking.
  • Clean/organize your closets.
  • Volunteer your time to a worthy cause.
  • Clean/organize your kitchen drawers.
  • Start a blog.
  • Take up painting.
  • Take a college class or two.
  • Take up yoga.
  • Take online classes.
  • Choose three from this list and never wonder what busy feels like again!

~ Joi