Back when I first began writing I dreamed of becoming a travel writer. In those days travel writers wrote mainly for newspapers, magazines or occasionally a book. Then 10 years ago when I started hearing about the potential of blogging, Thom and I toyed with the idea of a travel blog for middle-aged motorcycle riders. Yes, really! That idea crashed and burned when I dumped my motorcycle at 40 mph, broke my arm and shoulder, and Thom sold my bike. Instead I spent over three years writing about the environment and everything green and sustainable before eventually focusing on what I call SMART Living. But even though writing about things I consider SMART is deeply satisfying, I’ve never forgotten that pull to write about my second love—travel. So with a three-week adventure planned in the days ahead, I decided to give it a shot—with a dose of SMART on the side! [Read more…]
Recently I was invited to join my first online book club through Facebook. The book to be discussed was Life Reimagined—Discovering Your New Life Possibilities. And while I was a bit skeptical about how a book club discussion through Facebook could be that helpful, this upbeat and practical book appeared to cover ideas I often read and write about—so I said yes. Now four weeks later I consider the book club experiment to be a relative success. But best of all, I discovered along the way some helpful ideas for us all to “reimagine” what I call a right-sized life. [Read more…]
A musician friend named Rudi Harst wrote a song titled, “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.” It’s both a catchy tune and a great reminder that feelings of regret can hold us back from living a happy and fulfilled life. But I suspect that one reason why the song makes us laugh and wince at the same time is because we all wish on some level that we could do one or two things differently, that we’d made at least one other choice along the line, or that we’ve neglected to do something we wished we had. Still, what I’ve discovered over the last couple of days is that regret isn’t one of those negative emotions like fear, shame or jealousy that has little or no redeeming value. Instead regret can serve as a signpost for pointing out choices and changes that can help us lead a SMART and happier life—365. [Read more…]
In January of this year I decided the time had arrived for me to consider publishing a series of blog posts into a book. I had read of several other bloggers who compiled some of their posts and successfully published them in book form in order to sell them on both their websites and Amazon. So in honor of SMART Living 365’s Third Anniversary this month, and with over 250 blog posts, I thought, “Why not?” Today, I am officially announcing the launch of my first “blog-to-book” print and ebook, Simple-SMART & Happy, A SMART Living 365 Guide to a Sustainable & Meaningful Lifestyle on Amazon.com. If you’ve ever considered writing your own book, and especially if you are a blogger, here are five reasons I feel it is a valuable and worthwhile thing to do. [Read more…]
So May is my birthday month. On May 23rd I turn 59. Yes, really! I only get to say that once so here it is in writing. And as I was sitting around thinking about how I wanted to celebrate I came up with a couple of ideas. Most importantly I want to offer all of you, my SMART readers a gift. If that’s sounds even remotely interesting, and/or you are curious about what I am giving away, please read all the way to the bottom of the post to discover how you can claim your free birthday gift from me.
But my thoughts about birthdays don’t stop there. By the time you get to be my age you’ve certainly been-there done-that with traditional ways to celebrate. So how can we celebrate in a way that makes this year stand out and not only be different, but be one of the more special years of all? [Read more…]
A couple of years ago Thom and I came up with the word “right-sizing: to help define our new lifestyle. By simplifying our home, managing our finances, focusing on what gives purpose and meaning to our daily experience, and eliminating the unnecessary, we have gradually right-sized almost every area of our life. It was only recently that I realized that in many ways we have also right-sized our diet, our approach to exercise, and our overall health. And while I don’t consider myself an expert, I do feel that as a student of SMART I’ve learned a few things along the way.
With that in mind, here is a quick list of 25 things we believe are beneficial broken down into three areas: [Read more…]
A couple of months ago I received a recommendation on Amazon that caught my eye. The title was Succeed—How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. Frankly, the title didn’t impress me much. Haven’t we all read too many books that claim the same thing, only to nod in agreement while stifling a yawn? What hooked me instead were the reviews. Dozens of reviewers said, “It’s a smart, fun, highly practical look at what we ‘scientifically’ know about setting and achieving goals.” As a person who enjoys learning why people do what they do (or don’t do what they should do), this book backs up its claims with scientific research. And while the pursuit of goals is the focus of the book, it is done in terms of behavior psychology and research. In fact, a key strategy to learning how a person pursues a goal is to discover whether they like to “Be-Good” or “Get-Better.” That choice says a lot about us and often determines whether or not we eventually succeed. [Read more…]
Yesterday I read an article about the coming season of Lent. It’s not something I’ve ever observed or celebrated before, but certain aspects of the ritual appeal to me. That got me thinking. Regardless of where a practice comes from, who says we have to be religious to learn and benefit from them? And even if we consider ourselves completely non-religious, we all routinely practice habits and other traditions, every single day. So why not mix the two ideas together into a powerful way to experience greater wellbeing and happiness? With the Lenten Season beginning next Wednesday, let’s consider whether a variation on the tradition can help us to be more mindful and eliminate a couple of bad habits at the same time. Interested? [Read more…]
Just about every day I read a post on Facebook or one of the many blogs I follow about getting older. And while many of them poke fun at the experience, most of the time the posts subtly (or not so subtly!) talk about the drawbacks to aging. But, when you think about it, every single day each of us is getting older—and thankfully so! Consider the alternative. So instead of thinking of life as a gradual decline, maybe it is time to start thinking of how life gets better as we go along—and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And even though I’m not facing a significant birthday for several months, I decided a good way to prepare was to start focusing on the benefits long before the day arrives. [Read more…]
Last week I noticed a very suspicious looking blemish on my cheek, and I started worrying. I was especially nervous because when my mother was my age, she developed skin cancer under her right eye. Then several years ago my sister Ann had an angry looking sore on the back of her leg that wouldn’t heal for months. Even though hers turned out to benign, the experience made for some anxious times. So it didn’t require much imagination on my part to convince myself that my blemish could require a big chunk to be cut out of my cheek, scaring me for a lifetime. Or worse.
Finally, after waking up in the middle of the night with worry on my mind, I called the dermatologist. Although he couldn’t see me for a week, I realized that I could continue to allow fear and worry to control my life for the following seven days, or I could do something else. But isn’t that choice something we all face every day in this thing called life? Fear and worry? Or peace and happiness? We decide. [Read more…]