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Monday, December 31, 2007

Forget making a New Years Resolution – Set a Goal instead

Making a New Years Resolution is an age-old tradition. On December 31, millions of Americans will commit to some sort of resolution for the New Year. However, according to studies, 80% of resolutions are broken by the end of January.

Why the high failure rate for New Years Resolutions?

Impatience and expectations cause most of these failures because most New Years Resolutions require us to change a well-ingrained, specific behavior. We need to create a new habit.

Two telling statistics from behavioral scientist are:

1. New habits require 20 days to form. In those first twenty days, we can expect regression back to the old behavior. No problem – just recommit again. Think about it. Most people give up after the first regression even though they may be days away from making the new behavior a habit.

2. It takes about 9 weeks to start seeing results from any new activity. This fact discourages most people. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you may not see any difference for the first 9 weeks, but in this time, your body converts fat into muscle. Suddenly your metabolism changes and you start to see dramatic changes.

Set a Goal for Long term Success

The best method for keeping a New Years Resolution is to set a goal. I using the Franklin Covey Method of goal setting.

The Franklin Covey Planner is great I take it with me everywhere. First, you write a mission statement, your roles, and goals for the year. Then, you create a monthly Master Plan. Finally, you work off a daily task list and calendar to keep you on track. I found the results are nothing short of amazing.

If you want to join me in planning, Franklin Covey offers a FREE TEMPLATE to print from your computer. You can place it into a three ring binder or paste the goals template into a journal.


Best of luck to everyone in the coming year.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

How to Get Out of a Mental Slump

Anyone who meets me realizes almost instantly that I maintain a high energy, positive outlook but every once in a while, even I feel a little down – business downturns, pressures at home, money issues can all have a profound negative effect on our lives.

Last week, I was in one of the worst mental slumps for a long time. I caught a bad cold, rental check for my facility was due, new enrollments were down for the month, had a long time student call it quits, etc. Whenever this happens, I proactively work to turn my attitude around as quickly as possible.

How do I turn my attitude around?

Step 1: Identify that there is a problem – You can’t fix what you deny. Admit to your self that your attitude is not where it should be that day.

Step 2: Determine your predominate negative thoughts – Are your debts getting you down? Is your job affecting your attitude? Is it your relationships at home?

Step 3: Think about the worst-case scenario – Ask your self the worst thing that could happen. Many issues that we worry about are not as bad as we think.

Step 4: Do everything to stop the worst-case from happening – If I feel that I need more students for a healthy business, I start prospecting and advertising to ensure that I fill the pipeline with more students. Taking action almost always gives me relief to my worries.

Step 5: Listen to Self Improvement Tapes – I grab my IPod and start listening to Anthony Robbins, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, and Stephen Covey. For you Frugalist out there, you can get audio books for FREE by using Limewire and listen to the MP3 on your computer.

Step 6: Read Books on the Problems you want to solve – If you have relationship problems, read Dr. Phil books. If you are worried about retirement, read the Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. If you want to create abundance, read The Secret. If you want to become more effective, read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Step 7: Meditation: I meditate daily. During my meditation, I visualize myself with the qualities and life that I want.

Step 8: Fake it until you make it: In my martial arts classes, I explain to my students that to become a Black Belt you need to start acting like one now. If you want to develop certain qualities, pretend you’re an actor and start acting the part now. Before you know it, you will not be acting anymore.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Teaching Adapted Physical Education for Autistic Children

Adapted Physical Education (APE) addresses the special needs of children with Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders in a classroom. These classes use methods that facilitate learning for Autistic children and use common repetitive behaviors (hand flapping, spinning, and bouncing) by incorporating them into the classroom.

A successful Adapted Physical Education class requires many vital parts.


First, the program needs an initial evaluation that asks targeted questions. These questions should lead to a better understanding of the autistic student’s unique needs.

Some typical questions:

Does your child display any repetitive behavior? – Autistic children may display rocking, hand flapping, spinning, or scripting.

Is your child tactile sensitive? – Some autistic children abhorred being touched and can cause a meltdown.

Does your child experience seizures? Does your child take any Medication? Autistic children are prone to seizures and medication can effect their reactions and emotions.

Visual Rules and Instructions

By nature, autistic children are visual learners. Visual rules and instructions develop clear and concrete expectations. Favor the use of visual instructions and limit verbal instructions to quick statements phrased in short sentences.

Some ideas for implementing visual rules and instructions

1. Post the classroom rules – Create a few classroom rules and clearly display them in the classroom.

2. Assign each student to a place – Assign a place in the room for each student to stand and mark it with a visible spot. Use this spot as the student’s home base for all activities.

3. Create visual class schedules and class formats – Autistic children need consistency. Schedules and class formats helps to provide this consistency and reduce surprises.

4. Use flash cards – Flash cards are great visual tools for Autistic Children to follow. They will relate the activity with the flash card very quickly.

5. Demonstrate proper performance – Demonstrate the proper performance of a technique. You can use a follow the leader style of teaching, which works great for visual learners.

Providing simple visual instructions will aid in a smooth running class.

Additional Tips for an Adapt Physical Education Program

* Use sameness in structure – this means performing things consistently in the same manner. For example, you perform the warm-up with exactly the same exercises and the same number of repetitions in every class.

* Remove extra distractions from the classroom that will overload the student’s senses.

* Create predictable transitions from one activity to another.

* Choose safe activities because autistic children may be insensitive to danger.

* Be conscious of the length of time for each activities since many children, due to limited attention span, will need frequent changes.

* Incorporate repetitive behaviors into a class – in martial arts classes for autistic children, we add the hand flapping in the warm-up, bouncing in guard stance, and spinning kicks.

Physical education programs are terrific outlet for autistic children to vent energy and redirect behaviors into a more positive direction. As our knowledge grows on the subject of teaching autistic children, better teaching methods will continue to develop for autistic children. Adapted physical education fills an important gap in the education of these special children.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Podcast with Christopher Grosso with Pearl S. Buck International

Our Black Belt candidates as part of their test for black belt are required to perform a community service project. Their project is to raise funds for Pearl S. Buck International so that we, as a school, can sponsor a Asian child in need. The great part is that you get to communicate with the child by writing letters. I think the cultural exchange is a super form of education for our students.

I talked to Christopher Grosso on the phone yesterday and recorded it for podcast. Christopher is one of my new living heroes and like Pam Dorr in Alabama, he is the bullhorn for this awesome cause.

Click the recording below to listen in on our conversation.

If you are interested in your school joining the Pearl S. Buck cause, please contact Christopher Grosso by e-mail, call him at 215.249.0100 x161, visit their website at

Click Here to help our Black Belt Candidates and donate to a great cause