Tyson’s Run—Review

Tyson’s Run is about a teen boy who wants to be the son his father always wanted. Tyson is a 15-year-old, played by Major Dodson (The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Left Behind), who wants to be accepted by his father, but his autism stops him from being a star on his father’s champion high school football team.

Tyson realizes that homeschooling won’t help him with algebra because his mother can’t teach him what she doesn’t understand. Together, the two push for Tyson to attend the high school where his father coaches. While some students pick on Tyson, most respect him because of his dad’s reputation.

After school, Tyson notices Aklilu, played by Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner 2049, The Pirates of Somalia, and Captain Phillips), running around the track. He instinctively joins in and soon learns that his body can’t keep up with the marathoner without the needed skills. Aklilu shares some words of wisdom that inspire Tyson to desire to be a champion marathoner and get his father’s attention.

There are many heartfelt moments in this film that Dodson initiates with ease. Some of the actors excel in this production like Amy Smart (Stargirl, Rat Race, and Just Friends) as Tyson’s mom. While others seem to be cutting their teeth for the first time without the proper preparation.

The production length or schedule may have been tight. In a film of this type, the character of Tyson needs to show improvements in running techniques from the start of the film to the end. An autistic child with the hyper-focused determination to run a marathon would certainly gain techniques each week.

The director, Kim Bass (Day of Days, Kill Speed, and Junkyard Dog), knew the importance of demonstrating this development. In fact, we see it demonstrated in Tyson’s Spanish class. His biology class also demonstrates his ability to focus on body parts and their definitions in more depth than any student or teacher.

But we didn’t see Tyson’s flat-footed running and stiff-armed movements benefit from his hyper-focus. His running methods at the end of the film seemed to match the beginning of the film. It’s as if the director never sought a running coach for developmental insights.

Aside from the lack of realism concerning Tyson’s growth, the film invites viewers into a wonderful conversation about the authenticity and heartfelt drive all teenagers face. More importantly, we see the sometimes-misguided views parents hold when they refuse to let their teens grow up.

This is a good film for the entire family to watch together. There are enough challenges and perspectives faced in the story to launch a real conversation with all ages of family members. And for those who prefer entertainment without lessons or politics, this film checks off all the boxes of an underdog story overcoming their shortcomings.

Also, the subplot about Tyson’s dad working through his ignorance demonstrates how a little bit of information provided through kindness can alter the lives of many. This is done with a backdrop that the dad is not a fool, but a highly respected man in the community. The juxtaposition of respect and ignorance helps the audience realize that all differences should be addressed with kindness, not anger.

The film opens this weekend in theaters. You can learn more about the movie on their website. You can also purchase tickets in advance. Director Kim Bass has worked hard to make this film a success for your family to see in theaters, so take time to check it out.

Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers

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4 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits

We use habits every day to get us through the things we face at work and home. Some habits like emptying the dishwasher keep our surroundings clean and healthy. Other habits are designed to reduce the amount of time we spend on essential activities and chores.

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Our life habits help us advance toward our goals, or they are a deterrent. To help us move forward, we need to put new habits in place that help us succeed. Here are four steps to creating healthy habits for life.

1. DESIGN A VISUAL TRIGGER

Our memory kicks in every time we see a reminder. These reminders don’t have to be notes, but can be symbols or items that trigger us to engage a certain habit. For instance, if I want to capture my first thoughts each morning, having a notebook prominently placed on my nightstand with a pen can trigger my new habit.

2. PRE-THINK YOUR RESPONSE

When we face a new habit, we tend to think, “I guess I have to do this stupid thing,” or, “This new habit makes the attainment of my goal much easier.” We know a thought will pop into our head when we see the notebook on the nightstand. It’s our choice to predetermine if we will see it as a good thing or a bad thing. Make sure you know that it’s a good thing before you go to sleep the night before.

3. REHEARSE YOUR REWARD

Remind yourself of your goal and what success will feel like as you position the notebook on your nightstand. Rehearsing the reward that you’ll receive after successfully capturing your morning thoughts solidifies the development of your new habit. Your feelings will make building the habit easier each day.

4. BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is critical to building new habits. If you miss or have to skip a day, get back to it the next day. We all have schedule interruptions that can derail new habits, but managing a consistent pattern will lock in your new goal-producing tool. It takes a single step each day over a long period of time to lock in your goal-achieving habit.

Building a new habit starts today, not tomorrow. Select one habit and focus on it for three months before picking a second habit. Most importantly, make sure you won the habit and you really want to put it in place. No on succeeds at putting someone else’s habit in place.

What type of new habit will help you attain your goals?

Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers

A Journey to Change

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We all talk about living out our journey, but do we know what that means? Or, do we walk a journey that doesn’t have a defined end? Maybe we walk through that journey directionless and without purpose.

Can wandering define a journey?

I don’t think so.

A journey is defined as traveling from one place to another. We can certainly speak about an intangible journey, like a spiritual one. But a real journey must have a starting point and a place to land. A spiritual journey lands with a stronger relationship with God or significant spiritual growth in our life.

Obstacles Along the Way

Everyone on a journey encounters obstacles. Those obstacles can be both internal and external. The external blockades are often systemic of an internal battle within our soul.

I was recently in a person’s living room who had emotional ties to the objects in the room. This tie was an obstacle to the person growing and becoming successful.

The collected items were so numerous that I couldn’t find the couch to sit down on. Across the room where the TV was located, there were three 7’ walls of boxes between me and the buried digital equipment.

Instead of enjoying the comfortable couch and the large screen HGTV, the person sat in an upright dining room chair watching TV on their smartphone. The person was frustrated in their attempts to watch a show but not frustrated enough to get rid of the hoarded items.

The thing stopping this person’s progress is an internal belief system. They believe something about the items that once made them feel good. But today, they are frustrated and overwhelmed because keeping those items no longer serves them.

Unfortunately, no one can suggest that some items should be donated, sold, or trashed without detrimental ramifications. It is less painful for this person to live in a part of their home than letting go of the once-cherished items.

To help you get past your obstacles, whatever they might be, I’ll share the healthy steps I took that ensured my last journey was of value.

Select Your Single Focus

When we go on a journey, it’s essential to determine a single focus, so we aren’t overwhelmed when moving forward. This is especially true since moving forward means change—something few people enjoy.

Select one key point of growth to work on. Two won’t work. Depending on the internal and external obstacles you might face, more than one point of focus can hinder you from creating new healthy habits that support your journey.

Once you’ve selected your point of focus, determine what a 1% daily gain will look like. Yes, we’re only talking about 1%. Why? Because it is so simple to accomplish, you are guaranteed to succeed.

A few years ago, Forbes published an article about the science behind adopting habits. The report stated that there are only two reasons people fail to adopt new habits.

  • They don’t understand how to leverage the structure of habits (Trigger, Action, Reward)
  • They set themselves up for failure by doing too much too soon.

Start Small/Start Simple

The key to developing a habit is to start small. You start by doing one push-up per day instead of saying you want to do 50 push-ups a day. This allows you to become consistent and make the activity a natural part of your life.

After a couple of weeks, you can get it up to two push-ups per day. You will get to 50 push-ups per day. However, if you start with 50 push-ups per day, you’ll fail and not build the habit.

Examine Your Beliefs

Ask yourself questions to understand your beliefs.

  • What do you believe about this area of focus?
  • What do you believe about yourself in this area?
  • Why do you want to grow in this area of life?

Once you understand yourself better, determine the simplest next step you can take to move in the direction of your focus.

Seek Counsel for Knowledge and Accountability

The best counsel will come from someone who knows your heart and the direction of your life. This might include your God, spouse, and mentor. Make sure they help keep you focused on the promise you’ve made to yourself.

This is not a session filled with judgment. The goal is to have someone come alongside you that wants to see you succeed in your goals. This person might be able to inspire or motivate you to push through when things get tough.

You might even consider becoming an accountability partner with a like-minded person with similar goals. They would certainly understand the obstacles you face and empathize with you. But they will also know how important your goal is and encourage you forward despite those difficult moments we all face.

Let Go of Old Beliefs

Be honest with yourself. The old beliefs you hold to are most likely no longer serving your best interests. It’s time to face change and embrace new beliefs that will help you shine.

One day, I offered a neighborhood kid a piece of chocolate. He wouldn’t take it because he had shiny stones in his hand that he thought looked cool. He wasn’t willing to put the stones down to accept the chocolate.

I ate the chocolate as I watched him walk toward his house. He went inside, so I headed home. I heard the neighbor’s door bang open a few seconds later, and I turned around. The mother stepped outside and tossed the stones into the driveway. I saw the kid staring at me from the dining room window with tears in his eyes.

No matter what we’re handed, we can’t receive it until we let go of what does not serve our interests.

Practice New Habits for 60-Days

The key to building habits is consistency. Scientists have found that if you miss one day, your chances of building the habit drop a few percentage points. However, if you miss two days, your chances drop significantly. Missing three days is typically beyond repair.

Make sure your new habit building is super simple with little effort required. After it’s a habit, you can look for daily 1% increases. But do not do more than the trivial when creating the consistent habit; you want to be made permanent.

Let me know in the comments below what simple new habit you’ll start this week.

©2022 by CJ Powers