Hey friends! Have you ever started something, that at the time, felt like it was exactly the right thing, and it was exciting, motivating, and made you feel super charged? And then something comes up in your life and all of a sudden that thing gets pushed to the side? Okay, I am going to admit that my upcoming class became a temporary victim to this process. I was super pumped and about to get ready… and my in-laws came to visit. Now, this was not bad news. I happen to love my in-laws. They are supportive and loving and when they got here we had a great time. We tried out some local restaurants, saw part of NC we hadn’t visited before, and had an excuse to ride the ferry!
The only problem came about because I have two jobs. I have my day job, where I work at a school doing counseling with elementary school kids and their families, and I have my coaching job, which I am more passionate about, but which doesn’t yet, pay all of my bills. My office for my coaching is in my spare bedroom and the time I spend on my coaching is technically my “free” time. If you are an entrepreneur you may know about this part of the process. I am making more money coaching, but I haven’t gotten to the tipping point yet.
So part of this post is to announce to the world that in the next year and a half, at this time next year, (By January 2017) these two jobs will switch. I may continue to provide mental health counseling to military families, who I also have a passion for, but in a more fitting and more part-time type of way. I am looking into being a provider for Tri-Care and hopefully for Military One Source (a fantastic source if you are attached to the military in any way!).
The other half of this post is to announce that I have moved the dates of the class, but that it is still happening! I wanted to be able to give you my 100% and now that things are back to semi-routine and my office is set back up I am ready to rock and roll with the Jumpstart Your Life Class.
It might not be as full of a class, since the holidays will be rolling around and some people feel that it gets to be too much. However, this means that you will get more of my attention.
Classes start November 30. We will meet 6 times, skipping the Monday right after Christmas.
The dates are:
December 7, 14, 21
January 4, and 11
The classes meet in a Google Hangout and are scheduled for Mondays at 6pm Eastern Standard Time.
If you can’t make that time of the day, send me a message about better times during the week and if I have enough interest I’ll put together a second class at another time.
Message me on facebook, give me a call or shoot me an email to confirm your spot.
This weekend I visited my sister in Charleston, SC. It was an amazing, super fun, last minute trip and I’ll write about that another day. My dogs also had a fabulous time. They love a good road trip and they got so excited to see their Anna, Nick and Jackson. On the way home in the car, they were still pretty excited. I think they wanted to stay awake to be a part of all of the action. My small dog, Gizmo, was really tired, but kept moving around on my lap, and standing up so he wouldn’t go to sleep. He kept shifting and moving and going back and forth between my lap and the back seat. Then, finally, there was a moment when he got on my lap and his whole body relaxed. He gave in. He let go, and fell asleep. And then he snoozed for a few hours. You could see his whole body go from tensed to relaxed in a matter of moments and as he fell deeper asleep his legs and head just splayed out and drooped.
I told my husband how touching it is to be with someone when they finally let go. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of that process. For my dog to feel safe enough in a moving vehicle, to trust that I would keep him safe and he could let us take over. And he could just relax. And as I was thinking about this, I realized that this is something I love about life coaching and therapy as well.
When someone makes a decision to come into your office for the first time, or make that first phone call, generally they have let the stress and frustration and anxiety and anger build up for a long time. American humans have a tendency to hold on to what is bothering them for a really long time. We don’t ask for help. We don’t want anyone to see how weak we are. We want everyone to think that our lives our perfect, that everything is great, that we have got it all together. Sowhen someone has gotten to the point to finally tell me their story, to admit that things have gotten tough, that they could use a little guidance, or a little motivation, or just a little nudge in the right direction, I always get this amazing experience. Someone starts out talking fast, or in spurts, there are high emotions, there is a story about how they got to where they are now. And at some point in the conversation, there is always a release. There is a moment when they pause, take a breath, and let go. That moment in an interaction with others is something I absolutely love. It’s a necessary process, a turning point, when someone can let go of the story they’ve been telling, and start to build a new one.
I have the pleasure of being a catalyst for that process, I am there in the moment, I offer someone the space to relax, but it is not about me. If you are feeling that kind of stress that knots up your whole body, that you feel like you can’t relax, you can’t sleep, you can’t breathe really deeply, then find someone to talk to who will just listen. It can be a friend, your partner, your parent, a sibling. Or maybe it’s a therapist, a life coach, a masseuse, your crossfit coach, a psychic, a doctor. It’s such a healing experience. Find someone who you feel comfortable telling that you are having a hard time. When you can release that story, when you can finally pause, and take that deep breath, it allows room for you to start something new.
Today was a new day. If you read yesterday’s blog you know that I had a temporary meltdown. I think that’s par for the course, that everyone has days like that. I was tired, hungry, and spent the day trying to look busy. So the follow-up of a dead battery and a car that wouldn’t start pushed me over the edge. I’m pretty sure everyone has days like this every once in a while.
Today was a much different kind of day and it’s the reason I can tell that all of the hard work I’ve been doing over the years is working. Rewind back just 7 years and this type of incident might have set off days or weeks of feeling down. For me that usually looks just fine, maybe slightly frazzled or a little tired at work. I would hold it in and put on a happy face for my professional colleagues and then I would drive straight home to crash. I would watch tv, read a book, or just sleep. I would definitely eat like crap and isolate myself.
Today it’s a different story. This morning I knew that I was going to wake up feeling junky. That’s expected after a day like yesterday. Especially since I replayed the incident over and over in my head over night instead of getting a good night’s rest. But, I’ve been here before, and I know what to expect. So this morning my alarm went off and I angrily jumped out of bed to silence it. I got straight into the shower, then turned on all of the lights, turned on some music and made coffee. I took the time to sit in my sunroom to meditate this morning. I listened to the crickets chirp, the jets flying over head and the birds. I took the time to center myself for the day.
When I got to work I wrote down my Core Desired Feelings. If you’ve never heard of Danielle Laporte and her Core Desired Feelings, you’re missing out. The very, very basic of it is to identify not what you want to do, but how you want to feel. I put “supported, connected, joy, freedom.” I took the time to seek out friendly faces, to smile and chat for a moment. And as the morning went on I started to feel very good. This afternoon I texted my friend to go for a walk around the track. We did 2 miles, talked, and then did some random plyometric moves and had a good laugh about it.
When I got home I decided to take this thing all the way, so I made dinner on an actual plate (courtesy of my in-laws) and set the table for myself. I ate looking out the window at my front yard and listened to the crickets chirp again.
This wasn’t easy. It took a lot of work to continue to take actions to make myself feel better and dig myself out of the hole. But it was worth it. Tomorrow I know I’m going to wake up in a better mood and hopefully I can enjoy my weekend instead of curling up in my jammies.
Now that I’ve adulted all day I’m going to search for last night’s Criminal Minds episode, and hit the sack early.
Hello my dear friends! As a member of the Easily Distracted crowd, I have probably mentioned before that I have a tendency to get an idea, start an activity, and then forget about it before I finish. That is why, even though I love crafting, I have to pick projects that can be finished in a few hours, otherwise it might end up incomplete in the Land of Unfinished Toys. When I moved from Hawaii to North Carolina I was forced to finish or give away many eyeless and earless elephants, unstuffed monster pillows, and cut, but not sewn bags. The vault of half-finished ventures includes a list of about 20 blog post drafts, carefully thought out, started and abandoned.
Other than limiting myself to projects that can be complete in one day, it helps if I can find a group of folks that can motivate me. So, in the name of those abandoned posts, my friends and I have begun a 30 day blog challenge. I am hoping that this will light a fire under me to get in the habit of completing posts and publishing them rather than banishing them.
This post counts as Day Number 1.
My goal for this challenge is to create habits. Hopefully along the way you will be entertained and informed. My hope as always is for you to feel empowered, brave, and free.
I’m not sure what’s in store for tomorrow!
P.S. If you’d like to join our facebook group and get motivated to blog with us, comment here or message me on my facebook page.
This may not come as a surprise to some of my readers, but I have a difficult time forming habits. I have a touch of the ADD and with that comes the SQUIRREL easy ability to be distracted. I will explain the three phases of how this works for anyone who might not realize.
Phase 1. New task. I get super excited. I’ve just thought of this amazing thing I’m going to start doing that is going to change my life, organize me, create financial stability, give me six-pack abs, and change the world for the better. I’m a creative person so this new task probably involves downloading an app, creating a paper calendar, buying a pen, a journal, a rolling desk with filing drawers and of course, research! I will look up everything possible about how to crochet a doggy sweater. I will learn all of the intricate stitches, print out patterns, and order new ergonomic crochet hooks online so I don’t get carpal tunnel from all the doggy sweaters I’ll be making.
Phase 2. A couple of days in. I am still pretty excited. Look at me, I’m a blogger/chef/plumber/doctor/artist. Because this is the part of the project I’m good at (learning) I actually can pick up on some skills fast. A few days in and I am pretty decent at speaking in sign-language.
Notice there was no third phase. A week after phase 1, I’ve either started a Project Runway marathon and don’t have time to paint every day, or I’ve gotten bored already. Hey! Doing 100 pull-ups a day isn’t as exciting as I thought it would be!
So what is a person to do? Well, luckily some habits are so important to me that I do them daily even though they are boring. Brushing my teeth and showering for example, are boring, but I just don’t like to smell, so I do them. Not everything comes with such an obvious adverse side effect however. This is why eating healthy is such a hard habit to form. The adverse effect of weight gain is so slow and the taste and feeling from the food is sometimes more motivating.
Here are a few ways to build habits that you’ve been working on for a long time:
Get clear on your why. I’ve said this before, but it’s really, really important. Want to quit drinking? Why? Want to eat healthy? Why? Want to file all of your bank receipts alphabetically? Why? Figure out how you will feel when you have built this habit. When you have a strong Why, you can fall back on this when you are tempted to break your habit.
Form a support group. Seriously, don’t do this alone. You will come up with excuses. And because you are the only one you have to convince, you will accept them. If you have a support group, when you tell them that you had to drink a bottle of wine last night it was the anniversary of your mother’s dog’s annual vet appointment, they will be on to you. Hopefully they will speak up and it will help you get back on track.
Decide on a daily minimum or maximum. Want to meditate every day? 20 minutes at a time would be great, but what if you did just 2 minutes? That should count and is easier than getting in all 20. Giving yourself an easy task to check off helps you build the daily habit and often will lead into the full habit. If you sit for 2 minutes, you may just stay and complete your 20 minutes. And that’s a bonus!
Set aside rewards. This one is tough, but will be easier if you have the support group we discussed. It’s easy for me to say that I will reward myself with a bath or going to get my hair trimmed, but what if I don’t follow through with my habits? I might still want a bath or a hair trim. And guess what, I have no one to answer to. Get a support group (or just one person). Build in rewards that do not have to do with food. Some great suggestions are: Make yourself a hot cup of tea, watch your favorite tv show, spend some extra time snuggling with your dogs in the morning, give yourself a scalp massage in the shower.
Instead of beating yourself up when you skip a day, use it as a learning experience. Analyze it like it’s a new species you’ve discovered. What happened? Were there any patterns that you noticed? Did you simply forget or did you not want to do it? When you can figure out what went wrong you can figure out some solutions. Did you just forget? Set a reminder on your phone. Did your reminder go off at a time that you didn’t feel like blogging? Come up with a better time for the reminder. Do you hate the sound of your alarm? Come up with a better notification sound. Do you hate blogging? WHY are you trying to form this habit?
Brag about it. Don’t be afraid to blast your success. Facebook it, Tweet it, Blog about it, hell you are finally a blogger, tell the world about it! Because it’s out there in the world, you are more likely to feel held accountable for the behavior. Random people will ask you how it’s going. Be honest with them. If you forgot, that’s okay, it can be hard, but you’re working on it. If you’re jamming, be honest! I’m a freaking superstar!
This is only a short list of some helpful ways to be more succesful in setting up habits. Here are also some resources I have found to be useful for me (but don’t spend all day researching these, you’ll get stuck in phase 1).
HabitRPG– this one’s on top because it’s my favorite. Set a habit, a daily or a to-do, set up your rewards. Earn gold and diamonds and level up your character. Join challenges with fellow players and lose Health Points for habits not checked off.
Trello– a simple to do application that allows you to drag and drop to do lists onto cards, archive them and hide away some that you’re not working on right now. It has a desktop and a smartphone component.
Google Keep– To do lists with Google style. I don’t use this one, but I’ve heard lots of good things about it.
Google Calendar– I have used this for years along with gmail and google drive. I work better when I have everything with me everywhere I go. And google calendar has been very consistent for me since at least 2006.
What about you? What habits are you working on? Do you have any favorite tools that should be added to the list?
December is my second favorite month of the year. July wins out because that is my birthday month, so it is full of celebration. But December is close on its heels. I love December for many reasons: there’s the holiday celebrations, the holiday food, the holiday music, and the gracious attitude that people seem to adopt as they count the days to Christmas. But my favorite part of the month is its representation of the end of the year. Over the last few years it has become a time for me to reflect on the past year and think about the next. It gives me a chance to look at all of the challenges that I went through and to congratulate myself for the successes. And it is a time for me to prepare for my New Year’s Goals.
How many New Year’s Goals have you successfully made and kept throughout the year? For the majority of the population most goals are dropped by February and completely forgotten about by March. Health clubs go through a ginormous spike in memberships during December and January. And more than half of those people stop showing up a few months later. Why is this? People are usually VERY motivated at first. They get the membership. They buy the outfits. They research the diets. They get the nicotine patch. They bite the bullet and look at their finances. They stop buying things they don’t need. They buy the Spanish Rosetta Stone. They spend more time with family and friends. But soon enough the motivation goes out the door.
I believe that we do not spend the time we should on figuring out WHY we want to reach the goals we choose. We pick lofty goals that sound great, but when our desired outcome is superficial, or we’re trying to please someone else, we tend to lose motivation. Want to lose weight? Why? Want to get out of debt? Why? Want to stop smoking? Why?
If you can’t answer the question, you are likely to be one of the millions of people who drop their New Year’s Goals. And if you answered that you just want to stop smoking because other people tell you it’s a good idea, your chances of following through are pretty slim. But if you desire to stop smoking because you have a new baby in the house and you want to feel energetic enough to play with her, or you want to protect him by keeping second hand smoke away, now those are more likely to push you through the year.
So what if you can’t answer the why or you’ve just figured out you have no motivation past pleasing your spouse? Journaling is my first recommendation for most problems. The process of writing helps you get clear on what you perceive the problem to be, and helps slow down your thinking when it comes to solutions. You can also go back and look at your writing if you lose motivation or need to remember something you’ve forgotten. For those who don’t like writing, drawing a picture, cutting out pictures, or recording voice memos can be helpful as well. Here’s some journal exercises that I have done over the years to get really focused on my goals and helped me follow through.
Write down what you think your goals should be. Then ask yourself the question, “Why?” and write the answer. Continue to ask yourself a few times until you feel like you’ve really gotten to the answer. An example- “I want to stop drinking.” Why? “Because I have gained weight and been less motivated to do work.” Why? “Because I feel unhealthy.” Why? “My wife is unhappy with me.” Why? “Because I feel unhealthy and I’m not taking care of myself.” Why? “I want to feel healthy and take care of myself.” Why? “Because I want to be healthy enough to take care of myself and take care of my wife.”- Now there’s motivation to stop drinking.
Write down previous goals that you have made in the past. Free write about any challenges or successes you had while meeting those goals.
Write out your fantasy life. Write how everything would be different if you met your goal. All of the things you would be able to do, places you’d be able to go, or things you’d be able to have. Get precise and specific.
Now that you’ve gone a little deeper with your goals, it’s time to evaluate if they need to be rewritten. Continuing with the example above, wanting to stop smoking because of the new baby in the house, maybe you realize that it’s not just about cigarettes. You want to feel energetic enough to play with your baby and keep both of you healthy. Quitting smoking might only be a part of this goal. Writing your goal in a more positive frame will help keep you on the right track, even when things get hard. Your new goal might be “By February I will be able to have the energy to spend at least 8 hours with the baby.” Framing your goal in this way might help you make decisions not just about smoking, but about exercise and healthy eating as well. And if you give in and have a cigarette, you have not “failed your goal.” You don’t have to give up. You have the motivation of spending time with your baby to keep trying.
What goals do you have for the New Year? What is the motivation behind it? How will you keep the motivation to make it all the way through to December 2014? Comment below!