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"I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?"
– David Brooks  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 6 June 2019  

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  New Year: clean slate
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller is a nine-year resident of Colorado. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, moved to Falcon in 2007 and are now raising their three teenage daughters in Latigo. They enjoy their home on the prairie with plenty of room for their six adopted dogs, bagpipes & Celtic Festivals and beekeeping. Mark enjoys the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
   New Year: clean slate
   By Mark Stoller
   Hello 2019! With this brand new year, it’s time to assess the “did and didn’t do” from last year, leave the baggage behind, pack lightly for new adventures and take this moment for what it is -– a clean slate.
   I completely bombed last year’s resolution to fit and look better in my clothing. My conclusion is I need help with self-discipline. I gathered advice from “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins, motivational speaker; and Jocko Willink, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and co-author of “Extreme Ownership”— and a huge proponent of “Discipline Equals Freedom.”
   Beyond improving self-discipline, I’ve implemented Mel Robbins’ idea of starting 2019 electronic clutter-free. The goal is to delete, from my phone and laptop, the vast amount of junk that has built up in 2018, i.e., newsletters, memberships and email offers I previously agreed to receive. I have already started to filter and sort my email inbox. It’s strangely rewarding to see only the emails that interest me.
   As Mel Robbins says, “We live in an attention economy. This means your attention is worth a lot of money and is why everyone online is vying for it. Whenever you’re scrolling mindlessly through social media, your Pinterest board or shopping sites, someone’s making money off your attention. And you know what you’re making? Nothing! It’s even worse. You’re making less than nothing — you’re losing something that’s invaluable: your time and attention.”
   Jocko Willink echoes this sentiment. “Rome took years to rise to greatness and just as long to decay. Achieving or failing your goals is the same process. Things don’t fall apart quickly. It takes moments in time — little slips and failures in self-discipline.”
   Willink also says, “As the precious seconds of your life go by, you are either building or losing ground. Every second counts. Excuses are too easy, and they are lies your brain uses to rationalize taking the Easy Road eg: Don’t have time; too old/young; too busy; too tired; just not feeling it. They are all LIES! You do have the time, willpower and discipline to accomplish your goals.
   “Getting better isn’t a hack or trick. Getting better is a campaign — an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly fight. It’s the incredible hard work of self-discipline. When you do, you’ll find freedom.”
   My colleague and friend, Dave, a prior service U.S. Marine, is a great influence and personal example for this consistent pursuit of excellence.
   To combat procrastination, Mel Robbins created her own 5 Second Rule. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it. 5-4-3-2-1-GO! The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts and excuses in your mind. It is the critical moments between you changing your life or allowing your brain to lead you down the Easy Road.
   Both Robbins and Willink advocate the importance of waking up early. Tim Ferris echoes this in his book, “Tools of Titans.” The most successful people, in all walks of life, have one thing in common: an early morning routine of quiet time to set the goals and priorities for the day.
   As we all start with a clean slate, no matter your goals, I offer some wisdom to guide you. My dad, the purveyor of great quotes, sent this one to me: “Your diet is not only what you eat. It is what you choose to watch, listen to, read; the people you hang around … be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually and physically.”
   Have an awesome start to the new year!
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