Tag Archives: goals

Seeing connections between having, doing and being

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

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.

Run from the fire or reach for the stars

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

What best describes you?  Do you run from the fire or reach for the stars?

When you spend your time running from the fire the energy propelling you is sourced from fear and pain. You are attempting to avoid getting burned, or alleviate the pain and fear of more pain. In order to keep going on this path you need to keep “re-fearing” yourself by reminding yourself of what can and may happen. It is stress, fear, and a whole lot of negative energy detracting from your Mental Health & Happiness that’s propelling your action.


When you reach for the stars the energy propelling you comes from inspiration. This means you’ve identified what you really want, what your quality world picture or pictures are. You are driven with inspired energy. This doesn’t mean life is stress free but it does mean the energy is uplifting and hopeful, filled with possibilities of dreams coming true. This energy keeps you going, enhancing your Mental Health & Happiness.

Some say when setting your goals you should ask yourself if your goal is realistic. Hmm, seems like that question contains not only realism but also doubt and potential fears.

Imagine if Columbus had asked himself if his dream of finding a shorter sea path to the Orient was realistic. Imagine what Martin Luther King might have done differently if he had asked if his dream was realistic. Imagine what might have happened if Rosa Parks asked if sitting in the white section of the bus was a realistic or good idea. Had any one of these people been driven by their fear instead of their dream to reach for the stars our world would be very different.

Imagine how your life could change if you reached for your star, inspired by what you want rather than what is realistic. If you are willing to let dreams inspire you rather than relying on an internal energy to avoid fear, not only will your Mental Health & Happiness improve, you just might change the world too.

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!

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.

Making Dreams Come True

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?    —  Happy Talk from South Pacific 

People who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t, according to Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals. Sixteen percent do, but they don’t write them down. Less than four percent write down their goals and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis. The one percent are the most likely to be successful in goal attainment.

What’s a goal? A dream! Choice theory psychology explains that our dreams and our goals are the quality world pictures we have of how we want to meet our needs. These dreams, or pictures are based on our experiences of what is actually need fulfilling. But they don’t have to only e based on reality and experience. Our quality world pictures are also what we hope and expect will be need fulfilling for us in the future. In other words, dreams. We don’t need to limit our dreams to what is possible or realistic.

Glasser, in his many books and articles explaining choice theory psychology stated that our motivation comes from inside of each of us. Our behavior is our constant attempt to satisfy one or more of the five basic needs, for safety, love, power, fun, and freedom. Everything we do is initiated by our urge to satisfy our pictures, dreams, goals.

goals_desiresOne of the challenges we each face, however, is that we often want more than one thing at the same time. As you sit reading this blog you may also be aware of your goal to get to work on time, or keep an important appointment, or some other goal you have for yourself today.

Not only does each of us have more than one dream, goal or picture we are aiming for, there may be other people in our lives who make demands and requests, distracting us toward our own goal. Because we probably have an equally important picture in our quality world of maintaining these connections and relationships we allow ourselves to be distracted from the constant and singular attempts toward only one dream.

What’s the solution?

Write down your dream or goal as specifically as possible. Dream bigger than is reasonable as “unrealistic expectations”led to our most profound discoveries and changes. (Think Steve Job’s impossible dream that every person would depend on a hand-held computer that could also be used as a phone, camera and video recorder.)

Aim for a balanced life where you are aiming for dreams in all areas of your life that are important: family, health, career, intimate relationship, education, hobby, spiritual life, finances, adventures or vacation, what else is important to you?

Create a 1 year, then 5 year, then 10 year plan so you know what dreams you are aiming for today, and what part of other dreams you are aiming for today.

Review, evaluate and adjust your dreams/goals as well as your progress regularly, if not monthly then at least with every change of season.

futurequoteCelebrate regularly! Celebrate your dream coming true, Celebrate your hard work as you continue to aim for a goal. Celebrate to inspire you to keep working, dreaming, learning, and living! Celebrate because you can!

Start today by writing down just one dream. If you don’t talk happy and you never dream,then you’ll never have a dream come true, Bloody Mary tells us in South Pacific.

Dreaming a dream, setting a goal, and working towards and for it ensures Mental Health & Happiness.


What’s Your Habit?

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

            Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right —   Henry Ford

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit —   Aristotle 

Recently I discovered that I have been practicing an unhelpful, ineffective habit for years. I have developed excellence in failing. And this is not the good kind of failing, where I would learn and grow from the experience.  Let me explain.

Here was my usual routine when setting and working toward a goal. I would spend time in quiet  contemplation becoming clear defining my goal, desire, and intention. Next, I gave thanks for already receiving my desire. And finally I put my head down and did my work. Too frequently though, I never actually received what I wanted. What was I doing wrong?

Perhaps I was setting myself up for failure by creating unrealistic expectations. Sometimes the answer to a wish or a prayer is “NO.” With this realization I started to do my best by letting go of all expectations. However I found this confusing. I was encouraged to “dream the dream.” Following the advice of the Secret and other modern gurus I was to make myself ready to receive all I asked for and more. Isn’t that an expectation? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to let go of my expectations.

Finally a friend came to my rescue in the form of a Mental Health & Happiness challenge. When dreaming my dream and creating the goal, I could include my preference for a specific outcome. The results might or might not match my preference. I shifted to preferring a result rather then expecting an outcome.

WOW! What a revelation. I felt I had freedom to prefer an outcome, but really let go of an expectation of what the outcome should be according to me and my ego.

In the process of trying to figure all of these ideas and practices out, I came face-to-face with my actual expectation. For years and years my actual expectation was that I WAS GOING TO FAIL. Thinking that I couldn’t succeed meant I was always right! Repeatedly thinking I never could meant I had cultivated the excellent of failing! Just as Wayne Dyer promised, when I believed it – that I would fail – I would see it – failing.

What a BIG lesson that took years and years for me to finally learn. Once I finally became conscious and aware that failure was my expectation, I could use failing as a teacher. I have developed a new habit when turning a dream into a goal:

Give thanks for my dream coming true
Work hard
Articulate my expectation, clearing any failure expectation
Transform my expectations into a preferences
Be amazed at all the expanding, extraordinary possibilities I receive

Thank you Mental Health & Happiness Challenges. It was from a specific challenge I learned about transforming a failing habit into the amazing and expanding possibilities of my dreams and my life.

You Never Know

By Denise Daub

Woke up this morning to a glorious day… windows open, breeze whipping through the house, wind chimes playing music on the porch… great day for a run.   Last time I went for a run the heat and humidity was so bad, I couldn’t breathe.  I decided I wouldn’t run outside again until the humidity broke and here it was… great day for a run.

I got dressed, put on my new running sneakers and went out. I knew that I really needed this for my mental health, happiness, physical health and well-being. I made it a special point today to look around, enjoy the coolness of the morning, the lush green grass and the blowing trees in the breeze.  I thanked God for the day and the ability to do what I am doing… running.  At age 50 and 80 lbs overweight, I decided to take up running.  I am on week 7 of my program for two weeks now, not able to complete my goal yet… but I am running.

woman running

But today something happened that helped me reach a turning point.  As I was running and looking around me I noticed another runner coming the other way.  In all the times of running, that hasn’t happened to me before.  I wondered… and as we passed we smiled and waved at each other.  So, you say… isn’t that the polite thing to do?  Of course, if I was walking she would have done the same thing… but I wasn’t walking.. I was running.. She acknowledged me as a fellow runner.  I have arrived.

I have been running for a few months now and I know that I am runner, but something about that simple gesture just nailed it for me.  The woman had no idea that her simple wave made my day and went a long way towards increasing my mental health and happiness.  She had no idea that I have been struggling for a few weeks, was starting to believe I couldn’t do it, couldn’t lose the weight or ever really complete a 5K run.

As you go through your day, remember we are all at different places in our lives and we can never know what someone else is going through or thinking.  Your smile or wave of acknowledgment can make someone’s day.  

Happiness Improves With Grit

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Have you ever had a project or an idea that you were excited to see become a reality? How long were you willing to work hard without seeing any concrete positive results? Perhaps you’re the kind of person who only needs a little bit of evidence to reassure you that you are on the right track. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who throws up your hands in surrender if your first attempt results in failure followed by your second unsuccessful attempt to your last and final attempt. With failure number three your ambition and willingness to keep trying also evaporates.

What makes one person willing and able to hang in for the long haul while another succumbs to setbacks and quits in discouragement? What makes one person resilient and confident while another may not even have the psychological strength and sufficient belief to even take the first step and dream?

Some psychological researchers say the difference is grit. (Want to measure your grit? search for “Grit Survey”by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth if you want to find out your grit score). Dr. Glasser called it psychological strength. His 1976 book Positive Addiction explained not only what psychological strength is, but what we each could do to build and increase our psychological strength. With greater psychological strength we experience increased confidence, perseverance and creativity.

Could one of the side effects of increased psychological strength be increased grit? If you developed a greater capacity to pursue your long term goals with passion and perseverance would you increase your Mental Health & Happiness? Imagine feeling psychologically stronger, more creative and confident. Do you believe you would also feel happier and mentally healthier?

If you’re willing to give this a try, here is what you need to do (or continue doing, or modify what you are already doing.) Glasser’s recipe for building psychological strength, resilience, grit, and confidence include the following criteria:

  1. Non-competitive activity
  2. Can be done easily without worry about need to do it well or continually improving
  3. Can be done alone preferably (so that you remain non-competitive and non-critical).
  4. Believe this act will add to your life’s value, spiritually, physically, emotionally
  5. Believe that persisting in this activity will add to your sense of physical and psychological well being
  6. Can do it in a non-critical way

What you do is not as important as developing a daily diligent habit that meets the above criteria. To help inspire you below are some ideas:

Jogging           Praying                        Hit golf balls                Swinging a baseball bat
Meditating      Walking                       Hiking                          Gardening
Biking               Yoga                            Juggling                       Playing musical instrument
Singing             Painting                     Sand castle building    Cooking