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The title above is not an endorsement for a towing service or an insurance company. It stands today for “Awareness, Acknowledgment, Action. Appreciation.” It is my simple system of up-leveling life and staying in a positive frame of mind, no matter what is going on around you. This “triple-A+” approach is a quick reminder to me of how to stay centered in the affirmative and to keep growing consciously in life.

Awareness. If you don’t pay attention, you won’t know what’s wrong or right in your life and the world around you. Sometimes we need a “wake up call” or to “hit bottom” before our eyes are opened to reality – the “what is” of life without all our subconscious filters distorting the view. For example, we may become aware of a certain limitation (physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc.) that keeps us from pursuing some particular goal or dream. We can either accept that limitation and halt our plans or we can work on changing the limitation to a strength. Being aware is the first step.

Acknowledgment. This part of the formula requires that we are rigorously honest with ourselves. Frankly, if we can’t be truly honest with ourselves, how can we ever be honest with anyone else? I’ve been working on my knowledge and practices in regard to the way I handle my finances. Through my personal studies, I’ve learned that, for many adult years, I spent any extra cash (and often credit) in the same manner I learned in childhood. Only I can make the change and there’s no one else to blame for the financial position in which I place myself. I am responsible. Going along with my husband on a deal that doesn’t really feel good to me…or trying to convince him to agree with one of my unnecessary remodeling projects…involves taking a hard look at MY part in the process. There are always consequences – positive or negative – cause and effect – for every decision.

Action. Once I’m aware of my pursuit or challenge and acknowledge what part I play in the process, then it’s time to take action. This means I actually DO something about it! I don’t just sit back and complain how unfair life is or blame another because it’s not as easy as it “should be.” Stop “should-ing” on yourself. Making a “To Do” list, remodeling blueprint or financial plan is an action step. Saving 10 cents of every dollar for retire­ment is an action step. Weeding one section of the garden each day is an action step. Do what you can with what you have to work with. Procrastination gets you nowhere.

Appreciation.  Step back and appreciate how far you’ve come…this day, this week, this year or even this decade. My husband and I recently took a quick journey down memory lane and recapped what we’ve accomplished in the past 20 years of our lives. (We’ve been together 17 of them.) It was an amazing realization! If we do that much in the next 20 – holy moly! Actually, we’ll probably do more. Through this review, we came to appreciate each other and our individual selves for the personal growth and accomplishments we have each contributed to our marriage and partnership. The whole is so much greater than the parts, yet the parts are what make the whole!

The “AAA+” approach keeps me on-track toward creating a life I love and can share with others. Use this process, tweak it as you choose. The only way you can lose in the game of Life, is if you don’t play. Never quit! Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. If you’re breathing and thinking, then there’s something you can do. Keep growing.

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