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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Get in the Groove to Succeed at Life (and School)!!

As I see it, we humans have two choices.  We can do the things that will make us successful, or we can be miserable.  For those who aren't sure, please watch: 7 Ways to be Miserable  Then you'll see just how to ruin, eh hmmm, improve your life.

In fact, setting clearly defined goals and a set daily rhythm is a  GREAT way to start your school year.  Even the most accomplished among us can improve their way of life, so take a few minutes to explore -

What's my sleep cycle like?  If you'd like to reek havoc on your life, be more depressed and less productive, have an irregular sleep cycle.  Keep your body confused about when to rest and when to rise, and you'll be more miserable by the day.  Happily, it only takes three days/nights to "reset" your body clock.  So, determine the optimum time to arise in the morning, count back 8 1/2 hours, and set that as your bedtime.  The MOST important set time in your day is your bedtime.  Give yourself half an hour to wrap up your day and get ready for bed, then let your head fall gently on your pillow.  If you need more sleep, adjust the plan accordingly.

Do I ever get moving?  Feeling good involves getting your motor running.  Just pouring coffee down your throat to wash down your sugar laden "breakfast" will not do the trick.  God gave us bodies on purpose.  In order to get our minds working, able to focus and concentrate, settle our moods, slow down our fidgets, get out and walk, run, swim, bike, etc.  Take a good half hour every morning to move your body.  Then, take a refreshing shower, eat a decent breakfast (which you'll be more interested in after exercising than you typically are), and get on with your day.

Is silence my friend?  Our worlds are NOISY!!!  I can't get a moment to clear my head, can you??  Integrating time in silence each day is calming, centering, and enables our minds to rest.  Meditation or prayer or Scriptural or spiritual reading can be part of this time, but they don't have to be.  Just sit under a tree, spend time alone, swim, whatever.  Yep, this can be combined with exercise, if that works for you.  Some people find using headphones or earbuds to be really helpful.  Just because I have them in my ears doesn't mean I have them connected to anything or am listening to anything.  I might just be using them to help my world be more quiet.  Journaling or drawing or coloring might be good things to do in your silent time.  Just let your thoughts rest and just be.  Just rest in God's presence, notice the beauty around you, just breathe.  Let your mind and your body and your soul get grounded for the day in the quiet.  Use a timer so you don't have to worry about when the time will end.  Let go - and be still.

What's the point?  Why did you get up today? this week? this month? this year?  "Uh, I dunno." is not an answer that is going to get you out of bed.  Set some goals.  Ask yourself where you want to be in a year.  What skills do you want to acquire?  What grades do you want to earn? Promotion do you want to secure?  Growth in virtue do you desire?  WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS.  Make them specific.  My goal is to score at least 90% on every test this semester.  I plan to lose 5 pounds or gain an inch around my biceps.  I will count to three when I am upset and must respond, and I will be calm when I respond to X person,who tends to aggravate me, demand a lot, etc.  Make the goal measurable - set it so you can clearly determine whether you have accomplished it or not.  Make the goal realistic, something you can actually put into practice, "Actionable" in modern parlance.  In three months, I will be fluent in a language I know nothing of is, for the vast majority of us, an unrealistic goal.  Make sure your goal is realistic - I will keep my room 100% tidy at all times is a great goal.  However, accomplishing it when you have three roommates is not realistic; you can only determine your own actions.  Lastly, give your goal a deadline.  I will lose 15 pounds is a great goal - but it's not so possible when I have no deadline - I can always have that treat and put off my goal until some undefined future date.

Regulate Your Intake.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Junk food is called junk for a reason.  What's your favorite drug?  Winston? Marlboro? Pot? Sugar? Caffeine?  Nearly everyone in the US is a drug user.  We eat FAR more sugar than ever before and it makes our brains feel blah, feeds cancer and cavity causing bacteria, stresses out our livers, and can make us become diabetics.  Oh yeah, it also makes us fat and messes with our moods.  When we don't sleep right, we turn to caffeine.  Caffeine is very slow to leave our bodies.  A cup of coffee at 8am leaves enough caffeine in your body to disrupt your sleep schedule.  Let's not even consider having pop with lunch or dinner!

Am I Connected?  Spending time with friends is important.  We feel connected by our shared interests and activities.  We relax and have fun and enjoy the pleasures of life.  Movies are better with a friend (or a whole gaggle of them!)  Go to a game or a play or a concert.  Toss a frisbee around.  Take time at the lake or on the slopes or for a walk in the woods, good alone time, great with friends, too.  Dance, sing, play games, decorate your room, etc.  Have some fun!  We are social creatures.  Even when your workload is heavy, take a little time to connect with others (and don't spend all that time complaining about your workload!).  Do something fun for a bit... and you'll feel refreshed when you turn back to your work.

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