Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Years Resolutions History


Gary Ryan Blair

The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.

The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.

Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.

Ancient New Years

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

Late March actually is a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planted. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the New Year on March 25, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the New Year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Global Good Luck Traditions

With New Year's upon us, here's a look at some of the good luck rituals from around the world. They are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

AUSTRIA - The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It's served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consists of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

ENGLAND - The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master. For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

WALES - At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is welcomed with all of its luck.

HAITI - In Haiti, New Year's Day is a sign of the year to come. Haitians wear new clothing and exchange gifts in the hope that it will bode well for the new year.

SICILY - An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year's Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.

SPAIN - In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.

PERU - The Peruvian New Year's custom is a spin on the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at the turn of the year. But in Peru, a 13th grape must be eaten to assure good luck.

GREECE - A special New Year's bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child, the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.

JAPAN - The Japanese decorate their homes in tribute to lucky gods. One tradition, kadomatsu, consists of a pine branch symbolizing longevity, a bamboo stalk symbolizing prosperity, and a plum blossom showing nobility.

CHINA - For the Chinese New Year, every front door is adorned with a fresh coat of red paint, red being a symbol of good luck and happiness. Although the whole family prepares a feast for the New Year, all knives are put away for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, which is thought to cut the family's good luck for the next year.

UNITED STATES - The kiss shared at the stroke of midnight in the United States is derived from masked balls that have been common throughout history. As tradition has it, the masks symbolize evil spirits from the old year and the kiss is the purification into the new year.

NORWAY - Norwegians make rice pudding at New Year's and hide one whole almond within. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person whose serving holds the lucky almond.

Chinese New Year

Except for a very few number of people who can keep track of when the Chinese New Year should be, the majority of the Chinese today have to rely on a typical Chinese calendar to tell it. Therefore, you cannot talk of the Chinese New Year without mentioning the Chinese calendar at first.

A Chinese calendar consists of both the Gregorian and lunar-solar systems, with the latter dividing a year into twelve month, each of which is in turn equally divided into thirty- nine and a half days. The well-coordinated dual system calendar reflects the Chinese ingenuity.

There is also a system that marks the years in a twelve-year cycle, naming each of them after an animal such as Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. People born in a particular year are believed to share some of the personalities of that particular animal.

About the Author:

Gary Ryan Blair is known throughout the world as The Goals Guy. He helps business owners, corporate executives and sales professionals manage their time, set their priorities, and stay focused so they can achieve their goals, grow their business, and be more successful.

His handbooks, training programs and coaching services are used by more than 60% of the Fortune 500 and over 4,000,000 people worldwide.

He is also the inspiration behind the 100 Day Challenge.

To learn more, visit http://www.goalsguy.com

Gary can be reached for media requests, television or radio appearances and speaking services at 877-462-5748 or by sending an email to Gary@GoalsGuy.com

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Silent Night

Happy Christmas One and All!

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you and your family are enjoying this wonderful day.

But whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I would like you to take just a few minutes out of your busy day to watch this moving video:

Simon and Garfunkel wanted us to experience the incongruity of our celebration of Goodwill and Peace to All against what was really happening in the world.

But it doesn't have to be that way!

I believe passionately in the power of visualization.  So on this day of Goodwill and Peace to All I am going to visualize exactly that: Goodwill and Peace to All.  Taking all the feeling that has built up in the days leading up to Christmas.  The emotions triggered by the tear-jerker movies I have watched.  The feelings that have welled up as I have sung about peace and love.  I am taking all of this and pouring it into a 2 minute visualization for Goodwill and Peace to All.

Please join me in this right now.  No matter whether you are Christian or Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, Sikh or Jain, Shinto or Wiccan.  No matter whether you believe in God or not.  It simply does not matter.  All that matters is that we all join together, all over the world, and visualize Goodwill and Peace to All.

As we visualize, so shall it be.

Thank you one and all, and may you enjoy the remainder of the festivities!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Goodwill to All

For many of my readers we are now very close to Christmas.  For those of you who are not Christians, don't worry.  I am not about to start talking about the birth of Christ or trying to "convert" you, and I would also remind you that the origin of Christmas is not Christian anyway.  In case you are interested in the actual origin of many of the things that happen in the Christmas holiday, I wrote an article about this last year, and you can find it here.

What I want to focus on today is the feeling of goodwill we should all have at Christmas.  Well, to be honest, the feeling we should have all year round!  But we have to start somewhere, and if we can elevate our goodwill during this season then that is a great start for spreading the same positive emotion through the rest of the year.

Charles Dickens gave us good reason to do this in his immortal story "A Christmas Carol".  My favourite quote from that lovely novel is "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"

Spend some time in the next few days reading something Christmassy.  You could do far worse than reading "A Christmas Carol" itself.  Watch some of the tear-jerkers that tend to appear on television this time of year.  Virtually all of them have good and powerful messages if you will only open your heart and listen to them.

Begin this way to work on yourself, improving your own character.  Only by each of us changing and improving ourselves can we change and improve the world around us.  In fact, not just the world around us, but the whole world.  When we change ourselves we are changing the whole world.  As the poet John Donne said in the early 17th century "No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."  So what happens within us also starts to happen within the world.  Make what happens something good, an increase in goodwill for all men (and women).

On Christmas Day I will post another short article around this theme.  But in the meantime can I ask you to do this one thing for me, whether or not you are able to log in and read my article then.  Remember how I asked everyone on Remembrance Day to spend two minutes visualizing world peace?  Well this time I want you to visualize goodwill.  It is actually the same thing - peace can only come from the goodwill of all people and all nations, and if there genuinely IS such goodwill there can only be peace.

Do this visualization for just two minutes on Christmas Day.  I know it is a busy day for most of us.  We have family around us, perhaps young children busy playing with their presents.  A big Christmas meal.  Yes, we are very busy.  But all I am asking is two minutes.  Just 120 seconds.  Is that really too much to ask?  You will find the time if you try.  And the more of us who try, the more goodwill we will spread throughout the world this Christmas Day.

Please do this even if you are not a Christian.

If you are a muslim for example, you will not be performing some infidel rite.  You will just be doing what the Qu'ran bids you, spreading peace.  "And make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance to your being righteous and observing your duty unto Him and making peace among mankind." (Qu'ran 2:224)


Whatever your religion I am sure it welcomes the spreading of goodwill and peace throughout the world.  So spread it on 25th December, when all of us who have read this will be doing the same in unison.

If you have access to the internet on Christmas day, visit my blog again and you will find a further article expanding on this and repeating my plea for a visualization for peace and goodwill.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Asking the Universe For Help


Nick Grimshawe

Ask and be prepared to receive. Notice I didn't say receive, I said prepare to receive.

One of the most exciting aspects of joining the throngs of pilgrims on the great wide way is the knowledge we acquire about the astounding nature of the universe and its generosity.  Once you believe magic can happen...magic will.  The sad truth is...so many people don't believe in magic anymore it's just kids stuff.

This links back to my purpose to inspire people to take the plunge...to throw away the old conventions, and live out loud in an abundant and magical place full of the energy of God.

Magic is really simple.

If you ask and you honestly believe...without resistance...without too many self doubts... you will get an answer.

(Oh I am so excited.)

I get really passionate about this....with just a tiny little bit of work we can have the universe open it's secret heart to us.  Once that happens we are given access to the wonderful mystery of god.

For instance, a week or so ago I had a problem with uprising anger than seemed to come from nowhere.  When I finally just plain out and asked for help with this...an insight came almost immediately!  It can happen in a flash of a moonbeam...or it can take a little while.

Here is an example of waiting for awhile.  I am writing a book...and using a working title which didn't really thrill me...and when nothing seemed forthcoming, I asked.  I asked quite awhile ago...but today...just as I said down to write this newsletter...and I opened myself up for the message to come....well out popped the title for my book "A Walk in Quiet Places: Inspiration for Your Quiet Moments"

I have a few rules that seem to help the process of asking and here they are.

1. Ask for answers.

Sounds simple right?  It is, but we love to complicate things in the belief that if it isn't complicated it's not true.  We think simplicity is the lie but its complication that holds the lie...for in this universe everything is ultimately simple.  The most elegant solutions are always the simple ones.

Asking for answers negates asking for things like a million dollars, because a million dollars does not require an answer.  Don't confuse the process of manifesting with the act of seeking answers: (that is a whole other [huge] topic).

2. Be prepared to receive the answer.

So what's the big deal about that?  It's like tuning in a radio station on a crowded dial, if you don't know the frequency of the station you want...your focus shifts to finding the station...not listening for the music.

The answer you are seeking can come in many forms: Out of the words in a book, on the soft morning breeze, while you gaze out to sea....while you are driving.  But if you are not prepared...by being watchful...by having your ear tuned for the answer you could miss it altogether.

And if you get impatient... if you throw up your hands in disgust and say "this doesn't work for me!" it of course...won't work.

And nagging for an answer won't work either.  Just let the question go...but stay alert, stay aware...the answer is seeking you.

3. Be prepared to record the answer.

I carry a note book with me everywhere!!!!!!!!  I also have a small recorder I am trying to make more use of.  As soon as you can...once the answer pops into your mind....write it down.  Just imagine if Mosses hadn't written down the Ten Commandments....and you see him a few days later, struggling to recall God's words....opps...don't want to go there.

Finally, how do you get into the groove, so that the magic begins to happen?

Daily practice....there is no other way.  Meditate, read, listen, ask, seek...learn...share...give. 

"Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired."  Source: Martha Graham

With Love 
Nick Grimshawe 
The SunShine Guy

About the Author:

Mr Grimshawe has been writing most of his life.  Currently he publishes two blogs, teaches list building and produces Beautiful Summer Morning Inspirational Quote of the Day, which is highly valued.  You can subscribe to the service at http://www.nickgrimshawe.ws/BSMone.html

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Power of Self-Coaching


Tamara Baruhovich

Coaching is becoming more popular than ever, simply because it works. Just take a look at the achievements that the Winter Olympic athletes attained and you'll clearly see what I mean. And this is no different with Life Coaching. Think about the times when you had to solve a problem all by yourself versus a time when you got the help and guidance of a friend or co-worker... which scenario was easier? In fact, your friend and/or co-worker acted as a coach even without knowing it.

However, even when you have a Life Coach guiding you through the process, there is something you can do to make your experience 100% infallible. You must commit yourself to adopt certain traits that will aid in propelling you towards your destination more efficiently. By this I mean that since your Life Coach cannot be whispering in your ear 24/7, or patting you on the shoulder every moment throughout the day, you must learn to self-coach yourself.

Self-coaching is related to positive self-talk, but it's much more than that. Follow these steps to self-coach yourself to realize your goals faster and easier...

1. Determine your purpose - You must not only know what you want to accomplish but WHY. This surely seems obvious, but for some reason the WHY keeps on getting forgotten or dismissed altogether. Knowing what you want and why you want it is the primary starting point for achieving the results you want, for it you don't know where you are going or what your motivation is, you will never get 'there'.

2. Write your action plan - Don't rely on your memory alone. Self-coaching involves writing the steps to reach your goal. Jotting down every step is powerful because it serves you as a map. Once you have it, proceed to give yourself commands that will prompt you to act. Keep track of your written goals. Modify them if they are not working for you. Nothing has been written in stone, so use them as guideposts and correct the aim if needed. One step at a time you will get to your destination.

3. Auto-suggestion - Self-Coaching incorporates positive self-talk. First, you must know and feel that you are capable of accomplishing your goal. Then, tell yourself you can do it and give yourself the reasons as to why this is so. Creating positive affirmations is helpful too. Craft and memorize a handful of positive affirmations that you can repeat as needed to feed your mind with positive thoughts every time you need a lift.

4. Self-advice - We have all 'heard' that critical voice in our head when we make mistakes... why not use this voice for self-advice? If you are between two or more decisions, 'ask' your inner voice for advice. Treat yourself 'as if' you were talking and listening to a friend that has the best in mind for you. Take a nature walk or meditate. Then ask, be silent, listen... An excellent time to do the 'asking' is right before you fall asleep. Let your subconscious mind search for the right answer and whisper it into your ear as you wake up.

5. Self-encouragement - When the going gets tough, take some time off to remember the times in your life when things seemed close to impossible and somehow you were able to overcome the obstacles. Remember what you did and how good you felt. Self-coaching encompasses recognition. Allow yourself to live the experience all over again. Use that positive feeling as a springboard to encourage yourself, as you have proven in the past that you can accomplish difficult tasks. Remember your "why" and think of new reasons that can support your determination and resolve.

6. Adopt a positive attitude - This may sound like a 'cliche' but I can't tell you how important this is to change your state at any given moment. You can feel positive any time you choose to by focusing on the good you already have in your life. Regardless of your circumstances, you do have many things to feel grateful for and thus, to encourage a positive attitude. The fact that you are reading this should be one reason to make you feel positive for you are seeking new ways to improve your life.

7. Get self-inspired - Self-Coaching involves finding motivating stories that serve you as inspiration. Read about people that have accomplished major goals related to what you want to achieve. They become your role models. Use their stories to inspire you to reach new heights.

8. Be relentless - One famous phrase says that "Success is a journey not a destination"... be persistent and don't forget to enjoy the process. After all, you are moving towards your goal, and that is what matters.

9. Be patient - Anything worthwhile takes time to come into fruition. Just keep on keeping and believe in the unseen... patience is the mother of all virtues.

Life Coaching is a wonderful option to support and guide you towards achievement of your goals, but when you add Self-Coaching to the mix, you will experience faster and better results while you learn a helpful skill that will last a lifetime.

About the Author:

Tamara Baruhovich is a Life Coach, Health Educator, Parent Educator, and Counselor. Tamara has dedicated over 25 years of her life to the health field, teaching, counseling, coaching and writing about common health topics, self-help and personal growth. You can reach Tamara with your questions at her website. She always takes the time to reply personally as her passion is to help others achieve their best.

"Discover Your Potential" is a powerful, self guided coaching eProgram that offers you the one-on-one assistance of a Life Coach. Complete details at http://www.Discover-Your-Potential.net

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Making Friends With Fear


Meredith Hines

When I was in drama school the great American actress Annette Bening came to speak to my class. A student asked her how she "overcame" her stage fright. She laughed, and said she hadn't. Instead she described a mindful awareness and acceptance of the anxiety she experiences before a scene. She said she would have a peaceful conversation with herself, something like: "Oh my, my hands are shaking, my heart is pounding, and I am really nervous right now. Interesting. Good to know. Alright nervous Annette, let's go to work!"

Like so much of our suffering, fear itself is not innately destructive; it is our rigid reaction to fear that keeps us imprisoned. Unlike Ms. Bening, most people's conditioned response to fear is to resist and contract. Like wincing with your body when you stub your toe, rather than feeling our fear, we tense around it and defend against it. Some of us run from fear by self-medicating with drugs, sex, food, or another anesthetizing distraction. Some of us fight fear like a shaming drill sergeant, forcing ourselves to "muscle through" and "conquer" our fears.

Not only do these responses often fail to adequately process and resolve fear, they are depleting on a physical, emotional, and psychological level. When we fight against it, or flee from it, we make fear an enemy. By cultivating a compassionate, rather than aggressive approach to fear, we can befriend it, soothe it, and learn from it. It certainly seems to have worked for Annette.

Here are 5 ways to make friends with your fear:

  1. I've said it before, I'll say it again! Just Breathe: Our conditioned response to fear is to speed things up. Your breath is the most powerful tool you own to slow down your inner rhythm and achieve relaxation. When we are anxious the breath contracts into quick and shallow inhales with incomplete exhales. Consciously try to deepen your breath into the abdomen. Use your breath as a way of compassionately communicating with yourself and your fear. Imagine each full inhale providing nourishment and care, and each complete exhale providing relief. A skilled mind-body therapist can help you to cultivate essential self soothing technique.
  2. Don't Time Travel: The mind is an incredible time machine. A fearful mind is obsessed with the pain of the past, or the anticipation of pain in the future. As you sit watching your breath notice the mind's desire to be anywhere but here. As each worrisome thought comes through your head file it under "past" or "future" and then come back to your breath. The breath, like your life, is happening right now, which is where your power lies.
  3. Ground into your body: Like the breath, the sensations in your body are also happening right now, and paying attention to them can anchor you to the present moment. When we are frightened we leave our bodies. Cultivate practices to re-inhabit your physical being. Notice where fear lives in you. Breathe into those places. Drop your attention out of the head where everything is spinning and into the body where you can observe sensations without being consumed by them.
  4. How old is it? After you have achieved a level of present centered awareness, you might ask yourself how old this fear feels. If you experienced trauma in childhood, a stressful event can trigger us right back to the age when we were hurt. In recognizing the activation of an earlier wound you gain insight into where there is "unfinished business" in your psyche that is asking to be seen, heard, and healed.
  5. Remember Rilke: One of my favorite quotes, by one of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, states: "Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love." If you can identify how old your fear is, you must then learn how to parent that pain. Rather than scolding fear as though it were a shameful failing, soothe it as though it were a wounded child. Ask the fear what it needs. Working with a therapist can help you cultivate self-care techniques to respond to those needs. Fear is a part of being human, when we take Rilke's advice (always a wise move) and befriend it with love and compassion, we can harness its energy and information to bring forth greater authenticity and creativity in our lives.

Copyright Meredith Hines MA 2011

About the Author:

Meredith Hines MA is a Los Angeles based psychotherapist, yoga and meditation practitioner and instructor, and a proud puppy mama. She specializes in working with anxiety, trauma, creativity, and spirituality. http://therapistmeredith.com

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why The Law Of Attraction Fails


Wyn Nathan Davis

As a recruiter, everyday, I meet people who are making an effort to change the circumstances of their lives - some will succeed most will not.

The Law of Attraction is the concept that we attract into our lives what we think about most of the time - that thoughts are things and thinking about things (good or bad) will bring those things into our life.

We are all aware that when we decide to buy a new car or a new mobile phone that all of a sudden we see those very same objects everywhere. It seems almost magic that the car we never noticed is all of a sudden on every street. This is, of course, not magic it is simply that our conscious mind filters out 99.9% of all of the events and sensations that enter our brain. Our subconscious mind is aware of about 70,000 events per second, however, our conscious mind is aware of only about 7 events per second. We filter how we see the world and we will see what we expect. After all, there is good, bad, ugly, beautiful, failure and opportunity around us all the time. We will 'filter' the world we want to see.

The Law Of Attraction is a process of conducting a 'mental trick'. If we use mantras, pictures of what we think about, or acting 'as if' we already have the things we want that we will change the filter and start to see the things and opportunities that we want. This is a good short-term strategy and does work for many people in changing their lives - at least in an area or two. The problem is that these changes rarely last and rarely affect enough areas of our lives to change our real life experience.

What is missing from the Law Of Attraction?

The problem with The Law Of Attraction is that consciously choosing to think a certain way does not change our subconscious and our subconscious drives most of our actions. Our subconscious mind is not really affected by our conscious thoughts but instead by our deepest values based on our past experiences.

We cannot truly change our thoughts until we truly change the way we think!

For example, for most of us choices like murder, incest, or extreme violence have no part in the way we think. When we hear of extreme acts in the news most of us have no ability to comprehend making such a choice. However, when we think about over-eating, managing money, cheating on our partners most of us can fully understand these desires or even struggle with them on a daily basis.

Until the changes in our lives that we seek - wealth, career performance, and health become the only possible choice - because the alternative seems simply impossible - we will struggle.

When you change your values the entire way you think changes - instantly. When this happens massive change is possible in your life because your world is actually, completely different. Imagine if the choice of over-eating seemed as abhorrent to you as murder? Losing weight would be easy!

To change the way you think you don't need another book, another seminar or more time. It can happen in an instant simply by changing the way you think by first changing your values.

When a person can choose their thoughts by a process of choosing their values they instantly lose all doubt and fear and become - a mastermind.