Start Talking!

In most cases, I am an advocate of listening over talking. I find my relationships are much stronger when I can focus on listening to others versus focusing on what I am going to say in response. There is one instance though that I am learning the importance of talking over listening and that is when I have dialog with myself.

Talk to yourself

Just recently, one of my blog subscribers, Pat, sent me an inspiring blog post from Jon Gordon entitled “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard”. In the post, he shares an inspiring story of Dr. James Gills, a man in his fifties, who completed two triathlons back to back not just once, but six times. When asked how he did it, he shared some very wise words. He said “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” In the blog post he continued, “If I listen to myself, I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired-too old-too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself, I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.” It’s the same way with life.

I have been putting some effort the past few weeks into paying attention to the things that I say to myself, the things that pop into my mind throughout my day. Here are some of the common themes and what I have done to start talking to myself instead of listen.

“I am tired!” I found this to pop into my head on a regular basis, even when I am not really all that tired. Every time this thought would pop into my head, I would start to feel more tired. Once I started to recognize this, I would ask myself if I was really tired. If I was, I would prioritize some rest, but many times I realized I was fine. I started to talk to myself by telling myself that I am fine, that I am not tired, that I have plenty of energy for my day.

“I don’t have enough time to get things done!” Well this is the truth, right? There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. What I found though is that when this thought popped into my head it would drag me down, it would make me feel like a failure. The thought that I have been trying to replace it with is two-fold. First, I have been reminding myself of all of the things that I have accomplished in that day, which is a ton! Second, I have been reminding myself that the time I have “is what it is” and to use the time that I do have, the best I can. Essentially, I tell myself that I am doing great and to keep going!

“Others think poorly of me and are unhappy with me.” In our busy lives we have periods of time when we don’t see our family and friends as much as we would like. It is during these times of absence that thought pop into my head that others are displeased with me. As I write this, it sounds so silly, but the thoughts do pop into my mind. I have to remind myself that these thoughts are not founded in truth, but if the thought will not go away, I take action. I learned a while back that the best way to remove a fear is to take action against it. If I am fearful that someone is unhappy with me, I take action and give them a call. They are usually as happy to hear from me as I am to call and talk to them. I quickly find out that the thoughts that had popped into my head were completely wrong.

Well, you have just gotten a glimpse of my thought life, but I imagine if you start to pay attention, you will find certain thoughts that pop into your mind on a regular basis. Start to recognize them, ask yourself if they are making you feel better or worse, make an effort to refute them, and start talking positive things into your mind and life.

Pat, thanks for the article you sent me which helped me tremendously, and will now help so many more.

Here’s to talking to ourselves more and filling our minds with positive, life-giving thoughts!

Be Inspired!

Have you ever felt blah? Unmotivated? Maybe even a little depressed? You know there are things that you want to move forward on in life, but you just don’t have the energy to push forward. A trick I have used to get going again is to be inspired.

Be Inspired

If you have read my blog for long, you know that one of the goals I am working towards is to participate in a triathlon. Between my schedule changing and my body not cooperating, the progress towards this goal has not been smooth sailing. An April triathlon was my first goal, but that did not happen. I was clearly not ready, but as luck has it, they had to postpone the tri until June. Surely I could be ready by June. Nope. As the June date approached, I was losing motivation and getting discouraged. I was close to giving up, but I knew, deep down, that I wanted to do this. Even though I was not participating, I forced myself to go. I knew my will power was low, so I volunteered for the event knowing I would have chosen sleeping in over attending. My lack of willpower was confirmed the morning of the tri when I had to get up at 4:30 AM. Was it bad of me to pray that it would keep raining so it would be cancelled and I could keep sleeping? But something really cool happened when I arrived. I got to see people of all walks of life and of all fitness levels put their heart and soul into swimming, biking, running and crossing the finish line. Every single person out there inspired me to keep training. They helped me see that I needed to keep trying, that I could do this!

What is an area in life you desperately want to move forward in? Here are a few ideas to help you gain the motivation and inspiration you need to keep going.

  • Ask yourself “what inspires me?” Do you love reading an inspirational book or article? Do you enjoy watching an inspirational documentary or movie? Events inspire me. I love when a bunch of people get together for a great cause. I get to see people who have struggled and persevered. I get to stand alongside amazing people with amazing stories. I also love a good inspirational book. I love hearing about how others have pushed through tough times. I need to hear that I can do it too! In the past, when have you felt inspired? What was it that inspired you? Whatever it is, consider adding more of that to you life to help you continue to move forward.
  • Make a commitment. I can guarantee that I would not have gone to the triathlon if I had not signed up to volunteer. I knew my will power was low and I needed to know that someone was expecting me to be there. Whatever it is that you want to move forward in, make a commitment to do it if you can. Sign up for a race, ride, class, conference, seminar, or group. Commit to meet up with a friend or co-worker. Sign up to volunteer. A great motivator is to invest money in it. Whatever works for you, making a commitment will help you get up and get going.
  • Show up and gain momentum. I have heard it quoted that “you never regret a workout when it is over.” Man, it is hard to get going at times, but when we show up, and make something happen, it feels so good. This past week I got up and went for a run. Running is not my favorite thing to do, but I know this is what I need to do to participate and finish a triathlon. It took all of my willpower to do it, but when I was done, I was pumped. I did it, and I know I can do it again. The more we show up and do what is hard, the better we get at it, and the more momentum we gain to keep going.
  • Be inspired by others who are working toward the same goal. No matter what we are trying to accomplish, someone had gone before us, someone is in the process of learning how and someone is just starting out. Be inspired by all of them. Know how hard it is for you and realize that it is just as hard for them. We are all in this together. It is easy to think that everyone else has it all together, but none of us do. We are all plugging away, trying to do our best in life. Be inspired by those who have gone before, commiserate with those who are going through it with you, and encourage those who are just starting out.

Whatever you are wanting to move forward in, remember to keep taking baby steps to move forward. Know that one of those baby steps is to gain some much-needed inspiration for your journey ahead. All of us can use fuel to keep going strong.

Here’s to being intentional about finding inspiration in our lives and living the best we possibly can!

Swiffer Dust Mop and Paper Plates

Why do we always feel like we have to maintain a state of “perfect” in our lives? Kind of like the image that goes along with this post. We think we should have everything in perfect balance, our bodies should look perfect and there should be a perfect sunset at the end of each day! The idea of that made me giggle, because my life is far from that. There are certain standards we feel we need to live up to, or we are failures. Well, it’s time to take back the control, live our best even if it is not perfect, laugh at ourselves sometimes  and not take ourselves too serious.prefection
I started this past week in a foul mood. Sunday night I found myself mulling over all that I did not get done over the weekend, one of which was catching up on the pile of dishes on my counter. As I sat, slumped over in defeat on my coach, it dawned on me that I needed to remind myself of all of the things that I did accomplish over the weekend. As I did, my mood started to shift and I realized that I had much to be proud of. Suddenly, the pile of dishes on my counter did not seem as much of a big deal. In fact, I ignored them, knowing I would get to them when I had time. Monday morning when I got up, I pulled out a paper plate from the pantry and said to myself, “it is what it is, I’m not going to worry about it!”

I was sharing my experience with a dear friend later that week and as she giggled, she mentioned that a lot of people have a hard time resigning themselves to eating off paper plates and giving in to the dirty dishes. You might not be able to handle eating off of paper plates, but what I want us all to see is that we all need to allow some things to slide every once in a while to keep our sanity.

Walking away from the pile of dishes allowed me to:

  • Focus on the positives, not the negatives. I focused on what I did  get done, and was very proud of myself for what I had accomplished. All of the things I had gotten done fell in line with my “most important” things in life. I celebrated a “win” and did not feel like a failure.
  • Take back control. I was allowing the pile of dishes to control my mood and therefore, my behavior. I took back control and told my dishes I would get to them on my terms, and I did. Tuesday night after dinner I had some extra time to tackle the pile, but I did it on my terms.
  • Remember what is most important. Yes, keeping my home a clean and wonderful place to be is important to me, but there are many things that are more important to me. I prioritized rest over my dishes. I could have stayed up later, but I chose rest. I prioritized relationships over my dishes. I chose to spend time with John and Pebbles over doing the dishes. We are living a successful life if we give our best to those people and things that are most important.
  • Not take myself too seriously. Along with the dishes, I had a number of “mishaps” that reminded me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I had a spelling faux pas at work that made me giggle. The same day I struggled to use a Swiffer dust mop to clean the floors at work, only to find out that the reason it was not working well was because I had not put a dust pad on it. I could only imagine what was going through the head of my co-worker. At the end of the day I could hardly wait to video message a friend of mine who I knew would have a good laugh with me.

Paper plates or Swiffer dust mops, life is too short to allow these things to control our time and our mood. As we go through our days, let’s give ourselves some grace. Let’s say yes to what is most important, take control over what is less important and not be afraid to laugh at ourselves when we are less than perfect.
Here’s to laughing a lot, living our best and having great people to share it with!

Have I Failed?

I am not going to be able to accomplish one of my first goals of 2017. Because of this, my week had been filled with feelings of disappointment, denial, frustration, but, ultimately acceptance. The big question I have had to answer for myself is “Have I Failed?”

fail runner cropped

Many of my goals are unclear this year, but the one that I felt was crystal clear and where I felt I had a clear plan, is the one goal where I have been stopped in my tracks. I am registered for my first triathlon in April. I started training on December first which gave me plenty of time to be ready for the big event. Even though my plan is in place, and I know in my mind that I can do it, my body has decided not to cooperate. I will spare you of the detailed descriptions of my aches and pains, but because of them I have fallen behind on my training to the point where I will not be ready in time. The one goal I was ready to tackle this spring is now out of my reach. I ask myself, what did I do wrong? I am the one writing a blog to encourage us all to live our best. Did I ignore my own advice? What happened?

In order to answer that last question I went back and read all of my blogs from the beginning of the year. What did I fail to do? What did I do wrong? Here is what I found.

  • I have been taking one small baby step at a time.
  • I have taken care of myself and stayed rested.
  • I have been disciplined.
  • I have hushed the fears that crop up in my mind.
  • I have stayed connected to people.
  • I have pushed through the pain and “just did it” even when I did not feel like it.
  • I have said “I don’t wanna” but did it anyway.
  • I have visualized what the accomplishment of the goal would look like.
  • I have had something to look forward to.
  • I have believed “I CAN!”

But after doing all of these things right, I am still not able to accomplish my goal.

I am here to tell you today that I am not a failure and if you are struggling with one of your goals, you are not a failure either. These are just bumps in the road and are just a part of the amazing long-term journey we have ahead of us.

Interestingly enough, I am reading a book about the fear of failure right now. I know in my mind that failure is a part of the growth process as long as we learn something to help us in the future.  But there are companies and individuals who believe that failure is essential. Here are a few quotes from Robert Kelsey’s book What’s Stopping You?

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe,” wrote Sumner Redstone, majority owner of MTV, CBS, Dreamworks, Paramount Pictures.

Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company said: “Success is 99% failure.”

I do not know where you are today in the process of moving forward on your desired changes, but let’s keep going! I have not given up on my dream of participating in a triathlon. I do not know the exact timing, but I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move towards my goals and dreams. I hope you will do the same.

Here’s to failing, learning and continuing to move forward!

Life Can Be Blurry

Do you have any areas in your life that you simply don’t know where they are headed? One of the exercises I go through when I am trying to set a goal is to think about what I want that area of my life to look like in the future. It’s very helpful to have a picture or a vision of my future. But sometimes that picture is not clear. Sometimes we have to make one move, assess our situation, then make another move. Sometimes the roadmap of the future is not clear.

hands-way-guide-tourist cropped

My life is in a state of “weird” right now. I am someone who usually knows exactly where I want to go and has a 10 page plan on how to get there. That is not the case for me so far this year. I knew there were a few areas of uncertainty, but one area that I felt like I had a set goal and a plan is not working out that way. Every area that I want to move forward in this year is blurry and down right weird for me. So here is my plan, since I don’t have a plan! Hee Hee, that even made me giggle!

Take one step. Assess. Take another step. Assess. Take another step. Assess. Take another step….

At the beginning of the year I provided some resources to help us move forward one baby step at a time. Holy Cow! I never imagined the level I was going to have to depend on that philosophy. Quite frankly though, if it were not for the concept of baby steps, I would be stopped in my tracks at this point.

Here are a few things that I have to do to find success in this weird, new and unorganized stage of life.

  • I have to be more disciplined than ever before. It is really easy to get up in the morning and do nothing to move forward. I continually have to ask myself what do I feel the next step should be? I then have to be disciplined to do it, and that’s not easy.
  • I have to hush the fears that crop up in my mind. The fear of failure is ever-present when the future is uncertain.
  • I have to take care of myself. Moving forward into uncharted territory takes a lot of mental, emotional and physical energy. I have to do all I can to feel good and stay sharp.
  • I need to stay connected to people. It is very easy to pull in and isolate myself. I’ll be honest with you, it is hard to talk to my friends right now.  I don’t even know what to talk about, but spending time with those most important to me is vital.
  • I need to push through the pain and never stop asking “what can I do to move forward?” All change has it’s challenges. I have to push through those challenges and keep moving forward.

If the future is not clear for you right now, hang in there and keep moving forward. You have so much to offer this world, even when the road is a little bit blurry. Keep taking one small step at a time. I’m right here alongside of you!

Here’s to moving forward, no matter what!

I Don’t Wanna!

The day that I am writing this post is January 18th. I have made it 18 days into the New Year. 18 days after my “fresh start” and I am unmotivated, tired, and lazy and I simply DON’T WANNA! I don’t want to exercise, I don’t want to work, I don’t want to learn; I don’t want to do anything! I hope, for your sake, you are not feeling the same way I am, but if you are, we have to find a way to keep moving forward.

tired dog cropped

I have signed up for my first ever triathlon. I have to be ready to swim, bike and run by the end of April. I have three months to come up to speed and this forty-four year old body is going to need every second of that time to get ready. After a week of travel and a week of being sick, yesterday was my day to get back to the Rec Center to train. I felt like I had a split personality because I had two voices competing inside of my head. One was one of the “parent” trying to convince myself that going to work out was the right thing to do, and the other voice was the “two-year-old” screaming “I don’t wanna!” After the battle continued for some time, thankfully the “parent” won the battle and I got to the Rec Center to swim and ride on the stationary bike.

You see, I am training and running in this triathlon for myself. I do not have a boss, I am not getting paid, I will not get reprimanded and no one will know any difference if I don’t train, work hard and complete this race. That is where the challenge lies when it comes to so many of the things we want to accomplish for ourselves. No one is there to push us, but we know we want to make it a reality. No one will know if we don’t succeed, but we desperately want to make things happen in our life and taste victory.

If you have followed my blog for long, you will know it is my heart’s desire to encourage you and help you live your absolute best. I tell you today that overcoming the “I don’t wannas” is not easy, but you can do it and you will! Here are a few things I did to help me keep moving forward.

  • I thought about the future. I thought about the day of my triathlon. I thought about getting out of the swim pool with that leg of the race behind me. I thought about the bike ride and how much I will enjoy it. Then I thought about crossing the finish line after the run and feeling the amazing feeling of accomplishment. When we are feeling unmotivated, let’s think about what it will be like when we accomplish our desired change or goal. It gives us a little boost to keep going.
  • I had to stop my mind from giving me reasons not to go. A few times that morning my mind reminded me of how cold it was to swim during the winter. How cold it was going to be getting out of the pool and walking into the locker rooms. My mind wanted to remind me of all of the negative, uncomfortable things involved in my training. We have to stop those thoughts right when they start. If we let them float around in our minds too long, they will convince us that it is ok to skip out just this one time.
  • I had to tell myself to “just do it!” I don’t use the words “shut-up” very often, but I had to tell myself to “shut-up and just do it!” I had to be frank with myself by telling myself to “quick complaining and go!” Folks, I can be a big baby at times. I love things to be easy, but that is not how life works, especially if you are working towards amazing things. We know what we need to do, so let’s just do it!

That was my story from yesterday. Today I have a day where I need to get some work done, and lo and behold I started in on the “I don’t wannas” again. We are going to have days when we feel like this, but we must keep moving forward, making good choices, one small step at a time.

Oh, by the way, when I was done swimming and biking yesterday, I felt amazing! And today, when I finish the work that I need to get done, I will be thankful that I pushed through the “I don’t wannas!” You will feel great too; just keep taking small steps forward! You got this!

Here’s to throwing our “I don’t wanna” tantrums and moving forward anyway!

Are You Ever Stopped Before You Get Started?

Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Do you believe that the power of your thoughts dictates your actions, and therefore the outcome? Do you believe that if you think you can, then you can? And do you believe that if you have the mindset that you can’t, then that mindset will sabotage your success and you will not succeed?

train-cropped

This is a deep concept to grasp, at least it was for me. I have Mr. Ford’s quote in my office and I had to chew on that quote for quite some time. It took me a while to buy into his words, but I now understand them to be very true. When I believe I can, I start to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. When I think, deep down in my soul, that there is no way I can accomplish something, it stops me in my tracks. Action is key in this. If we believe we can, we start to move forward. When we believe something is impossible, we stay put in our current reality.  

It was a process for me to get to the point of believing I could succeed, specifically with my writing. I have struggled with grammar, vocabulary, spelling and writing all my life. I have felt like a failure many times. I have been told that my writing was not good and that my thoughts did not flow well. But I know I can do this and I know that I want to help you live your best life, so I keep going.

Remember, I am walking through this journey with you in real-time. I write about things that I have learned through the years, but I also continue to work through these concepts myself, literally,  as you read about them. Just this morning I was reading a book that was originally published in 1959 called The Magic Of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. He was talking about his experiences with individuals who found success when they believed that “they could.” I instantly asked myself, “do I believe that I can do what it takes to make my desired changes a reality in 2017?”  I really had to chew on that for a while and I got fearful that I don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Do you feel that way sometimes when it comes to the area of change you want to make in your life? Fears start to crop up and memories of past failures rear their head. It is a normal feeling, but we have to put those fears in their place, stand tall and believe with everything we can muster, that WE CAN! Once we are in the mindset of “we can!” we start to put one foot in front of the other and move forward towards success!

I believe that I can make the desired changes that I want to make in 2017! Do you believe you can? Let’s do it together, one step at a time!

 

If You are Determined to Live Your Best, You Can Have the Greatest Holiday Season Ever

As you know, living our best does not just happen. It requires thinking, planning and implementation. But we so often take a leap right over the “taking time to think” part and jump right into the planning. It is when we dig in and put some real thought into our lives that we discover some amazing insights. I know life is busy, and having time alone to think is scarce, but it will make a huge difference in your life if you prioritize it.

It is not a coincidence that I am writing about this subject right now. The Holidays are right around the corner and I know we all want them to be wonderful. Because that is my heart as well, I have created some Free Resources that I am very excited about! They come out next week with the express purpose of helping all of us focus on the most important things this Holiday Season. But these resources will do us no good if we don’t take the time out of our busy day to focus on them and ultimately the most important people and areas of our lives. This is going to require determination on your part and a “Can Do” attitude. But I know you want to live your best and you are willing to do what it takes to make that happen!

I have grown to love my “time to think” and you will come to cherish it as well. Here are a few things to help you make it happen.

  1. Make arrangements. If you have young children at home, make arrangements so that you can get away. This may require you to talk to a friend and have them take the kids one day and you take their kids another day, allowing you both to have some free time. If you have a significant other, talk to them about taking care of the kids. Even if they do not completely understand why you need the time away, help them understand that it is important to you. If it comes down to it, hire a babysitter. There are some areas in our lives that deserve investment. This is one of them. Your family will benefit immensely from the time you spend away thinking.
  1. Schedule it. Don’t just talk about it, make it happen. We can say “we should do that” all day long. Go ahead and schedule it, get it on the calendar and make it happen. There is a chance that life will throw you a curve ball, like it so often does, but make “thinking time” a non-negotiable. Today was my day to take some time to think. I planned to take that time at home while my husband was at work, but because of a curve ball, I am up at the laundromat  washing bedding. I will let you imagination come up with the scenario that brought me to a laundromat, but I did not allow this detour in my day keep me from having my quiet time. If fact, I am forced to sit here for forty-one minutes while my bedding washes. I could have thrown in the towel, but it ended up being a great time and place to think.
  1. Keep it simple. The goal of taking time to think is to quiet yourself and think about the most important things in your life. In the resources I have for you next week, I will actually have questions for you to think through and space to write down your thoughts, but keep it simple. Find a place that is distraction free for you, grab a pencil or a pen and relax. I love to start off by taking a long walk by myself and them sometimes I go to my local library. I find a quiet spot and get to work.

I want the absolute best for you and taking time to think has been life changing for me. I am confident you will find the same results. You can make it happen!


I am SO EXCITED to get my Holiday Resources into your hands next week! The Series is called Keys to a Wonderful Holiday Season for those Dedicated to Live Their Best. For the next three months I will send all of my subscribers a Monthly Virtual Goody Bag of free resources to help you have a great Holiday Season! The first one will be delivered to your email inbox this coming Wednesday, November 2nd! If you have not subscribed yet, go to the right hand column of my website, and you can subscribe there. You won’t want to miss it!

overall-promo-page-1-smaller

It is my heart’s desire for you to have an amazing Holiday! Schedule some “time to think” now and be ready to put your most important people and areas in your life first, right where they belong!

Here’s to living our best this Holiday Season!