Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I challenge you to read this article without tearing up!  A wonderful, amazing story.  It is never too late to make amends and reach out to someone.






Do it today!

http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2012/04/a_teacher_a_student_and_a_39-y.html

Friday, May 4, 2012

Absolutely love this video.  5 minutes long, but worth it.

Stop believing the LIES you've been told - whether those lies were told by your parents, by a cynical doctor - or by YOU. 


Monday, March 12, 2012

Struggling with Weight Loss?

Here is a great article I stumbled across.  The author Jill discusses her "3 P approach to habit change" which stands for "practice, persistence, patience."  I love it! 

She's lost 80 pounds and successfully changed her habits over the course of three years.  Read more about it here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

4 Reasons you should NOT be using Pinterest


Are you using Pinterest regularly?  What is it adding to your life?  My guess would be that it is bringing more bad into your life than good.  Here are 4 reasons why I don’t think you should be using it*.

Before I get into “why not” I’d like to point out one thing that I like a great deal about Pinterest.  It is a very positive environment.  I’ve seen very little complaining and very little negativity.  That is a great thing.  As I’ve written before I believe that the world is an incredibly negative place and I applaud the makers of Pinterest for fighting against that trend by creating a positive community.

  1. It is a fantasy world.  Reading through the different boards, pretty much every active Pinterest user is a master chef, a fashion guru, an inspirational leader, a perfect parent, an arts and crafts expert, a world traveler and a ‘spouse of the year’ candidate.  It is fake.  Pinterest gives the impression that “you are what you love” which in some ways might be true (when considering your children, your spouse, your extended family, your spiritual beliefs, etc), but when we apply “you are what you love” to recipes, material goods and clothes we are traveling down the wrong path.  The clothes you wear and the material goods that you like do not define you.  You define you.  The inside you, your thoughts, your joys and your wounds.  Those don’t generally make it onto Pinterest.

  1. It creates false connections between people.  Reading someone’s board, it feels like you’re getting to know someone.  It feels like “look at all we have in common!  I love those things too!” But that isn’t real.  As I said above, the clothes we like and the food we like do not define us.  I love this Ted video where Dr. Brene Brown discusses how humans connect with one another.  Her research has indicated that we connect when one of us is courageous enough to be vulnerable.  I don’t see very much vulnerability on Pinterest, I see a lot more candy coating. 


  1. It feeds and encourages our materialism.  It fuels the false ideas that our culture has put in our heads that if we only had _____ we would feel fulfilled.  If we could only cook these types of dishes… If we could only travel to these types of places… If only, if only, if only.  It draws us AWAY from focusing on the things in our lives that we are happy about and should be grateful for and it points our focus toward things that we want.  It tells us continually that what we are missing in our lives can be found “out there” in recipes, clothes, inspirational sayings, home d├ęcor, etc.  It sends us down a path that does not lead to fulfillment.

  1. It is time consuming.  I’m sure we’ve all heard of empty calories.  Too many things in our lives amount to empty minutes.  In our modern lives, time is our only truly limited resource.  We don’t know how much we’ve got and there is no way to get more.  Time spent on Pinterest is time that you could be interacting with your family face to face, talking with your friends about real things, working on yourself, learning, DOING SOMETHING!.  Life is short. 
So, in that vein I will now list my 5 favorite “Quotes” from about Pinterest.  I will include only the texts as I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s photo protection.

  1. Pinterest:  Where women go to plan imaginary weddings, dress children that don’t exist and decorate homes we can’t afford.
  1. Thank you Pinterest for making me feel creative even though I’ve just been sitting at the computer for the last 3 hours.
  1. Now that I’ve wasted an hour on Facebook, I’ll just hop on over to Pinterest and make it an evening!
  1. I was going to be productive today, but then I got on Pinterest!
  1. Honey, could you order us a pizza for dinner?  I’m too busy pinning healthy recipes on Pinterest!

* Disclaimer:  This may not apply to YOU.  Generalizations are incredibly dangerous and often stupid.  My apologies if this does not apply to your specific life, but please be aware of the possibility that this does apply to your life even though your initial knee jerk reaction is going to be that it does not apply to your life.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

User Profile: myown

Today I want to talk a bit about one of our inspiring users - myown from Plano, Texas. 

She joined the loopchange community just about 3 weeks ago and has just successfully completed her first 21 day mission (congratulations!).  That first mission, she chose to "let physical hunger guide eating."  She (like most of us probably) tended to eat beyond the point that she was satisfied, either by going back for seconds or thirds just for the sake of eating, or by snacking for no reason.  Basically she wanted to put an end to the "stuffed and bloated" feeling she was often experiencing. 

As she was working on that mission a very neat thing happened.  She began to read the other missions on the site.  She began to connect with the other users and she began to spend a bit of time each day encouraging the other loopchangers in their missions.  She shared her experiences when she had something to share and she gave encouraging words freely.  She joined the community and pretty much overnight, she became a valued, contributing member who shared he fears and struggles and made a very real impact on the lives (and missions) of those around her. 

Since that day three weeks ago, myown has come up with her own way to use the site.  She has started two more missions on the site and is actively working to improve herself by knocking out one bad/unnecessary behavior after another (Exercise 10 minutes a day every day and Three weeks without junk food).  She is taking control of her life and it is incredibly inspiring to witness.  Just imagine what she will accomplish this year if she keeps this pace up!  She'll be an entirely different person in 2013 than she is here at the beginning of 2012.

So there you have it.  Come see what other folks are doing.  Get inspired.  Start doing something yourself.  Yes January is gone, but don't let that dissuade you!  myown is DOING it.  Others are DOING it.  You can do it too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The World is a Negative Place

I just came across this great blog post by author Jamie Anne Richardson.  I think it is wonderfully observant and I love that she is going to try and change her circle of influence by LEADING them to a more positive outlook.  Those are many of the things that I dream loopchange will do; take a small group of people and slowly allow our outlooks on life to become positive, breaking free of the negativity that we seem to be constantly assaulted by.

Her post is called Happiness Pledge and I think it is fantastic.  It actually reminds me quite a bit of an old mission on loopchange by a user named #1 (here).  I know that his being intentional with his outlook on life did have a very real affect on him over the course of his 70+ days. 

Mrs. Richardson's actual "mission" (as far as I know she will not be documenting it at loopchange) is:

"Here is my plan: every day for the next 21 days, I am going to focus on finding the good. And every day (that I am within reach of a computer), I am going to post three good things about the day on my Facebook author page."

Go check out her article.  I think it is a very good one!  If it sounds good to you, document it at loopchange!  Who knows how many people your mission will influence!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Drink 64 Ounces of Water per Day

64 ounces = 1/2 Gallon

I want to continue summarizing some completed loopchange missions and today I will be taking a look at 'Woody' and his mission to drink 64 ounces of water per day, for 21 straight days.  Woody really experienced some interesting benefits from drinking that water and successfully formed a habit that will likely stay with him for the rest of his life. 

Here was his initial mission:
    "Historically, I am a terrible, terrible water drinker. When I was drinking, it would not have been unusual if over the course of a day I drank 2 cups of coffee and had 2 beers and not a single other thing to drink. It would not be unusual for me to have nothing but a couple of swallows of water a day (plus coffee). Even when I've been involved with athletics and sweated a LOT, I still just didn't drink much water.

So beyond that, I've got kind of a constant problem with my sinuses. Could it be that I don't drink enough water to keep my sinuses working properly?"


Interestingly, for the first four days, Woody was feeling somewhat nauseated.  Weird!  (after doing a bit of internet research and having some fellow loopchangers chime in with their experience, it would appear that it is normal to experience some stomach discomfort when significantly increasing your water intake).  Anyway, that cleared up in short order and Woody continued on with his mission.

By Day 9, (of drinking the 64 ounces most days) Woody realized that his sinuses were as clear as they had been in years!  He also felt like his sleep at night was deeper and more restful than it had been in a long time.  Just 9 days in and Woody has become some kind of "Water is a miracle cure-all" guy.  


His final update for this mission was on his day 26 when he wrote:
"I actually have noticed TREMENDOUS differences. Keep in mind; I've gone from ~2 ounces of water per day (or less) getting all of my liquid from coffee, fruit or alcohol (not lately) to 64 ounces of water per day.

- My sinuses haven't ever been this clear. I can breathe GREAT out of both nostrils which is unheard of for me
- When I blow my nose; stuff comes out (which is incredibly strange for me)
- I'm sleeping better, deeper and dreaming more - (no idea if this is related - but the timing seems to indicate it is)

I am 100% going to continue on focusing on drinking the water. Thanks loopchangers, for the kind words along the way!"

Pretty interesting stuff.  Is it really possible that someone could see such massive results in only 9 days?  If anyone out there is currently depriving themselves of water and is interested in giving this a try, please let us know the results!

You can view Woody's mission here: http://www.loopchange.com/MissionDetail-5_97_loopchange-Drink-64-Oz-Water--Day

You can view all the current and past loopchange missions at: www.loopchange.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Habit Swap - Revisited

I mentioned our loopchange Habit Swap plan a few days ago and I included the Fox26 Morning Show interview.  I have another video that goes over the principles of that SWAP plan and I'm including it below just in case any of you prefer 'listening' over 'reading'.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Volunteering!

http://www.loopchange.com/MissionDetail-9_121_loopchange-Volunteer---21-days

We had one of my favorite missions completed a few weeks ago and unfortunately I have just gotten around to blogging about it.  Loopchange user Lt. Dan completed 21 days of volunteering for some cause or another.  It wasn't 21 days in a row, but it was 21 days total (completed in less than two months, so still quite a commitment)!

Dan did not have a history of volunteer work.  In fact, he had already ever volunteered for anything before, but he took the bull by the horns and poured himself into this mission.  He spread his time around a bit, spending an evening or two with a young man in the foster care system who needed a couple of rides around town; spending some time doing clerical work for a local Christian group  and bringing his young children to hand out cookies at Halloween at a local retirement home.

But it turned out that most of his days were spent befriending a lonely World War II veteran at an assisted living facility.  Over the course of his mission, Dan spent a number of hours forming a friendship and building a bond with his new 90 year old friend.  They talked about life and death.  They talked about family and hobbies.  They talked about Jesus and God; repentance and forgiveness. 



I think Dan summed it up well when he said, "I believe it really is true what people say, when you put yourself out there in an effort to help other people, you actually end up helping yourself."

I know that as I was reading through this mission over the course of 21 days, I was struck by how many opportunities there are out there to help.  It could be helping people directly, or it could be helping at an organization where they help people directly.  It could be lending a hand to a neighbor.  It could be a passing word of encouragement to a working person that you cross paths with.  It could be donating blood or money or old clothes or old toys.  Speaking only for myself, I know that I get incredibly wrapped up in ME.  Often times there is not an ounce of room for anyone in my brain who is not ME.  That's just the wrong way to live. 

Dan is on to something here.  Imagine what could be accomplished if even 1/4 of US citizens found ways to volunteer?  We could change the world!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reading the Bible in 90 Days by K5



This post is long overdue as K5 completed this mission several weeks ago.  I'm afraid I'm just now getting around to getting it moved over here though.  To quickly run through the gist of the mission, there is a book called The Bible (kidding), there is a version of The Bible which removes all footnotes, comments and everything else.  Once all of those things are removed, one can work their way through The Bible in 90 days by reading 12 pages per day.  K5 says that it took her 30-45 minutes per day to accomplish her reading.  Beyond that, there is a DVD and you watch one segment per week (~40 minutes).

K5 was able to finish in 88 days and here was her summary - click the play button and then continue reading (the video offers the soundtrack for the mission summary):



WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Today was the day. I finished. I have to say the finale was a little bit anti-climactic since I didn't really understand much of what I read in Revelation.

But, looking back over the past 90 days this has really been an amazing experience. First of all, just the fact that I stuck to the program for 90 days and completed all of the reading is a tremendous accomplishment for me. In my life, most of the time, I've been a quitter. I've been someone who quits projects 25-50% finished. I've been someone who focuses on "can't" instead of "will" and finishing this mission really gives me a boost of confidence in those areas.

I know some of you reading this aren't Christians. I'm not trying to preach at you here. I'm just trying to summarize my experience as briefly as I can.

Now for the reading itself. I've heard a pastor at my church say before: "God made man in His image and ever since; man has been trying to return the favor". I didn't realize how much that phrase applied to me until I'd read the entire Bible. I have to be honest, God is not who I thought He was. There was a LOT in there that surprised me. There was a lot in there that I'd have said (if asked) "nah, that doesn't sound like something the God I worship would do". There was a LOT in there that was hard to swallow. But at the same time, I learned that "my" God was no match for the God of the Bible.

In general, I was struck by his faithfulness, his love for his people, his compassion and the things he requires that we do in order to have a close relationship with him. I began (for the first time) to understand what the phrase "God-fearing" really means. I began to see that my image of God was very inconsistent with what the Bible portrays.

All in all - I feel my eyes were opened. I feel awful that I let my own insecurities (I'll never be able to understand what is being said) prevent me from doing this long ago. But I'm thrilled that I'm here now. To read it in 90 days you really have to blaze through pages. I am really looking forward to some more in depth analysis and study of different books in the bible and I now feel like I'm "ready" for that.

Thanks everyone for your support along the way. It is greatly appreciated and having real world accountability combined with accountability here played a tremendous role in my successful completion.

Thank you, loopchange!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Habit SWAP Plan

It is a big day in loopchange history as we have had our first television coverage on a local news station in Houston, Texas (Fox 26).  Thanks to all who have visited the site for your contributions along the way!

I'll post the link below, but in the mean time here is the Loopchange Habit SWAP Plan that was discussed.

One of the great blessings of being involved at loopchange has been the incredible opportunity to read along with people as they are trying to make genuine changes in their lives.  I've seen people post a single time and never come back and I've seen people who have been at the site for six or more months.  Because I read and follow every mission and every post that is made on the site, it has become clear to me that the missions with staying power have four common elements.  That is where the SWAP comes in.  If you really want to succeed, I recommend that you make sure any mission you are involved in has these elements:

SWAP

Specific - You MUST be specific with your goals.  "I want to read the Bible more" will almost always fail.  "I will read my Bible every day" is on the right track.  "I want to eat healthier" will almost always fail.  "I will cut soft drinks and junk food from my diet" or "I will track my calories and keep them under 1600" will have a much greater chance for success.

Write it down - There is something about writing a mission down that is powerful.  Suddenly our goal seems real.  It is almost like a ceremonial 'ok, I am serious about this'.  Writing down your mission gets it front and center in your brain; which is right where it needs to say for quite a long time.  To change something, you must be intentional.  To be intentional, you must always be aware of what you're trying to do.  

Accountability - It takes a village to raise a child.  It also takes a village to change a habit.  You will need accountability, support and encouragement to get where you want to go.  Trying to do something all on your own is so hard that it isn't even worth trying.  Why do it the hard way??  Make sure you have these things and your chance of success grows significantly.  Loopchange is perfect for this (this is what the site was made for) but I would always encourage folks to get real world accountability as well.  Tell your family.  Tell your friends.  There is no shame in asking others to help you.  Asking for help does not make you weak; it makes you strong!

Patience - The greatest enemy of change is impatience, I'm convinced of that.  We get discouraged when the results are not coming as quickly as we would like them to.  We want to give up when things aren't as easy as we'd hoped they would be.  Patience is absolutely essential because patience is what will get you through the rough patches and the struggles (and there will definitely be rough patches and struggles). 

Now, on to our feature presentation: