Nothing is Hard or Easy; Thinking Makes it So

Happiness is a habit and when we practice being happy and content regardless of our circumstances, it just gets easier and easier to stay that way. Last weekend I had my first Happiness is a Habit Retreat and got to play with 20 women from all over the U.S. who came to Woodland, Wash., to play with me (and Nelly).

I'd like to share with you one of my "tricks" for starting my day off on a happy note. I promise if you will do this for one week you will want to keep it in your daily routine.

As soon as you wake up, ask yourself these questions (it will only take a minute or two).

1.What am I the most happy about right now?
2.What am I the most excited about right now?
3.Who will I see today that will make me laugh? (It doesn't have to be in person, it could be someone on television, or in a book or in your memory.)
4.What will I do today to make a positive change in my home?
5.What will I see today that I have never seen before?

It is amazing that asking these questions changes your perspective for the entire day. This morning when I woke up, I asked the first question, "What am I the most happy about right now?" Nelly, my inner child, popped up with . . . get this – "We get to play Fat Farm!'

So, yesterday I had a meeting with her about what this next week was going to be like as far as eating goes. Once every six weeks, I have what I call "Fat Farm Week" in which Nelly and I play as if we are at a very exclusive diet clinic for rich and famous people. It costs $10,000 for the week because of the location, staff and food served. The attendees eat 1,200 calories a day and must write down every morsel eaten. They must walk five miles each day and drink eight glasses of water, which they must also write down. I love to use Nelly's imagination to get her to go along with my plans. I make the rules, she comes up with the reasons. She thought up the Fat Farm Week.

Saturday night I was at a Halloween party and talked to a woman 10 years younger than me and I told her about my new book, which is being recorded and is about losing weight. I made her laugh at the title, The Mouth Trap: the Butt Stops Here. I commented that I've discovered it isn't harder to lose weight when you get old. That comment made her furious and the dialogue went something like this:

"No! That's not true! When we get to be our age it gets harder and harder to lose weight because our metabolism slows down!"

"How old are you?"


"Well, I'm 67 and in my lifetime I've been on many diets in which I had about 20 pounds to lose, and this time when I decided to go on a diet, I had 35 pounds to lose and it was so easy!"

"Hah! Maybe for you, but for most people it just gets harder and harder."

"No, it doesn't get harder and harder if you decide it isn't going to. We're using the words 'hard' and 'easy' and they are conditional terms. Maybe my metabolism has slowed down, I don't know? I'll admit it took me longer to lose the weight but I purposely decided to lose it in two years not two months."

"Two years?"

"Yeah, two years. What's the big rush?"

She thought about that for a minute and said with a little chuckle, "Well, I guess I never thought about that."

What's the rush? In the next year, if you lost just one pound a week, you'd lose 52 pounds! Just by cutting your calorie intake by 498 calories a day and everything else staying the same, you'd lose 52 pounds. Here are a few 498 calorie combinations so you can see how simple it is to lose if you take your time.

3 homemade chocolate chip cookies 166 x 3= 498 calories

14 almonds 154
1 plain bagel 200
1 oz. cream cheese 100
¼ cup whole milk 37
491 calories

1 drink of Gin, Rum, Vodka, Whisky 90-Proof 1.5 oz 110
1 oz. cheddar cheese 115
1 oz. corn chips 155
10 almonds 110
490 calories

1 ½ cups ice cream 525 calories (oops!)

Just 498 calories less each day will deliver to you a body that weighs 52 pounds less. Now that's something to be really happy about! (Of course if you weigh what you're supposed to weigh, this wouldn't be such a good idea for you!)
Join Pam’s happier outlook on life free at . Listen to The GOOD Book: Get out of Debt at Pam’s New York Times bestselling book, Sidetracked Home Executives: from pigpen to paradise is still available in bookstores after 33 years.  Copyright 2010 Pamela Young. Used by permission in this publication.

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