The Art of Self-Discipline

As I have now mentioned numerous time (and will likely mention again… that is what I do), I do not enjoy writing. One of those reasons is that I have a hard time of coming up with things to write about. Because of this, I started to keep a task list of different blog titles and what to write about. Today’s blog post, for the last month was actually geared to be written as part of the “Self-Improvement series” articles I have written in the past (and will write about again in the future).

I wanted to write about Self-Discipline, my struggles with this and what I am doing to work on it. However, a couple weeks ago, I was speaking with my therapist about this and she helped me really see this differently. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt that I have struggled with self-discipline (as I am sure many of you have as well). I feel that far too often I start something and never finish. In all honesty, I am surprised I am still writing blog posts!! Far too often I will do things such as starting a new gym routine, or eating healthier or reading more books…. and then after a week, a month or maybe a year, I slip up and find myself back exactly where I started.

Now in reality, this is something I still need to work on, so it does fit in line with my self-improvement process. However, I have come to learn I am not as big a failure at this as I originally thought. As it turns out, this is common. Extremely common. The problem is not that I lack self-discipline. In reality, the fact I am attempting these things shows the drive and determination needed to have self-discipline. My problem is that I am attempting to do something, that I do not generally like, alone. If I was extremely happy and loved what I was doing, the motivation to do this would be easier. I love going to the gym for example, however after a period of time, the routine gets boring and I no longer enjoy it and I find it harder to go. Eating healthy is easy at first because I feel better and see results, however I am such a picky eater I end up craving some sweets, and before I know it, I have consumed 4 Cinnabon’s in 3 days.

In speaking with my therapist, the secret I have discovered to this, is that failure rate when going about these things alone, is much higher than when you do these things with others. I.e. if you are having trouble going to the gym, get a gym partner? Not eating well? Get a friend to eat well with you. Do not enjoy writing or journaling? Come up with a good topic about something you are passionate about and start a blog. A blog that others are reading and keep you accountable for continuing to write. For me, I feel as if I am letting my readers (the handful of you who keep coming back) down.

So the truth is, I do not necessarily lack self-discipline. I lack the support to do a lot of what is needed of me. For years I have been unhappy with my job and my motivation to stay has always been to support my family. But that in itself has caused problems. My wife has always supported me going back to school, but that is now just becoming a reality. And with her support, and the support of the rest of my family, and my drive to help others and be happy, is all the self-discipline I need to better my life.

Do you struggle with Self-Discipline? What are some of your secrets to staying on track? Please share your secrets below, or any other comments you may have!

Please also feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Back from Vacation. Back to Reality

While I may still be a bit jet lagged, I am now back from my vacation and already back into full work mode. Our plane was delayed a little on Tuesday night and by the time we landed, went through customs, got our bags and got to the car, it was 2 hours later and our kids were exhausted. But I was in bed by 12:30 and had to be up bright and early for another day at work…. so with that, back to reality!

For our vacation we spent our time on the Island of Faial in the Azores. I personally have never been out of the country, so that in itself was a fantastic experience. But this island, was essentially heaven on Earth. Faial is amazing in its history and beauty. The people are all friendly and happy and aside from the mugginess, the weather was beautiful!

Over the course of the 8 days I was on the island, we did so much: checked out the Capelinhos (volcano), the Caldeira (crater), the Marina, Pico (an adjacent island), Pedro Miguel (town my in-laws grew up in). We drove around the island, walked, ate and drank! So much food and so much to do! I am not seafood eater so I missed out on a lot of the local cuisine, but there was still plenty for me to choose from.

The last few days we were on the island, was also the start of Semana do Mar (the Week of the Sea) which is a large yearly festival right in the marina. They close down streets, and their is music, dancing, food and lots of happy people!

This trip was SO MUCH FUN, and we did so much… so much I could write 10 blog posts. But as of right now, I am beyond exhausted and still jet lagged, so this will have to do :-). Please check out my Instagram account for a few pictures from my trip.

Now that I am back, it is also time for me to get back to reality; work, school, and creating a better life for myself and those round me!

Have you ever been to the Azores? Please share your experiences below… or share one of your favorite vacation spots!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Off to Portugal!

I write this blog post full of excitement, as tomorrow morning, my family an I are off to the Azores Islands! This is especially fun for me, as I have never been out of the country!

My Father-In-Law turned 70 this year so he is flying the whole family (him and his wife, my wife, kids and myself, My wife’s sister and her husband and 2 kids as well as my wife’s brother) out to his home island for a week of fun and celebration. Even my parents will be stopping over for a few days as my Dad celebrates his retirement!

I have been practicing and teaching myself Portuguese the last couple years (I am usually awful with foreign language) and I am very much looking forward to seeing how much I really know. Also, I have school starting in mid-August as well, so this will be a good final R&R before school begins… life is about to get really crazy and hectic I think…

I do plan to schedule a blog post to be posted while I am gone, but other than that, you can follow me on Instagram and check out some of the pictures I will (hopefully) be posting while I am there!

If you have ever been to the Azores (specifically Faial or Pico) please share some of your favorite things to do there. Otherwise, what do you like to do when traveling?

Self Improvement: I Don’t Always Have to Be Right

I have always hated to lose. I have always been super competitive and because of that, I dislike losing. I am sure that comes with the territory, and lets be honest, nobody ENJOYS losing. But because of this, I seem to always take it to another level. I am an extremely argumentative person and have always battled this constant feeling of HAVING to be right. Even when I know I am wrong, I will keep up my argument just to win.

As you can imagine, this type of behavior has caused caused a lot of strain in various relationships, whether with friends, family or my wife. I will often make a mountain of a molehill, simply because I have to have my way or “win” the argument. As an example of how ridiculous I can be, a few years back, my wife and I were listening to a song and as we both sang along, we sang a particular lyric different. I was adamant I was right (even if mine made less sense) and she argued she was right. To end it, she pulled the lyrics up online to prove to me I was wrong. And then, with seeing the correct lyrics in front of me, the only thing I could say was “well these must be wrong too.” How ridiculous is that?! For years after I would still hold this up. And even though we BOTH knew I was wrong and knew it, I was smile and never admit the true lyrics.

It is stuff like this that can make me a difficult person to be around. I can be a contrarian and argumentative over just about anything, only because I want to be heard and I want to be right. I am sure a lot of this is just my competitive nature, but I am sure a lot has to do with my upbringing and how we went about arguing and discussing things.. not to mention when people gloat when they are right, they make you feel like shit for losing, so you just never admit defeat.

This last year, as we were under a great deal of stress (sold our house, moved in with our in-laws, bought a house, moved in and I started a new job), I could sense I was worse than ever before. As discussed in Relinquishing Control, I had to control everything and argue anything that was not going my way. I am sure a lot of my argumentative nature stems from having to have control of situations (or vice versa), but it is truly not a trait that is fun to be around. In December of last year, I started seeing a Therapist, and one of these reasons for that, was this very thing. I had to control situations, I was angry (perhaps a future blog post…), and I had to argue with everyone about everything. Part of this was the stress that was going on, part of it was my relationship, and part of this had to just do with feeling stuck doing work I did not fully enjoy. Regardless, my actions were not fair to those around me.

Identifying that I have this issue has been the biggest hurdle for me, because it wasn’t so much as identifying it, as it was admitting it. Admitting this is a problem feels like a loss to me, and as you now know, I dont like to lose. But its a daily battle. To work on this I am trying a lot of things. I am trying to listen more and understand the issues. I try to listen all the way through before speaking and I ask myself if what I am saying is warranted. I am admitting I am wrong when I can instead of holding it up. Aside from being an ass to be around when I cannot admit wrong doing, I want my children to learn that it is ok to be wrong and that good can come from it. For me, it is a constant struggle to remind myself to breath and not let every little thing bother me, and to not have to be right.

If you struggle with this, please share your thoughts and comments below on what works best for you, I would love to hear from you!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Book Review: The School of Greatness

If you have been following along on my other posts, you know by now that I am not a big fan of writing. I do it because it is actually a bit of a stress release and a way to share my story. Along with writing, there are a lot of other things I am not a fan of, but tend to do them anyway. One of which is reading. Although I say this, I actually do enjoy reading once I start, but my mind almost feels as if it is a chore. I on average read a book every 1-3 months. Not that it takes me that long but because I am exhausted by the time I am done. Although lately, as I am on this path towards resurrecting myself, I have taken the time to read a handful of books, and I hope to share some reviews of each of them as well.

The first book I want to share with you was written by a man that honestly opened my eyes and has helped me restart my path in life. The book is titled ‘The School of Greatness” and it was written by a self-made man, an inspirational author, speaker and podcaster: Lewis Howes. I first came across Lewis when listening to his podcast. Every week he is interviewing special people who do extraordinary things. Whether they are authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, dancers, they all have something in common: they had a passion or a drive to follow their dreams and do what they love. Lewis has somewhat of the same story as he was a professional football player in the Arena Football League until he broke his arm. He was living on his sisters couch and decided he needed to do something. He followed his passions and worked hard and has made millions in the process.

When I found out that “The School of Greatness” was not just a podcast, but also a book, I wasted no time in buying it. This book outlines passions and drive and identifying those within yourself and driving towards them. As I have mentioned about me is that I had lost that somewhere along the way, became complacent and went the safe route. I constantly felt stuck and dreaded having to look forward to this life as I moved on. Listening to Lewis and reading his book has been an instrumental part of my journey. For anyone who is searching for their drive in life, business or relationship, I highly recommend this book (and his podcast). Lewis is also extremely active on Social Media, so I suggest you check out his Instagram as well (or really any of his social media outlets as listed at the bottom of this page).

Have you read this book? if so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Or perhaps there is another book similar to this you recommend? I would love to hear about it!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Is 10 Year Old You Happy?

At some point in our lives, we have likely had this question asked of us, or had this conversation with someone. And I was recently reminded of this while watching TV, and Indeed.com had a commercial asking us this very question: Would your 10 year old self, be happy with what you have become today?

In a sense, this is sort of where I have been going with my current life choices and decisions: I am unhappy with what I am doing so I am setting out to explore and do something that brings me joy.  In all fairness, when I was 10 years old I had aspirations of being a pro baseball or basketball player, and not a firefighter, or a teacher or even a therapist. But the point of it, was I wanted to do something that made me happy (and also make me famous and have a lot of money).  And perhaps that is a topic for another time, in that I was so focused on that, and my views changed to just be the money or the fame, that I followed whatever path i thought would make me money and money would make me happy.

In a sense, my 10 year old self would be happy with where I am: Nice house, beautiful wife, 2 kids, 2 cars, a steady job, food on the table and money to travel and enjoy life with. What 10 year old me may not understand, is that while have all of those things in nice, its not everything. I mean do not get me wrong, my wife and kids are everything to me, and if I did not have their support I wouldn’t think of leaving my job. I would do anything for their happiness, and that has always been my #1 priority.

I can probably safely say that 10 year old me is indifferent. He is happy that I have found a great family and own a nice home. He may be mad I wasn’t able to pitch a World Series no-hitter or take a pass from Steph Curry to drain the game winning 3 over LeBron James, But I think he would understand. I think he may be confused as to why I would be going back to school to follow a passion like that, because 10 year old me loved money. But my hope is 10 year old me would understand, and ultimately be happy, because 33 (almost 34) year old me was going to be happy.

What about you? Is your 10 year old self happy? Share your thoughts below and let me know if you are happy!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

 

Phil Dunphy is My Hero

If you are not watching ‘Modern Family’ every week, you are missing out on one of televisions greatest treasures. This Emmy award winning show will make you laugh, it will make you cry and… well it probably wont make you cry but it will make you laugh. This comedy follows an extended family as they navigate life in their own way. Phil is married to Claire and together they have 3 children. Claire has a gay brother named Mitch,and him and his partner Cam (who in their own right nearly steal the show from Phil) have an adopted daughter. Mitch and Claire’s Dad, Jay, is married to a young bombshell named Gloria (who had her own kid from a previous marriage. There is always a lot going on in this show, but to me, the greatest part is Phil himself.

Phil is a family man. He is funny, charming and witty (although he rarely succeeds when he tries). He reminds us constantly that he was a cheerleader in college and that he is an expert magician. He loves to bounce on the trampoline, dance and have fun. But most of all, Phil loves his family.

I have had conversations with friends and family on many occasions about how much I love Phil. What is funny is that everyone always says the same thing: I am just like him. Now, knowing better, I know they are making a joke, because Phil is an utter goofball and a nerd. He often finds himself at the butt of people’s jokes and in general is just a silly, fun loving guy. But when people compare me to him, I take it as a compliment.

Phil might be a bit of a doof, and may get picked on from time to time, but he has a heart of gold. Phil loves his wife and kids more than anything, and they come first in his life. Phil not only loves his job, but he loves his life and loves to have fun. All 3 of his kids are very different but he finds ways to bond with each one and to help lead them. Each kid is not punished or celebrated the same as each is unique, and he treats them as such. Phil doesn’t particularly care what others think, aside from his Father-in-law, who he is constantly trying to impress, so that he feels good enough to be the husband, to his father-in-laws little girl (I know the feeling). And at that, for being such a nerdy guy, Phil landed a smokin hot, down to Earth wife, who not only puts up with him, but cherishes him and truly loves him too. Who wouldn’t want that.

Over time, television has brought us many great TV Moms and Dads. Those we love, those we hate, and those that much us smile and laugh. To me, Phil is the penultimate father figure. Phil Dunphy is my hero 🙂 !!

Please feel free to share who your favorite TV Mom or Dad is or who you see a little of yourself in.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.Not a go

Why Am I Doing This – Part 2

For just about a month now, I have been chronicling my journey as I start making changes in my life, and ultimately start my career over. As I stated here, I am hoping to inspire those along the way who are also dealing with similar issues who might find help with this. But at the same time, I still find myself questions exactly why I am doing this.

I question this for a few reasons. For starters, I do not generally enjoy writing. I actually feel it is somewhat of a chore. That is also probably why I am not very good at it. Sure some of the info I am sharing may be helpful, but my style, my thought process: its all wrong. I am sure my grammar is not exactly correct either. But, lets be honest, does that matter? I am not planning to win a Pulitzer or any other award for this. I am just trying to share some of my thoughts on my journey to bettering myself and hopefully others as well.

Aside from not being that good at writing, I feel this is more or less reading like a journal. I guess you can say another reason I am doing this, is that it is for me. My thoughts are so jumbled these days that this is an outlet for me to write and get some of those feelings out. As you read these post you may notice the topics from post to post jump around and seem as if there is no rhyme or reason for them. And the truth is, that is because they are. As it stands right now, I am writing from the heart almost every time I write: what is top of mind and where my head is at. And since I dislike writing, it makes sense that I am not going to to write out an outline, or re-write anything. What you see is what you get I guess.

And just like that, another blog post that likely doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But this is me. This is my journey

Feel free to share some of your writing tips and your process below.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.Not a good writer

Testing My Patience

Today is just one of those days. I am sitting on my couch, tired, frustrated and exhausted. I am nearly in tears today. We all have those days, but I guess the true question is: how do we respond to those days.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today. Nobody I know was hurt in any way. I didn’t lose my job or car. I have plenty of food on the table and in the fridge and my kids are happy and healthy. So why am I so upset? My guess, is that life is just tiring sometimes.

It is no secret I have a lot going on in my life. I am dealing with marriage problems (more on that at another time), I am super busy at work, I have a big vacation coming up, I am going back to school soon, and I have 2 kids under the age of 5. Life. Is. Crazy.

Today I came home from work, already in a bad mood. Work is crazy busy as my co-worker recently left the company, dumping all of his work on me. All of this right as we were undertaking a big change to our organization AND prepping for a big conference next week, in which I have to give a presentation. Outside of work there is a lot going on too, as personal problems aside, I am preparing to start school as well as get ready for a week long family vacation (which adds stress at work because I need to ensure all of my work is completed so I do not have to work while I am gone). So when I came home from work, I was just not ready to parent and adult.

To be honest, I lost my patience tonight. My kids tested me over and over, and I finally lost my patience. Its not their fault. They do not mean to press my buttons. But today it just happened. In reality, they were just being themselves: wild and crazy kids, acting their age (my daughter turns 5 in September and my son turns 3 at the end of July). But today wasn’t the day for that. They were eating dinner when I came home… well they were sitting at the table watching TV talking and playing, while not eating. I fought with them, I begged and pleaded… I even resorted to bribing them to eat. My daughter ultimately ate, but my son did not. He refused to eat very much, stating that he wasn’t hungry… but I know better. I know he is just trying to fight with me until I give in and give him something else. But I do not play that game. So tonight after he was in bed and he was crying for more food, I had to be firm with him. Is it too much for an almost 3 year old? Perhaps. But by no means was my son starving, and he did eat SOME food… just not a lot. He was just trying to get his way, and I just refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with everything.

Tonight I am just exhausted. I did not want to parent or adult, I just wanted to relax and meditate. Life has been particularly trying these last few months, but I am still focused on bettering myself and finding the positive. Some days are harder than others, but we are human, right? Tomorrow is a new day and I can focus on being better.

Share some of your stories or best practices when you are having a day that is trying your patience as well. Whether its the kids, your job, your significant other, or just life in general.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Self Improvement: Relinquishing Control

My journey to starting my new career is a fairly new ambition of mine (although I have been thinking about it since the day I left my first job. However for the last couple years, I have tried doing things to better myself as a person, often time I fall flat. Whether it be going to the gym more, eating right, working on my temper or something else: I am able to make it work for a short period before I fall back to my old ways. In the last year, it has dawned on me that I have been going about it all wrong. I focus on the wrong things to change and how I go about it.

Last year in the process of selling our house, living with my in-laws, buying a new house, starting a new job, and.. a few other things, I realized how difficult I can be to be around sometimes. Sure part of this was unhappiness, that likely stems from my career choices. But I also fall victim to different characteristics of mine that get the better of me and make me a pain in the ass. My plan here, along my journey to a new career, is to also document some of the self improvement tasks I am working on. Characteristics that can make me difficult to be around, or make me a worse person, and how I am working to better myself (and ultimately those around me). This blog is about my journey to starting a new career and inspiring others along the way. My journey involves much more than just the career choice, but life choices as well, as everything is related and builds off each other. So with that, today’s topic is: I am a control freak

Now, I shouldn’t really say I am a control freak, as I can be fairly laid back and easy going. But I do like things done a certain way. And I can be very defensive and manipulative when it comes to things I want done a certain way. There is something about knowing what is going on and having a sense of control to a situation. In reality, I tend to get more controlling over things I am passionate about: my kids, my marriage, my friends, my house, etc.

Being in control, and wanting to be in control and not generally a bad thing, I would usually not list that as a characteristic that could make me hard to get along with. However, I tend to take it too far. If things are not done my way, I get extremely argumentative (that is a topic for another day) and defensive and tend to not back down. I become irrational and do not listen to what others have to say. Hell, even after I know I am wrong I will stick to my guns (stubborn.. yet another topic perhaps), I will argue and argue till I get my way, that way I can stay in control of the situation. Sometimes, it is not very obvious. I tend to manipulate people (or try) to do things I want. For instance, if my wife happens to leave dishes in the sink and I have been putting mine away, I may passive aggressively say something like “WE need to be better about putting our dishes away.” I Obviously mean ‘YOU’ as I have been putting mine away (and this is probably a bad analogy, as I am more likely to not put my dishes away… shhhhh…). Sure sometimes, I do mean ‘WE,” but often times, I mean ‘YOU,’ and lets be honest, that is not fair, regardless of who I am dealing with.

So the real question is, how do I work on this? I am still a work in progress, but here are some of the things I am doing to better myself and Relinquish Control:

  1. Discuss the issues as they come up with my therapist
  2. Take a deep breath and try to understand where others are coming from
  3. Ask myself why do I feel the need to be in control here
  4. Let others lead. I am not always right (I am hardly right)
  5. Exercise. Exercising allows me to release any pent up aggression
  6. Practice letting others win. As I don’t always have to be right, perhaps let someone else “win” even when I know I am right (its good practice
  7. Last, and probably most important: Listen. Listen to what others are saying and doing. Everything else listed above can come after I listen, and understand

Perhaps not everything listed here is truly about relinquishing control. Perhaps a lot of my other issues I need to work on are highlighted more-so here than intended. But the main point here is, is that I am a work in progress. I have identified areas of my life that need to be improved, for not only myself but those around me. This is one big journey to a better me.

Do you also have issues with control and having to own the situation? Share some of your experiences and how you practice relinquishing control, below.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.