Aug. 17 ♥ Say YES to Rewards and Watch What Happens

What is a goal? According to Merriam-Webster it’s something that you’re trying to achieve. Usually we determine a goal without much forethought, which often leads to frustration, incompleteness or failure. Remember January’s resolutions? How are those working out? Knowing the goal you want to attain is not sufficient to guarantee success. It’s important to do a reality check assessing how passionate you are about the goal, how certain you are that you will complete it and how committed you are to making it happen. If any of these are lacking, your goal is almost certainly doomed. So, let’s say your goal passes the above litmus test. How else can you increase the odds of achieving it? Here’s the process I recently followed that led to a successful personal goal. I outlined the various steps needed, chunking them into logical sections. And at the completion of each chunk I got a reward. If I didn’t complete the section, I got no reward. Simple. Up front I made sure that my rewards were motivationally juicy and that they would happen often, usually weekly. My rewards were predictable and outlined before I even began to work on a task. What I noticed was that I really looked forward to the upcoming reward. My brain wanted these rewards. I’m sitting here wearing adorable blue flats I earned by completing some tasks on my way to the goal. Every time I wear them I’m reminded that I followed through, training my brain to take me … Continue reading

July 27 ♥ Don’t Throw Stones at Every Dog that Barks

Ever have one of those days where you’re distracted by everything? You know you have things to accomplish. You know you need to focus. Yet every shiny thought that flashes into your brain diverts you. Social media, phone beeps and dings, a steady flow of email, interruptions, random thoughts…all compete for our attention. Distractions are everywhere, and they’re not going away any time soon. As much as we we’d like to disconnect, that also isn’t feasible. So what are we to do? Here are 5 ways I’ve found to help reduce the distraction in my life. Empty the trash. Not the wastebasket variety but the mental kind. Take a blank sheet of paper, set a timer for 5 minutes, and then just write down anything that pops into your brain. No censoring. Just rapid writing. At the end of the time period notice how you feel. If you’re like me, you’ll probably feel cleansed. I find that such a brain dump pulls all of the detritus out of my brain, leaving room for the thing I need to focus on. Oh, and throw away the paper you wrote on – the final adieu to the distractions. Clear physical desk clutter. Remove the piles from your desk and keep only the one thing you will be working on. I often put the extraneous files and papers on the floor behind me so that they are effectively out of sight. Clear digital clutter. Only have one application open on your computer at … Continue reading

June 29 ♥ Have You Set the Real YOU Free?

Have you set the real you free? Or are you stuck in presenting an image that is more likely to please others? Far too often we automate our people-pleasing mode because we’re not comfortable in our own skin. The internal voices swirl: “If they saw the real me, they’d turn away.” “I just want to be like them.” “I can’t be what they want me to be.” Notice that all of these thoughts are outward focussed — as if we’re seeking validation from outside ourselves. As if other people’s opinions are more important than our own. Or that it’s more important to be accepted by others than by ourselves. So, we tamp down our own personality, mute our strong points, and try to conform. We wear the plain, tailored blouse when the wild, loud, blotchy-printed top is so much more us. And yet there is the tiniest voice inside that keeps saying, “Please let out the real me. Being otherwise is just so exhausting and phony.” So here’s the deal: you don’t have to make the world like you or validate you. You have nothing to prove! You just need to trust that most people will like you just as you are. And, well, some just won’t. But that’s not your problem. It’s theirs. It’s more important to be genuine, true to yourself, authentic — the real YOU. It takes less energy. And comes from a place of believing, “I am enough.” So, be bold, celebrate who you are and … Continue reading

June 7 ♥ What’s in Your Reflection?

Think back over the past week and select several things that happened to you. First notice: were there more “good” or “bad” memories? That alone should be an indication of how you view your world. Did you remember the things that were less than what you had desired, made you mad, caused you upset, or were painful? Or, did you recall joyful, fulfilling, fun or successful actions? What’s going on here? Our perspective has a major impact on how we view life and the things that happen. We can choose to view the world in a positive light — or not. And this correlates to how we perceive our own self-worth. When you approach a situation, do you think, “I’ll be OK no matter what happens.” Or do you “hope for the best but expect the worst.”? Do you label things that happen to you as problems or opportunities? The way we look at life is an immediate reflection of how we view our place in the world, our power, and our self-esteem. If we respect ourselves, possess self-confidence and trust in our ability to land on our feet no matter what, we become resilient to the events in our lives. Things no longer happen “to” us. We lose the victim mentality because we are strong and self-assured, and because we consciously choose our reactions. Opportunities appear, and “problems” become challenges to learn from and overcome. With self-respect you know what you will and will not accept in your life. You are certain that you … Continue reading

March 3 ♥ Choosing What Really Matters

Do you know what matters in your life? Sounds like a simple enough question, yet it’s one I’ve struggled with for years. My words always said that family and friends are the most important things to me. And yet my actions told another story. I spent more time on my career and outside interests than I did with my family and friends. An embarrassing truth. And it cost me. Friendships became strained and personal relationships were stretched to the breaking point. I lost connection with my daughter. My first husband and I became mostly roommates. I grew more distant from my sibs. And some friends just faded away. I assumed that people knew how important they were to me, but the evidence seldom showed up in my behavior. I assumed, and assumed, figuring they knew how I really felt — until the consequences caught up with me. My goal in sharing this cautionary story is to serve as a wake-up call to others who may be heading in the same direction I had been going. And to put it in even greater perspective think about this: when you’re on your deathbed, how much value will you put on your career, the acclaim you garnered, the successes you had? Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by family and friends, by the people who mattered the most in your life? Thought so. And just so you know: I finally wised up and got my priorities straight, although I can still become overly distracted … Continue reading