Time for a Change (It Will Do You Good)

You probably know by now that I get a lot of joy and inspiration from music and great song lyrics. I put Sheryl Crow’s song “A Change Would Do You Good” in the great song and lyrics category. And I thought about it recently as I began to think about how to know when it’s time for a change

So when is the last time you really shook things up … like unbuttoned the second button of your starched white shirt or blouse? Okay, hopefully that gave you a little giggle. Now let’s makes the rest of this blog post a meaningful experience.

So When Is It Time for a Change?

In all seriousness, when is the last time you really stepped out of your comfort zone? Here are some questions to ask yourself as you wonder if it’s time for a change in your life…

• Have you become a creature of habit?

• Do you frequent the same establishments?

• Do you eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

• Do you find yourself using the same “go-to” excuses for not getting together with family or friends or missing the kids sporting events?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, a change may just be what you need. As Sheryl would say, it would most definitely “do you good!”

Finding and Implementing the Right Change

Now, if you’re thinking, ”I’d like to change some things in my life but I don’t really know how or where to begin,” let’s start with a few very common low-hanging fruit opportunities:

1. Work – If your profession defines you and you live to work, how about cutting back just a little? If you’re a Type A think about using the newly-found free time for family, friends or yourself. Maybe go in a little later or don’t stay late every night and keep the work on the weekends to a minimum.

2. Exercise – If you’re constantly saying, “I’ve got to start working out and get in shape” … well, w.t.f. are you waiting for? You didn’t get out of shape overnight. Start slowly (the worst thing you can do is to injure yourself) and try to do something every day, like take a walk with your spouse and the family dog. Try something new, like stretching, yoga or meditation. You’ll be surprised the impact this lifestyle change will have on your outlook and demeanor.

3. Cell phones and technology – If not having your cell phone causes you separation anxiety, you’ve got issues. Start trying to wean yourself, again a little at a time, from texting and Facebook. You will be surprised by the time this frees up for family, friends and kid time.

4. Whatever doesn’t bring you joy! Think about the things you do each day that don’t make you smile. Maybe it’s an annoying household chore, or a friend who doesn’t stop complaining about their job situation. Think about how you can initiate changes that will reduce those elements in your life.

Life is short. And whether you want to make a big change (like a new career) or a small change (like bicycling to the bookstore instead of driving), shaking things up can be uplifting and invigorating. So think about it … is it time for a change in your life?

To Live Your Dreams or to Chase Your Dreams? (Another Perspective)

Last week, I wrote a blog post about the difference between living the dream and chasing the dream, being or feeling content when you are enjoying your life as it is, and the discontent you feel when you’re always seeking more. But I wonder … is it that black and white? Can it be a good thing to chase your dreams from time to time?

When Does Living the Dream Go Too Far?

So let me play devil’s advocate here….

There’s a counterpoint to be made to my statement the other day: that living the dream leads to a happier, healthier outlook. Maybe being too happy or too content isn’t ideal either.

Let’s take it to an extreme. Let’s say you’re unemployed, unable to pay your rent, and about to be evicted. But hey, you are healthy and alive, so you are content and “living the dream.” So you kick back, smile and figure that whatever happens … happens.

Now most people will never be content in that situation. But let’s dial it back a bit. Let’s say you are 27 years old, have been in minimum-wage job for the last five years, and are still living with your parents. But you have great friends, go out every night and have fun, and are truly enjoying life. Is that an okay time to be living the dream? Chances are your parents don’t think so.

When and How to Chase Your Dreams

We can all agree: the key to happiness in life is … well … to be happy.

But sometimes, maybe it’s important to balance that happiness in the moment with setting career goals (like getting that dream job), planning for the future (like saving for retirement) … or even dating (so that you can find the right person for you).

Chances are you can come up with one or two things that you want to improve about your life. Here’s how to take those and make them goals you can really achieve.

• Think about where you want to be and work backwards from there. What steps will it take to get from point A to point B?

• Give yourself concrete objectives and timelines. For example, hold yourself to an objective, like “I need to update my resume by the end of the year.” Or “I want to lose 5 pounds in the next 6 weeks.”

• Find ways to reward yourself along the way as you achieve the small objectives that will help you chase your dreams.

• Bring in friends and family members that can help cheer you on and be your biggest supporters.

So maybe chasing your dreams doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy each and every day that gets you there. Maybe it means that it’s important throughout your life to continually stop and think about what can make you even happier – both now and in the future.

Gather Your Troops: The Power of Community In A Cancer Battle

The Power of Community In A Cancer Battle

One of our natural tendencies when we find out hard news is to pull away from others. It is easy to get stuck in a mindset or feel depressed and sometimes the last thing we want is to drag other people down. If I’ve learned anything in my experiences with cancer battles, it is that you need other people. And, you know what? They need you too.

Arm Yourself For Cancer Battle With Others

Enlisting your foot soldiers can be powerful because it reminds you that you aren’t alone. A diagnosis of any kind can often feel isolating, and even if the people around you aren’t processing a cancer diagnosis, their presence alone can help remind you that you aren’t alone. Don’t let the lies of disease trick you into believing that others don’t care or won’t understand. 

Friends Can Help You Meet Practical Needs

Practically speaking, you will finding yourself in situations where you simply need some help. You will be tired, worn out, and need an extra hand to simply help you get to the next step in the fight. This applies to caregivers as well! We simply need each other and I’ve never seen that more than in the middle of a cancer battle. Enlist your troops to help you with the practical aspects of life because you will need it at some point. 

Cancer Community Can Be Sweet

When you’re walking through something like cancer, you have a unique bond with anyone else who has ever had a similar diagnosis. You’re part of a special club, whether you like it or not. You’ll feel a special kindred spirit with anyone who has heard those difficult words. Those who haven’t had cancer will never fully relate. There is a lot of wealth you can glean from others who are part of this special community. 

Let Others Love You

The more you open up to others about your diagnosis, the more support you will find. People love to help, especially in times of illness. Let others use their gifts to bless and support you. Have you ever considered that you are denying people of living out their purpose when you deny their support and gifts of time, love, or even money? It’s a lot easier to accept help and love from others when you start to view their offers in this way. Love has this amazing power to change everything if you let it. 

When you are walking through something hard like cancer, one of the best things you can do is embrace the community you already have around you, and seek out community that can help you fight strong! You don’t need to fight cancer alone. You can fight stronger, smarter, and more hopeful when you walk with others by your side.

You might also like this blog: WHO’S YOUR HEALTHCARE QUARTERBACK?

Are You Living the Dream or Chasing the Dream?

In a previous blog post, called Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand, I referenced the final scene from the movie Dirty Harry where Inspector Harry Callahan says to the villain…”Do You Feel Lucky.” I used it to emphasize the importance of listening to your body and acting when you sense something isn’t right. For this post, I have a similar question for readers to contemplate: Are you chasing the dream or living the dream?

What Is the Difference Between Chasing and Living the Dream?

Well, chasing the dream is another way of saying that you still haven’t found what you’re looking for. For whatever reason(s), you aren’t content with certain aspects of your life and so you feel the need to seek, search, or wish for something more. 

On the flipside, living the dream says to me that you have found contentment with your life as it is today. You have found an inner peace and calm.

Why Living is Preferred Over Chasing

The phrase “living the dream” pretty much says it all. It involves living in the moment and enjoying the task at hand. It means that you’re content and satisfied. Just compare that to the angst and discontent of wishing or wanting what you don’t have.  

This may sound simple, but chances are if you assess your own life you may find that you are spending a disproportionate amount of your time chasing your dreams and less time living them. 

Some Basic Living vs Chasing Dream Questions

So how do you know if you are living or chasing? Here’s a good list of questions to ask yourself.

• Do you focus on the positive or negative aspects of your physical appearance?

• Do you feel a sense of self-worth or lack of purpose with your career profession?

• Do you see the charm or deficiencies of your current domicile?

• Are you satisfied with your interpersonal relationships or are you seeking more from family and friends?

• Do you feel a sense of security or insecurity with your personal financial status?

Answer these questions honestly. After all, you don’t have to share your responses with anyone but yourself. Those answers will likely be good indicators as to whether you are living the dream or chasing the dream.