Tick Tock

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This is one of those moments where correcting a bad habit is a double negative. I used to eat when I was bored. So I started filling in my time with other items, in order to avoid that pitfall. However, right now I’m waiting on some pretty big news, that will come in some time today. So I am trying to distract myself, which I used to be able to do with food. So now I just have to figure out what to do with myself until I get the news. Well I guess one good fall back is writing. I used to not have that, and it keeps my brain engaged and occupied. Getting my brain sharper was the reason I started blogging, but it also fights boredom during a bad moment. Of course I can also cruise through other interesting blogs, which helps build motivation to stick to my goals. It’s realy interesting to see how many different bloggers are out there. You can go through 1,000 blogs, and each one is unique. Even 1,000 blogs on the same topic are all different. Yet I can still read a post and completely relate to it and think, that’s exactly what I went through, I know right? 

Quite amazing for us to be so different, going through completely different situations, and yet still understand the emotions, struggles, and achievements in others. It shows how connected we actually are, since we can pull motivation from just hearing someone elses story. It shows how much we connect and relate with others. Maybe it amplifies it online because we typically aren’t looking at someone’s socioeconomic class, race, gender, hairstyle, accent, or anything else that we can’t help but use to ananlyze the people in our everyday lives. When people blog online, we are normally just reading their words directly, which cuts out a lot of mental filters. You can apply yourself more directly to their story, and see yourself in their shoes, because at the heart of it we are very similar. Take out societal archetypes, and just read pure writing, and it’s easy to connect. That or maybe bloggers are just awesome, which is why there are so many great blogs. 

I just got an idea, if you know of any great blogs, (including your own), post or comment below. I can find really great posts in the most random ways, so I’d be curious to see if you guys have any favorite blog recommendations. I love reading new information, everyone has a unique perspective. That will also help me keep my mind occupied, and happy

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Why, ‘Cookies or Health’ is the Wrong Question 

If your making a sacrifice to better yourself, focusing on what you can’t have is a recipe for disaster. I see the clips all the time that give you two options, something like this:

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And I would think, well I know camera shots make you look bigger than you are, so she’s pretty darn skinny, which isn’t my ideal, but I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t all that motivational. So I thought about it and realized something. If someone is asking if I want cookies, or a thin body, the choices have vastly different circumstances. The reason dieting is so hard, is because we can have instant gratification with a cookie. How long is that slim body going to take to get? Weeks? Months? Years? Depends on the person, but it’s long term. Cookies? 3 seconds to open a bag, and I’ve got my reward. The guilt, sugar crash, and fat come afterwards. Where as for dieting, the misery comes first, and the reward comes later. But when I would see the ‘would you rather have a cookie or a great body’ type add, I knew what the point was, but I would still want a cookie. Which I realized is because I can have it now.

Which brings me to my next point. Don’t focus on what you can’t have. If I sit and think about the things I want but can’t have, it’s only a matter of time before my mind will go, screw this, and I’ll end up caving. Especially if you do any long term dieting or type of goal, you won’t make it if your always thinking about things you don’t have. I’m not one to just use ‘modern’ healthy motivations either. And by that I mean, if it motivates me, pretty much anything goes. I’ve read plenty of articles that say don’t use negative emotions as a motivator because it’s bad for you. No, what’s bad for you is being overweight, constantly eating toxins, and hating what you look like. Once I realized I could use anger as motivation things got exponentially easier. Most of the time I don’t need it, but when you start, and things get tough, it can be a lifesaver.

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My anger fueled some of the most challenging parts of my diet, as it was the only thing stronger than my desire for food. And you don’t have to keep at it forever, maintaining weight is way easier than loosing weight (despite what is commonly said). Especially after what you know you went through to lose the weight in the first place. I was mad at myself for a while, and that got me through the initial cravings when I didn’t have much progress with my diet yet. That anger turned to appreciation. I’m now thankful that my old self decided to stick to the plan day in and day out. I couldn’t today get the results I want, unless my past self had already got the ball moving. So no it doesn’t turn you into a ball of negative emotions. Fitting into your old clothes has the exact opposite effect. So use anger or whatever to get through that initial stage. Once you get traction it’s easier to keep yourself on pace. 

Bottom line, focus on what you want, not what your missing. It’s okay to use anger as a motivator. It’s fine to be mad with the shape your in, or the unhealthy habbits you have created. It just means you believe in yourself and know you could do better, be better. Don’t let others derail you because they say it’s healthier to be overweight and feel good, then to actually have a healthy body with self control. Nothing feels better than having that healthy body. And don’t feel bad if you see a guilt trip add with a cookie or a slim figure. Cookies come with instant gratification, that’s why it makes you feel more guilty than anything. But there’s nothing wrong with that, just get the image out of your head, and focus on the rewards of accomplishing your goal. If all else fails, get mad at the cookie. 

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集中 The Means to Focus

Maybe it’s the lack of sugar, but I feel more focused than ever to hit my goals. I know the importance of visualizing your goals, but I also created a montage of pictures for representing what my goals look like, and am now using it for backgrounds. This way I will constantly see it. Maybe  I’ll still hit a crash, but my will power sure seems to be high.

Some of the psychology articles really were making a case that willpower is just an emotion. That’s why depending on the time of day, you can feel like you completely flip flopped on what you want to do. Acknowledging this, is important to be able to take control. If I have a moment, memory, thought, or item that I can use to trigger the ‘self control’ emotion, then I can succeed with any goal. As a result, I spent a lot of time focusing on what I want, and how I’m going to get there. Then, anytime I have a thought that will be counterproductive to my goal, I can use this ‘trigger’ to instantly change my emotions.

You have to be aware of the benefits to your goal, or when it gets tough, your emotions will overide your previous determination. Your goal my be set but the method is flexible. I’ve revised the way I’m going to hit my goal multiple times. It’s okay to adjust, just don’t do it in the spur of the moment. Do it when you’ve thought through the long term results, and it’s a better path. Basically just make sure it’s not an emotional decision. Other than that, it’s important to keep revising your strategy so that you get the best result 🙂 And be proud of your achievements! This is partly an emotional battle so it’s good to acknowledge when you’ve succeeded. That can give you positive emotions in and of itself 😊

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Why it doesn’t matter Why you learn a language.

I have always wanted to speak multiple languages. Taking the time to learn them was another story. When I was in a rut work/career etc. just in general, was when I finally decided to learn a new language. One of the best ways to break out of rut is to get a new perspective. Learning a language did just that. At the same time, it gave me something to focus on, instead of mulling the same work situations over in my head. Sometimes if the path in front if you is blocked, it’s best to climb a tree. 

Now what I wasn’t prepared for, was all the “why’s?”. Japan has some amazing cultural aspects, samurai, kimonos, sakura flowers. Not to mention ramen, mochi, and sushi. Or the fact they have some of the most advanced technology on the planet. I’ve been interested in Japanese culture since I was a kid, but this doesn’t seem to work as a reason to want to learn it. French, German, Spanish, cool, no problem. But Japanese? It’s a constant “But why?”. 

Me: state reasons above. 

Other person: yeah, but why specifically?  

The consistency of it became more amusing than anything. Saying your learning because it’s good for your brain, didn’t seem to satisfy either. I’ve come to expect 2 answers whenever Japanese comes up. The above why questions. Or, they have studied/know Japanese, and we get into a great conversation. For anyone who hasn’t studied Japanese, one of the major challenges is finding someone else who speaks Japanese. Outside of Japan, it’s practically non existent, so if your lucky enough to meet someone, a great conversation is usually quick to follow. 

If your debating learning a language, my advice would be to just start. My intro to the language started with google searches and downloading some apps. If I had known how much was involved with the language, I don’t know if I would have had the resolve to start. Things like 3 alphabets, and 2,000+characters for writing, can really put a damper on a beginners motivation. As I learned, and came to each knew challenge, I already had confidence that I could learn the language, which just made it seem like a fun puzzle game. I didn’t start learning it to become proficient, though that desire quickly came, I started learning to get myself functioning in a capacity I had never tried before. I initially just wanted to keep it as a side hobby that I could work on for years. I knew learning a language had a lot of benefits. 

I wasn’t expecting to become so completely fascinated with it. Learning the particles, kanji, and structure was really incredible. Beyond learning the language, I learned so much about Japan and the world that I wasn’t expecting. I can not only read the warning label in Japanese, but can also tell what the other languages are (Chinese, Korean, Indian etc.). I might not be able to read them, but I never thought I would have gained that by learning Japanese. And I am sure this holds true for other languages. Oh, and when I first started researching, there were a lot of articles that try to talk you out of learning Japanese. Again with the naysayers. I couldn’t begin to say how great of an investment of time Japanese has been for me. And I have invested quite a bit (2300 characters takes a while to work through, regardless of the process). I find it hard to believe that a skill that helps you communicate with others, teaches you others cultures, grows your brain, and gives you a different perspective, is going to be something you regret investing your time into. I think the only disappointment comes to those who try to become proficient quickly. It is going to take a while. But the benefits start as soon as you start learning 🙂 Besides it’s a lot of fun. writing 机を掃除 at work, gives you a sense of accomplishment, even if it just means clean your desk. Besides, my reasons for learning Japanese have changed as I’ve learned it. I’m so glad I finally just stopped debating, and started learning. It’s truly an investment in yourself.

懐かしい

One of the first characters I learned, if I knew how many thousands were still to come, it might not have been so fun. So don’t stress it, and enjoy the process 🤓