Stop Shaming Procrastination – Develop your virtues

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Setting goals makes us feel hopeful and excited about what is to come. Imagine how we are going to feel when we complete what we set out to accomplish. It may be a physical change we want to make in ourselves, or we want to learn something new. So many times though, goals are not reached as we hoped or expected and we allow obstacles to get in the way of completion.

I believe that one of the biggest things that get in our way of reaching our goals is procrastination. That little matter of putting off getting started or taking the first steps toward achieving what we have hoped to complete. We all know what it feels like, most of us have most likely procrastinated on something and then find yourself disappointed or in a mad rush to get the project done.

Unfortunately, our kids see us deal with this annoyance of procrastination, and soon they are procrastinating themselves and many times it is the parents that deal with many of the consequences of their putting off a major project.

While there are books about procrastination – both the why and what to do about it – we still find that it can be a challenging practice to overcome. I thought maybe there is another approach. Perhaps we can look inside ourselves and see what we can call on or develop more of so that we get the job done promptly without the stress of waiting until the last possible moment.

What virtue would you call on when you know that you are procrastinating? Accountability, Decisiveness, Determination, Diligence, Excellence, Initiative, Orderliness, Purposefulness, Self-Discipline? Maybe there is a different one for you?

All of us have those virtues listed above as a part of who we are, but sometimes we need to call on them to come forward and be developed at this time. Instead of ‘demanding’ that a project gets done and shame the child or yourself with yelling or name calling (lazy, thoughtless, stupid, a failure), be kind and look for the virtue that you need to call on to overcome the obstacle. When you search for the virtue you need at this time, you are practicing the strategy of Recognizing Teachable Moments.

This is parenting and self-talk at its best.

Setting goals or intentions in the new year

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The beginning of most years many people tend to use this time to think about what the year ahead will look like and what they would like to accomplish. Instead of goals, I want to think of intentions. What are my intentions for the coming month, three months or six months?  Sometimes a year may seem so far out that we believe that we still have plenty of time to get things done and soon we see the year has passed us by. Writing down your long-term objective and then breaking it down into smaller goals in shorter time frames helps with seeing the progress we are making.

One of the most significant obstacles to the beginning of the year goal setting is having clarity about both what we want and what we do not want.  One way of getting to a clear understanding of clarity for ourselves is to take the time to decide both of these things in each area of our life. Having the right balance in all areas of life is essential. Balance helps us, the family and teaches our children to focus on their whole selves and not just “what they want to do when they grow up.”

The four areas of life that if we contribute to on a regular basis bring us the greatest feelings of success and happiness are:

  • Home and family
  • Career and education
  • Hobbies and recreation
  • Community and service

Take a look at each of these and consider; write down what your intentions are for each of them. What do you want for your family and home? Do you want to spend more time with your partner and children? What would you like to do with them? What would you like to contribute more to in your home and home life? What does each of your children need from you? How can you honor the spirit of your home? What about yourself would you like to grow or develop more? Is it your health or some other part of life?

For each area think about what you are doing now and how you would like to take it to the next level. It is the balancing of improvement in each area that creates the greatest feelings of a successful year and life. Having clarity about what you want is the first step. Do not skip any of the areas thinking that you do not have time for them. Balancing your life in each area makes the other areas easier to achieve and brings joyfulness to life. 

Find a list of virtues here. Which ones are most important to your family?

Life Skill: Goal-Setting – The Definition

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Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Goal-Setting. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students:  “I know what I want to do, be or know  and I have a plan to achieve that goal.”

Older students:  Deciding what you want to do, learn or accomplish and making a plan to achieve it!

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

 Get the list of 52 Gifts of Character / Virtues!

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Gifts of Character: Fairness – The Definition

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Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Fairness. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: When everyone has or receives what they deserve and what they need

Older students: Treating others according to what is deserved, needed or appropriate.

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

You are a leader, like it or not – What kind will you be?

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Not every person aspires to be known as a leader or even have the desire to be a leader. No matter if we are five years old or 85 years old it is likely that in some way we are a leader. As John Quincy Adams put it; “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

If you are five years old and you have a younger brother or sister or go to school with students who are younger than you are, you can be sure that your actions and words are being watched and even copied on some level. Some one person is likely looking at you and following your example or dreaming of being like you on some level. So like it or want it or not – you are a leader.

Because all of us fit into that role in our personal or public life the question I like to ask is what or how do I want to be perceived by others. What example do I want to set, how do I want to be known either as a leader by choice or just because others are watching me? Having clarity about the kind of leader you want to be whether, in your family, school, business, or as a mentor or friend will help you to meet all of those occasions on purpose and will give you confidence about being your best self.

The clarity and reminders to yourself of what you aspire too will also create a higher level of happiness in your life. Leadership is not something we may seek, however, given that all of us fill that role in some manner we do want to do so with our best self and with confidence.

Leadership is the opposite of Bossy even with children

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This month we are considering the skill of leadership at Balanced Life Skills for students of all ages because every one of us has the opportunity to lead others at some point in our world. No matter your age if we look at leadership not as a position of power, but rather as an opportunity to help others and to reach a common goal by working together.

For some leadership is about being the boss. Being a boss is simply a position of management of others and while a ‘boss’ may become a leader there are certain things they must learn to do that will help them be a leader.

For instance, a leader must know how to listen to those around them and be willing to consider all suggestions without favoritism for one person over another. Leaders must invest their time both in the work that needs to be done and in the persons around them. Helping the people around them to develop leadership skills is one of the most valuable commitments a leader can make to those who have committed themselves to the good of the group.

This month we will consider how young people can develop these skills and lead in a way that shows them setting a good example and making good choices for any group of which they are a part. Leadership is an honorable skill that brings out the dignity of everyone around them.