I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb
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I have been a fan of motivational quotes for years and have used a lot of them professionally in my writing and public speaking careers. As it turns out, The Today Show’s Hoda Kotb is another lover of aphorisms. She started posting them on Instagram in 2013 and was amazed by the heartfelt comments from her followers. A frequent response was this: “I really needed this today.” And thus, in 2019, she published a book with that as its title.
Looking at the book, we see that Hoda gives a quote for each day of the year and then amplifies it with her thoughts on the topic. Each day has its own page, often with lots of white space. Seeing all those large margins gave me the idea to follow in Hoda’s footsteps. The quotes – or her comments – can easily become writing prompts for readers. We just need to read the daily entry, grab a pen, set a timer for five minutes of writing, and fill those margins with what our hearts have to say!
Let me demonstrate with a few examples.
May 31st Quote: Learn to say NO, without explaining yourself.
Hoda’s comment on it: I’m such a work in progress on this one! Me: “No. But I mean, I can try to… Except I’m slammed, so…I really can’t because…[pause]… let me double-check.”
My take on the topic: Back in 1975, the book, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, was published. It went on to become a bestseller on assertiveness training. Though I read it at the time, I only remember one thing about it: the concept of learning how to be a broken record when we say no. If you have a friend who asks the same question repeatedly until they get the answer they want, this little trick of saying no over and over again is a good hack.
Meanwhile, I’m not exactly promoting the book, just mentioning it because the title itself is helpful. It’s great to know we are not alone in having trouble saying no. An entire award-winning book has been written about it! More validation comes from a recent interview with Jane Fonda. She reminded us that “NO is a complete sentence.” We also get a reminder from novelist, Paulo Coelho, who said, “When you say YES to others, make sure you are not saying NO to yourself.” Clearly, this tiny word is difficult for many to utter.
So, Hoda, I’m a work in progress on this too. Hopefully all these axioms will help.
June 1st Quote: After all the eating I’ve done this winter I’m happy to report my flip-flops still fit.
Hoda’s comment on it: “Slipped right into ’em!
My take on the topic: I have always believed that the ability to become overweight is a design flaw on God’s part. Stomachs should be like gas tanks. It should not be possible to overfill them. But, God goofed up on this one, so here is my best advice on weight: Accept the weight you are now, while vowing to not gain one more pound. Then, make the best of what you’ve got by buying a wardrobe that is flattering to your current shape. I always think of the actress, Beatrice Arthur. As a large woman, this worked well for her.
True confession time: Thanks to aging, shrinking, and the compacting of my torso it brings, my shape is vastly different these days. Thanks to a medicine I take, the scale reads a few pounds heavier as well. Thus, I find myself in need of listening to my own advice, which is sure harder than giving it. Even so, I hope to convince myself to “slip right into” this plan…someday soon.
November 30th Quote: Online shopping: because it’s frowned upon to be in the store with no bra, sweatpants, and a glass of wine.
Hoda’s comment on it: Grab your glass and clickety-clack, friends!
My take on the topic: As the long-running feature in Reader’s Digest will tell you, “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” Thus, I choose this quote for its laugh value. I often search out funny statements to use as story titles. In this manner, I hope readers have taken their medicine from these titles:
- Call Me Butter, I’m on a Roll.
- Adulting: Like Folding a Fitted Sheet, No One Really Knows How to Do It
- If You Don’t Know What Introspection Is, You Need to Take a Long, Hard Look at Yourself.
- Kitchen Closed Due to Illness. I Am Sick of Cooking.
I’m not sure exactly what a future story will be about, but I have its funny title all picked out: I Don’t Snore. I Dream I’m a Motorcycle.
And while I am on the topic of writing – clickety-clack! – I often suggest journal-writing to others as a means of getting in touch with their inner voice. Using aphorisms as writing prompts is a good way to give it a try. It’s like a Rorschach test. You read a few words and see what they evoke in you. Hoda and I encourage everyone to give it a try!
If you like my writing, did you know I have four books in print? They are all available on my Etsy shop. My newest book, Love, Loss, and Moving On, is also available on Amazon. Please have a look and tell a friend!