Category Archives: Goals

Seeing connections between having, doing and being

by Barnes Boffey, Ed.D; Director of Training, Aloha Foundation…

The thirst inside each us for happiness and peace of mind is not a thirst for things, no matter how spectacular they are, and the benefit of the action we take is not so much in what we do as it is the people we are when we are doing it. One person could give $100 to a charity and it might be an act of amazing generosity; a very well-to-do person might give the same $100 and it would be an act of penny-pinching.

“We can never tell what someone is doing by watching what they are doing,” said Bill Powers, and what he meant is that the being dimension of our actions describes us much more accurately than the doing dimension;  they are inextricably linked.

Once we understand that the ultimate goal of a human being is being human, we can connect the “having” and ‘doing” dimensions of our QW pictures to the “being” dimension and discover how all things and actions are reflections of our being human. The significance and the slaking of our psycho/spiritual thirst is in the “being.” As human beings we are given very general instructions: be loving, powerful, playful and free.  The hard part of being human is figuring out how to “be” those things in a world which most generally offers us choices about what we want to do and have.


It takes work to keep our eye on the prize, the “being” component, but understanding how it connects with our “having” and “doing” choices is a big step. Some people make the connection by asking, “If I “do this” or “have this,” what does that say about me?” Who am I when I have these possessions and take these actions? We know the answer will be different for each person; Internal Control Theory teaches us that “nothing has meaning until we give it meaning.” Nothing makes us feel that we are a specific kind of person; we are the ones who ultimately make that decision for ourselves. Others can impose their values on our choices, but our mental health and happiness will be the result of the meaning and values we ascribe to our actions and possessions. If we search honestly and openly for the “being dimension” in our possessing and acting, we will ultimately be the creator of our own happiness and the arbiter of whether we are being loving, powerful, playful, and free.

“Would the loving person I say I want to be be doing what I am doing right now?”

“I say I want to be worthy; would a worthy person take the action I am about to take?

“Is buying this hat an act of playfulness or an act of fearing peer pressure?”

“The person I want to be knows that I need to spend more time on my paperwork.

If I don’t make that time, knowing what I know, what kind of person will I be?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience,
we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Your New Year’s Resolve

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are close to the end of January, the month that many of us decide to make life changes and resolve to improve habits, thoughts and tendencies. How are you doing?

Anybody feel like your motivation is waning? Is the excitement you felt as you anticipated changing your life for the better harder to call on? Are you finding it more difficult to get going or to keep going in your new direction? Is it too easy to find an excuse or reason to slide backwards instead of continuing forward?

Let me offer some thoughts and advice to help:

Change is never easy!

Our usual patterns and behaviors are well worn paths and organized patterns in our brain. Any time anyone does anything new it’s harder than the old way.

For instance, how many times this year have you written or typed 2015 instead of 2016? You got into the automatic pattern of of writing 2015 after you practiced enough times. It’s going to take time, thought and practice for you to be able to write 2016 automatically.

This small habit that you changed in 2014 has only been part of your life for a year. And yet  you practiced this habit enough so that now it takes concentration, thought and time to change. This habit is in an area that is not very important in your life. And still the old habit sticks making it harder to start the new habit.

When you are attempting to change another area in your life, an area that has been your habit and practice for years, it’s going to take a lot more time, practice, concentration and forgiveness when you fall back on old habits. It is not easy to change any organized, automatic behavioral habit. Add patience, kindness and self-forgiveness as you go through the process of changing any habit you have been practicing for a long period of time.

Resolve to start doing something, not stop doing something!

If your New Year’s Resolution describes eliminating a behavior you are headed for failure unless you add what you are going to do instead.

Choice Theory psychology explains that all behavior is purposeful, even those nasty and unpleasant habits you want to change. The purpose of ALL behavior is our best attempt to act on the world in an attempt to get what we want to more effectively meet our needs. Even though the habit you want to change is not ultimately helping you be the person you want to be, it is helping some, meeting some need slightly. This is why you continue behaving as you do because it works!

(Maybe it doesn’t work well, or maybe it works for one thing and interferes with another; people who worry that they will gain weight if they give up smoking cigarettes, for instance.)

canstockphoto0012473Rather than resolving to stop doing something, resolve to start doing something. If you simply resolve to stop yelling at the other drivers on the road, what will you do the next time a driver cuts you off, or turns without using his blinker, or passes you on the right?

You’re still going to have the urge to yell, swear, or honk your horn. However, if you resolve to say loudly with feeling, “I bless you (or thank you if you prefer) as we to travel together safely on our journeys” you have a much greater chance at succeeding with your resolution. You don’t have to mean it with loving kindness. Just shout the loving and kind words, changing your road rage slightly.

Whenever there is a difference between what we want and what we are getting we have an urge to do something. And for many drivers that something is to shout angry words, flash finger digits and honk the horn. With your new resolution you are probably still going to encounter annoying and irritating fellow drivers. You will still have the urge to rage. So resolve to transform your anger into gratitude and thanks. You will be doing something. And you will have transformed the something you do.

Keep your BIG picture desire, dream or wish in mind when your motivation starts to droop

Remember why you’ve decided to stop eating all the white things (flour, sugar, salt)? You want to feel healthier and have more energy. Keeping this in mind can be useful and helpful when you are faced with a hot-out-of-the-oven, freshly baked biscuit.

Remember why you’ve decided to join the local athletic club and work out more? You want to be able to play with your children, bending, stretching, getting down on the floor with them and getting back up again, playing tag and all the other glories of play. Remember this the next time you wake up earlier than you want because you promised yourself you are going to the gym this morning, not rolling over to sleep just fifteen more minutes.

Remember why you’ve decided to call your brother every week, even for a quick hello and catch-up chat? You want to connect regularly and frequently instead of letting your relationship drift apart. Keeping this in mind on those days when calling feels like a chore and an inconvenience.

You chose this New Year’s Resolution because you have a picture in your head of what you want. Go back and look at this picture regularly and frequently to keep your motivation high and constant.

May you keep practicing your New Year’s Resolution
bringing you greater Mental Health & Happiness!

New Year’s Resolutions anytime of the year

Contributed by Denise Daub

There’s No Need To Wait For The New Year To Make A Resolution

Jan1stAlmost half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and exercise and weight loss is always at the top of the list. That’s no surprise, considering that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and less than half get the recommend amount of exercise needed to stay healthy.

But a future plan to exercise can be used as an excuse to curl up in a ball of blankets and hibernate through the holidays, which could explain why some folks go into the new year with a little added heft. A 2000 study of 195 Americans found that people who were already overweight or obese gained an average of five pounds in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that for all who gained holiday weight, these extra pounds made up more than half of the total weight they gained that year.

Read more:

Nourishing the Different Parts of Ourselves-Part 3

By Barnes Boffey

As we get clearer about our sub-selves and what they need, we can look at our lives and decide whether we are doing and being things which nourish them, or there big gaps? Is one  nourished a lot and the others ignored? Are we trying to pretend to ourselves or others that one of our sub selves does not really exist and therefore does not need to be attended to?

Nothing good can come of ignoring or disavowing the pieces of ourselves. The same is true in loving those pieces of ourselves. If we hate one of our sub selves, are simply doing harm to our self. It is like taking poison and hoping someone else will die. The goal is to appreciate each of the pieces of ourselves and to nourish that sub self in appropriate ways.

How can I arrange my life to take into account both the Warriorand the Artist? If I am too old to play football, or wrestle around or drink too much and dance the night away, what can I do to take care of that Warrior?If I am not in an intimate relationship, how can I nourish that Artist/Lover?If I have limited mobility, how can I give the Cowboythe fun and freedom he needs to be strong and healthy?

Part of being happy and healthy is knowing the answers to difficult questions about life, relationships, work and growing older. But another big part is getting the questions right. If we have the wrong questions, we will get the wrong answers?

daydream3Part of what I am encouraging you to do is to think about the major sub selves in your personality. Think of them as actual people who have needs and wants. Think about how much you have accepted them as part of who you are and how much you treat them as really good friends. If they were friends, you would do different things which each of them; some you would go to museums with, some you would play sports with, some you would plant a garden with. Give yourself the time and flexibility to treat these friendswell, and remember that there are consequences if you do not.

There is a story of a wise shaman who spoke to a young man which reminds me of some central issues in the thoughts above.

A young Cherokee man was going through a difficult time in his life. In search of guidance, he went to the Elder of his tribe.

After sitting with the young man for a while, the Elder spoke. A fight is going on inside you.He said to the young man. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.The first wolf is evil he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego” “The other wolf is good he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This is the fight going on inside you and inside every other person too. This is the struggle you feel.

The young man thought about it for a while and then asked, Which wolf will win?

The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.

When you think about your sub selves, the ones that will be healthy and happy will be the ones you nourish.

Happy New Year: Reflect, Release, Restore & Renew

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are all born with five basic psychological needs that drive our behavior:

Safety & security, the psychological aspects of survival
Love & Belonging

Mental Health & Happiness can be developed, improved and maintained by spending conscious time, energy and intention every day meeting our basic needs. How? Responsibly and effectively:

Being safe
Loving and connecting with self and with the important people in our lives
Being powerful with others and through personal competence

This time of year, the time we say good-bye to 2014 and welcome in the New Year 2015, is a perfect time for some self-evaluation.

Reflection: How are you doing meeting your needs for safety?

for love?
for power?
for fun?
for freedom?

Release: Are there any ineffective or irresponsible behaviors you want to release, let go, or eliminate? You might find it helpful to determine which need or needs you are                 attempting to meet with destructive behaviors. Now you can start a new, different,               more effective and responsible behavior to meet the need or needs.

Restore: Are there any habits or behaviors that you have let slip or dropped, even though you  know these habits helped you meet one of more of your needs? What need or needs     do these lost behaviors or habits help you meet? Now is the time to restore those               habits, routines and behaviors that are helpful, responsible and effective in meeting             your needs.

Renew: Now is a perfect time to renew your commitment to improving and maintaining your  Mental Health & Happiness. Spend conscious time, energy and intention every day responsibly and effectively following your instructions and meeting your needs.


in this


I Give Up!

By Nancy S Buck,PhD, RN

Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better Samuel Beckett

How many times have you started the New Year with an enthusiastic resolution to improve your life? How many New Year’s resolutions closely resemble the one you made last year and the year before that? Some of us may go years, decades even, making the same resolution over and over again. Your desire and resolve for change often represents the same hope, dream and goal.

Are you insane, the definition that doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results means you are insane? Or are you just hopeful, refusing to give up?

What’s going on? Could it be that when you make your resolve and make a plan to move you toward what want you are also moving further away from something else you want equally as much?

For instance, when deciding your New Year’s diet it may mean you’re depriving yourself of foods you enjoy. Before you are able to reach your ideal weight your deprivation from the delicious foods you enjoy leads you astray. You decide to just give up!woman_diet

Of perhaps your resolve to increase your exercise leads you to plan early rising with vigorous walking or jogging several days a week. Days, weeks and maybe even a month or two pass with great success as you follow your plan. But then one day you wake up to a deep snow storm or torrential rain storm, or freezing cold or heat wave temperatures or a pulled muscle. Staying snuggled deep in your bed for an extra 45 minutes of sleep drives you to simply give up. And too often this one day leads to another and another so you find yourself facing another January 1 still wanting what you wanted last January 1.

The best laid plans for change or even incremental improvement too often end with you throwing in the towel and giving up! After all, how many of you are still following the New Year’s resolution you made last January? How many of you have made the resolution to never make another resolution because you’re tired of feeling like a failure each time you give up?

There is nothing wrong with giving up. It is a perfectly good alternative. However, sooner or later the quality world picture of what you want and still don’t have returns. Giving up feels good initially. But unfortunately, giving up is a short term successful, long tern unsuccessful plan. And giving up interferes with your Mental Health & Happiness.

Here are a couple of adjustments you can make that you might find helpful.

First, instead of giving up, why not take a time out? The resulting actions may be the same, but when you take time out, you are telling yourself you will get back to your plan and program. You could even set a certain period of time for time out. You know you’re not giving up all together, waiting for the next New Year to start again. You are simply taking a time out and will resume again on Monday the 3rd.

Or you could discover your conflicting pictures and needs that pull you in two different directions. With this knowledge you can make a plan where getting one does not mean depriving yourself of the other. Your New Year’s diet will include all foods except sugar. Once a week, with the week being Sunday to Saturday, you will also allow yourself one Hershey’s chocolate kiss. Or, Your new exercise program means jogging 4 days a week, when possible outside. But when not possible inside. If an injury benches you, yoga and stretching will replace your exercise of choice. Each week you will decide the days you get to sleep in, and the days you will get up early to exercise. 

Give these suggestions a try. You may find the success you seek. Imagine January 2015, you will be making a brand new, never dreamed of before New Year’s Resolution aiming for another wish and dream!

What’s Your Habit?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How often do you brush your teeth? If you want to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy hopefully you aim to brush twice a day. How long do you need to maintain that practice? My dentist told me I only need to do that as long as I want to keep my teeth and have a healthy mouth and gums.

How often do you make nutritious food choices? Do you make these kinds of  choices only while you are on your weight reduction program? Perhaps that isn’t the best example since too many people make crazy and unhealthy choices when they are trying to trim down. When following the best advice about developing, improving and maintaining good, strong and healthy bodies, we’re told to choose good, healthy and nourishing foods every time we eat. . . for our lifetime.


How often do you follow an exercise program? Do you practice yoga once every six weeks and consider that the best practice for your body? Do you go to the gym once a week hoping you can maintain some level of being in good shape with this level of commitment? There are some who are able to develop a routine, habit and practice of physical exercise that they maintain all of their lives. Still others of us get into a good habit, something disrupts and stops us, so we need to start again. The goal, however, is to find and maintain some kind of physical activity we enjoy, that benefits our bodies, and that we can do forever.

How often do you follow a Mental Health & Happiness practice? If you only think about and do something that supports your Mental Health & Happiness occasionally you will get limited results and benefits. Imagine only following an occasional routine for your oral, nutritional, or physical health. This too would result in limited results and benefits.

In order to develop, improve and maintain your Mental Health & Happiness you need to set your intention and develop a daily habit or practice. Doing something once while hoping for positive results is not a good habit or practice. Following a Mental Health & Happiness habit needs to be part of your daily routine and practice in order to get the positive results you want.

Since this habit is something you will do regularly, it is best to find the practice that you enjoy. You are more likely to follow this routine until it becomes an automatic habit if the routine is  pleasurable and enjoyable. After all, eating cod liver oil may be a practice that supports your health. But if you find it unpalatable, you won’t swallow it.

There is no difference when developing a Mental Health & Happiness habit. If your have valiantly tried to keep a journal, but just find the practice tedious and onerous there is no good reason to make that your practice or habit. You won’t do it.

For those of you who have signed up for the Mental Health & Happiness daily challenges, you have been offered many suggested strategies. When you signed up for this website, you also received a list of even more strategies you could try.

Why not make today the day you will set your intention to find the Mental Health & Happiness habit you enjoy and can commit to following daily. If you found one, but as sometimes happens have been slacking off in the follow-through recently, make today the day you pick up that practice again.

After all, developing, improving and maintaining Mental Health & Happiness is something you can choose to practice every day.

My Ambition

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN 

The bear went over the mountain and what do you think she saw? She saw another mountain and what do you think she did? The bear went over the mountain. . .

rockyroadEver since December 14, 2012 I have been the bear going over the mountain to change how Mental Health & Happiness is understood and dealt with in this country and beyond. My ambition is to change the way we see, understand and deal with Mental Health & Happiness in ourselves and in others.

With the help of some dedicated and inspired colleagues and friends, we have been able to climb a mountain only to discover more mountains. We are not weary of the journey, nor are we slowing down even a little bit. There is much work we have done and there is even more work to do.

I want to remember, however, to stop along the way and take in the vista at the top of this mountain.

One year after launching this Mental Health & Happiness site this is what we have accomplished:

* A new blog is posted every other day, covering a wide range of topics on Mental Health & Happiness

* Since January 2014, people are signing up for Mental Health & Happiness challenges with a new challenge delivered every day (for twenty one days, then there is a seven day rest period followed by new challenges delivered).

* October 10, 2014, on World Mental Health Day we participated by offering a free virtual Mental Health & Happiness Summit that included twenty-four interviews with twenty-four experts around the globe. Over 1200 people participated.

* All of these interviews are available free online. Audio downloads of the interview are available for purchase.

We have people reading our blogs and participating in the challenges from all over the world. Our numbers continue to grow as friends and family share this helpful site with one another. There are others who simply stumble upon Mental Health & Happiness and like what they read. We also have folks who work in prisons sharing the blogs and challenges with prisoners, teachers sharing with their students from elementary level through college, and therapists and counselors sharing with clients. And these are the ones we know about.

As we start our next year dedicating our time, energy, work and passion into Mental Health & Happiness, this is what we hope to accomplish in the next year:

* Posting new blogs every other day will continue.

* New challenges will be delivered to those who are interested until we reach 365 total challenges written.

* Challenges will continue to be delivered to those who sign up.

* We will offer the 365 challenges for sale as book, an ebook to begin, for those who are interested in purchasing for themselves or as a gift.

* We will launch a monthly YouTube show including interviews with featured guests as well as panel discussions on Mental Health & Happiness to begin early in 2015.

*October 10, 2015 will be our second annual Mental Health & Happiness Summit

Want to be part of the team that is making Mental Health & Happiness a public health issue? Here are some things you can do:

* Tell everyone you know, love, and work with to go to and sign up. Feel free to tell people that you don’t know, don’t love or don’t work with too.

* Contribute a blog. Need help? Contact me at

* Contribute a challenge. Need help? contact Kim Olver at

* Give us names of people you would like to hear from on our YouTube show.

* Make a financial contribution, if you can.

* Keep reading the blogs, doing the challenges and sending us your feedback. We love hearing from you and knowing that what we are doing is facilitating a positive difference for you.

* Tell us how you want to help and what you want to do. We don’t want to restrict possibilities. If we are going to change how Mental Health & Happiness is understood on the planet we need everyone’s ideas and help.

Thank you for all for what you have done in making Mental Health & Happiness the success it is. Let’s not stop! There are plenty more mountains we need to climb. We believe It’s more fun and inspiring to do it together.

To do list versus I’ve done list

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Ever feel like the list of things on your to do list stretches longer than your lifetime? Do these tasks and thoughts overwhelm you to the point where you feel over stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to behead the next person who tells you, whether through words or a blog, that this is all your choice? Perhaps it’s time to change your organizational habits.

For instance, do you have a master list of all that you want to accomplish this season? This year? This month?

Do you make a daily list of all that you want to accomplish, crossing out what you get done and adding the undone tasks to the next day’s list?

If your answer to either of these strategies is “no”then perhaps it’s time to give one or both  strategies a try.

But if you have tried either or both and still feel overwhelmed and unsuccessful perhaps it’s time you started counting differently. Instead of making your lists, checking items off when completed and feeling unsuccessful for the one item (closet cleaning perhaps) that remains on your list day after day, month after month, or year after year, why not start making a list of all that you accomplish in a day? The first item on your list could be reading this blog —although I’m suspecting you have already done many things before you got to this item.

There are two distinct advantages to counting differently. First, when you realize all that you actually accomplish and get done in a day, there is no way you can still berate and accuse yourself of failing, being lazy or disorganized. I’m guessing you will be amazed and astounded at your productivity.

Second, you will have an actual black and white accounting of how you spend your time. This data may help you self-evaluate. Perhaps you are spending more time on some trivial yet necessary task without having the necessary time and energy to tackle the big and important items. With this information you may decide to pay someone else to accomplish the important yet trivial task leaving you more time and energy to work on what is really important to you. Or you may want to negotiate swapping a task or two
with a family member or room mate.

Or you may want to add a new and different to do list to your life. Why not consider 10 ways to be creative, or 11 ways to be sillier, or 12 ways to nap more. Then attempt to complete one per day, maybe as a new approach to your to do list.

If your present strategy for accomplishing life’s daily necessities is not working for you, why not consider a change. Your Mental Health & Happiness will improve when you do.