31 December, 2010

New Years' Resolutions Are So "Last Year!!!"

You're never going to get me to answer that question.

"What's your New Year's Resolution?"

That question is probably perhaps the most counter-productive question for the majority of humanity seeking change and growth. Every month of January, I fight for parking spaces en route to the gym, and once I'm there, I'm salvaging what space is available for the workout class. Come the middle of February the attendance returns back to the normal regular gym attenders. That's just the physical resolution.

Please don't call me a cynic. I'm not. I'm sincerely into the growth for myself and other people. In fact, I'll be the first in line to support anyone and everyone who desires to make a change for the better in their life. So why am I so against the notion of making a new year's resolution? For starters, they don't work for the majority of people who pledge a resolution. I only use the gym as an example because I've observed this at the same gym for the past 5 years.

I am not ashamed of the fact that one of my past mentors was a 12-steps practitioner. Actually there were a couple of my mentors who regularly attended 12 steps meetings for one reason or another. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from their example was the value of TODAY. They didn't make bold, long-term resolutions, they simply made daily goals, one step at a time, one day at a time. From them I learned how to understand that expression:
So how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
They lived it, they practiced it. It was from them that I learned to make "daily resolutions."

For the past two years of my pursuit of personal development, there was never more of a time where I had an appreciation learning from my 12-stepping mentors than during the time I "played" a "game" called PLD (Pacesetters Leadership Dynamics) What this was in a nutshell, 90 days of personal coaching, relationship building, accountability, and goal setting within a "team" setting. Throughout the 90 days, we reported in doing numerous challenging team and individual exercises to learn not only leadership, marketing, and relationship skills, but also to take a deeper look within. There were moments during those 90 days where I wanted to quit and walk away. However because of what I learned from my past mentors in taking things "a day at a time," I was able to complete one of the most challenging three-months period of my life. In that time frame, I went from 187 pounds to 173 pounds. (I'm currently at 175-77; PLD was almost 2 years ago) I invited and brought 12 people to church with me. Prior to that, I was a "lone ranger" church attender. I went on 22 dates with 8 different young ladies after putting myself on a 4 year dating drought. (2005-06 no dates; 2007 3 dates; 2008 2 dates) I contributed directly to 3 local charities in fund-raising and direct volunteer work, contacted my sister whom I had not spoken to in three years, became the first male student of the S Factor pole dancing course, and introduced over 17 people to the concept of personal development, 10 of them eventually signing up for taking a Basic course.

Now if I had looked at all that I did during those 90 days and was told that over the course of three months, I was going to do all of that, I would've went after it for maybe a week or two, then eventually gave up. However, I didn't because I took it a day at a time, and eventually 90 days came and passed.

The main disadvantage of the New Year's Resolution is that once most people fall off their respected path, they tend to stay off until the end of the year to re-commit themselves over again. A lucky few will fall off the path and eventually return to the path, but for the most part the majority won't. With a daily resolution, if you fall off the path, you only need to wait to the next morning for a new opportunity. It's less wait for that clean slate. Granted if your new year resolution was to drop like 25 pounds, you won't be able to drop 25 pounds in one day. But what if your resolution for the day was to jog 45 minutes just for that day. Then your next day's resolution was to eat chicken, fish, veggies, fruits only, and do a body sculpting class that lasted an hour. Let's say the next day, you overslept so you missed the scheduled body sculpting class, then you gave in and ate the fresh batch of cookies that your client dropped off at your office. Guess what? You have the following day for another opportunity to actually follow-through on the previous day's resolution. The bottom line is that with a daily resolution, you don't have to wait until December 31-January 1 to start over.

Just remember that for each new day is a new opportunity for a daily resolution. Don't forget to be thankful for that new day. The reality is the fact that there is no guarantee for tomorrow. So be thankful for today, and go all out with your resolutions. So what if you fall short. Just do your best.

So once again remember not to ask me what my new year's resolution is...OK, OK, my arm's twisted...oww...OK, here's my resolution:

My New Years' Resolution is to make today a great day!!!


24 December, 2010

Grandma Loves You, But Take Some Dancing Lessons!

It's been 9 Christmases since my maternal grandmother was alive. Oh boy did she lay a major guilt trip when I saw her that Christmas day. And the thing is when she lays a guilt trip or gives a sob story, she tells it in the 3rd person. She put guilt-tripping into an olympic style art-form. She is constitutionally capable of getting things done her way. Talking about intention; she's all about 100% intention. She's also a story-teller to a highest degree.

She loved her gambling lifestyle. No she wasn't a professional gambler by any means, but she would be the type who'll know the high-rollers on a first name basis. A social bug. When I was in my first year of college, I moved into her flat because of the close proximity to school. I worked at a movie theater at that time, so I often worked late. She'd come home even later. I think it was her gambling tendencies which enabled her to take risks and chances. When I was growing up and we had our family outings at the amusement parks, it wasn't my sister or my parents who'd go on the roller coaster with me, it was grandma.

My 2nd cousin is a lot older than me to the point that she was considered to be the "niece" of my grandmother. (as opposed to the technical "grand-niece") According to the both of them while my grandmother was visiting my cousin, they decided to road trip from the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas. Apparently my cousin was a regular at one of the casino/hotels there and offered my grandmother to use her line of credit on the tables. In gratitude, my grandmother told my cousin in 3rd person, "don't worry, Aunt Elma will share her winnings with you!" In due time, my grandmother was sitting on the blackjack table in an $8,000 hole. (I'm averaging out the accounts of the numerous versions of the story. The "hole" was as low as $4000, peaked at $16,000) Somehow my cousin was able to secure another couple thousand dollars in additional credit for the table. My grandmother played aggressively from that point, betting on "double downs" every other hand. Bottom line, she made that line of credit back with a couple thousand ahead. My cousin immediately stopped her from playing once she came out ahead.

She was a fitness buff. She regularly participated in "dry swimming." People often asked her what her workout regimen was, and she'd replied with a very straight face that she "dry swam." What exactly was "dry swimming?" MJ or "Mah Jonhg."

During the wedding reception of my other cousin, my grandmother grabbed me immediately after dinner because she wanted to dance and was not able to find anyone else to dance with at that moment. After two songs, she escorted me back to my table, gave me a kiss on the cheek and went, "Grandma loves you very much. You need to take some dancing lessons!"

I have to say there was no one like her. She was the second youngest of 5 sisters and one brother. (Technically there were 6 sisters, but my great-grandfather gave one of the sisters away for an unofficial adoption) She kept her Chinese ways, yet she was as much American as anyone else. She ran a takeout restaurant until she retired as a formal dining hostess. She dressed appropriate for the occasion as expected. She spoke her mind...often!

I remembered her especially during Christmas because of a Christmas dinner years past. I was in my mid 20s while my younger cousin was either turning 21 or 20, and he "discovered" drinking. So my cousin and I sat around the snacks table exchanging drunk stories when our grandmother came up to us and went, "oh Grandma knows how to drink better than you two." So my cousin in his youthful bravado decided to challenge her into a drinking contest pulling me in.

She won! She out-drank us. I'm not so sure if she out-did each of us, or both of us put-together because, well I was pretty out of it after awhile. We did know for sure she won. Her and her champagne cognac. She never settled for less than the good stuff.

Maybe this Christmas in her honor and in the honor of my grandfather, her husband, I should take a shot of Remy. (They both loved their cognac) Ah, a Christmas toast for her, and a Lunar New Year toast for him!