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Can a tape measure spark a life-changing “aha” moment? Just ask Amy Boyle.

How a conversation sparked a life-changing aha moment for Amy Boyle

Photo by Alessandro Paiva

I remember as a kid playing with my dad’s retractable tape measure. I’d pull the tape all the way out, lock it into place, and then with a careful flick of my thumb release the lock and watch as the full length careened back inside the casing in no time flat.

For me a tape measure was a toy. For Amy Boyle, it was the catalyst for a life-changing “aha” moment, one that she would recall years later in a letter to the Edmonton Journal.

Life was nothing but problems stacked upon problems. At seventeen years old, Amy was certain of it.

One day she shared her troubles, all of them, with her dad’s business partner. “Life’s too short to have complaints and problems,” he told Amy and encouraged her to think about the people who hadn’t had the privilege of living long enough to experience life’s challenges.

Amy didn’t buy it. Instead, she asked for proof.

The man pointed to a retractable measuring tape. He told Amy to extend the tape its full length and then to lock it into place. He instructed her to find her age on the ruler and, then, to look down the length to 70″ or 75,” a person’s average life span.

In an emotional flash of clarity Amy got the message. “Ever since then I have never taken anything for granted,” she wrote.


Len Saunders’ Healthy Tip #157 – An “Aha” Moment

Len Saunders prints a healthy tip from Donna Hartney, author of "aha" moment self-help book

Len Saunders recently shared on his blog a tip from me on getting one step closer to a healthy lifestyle. Click here to read the post.


Lindsay Lohan Had an Epiphany! Did She or Didn’t She?

According to news reports, Lindsay Lohan has experienced a life-chaning "aha" moment

Celebrity news was abuzz last week with the story—Lindsay Lohan has had an epiphany! At least according to an interview that Mark Heller, her new attorney, had with E! News. (A google of “Lindsay Lohan epiphany” on Saturday netted 361,000 results.)

Okay, I  know what you’re thinking. We’ve been here before. We’ve watched the revolving door that is Lindsay’s life. An ongoing omg! poll of readers found that (at the time I wrote this) only 4% believed it’s real this time, while the remaining 96% think it’s just “more of the same.”

Her attorney said in the interview, “…being re-arrested and facing going back to jail caused her to have an epiphany. Some times the cumulative effect of everything in your life percolates and you have a realization and a clarity that things have to change.”

I read this looking for clues of a pivotal insight as I thought about my three criteria for an AHA! (At this point all we have to go on is the interview with her lawyer. I didn’t find any first-hand comments by Lindsay.)

  1. A sudden flash of clarity. Epiphany. Realization. Clarity. The lawyer used these words to describe Lindsay’s experience. Did that clarity arrive suddenly in a jolt of understanding? We don’t know.
  2. About the reality of the situation. “…a clarity that things have to change.” Has Lindsay woken up to that realization? Is it her new reality? Again, all we have to go on is one brief comment by her lawyer.
  3. That has a profound and lasting impact on Lindsay. Her lawyer mentioned that she is exploring options—working with girls who are hospitalized and/or speaking to schools.

It’s too early to tell whether Lindsay’s experience was truly a pivotal, life-changing insight. I certainly hope for Lindsay’s sake that this time it’s a real “aha” moment, one that will have a powerfully positive impact on her life.


Do You Want to Get Fit? Test Your Readiness with This Quick Quiz.

Author of "aha" moment self-help book creates quiz to test readiness to get fit and stay fit

Would you like to get fit and stay fit? You’re not alone. Researchers have found that getting in shape is among the top three resolutions.

Test your readiness to achieve your fitness goals with this quick quiz. Click on the filename to download the quiz: Fitness Quiz.pdf


Check Your Readiness to Lose Weight with this New Quiz

Check your readiness to lose weight with the quiz from Donna Hartney, author of "aha" moment self-help book

Would you like to lose weight and keep it off? You’re not alone. Researchers have found that losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution.

Test your readiness to achieve and maintain a healthy weight with this quick quiz. Click on the filename to download the quiz: Weight Loss Quiz.pdf


Test Your Readiness to Stop Smoking with this New Quiz

Test Your Readiness to Stop Smoking with a Complimentary Quiz from Donna Hartney, Author of “Aha” Moment Self-Help Book

 Are you a smoker who would like to quit? You’re not alone. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis found that while 70% of smokers want to quit and more than half of them attempt to stop smoking each year, only six percent are successful.

Test your readiness to kick the habit with this quick quiz. Click on the filename to download the quiz: Stop Smoking Quiz.pdf


Can an AHA! Help You Beat a Cigarette Addiction? You Bet!

As I’ve been working on a press release on the power of AHA!s to break a nicotine addiction, I remember my mom’s struggle to stop smoking. She started smoking as a teenager. Over the next 40 plus years she tried many time to put down her cigarettes but always went back to them. Then at age 60, she decided to quit smoking—cold turkey, and never looked back. Five years later I asked her about her decision. To which she said, “I decided to do it. I did it. It was easy.”

Researchers have found that nicotine is powerfully addictive. How do people suddenly overcome a nicotine addiction in order to stop smoking? An AHA! can make all the difference. Check out this Mutual of Omaha aha moment video in which Christian of sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico, describes why he began to smoke, the moment of clarity that convinced him to stop smoking, and the power impact that AHA! had on his health and well-being.

What triggered Christian’s AHA!? Seeing himself clearly.


Jordin Sparks describes her “AHA!”

I’ve got three great AHA! videos to share with you! Let’s start with Jordin Sparks. Winner of American Idol when she was just seventeen, Jordin describes in this AOL On Health interview how a trip to her doctor sparked an AHA! that transformed her health.


Want to Lose Weight? Prime Yourself for an AHA! to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals (Some additional thoughts)

When it comes to weight loss motivation, an AHA! can give you what you need to acieve your weight loss goals

I was inspired by my last post to write a press release about the role that AHA!s can plan in achieving your weight loss goals. Click here if you’re interested in reading When It Comes to Achieving Weight Loss Goals, a New Year’s Resolution and Good Intentions May Not Be Enough.

Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2013!


Andrew Zimmern shares his life-changing AHA! in Guideposts magazine

Photo by Revati Upadhya

I just love stories life-changing AHA!s. Don’t you? I just read in this month’s issue of Guideposts magazine the powerful story of how an epiphany put Andrew Zimmern’s life back on track after he had struggled for years with a drug addiction.

If you watch the Travel Channel, you’ve probably seen Andrew’s show, Bizarre Foods. He travels the world to introduce his audience to the foods that people in other cultures eat—things they consider delicacies, things we couldn’t imagine eating.

Andrew knew as a boy that that he wanted a career in the food industry. While in high school, he began working in a restaurant, and from there he steadily worked his way up to become an executive chef and then a food service consultant. Along the way Andrew also became addicted to drugs, alcohol, and prescription medication. Eventually he lost everything—his work, his apartment, his friends and family. (more…)