Jay Rifenbary

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Reframe Your New Year's Resolutions

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New Year's resolutions predominately revolve around the potential to benefit yourself. It is no wonder so many are never fulfilled. Maintaining a level of motivation to persevere and be resilient is always challenging when the only reason to succeed is you. Reframing your desire to better yourself by being attentive to how it may benefit others is key to maintaining the motivation to achieve. For example, initiating an exercise regimen and sticking to it is never easy. To realize it may allow you to have more energy, a better quality of life, and the opportunity to live longer is certainly a motivation in itself. An added motivation to get out of bed and go to the gym should be the example you set for your children, and those who love you. Focusing on a healthier lifestyle not only assists you to live longer and enjoy life’s experiences, but inspires those around you to do the same.

I certainly want to have the opportunity to know my own grandchildren and be a positive role model in their lives. I have a better chance accomplishing that by being proactive with my medical care and maintaining my health. My family history for coronary heart disease is extensive, as noted by my fathers passing at the age of 49. I was 11 when he passed, and throughout my life that experience has required me to monitor my health. It certainly would be easier to ignore the medical history, and go about doing what ever I want. The real motivation for my determination is to be around for as long as I am able, not only for my own family, but also for the opportunity to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Is it really the proper example for those you influence by being over indulgent in what you eat, drink, buy, and smoke? If I were 400 pounds because of my own lack of self-discipline and self-respect, why would I expect my children to grow up any differently? That example can apply to any excessive behavior that is damaging to ourselves, and those around us.

Many behaviors that you determine need resolution stem from areas in your life that have initiated self-doubt and insecurity. What are you not taking responsibility for in your life that is generating that potential insecurity? Are the behaviors you exude complimenting the core values you believe in? If not, what steps are you taking to ensure your behaviors are congruent with your values. Excuses are the primary culprit for a lack of success in seeing your resolutions through to completion. We all stumble along the way, but it is imperative to monitor how influential the blame game becomes. To use outside forces to unilaterally determine your success is just an excuse. Although there are many elements that impact our decisions, how you maintain your health, finances, what you eat, what you buy and whom you associate with are ultimately your choices. Benjamin Franklin noted, “How few there are who have the courage to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.”

A resolution should be initiated prior to it becoming a necessity. Don’t wait till you are unhealthy to become healthy. Don’t wait till you are overweight to lose weight. Don’t wait till you are in debt to get out of debt. Don’t wait to be in a dire situation to get out of one. Be proactive in all you do. The English poet and novelist Thomas Hardy stated, “A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.”

As the New Year approaches let us be mindful of why we make the resolutions we decide to implement. Initiating resolutions for only self-centered reasons are less likely to be accomplished. The motivation to succeed should not only rest in our own personal and professional goals, but the knowledge that we are also here to serve those around us. It is my desire to be the best for others, and in particular my family. That inspires me to strive for success each day. American author Hal Borland reflectively said, “Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Happy 2012 to All!



'Tis the Season for Civility and Kindness?

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As a society, have we lost our minds in what it means to be civil and kind to one another? Are trampling over others for a two-dollar toaster, or pepper spraying someone to get to the best bargain really behaviors to embrace? If the answer is yes, say good-bye to any moral foundation of decency and purposeful evolution for humanity. As the holiday season began, I could not help but be saddened by what many would perceive as possessions at the core of our nation’s values. It is this national obsession with stuff that has created monetary debt and moral bankruptcy for many. Although it may be a minority of our citizenry who demonstrate such a lack of civility, it is a trend that should not go unaddressed.

To neglect our responsibilities to one another as a people rather than a commodity is a path toward social disaster. Charles Dickens stated, “The civility which money will purchase, is rarely extended to those who have none.” It is this time of year that we are reminded that how we treat one another should take priority over the things we acquire or own. Why only this time of year? It should be every day, of every month, of every year, that we monitor our behaviors and the example we set to those around us. It is evident that taking the time to positively focus on and listen effectively to another has deteriorated. Trends toward personal gratification, self-centeredness, impersonal communication, social indecency and a lack of self-respect are all major contributing factors.

There is also abundant goodness and love demonstrated every day by many, and it is the foundation for experiencing and living a meaningful and purposeful life. To serve others selflessly with kindness and civility for the betterment of all mankind defines much of what this season should represent. Civility is defined as, “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.” It is not only the behaviors we demonstrate, but also how we communicate that defines how civil we are towards one another. The callousness of using profanity or the degrading words used to attack others only exasperates a lack of civility. Kindness is defined as, “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” Civility is much more than just being kind, it is the ability to be thoughtful, compassionate, polite, respectful, and build relationships that foster goodness in thought and behavior toward one another. As George Washington said, “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”

The more you reflect on and implement the core values you believe in, the greater ability to be civil to those around you. The more secure you are in who you are also promotes civility. As a result, you are less vulnerable to the necessity to behave in an uncivil manner. Civility and morality are congruent with one another. The less an understanding of what it means to be moral the less able to be civil. As a result, we become a society of freewheeling and irresponsible behaviors with no consequences. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated simply, “There can be no high civility without a deep morality.”

Five steps to create a more civil environment for you both personally and professionally are as follows. * Treat others as you want to be treated, The Golden Rule. * Be objective in your thought process and focus on the information rather than the emotion. Professionalism (emotional patience) is key in the act of being civil. * Focus on listening and analyzing rather then reacting and speaking. * Be keenly aware of not only what you say, but how you say it. * Recognize you influence those around you and with that influence comes a responsibility to set an example of civility.

Civility breeds trust, unity and a sense of value to those we manage, lead, and most importantly parent. The more civil our children become the more joyous their life will be. As we celebrate the coming birth of the “Prince of Peace”, let us all understand that peace is the result of civility, kindness and the love we demonstrate with one another. As Jesus shared, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” A Blessed and Merry Christmas to all my fellow learners of life. 



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