Unified Caring Association

It is Time to Water the Growing Edge

How we focus our energy on what we want to grow

As our world continues to change quickly and sometimes dramatically, it may be easy to pine over what we have lost, and what we may not get back. It is natural to miss what was once normal. However, it is time that we look to the growing edge. We can focus our energy on what we want to grow: it is time to water the growing edge.

As people continue to seek new ways to live fulfilling lives, they are coming up against challenges.

Challenges like meeting basic needs. These are challenges that UCA has the capacity to help with. Like providing food and needed supplies for children and families. In a pilot project to meet critical needs for children in foster care, UCA provided warm winter clothes, under garments, feminine care supplies, shoes, toiletries and warm accessories.  UCA also provided bicycles to middle school and high school students who would otherwise miss school due to lacking transportation options.

At UCA, we continue to seek the growing edge

We are delighted when we see organizations like One Tree Planted doing their part to restore salmon habitat. This is to grow an increase in the local salmon population to feed a suffering pod of Orca whales! UCA had to step in and do our part to support these endeavors. You can read more about that here.

We also have to water our own growing edge

That is why at UCA, we prioritize self-care for our members and provide articles like this or these. Some members want step-by-step how-to’s of self-care, while others thrive with our updates on inspiration for small acts of self-care that give a big impact. You can’t water from an empty cup, so make sure yours gets refilled regularly!

We hope to help you do your best to water your own growing edge, by staying healthy and active

We also want to know if you have any growing edges that need watering in your community. Reach out to us through access on your Membership Dashboard. We want to hear your ideas as well, and if your Share Your Caring Story about how you watered a growing edge in someone’s life or in your community, we will share it with our members on our website!

Caring Action

2020 Clear Sighted Year

2020 Clear Sighted Year
Jim Rohn quote

Most of us set or reaffirm goals at the beginning of a new year. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have many caring tools and resources for our members. With the symbology of 2020, we want to help bring into focus great ways to help set attainable goals to achieve more caring in your life and the lives of those you love. We are ready to begin a 2020 clear sighted year!

Why Set Goals?

Many of us want to make changes in our lives. How we do that effectively is to set goals. Goals are great triggers for changes in lifestyles and behavior. Goals help guide our focus and overcome procrastination. Life can be overwhelming and that focus is important. When goals are attainable they help sustain momentum and give us ways to measure progress. Ultimately, goal setting helps develop our lives into more fulfilling and caring.

How do you set good goals?

There are so many ways to set ourselves up for success. Overall, they have some elements in common: a mission or vision statement, the steps to achieve the goal are chunked into smaller parts, and focusing on self-reflection to see what you really want and can achieve. There are three main acronyms in different goal setting strategies: SMART, CLEAR, and GROW.

SMART Goals are specific. The clearer and unambiguous the goal statement, the easier it is to keep that goal in mind. These specific goals need to be measurable, that way you can keep track of the goal’s progress. SMART Goals are realistic goals. Taking the time to reflect on what you can actually do to achieve the main goal. Is it realistic and attainable to hike Kilimanjaro in your first month of exercise? Probably not if you have not hiked much in your life. Lastly, SMART Goals need to be time-specific. Build in an end date to achieve your SMART Goal. If you goal is to be able to hike to the top of Kilimanjaro, then pick a realistic date to summit the mountain.

CLEAR Goals are great for those who prefer more innovation. These goals are collaborative, which can help us be more accountable. Also, CLEAR Goals are limited in scope and time. For example, you could want to join a yoga class for 12 weeks. CLEAR Goals build in an emotional investment to help drive us to achieve our goal. Goals need to be broken down into manageable steps, and therefore appreciable. CLEAR Goals are more flexible to allow for unexpected life events, and are therefore refinable. It is ok to readdress your goals if you are suddenly sick, or have an unexpected family event.

GROW Goals allow for a lot of introspective reflection because they as questions to drive the plan. The “G”  in GROW is asking, “What the overall goal is that your want to achieve.” This is like the thesis or vision you want to achieve, “I want to meditate more.” Next, we ask questions that inquire what the reality of achieving that goal is. If we look at our example of meditation, take a look at how often you meditate now. What are our options to achieve this goal? Reflecting on your week to see how you can achieve your goals is important to be able to make smaller achievable steps to be successful. The last letter, “W,” is asking you what will you be willing to do? Are you actually willing to set aside 20 minutes a day to meditate? Or are you willing to set aside 20 minutes every other day?

Three Goals Acronyms

These three examples of goal setting methods are just the surface. There are so many different acronyms and techniques that are out there for setting goals. What is important is to get the ball rolling by getting clear, setting up a plan, and taking action to achieve your goals. With 2020 clear sighted goals at the beginning of the year, we can bring more caring into our lives, filling us with energy, and excitement!

Zig Ziglar quote

Video Inspiration

In our search for 2020 clear sighted goal setting, we came across a great TedTalk by John Doerr. In this he  gives examples of interactions with people who are cracking the secret to success through setting strong, tangible goals. Click Here to watch the full video!

Would you like to read our other blogs on Gut-Brain Connection, Monitoring Health With Biofeedback , and our caring acts? Maybe you would like an added smile to your day on your social media timeline? Find us on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to posting more about what is happening in our caring community and promoting a more positive and kind world!

Self-Care, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Getting Better at What We Care About

getting better care about

Getting-Better-at-What-We-Care-About

There are many things as aspects of our lives that we care about: caring for our family, our performance at work, or even our physical fitness and health. But we can often find ourselves with little desire or in a struggle to improve. There are many ways we can strive to be better at what we care about. One of the best ways to begin a self-care or self-improvement journey is with mind, then follow with action.

Growth Mindset

Growth mindset is an idea where a person can adopt a practice where their most basic abilities can be continually developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talents are just a starting point, continually learning and growing is the ‘maintenance’ so to speak. This perspective often fosters resilience and a love of learning which can lead to success. This means that the brain is always growing, building new neural pathways, more resilient, as well as getting stronger.

A Tale of Two Zones… 

In his TedTalk Eduardo Briceño breaks down how to get better at what we care about. He begins talking about two zones that we must go through to get better at one or more skills. The first phase, the learning zone is the desire for improvement and is where the growth mindset lies. To do this “… we do activities designed for improvement, concentrating on what we haven’t mastered yet, which means we have to expect to make mistakes, knowing that we will learn from them.” (https://www.ted.com/talks/eduardo_briceno_how_to_get_better_at_the_things_you_care_about)This is in contrast to the second zone called the performance zone. The performance zone is where we execute our task, exercise our skills, “…do something as best as we can…[and] concentrate on what we have already mastered and we try to minimize mistakes.” (https://www.ted.com/talks/eduardo_briceno_how_to_get_better_at_the_things_you_care_about) Briceño mentions that often those who are perceived as highly effect and successful deliberately set the intention to alternate between these two zones. The goal for getting better at what we care about is to be clear about what we want in each of these two zones: learning and growth followed by the maximum benefit and success during implementation. Rinse and repeat.

Seems simple, right? The struggle is that many of us don’t improve even if we work really hard. According to Briceño this is because most societies have the mindset that we must stay in the ‘performance zone.” We can see this in many companies where results are the way to be successful, or in classrooms where getting the ‘A’ or ‘100%’ is all that seems to matter. We seem to be missing the learning and experience of failure that makes it possible to get better at what we care about; “…this hinders our growth, and ironically, over the long term, also our performance.” (https://www.ted.com/talks/eduardo_briceno_how_to_get_better_at_the_things_you_care_about) The learning zone consists of what “…Dr. Anders Ericsson calls deliberate practice. This involves breaking down abilities into component skills, being clear about what subskill we’re working to improve, …giving full concentration to a high level of challenge outside our comfort zone, just beyond what we can currently do, using frequent feedback with repetition and adjustments, and ideally engaging the guidance of a skilled coach, because activities designed for improvement are domain-specific, and great teachers and coaches know what those activities are and can also give us expert feedback. It is this type of practice in the learning zone which leads to substantial improvement, not just time on task performing.” (https://www.ted.com/talks/eduardo_briceno_how_to_get_better_at_the_things_you_care_about)

Often we see a trend of our abilities plateauing during our first five years of an activity. This happens when we think and feel we have become ‘good enough’ and stop spending time in the first zone — the learning zone. We move on to the second zone — the performance zone — where we often remain. While in this second zone we are just doing to get things done as best as we can. If we are practicing mindfulness and taking notes (literally or mentally) we can then go back to the first zone and work on learning and strengthening in the areas that did not work out as well as we had hoped during the performance zone.

To set ourselves up for success we need to do four things according to Briceño: 1) adopt a growth mindset, 2) want to improve a specific skill, 3) have an idea or plan on how to improve said skill, and 4) “…we must be in a low-stakes situation, because if mistakes are to be expected, then the consequence of making them must not be catastrophic, or even very significant. “ (https://www.ted.com/talks/eduardo_briceno_how_to_get_better_at_the_things_you_care_about) If we are able to keep the stress and stakes low for a good amount of the time, we can develop an environment that allows for nurturing a growth mindset. A good take-away from the two zones and how they interact to help us get better at what we care about is to think about it like washing your hair: wash-rinse-repeat. (Click here to watch the full TedTalk video.)

Brain Chemistry 

Ok so we have a good idea about growth mindset and how to continue getting better at what we care about. But what is actually happening with the brain? The key is in how our brain has been evolving from the purely animalistic, instinctive and reactionary wiring that focuses mostly on survival even if our nobel goal is to emphasize the positive and intentional things today. How the brain remembers negative experiences is often through the body producing cortisol during a stressful event. (That T-Rex ate Bob, it was scary, and I remember that! I also remember my friend Bob. He was a cool dude.) “The bad feeling of cortisol has its own survival purpose. It alerts you to an obstacle on the path to meeting your needs so you can navigate your way to good feelings. But once you do that, your brain finds the next obstacle. You will feel bad a lot if you follow your survival brain wherever it leads.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/12/21/how-to-train-your-brain-to-go-positive-instead-of-negative/#66ccd9005a58) Fast forward to 2020 and we have a brain that is tuned into looking out for obstacles, and has become very skilled in remembering negative experiences.

It probably takes about three times repeating most positive experiences to make as deep of an impression in the mind as one negative experience. This is based on practices for building self-esteem and self-confidence such as through pep talks like repeating positive sayings to yourself multiple times while looking in the mirror. Doing this will ingrain a pathway and memory in the mind based on positivity, effectively training your brain to look for the positives and not the negatives. A suggestion is to “…spend one minute looking for positives, three times a day for forty five days…Any positives, no matter how small, will build the pathway that seeks and expects positives.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/12/21/how-to-train-your-brain-to-go-positive-instead-of-negative/#66ccd9005a58) This will create a healthy habit, and promote the development of a healthy brain.

…And Heart Happenings

Having healthy and learning minds helps us cultivate strong emotional bonds with others and ourselves. It feels good to be successful in endeavors we care about. Previous blogs we have written talk a lot about how positive feelings are good for our us, such as Caring Through the Gift of Time and Volunteering for Health. We see this when we achieve a goal — we and those who support us often are smiling.  We feel the positivity. When a positive outlook is adopted a higher frequency of success is achieved. This in turn creates a positive circuit the feeds itself, and generates more connections during our learning time. An example of this is the saying ‘you’re on fire!’ when someone is just having successful achievement after successful achievement. The excitement is palpable and the momentum is fast.

From what we have been reading and blogging about, this is the ongoing goal of a growth mindset. Most of the time we are happy when we are learning and growing. And one thing is for certain: change is inevitable. This means that it is important to continue to get better at what we care about.

Enjoy what you have been reading? Unified Caring Association has more blogs with caring UCA topics, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

focus caring lifestyle
Unified Caring Association

A caring focus creates a caring lifestyle.

Focus on caring
UCA helps you focus on caring.

Unified Caring Association’s caring focus creates a caring lifestyle.

What we focus on becomes our reality. Accordingly, if we want a more caring life experience, we must place a greater focus on caring. We have the power to shape our lives for better or for worse. The outcome depends on how we engage our focus. These days, it’s very easy to become affected by negative news and social media. For example, our focus may wander to meaningless endeavors, like the accumulation of “likes” from people we don’t even know. Without a caring focus, we can become distracted from what truly matters. When we focus on something, we give it power, therefore, it is vitally important for us to focus on the good. That is to say, a caring focus creates a caring lifestyle.

The more caring influences we have in our life, the better. To nurture our caring focus we look for sources of caring support and encouragement. That’s where Unified Caring Association (UCA) enters the picture. UCA provides membership benefits and resources with a focus on caring. Above all, UCA cares about increasing the caring in your life. UCA provides daily caring inspiration and caring resources on everything from self-care to taking care of our furry friends. It’s clear to see that the focus on UCA is caring.

If you would like to demonstrate and experience more caring in your lifestyle, join the caring community at UCA today! Learn more about the caring resources and membership benefits enjoyed by Unified Caring Association members in our blog postings, Slow down to improve your perspective and Unified Caring Association Rocks!