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Proper Motivation

Sometimes we all need a little help in the motivation department, yes?

Check out these ideas, compiled by Geoffrey James, author and more. (Learn more about him on his website.)

1. Realize that YOU are in control. You cannot control the outside world, but you can control your emotional reaction to it.

2. Accept where you are. Life is like those signs that read “You Are Here.” You can get somewhere else only if you know where you are now.

3. Adopt a positive vocabulary. Use strong adjectives (e.g., “fantastic”) to describe what’s good and weak words (e.g., “annoying”) to describe what’s not.

4. Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts while avoiding negative thoughts.

5. Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action. Get your food and exercise budget in place and follow it like a business plan.

6. Avoid negative people. They drain your energy and waste your time, so hanging with them is like shooting yourself in the foot.



7. Seek out the similarly motivated. Their positive energy will rub off on you, and you can imitate their success strategies.

8. Have goals—but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete, lest it become more important than achieving the goal.

9. Act with a higher purpose. Any activity or action that doesn’t serve your higher goal is wasted effort—and should be avoided.

10. Take responsibility. If you blame (or credit) luck, fate, or divine intervention, you’ll always have an excuse.

11. Stretch past your limits. Walking the old, familiar paths is how you grow old. Stretching makes you grow and evolve.

12. Don’t expect perfection. Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life. Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable.

13. Celebrate your failures. Your most important lessons in life will come from what you don’t achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.

14. Don’t take success too seriously. Success can breed tomorrow’s failure if you use it as an excuse to become complacent.

15. Avoid weak goals. Goals are the soul of achievement, so never begin them with “I’ll try…” Always start with “I will” or “I must.”

16. Treat inaction as the only real failure. If you don’t take action, you fail by default and can’t even learn from the experience.

17. Welcome obstacles. You can’t grow stronger if you’re not lifting something heavy, so savor your problems.

18. Get perspective. Take the time and effort to step back, reexamine your assumptions, and find truths that you missed before.

19. Appreciate being alive. Never neglect to marvel at the miracle of conscious existence, which is all too soon over.

20. Relax more often. Spend at least one hour every day doing something that’s just because you enjoy doing it.

21. Experience wonder. Take pleasure in the unexpected and unusual because without them life would be tedious and boring.

22. Be playful. The joy of a child still lives inside you; let that child out at least once each day.

23. Give thanks. Experience deep gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life: family, friends, work, and play.

What do you think of James’ insights?

Are there other suggestions you’d like to add?

Simple Happiness

I sit here with a blank document open, determining what to write. No words are rushing out of me, but feelings sure are.
Trust. Hope. Awe. Gratitude. Love.
Women Unplugged isn’t my own personal blog, so I haven’t been as forthcoming with more private matters as I might have from other platforms, but any who have read my posts will have picked up that I’m a single mom who’s somewhere between two and three years into life post-marriage. It’s been a process, a thorough transition, getting to where I am.
I am happy and independent, I’ve learned a bunch about myself, and about the world and people around me. I’ve established myself in varying ways, and have a solid dynamic with my two daughters, one tween and one near-tweener. Excluding a few details I expect to shake down in the next few months, life is good. My soul is content. I had already come to this conclusion.
And then I met a man.
The timing wasn’t mine. And he’s more incredible than I might have imagined for myself. It’s surreal, finding myself here, at this new place.
A place of trust. Hope. Awe. Gratitude. Love.
And it’s all good.

When Your Night Nurse is a Country and Gospel Singer

You ask him to sing for you.
Or, if you’re not-so-forward like me (or really, just out of sorts because of some medical issues), you keep your thought about his resemblance to one from a famous-to-a-certain-generation vocal quartet to yourself. And then you kick yourself later for not seizing a memorable moment by demanding that he croon you to sleep with his baritone.
And then you, later yet, write about him.
Two weeks ago I took a little personal field trip to an area hospital. I’d had a few days of intermittent chest pain so the ER was calling, and after the standard evaluations, it was determined I’d be kept overnight for observation and additional tests the next morning.
The Oak Ridge Boys

The Oak Ridge Boys

Once transferred to my private room, I noted the message board on the wall next to the clock, beneath the small TV. It informed me, as such hospital boards do: “Your RN is Kevin” and “Your CNA is [name I can’t remember, because she wasn’t as memorable, apparently, as some singer’s doppelganger].”

I thought, Kevin? Seriously, a man? And as I lay there frumpy-times-a-thousand, I hoped and hoped it wouldn’t be some young, hot dude. Because the last thing I wanted was an intimidating man hunk administering my meds and regularly checking all the wires glued to my braless and saggy, you know, heart area.

But my nerves didn’t have long to build before he roamed into my room, looking well-coiffed and a touch out of place.
“OMG! It’s an Oak Ridge Boy!” I said in my head.
Kevin was in his fifties, and wore white (possibly linen) pants and a short-sleeved button-up baby blue shirt. (Why he wasn’t in scrubs like the women, I’ll never know, but I’d guess he has a certain celeb-like appearance to uphold.) Jet-black was his hair, as was his full beard. His Oak Ridge Boy-kind-of-beard.
His bedside manner was not unkind. But it was detached. Almost as if he wasn’t too comfortable with his role. Like he’d have preferred a stage before thousands, not this room with a lone woman in a hospital gown. He prefaced each step he took with a timid narration. “I think I’ll listen to your heart now,” and “I guess I could get your IV fluids going.” I wanted to shout, “Sing it out, Kevin! And hook me up! You can do it!”
We didn’t have a lot of interaction, Kevin and me, as I slept as much as I could through the night, but each time he entered—and announced his intention—I thought, There he is, my very own chart-topper.
If only I’d asked him to sing for me.
** My health is fine, my heart is healthy. Turns out I had a virus which led to pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lung, the pain from which can mimic a heart attack. I’m back to 100% now.

Little Life Observations

One of these weeks I’ll remember before Wednesday that Tuesday is trash day.

There is good all around, you need only be looking for it. (But sometimes it sneaks up on you!)

Come morning the cat may still have a noticeable amount of food left in her bowl, but she’s going to feign starvation anyway.

Cold days and good movies (and books!) go really well together.

My friends will always view me in a fairer light than I view myself (which is a powerful thing).

“I am invincible, as long as I’m alive.” — John Mayer

Much awe and entertainment are to be had by digging through old photos in antiques shops.

“I’m ready for spring,” said 18-bajillion people this month.

There is always something new to learn about oneself.

Dirty dishes don’t clean themselves, no matter how long you leave them sitting there.

There is no pause button for life. Rewind, neither. Makes you want to pay real close attention, doesn’t it?

Your observations. Go:

Hello, Little Doggie

This guy looks lackadaisical like Phillip. (Say that three times fast.)

This guy looks lackadaisical like Phillip.
(Say that three times fast.)

In my current novel-in-progress, which is women’s fiction, my main character has a dog named Phillip. He’s a grumpy beagle who, despite being “just” a furry sidekick, steals every scene he’s in. Whether it’s his sheer disdain for everything going on around him (truth is, his discord is all a ruse), or the way he lovingly gets under the MC’s skin, this guy has what it takes to be one of my favorite dogs.

And of course now I’m thinking about my other favorite dogs, so let me introduce you.

Let’s do the fictional pooch first: Enzo, from Garth Stein’s novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, my favorite (I said favorite!) book. (You can read the review I wrote here.) He is a loyal, intelligent dog who stole my heart in paragraph one.

Then there’s my friend Melanie‘s dog, Owen, who’s quite the handsome miniature schnauzer. You can find him on Facebook. He’s smart, well-spoken, adventurous. And he may or may not have a Spanish accent.

chloeBest for last: My niece, Chloe! She’s an English bulldog with the best temperament and sweetest face you’ve ever seen. See? –>

Life is so much better with a dog. Even a fictional one.
What about you, do you write pets into your stories? As a reader, do you feel fiction is more fun when there are “furbabies” to round out the family?
Tell me about the dogs that are most memorable for you.
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