Four Benefits of Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 4

“Walk so that your footprints bear only the marks of peaceful joy and complete freedom.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you think that meditation should be done only in the sitting posture? Perhaps it’s because most if not all pictures of meditation display someone sitting cross-legged with eyes closed. Most meditation teachers also emphasize sitting meditation.

You may be surprised to know that meditation can be practiced in other postures as well. In the Satipatthana sutta, the Buddha advises us to be mindful in all four postures: sitting, standing, walking and while lying down.

However, if you meditate while lying down, you may tend to doze off sooner or later. And if you meditate while standing still, you face the risk of falling. It’s not easy or practicable to stand in one place and meditate for too long.

Walking meditation, however, is commonly practiced worldwide. In Thailand, meditators do sitting meditation alternately with walking meditation in retreats. In fact, many Thai monks use mindful walking as their main meditation practice. An elderly Thai monk was so fond of walking meditation that when he was no longer able to walk, he instructed his attendant to wheel him around his walking path!

Four Benefits of walking meditation

1. Counter drowsiness:
If you feel drowsy or sluggish, walking meditation is better than sitting with your eyes closed. Often we see not just students but even meditation teachers dozing off on their cushion, especially in the afternoon after lunch.

2. Combat agitation:
Similarly, if you feel very agitated, you may consider walking meditation instead of sitting. Walking mindfully helps to calm you when you feel restless and helps to dissipate some of the excess energy.

3. Combine meditation and exercise:
If you have too many responsibilities and have limited time for exercise and meditation, choose mindful walking instead of sitting meditation.

4. Counteract a sedentary lifestyle:
Reflect on this: we sit all day—during meals, commuting, all day in the office then at home. At the most, we may break this prolonged period of inactivity if we go to the gym for an hour or for a stroll.

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, has summed up his findings about the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles in two sentences: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.

So, if you sit all day, you are literally sitting your life away. Instead of sitting meditation, doesn’t it make more sense to practice walking meditation? (Yes!)

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Try this right now.
Set a timer for ten minutes and try walking meditation.
While walking, pay attention to the movement of your legs and feet or your incoming and outgoing breath.

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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Mindful Walking: Four More Ways to Do Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 3

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Yesterday, I wrote about four ways to practice walking meditation:

  • Movement of legs and feet
  • Respiration
  • Body sensations
  • Sounds

Today, I’ll discuss four more ways to practice mindfulness during walking meditation:

  1. Sights:
    During mindful walking, we usually keep our eyes downcast to avoid being distracted. However, when we practice mindful seeing, we can look around and notice the sky, trees, birds or any other object and try to be mindful of whatever we are seeing. Similar to mindful listening, we can mindfully pay attention to the objects that we see while walking without judgment or reaction.
    Of course, we can also keep our eyes downcast and be mindful of the ground and other objects. Meditators who practice in this way often report finding money on the ground that others who rush about might not have noticed.
  2. Thoughts:
    During meditation, our mind tends to wander away from the chosen object of meditation: it may wander to events in the past or the future, it may roll in memories and fantasies, either pleasant or unpleasant.
    We soon realize that this is the nature of the mind and as soon as we become aware of this, we bring our attention back to the object of meditation.
    However, when we try to be mindful of thoughts, we pay attention to whatever thoughts are going on in the mind.
    Rarely, when there’s no thought, we understand, “At present, there’s no thought in the mind.” Whenever a thought arises, we understand, “At present, this thought has arisen in the mind.” And so on.
  3. Mental states:
    Sometimes, we may give attention to our present mental state. For example, “At present, the state of the mind is distracted,” or
    “The present mental state is drowsiness,” or
    “At present, the mind is calm.”
    We note our present mental state moment by moment without judging it or reacting to it.
  4. Loving Kindness (mettā):
    In this meditation, we consciously generate good will for ourselves and for all beings.
    For example, we may think,
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to my happiness, my welfare and my liberation from all suffering.
    “May all my thoughts, words and deeds lead to the happiness of others, the welfare of others, and the liberation of others from all suffering.”Similarly, we can practice gratitude:
    “I am grateful to anyone and everyone who had helped me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice forgiveness:
    “I forgive anyone and everyone who may have hurt me in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”We can practice asking for forgiveness:
    “I seek forgiveness from anyone and everyone who I may have hurt in any way, large or small, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly.”

    Finally, we can practice sharing our merits with all beings, especially our parents, family, teachers, and friends, and all beings. This is a good time to share merits with those who have passed away.

So, you can use these eight different ways to practice walking meditation, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
mindful seeing
mindfulness of thoughts
mindfulness of mental states or
loving kindness (mettā).

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

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Mindful Walking: Learn Four Ways to Do Walking Meditation

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 2

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
~Author Unknown

I recently attended a five-day Mindfulness Workshop from 1 to 5 June 2016 conducted by Prof. P. L. Dhar. It was organized by Col. Dr. V. R. R. Datla and Mr. K. Madhu at the Ratnapuri Institute campus in Medak Dist, Telangana.

What I liked best in the workshop were the mindful walking sessions. These were 20-minute sessions of walking meditation that were interspersed with the formal sitting meditation sessions.

One of the special features of walking meditation or mindful walking is that you can use it to develop mindfulness in four different ways:

  1. Movement of legs and feet:
    This is the easiest way to meditate during walking. We pay attention to the movement of the feet and legs during walking. We can be aware of the four components of walking – that is,
    lifting of the left foot,
    the forward movement of the left foot,
    the placing of the left heel on the ground,
    and finally, the placing of the rest of the left foot on the ground.
    This is followed by awareness of similar movements of the right foot and so on.
  1. Respiration:
    Instead of movement of feet and legs, we can choose to be aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. When the breath is coming in, we are aware: “Now the breath is coming in.” When the breath is going out, we are aware, “Now the breath is going out.”If it’s not clear whether the breath is coming in or going out, we can breathe a little deeper so that the awareness of incoming and outgoing breath is absolutely clear. Often the mind may wander and we may lose awareness of the breath. As soon as we realize this, says Prof. Dhar, we should smile and understand, “My mind has wandered,” and bring our attention back to the breath.

The mind is bound to wander again and again. Our  job is to bring it back to respiration as soon as we realize that the mind has wandered without feeling any discouragement or sense of defeat.

  1. Body sensations: Sometimes, we can experience whatever sensations we can feel on the body such as warmth, cold, itching, pain, etc. Alternatively, we may feel the touch of the clothes or touch of the air, anywhere on the body.
  1. Sounds: During mindful listening, the focus of mediation is at the “sense doors” of our ears. We listen to whatever sounds we can hear and are aware of them without judgment or reaction.

So, walking meditation is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness, especially if you find it difficult to practice sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation Action-Step:
Set a timer for ten minutes and try mindful walking. You can focus either on
the movements of your legs and feet,
on your incoming and outgoing breath,
body sensations or
mindful listening.

Join the conversation:
Have you ever practiced walking meditation?
What was your experience?
Let us know in the comments below.

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The Best Way to Learn Anything

30-DAY MINDFUL BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 1

“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
~Arthur Ashe

In a recent article, Eleanore Strong said that writing 750 words daily at 750words.com has been hugely beneficial to her. I checked out this site and found that after the free first-month trial, I’ll have to pay a monthly fee to continue. Bummer! Though I’m sure it will be a worthwhile investment, I thought it would be better to write 750 words on my blog every day.

So I’m kicking off my own version of 750 words today on my own blog.
And I’m calling it The 30-Day Mindful Blogging Challenge.

RULES:

  1. Time daily one hour: I’ll write for 20 minutes, edit for 20 minutes and complete the upload in the final 20 minutes. If necessary, I’ll update or revise these posts later.
  1. Timing: I will complete the daily challenge between 12 noon and 6 pm daily. This time range gives me enough flexibility.
  1. Word count: Not important. The one-hour constraint is the defining factor but I’ll probably write at least 500 words daily. Also, I expect the word count to increase progressively.

BENEFITS:

  1. Develop a daily habit of writing: This is the most important goal. In the words of Og Mandino, “I’ll form good habits and become their slave.” Also, one hour daily is doable. I tend to set overambitious goals and then strike out within the first week. So I won’t take more than one hour to do this challenge every day.
  1. Beat procrastination: This 30-day mindful blogging challenge will help me to overcome my biggest enemy because it is:
    ~Specific: post daily by 6 pm
    ~Measurable: publish blog post daily
    ~With a Deadline: complete by 6 pm daily
    ~With Accountability: (email a friend daily after completing it) and
    ~Fun to do: (most important)
  1. Beat perfectionism: The one-hour deadline means I won’t be paralyzed by the need to be perfect and by the fear of criticism. I consider this as writing practice.
  1. Emphasis on the process, not on the product: Many top bloggers including Jon Morrow and Danny Iny teach that it’s pointless to post on your own blog – it’s like public speaking in an empty hall. I agree. My goal with this challenge is to develop the write-publish process. There is no other expectation.
  1. Overcome my tech phobias: One reason why I have posted so rarely on my blog is my reluctance to upload content on my blog. The more frequently I publish, the easier it will be. In this case, perfect does make perfect.

ACTIONABLE TIP:

If you are stuck in any area of your life, consider giving yourself a 30-day challenge and then a daily specific goal. Make sure the goal is achievable and set up an accountability system.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

Have you ever tried a 30-day challenge to get out of the rut?
Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Free 30-Day Mindfulness Summit

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 5)

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
~Sharon Salzberg

Mindfulness Summit

If you are interested in learning how to practice mindfulness meditation, here’s some great news.

The Mindfulness Summit 2015, a free online event, begins today.

It is a 31-day online summit from the world’s most respected teachers of mindfulness meditation, including Tami Simon, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Arianna Huffington. They will share their tips, stories and some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into you everyday life.

The Mindfulness Summit is being hosted by Melli O’Brien (of mrsmindfulness.com). It’s a not-for-profit online program from 1st October to 31st October 2015. The summit will give you access to a series of high-quality mindfulness trainings, online interviews, practice sessions and tips.

Schedule of the The Mindfulness Summit:

DAY 1  Professor Mark Williams: An Introduction To Mindfulness

DAY 2  Joseph Goldstein: Practical Guidance On Mindful Living & Overcoming Common Obstacles

DAY 3  Dan Harris: From Sceptic to Meditator. Dan Shares How He ‘Tamed The Voice In His Head’ & How You Can Too

DAY 4  Jono Fisher: Mindful Masculinity, Conscious Capitalism and Kindness

DAY 5  Dr. Susan Albers: How to Practice Mindful Eating

DAY 6  Tami Simon: How Does Mindfulness Relate To Spiritual Awakening? An Interview & Meditation

DAY 7  Dr. Rick Hanson: The Neuroscience Of Mindfulness

DAY 8  Elisha Goldstein: How To Integrate Mindfulnes Into Everyday Life

DAY 9  Ruby Wax: How Mindfulness Can Transform Depression, Overcome Performance Anxiety & Create A ‘Sane New World’

DAY 10  Tara Brach: How To End ‘The Trance of Unworthiness’ & Move Through Fear

DAY 11  Shamash Alidina: Practical Tips on Becoming More Mindful (Submit Questions for Day 17 Today)

DAY 12 Sam Harris: Waking Up. A Powerful Talk About Spirituality Without Religion

DAY 13  Jack Kornfield: Integrating ‘Spiritual’ Life With Everyday Life

DAY 14  Vidyamala Burch: Mindfulness For Chronic Pain & Suffering

DAY 15  Professor Paul Gilbert: How To Practice Mindful Compassion

DAY 16  Dr. Dan Siegel & Caroline Welch: The Effects of Technology + Mindfulness Business & Leadership

DAY 17  Question and Answer Day 1

DAY 18  Lori Deschene: Mindfulness With Technology & The Power of Authenticity

DAY 19  Dr. Russ Harris: How To Observe Your Thoughts & Feelings Without Getting Caught Up

DAY 20  Arianna Huffington: How To Thrive In This Information Age

DAY 21  Timothea Goddard: The Insights & Realisations That Develop Through Mindfulness

DAY 22  Mirabai Bush: Mindfulness In Business (Submit Questions for Day 30 Today)

DAY 23  Dr. Kristen Race: Mindful Parenting

DAY 24  Dan Goleman: Why Focus Is The Hidden Driver Of Excellence

DAY 25  Katherine WeareTeaching Mindfulness To Children

DAY 26  Michael Chaskalson: Mindfulness For Peak Performance

DAY 27  Richard Burnett: Mindfulness In Schools

DAY 28  Mindfulness Apps, Tools & Tech Day

DAY 29  Dr. Judson Brewer: Mindfulness For Addiction

DAY 30  Question & Answer Day 2

DAY 31  Jon Kabat-Zinn: LIVESTREAM October 31st 5:00 PM EDT/ 2:00 PM PDT/ 8:00 AM 1st November AEDT

Lifetime Access to The Mindfulness Summit 2015

Access to each day’s session is free for the first 24 hours.

However, if you want a Full Summit Access Pass, you can make a discounted donation of $79 ($99 after 15th October  and $149 after 31st Oct). This includes permanent access to:

  • All 31 days of video content to download or stream as much as you like
  • All 31 days of full audio versions to download or stream as much as you like
  • Full PDF transcripts of all the video content
  • Exclusive access to the full meditation album to download or stream from all the meditation sessions
  • 5 Free bonus gifts supplied by our speakers

All net proceeds go to mindfulness-based charities.

Actionable Tip:

To join The Mindfulness Summit, register your place at TheMindfulnessSummit.com

If you join the Summit, let us know in the comments below.

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Meditation and the Monkey Mind

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 4)

“The ego is like a clever monkey, which can co-opt anything, even the most spiritual practices, so as to expand itself.”
~Jean-Yves Leloup

Meditation to overcome monkey mind

How do I meditate, you ask?

I sit in a comfortable upright posture, close my eyes and focus all my attention on my breath coming in and going out.

I do this for a few minutes and sometimes for longer periods.

This sounds easy to do but it’s not.

Because when I meditate, I come face to face with the monkey-mind.

And the monkey-mind likes to chatter. A lot. All the time.

Before I know it, I’m caught in its chatter.

Sometimes it’s about the things I did or didn’t do or the things I should do or shouldn’t do.

Sometimes it’s about things I said or saw or thought or heard or ate or should have.

After a while, I realize this and turn my attention back to the breath.

This is the beginner’s mind.

It helps me to start again and again and to persist in the face of failure.

Sometimes I start to write an article or explore an enticing idea or relive a pleasant memory.

Sometimes I fall asleep.

At such times, it’s more difficult to switch off the monkey and bring back mindfulness.

Meditation is my favorite activity. It’s what I want to excel in more than anything else.

And yet, I confess that I’m still a novice at it, even after years of practice.

When I say I’m a novice, I mean that the monkey-mind still wins more often than not when pitted against the lion of my mindfulness.

More often than I care to admit, even to myself.

It breaks my heart but I accept this truth.

Because in meditation as with writing, the process is more important than the product.

Disinterested action is the key.

As my meditation teacher says, “Do the work and don’t bother about the results because no step on the path is wasted.”

And rarely, I am rewarded with the still mind.

It’s the time when my mind is a silent witness.

It’s the time when the monkey stops chattering and goes somewhere else.

(This is rare, at least for me.)

Sometimes the monkey is back even before I realize it was gone, as if it’s a bloody boomerang.

And so I persist. I sit and I observe my breath and my mind.

It’s better than sitting around doing nothing. (:-)

Actionable tip:

Have you ever tried to witness the monkey in your mind and its incessant chatter?

Try it right now – close your eyes and watch the flow of thoughts for a while.

Did you do it?

What happened?

Share with us in the comments below.

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8 Reasons Why Meditate You Don’t

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 3)

“To earn the trust of your meditation, you have to visit it every day. It’s like having a puppy.”
Chelsea Richer

mindfulness meditation myths

Have you heard meditation? Probably you’ve also heard about the many benefits of meditation practice. However, you haven’t tried it out yet, right?

You are not alone.

Most people have misconceptions about meditation that prevent them from trying it out. The most common misconceptions about meditation are:

1. Meditation is linked to a particular religion
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness is independent of religious beliefs or practices. Mindfulness is a secular solution to the universal problem of human suffering. The practice of mindfulness will make you a happier and better human being, irrespective of your religion.

2. Meditation takes up a lot of time every day
One of the most enduring myths about mindfulness is that you have to sit for at least one hour if you want to benefit from it.
False!
Regular mindfulness practice is more important than the duration of practice. You will gain many benefits even if you meditate for a few minutes every day. Indeed, you may be able to focus your attention better in a ten-minute sitting than in an hour-long sitting.

3. Meditation means going into a trance
Meditation does not mean achieving a blank mind. On the contrary, meditation helps you to increase your awareness in your daily life.

4. Meditation helps to develop extraordinary psychic powers
The main purpose of meditation is to strengthen and purify the mind. Though meditation is linked to the development of psychic powers in some individuals such as levitation or the ability to read the minds of others, such powers should not be given any importance. The Buddha forbade his disciples from demonstrating psychic powers to prevent the spread of this myth.

5. Meditation is meant only for saints and hermits
This attitude is common in India where people worship holy men and consider them to be extraordinarily pious. However, meditation is not a transcendental practice strictly for recluses and hermits; it is a practical skill that you can apply at home and at work.

6. Meditation is a form of escapism
Meditation does not mean you are running away from reality. Instead, it gives you the mental strength and clarity to successfully handle the challenges in your life.
For example, this is what Jerry Seinfeld has to say about his meditation practice: “With ‘Seinfeld’ I was doing a TV series in which I was the star of the show, the executive producer of the show, the head writer, in charge of casting and editing, for 24 episodes on network television, not cable — for nine years! And I’m just a normal guy. And that was not a normal situation to be in… So I meditated every day. And that’s how I survived the nine years.”

7. Meditation is selfish and self-indulgent
The purpose of meditation is to develop positive mental qualities like compassion, courage and equanimity and to get rid of negative mental qualities like anger, greed and fear. Meditation helps us to become genuinely selfless so that we can act in the highest interests of ourselves and others.

8. Mindfulness requires special preparation or skills
You can start mindfulness meditation right now, right here.
You don’t have to study philosophy or wait for perfect conditions before you start. You don’t need to join a meditation course at a meditation center or take instruction from a meditation teacher, unless you want to. You can start right here, right now.

Actionable Tip:

Take a minute to reflect on which of these eight reasons have stopped you from trying out meditation.

Share with us in the comments below.

 

 

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How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation Right Now

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 2)

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our happiness.”
~Victor Frankl

mindfulness meditation

There is no longer any doubt about the benefits of meditation. Scores of research papers have documented the positive effects of meditation on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

However, among all diverse types of meditation practices, the most popular worldwide is mindfulness meditation.

 What is mindfulness meditation?

Oxford Dictionaries Online defines mindfulness as a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it more simply: “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

So, being mindful means to be attentive to whatever is happening within you and around you.

How to practice mindfulness meditation

Imagine you’re sitting alone on the bank of a river, watching the river water flow past. All your attention is on the swiftly-flowing water without undue effort – your body and mind is relaxed and yet aware.

Sometimes, the flow of the water is fast; sometimes, it is sluggish. Sometimes, the river flow silently; sometimes, it rushes past noisily. And sometimes, it seems that the river isn’t flowing at all. And you witness all these different states of flow calmly, silently, effortlessly.

Similarly, during mindfulness meditation practice, we direct our attention to the flow of our incoming and outgoing breath.

Sometimes, the breath may be short or long or it may be rough or subtle or sometimes we cannot feel the breath at all. Our only work is to be a witness and to observe the breath as it passes in and out through our nostrils.

  • When we breathe in, we are aware: “This is incoming breath.”
  • When we breathe out, we are aware: “This is outgoing breath.”

This practice may seem simple and straightforward but, as you will discover, it’s the most difficult skill to develop. And the only way to understand mindfulness is to practice it yourself.

Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself right now.

Actionable tip

Set your timer or smartphone alarm to ring after two minutes.

Sit upright, close your eyes and breathe deeply five times.

Now allow your breath to become normal and witness your incoming and outgoing breath.

Continue until the alarm goes off.

Do this right now.

Done?

Congratulations, you have just practiced mindfulness meditation.

Did you observe your breath for two minutes?

If yes, what was your experience?

If no, why didn’t you try it?

Share with us in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Way to Become a Better Writer

The Way to Become a Better Writer

30 Day Blogging Challenge (Day 1)

“If you get in the habit of putting something in front of people every single day, even if it’s only ten people by email, your writing will shift and you will adopt the voice you’re meant to have.” ~Seth Godin

30 Day Blogging Challenge Prologue

Last week, I asked one of my close friends for feedback on my writing.  He said, “I visited your blog and found that you have published only six posts. And the last post is quite old. Why aren’t you posting more regularly on your blog?”

Why indeed? The answer is procrastination and perfectionism. In the words of writing coach Holly Lisle, “Safe never starts, perfect never ends.”

Today, I read a post by Steven Pressfield in which he asked, “What single skill is most critical to the artist?” The answer he says is not insight, passion, capacity for hard work or even the ability to handle criticism.

Instead, he says that the single most critical skill for the artist is the ability to sit down and do her work.

I ruminated on this all day yesterday and recalled ace writer Sean D’Souza‘s advice in an interview. He said that it took him ages to write a single article until he started to write an article every day. The more he wrote, the better he became and now he’s an ace at writing articles. He even teaches an article-writing course.

Long story short, I decided to write and post an article every day on my blog for the next 30 days.

The Rules for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge:

  1. Each post must be at least 300 words, ideally 500 words.
  2. It must be useful for anyone who cares to read it and have at least one actionable tip.
  3. It must require minimum research.
  4. It must be posted by 8 pm daily or before dinner, whichever is earlier. (No article, no dinner.)

I’ve resolved not miss a single day for the next 30 days. In case I miss one day, I’ll write two articles the next day.

Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge

I Googled 30 Day Blogging Challenge and luckily came across Sarah Arrow’s site, where she offers support for the Blogging Challenge with daily emails and a Facebook group.I’ve promptly joined her email list and the Facebook group. It exponentially increases my chances of completing my challenge successfully.

Actionable Tip:

What is your biggest challenge? What are you struggling with?

It may be wanting to write or exercise daily or even to wake up earlier or to watch less TV.

The best way to do it successfully is to create a 30 Day Challenge.

  • Create a plan and make it public.
  • Then do it every day for 30 days.

You will be surprised at the results.

What 30 Day Challenge will you take up? Share with us in the comments below.

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Dear Twitter, Will You Be My Blog’s Valentine?

 

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to your blog

“If my Valentine you won’t be,
I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”
~Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems

After publishing yet another post on my blog, I decided to take a well-deserved break. I grabbed Slyvester and started to tickle his tummy.

Suddenly he stopped purring, his eyes widened with fear, and he shrieked, “I think I see a Tweety bird!”

I turned around saw a bird, as blue as the cloudless summer sky, grinning at us.

“Hello, I’m Tweety bird.”

Seeing my look of dumb incomprehension, it explained, “From Twitter.com.”

Slyvester cowered behind me and asked tremulously, “And to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?”

The bird looked unblinkingly at us and then squeaked, “I’ve come to ask you three questions. You need not ponder before you answer the first two because you’ll neither be rewarded if you are right nor punished if you are wrong.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Those are my favorite kind of questions.

Fire away, sweet Tweety.”

First Question

“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

I’d heard this one before, so I didn’t waste any time in my reply, “I dunno.”

Tweety smirked and said, “Your blog without Twitter.”

Wise guy. I counted ten slow breaths to calm myself down.

Second Question

The insufferable bird continued, “If you say something on your blog and no one reads it, will it make a sound?”

“Pass.” I said coldly.

I found it hard to tolerate this bird’s snarky comments about my blog. Slyvester, my knavish cat, was making loud choking noises, as if he had a fishbone stuck in his throat.

Tweety said gently, “Please don’t resent the first two questions. They are like a bitter medicinal potion. But the third question is like nectar – not only is it sweet but it will also heal the illness afflicting your blog.”

“Then ask your third question and leave us in peace.” I was mollified though not fully.

Third Question

Tweety cocked its head to the right and asked coyly, “Will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

I shook my head sorrowfully, “I’m awfully sorry but I just don’t have the time to tweet or twitter.”

Tweety was unfazed, “Can you spare about five minutes today?”

“Well, yes,” I said grudgingly, and Slyvester stopped caterwauling.

“That’s all you need to start! And surely, you must have heard that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. All you need to do is register here to gain entry to Ali Baba’s cave of treasures. It’s free, today and forever.”

“Yes, that’s all very well but then what?”

“Well, it’s completely up to you. If you wish, you can log in and tweet, favorite, or retweet for a few minutes a day. Or once a week. From my side, there are no strings, no expectations, and no attachments.”

“Hmm. One last question. What’s the benefit if I use Twitter for just a few minutes a day?

Tweety rubbed its tiny wings together, produced a golden lamp and handed over to me. “Rub this magic lamp and it will help you to find the solution to every problem.”

I grabbed the lamp with both hands.

Tweety flapped its wings impatiently and asked, “For the last time, will you let me be your blog’s Valentine?”

“Heck, yes,” I said, with a new-found confidence.

Tweety disappeared with a beatific smile and Slyvester started purring again.

When I rubbed the lamp, it instantly turned into a signboard called… Free Resources

The Ultimate Twitter Guide to Crush Your Competition
How You Can Use Twitter to Land More Freelance Gigs
Use This Twitter Technique to Make Big Things Happen
How to Boost Your Blog Traffic With a Twitter Contest
Twitter Marketing with Stephanie Montreuil (podcast)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

(Do you use Twitter? How does it help you to promote your writing? Let us know in the comments below.)

 

[Originally published at How to Tell a Great Story]

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