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Living Today


a path

Recently, I listened to a YouTube video where Jeff Johnson said, “Habits will either create lifestyle growth or inhibit lifestyle growth. “

Most of my life I have been working to improve my habitual life. Here are a few things that I had learned over the years about building good habits and getting rid of those habits that do not contribute to growth.

Made Changes Incrementally

I learned that I needed to get rid of bad habits incrementally rather than trying to do it “cold turkey”. When I quit smoking 27 years ago, I had to stop smoking menthols before I quit smoking all together. Then I went from smoking a pack a day to smoking 15 per day down to 10 per day and so on until I was down to smoking two or three a day, and then I was able to quit.

I broke habits that didn’t bring me growth by first disconnecting with triggers. For instance, I would smoke as soon as I got out of bed. I determined to put off my first cigarette until after I ate breakfast. Once I put off smoking the first cigarette beyond breakfast I then stopped smoking when I drank coffee.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

One of the bad habits that I am trying to break right now regards eating junk food. I decided that I would replace the junk food with fresh fruit and nuts. This is just one step that I am taking to improve my diet. More habit changes are in the works.

Build new habits around habits that are already established. We all have habits that we have already established. I get up, make my bed, take my shower, brush my teeth, and then I write in my journal for fifteen minutes and then I exercise. I am building this new habit incrementally-exercising for five minutes per day weeks 1-3, ten minutes weeks 4-6 twenty minutes weeks 7-9, twenty-five minutes weeks 10-12 and 30 minutes weeks 13-15.

Change Begins in the Mind

Probably the most important aspect of changing habits, however, is the changes that happen in the mind. The most important aspect of changing habits has to do with “why change?” We change because we first become emotionally desperate to change. We change because we need to change more than we need to stay the same.

Know Your Why

Journaling why we want to quit is more important as we become more adept in the habit change than it does when we first start the habit change. As time goes on, we forget how painful the old habit had been. When we are tempted to go back to the old habits, it helps to go back and read what we wrote when we first quit. It reminds us of where we came from and the struggles that got us to where we were now.

Having an accountability partner is helpful. Having a mentor (sponsor) or being part of a group that are trying to change in the same ways that you are, are the powerful social influences in habit change.

What have you personally done to change your own habits? What habits have you changed and how did you do it?


blue skies

One of the things that I got good at last year was getting things done first thing in the morning. I wrote down what I wanted to do and got a lot done. I started doing some work in the afternoon and evening, but I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked especially toward the end of the year. Therefore, I am adjusting my evenings a little more by framing my day. I am ending my day with the morning in mind.
Here is what someone else suggested. I will try to get it into my own words and situation.

Begin at the End of the Day’s Work

Immediately after work, if I haven’t already done it earlier in the week, I will compile a list of to-dos for the next week. Then I will say yes or no for each item on the list.
Then I complete the list and review my calendar for the week and add tasks accordingly.
Next, I figure out the one thing that I want to do in the morning. That one big thing that I want to do.
Then I write that one thing on a post it not and put it on the corner of my laptop.
Now I outline related content that I want to focus on and add it to the corner of my laptop as well.
Now I review what I did that day. 10 wins, 1 thing to improve and 10 things that I am grateful for.

Attend to Your Usual Evening Routine

Then I attend to my usual evening stuff—cleaning, getting ready for work the next day, social business.

Finally Right Before Bed

Then right before bed, I set up the coffee maker, get ready for bed and then I go over my twelve month and quarterly goals, close my eyes and visualize having accomplished them. And dream about things that I will be doing as a more successful person, how my life and others’ lives will be changed for the better.
Next, I post a question to myself to work on while I sleep, put it on a post-it note, grab some water to drink in the morning, set the alarm and revisit my morning routine.
Then I read an inspirational book until I can no longer read.

And Then in the Morning

When my alarm goes off in the morning, I drink my glass of water, follow my morning routine and then start working on the one big thing that I know will lead me further down the path to my end goals.

Living Today, The Power of Now

In my book Living Today, the Power of Now, I offer similar tips to make the most of each and every day.

 

 


 

success sign post

Up to this point, we have determined our goals, and decluttered time and space, as well as recognizing the need to decrease stress through mindfulness. All this is important, but we also must realize that our time and resources are finite. We could live from moment to moment, spending our time and resources on whatever we fancy in the moment only to discover at the end of our lives that we accomplished little or nothing, or we can create a strategic way to utilize time and resources.

 

By having our goals right in front of us, we can look at what it is that we want to accomplish and determine what it is that we will need to do to make this year the year that we make amazing strides towards accomplishing those goals.

 

Write Down Every Task

 

In order to achieve our goals, it helps to write down all the tasks that we want to accomplish in a day and then go through the list and determine what we can do later, we can delegate, or that we can eliminate from our list all together. Discover what that one thing, and your work will be half done.

 

Decide What’s Most Important to Do Today

 

Once we decide what still needs to be done, we determine what one thing would make the biggest difference in accomplishing our biggest scariest goals. For instance, for me, today, I decided that the best use of my time that would get me closer to my biggest goal (starting my own publishing company) was to draft several of my blog posts for several months. I know what I want to put in these posts, so by getting the drafts out of my head and into a document, I have more space in my head to work on other projects. I wouldn’t finish any of them today, but I would make a major push toward getting them ready for publication. Therefore, that one big thing I want done today is to have the first drafts of thirteen different blog posts written.

Other things that I want to do such as starting to create YouTube videos or finish organizing my files, I am putting off until I get several weeks of post drafts written.

 

Make Prioritizing Part of Your Daily Routine

 

I know I cannot finish all thirteen posts that I have ideas for today, so I know that I will have to do put it off until another day. Tomorrow, I will do the same thing. I will find what it is that I need to work on and try to finish. If I don’t finish the blog posts today, I will continue working on that project If finish it, I will move onto the next project I need to do and continue from there.

 

Begin Prioritizing Today

 

What is the one thing that you can do today to push you toward your big goals? Do you need to outline a plan to complete your goals? Do you need to do research? Do you need to determine the projects needed to reach your big goals? Perhaps you just need to break down a specific project into tasks and begin working on it today. Make this year your best year yet by doing the most important things first.

Living Today, The Power of Now

I share other tips like these in my book, Living Today, the Power of Now. Pick up your copy today.

Available on Kindle (free on Kindle Unlimited)

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072WFW3HZ

Also available in print:

Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/living-today-the-power-of-now/paperback/product-23261831.html

Living Today cover 2

Living Today, The Power of Now Get Your Copy Today!

 

 


December 23, 2017

My Christmas Gift to You

I did this last year and I decided to make this an annual event. Here it is, Cygnet’s Annual Christmas gifts to all of my readers. Pick up your copy now and book you choose OR You can pick ALL of the titles below for free from midnight December 22, 2017 until midnight Christmas Day 2017! You don’t have to wait until Christmas Day to open your gifts either. Start reading today! Enjoy!

 

Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag

Jonathan Mayford wants to join the Patriot Cause because he wants to prove that he’s a man. Despite his parents’ misgivings, they allow him to join his father’s privateer, the American Elizabeth.

Jonathan befriends an old sea cook, Finis Henderson who teaches him about the sea. Later, he also becomes friend with a young African American boy.

Jonathan’s young friend, James Forten, though born a freedman, does not realize what freedom means until he experiences it as a privateer. He, also, did not realize the treachery of slavery until sees individuals of his own color in chains on the auction block.

The relationship that takes Jonathan from boyhood to manhood began when he met the red-headed Lowri Howell, a daughter of Welsh nobleman. Jonathan dreams of the day that he will become worthy of her affections. He hoped that in winning this war, he might have a chance at capturing her heart, his greatest prize of all.

Both Jonathan and James discover fighting in the war is not what makes a man. They learn that becoming a real man requires integrity and character.

https://www.amazon.com/Sailing-Under-Black-Flag-Locket-ebook/dp/B01IIXO6CI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1513088769&sr=1-1&keywords=Book+IV+of+The+Locket+Saga%3A+Sailing+Under+the+Black+Flag

 

Book V of the Locket Saga: In the Shadow of the Mill Pond

B) In the Shadow of the Millpond

Fifteen-year-old Lacey Mayford has been infatuated with Matthew since she was a little girl. Matthew, a half-breed Indian, doesn’t see her as anything more than a little girl cousin. How can she convince him that she is growing into a beautiful young woman he should consider?

In the frontier town near the turn of the century, Matthew Thorton is blamed for Luther Hannibal’s murder after an altercation with Luther over stolen furs. Lacey defends Matthew with the help of a teacher, Felix Grackle. They look into other suspects who could have killed Luther Hannibal. Matthew’s father Luke and his best friend Jacque Pierre are looking for the person responsible for stealing the furs. They believe the thief might have something to do with Luther Hannibal’s murder.

Will Lacey be able to clear Matthew’s name? Will Luke and Jacque Pierre find the man who stole the furs? Will the vigilantes stop the Whiskey Rebellion without bloodshed? The truth is far more sinister than anyone could imagine.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XKFCPQK/ref=series_dp_rw_ca_5

 

Book VI of the Locket Saga: The Anvil

Robert McCray dreamed of the day when he would marry Lillian O’Hare. He went north with his father, Uncle Luke, and Cousin Isaac to Northwestern Pennsylvania. He built a shed behind the cabin to set up his blacksmith shop. The only tool that he needed was the anvil. Little did he know that in a matter of hours, all his dreams would come crashing down.

Judith Campbell was the eldest of Duncan Campbell’s three daughters. After her father lost his farm in a rigged land grab, he decided to take up the US government’s offer to Revolutionary War veterans to settle on lands at no cost in unsettled parts of the country. Duncan and his family become neighbors to the Thorton and McCray families. There the three families bind together to survive the hardships of the wilderness. What does the future hold for Robert and Judith?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076RTBP45/ref=series_dp_rw_ca_6

 

Living Today, The Power of Now

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What if you only had one day to live? How would you live your life differently?

You really do only have one day at any given time, and that day is today. You cannot live in the past. You cannot live in the future. Today is your day to shine.

Today, and only today, you have the power of now, and it is strongest when you know that you are on the right path.

From Living Today, the Power of Now, discover:

  • Awareness and Focus on the present moment.
  • Tips for obtaining fire starting focus
  • Change bad habits to good habits
  • Creating a Time and a Place to dream
  • What “Don’t Worry” really Means
  • Learn How to Build on Past Experiences
  • Overcome Fear and Find Faith
  • Letting Go of the Past
  • The value of forgiving yourself and others
  • And much more

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072WFW3HZ

 

Write a Book and Ignite Your Business

Are you a business owner looking for surefire way to get the edge over your competition? Thanks to social media, the advertising world is changing. People can connect with you and your products like never before. They want to see the face behind the product. In addition, people want to know what is in it for them. They don’t care about the features so much as they want to know how what you do will benefit them. Writing a Book related to your business opens doors like nothing else can.

 

Writing a book can help you:

  • Offer more than just your business card to your high end clients
  • Demonstrate to your clients that you are an expert in your industry
  • Go places you would never have dreamed of going
  • Provide numerous chances for free publicity and even publicity that pays you!
  • Find the ultimate marketing tool!

No longer is it necessary to send your book out to a traditional publisher to publish your books. You don’t have to depend on vanity presses either. Today, it is possible to publish using a system called self-publishing where you do the work of writing your book then prepare it for publication, have copies printed using print on demand technology, then market the book yourself. This book not only tells you why you should write a book to ignite your business, but it gives you a step-by-step guide that shows you how to go through the self-publishing process from an author who has been through the process numerous times.

https://www.amazon.com/Write-Book-Ignite-Your-Business-ebook/dp/B076NWLTSP/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1513089312&sr=1-1&keywords=Write+a++Book+and+Ignite+Your+Business

 

What Would I Like in Return?

What do I want in return? I am not asking for anything. I am not asking for your email address or anything like that. As I said, this was a Christmas gift to you.

Share this post If you would like to give me something in return, you don’t have to, but I would love if you would Share this post on your Twitter or Facebook page.

A Review on Kindle Also, after you have finished reading, I would really appreciate  if you took the time to  return to the page where you picked up the book(s) and offer me a good review of the books you read and enjoyed. That would be better than any other Christmas gift or card you could give me.

I wish you a Very Merry Christmas

And a Happy, Happy New Year!


September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

How to get NOW FAITH

Every Journey begins with a single step of faith

There’s a verse in the Bible, Hebrews 11:1 that states “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Usually, the verse has its emphasis on just the word faith, but I have started looking at it by including “now” as an adjective of this kind of faith making it “Now Faith”. NOW FAITH is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” The entire chapter eleven of Hebrews is called the “Faith Hall of Fame” and tells about how the impossible happened to people of faith with God’s help.

What seemingly impossible dreams do you have?  Do you have dreams that need NOW FAITH? Sometimes these seemingly impossible dreams need supernatural intervention, but often these dreams just need a God-inspired faith to turn these hopes into reality. Here are five keys to that now kind of faith and they can be found in the rest of the chaptpr in Hebrews.

In  Hebrews 11:2,  it says because of thpir faith,  the elders had good references from God and their posterity. Here are the 12  keys they used that you too can use in your walk of faith.

12 Keys of the NOW kind of Faith

Key One: Through faith we understand that everything good is formed by The Word of God, Jesus Christ  (Verse 3)

Key Two: Pleasing God by seeking a relationship with him .(Verses 4-6)

Key Four: Listening to God’s Instruction (Verses 7-8)

Key Five: Recognizing that God has a bigger plan (Verses 9-10)

Key Six: God wants to make your impossible possible (Verses 11-12)

Key seven: Not turning back even though you don’t see  immediate results (Verses 13-16)

Key Eight: Being willing to sacrifice the Good for the Better.(Verses 17-19)

Key nine: Bless others with your Faith (Verses 20-22)

Key Ten: Live a life of  Integrity (Verses 23-28)

Key eleven: Take Action though faced with adversity .(Verses 29-38)

Key Twelve: Know that God has an even better life for us.(Verses 39-40)

 

Living Today, The Power of Now

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We all have just twenty-four hours a day and every minute is precious. Have faith in the now. Learn what you can do to make the most of each day. Read my latest book and begin making the most of every moment. In On September 8, 2017, my latest book Living Today, The Power of Now, will be out on Kindle. Pre-order your Kindle copy of Living Today, The Power of Now today.

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Since the beginning of the year, every morning, whether I feel like it or not, I have been writing down three things that I am grateful for. When I say whether I feel like it or not, I mean when I start, not necessarily a few minutes later when I have written something that I am thankful that I have.

It’s easy to complain. It is easy to find what is wrong in this world, but it is important that we go beyond the rain and look for the rainbow. Gratitude is a special kind of mindfulness that we have toward those things that have already happened. It is actually a tool we can use to help us deal with negative emotions. Everyone has bad days, but your day doesn’t have to stay bad. You can overcome your misery today by expressing gratitude.

Physical Benefits of Gratitude

According to a scientific study, , grateful people feel fewer body aches than others.They also report feling healthier than other people on average. In addition, people who feel gratitude are more likely to take care of their health by exercising more and having regular checkups.

People who express gratitude sleep better at night.

 

Emotional Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude is an instant mood elevator. I find that when I write down something that I am grateful for, I believe it makes my day go better. I think that focusing on all of the good things in my life will improve my mood like nothing else.

Gratitude defuses toxic feelings including envy, resentment, frustration, regret and shame. Multiple studies have been done and gratitude is proven to increase happiness and reduce depression.

Expressing gratitude helps prevent retaliation when someone treats them wrong. People who express gratitude try to walk in the other person’s shoes and don’t seek revenge.

Gratitude fosters resilience. A person who is grateful does not stay down, but keeps on going even in adversity.

Grateful people have improved self esteem. They are gracious and applaud the accomplishments of others.

 

Social Benefits of Gratitude

Because people who are grateful say “thank you” a lot more than other people, being grateful helps you win new friends. When you meet someone and appreciate them for who they are, they are more likely to seek a continued relationship with you. So, smile at and hold a door for strangers, send a thank-you note to a collegue who helped you wiht a project and all this can lead to new opportunities.

Spiritual Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude can help in almost any situation even the loss of a loved one. Gratitude helped me focus several years back when I lost my father, brother and sister within a short period. I realized how blessed I was that I had them in my life at all.

In addition, gratitude helped me focus on the fact that the Creator offers eternal life to anyone who believes that “he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Death to me is notgood-bye forever, because I believe that I will see my loved ones again in eternity.

Gratitude Helps Me See the Possiblities Instead of the Problems

Gratitute helps me think about the world around me with a different mindset. It helps me see what I can do to change the world around me.

What are you grateful for today? Name three right now.

In my upcoming book, Living Today, The Power of Now, I delve deeper into this virtue of gratitude. I wrote this book primarily to help myself make better use of every day that God has giving me. The book will be launched on Kindle, on September 8, 2017. Be of the first copies by following this link to pre-order now.

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Because today is my birthday, I am putting out a special post

When I was born on July 22, 1959, there had not yet been an American in outer space. That didn’t happen until almost two years later on May 5, 1961 with Alan Shepard. This occurred only after my first brother was born and my mother was already pregnant with my sister. However, two days before I turned ten years old on July 20, 1969, I watched in amazement on our black and white television as Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and heard Armstrong’s famous words for the first time, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

 

How can we go so far in such a short time?

We came so far in the space age because the United States was willing to focus on getting to the moon. A few days after Shepard’s historic event, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech  on May 25, 1961 before a joint session of Congress called, “Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs,” In this speech, JFK stated that the United States should set as a goal the “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade. With focused attention to get to the moon within a decade was shortened by almost two years.

 

Focused Attention Creates Exponential Growth

 

This trip down memory lane helped me realize that it was focused attention to detail that helped the United States space program not only grow superior to the Soviet space program but do something that the other country never did and that was land several men on the moon. Those first two years, nothing seemed to occur on the surface. The technicians at NASA were working on details. With today’s modern computers, it would have been much easier, but these technicians didn’t have access to them. They had to use their imaginations and skills in science and mathematics to make the moon landing fact. Rockets had to be designed to carry human beings. Heat shields had to be designed that could take the heat of re-entry, Food that could be eaten in zero gravity had to be created. Calculations had to be made to propel the space crafts out of earth’s orbit. Like the foundation of a building, numerous other aspects of the program had to be handled before they could get a human being in a rocket off the ground.

 

Imperfection Does Not Mean We Should Quit

 

The Apollo program changed forever on Jan. 27, 1967, when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best efforts of the ground crew. Eighteen months would pass and there would be extensive redesigns, before NASA sent more men into space, but the problems that they faced did not stop them from reaching their goals.

 

How to Use Focused Attention?

 

  1. Make a decision
  2. Create specific goals
  3. Attention to Detail
  4. Setbacks don’t have to be permanent and should be anticipated.
  5. Celebrate the accomplishment

I am imagining what focus can do for me during the next year. I wonder what things can be live one year from now when I add another candle to my next birthday cake. How about you? What could you do with undivided attention?

 

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