Spring Cleaning Your Habits

Parts of my region got so much snow yesterday there’s a campaign to arrest the groundhog that predicted an early end to winter for fraud. Regardless of the weather, I know spring is here: I have this overwhelming urge to start running again. It’s as predictable as the red, red robins bob-bob-bobbing outside. If it’s like the past few springs, though, I’ll have stopped running long before they head south again. The Power of Habit In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg defines a habit as a choice that we deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about, but continue doing, often every day. I made running habit seven springs ago. It lasted almost four years and took me from couch to 5K and beyond, all the way to a half marathon. I replaced it with different habits, unintentionally, partly because the constant white-knuckle test of wills to. . . .

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Standing Tall

I’m frustrated by being told how professional women should lean. I can’t help but feel like it’s a not-so-subtle way of saying not just that we’re not doing enough, but that we simply aren’t enough. I’ll admit, I haven’t read the book yet. After spending a morning with professional women from my community and being reminded by what they achieve and how they make a difference every day, I’m not sure I need to. A nurse told of her frustration over rules that prevented a young father in intensive care from spending time with his three kids before he died. An attorney shared how off-kilter she felt when the communication style that worked so well for her as an assistant to the district attorney in a large city no longer fit when she moved to the county office of youth and family services. A medical biller, a single mother with one child. . . .

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Change Happens, but It Doesn’t Have to Make You Miserable

Change is inevitable. I used to teach a class called Music Humanities. To sixth graders. We started the year by discussing the inevitability of change as well as other characteristics like these: Change can be spontaneous or planned. Change can happen quickly or take a long time. Change can be positive or negative. Or both. One change can lead to another. The students shared impressive examples and insightful reflections, continually amazing me with their ability to see multiple sides of a situation – while nearly always returning to the positive, the good things about change and the positive ways they could respond to it. Those 11- and 12-year-olds were bright, creative and unabashedly optimistic about the future and their ability to navigate towards it. I know plenty of adults who could learn a thing or two from them. Heck, I’m one of them. For a long time, my thoughts about. . . .

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Don’t Forget Your Dream

(http://www NULL.flickr NULL.com/photos/57768341 null@null N00/3558561251/) There’s a piece making the rounds on my social media streams about Oscar winning director Ang Lee that was written in 2006, after he won his first Best Director Oscar. By coming to the U.S. to study film, Lee essentially ended his relationship with his father. He spent six years of “agonizing, hopeless uncertainty” after graduate school doing scut work on other people’s films. He pitched a screenplay to thirty different production companies. He was rejected by all thirty. The year he turned thirty. He became a stay-at-home dad and turned writing scripts into his side hustle. In the mid-1980s. When he learned that his wife turned down her parents’ offer of start-up cash so he could open a Chinese restaurant, he ditched his dream of making movies and enrolled in a computer course at a community college. He “descended into malaise.” His wife, Jane. . . .

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Boost the Positive: Three Ways to Banish Hedonic Adaptation

Quick, think of something that would make you incredibly happy. Something so big – beyond your wildest dreams, even – that it couldn’t help but change your life. Or maybe something familiar that you look forward to for a long time, with great anticipation. When this thing happens, or arrives, it’s guaranteed to make you practically burst with positive emotion. Got it? Good. Now imagine your life six months later. A year. Two years. Chances are that, in as little as six months after you receive or achieve your heart’s desire, you’ll return to the level of positive emotion you were experiencing before the big, wonderful thing came your way – no matter how big of a boost it initially caused. The culprit: what social scientists call hedonic adaptation, the phenomenon that causes us to become used to a change that once made us significantly happy. The bad news: hedonic. . . .

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