How To Stay Committed to Your Health and Happiness

For many people, knowing what they need to do to feel healthier and happier in their life is often a lot easier than actually following through with it.

I am sure you have experienced times in your life, or perhaps even currently, where you set a goal, made a resolution, devised a plan of action for your desires for yourself personally and/or professionally, and then before you know it, you are back to just thinking about it or it becomes a passing thought.

Perhaps your goal is to lose weight, be or eat healthier, be happier, walk or exercise more, make a certain quota, go on more sales calls, get projects completed, overcome a fear, spend more time with family or friends, or tackle your to-do list, etc.

You may even start off on your objective like you are off the runners mark before the gun is even fired. You have a plan and THIS time you are sticking to it, right?

Then before you know it, your momentum slows and then you stop working towards the goal you said you originally wanted.

The part of yourself I call “Victim Thinking” has entered the building, which in this case, would be your thoughts.

It’s that voice that says tomorrow you will start, or talks you out of what your plans are, or makes excuses, or on some level actually creates an occurrence to stall or set you back, or makes a non-believer out of the believer in you.

This voice can be conscious or unconscious. If you aren’t succeeding at your goal, you can bet that victim thinking is lurking in your thoughts and making other things more important than you, your happiness and well-being.

So how do you stay committed to living a healthier and happier life when that little voice you may or may not hear is trying to sabotage your results?

Become aware of your thoughts and/or excuses that are holding you back or getting in the way. When you are conscious of what’s stopping you, then it becomes easier to work with the thoughts instead of thoughts working against you.

If you have set a goal or devised a plan of action towards something, and if you aren’t following through with it, or something or someone (being you) gets in the way, then it’s time to call in the reinforcements and become liable. Not just once in awhile, but frequently.

Choose someone in your family, or a friend, or a coach, mentor or counsellor to help keep you on track and hold you responsible for what you say it is you are working towards.

You are more apt to stick to your goal(s) when someone is holding you accountable for them and cheering you on when you need it.

Set a date you wish to start, and not next month or year.

Create a plan of action. What steps are you going to take to accomplish what you would like?

Be reasonable about the actions you will be taking. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you succeed at the small steps towards your desired outcomes, then it’s a lot easier to believe it’s possible to now take and succeed at the larger ones.

Know when you or someone else needs to challenge you more as you can become idle in your thinking and way of doing things and may need to take steps to get moving again.

Congratulate yourself whether you are taking big or small steps. Some goals are harder than others and take time and persistence. Acknowledge your growth, commitment, and hard work.

Don’t beat yourself up if it takes you longer than you thought, or if you start and then stop and then start again. What’s important is you get right back to it.

Old habits and mind-sets are hard to break, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Don’t rush from one goal right to the next. Take time to enjoy the progress you have made and to make sure your next goals are in alignment with where you are now. What’s truly important for your continual growth, health and happiness?

The attempts you make are never failed ones if you are learning what isn’t working and then staying committed to discovering what does.

“When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps”. Confucius.

Remember, don’t give up; try, try again. You CAN do it!

Using these techniques with insight will assist you in not only staying on track with your goals but making sure they are in harmony with you and your vision.

Kimberley Cohen is the Founder, Facilitator and Personal Insight Coach of The Insight Technique&trade.

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Kimberley is certified in Body Mind Counselling, Process Oriented Body Work and Spiritual Psychotherapy and Polarity Therapy. She founded the Insight Techniqueâ„¢ – Your Insight to genuine Happiness, Purpose and Prosperity to assist herself and others in transforming limiting mindsets.

5 Common Characteristics of Top Fitness Trainers

Literally thousands of personal trainers graduate from various fitness courses around the world every week. A fact that your qualification providers probably don’t tell you is the average trainer delivers less than 10 hours per week of training. I know it’s not your goal to be an ‘average trainer’ and make average income so follow the 5 guidelines below to set yourself apart in a crowded fitness market.

1. Walk the Talk:

  • You don’t need to be s super athlete, but you certainly need to practice what you preach as a top trainer. I have seen some trainers who do not have the greatest skin folds or BMI results still be fantastically successful trainers. If you operate in the fitness model / body building niche no doubt about it, you will need to be ripped. If you work with general population, just live a balanced and healthy lifestyle while remaining genuine. Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t.

2. Great communication:

  • The best trainers are the best communicators. If you are the type of person who is all about ‘me, me me’ and enjoys telling stories about yourself non-stop, you’re going to come across as a complete douche bag. When talking about your experiences to people always relate it back to your members goals and dreams. Become a great listener who is extremely receptive to what your member is saying. Communicate with your members on a regular basis in person, via email and text.

3. Understanding client emotions / motivational drivers:

    • I cringe when I see a trainer go up to a member and proceed to tell them what they are doing is wrong and this is the way to fix it. Even if a person is doing something wrong, the way to get that message across is as a piece of advice that will add to their fitness knowledge. You need to ensure that you do not make any person feel like a fool. A good way to approach a person would be to say ‘ hey I really love how hard you are working at the moment, do you mind if I show you another way to get you to your goals ‘. This approach puts you on the front foot with that person.
  • Once you’ve made contact with a person, your initial goal is to understand that person’s deep-seated motivational drivers and what makes them want to train. This is what you will use to tap into their reasons to train and the solution that you can provide for them.

4. Investing in yourself & diversify your offering:

    • It’s nearly impossible to be an expert in every aspect of health and fitness. You do need to specialize to a degree. What you want to ensure is that you are not a one trick pony. This really minimizes that amount of people you are able to offer your services to. At the very least you should be very good at one aspect of fitness and have a sound knowledge of nutrition principles. You don’t need to be a nutrition expert but you do need to understand the fundamentals.
  • Constantly look to improve yourself as a trainer and add to your basket of knowledge. This does not have to be through formal courses but can be through watching other trainers, participating in other fitness programs and reading literature.

5. Be Well organised

  • If you are well organised, you present a professional demeanor and it shows in everything you do. A well organised trainer has a fresh smell, tidy clothing, prepared sessions and good documentation. If you document what your boot camp or PT clients are doing. They will love the fact you are taking note of their progress. Always make this information available to your people.

As you can see there is more to people a good trainer than just turning up and providing great training. Great training and motivation is a given and a must. It is the little 1%ers that will make you stand out from all those other trainers out there.

What Is Zen Meditation?

Zen is a form of Buddhist meditation that originated in China in the 6th Century; the word Zen is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese “Dzyen”, derived from the Sanskrit “Dhyana” or ‘meditative state’.

Zen emphasizes wisdom gained through experience as opposed to theory. Zazen, or ‘seated meditation’, is at the heart of the practice. It is said that when Buddha achieved enlightenment, he was in a seated position. Walking meditation, yoga, tai chi and other moving meditations are not part of the Zen tradition.

We see our bodies, mind and even breath as separate entities. In Zen, there is no separation.

Zen begins with the study of the self; this leads to forgetting of the self (the ego, the physical). And in forgetting of the self, enlightenment is achieved.

The practice is simple. It’s easy to say, “this is how you do it” and just as easy to follow those directions. But… the very nature of Zen is that in its simplicity, it’s very difficult; and in its difficulty, it’s very simple!

How To Sit In Zen Meditation

The meditative positions mimic the seated Buddha – a stable, grounded, balanced pyramid. There are several positions to choose from, depending on personal preference.

Proper position is important. You don’t want to be distracted by physical discomfort, yet allows the free flow of life force energy (also called chi or prana).

When should you meditate?

Early morning is arguably the best time because you’re not tired, your mind is a clean slate – not yet having hopped on the commuter bus of worry and drama – and you’re not knee-deep in your to-do list.

The essence of meditation is the ability to focus the mind. You can use any point of concentration – mantras, the breath, a candle… in Zen, the focus is the breath. The breath is the vital life force. The first thing a person does when they are born is inhale; and the last thing a person does as they die is exhale.

The breath mirrors the state of the mind. When your mind is at ease, the breath is deep and effortless; when the mind is agitated or upset, the breathing is shallow, rapid and uneven. How deeply can you relax? In deep zazen, you breathe at 2-3 breaths/minute. The normal resting respiration rate is about 15 breaths/minute. The stillness you achieve in deep Zen meditation is greater than sleep – an incredible experience that must be experienced to be understood.

Keep the mind focused

Keeping the mind focused on the breath isn’t easy. You have to be constantly vigilant and bring your attention back to the breath every time the mind wanders off to explore some random thought. Eventually, you’ll be able to observe thoughts float into your awareness, acknowledge them, and let them go. Every time you realize your mind has wandered and bring it back to your breath, you’re one step closer to self-mastery.

Focusing/re-focusing the mind sharpens the awareness. Usually we’re barely aware of the thousands of thoughts we have every day; Zen meditation brings them into the awareness. And sometimes we’re so preoccupied with the internal chatter that we don’t notice what’s going on around us! Zen makes us aware of what is happening in the present moment.

Sometimes, meditation comes effortlessly. You can focus on the breath, the mind becomes silent and you experience an incredibly liberating, peaceful, ecstatic state of being – you feel your energetic quality and you lose awareness of your physical body or your “self” as you melt into cosmic consciousness.

Sometimes, you’ll struggle like hell to get your mind to stop its wandering. If you’ve got something weighing heavy on your mind, it may seem impossible to focus on the breath and let those thoughts go. If you can’t let go, let your mind run with the thoughts but be the observer, not the participant. This is an important difference. If things need to be processed, let them run their course. But gently guide your mind to a relaxed state open to intuitive guidance.

The mind’s activity is like a pond

When your mind is busy, the surface is disturbed as thoughts and emotions run every which way. But as the mind relaxes, the surface calms down. Eventually the stillness of the bottom of the pond becomes your state of being. After all – nothing can ruffle the feathers of an infinite, eternal being!

When you develop that power of concentration that shuts out all mental and external distractions, you have achieved “samadhi”: single-pointedness of mind.

How do you get the most out of Zen meditation? Put yourself into it 100%. There’s no goal, no achievement in Zen. There is only the moment and the experience.

Listen to Your Body and Do Something

The term listen to your body is the awareness of what your body is telling you. It leads you to ask yourself how do I feel, can I accept this feeling, body, what do you want me to do? Your mind responds by taking an intelligent action like doing something about it. Let’s learn to listen to our bodies!

Remember that you can trust your body or command it what you want it to do but again beware that bad things you decide do to your body produce consequences and will definitely tell others what you are feeling and the kind of person you are.

We shall look at different messages that your body is telling or may have told you to do and the choices we make:

1. Stop eating more candy.

This is like emotional eating and occurs when you eat without caring about the quality or quantity of food intake due to disturbed feelings. Before you know it, you have added more kilos and gradually becoming obese.

At early stages when you started eating too much candy, you refused to listen to what your body was telling you. Didn’t you experience feelings of heaviness, sleepiness or tiredness but concentrated in the sweetness of Candy to console yourself. All these were signals from your body to stop overeating but you ignored them! However, this can be reversed by doing something about it…

Reduce on the quantity of food you take daily and start serious work outs. Talk to a good counselor who will help you diagnose the causes of your emotional problems, accept and deal with them. Be mindful of your body. Take lots of fruits and veggies that have plenty of Vitamins to strengthen and detoxify your body fat and loose weight. Learn to care for your body.

2. Stop overworking, take a break, take a rest:

It is good to work, but many of people over work to keep up with financial strains in the world today. Long working hours are a common work practice. Suddenly, your lifestyle is affected. Your start suffering from migraines, exhaustion and sleepiness nights, high blood pressure, worries to maintaining a good performance at your work place. Through it all, what was your body telling you? Take a break, take a rest. Probably inside your subconscious you wanted to take that holiday on the Mediterranean Cruise but you had to prove to your body and the bosses that you have the stamina to handle this. It is not until your body breaks down that you realize that you refused to listen to your body. Now see… you are hospitalized for persistent migraines and your blood pressure has refused to go down. Why did you have to ignore your body’s commands in the first place? Here is what you will do next time:

-Take a break, take a rest. Take that holiday and enjoy the cruise with someone you love as your doctor prescribed. You will feel fantastic by the time you resume your work.

-When you work and your body sends out signals especially discomfort and pain. Just stop everything you are doing. Fold up that paper work and leave before it folds up, your health… your life! Do something like taking a nap, visit a dear friend, and take a swim, something good that will make you relax.

– Try out Aroma therapy. The essential oils used will heal the pain away. Visit health Spas and enjoy talking care of your body.

– When you rest that body, every cell becomes active again and you will have a refreshed mind to start your day.

3. It is time to take a walk or do some jogging:

Different people react differently when under pressure. Some perform better while others get stressed or depressed. Other times people get lonely and confused. Listen to your body when it tells you to take a walk. Walk away from depression, walk away from stress, walk away from confusion and just… take that walk. Leave everything as it is on the table, listen you your body then take a walk. As you walk… breath in deeply, can hear the humming birds sing? You feel the warmth of sunshine hitting on your tender skin, you sense the smell of clay or soil after the rainy day that you almost want to taste it, you hear the sound of the wind blowing gently, caressing your ears, you hear your own heart beat and pay attention to its rhythm, you can see that beautiful rose, stop and take time to touch and smell its aroma. U hm… you’re Spirit, Body and Soul is at peace with self, nature and Almighty God. Goodness… you don’t want this walk to end… you don’t want these beautiful feelings to go away… all because you listened to your body and did something. What is your body signaling you to do right now?

Even after that refreshing jog in the Park, you are more alert, flexible, and tactful and happier because you listened to your body and did something to improve on your well being. Later on you now wonder how meager your problems were and are able to figure out fast solutions. You are living in total awareness and enjoying the moment. Your body says it’s time to walk or do some jogging and it has worked out for your own good.

4. When she says ” I must have it my way… “

The mind and body are interrelated and both listen to each other. Sometimes our bodies can rebel against us. You have inner strength to command your mind to do something and you body will automatically obey. This may takes practice. You can fight to resist urges, drives or cravings resulting from your thinking patterns, causing unnecessary chemical reaction. These can be embarrassing during social settings. That is when you have to repeatedly communicate and command your body to stop rebelling. Finally, she will listen to you and stay calm. This takes a lot of practice and training your mind to make your body obey to that inner voice.

5. Be Confident!

Position your body right because other people will know the kind of person you are. Get the right posture. The way you walk, the way you sit and smile sends out a message. Do not let your body language betray you. When sitting down, do not slouch or else it will be seen as laziness. Move with confidence, then it is more likely that you will sound confidently.

Are Imaginary Lines Keeping You From Success?

As I drive the roads of Dallas/Fort Worth, I see a consistently amazing sight. The roads here are undergoing massive construction and there are many areas where the roads twist and change. In one area as you drive West on Highway 114 toward the Trophy Club, the road narrows from three lanes to two. As expected, before you get to where the road narrows, there are signs indicating this will happen in so many feet. As you approach the actual point of where it narrows, there are yellow lines that show you to make the move over from the far left lane to the lane that was just to your right. Now, imagine this: the road doesn’t actually end where the yellow line is. It extends much further. In spite of that, I quite frequently see people come close to causing accidents on this area of the road. They attempt to get ahead of the cars driving in the lane to their right and wait until right where the yellow line blends the lanes to make the switch over into the next lane. It’s not amazing that people in Dallas drive like this. If you live here, you know that’s a given. What amazes me is the power of the yellow line drawn on the surface of the road. It’s as if that yellow line is a 5-foot-tall cement wall that, if they were to cross it, would cause terrible damage to them and their vehicle. In reality, they could drive much farther before the road runs out and reach their destination much safer for doing so.

As you consider this scenario, let me ask you; What’s your “Yellow Line”? What “lines” have you you drawn on your road-of-life that keep you restricted? What limiting beliefs, hurts, habits, and hang-ups have you drawn in your mind that, if they were extended or expanded, would literally change your life for the better? Fully consider it. When you participate in a sport and you rise to a level that you’ve never participated at before, does a “line” appear telling you that you aren’t supposed to be at that level? Possibly, it’s in your career. Is there an imaginary “line” of income or position that, if you were to cross it, you would feel the need to get back on the other side of your “Yellow Line” again? This is your self-ego “Yellow Line”. Self-ego is what tells you, “Look, you’re only this good. If you do better than ___, then you aren’t deserving of it. It’s more than who you believe you are or can be”. Some people associate self-sabotage with these events. You’ve crossed you “Yellow Line” and now you have to pay by losing as much ground as you had gained. It’s like the people I described above driving on Highway 114. They either get right up to the yellow line and jerk their car back over into the next lane and come close to causing an accident. Any real forward progress is lost. Many times, had they continued safely on just another 20-30 feet, they would have been in front of the pack of cars and made real progress. But, their fear of crossing an imaginary boundary wins out.

Imaginary boundaries are usually created in our unconscious mind through repetition or traumatic events. These boundaries become our beliefs. Our beliefs about ourselves, our relationships, our income, our weight, everything we are in life. The good news is that those beliefs can all be changed. Many people take the long road to making those changes. They go through self-development programs, 4-6 weekends of group therapy, see psychologists, counselors and therapists, etc. People that want to take the most effective shortcut to make those changes use hypnosis.

New Book Offers Tools to Achieve “Wellth” – Total Health and Wellness

Glen Alex has spent her life advocating for better health for people, and now, in her new book, Living in Total Health, she offers a balanced and sometimes surprising journey into what it means to be healthy, wealthy, and wise-or what has become popularly known in the health and wellness community as “wellth.” Glen defines this new term as “the sum total of the richness and wellbeing found in good health. Wellth means being wealthy in health-that one has met certain physical diagnostic ranges and has a meaningful or joyful life. Balance.”

That balance is evident in this book because it’s not just solely about exercise or nutrition. Instead, Glen divides the book into three sections: Physical Wellth, Emotional Wellth, and Mental Wellth. Then each section is broken up into four chapters, including “Moving Your Body” (Physical Wellth), “Being Present” (Emotional Wellth), and “Stressing Less” (Mental Wellth). Each section and chapter is filled with discussion, personal stories to illustrate Glen’s points, and exercises for the reader to become more aware of and practice the topic at hand. Glen further clarifies her goal in the introduction by saying: “The purpose of this book is to offer a different perspective on health, not to regurgitate available how-to information on diet, exercise, etc. The intention of Living in Total Health is to activate your critical reasoning and challenge your adopted approach to health if you have not achieved your goals.”

One aspect of Living in Total Health that I especially appreciated was that Glen continually reminds us that all we need is already within us. She doesn’t ask us to perform any miracles but simply to do what we were naturally born to do. Rather than tell us to do hardcore exercises at the gym, she redefines exercise as any sort of activity that requires movement like a walk, yoga, or even doing laundry or washing dishes. The challenge is to get active. Sure, some people may choose to do more-and that’s great-but for most of us, Glen’s words of wisdom are a much needed reminder of how we can start.

Glen also makes it clear that we don’t have to go along with the health crowd becomes one size does not fit all. Each of us has our own individual body, and consequently, our individual nutrition needs require much more than “a patented dietary plan.” She encourages us to find out which foods our body reacts well to and to find nutritional balance in what we can enjoy and what will not upset or inflame our bodies. Other key physical aspects she focuses on include the importance of stretching, including when and how to do it, and the benefits of massage, including massage safety tips so you can ensure you find a reliable and trustworthy massage therapist.

In the section on Emotional Wellth, Glen explains the difference between feelings and emotions and how they are signals with messages for us. Perhaps the most powerful discussions in this section had to do with separating our emotions from those of others. Glen discusses the importance of setting boundaries with people, including emotional ones. Sometimes we may have to draw the line with someone about how to treat us, but we may also have to draw an emotional boundary that we do not let ourselves cross when it comes to taking on other people’s problems. While we can be sympathetic to people, Glen warns us against metaphorically putting on someone else’s shoes that aren’t ours-in other words, don’t take on someone else’s emotional baggage.

In the midst of these boundary discussions, Glen brings up the topic of domestic violence, and I think she makes a strong point here about the difference between a conscious and a thoughtless choice. So many male batterers will claim that a woman’s behavior is what drove them to beat her, but if that’s true, why don’t those men just leave the women so they eliminate the frustration in their lives? Nor are these men incapable of containing their rage since batterers will not behave abusively in public but only at home, which is proof that people make conscious choices.

In the final section on Mental Wellth, Glen focuses on how the accumulation of unhealthy life choices commonly impact the mental health and stability of the majority of us. At the forefront of mental issues is how stress affects us, and Glen offers tips for how to reduce it. She also helps us rethink our support systems, and she introduces the concept of creating an ecomap of your support system as an effective exercise to gain greater mental wellth in your life.

Living in Total Health contains so much more than I can go into in this short review, and throughout the book’s pages, Glen tells it to us like it is, in a kind, yet straightforward manner, like the good coach she is. Toward the end of the book, she explains her mindset about her purpose in life which informed her writing of this book: “I strive to fulfill my purpose for being on this earth, to actualize and share my inner gifts with others. My truth and the perennial state of love provide the foundation I need to reach my goal to become the best version of Glen and reflection of my Creator that I am capable of being.”

We should all strive for a similar purpose, and we can achieve it. Reading and practicing the principles in Living in Total Health is a good step toward that achievement and a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing all around.

New Book Offers Self-Prescription for Greater Happiness and Success

In Trusting Your Inner Physician, one happily married couple, Drs. Ina and Glenn Nozek, offer their personal prescription, which is really a self-prescription, for success and happiness. Through a series of chapters and exercises, the Nozeks walk readers through how to improve their lives in numerous ways, and it all boils down to listening to what they call “your inner physician,” which might be interpreted as intuition or an inner knowing of what is right for you. Not everyone is the same, so not everyone will find that eating the same foods will make you healthier or that pursuing the same kind of career will make you successful. But with the tips the Nozeks provide in this book, you can figure out what you can do to make a better life for yourself.

Trusting Your Inner Physician takes a holistic approach to happiness by encouraging the reader to look at all aspects of his or her life and find balance among them. As retired chiropractors who also operated the Lifeline Center for Holistic Health in New Jersey and are now leaders in Isagenix International, a health product that they have found to have amazing results, the Nozeks feel that maintaining your physical health is a top priority, but they also understand that physical health is not just about nutrition and exercise; it must also encompass your emotional and mental health.

Just like all of us, the Nozeks have had their struggles. They’ve experienced the ups and downs of operating a business and raising a family, along with personal struggles. Ina is very forthright about her battles with her weight, and both Glenn and Ina struggled with quitting smoking-a habit they knew that, especially as future health experts, they had to break, difficult as it was. In short, they are human, and that makes them able to relate to the rest of us, and their warmth and desire to help others shines through in these pages.

The problem most people have in making realistic and lasting changes in their lives is knowing where to start. The Nozeks tackle that issue early in the book by talking about the importance of believing in yourself. It’s usually our fears and self-doubts that hold us back from pursuing our dreams and succeeding. The Nozeks share their own personal stories of how they and others learned to believe in themselves. One topic in these early chapters that I thought was especially effective was looking at the “Ladder of Commitment.” It helps you to understand how committed you are to making lasting changes, and it ultimately encourages you to make a promise to yourself to stay committed and succeed.

Another powerful chapter talks about the need to separate ourselves from negativity. I agree with the Nozeks in their advocating for not watching the news because almost all of it is irrelevant to our lives anyway, and most of it is driven to stir up fear in people. We need to separate ourselves from everything that causes us fear and anxiety or makes us negative and self-doubting, including what we read, watch, and listen to and the toxic people around us.

Another chapter focuses on the power of affirmations, something I’m a firm believer in. I loved Ina’s story of how she used affirmations not only to audition for Wheel of Fortune, but that she actually got on the show and won! Building on her own experiences, she teaches us how to create our own affirmations to develop a mindset that is ready to achieve whatever we choose to focus on.

Once we have worked through separating our true, powerful, and passionate selves from what holds us back in life, we are then ready to find out our “why.” The exercises following each chapter are especially helpful for figuring out what we truly want in life and for creating steps to work toward achieving it. The Nozeks guide us in how to learn to be honest with ourselves about what we want so we do not give up or compromise our dreams or our integrity.

Other chapters are focused on more traditional health matters, but even these chapters are relevant to trusting in your inner physician. The Nozeks make the point that we are all biochemically different, so while it’s important for us to eat nutritious foods, we also need to pay attention to how our bodies react to different foods. And just as we need to separate ourselves from negative and toxic people in our lives, we need to separate our bodies from the toxins in our foods and in our environment. One chapter of the book is devoted to the topic of cleansing-how to go about finding a reliable product to use, and the benefits to be achieved. Another chapter is devoted to stress management.

But perhaps best of all is the message of balance, which means that while we need to stop listening to the world and listen to ourselves, that doesn’t mean that we become self-absorbed, but that we become better people who will also help others down the same path to greater happiness. The Nozeks model that in their marriage by serving one another. They have made a commitment to be happily married, and it must be working because they’ve been married since 1988. I loved their advice on the importance of giving and how it relates to marriage:

“When it comes to relationships, being a giver is absolutely critical for success. On our wedding day, back in 1988, I’ll never forget what Glenn’s Dad said to us: ‘Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. It’s a 70/30 proposition, and if you each give 70 percent, it will come out 50/50.’ What I’ve later learned as we continue to spend many successful married years together is that it’s not even 70/30 but rather 100/100. Each partner needs to give 100 percent. When each partner is a giver, that’s when the marriage can be truly successful. In any relationship, being a giver and giving 100 percent of yourself is what it takes. Whether it’s with your friends, business partners, family members, or any relationship in which you are wanting success, that is what it takes.”

Wherever you’re at in your life, whether you want to make drastic life changes, or you’re just looking for some tips on how to make small changes toward improvement, Trusting Your Inner Physician will give you numerous ideas to make your life better and it will provide you with the tools to transform those ideas into your reality. It’s time to start trusting the prescription your inner physician has been trying to give you all along. After all, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

How to Really Enjoy a Good Book

I am an incredibly slow reader, and for me finishing a book of an average kind of length can take anywhere between one to three months. This is something that many of my friends and family are surprised to learn, mostly because I’m such an avid reader and because I write incredibly quickly. So what’s going on then?

The thing is, that when I read a novel I like to do it properly and to feel fully immersed in the book. Too many people I see reading a book on the tube, dipping in and out of the narrative while chatting to their friends or asking people for the time, and too often I see people really just skim reading the content without actually taking it in.

When I read I like to word out every line in my head in the imagined spoken voice that I think that person would have, and I like to imagine it all in detail. I read every line, and I sound out every comma and every italicised section to sound the way I think it should and to add or remove emphasis accordingly.

And to do all this I also like to set the scene perfectly first so that it’s ideally conducive to being able to really bask in what I’m reading. Here is how I do it…

Sorting Everything Out

First of all, before I sit down to read I like to make sure that I have no pressing concerns weighing on my mind and potentially preventing me from fully enjoying the experience. As such then I will run around quickly to finish any pressing chores and I’ll tidy up the space around me to be clean and organized and to give me space to breathe. Only once I’ve set aside myself some ‘bubble time’ with no potential stressors, I then turn off my hone and sit down to read.

The Perfect Lighting

The perfect reading lighting is a tricky thing to accomplish. On the one hand it’s got to be a dim enough light that I feel cosy, but meanwhile it mustn’t be so dim that it causes eye strain. This means then that it should be a kind of mellow glow that relaxes me but still enables me to focus.

Comfort

I also like to make sure that wherever I’m sitting is super comfortable. There’s nothing quite like reading in bed, but then at the same time a comfortable couch or even a bean bag can be just as good, so long as it’s easy to recline.

That said I do also have another place I like to read – coffee shops. Though they aren’t silent the background chatter and clinking of mugs can often add a little atmosphere to the experience and make me feel almost like I’m in a novel myself. The mysterious stranger in the corner, buried in his book…

Tea

Finally I must make myself a cup of tea. Being a serious caffeine addict, when I drink caffeine I tend to feel all the tension leave my body and it’s a great way for me to unwind and make any moment better.

A Brief History of Time: A Book Review

Stephen Hawking is the author of the book “A Brief History of time”. He is one of the greatest minds of our time. The book is a guided tour into the world of physics. The beauty of the book is that, though physics has evolved to such an extent that even physicists cannot completely grasp the concepts of physics, this book explains these highly complex principles in a simple manner. Stephen Hawking’s work mostly concerns the black holes and hence the book covers that part in more detail.

The book generally gives an overview of physics. Some concepts like that of string theory have not been explained in a much deeper sense. For any person who wants to know about string theory and the micro-world of physics, it is better to refer books by Brain Greene. The relativistic view of the world is explained very clearly in the book. The book starts of with physics in the time of newton and then moves to the present understanding of the universe. If you are looking for proper scientific answers on how the universe began and how it will end, this is the book you need to read. It solves most of the problems faced by man in understanding the world around us, both in the micro and the macro realms. The book also talks about time travel. The present picture of the universe when viewed through a physicist’s eyes is made clear to the reader. The book ends with the author talking about the most important physicists of all time, namely Newton, Einstein and Galileo.

The book is written for a normal person who is not adept in physics. However, some portions might require multiple reads, especially if you are new to physics. Students of physics may also read this book since it would be a recap on the concepts that may generally be missed out. But it is worth a read especially if you are new to physics, since it will let you think of the universe in ways, you possibly have not thought of. The book is a new york times best seller. If you want the answers to the questions like; how did the universe begin?, does time always go forward?, is the universe bounded?, how many dimensions are there in space?, how will the universe end?; it is a must read for you. The book also tells you how lucky you are. How does physics tell you that? Read the book and find out for yourself.

7 Steps to No Failing Students

How do administrators and teachers keep students from failing? Many states are identifying core curriculum standards. This is a great start but administrators and teachers need to do more for our failing or about to fail students. We need to work smarter to have our schools be successful for every student. We must demand that each teacher is highly trained and skilled enough to deliver the same content in the most effective manner possible for the subject, students and level taught.

Teachers need to be trained to teach, re-teach, practice and assess. Activities planned for the day should be listed on the board. Instructions should be kept simple and structured. Props, charts and other visual aids should be used when teaching. Many students do not learn new material completely the first time presented or learn new material inaccurately the first time presented, therefore they need to be re-taught. Students need to practice with new material to really understand the material. The teacher has no way of knowing who understands what without doing a formative assessment. Some type of formative assessment should be completed on a daily basis so the teacher knows which students need re-teaching the following day. Formative assessments need to be a part of everyday practice to help students succeed. Formative assessments help teachers take a snapshot of student learning. Students’ responses give teachers a clear picture of what students know and what they need help with, what material to re-teach and how to pace instruction.

Teachers need to be trained to differentiate daily. Teachers should have at least two groups of students in their classes. The group that understands yesterday’s lesson and the group that needs to be re-taught yesterday’s lesson. This is where Bloom’s taxonomy comes in. The group that understands yesterday’s lesson should progress up the taxonomy with their work for the day for a deeper understanding of the material. The group that does not understand yesterday’s lesson should be re-taught the lesson using a different teaching method. Try using teaching methods involving different multiple intelligences. Differentiation is essential when educators work with diverse groups of students.

All teachers, not just special education teachers need to be trained to modify assessments. Failing and near failing students need to have their confidence re-established before they can learn. All failing and near failing students need to be utilizing modified assessments until they are a C student regardless of their identified need. Feedback from formative assessments helps teachers modify and differentiate their instruction to help all students meet the standard. Differentiated curriculum calls for differentiated assessment. Using differentiated assessments leads to greater success.

Students should be allowed to retake assessments that they receive a D+ or below on. The retake grade should be the one that is entered in the grade book. For example when one takes a driver’s test, if one does not pass it the first time one is allowed to practice some more and retake the test at a later date. Fair is not always equal when assessing and grading in the differentiated classroom. An effective standards based formative assessment program can help to dramatically enhance student achievement.

Train teachers to treat homework as extra credit. Most failing and near failing students are not doing homework for all kinds of reasons. Since we really cannot control the doing of homework let’s not depend on homework to keep students from failing. Let’s work smarter with the time we have the students in school to make sure they are receiving, practicing and retaining the core curriculum by applying the above teaching methods. There is no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school. For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a correlation between whether children do homework and any meaningful measure of achievement.

Study halls should be eliminated. The extra time should be assigned to classes for study time within the class. The classroom teacher will now be available to assist students that are struggling in their class. The classroom teacher is knowledgeable in their subject area and knows where the student is lacking. The classroom teacher should be taught to differentiate the work to assist each student’s learning.

No failing students can be reduced to seven steps. Step one teach core curriculum. Step two use best teaching practices. Step three practice material in class. Step four utilize formative assessments daily. Step five differentiate and modify. Step six re-teach. Step seven allow retakes to count in grading.

After 25 years of teaching, I recently had the privilege of being a substitute teacher for the fourth quarter of the year, outside of my subject area. Some of the students were being behavior problems. Upon a closer look, I found these students were failing and had been since the beginning of the year. I applied the above techniques. By the end of the year these students were passing and their bad behavior had receded.