Me or Method?

Everybody falls short, falls off the wagon, fumbles, stumbles, slips up, gives up, or gives in. It happens…to everyone!

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in jinxes or I wouldn’t be writing this. 

We’re human and every human has the experience of failing. (There, I said it – the “f” word.) What happens after we fail is not the same for every human. Some of us, compound the failure by making an assumption that can reduce our chances of future success. We blame ourselves. Blaming is neither fair nor necessary in many cases. Self-blame can be toxic and may erode our resolve, leaving us stuck and feeling hopeless.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we’re not responsible for what happens or doesn’t happen. But there is a difference between being responsible and being to blame. Maybe the reason that we didn’t reach a goal or accomplish a task is because the plan wasn’t adequate.  Maybe some of our failures are due to design flaws* rather than personal insufficiency. Perhaps our plan had some ‘banana peels’ in it. I think looking at ways to redesign the plan might help keep us from beating ourselves up.


When an attempt (to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more) doesn’t yield the results we hoped for, blaming self can lead to hopelessness. Don’t assume the blame – adjust the plan. Make the change you need to make in the plan or method you’re using and try again. Resist the temptation to blame and you’ might be able to stay in the game long enough to win it!


*B J Fogg, PhD has much to say about designing behavior. Check out his TEDx Maui talk: “Tiny surprises for happiness and health”



A Favorite Time

There’s much that I love about this time of year and in particular, this weekend. Yes, an “extra hour” sounds like such a gift (even if it’s just the same hour we gave up earlier this year.) And even if this “extra hour” isn’t really free time, the idea having more time certainly appeals to us all.


I smile and grab a scarf as the air grows cold

The leaves begin to shift from green to red and gold

We reach for brush and canvas, this beauty to hold

Or will a camera do justice to colors so bold?fall-foliage-3705550_1920.jpgPerhaps I should just breathe it all in

Forgive me if I do and grin,

And save it away, remember within,

For a day when I lack a woods to walk in.fall-foliage-3736055_1920.jpgIf given the gift of an extra hour, I might just spend it walking in nature. This weekend remember to change your clock and take a walk!




The Child that We Once Were

Here are some excerpts from one of my favorite authors – Paulo Coelho. He just published ‘The Child Within Us.’ A few phrases stood out as I read it. 


We must listen to the child that we once were, and who still lives within us.

girl lays in flowers

This child understands about magic instants.

We can muffle his sobbing, but we can’t hush his voice.

child with paint on hands face.jpg


Let’s allow the child within us to take the reins of our existence a little. This child says that one day is different from another.

Let’s make the child feel loved again. Let’s please this child – even if it means acting in a way that we’re not used to, even if it seems foolish in the eyes of others.

boys play water.jpg

If we listen to the child we bear in our soul, our eyes will shine once more. If we don’t lose contact with this child, we won’t lose contact with life.

I think Paulo is inviting us to play and truly live!

Two Most Important Days?

If a quote makes you feel like moving in a positive direction, I don’t really care who said it – post it – stick it to the fridge – put it where you can see it and it can motivate you. I like this one and I’m not sure why. needs-3007308_1920 - Copy

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.” – Anonymous*

If understanding the purpose of your entire life seems daunting, let’s just keep it in the day. How about finding purpose in this day – this moment? Make today matter. Have a beaYOUtiful day!

*Note: I’ve seen this quote attributed to Mark Twain, and it always makes me wonder which of his characters in a story might have said it. I was pretty sure that Twain himself wouldn’t have held such a belief.

When looking further into the quote, I was pleased to find this article, written by folks who taker their Mark Twain very seriously. I still don’t know for certain who to attribute the quote to, but I’m pretty sure I know who didn’t say it.

Whine-free Zone

Caught myself whining again recently and even though my circumstances seemed whine-worthy at the time, it was just a few minutes later when I heard about some legitimate catastrophe. “Oops,” I thought. “There I go again.” Fortunately I had only been whining for a relatively short period of time.

I took a few slow deep breaths and thought about how grateful I was that I had a roof over my head and food in the fridge. There are plenty of people in the world without those simple human needs. I made a conscientious effort not to beat myself up for whining. Making myself feel more guilty wouldn’t help my mood or the people in the world with more serious struggles than whatever I was whining about.

I am going to try to listen more closely to my comments and to be on guard against whining. I don’t think my ears or the ears of others around me need to hear it. In fact, I think whining can be quite infectious. Listen to folks around you today and try not to be judgmental. Just be curious about whining. Notice when you hear it. When you hear someone whine, do others join in? Do others seem to try to out-gripe the griper? Doesn’t it seem to become a contest of sorts, whenever people start whining?

Is it productive?

I don’t think so.

While I extol the virtue of venting frustration, I think venting and whining might be different because of the intentions behind the behavior. When we need to vent, I think we should ask one trusted friend to set aside a couple minutes so that we can feel heard and maybe have our feelings validated. That’s healthy off-loading of negativity and even the one who heard the venting can feel good for having been a helpful set of ears.

Complaining is important to identifying a situation that ought to change and can be productive when it’s voiced to a person who has the power to fix the situation. Otherwise isn’t it just spreading negativity?

When that same complaint is tossed loudly into an environment where people haven’t been asked to be sounding boards, or lack the power to fix the situation, entire conversations become negatively charged. There is no intention of fixing anything. Whole groups of people are exposed to negativity and usually end up falling into the big vat of whine! Heck, some people don’t fall, they jump in!

And I have certainly fallen and even jumped in before.

So I think I’m going to print out a few of these and post them in places where I’ll see them throughout the day:


When all is said and done, if it’s whining (as opposed to venting or complaining) it doesn’t do any good. So let’s choose carefully.

How will you spend your time and energy – whining or winning?





We Are Not Alone

No, this post is not about extraterrestrials. That may be a conversation for another day. But in a very healthy way, most of us are better when we’re connected to others – especially others who understand our situations. And I don’t mean someone who can whine with us and be miserable with us and complain about all of the things in the world that aren’t fair with us.

I mean someone who can relate to us. Sometime I call it the “power of we.”

We can do things that I (alone) cannot.

When you connect with us, we are stronger, wiser, braver, and virtually unstoppable.

QuittersWin offers phone coaching and free text message support, because we understand that some compassionate accountability can really help us stay on the path and reach our goals.

QW Phone Text Support

And of course QuittersWin‘s most powerful format is the weekly group. There are free groups – open to all – in Athol and Gardner, MA each week. (*Locations and times below.)

Certain healthcare organizations also host weekly QuittersWin groups for their patients in Amherst, Easthampton, and Greefield, MA.

QW weekly Groups

And for folks who live elsewhere, there are social media platforms where you can connect with others on the journey and with qualified experts. Feel free to send a message via Twitter or Facebook. As soon as possible we’ll respond. Following us on Twitter and liking our Facebook page will keep you connected and make communicating easier.


And while I told you this post was NOT about extraterrestrials, I didn’t say anything about no droids!

Fuel up with the power of we and give your journey the turbo-charge you’ve been waiting for!

Thanks for taking good care of you!


*QuittersWin meets at Athol Hospital (2033 Main St. Athol, MA) Mondays at 6:00 pm

*QuittersWin meet at The People’s Place (73 City Hall Ave. Gardner, MA) Wednesdays at 7:00 pm (orientation for newbies at 6:30 pm.)



As the seasons shift before our eyes,

While the swirling clouds reveal blue skies,

And leaves turn up their undersides,

A crimson leaf on a cool breeze glides,

A fresh array of wonders await

Like delicacies upon a plate

The end of summer’s feast for the eyes,

The last – for now – of the dragon flies.

– T Judson Starkey

(photo credit Joshua Lord)


It’s a fabulous time to wander and wonder as the seasons shift and morph. Enjoy the feast or sights, scents, and sounds of the season!




Daily Disciplines

Habits don’t always “just happen!” Some habits need to be built. When it comes to building habits, I think that B J Fogg is a genius and he has a way of making the process pretty simple to understand. (Yes, I’ve written and talked about him countless times. Maybe he’s habit-forming!?) Fogg points out that Tiny habits are actually the building blocks that make up of much of our life.

Adding a new healthy habit to your day is a great way to climb out of a rut, welcome a new season, beat a case of the blues, or even get over a disappointment. Sometimes I call these healthy, hopeful, habits “daily disciplines” because – at least at first – it can take some diligence and discipline to find the right habit, find the place in your day where it fits best, and then practice the heck out of it, until it sticks.

So why not make it a #DoubleDogDare that we all start building a new healthy, hopeful habit today?! If you can’t think of a good habit to build right this minute, try one of the ideas below, but get started today! (Remember, it’s a Double Dog Dare, so you really don’t have a choice!)  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss it a few times. Be willing to move the new habit to a different time of the day if it doesn’t seem to “stick,” and keep at it. Here are a few ideas to choose from or to help you choose your own:

  • Whenever I sit down to eat, I’ll express one thing for which I’m grateful.
  • Whenever the phone rings, I’ll smile and say ‘I wonder if I can brighten this person’s day.’
  • Whenever I leave the house, I’ll bring my water bottle.
  • Whenever I finish a task at work, I’ll check my posture and take a slow, deep breath.

And whenever you do the new habit, smile, and tell yourself that you’re getting good at this! Good luck!



Kindle Kindness

I’m feeling plenty of pain, stress, and suffering in the world around me and it makes me want to respond. So I am challenging myself (and of course, you too!) to start this week with a mindset and purpose of kindling tiny flames of kindness.

I suspect that no matter what personal situations have you feeling stressed or sad or ‘in the swamp,’ every one of us can afford to share some tiny sparks of kindness this week. The world around us needs a few extra smiles, nods, thank yous, and doors help open at the local convenience store.

Your kindness kindles similar acts of kindness. So start a few fires of kindness in your little corner of the world and watch for blazes of kindness to engulf your neighborhood.

I believe it is in the fable of The Lion and The Mouse you will find the quote below:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  – Aesop

lion-3347437_1920 (1).png

Determined to Fly

Today I just wanted to share a few quotes and images for my brave friends who aspire to do things others sadly don’t try. Some just settle and watch while others dare to fly.


May these quotes remind you or inspire you as you strive to be more, do more, love more, try more, even fly more!

“He who leaps for the sky may fall, it’s true. But he may also fly.”

Lauren Oliver


“For those determined to fly, having no wings is just a little detail.”

Jane Lee Logan


“When you fly high, people will throw stones at you.

Don’t look down. Just fly higher so the stones won’t reach you.”

Chetan Bhagat


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Althsuler


“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.”


Have a beaYOUtiful day, and do what is right, even if you’re flying solo!


Master the Moment

I saw this quote recently –

“You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day.

Just relax.

Master the day.

Then just keep doing that every day.”

I immediately liked the quote and the sentiment behind it. But after a little pondering, I thought I’d re-write it, and since no one seems to know who first wrote or said it, I am certainly free to take liberty with the phrase. Again, I love the sentiment, but sometimes the idea of mastering a whole day can be overwhelming or seem beyond reach.

As I hustled out to my car this morning, thinking about the day before me, I may have been feeling a little anxious. The week is a bit more complicated than some weeks are. I hesitated and remembered something in the house I had forgotten. Back in I went, another minute passed – another minute later than I had hoped to be. And as I approached the car a second time, I spied a sunflower out of the corner of my eye. Yesterday some of its petals were still rubbing its face. But today – at that moment – all petals were fully outstretched, welcoming or perhaps praising the sun.


Be still.


Breathe in this moment.   (grab your phone and capture the moment?)

In that moment, my mood shifted from hurried and harried to serene and grateful. I can’t know that I’ll be able to hold that state of mind/heart/soul all day. But I let the moment have me and therein mastered that moment. And now I have attempted to share the moment with you.

Be at Peace, Friend.

Forever is composed of nows.  -Emily Dickinson 

Grace for Today

Perfect is such a powerful word. It usually conjures up feelings of deep satisfaction, accomplishment, completion, and pride. It’s also – at least for some of us – a deeply troublesome word, often stirring up a profound sense of frustration, feelings of inadequacy, waves of hopelessness, and caverns of dark despair.

When one unfairly holds oneself to a standard of perfection, the pressure can be quite overwhelming and relentless. This bondage to the idea of absolute perfection enslaves conscientious people and sucks the wind from their lungs, leaving them breathless, panting, and too beaten to continue trying to accomplish some impossible task.





Just for today, let’s remember to hold self with GRACE and patience. Allow your honest, earnest, best effort to be sufficient. Your best is enough. You are enough.

Thank you!
Consider printing or otherwise saving the image above. Please share or post it somewhere so it can remind you and other folks. That’s a very kind and gracious thing to do for you and for them.


Your Power

The troubles of this world can sometimes make us little people feel powerless. And certainly there are situations that are beyond our control, but I am often surprised by how much personal power I hold. When wielded responsible and skillfully that power can change the course of a moment, and hour, or a day. And sometimes that positive power can set into motion a chain reaction or even an avalanche of good.

So today, whether you’re feeling powerless or not, please consider the power you have right now or in the next moment to use your power for the good of someone else.

Build them up.

Remind them they are worthy.

Tell them that they matter to you.

Tell them they’re magical (and powerful!)

Who knows? Shine your light and you could start a tidal wave of positive energy.


Please don’t wait until tomorrow.


The world needs your positive energy TODAY!


Don’t let your power go to waste!


Use your FORCE for good.


Have a beaYOUtiful day!

Feel or Flee?

Same four letters – two opposite directions.

When faced with a situation we can either FEEL the feelings evoked by the situation or FLEE those feelings.

As in most of life, there is not a single solution for every situation. There will be situations when allowing the feelings to flow freely could result in catastrophic outcomes. In those (hopefully) rare situations, the healthy response is to avoid the feelings – to shut them off somehow.

Most of the time though, feeling our feelings doesn’t threaten our well-being, it just evokes a lack of comfort or an absence of ease. Unpleasant feelings aren’t necessarily fun, but the truth is they won’t harm us. Avoiding the feelings, on the other hand, by repressing them, stuffing them, or drowning them with a familiar “coping” mechanism can be unhealthy, painful to self and others, and even lethal.

Avoidance of feelings fills the headlines with drama and trauma every day. When we stifle, deny, or avoid our feelings, they fester and grow in size, scope, and intensity. We can give feelings greater toxic power by avoiding them.

I speak frequently and write occasionally about the three steps I try to take when I realize that I am feeling an unpleasant emotion. I have by no means mastered this practice, but I am a masterpiece in progress. Below are the three steps, one of which I’ve already mentioned in the previous paragraph. If the situation allows, declare the three truths aloud.

  1. This feeling (name the feeling helps) has no power to harm me.

Feelings have no substance, neither mass, nor volume. They are an idea that we experience with our bodies, thoughts translated into sensations.

2. This feeling will pass.

Feelings pass or change. Feelings are temporary. And as Vincent Gardenia reminded Cher in the 1987 classic, Moonstruck, Everything is temporary!” (see the clip below and considering indulging in this great movie!)

3. This feeling is known by others. 

Most times, this truth is the most powerful for me. The moment I say, “Paul knows what it’s like to feel anxious,” I can sense the anxiety loosening or the hopelessness brightening. And while the three truths may not eliminate all unpleasant feelings, they definitely help me bear the feelings.

Feelings are in our lives for reasons – some of which we may never fully comprehend. Try leaning into the next unpleasant feeling with curiosity rather than trying to figure out how to make it go away.


As always, I thank you for taking good care of you! You’re a masterpiece in progress, and the fact that we’re even trying to progress, sets us apart from most folks who are adrift  in the sea of feelings, waiting for the next breeze. Stay in touch and stay on course.







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