Feb 8 ♥ Boundaries: You Need to Know What You’ll Put Up With

Personal boundaries are vital and an important part of our self-care because they clarify how we will let others treat us. Boundaries allow us to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from others. It’s a way for us to maintain self-respect and demand respect in return. So often we say, “Yes” when we mean “No”, we let people walk all over us and our needs or we don’t stand up for ourselves. Maybe we sacrifice our time, energy and resources to help others, while ignoring our own lives and priorities. We become too compliant, afraid that others won’t like us unless we give in. And all of this leaves us resentful, emotionally drained, exhausted and feeling crazy. Fact: setting boundaries is not about trying to control other people. It’s about drawing a line on what you will and will not allow into your life. It’s about standing your ground and recognizing that your needs are important. It’s about demanding respect from others. And, yes, some people may fall away as a result but you will have gained self-reliance, self-confidence and trust in yourself. Priceless gifts!   Now It’s Your Turn When have you said, “YES” when you really meant, “NO”? Why did you make that choice? What were you afraid would happen if you had spoken your mind? What personal boundary could you create to prevent this in the future? … Continue reading

Nov. 9 ♥ Have Your Gathered in Your Harvest?

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the nights are getting cooler. The skies are a brilliant blue, colors are more vibrant, and shadows are sharp. It’s as if Mother Nature were producing one last, stupendous hurrah before the darker, colder months descend upon us. As I look out my window, I appreciate this time of change, these golden autumnal days, and I give thanks for the fruits of the summer. As the final agricultural harvests occur, I’m also reminded that this is truly a time when we reap what we have sown, both as fact and as metaphor. Fall is a perfect time to review the previous months of this year, to note our harvests—the experiences and accomplishments we’ve had. Reflecting on your year, which of these have flowered and brought something into your life? Which have been more like weeds, crowding out your dreams? As the final agricultural harvests occur, I’m also reminded that this is truly a time when we reap what we have sown, both as fact and as metaphor. Fall is a perfect time to review the previous months of this year, to note our harvests—the experiences and accomplishments we’ve had. This exercise is not about noticing which list is longer, the flowers or the weeds. It’s a time for reflection so you can express gratitude for what you’ve done and who you’ve become. And equally important, it’s a time to recall how you have dealt with any challenges that may have occurred. Both offer you opportunities … Continue reading

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

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

May 25 ♥ What You Can Learn from Your Bad Habits

Ever have a negative situation that just keeps popping up, over and over? Maybe it’s the same argument with a loved one. Or always being late. Perhaps it’s spending too many extra hours at work. I’m sure you know what I mean. In all of these cases repetitive patterns just keep…well, repeating.  Why is that? These behaviors are bad habits, which get triggered by a specific event leading to some sort of reward. Yes a bad habit gets us something. And often we aren’t even aware of what we get in return. You know that same-old, same-old argument you keep having? What reward do you get for not resolving it once and for all? As for always being late? How does that serve you? And why are you really working late so often? You must be getting something in return or you wouldn’t act in any of these ways! Finding out the “why” behind your bad habits, and, of course, wanting them to be different, is the path to change. These bad habits have something to teach you about yourself, and you’ll stay on this merry-go-round until you learn the lesson waiting for you. Ready to jump off the ride? Now It’s Your Turn Identify one habit you’re ready to change and why you’d like to change it. What event triggers the habitual behavior and what reward do you get for acting this way? Look deep and hard for your current reward. The secret to making a change is to … Continue reading