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All city 08 18 2016Wow!  I overcame a 6-6-6-6 start in the first round of the Walla Walla City Championship, steadying my nerves to post my best round of the year.  Eight over after four, I finished the front nine in ten over 46.  A decent comeback for a twenty handicapper.  After double-bogeying number ten, the magic began. Par saves and a birdie chip-in were mixed with long, powerful, straight drives. I left a few wedge/9-iron shots WAY short of greens, only to hit sweet recovery wedges and crucial putts on some of them.  It was so fun!  I toured the back in 39, netting 65 for the day. It put me in position to challenge in the open division (white tees), sandwiched between the championship contenders (blue tees) and the seniors (gold tees).  I am so excited for tomorrow!

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Nick in June on Maui. He’s even bigger and stronger now!

I’m perpetually fascinated by the limits of my mind, especially when I break through them.

When I turned forty I was blessed with a new lease on life, increasing my healthiness and happiness. I had been limited by unwillingness. Various aspects of me held me back. As new doors opened, willingness grew. My life is a makeover. Since I’m happy and healthy, should I be content? Or can I be grateful and in pursuit of more?

Why not continue to seek a better me? A beautiful opportunity presents itself regularly: my kids love to lift weights. They have passion for building muscles. It’s a heart-warming pain in my ass. Literally! Also in my chest, triceps, biceps, lats, hamstrings and back. It hurts so good!

I spent the last decade and a half in self-limiting thoughts like these:

  • I’m too old to really build much muscle.
  • Older folks should lift light weights and just try to keep some muscle.
  • If it hurts, don’t do it.
  • I am strong enough.
  • Too much upper-body muscle will be too heavy to carry around on long runs.
  • My body just isn’t the type to build muscle.

I’ve seen the aging process reduce strength, flexibility, balance and confidence.  I know it’s coming for me, if I’m lucky. Can I stave it off a while? Fight back a bit? Optimize my gift of life? Glow in the beauty of existence?

I want to live as fully as I can! My ego loves hitting 270 – 300 yard drives. 320 sounds even better. I want to be able to do whatever I feel like doing. I hope to limit my limitations and expand my abilities. So I had to try something new. Nick opened a door.

He explained to me that to really build muscle, you have to lift heavy. He recommends sets of six to eight repetitions of weights you can barely manage.  Previously I learned that to run fast, I had to practice running fast. An obvious statement, but I had to run intervals at higher speed to improve my long-run speed. So I finally bought in to lifting heavy.  My mind opened up to the realization that I’ve spent years marking time, making minimal improvement in muscle gain. Perhaps this is expanded awareness of “no pain, no gain.”

It has only been a week. My commitment and gains will play out over time. I must say, however, that this is an exciting week. I am lifting stronger and heavier than I ever have. “Chest and triceps day” last evening was my best, as well as Jaslyn’s and Nick’s. It was so fun! How will bicep and back day go today? Legs on Sunday? We will see. In between, we’ll watch the Ducks visit the Cougars in my favorite stadium. Another great opportunity! Go Cougs!

What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

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Undeniably, much of life is far beyond our control. Yet it seems prudent to consciously develop who we are, instead of living reactively. Maybe we should work backwards? What would be cool on a headstone?

Adventurous, Believing, Calm, Daring, Enthusiastic, Funny, Game, Honorable, Innovative, Jovial, Kind, Loving, Motivating, Natural, Optimistic, Parental, Quenchable, Ready, Studious, Trustworthy, Uniting, Valiant, Wild, Xyzlacatotic, Youthful and Zesty!

Loving It Fully Everyday!

How can I describe the feelings I get while running, which range from euphoric to exhausted? I’ll go with freedom. Freedom from worry, stress, pressure, strain and fear. All is truly well. Smiles are abundant. Energy begets energy. Life keeps getting better. Work is easier. The need to judge others slides away. Even judging of myself. Bronzing skin basks in glorious sunshine. Supple muscles flow with their true calling. Belief grows, creating confidence. Positivity overwhelms negativity. Humor is abundant. Healthy people pass by, smiling broadly. This must be the path to heaven on earth!

Badger Mountain Challenge 2013. Smiling from the heart!

Badger Mountain Challenge 2013. Smiling from the heart!

I try to dance some fine lines.  Finding and following these lines requires balance. Each of us defines moderation, excess and sloth in different ways.  Many of the differences in our definitions stem from how honest we’re able to be with ourselves.

There’s a fine line to physical achievement.  On one side are treacherous injuries and over-exhaustion.  On the other, wasted potential. On the line, or in the zone, we find ourselves feeling stronger, more energized and full of zest for life. Getting in touch with truth begs differentiation between laziness and a true need for rest. Betterment encompasses fatigue, exertion and minor aches and pains. It begs for stretching, fueling, massage, diverse activities and recuperation. That’s just a short journey from over-resting, so awareness is paramount. Our minds must be in touch with where our bodies are now, not where they once were, or where we wish they were. Physical health is built over the long haul, dependent on regular practice of an artful balance of sleep, nutrition, hydration, spiritual re-charging and exercise.

Many of us have worked too much at our jobs! Many of us have also worked too little, or gone to work tired, hung over, distracted or un-motivated. I love the correlation between healthy living and job performance. My brain simply works better when my body gets what it wants. It must like blood flow! Rather than pop pills, I prescribe myself exercise! This is one of the best choices I’ve ever made! I love it when I get more done in less time!

The line between serving others and taking care of myself also requires moderation.  If I feel disconnected, I may be focusing too much on myself. If I feel disgruntled, I may be neglecting myself. To best serve, I must be in the spirit of the servant.

I sense that we have so much more potential. How to get there? Am I on the path? Where does it lead? Am I missing a key part? How can I fuel better? What can I do to rest more effectively? How to recover quicker? How to open my mind more fully? Who can inspire me? Who should I serve? Where can I best serve? What is the best job for me? Where should I travel? How young can I feel? Can I really dance the line? Turn up the music!

Frank Badger finish closeup

Am I like other smack talkers? Why do it? Mostly to: (1) increase the likelihood that I’ll follow through with the actions and (2) motivate some of you, including my long-run training partner, Annie. I believe it’s a potential win-win-win scenario. Those are my favorites!

Sometimes, I’m a legend in my own mind. I start thinking I’m the most important person I know. Mom, I hope you’re chuckling a little here. I’m working on bettering me to become more capable of serving others. If I’m on the wrong path, someone should tell me.

So Annie, I’m coming for you! I’ll be faster, better fed, tapered and energized! I’ll do intervals, hills, long-ass runs and stairs.  I’ll even do the leg weights! If this makes you work even harder, I win!

Has anyone  out there lost the belief, desire and/or habits of being the best possible version of themselves? If you get anything at all out of this post, I win again! I could really be on a roll here!

If all you learn is that I’m an egotistical, unashamed self-promoter, well, I win again! Because you’ll know exactly who you don’t want to be.  It’s starting to look like I can’t lose on this deal…..

We are offered unlimited life paths, with so many forks in our roads.  Bountiful chances to stray, play, grow and show just who we are.  These choices define exactly who we are.  If we truly accept that we do indeed have all these choices, and believe that we can follow any path we like, we are free in spirit.  When we search our heart and soul to discover who we really are, we can make conscious choices to follow our values.

I had to start with empowerment.  Conscious or not, EVERYTHING we do is a choice.  How powerful!  So I am responsible for who I am.  No one else did it.  They did do everything they did.  I chose, often passively, reactively, irrationally, emotionally, defensively, selfishly and/or irresponsibly, how to respond or act.  These are lessons, whether I learned them or not.  They tend to repeat themselves.

So the troubles I’ve faced resulted from choices I’ve made.  Likewise for the sobriety, growth, peacefulness, acceptance, joy and gratitude.  I know in my heart that when I make the best choices I can, with as much faith, honesty and humility as I can muster, life will go better than if I reverted to making choices based on greed, pride, lust and fear.  The details make the story fun. Every step we take is on the biggest stage of all.  It’s almost always “take one.”  There are few Mulligans, do-overs or re-takes.  It seems like a good idea to be on our best behavior!

Nicholas is very much like me in many ways.  He is also very different from me in some ways.  Both help him be a good teacher to me.  Our teachers appear from everywhere!  We can learn much from careful observation of others.

Nicholas has a very kind heart.  He loves people and is very good at reading them.  He loves to laugh and play.  He does not love chores, but is getting better about doing them, because his heart tells him it is the right thing to do.  Mostly, he wants to have fun!

Nicholas believes in clean living.  He’s chosen to avoid drugs and alcohol without having to go through the learning pains of overuse/abuse.  What a great running start on life!

Nick is strong and agile.  His quickness makes him a fun hackysack partner.  His creativity helps him invent new shots, keeping the game fun and entertaining.  He is also very good at tennis.  He’s at a higher level than me, though I give him my best when I get the chance.

Nick’s creativity helps open my mind.  He’s not afraid to challenge my thinking, which is exactly what I need.  Examining my database helps crystallize the positive beliefs and overcome the hurtful ones.  What a blessing!

Nicholas has blossomed beautifully in recent years.  He’s learned to eat better, study consistently and work earnestly.  He’s building life skills that will be crucial to his continuing progress.  He’s learning to balance more parts of life, though he has a very strong passion for video gaming.  Luckily, he also is passionate about his girlfriend Jaslyn, which draws him back to non-virtual life!

Nick is blessed to have good guidance from his older sister Annie.  It’s easier for him to learn from her at times, and she is a great role model and source of ideas.  She’s helped Nick become an excellent student and a healthy eater.  Those are wonderful gifts!  ( :

Annie inspires me often.  Her zest for life fires me up!  She makes me laugh.  She doesn’t let me take life’s ups and downs too seriously.  She loves me so much that she’ll suffer through my pity parties.  Luckily for her, I’m planning to be done with those! 

Annie thrives on life!  She lives as fully as possible.  We’ve enjoyed many adventures, competitions, shopping marathons, parties, games and gatherings together.  We LOVE to get high on exercise!  I mean REALLY HIGH!  Who could be as much fun as her?  How would I feel if I met someone who was just as much fun?  That sounds exciting!

Annie is the best cook in our little family.  The rest of us may not be world-class competition though.  Ha!  Annie really is a superb chef.  Her whole wheat three-cheese supreme pizza outclasses the New York pizzerias I’ve visited.  That’s saying a lot!  Her chicken quinoa was the rave of our huge extended family gathering.  My lucky co-workers, who enjoyed leftovers, were impressed.  It’s tasty, healthy, spicy and energizing!  Annie’s roasted vegetables are also awesome!  Her chocolate-banana protein milkshakes have become a staple of my wellness diet.  They may be even better when we add peanut butter!  Yay Annie!

Annie strives to be the best she can be at everything she does.  So she’s a stellar student and a ray of sunshine to the retired folks she serves at her job.  Who wouldn’t appreciate expressions of joy, compassion and encouragement?  Annie even tries to keep her home clean now.  That is a recent change for the better!

Annie’s now busy plotting more adventures for us to enjoy: river kayaking, camping, WSU football games, bicycling, running, nordic skiing, etc.  The more variety, the better!  That goes for activities, locations and participants! 

Live well!  ( :

I just remembered an inspiration I had to write about inspirations.  This blog may be the closest I get to writing a book, or my memoirs, and that’s okay.  Writing is writing!  After decades of procrastination, I can’t believe I’ve written this much.  It feels rewarding.  I recently thought that I should cut back on writing to do more reading.  Nonetheless, I want to get this idea started on the path to fruition. 

In the book of my life, many of the most important chapters are about the people who have inspired me along the way.  In various ways, they’ve helped me become a better version of myself.  My life has been blessed with many inspiring people, so there is a huge risk that I will overlook some of the most important ones.  I might take them for granted.  My life path offers chances to open up my tunnel thinking, so I’m willing to take this risk.  I’ll rectify these mistakes if I see them.  I won’t be able to talk about all the important interactions of my life.  I don’t know how many of them I even remember.  I do believe I am a reflection of where I’ve been, and the people who’ve formed me, so there may be therapeutic value in this review.  If not, then perhaps there will be pleasant memories and a resolve to take care in whom I spend my time with!

I don’t know yet whether to discuss the people who seemed to pull me down.  My fourth and fifth step of recovery dealt much with them and really, about me.  They could have been anyone. 

What about the exciting prospects of the unknown future?  I’m praying that I’m open enough to let great chapters unfold as they can!

How’s your outlook on life these days?  My glass is not half full.  It’s overflowing!  Can I learn to remember this, knowing it deeply in my heart, mind and soul?

Someone stole my new rain jacket with clip-on sunglasses in the pocket.  So I ordered prescription sunglasses, for the first time, and I’ll get to shop for another cool rain jacket later!

My right elbow and index finger have hurt, limiting certain activities.  I get a different variety of experiences!  If I’m unable to water ski at the lake this year, I’ll find other fun things to do.  Yay!  My pains also give me perspective to stimulate compassion for the sick and elderly. 

I relapsed with addictive eating.  I learned the depth of this substitutive addiction and my imperative need for fully working step one on this.  I am reminded of the persuasive nature of my addictive mind.  I now have nine days of clean eating and I’m moving to better health and confidence, fat loss and greater strength and endurance.  Yay!

The ropes course experience showed me that I can quickly jump to a defeatist attitude.  Perhaps this is tied into self-esteem issues.  Maybe it’s like the chicken and the egg .  Which came first?  Does it matter?  I can understand how I interpreted the outcomes of experiences in love, addiction and other events as failures.  Perfectionism seemed to hone in on the negative aspects, rather than the sometimes bigger positives.  Now I’m reminded of the amazing successes that positive living has brought to me.  I’m powerless over almost everything and certainly everybody, which sets me totally free to focus on being a better version of me!  I just need to do my part and let everything else happen as it will.

My assistant mistakenly wiped out most of the budget work I performed last week by neglecting attention to details when projecting her part of our budget.  I gained greater ability via repetition in troubleshooting budget problems, and was able to let go of the frustrations.

My son sometimes suggests that we go lift weights or do something else together; he often changes his mind and cancels at the last-minute.  I learn to do the next right thing, which is usually to stay active myself, leading by example, as well as staying calm and demonstrating and enjoying the benefits of healthy living.

My boss sometimes gets wound up over job pressures, bringing the heat on me.  I learn to stay calm myself, calm him down and prioritize tasks.  I also learn to focus on solving problems, instead of being overwhelmed, and have faith that things will work out just fine.

I’ve experienced incredible highs of being in love with beautiful women, with some amazingly fun attributes, only to have them opt out later.  I’ve learned that I can’t solve their problems and I can be more aware of different aspects of people by using patient observation.  I can work to become a better version of myself and embrace the beauty of life as it is now.  I’ve learned how I can be more loving to others and more true to myself.  I strive to stay out of expectations.  I’ve learned to enjoy the simple moments even more, as they stream into my life.  I’ve come to peace with having absolutely no idea what is coming.  I have faith that whatever is coming will be “good!”

Accountability.  Sounds like a bean counter’s word, doesn’t it?  I’m a bean counter, so I should know!  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Beancounterology, as well as decades of experience.  I even worked in a bean warehouse when I was very young.  Perhaps this was God’s humorous way of showing me how big some challenges are?  There were literally mountains of beans!

Enough digression!  Accountability means being responsible to someone for something, or “the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable” according to Dictionary.com.  Accountability can help keep us honest, on task and productive.  One very important priority for me is to be a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly!).  This encompasses spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical aspects, which are woven together to make me.  It is a fact that I can love who I am now and still continually strive to become a better version of myself.  For as long as I’m gifted with existence.  Is that forever?  How many more days do I get in this life on earth?  What will make it more rewarding for everyone involved?  What comes next? 

Finding a better me is not pressure or monotonous work.  It’s full of exciting challenges!  Yes, there are times of desperation and praying for help.  Yes to sweat, shortness of breath and muscle soreness.  Bring on the interpersonal challenges!  I can love people for their Godliness, and not resent their human limitations.  Because y’all are likely much like me.  The ones who can admit it are well on their way to serenity!

What was the original intent of this post?  Oh yeah, accountability.  Well, Annie started it, so here goes:  May 22, 2012 is a date I want to hold on to.  My first day of being clean and sober from gluttonous eating.  That’s two nights in a row for us real bean counters.  It’s as important as my other sobriety dates.  Can I hold on to it?  Well, I’m a human, but God can do anything!  ( :

PS – Hey Annie, the ab coaster gave me awesome burn!  4,580 meters in 20 minutes of rowing and 200 flights in 40 minutes on the stair-stepper.  Will Super Peach be ready for the next challenge?  ( :

Well, like it or not, you are at least a bit like me.  We’re from the same species!  Damn near kinsfolk, if you will.  So how similar are we?  Will my solutions help you?  Will your solutions help me?  How do we help each other live in solutions, rather than downhill slides?

I am absolutely, unabashedly and  fully convinced that I have found solutions that have saved my life.  Inactivity, and its partner in crime, obesity, seem to be key problem areas for many people.  MANY problems stem from these!  Since I’m most intimately acquainted with myself, let’s see what inactivity does to me:

  • Lethargy:  I want to sleep, lay around, engage in mindless activities……
  • Grumpiness:  why aren’t things going my way!?!?!?!?
  • More inactivity:  laziness begets laziness. 
  • Weight gain:  if I don’t move much, I don’t burn many calories.
  • Vicious circle:  when I start down a path, it seems to perpetuate itself.
  • Depression.

What happens when I’m active?

  • More energy!  Don’t give up too early; it takes time to establish good habits and reap the benefits.
  • Excitement: I look forward to life and its wonderful opportunities!  No depression!  Yay!
  • Engagement:  I opt in to more things.
  • Clarity:  my brain works MUCH better when I feed it more blood and oxygen!
  • Inspiration:  I get more cool ideas.  Yay!
  • Optimism:  We really can do this!  God gives us all the power we need when we let him.  Really!

Is it a tough choice?  Do I need help believing that good results can happen for me?  Am I in denial of my condition?  Both were once true for me.  Now I feel incredibly lucky to be honest with myself and to have willingness to do the next right thing, right now, to make a better me.  I must act now, because now is all I have.  Yesterday is indeed gone, and tomorrow is make-believe, until it gets here as today.  Shake it baby!  ( :

If I’m in decent physical, mental, emotional or spiritual condition, how much effort does it take to stay “in shape”?  Is that enough?  Am I trying to run from the inevitable aging process?  Do I feel less than adequate?  Or am I striving to be the very best version of myself?

Am I on a continual quest to live better?  Is better living produced by a certain routine that choreographs prized activities?  Or is the best life full of diversity, whereby freshness and flavor delight us, drawing us into creative thinking?  Is newness to be maximized, or sprinkled across a quasi-routine?  For months I savored non-fat mochas each morning, delighting in them!  Are they part of my best?  Is the current black java somehow better?  Or is no coffee at all the best?  Is variety part of enchantment?

Do I balance all aspects of my life, seeking to grow in all ways?  How do I pursue spiritual growth?  Is meditation prioritized?  Is meditation necessarily routine, or can it be fit in opportunistically?  What can I study that will satisfy my curiosity and develop my usefulness?  Has cynicism turned me away from political and social debate?  Is there a loving way to re-engage?

Endorphin highs are really fun for me.  I love working out hard, partly because of this afterglow.  I also like it when my body and brain function better, which always results from exercise.  Also from eating well.  I just ate Annie’s (http://fitnessaficionada.wordpress.com/) amazing stew and a side car of incredible roasted vegetables sprayed with olive oil and dusted with parmesan and feta: mushrooms, asparagus, brussels sprouts, onions, yams, green beans, potatoes, carrots, etc.  They were both culinary masterpieces and so pleasing to my body.  Hooray for health!

What a blessing it is to face up to the ugly truths about myself.  I mean, it’s typically painful as hell at first, so I understand why it’s so common to stay in denial, or to settle for being a lesser version of one’s self.  About so many aspects of our lives!  There is a better way!  There is hope!  We can become increasingly better versions of ourselves!  It really is true!

Addiction ( including drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food, sex, etc.) and obsession turn free people into slaves.  Trust me, I have first-hand and second-hand knowledge.  There is a better life!  It’s SO awesome to break the chains of addiction and self-will!  It frees us to be childlike again: running, dancing, playing, learning, improving and maturing.  Instead of using, abusing, blaming, whining and settling.

Another wonderful benefit of continuing recovery is the ability to uncover and admit to the motives that lead to our actions.  Are we doing things to help others, or for selfish reasons?  Ironically, to truly be a better version of me, one who can really help others, I must focus on me at first.  What past experiences have colored my thinking in ways that hold me back?  What discourages me from trusting others?  Where have I learned to blame, and not face truths about me?  What things have limited my beliefs in how I can grow, achieve and expand?

Quite often, when I complain about a character defect in someone else, I am revealing MY character defect.  I can see clearly in others  the very things I dislike about myself.  “You’re selfish!” speaks clearly of my selfishness.  Gaining the honesty to admit to this basic truth opens the door to the personal growth that can lead to maturity.  This is the road to self-improvement.  To become better versions of ourselves, we must get to really know ourselves.  We are not so different.  Facing our humanity can foster compassion, cooperation, love, acceptance and serenity.  We can do together what one of us can not do alone.  We can learn that serving others graces us with the happiness that we’ve searched for all along.  Yay!  ( :

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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