Miracles

Miracles

Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Miracles.” Look for them and you’ll discover that miracles happen all the time.

This week, be aware of “happy accidents” that occur. How have they helped you in the past?

Be someone else’s miracle. Do something unexpected or simply “show up” when you’re needed.

Look back over the recent past. What would you consider “miraculous” now that you look at it with a fresh perspective?

Expect miracles to happen in your life but don’t impose restrictions as to how they might occur.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Acceptance

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Acceptance.” Not everything in life has to be a battle.

If something unpleasant happens this week, accept it as part of your life experience. Learn from it but move on and don’t dwell.

Have you been holding others to unreasonably “high standards?” Try accepting others for who they are.

How accepting are you of yourself? Strive to be your best but love yourself for who you are in the moment.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Essence (What makes you “you?”)

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Essence.” We each have something unique to offer. This core of your being is essential to your purpose in life.

Spend one day with any facade stripped away. Be the REAL you without any care as to what others expect.

When things are hectic and stressful, what brings you back to center?

This week, do something to learn more about your gifts and talents. Read a book, start a journal or take a class.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Joy

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Joy.” Quite simply, this is why we’re alive; to create and receive as much joy as possible.

How can you bring joy and happiness to someone else?

This week, focus on activities that are fun and that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Make a list of positives: your best qualities, things going well in your life, and all of your dreams. Realize, with joy, all the greatness you possess.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Breakthrough

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Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Breakthrough.” We each have the potential for greatness, we just need to break through anything that’s blocking us.

What positive actions can you take this week to move towards a life-long goal?

Having difficulties communicating with someone? Break through the static by really listening to them.

What negative attitudes do you have towards yourself? This week, break through one of these limiting beliefs by acknowledging your talents.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

Enthusiasm

enthusiasm

Road Trip! The destination for this week is “Enthusiasm.” Have a great day, have a great week…have a great life!

What brings you joy and excitement? How can you increase that in your life?

Notice something each day that made it extraordinary.

This week, celebrate every small victory and look forward to the next.

Let us know in the comments where you’ve gone and what you’ve discovered about yourself.

 

Time for a Change

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It’s the end of the year and my phone is ringing off the hook. It’s peak season for coaches because, as we end the year, many are looking back and realizing they didn’t make the best use of the past year and want help moving forward. Many feel it’s time for a change.

Before you make that jump, here’s one important question to ask yourself. Am I making a change for myself or someone else?

Coaches turn down a lot of potential clients because of their answer to this last question. You might be completely satisfied with your life but feel outside pressure from parents, a spouse or work colleagues to “do more” but if the desire isn’t genuinely yours then coaching isn’t going to help you one bit. In fact, the coaching experience would just be an exercise in frustration for both you and the coach.

To find out if you’re ready for a change, ask yourself these three questions:

  • If I knew today was my last day, could I say I’m satisfied with what I’ve done?
  • Am I doing all I could with my life right now?
  • Can I afford to wait another year to “do more?”

If you answered No to any of the above questions, then it might be time for a change.

So, where do you want to go now? Here’s an exercise I use with a lot of my clients. While you won’t have the benefit of interacting with a coach, it might help you gain some clarity.

Relax in a quiet room with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breathes. Now, imagine your “perfect” (and authentic, what’s going to make you happy) life. Think about all aspects; your career, health, finances, personal relationships and even your spirituality. Think about everything in as much detail as possible.

Once you have that well planted in your mind, imagine someone just asked you this question: “You are so happy these days. You have the perfect life. How did you get where you are today?”

Now, answer the question. Out loud.

A lot of people are surprised by what comes out of their mouth. Often, this is the first time they’ve said out loud something they’ve always wanted for themselves. Or, they knew something was just “off” and this exercise helps them find the words they’ve been missing.

Now, go make everything you just said a reality!

Have a healthy, happy and successful 2015!

Photo credit: SomeDriftwood / iWoman / CC BY-NC

The Roadblock Called Perfection

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A good portion of my coaching is around health and wellness. There are a lot of people that know they need to regain their health but they either can’t seem to get started or they keep getting stuck shortly afterward. One of the most common roadblocks to success is perfection.

Here’s a paraphrased typical conversation I have with clients. We’ll call this one Jen.

Jen: I can’t seem to get started on any real exercise program.
Me: What do you think is stopping you?
Jen: Well, what if I start and don’t finish?
Me: Jen, who has control over whether or not you finish?
Jen: Well, I guess I do.
Me: So, what else?
Jen: What if I miss a day?
Me: How would missing a single day impact your overall success?
Jen: Not much, I guess I’d just make it up the next day. As long as I don’t make it a habit. <smirk>
Me: What else is holding you back?
Jen: Well, I’ve tried doing a video workout and I’m not as good as the people in the video.
Me: Hmmm, I wonder why they were selected to do the video. What do you think?
Jen: OK, yeah. They’re pros and I’m not. But if I’m going to do a program, I need to do it right.
Me: What do you mean by “right?”
Jen: Well, I have to be perfect!

No!! Making a positive impact on your health has nothing to do with reaching some state that someone else has defined to be “perfect.” People often find themselves in the trap of shooting for an “ideal” weight or body measurements or an unblemished record of adherence to a course of action. Change isn’t perfect. It’s messy and complicated and full of spirals and twists. When you’re working towards better health, your goal needs to be meeting personal bests and developing a healthier version of you on your own terms, using your own strengths and talents.

You’ll have forward motion but the road taken and the time to travel it will be different for everyone. Detours and roadblocks happen but you still get where you’re going. Don’t let the idea of it not being a “perfect sunday drive” prevent you from leaving the garage.

What has you stuck? What’s keeping you from creating the healthy life you deserve?

Photo credit: te.esce / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Darned if You Do, Darned if You Don’t

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It’s easy to get stuck in your life. You have a decision to make and something looming over you prevents you from making a choice. What if you’ve gotten yourself bound up in a position where you can’t make a good decision based on your current perceptions?

I just went through an exercise with a group where everyone had to list their excuses (limiting beliefs) for not moving their businesses forward. A pair of statements on one list jumped out at me:

I’m afraid of what success will bring.
What if I fail?

They didn’t leave themselves much room here. You’re either going to succeed or fail in business. For this individual, it was readily apparent how their perceptions had them frozen.

A typical coaching response to “What if I fail?” might be something like “What if you succeed?” but that has already been precluded by the prior statement. This is one of those knots (I call it a “double-bind” though I know it doesn’t meet the formal definition) that needs to be picked apart carefully. One key is the use of the word “afraid.” The False Evidence Appearing Real is a great place to start the conversation. Looking into what success looks like for the individual will help identify what’s blocking the way for them there. Once a harmonious vision of success is achieved, opening that door will be easier. They can then leave the idea of failure behind.

What types of situations frequently get you bound up? How have you eventually untied the knot?

Photo credit: fortinbras / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

How to Turn Your Commitment to Change into Action

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Last week I wrote about how you decide to make a change. Once you’ve acknowledged the need to change a behavior and have made a commitment, you need to move from planning to some action.

Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny. —Alfred A. Montapert

When taking steps to bring about some desired change, you need to look at what has or has not worked for you in the past. You also need to be open to new ideas and be willing to change your course of action as you try new approaches. There is no right or wrong way to succeed in your goal; you need to discover through trial and error what works best for you.

One of the classic examples is losing weight. There are hundreds of diet and exercise plans and by combining these into a plan of action, there are likely millions of ways for someone to decrease their body weight to get to a comfortable number on the scale. Keep in mind that once you reach your goal, you also need to maintain the behavior. Maintaining your desired weight will likely require that you continue some or all of these activities for an extended period of time so you need to find options that are sustainable for you. For example, you might use a strict meal-plan system where all of the food is provided for you to drop some pounds. However, how likely is it that you’ll want to remain on that diet for the rest of your life? It probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable and would be expensive too.

For lasting change, consider the long-term maintenance of your desired behavior when creating a plan of action. Try to change your mindset to get to the root of the issue instead of using a quick fix that won’t last. There are two practices recommended by Prochaska that I pass along to coaching clients that can help bring about this mental shift; countering and environmental controls. Countering is replacing the undesired behavior with a healthy, more desirable one and environmental control means manipulating your setting or avoiding a location to prevent the behavior. Including either or both of these in your action plan will be helpful.

For example, let’s say you’re prone to snacking through the day. You can consciously replace that activity with another. For me, I started doing push-ups whenever I wanted a snack. This countering helped in two ways. I burned some extra calories and the activity usually made me forget the urge to snack. Over time, I began to crave physical activity when I was bored or restless and that has served me well. I also worked at a company that had a cafeteria that served cheap but gourmet quality meals. It was easy to overeat. I could have avoided the cafeteria but I would have also missed out on the social interactions that took place there. Instead, I simply started bringing my lunch. As everyone was in line getting their food, I’d eat my lunch. By the time they got to the table with the gourmet meal, I’d already be half done and fairly full. Once the conversation started, I was no longer tempted to get more food.

Once you have your steps in mind, I recommend the following:

  1. Write your plan down.
  2. Share your plan and goals with someone that will hold you accountable.
  3. Review your plan DAILY and note how you’ve done.
  4. Review your progress WEEKLY to see if your actions are working. If not, try something new.
  5. Finally, don’t give up. You’ll reach your goal over time.

There’s no single “magic bullet” that anyone can provide you to create the change you desire. All change has to come from within and you are the only person that can make it happen. Be strong, ask for help and stick with it. You’ll get there!

Photo credit: waynesutton12 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA