Who Shapes Your Mood?

Someone is controlling the experiences you have, the feelings you experience, and the ways you react to your circumstances.  Where can I find this person, you ask?  You need only look in your bathroom mirror.

No Slave to Circumstances

The importance of a positive attitude in shaping one’s experience is often underestimated, but truly successful people everywhere understand and adopt the philosophy of looking positively on life.  We tend to think that our moods are largely driven by our circumstances—and it is true that some events can have a drastic impact on us in the moment—but most of the things life throws at us can be taken in stride.  These everyday ups and down that we so often allow to control us can be overcome by taking the following two actions.

Tend Your Garden Well

First, plant good things in your brain.  This is the long-term strategy to getting you in the place where a “negative” experience can’t dampen your day.  Recognize that your mind is in many ways similar to a garden.  The people you choose to associate with, the books you read, the TV shows you watch, the music you listen to, and the church you attend are all seeds that you plant in the garden of your mind.  As these messages are positive, helpful, and uplifting, you plant seeads in your mind that help you react positively to experiences you later face.  As these messages are angry, sarcastic, or demeaning, you plant seeds in your mind which will cause you to react negatively.  The latter seeds manifest in statements like, “that will never work,” we can’t ever get ahead,” and “it’s just not worth the effort.”

Start Off Right

Secondly, have a great morning.  Don’t try to have a great morning; have one!  Every day.  What is your current habit first thing when you wake up?  If it’s anything other than, “praise God for creating another great day!” change it.  If you don’t believe me that this makes a difference, you need only give it a try tomorrow.  Make a decision tonight to wake up tomorrow happy and thankful.  Then, when your alarm rings, follow through on the decision you’ve already made.  Have a good breakfast, spend 10 minutes reading Psalms, and see if the rest of your day is better than normal.  Don’t fight the smiles that come your way tomorrow, and notice how those around you react to the positive person they meet in your office.

But It’s Too Easy!

Too simple, you say?  Maybe so, but it is the practice of people who have the kind I lives that I want.  And if you want to live an abundant life, all you need do is follow their lead.  Enjoy the happy disposition on your way to the top!  🙂

Your Habits Are Showing

What’s one thing that will produce dramatic results in your life, for good or for ill?  Habits.  Today, we’ll explore why habits are so powerful and what you can do to take advantage of an amazing source of power within your own life.

Your Stomach Has Habits

For our purposes, we’ll define a habit as something you do consistently, with little or no conscious effort or decision-making.  One simple example that illustrates this point is a habit most all of us have:  eating breakfast.  When you wake up in the morning, how much time do you spend thinking about whether or not you’ll have breakfast?  If you’re like me, none.  I may spend a minute thinking about what I’ll have for breakfast, but I never deliberate on whether or not to eat it–I’m hungry and breakfast will be eaten!

Other examples of habits may include listening to a certain radio station on the way to work in the morning, visiting the vending machine at 2:30 each afternoon, or taking your spouse our for dinner one Friday each month.

So what does this have to do with finding incredible power and effectiveness on your path to thriving?  The secret lies in the cumulative force of months and years of positive habits.  One clear example of this power is shown by bodybuilders, strength trainers, runners, and Olympians.  Look at an athlete who engages in one of these activities and experiences success.  What did they look like last week?  Last month?  Last year?

The answer is that they made it to where they are currently via steady progress.  Like the stream of water that eroded a large rock, these athletes made gains one day at a time.  They ate right and hit the gym while everyone else was pigging out and goofing off, and now they sit at the head of the pack as a result.

Winning in Your Life

You don’t have to have the fire of an Olympian to benefit from this concept.  Just take this principle and apply it to whatever area of your life where you desire dramatic improvement.  If you want to be a great dad, but have thusfar been lacking, decide today to spend 30 minutes every day on improving.  This could mean helping your daughter color for 30 minutes, going for a bike ride with your son, or reading a book on parenting.  The point is, it’s got to be a habit.  30 minutes, every day [or 5 days a week, at very least].

Perhaps you’re dissatisfied with your financial life–you know you should be doing a budget but you just can’t stick with it.  The answer is habit.  Block out a set time each week to spend time on your finances.  During this time (say Monday nights from 7-8), balance your budget, pay your bills, set and track your goals, or read a good book on personal finance.

The First Step

As in our example, your physical fitness is a great area to test this idea and see real and dramatic results within a relatively short period of time.  If you don’t currently have a fitness regimen, try this:  put your workout clothes on every day, starting today.  I don’t even care if you work out at first–just put your workout clothes on, every day.  Once they’re on, how about doing a few jumping jacks?  Get your heart moving, even if just for 5 minutes.  Then, carry on with your evening as normal, you’re done for the day.  Tomorrow, get the workout clothes on again.  Try some pushups or squats, or maybe one of the workouts posted in the ThriveFit section of the site.  But do something, and keep it up, every day.

If you’ll do this, committing to doing something every single day, you’ll look up a month from now and notice huge gains in your fitness level.  You’re getting there one day at a time, just like Olympians do.

Habits for Eternity

Finally, consider your spiritual life.  Do you have any habits that will feed your soul?  Do you attend a church with gospel-centered preaching where the Word is shared each week?  Do you seek the Lord in prayer, or read the Bible to commune with Him?  If not, you are missing profound wisdom, comfort, love and hope from the Father who loves you more than anyone else.  Will you begin today by seeking Him in prayer?

By adopting these habitual practices–spending time working on an area of your life where you desire improvement–you will gradually begin thriving, with success building on success.  The next thing you know, you’ll be standing on the mountain heralding to others that they can get there too.  All they’ll is a little encouragement and a few good habits!

To Find a Mate

This post is third in a series of six articles on how fitness benefits many other areas of your life.  So far, we’ve explored the dividends that a challenging fitness regimen will pay in your productivity and your disposition.

In the previous post, we noted that the improved disposition that comes with a challenging fitness regimen can have a dramatic influence on your relationship with your spouse.  If you’re single though, you might have felt a bit left out…

Tuscaloosa Picture

So, today’s post is for you singles out there.  Believe it or not, embarking on a journey to better fitness will not just benefit your physically, but bring you success in your search for a great mate.  The heart of the issue lies in the following bit of wisdom, courtesy of a few wise old men I know:  “to have a great marriage, don’t focus on finding the right person, focus on being the right person.”

It’s not you, it’s me

Most of us have experienced the converse of this firsthand from going about this in the wrong way.  Maybe you’ve caught yourself complaining to your friends, “how come every girl I date is argumentative and emotional?  Why can’t I find someone who’s kind and easygoing??”  Here’s the shocker–the common thread in all your relationships is you!  Perhaps there are things you are doing, attitudes you have, even criteria you use for selecting dates that are bringing you the results that you don’t like.

The way that a fitness regimen can benefit you in this situation is that it takes your eyes off others, and helps you focus on the things you can control–namely, yourself!  As you progress in your fitness program, you’ll see tangible results: your pants fit better, you can lift heavier weight, your arms look more toned, and so on.  Your disposition will improve from your body’s natural reaction to exercise, and you’ll feel good about the work your doing and the progress you’re making.

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks

These internal changes tend to be more visible to others than we would imagine.  After you’ve completed a tough lunchtime workout with a new record time, you’ll find yourself smiling at people you meet, genuinely interested in them and more patient with their shortcomings.  It’s somewhat like how you feel after you’ve won a race, gotten a raise, or finished painting a house–you’re just feeling good, basking in the work you’ve done, and no little inconvenience is going to get in your way of enjoying this moment.  That elated feeling can become part of your everyday schedule, especially when you adopt a strenuous program like ThriveFit and give it your all.

Living in this state of mind where you genuinely care about others and are patient with others’ shortcomings will take you a long way down the road to being the kind of person who attracts a quality mate.  Not only that, but this pattern of bettering yourself can be used to refine other areas of your life as well.  Perhaps you’ll make time to learn a new skill to improve your capabilities at work.  Or, you’ll join a Bible study to improve your relationship with God.  By making a dedicated consistent effort to improve yourself, then meeting your objectives with excellence, you’re growing your character and confidence.  Not only will these changes naturally attract members of the opposite sex to you, but God tends to reward those who seek after Him and live as He instructs.  So, as you take care of the body He gave you, seek Him in His Word, and learn to forgive and love as Christ did, He may just send your future spouse right across your path…