Wednesday, December 26, 2012
5 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
I have to say that I have never really believed in resolutions. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway. I believe in making dedicated efforts to improve my life. I believe in setting intentions that will make lasting changes in my life. However, I don’t ascribe the all or nothing perspective to my intentions that seems to come with New Year’s resolutions. I believe in Realutions.
With the New Year right around the corner many people will be making the same resolution they made last year and the year before that. This will last about two weeks and then out of frustration the resolution will fall to the wayside.
What can you do to make this year different? What can you do to make sure your New Year’s Realutions stick? Here are five ways to help you avoid the pitfalls that have struck you down in the past.
Think It Through: One of the biggest mistakes we make is to jump into a resolution without thinking it through. You may resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or work out but those are just words unless they are supported by action. However, the action must be sensible and this requires a plan. How many days a week will you be working out? Do you have a work out buddy? Exactly how will you give up smoking? Do you have moral support in place to get you through the tough days? Regardless of the goal, develop a matching and supportive plan.
Recruit Help: Everyone’s New Year’s resolutions are different. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. Your friends, family and coworkers are your biggest allies. Additionally, they have most likely made resolutions that you might be able to support. Tap into each other’s experience, their encouragement and their support to stay focused and strong throughout the year and beyond.
Remember Last Year: You can either learn from the past or you can repeat the past. This year chose to learn from last year. What worked for you last year? What did not work so well? Learn from your mistakes so that you can chart a new course that will stand the test of time. If your realution is to lose weight then look into rearranging your schedule to accommodate going to the gym. Research at home work out programs and DVDs for when you can’t make it to the gym. Succeed this year by remember why you didn’t succeed last year.
Take Small Steps: As I mentioned earlier resolutions have a black and white, all or nothing quality. After all, it is the extension of the word resolute. You are either resolving to do something or nothing. And for some reason we have come to believe that whatever we resolve to do it has to be big or else it doesn’t count. The problem with this mentality is twofold: it sets us up for failure at the first sign of challenge and it ignores the small steps that are just as important in accomplishing the big step. If your goal is to start exercising then start with 1-2 days a week and then build up from there.
Dream Big: Although lasting success starts with small and manageable steps, nothing says that you have to think small. New Year’s Realutions are all about making a better world, a better life, a better you, so dream big and go for the gold. Craft a sound strategy to achieve something bug that will make yourself proud. You are not doing this to compete with anyone, nor, are you trying to gain the approval of anyone else. Realutions are for you. Get help when you need it, take it slow and don’t get frustrated in you have to renew your realution in March. That is perfectly fine and normal. After all you have all year to make it happen.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Are You a Candy Cane Kid or a Sour Patch Kid?
December 17, 2012
When you treat others with kindness, courtesy and respect, you will increase their desire to be cooperative and helpful in return. Furthermore, you will be teaching them how to treat you and others. When you search for the best in every person you will discover ways that you can be of mutual benefit to each other.
I believe that these concepts are crucial to this time of year. Nothing screams frustration and short tempers like the days leading up to a holiday. As the stores are crowded and checkout lines grow long, we may not recognize the myriad of opportunities we have to positively impact the people around us in our immediate environment. I’m sure you have all been there. You’re waiting patiently (or trying to) in line to check out of that crazy busy store that has the one thing you need for your Christmas shopping, when all you hear in front of you or behind you is moaning and groaning. It is so easy to be drawn into this negative reaction. However, the next thing you know one customer starts being rude to another or the sales clerk and everyone is in bad mood. After than your whole shopping day ruined and you come home exhausted.
Today I talked to an elderly lady who had just finished her trip through the post office line ride. Make no mistake, when I say elderly I mean really elderly. She had stood with her item on her walker for such a time that she was ready for a nap. She was so thrilled that the clerk helping her was kind enough to find a box, tape it up and address it for her, she just could not stop smiling and talking about it. It was a simple kindness that completely made her day.
Today I also saw a lady throw a fit after standing in line in the grocery store for less than five minutes. All I thought to myself was that she must have a very unhappy life as she took it out on the clerk and everyone else within earshot. However, perhaps all she needed was some help, a lending hand and had nowhere to turn.
As I’m sure you all know, no one can do it all, no one knows it all and we all need each other’s help. There is so much to be gained from the knowledge, experience and unique perspectives that others can bring to your world. Discover the unique talents of everyone you meet and respect each person for what they have to offer. Never take the benefit or value of the other person for granted. So my challenge to you is to bring out the best in everyone you meet today, even if it is a stranger.
Candy Cane Challenge
Search for the best in every person and discover ways you can be of mutual benefit to each other.
Be Respectful ~ How courteous and friendly were you with the last person you contacted?
Be Perceptive ~ How will you treat the next person you come in contact with?
Be Empathetic ~ How frequently do you express a genuine respect for the other people you work with?
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
There are a few simple necessities that I need to start my day off right. I have to have a nice warm shower. I need a nice hot cup of early grey tea with honey a splash of milk and a dash of cinnamon and a piece of toast with butter and peanut butter. That is my morning ritual of self-love and happiness. There are two parts of my day that I completely relish. The morning and the evening are my sanctuary, my chance to set the tone for the day and rewrite the ending. Although there are plenty of things to inspire me throughout the day the beginning and the end allow me to settle into my true self. These are the best moments of the day. These are the moments when I can truly focus on self-care and self-love so I am prepared to support others in my life. These are the moments when, as I am sitting, I can finally focus on my breath and truly releasing tension.
You see, when I am stressed I find that I hold my breath a bit. I start breathing shallow breathes from my chest rather than deep full breaths from my diaphragm. I hold tension in my face, my shoulders and my stomach and pelvic area. The mornings and the evening I practice proper breathing and fully relaxing. You would be amazed at the difference this will make in relieving anxiety and proper body function.
You’re Alive but are You Breathing
Proper breath starts with the belly. As you breath in through the nose, take the breath, nice and slow, all the way into your belly as it expands like a balloon. When you are breathing out watch your belly deflate, as you blow the breath out, as if you are blowing out a candle. Inhale again and repeat. As you practice this notice how stressful thoughts melt away as you are solely focusing on inhaling and the exhaling. Notice how your heart rate is now syncing up with your breath. Your hands and feet are becoming warmer as blood flow increases.
You’re Relaxing but are You Releasing
As you are winding down tonight, or at any point in the day when you are taking some time to yourself (and please do). Take some time to notice where you are holding tension in your body. Focus on your face. Let the tension in your forehead, around your eyes and mouth drop. Let your shoulders drop, that is, move them as far away from your ears as possible. Now put your focus in your gut and pelvic region and let it drop. This one may be a little difficult for some so think about Not holding in your stomach. That’s right; flop that belly out and let it expand.
Flop and Drop Challenge
Today I challenge you to notice where you are holding your tension. Acknowledge that tension and thank it for serving its purpose. Next, I challenge you to try the above techniques. Not only will this help to release the anxiety and stress of the day but also it will bring you back to yourself. As you are busy taking care of others today send some love your own way.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Love and the Holidays
We all know that holidays can bring out the best and the worst us. Although we all love the nostalgia of getting together, the stress can often get the better of us.
There are meals to prepare, parties to plan, time split between families, and gifts to purchase. Let’s not forget all of the cleaning between the nooks and crannies of your home that you haven’t cleaned all year. It’s also a time that involves donating to charities, shelters and helping the homeless, all in an attempt to experience the joy of giving. All of those things are wonderful but can bring stress to relationships, especially if your partner is not experiencing the joy of your giving. I know my husband, as generous as he is, wishes I would give a little less.
Do you carve out time to share with your partner while making plans to spend with others? Did you know that during the holidays, people get so overwhelmed with so many things going on, that they start to neglect their partners? It is important that while you are planning your parties, charity drives and volunteers efforts, that you include your partner in your planning. Better yet, take time to plan the year’s giving together. Take a peek at the tips below that will help keep you and your partner close during your holiday planning.
It is easy to forget to incorporate their partner’s feelings. Be open to your partner’s feedback. Communicate your feelings on how you want to spend the holidays. Your partner may want to have time with you alone, while you want to visit family and friends all day. You and your partner need to spend time together.
No two people will always want to do the same things the exact same way. A difference in personalities, attitudes, and values, all play a role in the choices we make. Do not get offended if your partner has a different view on holiday planning. Understand that it is Ok to have a different view, while at the same time having respect for each other's views.
Relationships bring together different backgrounds, experiences, attitudes and sometimes cultures. Be willing to work together and come to an agreement on how you will spend your holidays and how much money you may spend and where you will be spending your time.
Compromising it probably one of the most important keys to a successful holiday season. Holidays are as much about you as they are your family and friends, so make up the rules together. It will only be as stressful as you make it.
During stressful times, individuals can get frustrated and say things they do not really mean. Be sure that you use your words carefully when communicating with your loved one. You cannot take words back and once they hit, are not just painful but can ruin the holiday.
Take Some Time for Yourself
Whether it is quiet time with a cup of tea, a hot bath or exercising, be sure to take time for yourself. This will be a great way to keep stress levels low and roll with the punches. Furthermore, it will keep you and your loved ones from getting punchy or snarky with each other.
In all of your planning be sure you include spending time with your partner. Do not forget that you need some time for just each other. No children, no in-laws, no out-laws, and no friends, just the two of you. Taking time to enjoy each other will strengthen your relationship and promote happiness and balance.
Happy Heart Holiday Challenge
You and your partner can each make a list of priorities. For example, if you have a lot of places to visit then each of you will make a list of where you would like to go first, second, third and so on. Share you list each other and find your middle ground. If you both agree that going to the out of town place has high priority then go there first. Whatever you agree to stick too it and then breathe! You have it all figured out and from there it is just easy going. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. There is nothing wrong with deciding to nix the family and friend celebration and just have a quiet holiday celebration for two. Happy Holidays Everyone, I wish you a fantastic and very lovely season!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Giving Negative Nancy the Boot
What you focus on becomes your reality. Our thoughts become our lives. Furthermore, we become our thoughts. Okay, now really let this idea soak into the brain.
I’m writing about this today because on Black Friday I took part in an online treasure hunt and trivia game to win prizes from an online store (who shall remain nameless because I couldn't get a hold of them for permission to publish their name). There were not too many people playing, just enough to create a fun competition. As time went on, I won a five-dollar gift certificate and a candle. I was so excited, because one, I love winning and two it rarely happens.
Everyone was having fun and cheering each other on, yet one person decided to make a comment that the shop owner had favorites and that there was not enough notice given to her, which is why she wasn’t winning any prizes. Negative Nancy, came in full force to blame others, feel sorry for herself and play the victim and throwing around a general nastiness. When suggestions were given to her (and yes, that would be from me) that she could sign up for a newsletter to get all the latest news she complained that no one posted a link to the newsletter. She couldn’t possibly take the responsibility to look it up herself like everyone else did; rather, she believed it was other’s responsibility to hold her hand. Therefore, it wasn’t her fault that she couldn’t receive the newsletter. Ultimately, and since no one else replied to her, she gave up and discontinued playing.
The truth is that there was plenty of notice in several forms and the shop owner was playing by the rules she created. The truth is that Negative Nancy lives in a life of learned helplessness and entitlement. Her negativity has crippled her and the only way she can feel better is to spread her anger to others. Now at this point I will admit that I should not have responded to her, but being the Amazon of Truth that I like to think I am, I could not resist. My bad.
What we often forget, myself included, is that our every thought, our self-talk and what we say out loud creates our present and our future. For example, how many times have you said or heard a friend say, “Life sucks”, only to feel depressed, angry and have run after run of bad luck? How many times have you walked into work thinking, “I hate my job” or “my boss sucks”, only to continuously have bad day after bad day? Ultimately, these thoughts are blaming others for your misfortunes, when you have the ability to improve your life with your thoughts. This even extends to how we view and think about ourselves. With thoughts like, "Ugh, I hate my thighs" or, "I'm so fat" one might drown their sorrows in food, or, find it difficult to get motivated to exercise.
Often times I look at people who are positive and happy in their lives. Everything for them seems to come easily and naturally. I see that they do not blame others for their misfortunes. They talk positively and with gratitude for what they do have. They do not feel as like a victim, but rather that life is a gift and an adventure to which they look forward. Most of all, they choose to find the positive in every situation.
Now, let me say this: We cannot stop our thoughts. The subconscious is constantly going. However, it is the conscious thoughts that we can recognize and alter. That is to say, that when we start to think negatively towards life, others and ourselves, stop for a moment. Observe that thought. Why did this come forward? How do we feel when we go to that dark place? Think about what kind of tone that will set for the rest of your day and if that is what you truly desire. My best guess, is that when people judge, condemn and criticize it is because people believe it will make them feel better. However, I can promise you that the opposite is true.
The Negative Nancy Snub Challenge
Create five affirmations of what you want more of or less of in your life. Write, read and repeat them several times throughout the day every day for a week. The make note either to you yourself or written down of any changes that you experience.
For myself, “I am excited to experience the positive changes that life has in store for me”, or, “I experience a positive internship with mentors who want to help me succeed ”. Find what works for you, stick with it and let me know about the changes that you see in you life as a result. You might start feeling softer toward yourself, excited about life, or you might begin to feel more confident than before. Don’t be afraid of the changes and don’t let the Negative Nancy’s in the world rain on your parade.