Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Shaping Up...Your Brain

I’m seeing a plethora of advertisements on television and social media for gym memberships, online physical training apps, weight loss programs, and in-home exercise machinery. I get it. It’s January and with the New Year (along with the guilt from too much holiday candy) comes the resolve to get in shape. 

 

A New Day. A New Year.

People long to become physically fit. They want to feel better and look better. It’s a given. So much so, the companies selling these products and services know this is a peak sales season for the fitness world.

 

This year I am launching my own fitness program free of charge. It is a program to exercise that muscle you may have been neglecting: Your Brain. 

 

Why listen to me? Certainly many of my readers know me as an author. In truth, I have this "other life." My doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati was in Educational Foundations with an emphasis in Psychological Foundations. I have served as both a teacher in public education and as a professor at a small Christian university. There I worked with both undergraduates and graduate students in areas of education, psychology and counseling.

 

Exercising our brains is important. It is perhaps more important now than ever.  I’m serious. Months of COVID fatigue, endless hours of television, and growing concerns about our future as a united nation have taken a serious toll on our mental well being. 

 

And now it is winter. 

 

Creativity, inventing, and problem solving are in our DNA as Americans. I have traveled extensively. I’ve lived abroad. Very few nations offer the freedom and resources to their citizenry as we do in the United States to achieve our dreams. 

 

Yes, I know not everyone in our nation has equal access to everything. But we all have access to dream, create, and to strive for a better world. Trust me, I have known people who lived in places where they were told what to think, when to think it, and when to stop thinking it.

 

If you exercise your brain, you’ll feel better for it and stand a bit taller among your friends and family. You’ll be more confident, more thoughtful (or at least thought-filled), more creative, a better problem solver, and happier.

 

I could guarantee it, but then again, I’m not charging you anything for it. These benefits are true. Proven. Of course to make the program work, you’ll need to do a few things yourself. 

 

You may need to withdraw from some television and social media. You may have to read something. And if you go with me on this journey, you will be required at one point to try something new. 

 

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be sharing success stories, tips, games, activities, resources, and a bit of research evidence for you to use to dazzle your friends.

 

Your first assignment?

Create a list of all those items on your “to do before I die” list. You know what I’m talking about. I hear them all the time. Some call it their "bucket list."

 

“I would love to write a book.”

“I would love to read a book.”

 

“I wish I could play the piano.”

“I wish I could speak Spanish.”

 

“One day, I’d like to paint a picture.”

“Someday, I’m going to …” For that one I’ll let you fill in the blank. 

 

Write them all down. You aren’t going to do them all. Yet. 

 

Write down any and every dream you have. 

 

Make note of everything you feel would stretch you to that place where you feel a sense of accomplishment, that height where indeed you stand a little taller. And make note of this: You can always add to the list and nobody will ding you for not doing everything on it!

 

So are you ready? Invite your friends. Let’s get started. Together we can make 2021 the best year ever! Make that list and I'll see you here next week.


For ideas and encouragement you can

 follow me on Twitter: @WatersAuthor 

or check in on my FaceBook Author Page: Rebecca Waters Author


I can't wait to hear from you.

 

From my Bio:

Rebecca Waters, EdD, completed her undergraduate work at the University of South Florida and her graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati. She served as a public school teacher for 18.5 years and as a professor of teacher education for 14.5 years. Rebecca taught for a year in a private school in Kosovo where she also served as the elementary principal and the school’s liaison to the American Embassy. Rebecca is the author of two novels, Breathing on Her Own and Libby’s Cuppa Joe. Her novella, Courtesy Turn appears in the anthology, From the Lake to the River. You will also find her work in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books. All of her books, including three books on writing, are available HERE on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

   

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Choosing the Word for 2021

 The Word for the 2021 is ….

 

My readers know I choose a word for each year. A single word. 

 

It doesn’t have to be a special word when I choose it. It may be a word I keep bumping into in various places. Sometimes I’ve chosen a word from my morning Bible reading. On occasion it has been a word I heard on television or a word that met my mood at the time.


 

I never actually have a clue how that word will play out through the year. It is always different. It is always a time of learning and growing for me.

 

Sometimes my blog posts or journal entries reflect how the word is surfacing in my life. I don’t keep a daily journal about it, though. Somehow doing so would sort of box in the word; kill it. 

 

I would be forever mindful of that singular word. Intentional. I am sure it wouldn’t be the same experience I’ve enjoyed for the past several years. No, choosing the word and letting it take its own shape and meaning is best for me. 

 

And it’s fun. 

 

Mostly. Last year my word was “QUIET.” I’ve promised my family I won’t choose that word again. Although the year was anything but quiet, the word will forever be connected to other words such as “isolation” and “quarantine.”

 

As 2020 was drawing to an end, I started thinking about choosing my word. I jotted down random words I found intriguing or ran into repeatedly. I considered words such as “resilience,” “determination,” or “health.” 

 

I realized those were the 2020 words I’d lived through. The words spoke of me doing something. The onus was on me to make those words happen. It sounded like work and I was tired. 

 

I have found the best words I’ve chosen are words that take on a life of their own instead of ones I throw around like a motto. 

 

It was mid December when I woke up one morning with the thought of the word I chose for this year. I let it roll around in my head for a few days before saying it out loud. 

 

I hesitated to share it. It was too simple. 

 

Yet there it was. It popped up in my Bible reading. It showed up in music I played. The word seemed to be ever present, but not one I had noticed or considered before.

 

It isn’t that I have a notion of how that word will play out in 2021. I can’t wrap my head around that yet. I know from past experiences it will take on a shape of its own and in turn shape me as a person. It will influence me as a daughter, mother, grandmother, friend, and yes, as a writer. 

 

My writing group gathers on Zoom the first Saturday of the month. We met on January 2, the month still fresh and clean and mostly unscathed. The year loomed full of promise ahead of us. In our planning for the January meeting, we decided to allow those who choose a word for each year to share it.

 

Some members of the group shared not only the word for the year but their thinking behind it. Others held onto the notion of the surprise the word will bring. They said they don’t know what’s in store, but this was the word to capture it. 

 

Members of the group had great words. 

 

They shared words such as “Believe” and “Restore” and “Rely.” To me those words lean into a sense of trust and hope. 

 

Some offered words I associate with action. Words like “Lead” or “Priority.”

 

Of course none of us know how any of those words will play out in the coming year, but they were strong words; Words that didn’t need an introduction. Not like the word I chose.

 

I shared my word. It seemed small. Inconsequential. Weak. Yet it was mine. 

 

“Be.” I said. “B-E.” 

 

Though small, I’ve decided my word for the year is mighty. It doesn’t require anything of me except to BE the person God made me to BE. I don’t need to be what others think I should be. Be/Say/Do. I can simply BE me. 

 

I find rest in that. And after a year of  “quiet” such as this past one, I need it.

 

Do you have a word for the year? Please share it. I’d love to hear from you.