Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

How to Put More Resolve in Your New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, December 30th, 2013

It is surprising that so many continue to make resolutions year after year even though they are infrequently achieved. It is often said (and true) that if we continue to do things the same way, we will get the same results. So too with New Year’s Resolutions.

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.

Explaining why may be of some value but focusing on what one might do differently to change the outcome and achieve many of this year’s resolutions is likely a better use of this New Year’s message.

For most people a New Year’s resolution is a promise to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year. That isn’t enough.

Here is the question I would ask of myself. If I am ideally successful with improving my health, living more in the present, etc. how would it manifest itself by the end of the year? Or asked another way, what would have happened by the end of the year if I were successful in keeping my resolution?

Once you know what success looks like, now develop indicators. For instance, if the resolution is better health, the indicators might be weight loss, smaller waistline, better sleeping habits, lower cholesterol, just to name a few.

The next step is to establish specific measurements. How many pounds, or what smaller clothes would you now fit in? How many inches would your waistline be, or when would you go to sleep and wake up each day, etc. You get the idea. Then set quarterly benchmarks so you can see your progress. There’s no benefit in waiting until the end of the year to realize you didn’t stay on track.

And here is a step that cannot be overlooked. If you do not achieve your quarterly benchmark ask yourself what you could do differently to attain an improved outcome. Then make adjustments to set yourself up for achieving your year-end outcomes.

It also helps to communicate your resolution goals to people who could also support you. Quoting author Frank Ra, “Resolutions are more sustainable when shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution. Peer-support makes a difference in success rate with new year’s resolutions.”

So there you have it. A road map that will definitely increase the probability that you will achieve this year’s resolutions.

This just may be your healthiest and happiest year yet. I wish nothing less for you.

In gratitude,
Walter Green

The Science of Happiness

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Some of you may have already seen this video, and it is well worth viewing again.  For those of you who haven’t, take a couple of minutes and take it all in.

How surprising that the person who experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the person who was the least happy at the beginning of the experiment!

Lessons from Surgery and the Role of Gratitude

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

I just recovered from the removal of my gall bladder and this healing time has given me an opportunity to reflect on my experience.

Here were some of my key reflections that may have some relevance the next time you have to encounter surgery.  It is clearly not to be an all-inconclusive list.

Lesson 1.  Routine and common does not mean easy or without significant stress or the potential of complications. Should you do it and how you do it are key questions to consider.

Lesson 2. Focus on the “what” before the “how”. Invest as much time on getting clarity and being explicit about the key considerations that will be the basis for you to decide what you will do.

Lesson 3. Inquire as to what could happen during and after the surgery.  Don’t focus on the possibilities, instead what to expect so you can minimize any highly stressful post-surgery surprises

Lesson 4. Find a surgeon who has done lots of the intended procedure and whose track record is exemplary. Peace of mind is essential before, during and after the procedure.

Lessson 5.  Caregiver and/or advocates are invaluable. I was blessed to have my wife, Lola as my caregiver and my gatekeeper. She sent thoughtful group update emails when she knew I needed to rest and recover rather than have me speak to so many wonderful well-wishers when I was not up to it.

Lesson 6.   Eliminate future questions as to “what did my doctor say?” Get the consent of your doctor and record your conversations (I would be concerned if they did not agree).  I was amazed that even when I thought I was listening carefully during my appointments, I forgot some salient points I heard when I replayed the recording.

Lesson 7.  The Role of Gratitude.  Opportunities for gratitude abound. Appreciation for the great surgeon, the medical team, the hospital and staff, the technology, the caregiver, friends and family to name a few.

I found gratitude in other places as well.  First, the loving thoughts, best wishes, blessings and prayers both before, during and after are very reassuring.  It reinforces our life purpose knowing that we make a difference in peoples’ lives.

It has been reported that prayers matter, even when the person being prayed for is unaware of it.

Finally, the personal gratification I had when I took my year-long journey to express my profound appreciation to those who had made a big difference in my life paid huge dividends once again.

When I was about to be given general anesthesia, I was optimistic that everything would be fine.  When the thought that there were no guarantees crossed my mind,  I was at such peace knowing that I had already expressed my gratitude to all who had been important to me.

This powerful concept will not only serve you when you are alive and well but also when your health and life is in some jeopardy.  Yet another reason to not defer the opportunity to express deep gratitude to those who have been important influencers in your life.

In Gratitude,
Walter Green

Father’s Day—A Perfect Time for Reflection and Gratitude

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Right about now, many of you may be thinking about this upcoming Father’s Day and what you might do to make it extra special.  If you are blessed and your father is still alive, consider the expression of appreciation for all that he has done for you over your lifetime.

I am reminded of the story of what one graduate student did after hearing me speak on the subject of my book, This is the Moment…How One Man’s Yearlong Journey Captured the Power of Extraordinary Gratitude. She was a night student and still living at home.  When she returned home the night of the lecture she made a list of all the contributions her father made to her life.  When her father arrived home later than evening, she asked him to join her in the living room indicating she had things that she would like to share with him.   He inquired, “About what?”  She responded, “About what you have meant to me.”  The father responded, “I know you love me.”   The daughter added “Dad, it is more than that.  I would love you to just sit with me for a few minutes so I can share my feelings with you.”   The father acquiesced and the daughter proceeded to express the specific contributions he had made to her life and what it has meant to her.  They both were in tears before the conversation was finished.   The father said at the end that it was one of the most heartwarming moments of his life.

It is not important whether you communicate these expressions of gratitude in person.  If you will not be with your father on Father’s Day, a letter would do just fine.  The important issue is that you do not miss the opportunity.

Whether your father is or is not alive, I would reflect on one additional question.  Who else is alive that has given you very helpful fatherly advice over the years?

We all know we are not self -made.  Was there a mentor, a teacher, someone in the older generation that made a difference in your life?

If you watched the recent running of the Preakness, the winning jockey was a Hall of  Fame rider by the name of Gary Stevens.  What makes this story even more remarkable is that Gary is 50 years old and has not raced in the last seven years and his horse, Oxbow was a 15 to 1 shot.  When the commentator asked how he was able to do it, Gary responded that his father has been very important to him but he is also so indebted to others who have given him advice and support over the years.  He then added, “If it weren’t for the encouragement and opportunity of Wayne Lucas, the world class horse trainer, I may have never raced again.  For sure, not be in the winner’s circle of The Preakness, one of horseracing Triple Crown.”

The odds of achieving lifelong dreams are a long shot in most of our lives.  Think about who has helped you get into your “winner’s circle” and let them know what they mean to you on this Father’s Day.

With gratitude,

Walter Green

High School Basketball Teaches Humanity

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Talk about a “game changer”.  What a remarkable civilization we would have if this was in fact the way all “games in life” were played.  As a starter, the next time we encounter a person with a challenge or find ourselves  in a competitive situation, think about how Coach Peter Morales or #22 Jonathan Montanez would have handled it.

You can watch the short and inspiring video here.

All my best,
Walter Green

Something Extra Special for Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 11th, 2013

It’s only four more days until Valentine’s Day and many people are still looking for that thoughtful gift that will show that special someone just how much they care.

You want it to be something more than the usual flowers, chocolate or Hallmark cards. Or perhaps you want to give something in addition to those traditional gifts.  Time is short and finances are even tighter.

Sound familiar?  You are not alone.

Here’s my suggestion, and one that will be one of the most inexpensive and yet most memorable of all.

But first, consider the answer to this question.

In what ways has this person really made a difference in your life?

For the moment, make short bullet point responses to this question.

Next, take out a sheet of paper and start writing a letter to that person expressing your heartfelt gratitude for these specific contributions to your life.  It matters not whether your letter is one, two or more pages.  Writing it out is what matters most.

Others have told me that it rarely takes an hour to write.  And even today only 46 cents if you have to mail.

So for anyone struggling with finding that one, extra special Valentine’s Day gift – don’t look in the stores, or online.  It’s all inside and just waiting for you to tap into it.

Not only will the recipient be touched to receive it but you will never have any regrets in the future for things you might have left said.

I always love to hear about your experiences expressing profound gratitude so please share them here on my website or share a comment on my Facebook page.

Thank you, Ray Romano

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual event that was created to provide national recognition to individuals who throughout their lifetimes have made significant contribution to American culture through the performing arts.  My wife and I have watched this event on television for many years and consider it the most outstanding event of its kind.   We had the pleasure of attending this year’s event in person.

Kennedy Center Honors usually select five extraordinary people.  Tribute is paid to each of the recipients by individuals whose lives have been touched or in some way been significantly influenced by these people.

Ray Romano paid tribute to one of this year’s honorees, David Letterman.  He thanked him for the gigantic break that Letterman gave him early in his career when Letterman’s production company built a show around Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond. I was thinking, what an extraordinary way to express profound gratitude to someone.

But here is the rest of the story.  Ray Romano became emotional during his tribute and his voice quivered when he acknowledged regretfully, “My father passed away, I never told him I loved him….I love you, David Letterman”.

Ray, in that one sentence, poignantly shared both the pain that one experiences from regrets for things we wish we had said to people who have profoundly influenced our lives as well as the joyfulness from acknowledging those people when they are alive.  Clearly demonstrating once again, “This Is the Moment”.

Thank you, Ray Romano.