“Control tower your life” – by Lauren Allen

As I’ve grown older I have realized that I carry far more control over my life than I once thought. There will be and have been lots of situations and experiences that “happened” to me, but how I responded and choose to respond are all 100% within my control. Gretchen Rubin wrote “Better than Before” in 2015, it centers on making and breaking habits in order to live a happier life. Herein lies the real roots of my “brain hacking quest.”

I am highlighting just two quotes from the book that resonated with me and have driven me to actively work on my habits and rework them and create new habits and rid myself of unnecessary habits.

“Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence, and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”

The idea of habits being the architecture of my daily life really struck me…more specifically the fact that I was giving habits control of my life did not sit well with me. Especially since so many of my habits were social media driven, which in turn means that I was giving Apple, Google, and Facebook the ability to control my days. I know that may seem like a reach, but essentially if my habits controlled me to log into social media at more than 4 hours a day-was that not what I was allowing?

 “Habits eliminate the need for self-control. With habits we conserve our self-control.

This I love, I am 500% for efficiency. So, the idea that I can use my brain even more efficiently than it already is, is definitely my thing. To tag onto this, Gretchen also says: “Stress doesn’t necessarily make us likely to indulge in bad habits; when we’re anxious or tired, we fall back on our habits, whether bad or good.” Habits therefore, help with my self-control in all situations.

So, a habit that I have gotten into over the last week is playing solitaire on my phone right before I go to sleep. One way that I was attempting to “hack” my brain was to put limitations on my phone by entering a passcode for when I go over my time allowed. Unfortunately, I…failed to write down the passcode. So, I have no way of accessing certain items on my phone when I need to after a certain point. The only way to resolve this is to wipe my entire phone, which I refuse to do…at this point anyway. So, I’ve found a work-around…by staying up until midnight I can tell my phone to give me access for the whole day, so that way I have no limitations. But that requires me to stay up until midnight in order to trick my phone and I am no longer 17 and capable of functioning well the next day if I stay up that late. And when it’s late and I’m tired and annoyed with the phone situation that is 100% my fault, I fall back onto the habit of playing solitaire. To “wind down,” which is code for stay up long enough to trick my phone into allowing me to snapchat with my sister during the day.

Circling all of this back to the first quote….we repeat 40% of our behavior almost daily and that in turn shapes our lives. I guess it’s time for me to implement some new habits.

“7 Critical Skills That Predict Success” – Inc.com


ever been out of sync?

autumn leaves - lauren OCT 2014Good morning! It’s been awhile since I have posted to my blog and I have missed writing.

Have you ever been “out of sync”? In season where your normal rhythms and routines have been disrupted so that you don’t get done what you want? I have been for the last few weeks – it has been a good, even great, disruption, but it has thrown me out of sync in many ways.

Back in August while visiting family a friend asked me to stop by and talk with him and five weeks later I was in a different state in a new job – talking about a whirlwind! It has been great in that it is an excellent organization filled with top-flight people who are passionate about what they do every day. It is also back in my home state so we get to see family and old friends on a regular basis. All together a great move!

Yet, it was / is disruptive, stressful at times, and has caused me to be out of sync. It has caused me to see even more the value and importance of healthy rhythms in our lives – especially in times of change and stress (yes, there is good stress). For me, I allowed the disruption to interfere with several important rhythms or habits in my life; my time of prayer and reflection on Scripture, proper exercise, reading of good books, writing and interacting with others. I also experienced the negative aspects of ignoring these important rhythms in my life.

What I wished I would have done is to have been more vigilant in maintaining those rhythms or habits in the midst of the transition – no matter how difficult. It would have made the transition even more manageable in terms of stress and not so difficult to “restart” them.

So, learn from my mistake. If you are about to go through some type of transition or time of stress, do not neglect those life giving habits or rhythms that will give you the strength and peace to deal gracefully with the ensuing stress – even good stress.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving week!


what’s stopping you?

Good Monday morning to you!

Most of us have dreams about how we want to make an impact in this life – how we may best create or do something that is going to make a difference. Yet so many of us are stuck in a rut of our own making.

We need to get out of that rut (for some of us, ruts are actually somehow comfortable). How? The first step, is to simply choose to do so. Next, decide what things in your life need changing – start with something simple, and just start changing your daily ways of living to something more healthy. Start changing the story you are telling yourself. But the main thing to do is to simply choose to live differently.

Check out this blog by Seth Godin on “The First Lie . . .”

Change your story (you are telling yourself) – change your life.

What’s stopping you?

Hope you have a blessed week!


Dealing With The Weeds

Good morning! It’s the start of another great week!weeds

It’s spring and one of the signs of spring is the seemingly ever-present dandelion along with all sorts of other weeds in your lawn. Have you noticed how quickly they grow and crowd out the good grass? They even look sort of pretty with their yellow flower – at first. Have you noticed how they continue to grow and flourish even during dry times when your grass turns brown?

Driving down our street Saturday, we noticed some lawns full of dandelions, some lawns with a fair amount, some with just a few, and some with almost no dandelions. What was the difference? The difference is that some people were diligent about weeding their lawns and they were diligent about using a “weed and feed” type application which prevents the weeds coming up and nourishes the good grass. They tend to their lawn on a regular basis.

You see the metaphor right? We all have weeds in our lives that are bad habits, bad attitudes, and just plain wrong thinking. These “weeds” crowd out our good habits, they sour relationships, and they make us less effective at our work. So, just like a good gardener, we need to start systematically pulling those weeds out of our lives while at the same time, putting some “weed and feed” into our lives.

Start identifying the habits and attitudes that are holding you back and start eliminating them – one by one. Start feeding yourself on Scripture and good books. Start spending time with people who don’t have many “weeds” and find out how they keep the weeds out of their lives. Keeping your life “weed free” is an intentional, day-by-day process and a worthwhile process.

Get rid of the dandelions and start living a more fruitful life.

Have a great week!