Three Main Ingredients for a Great Life!

What are the ingredients for a great life? I have been asking myself this very question for a number of weeks because I do not feel like I am living my “Best Life” right now. I have started a new job, and with that comes a period of adjustment, a period of time where my old “normal”  is gone and I need to find a new, wonderful “normal” again.

ingredients

I think we can all agree that one of the ingredients to living our best life is prioritizing the “most important” people and things. I have been doing pretty well at this the past few weeks with some tweaks here and there, but I have realized it is not enough. I have come to see our “most important” things as the foundation to living our best life. It is essential to build the rest of our life on, but it is not everything.

Next we have the ingredient of what “needs” to get done. This is not always a fun ingredient in life, but the reality is that it exists. John’s and my life were filled will annoyances this past week that “needed” to be dealt with. We received an unexpected medical bill that required some phone calls as well as unplanned check writing. I had a delivery of some liquid laundry soap that decided to break in transit. Is it bad when the box is in a trash bag on your front porch and the bottom feels mushy when you pick it up? In addition to these annoyances, the laundry still needs to get done. We needed to get to the grocery store. Things “need” to get done in our lives, and that is never going to change. What we can do is: recognize it is a part of life, stop fighting the annoyances because they usually win, deal with them as we need to, and try to keep a decent attitude during them. Things will always “need” to be done.

The last ingredient, what I consider the sweet spot, it is when we take time for the things we “want” to do. This is the area I have been lacking in since I have started my new job. I have filled my time with the most important people and things. Check! I have been dealing with what “needs” to be dealt with. Check! But I have not been taking time to do the things that bring added joy to my day. These are the things we feel are selfish because many times they are all about us. Well I am hear to tell you, this is the areas that bring some spice into our lives and is not selfish. I am writing this post on my birthday and even though I have a lot of things that “need” to be done today, I decided to sleep in this morning just because I wanted to. I am going to treat myself to a pedicure here shortly and do a few other things just because I want to. Prioritizing the things we “want” to do is so very important!

We all know that we cannot distill life down to three ingredients, but if we can get these three right with the right attitude, we will be well on our way to living our best life.

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving others and approaching everything else that comes our way with the best attitude we can muster up!

P.S. Below is the link to this month’s “Something To Look Forward To” Calendar! It’s time to start planning some fun stuff for the months to come!

June 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

Setbacks Happen

Setbacks happen in life. The question is, how can we continue to live our best in the midst of these trying times?

teddy-teddy-bear-association-ill-42230

I am in the midst of another round of back issues. I have had chronic back issues for years. I have made tremendous strides in improving my back strength and mobility. It seems recently though, that every time I make plans to start my triathlon training program, my back flairs up and I am back to square one. Waking up and going to bed with pain every day gets old really quickly and it wears down my positive demeanor. I have had to ask myself, “what can I do to live my best even when I am in a holding pattern?”

  • First, I try not to allow the setback to get too much of my attention. When I have days that I feel sorry for myself and spend the entire day thinking about my pain and how I can hardly walk straight much less train, I find myself miserable. When I have days where I keep the attitude of “it is what it is” and focus on other things, I seem to be a much happier person. This is hard, but focusing on something negative will only make us more negative. Focusing on something good will lighten our spirits quickly.
  • Second, I do what is within my control to make things better. There is a lot that is out of our control when a setback hits, but there is a lot that is within our control as well. If you feel as though you are in a hopeless situation, spend some time reflecting on what you can do and how you can still enjoy life in the midst of this difficult time.
  • Third, I try to come to grips with the fact that setbacks take time to resolve. This is one of the areas that is very tough for me. Waiting for things has been a theme in my life, and because of it, I loath waiting. You would think that because I have had so much experience with it that, I would be used to it by now. Nope, but when I remind myself that these things do take time to get better, and take my advice from above, I do a little better with living my best.
  • Fourth, I stay focused on where I want to be in the future and never stop dreaming. Even though I have not been on my bike for weeks, I still spent some time the other night researching and dreaming about the dream bike I want to buy. It will be weeks before I can get back on my bike and probably years before I can purchase my dream bike, but I am going to keep dreaming about what I want, to keep my spirits up and have a goal to work towards. I will get there one baby step at a time.
  • Fifth, I need to remember that setbacks are a part of life. There is no such things as a life without them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could come to accept this fact and not fight the setbacks when they happen? I am not at this point yet, but I am starting to remind myself of this when things don’t go my way.

Setbacks are inevitable. The approach we take towards them can make a big difference.
Here’s to living our best when life is not ideal.

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!

You Did Great Today!

I spend a lot of time writing about the things we can do to live our best life. Today, I want to remind you, and myself, that we do so much on a daily basis that is great! But sometimes these things are so routine that we forget how important and impactful they are.

wash dishes
I have started to write in a journal every morning. In this particular journal, I write down what I am thankful for. This practice has allowed me to start my day with the attitude of gratitude. In the evening, as I lay in bed and try to settle my mind for a good night’s rest, I think about all that I did during the day, all that I had accomplished. I try to work through my day mentally from start to finish and list out all of the activities including eating breakfast, reading, going to work, eating dinner, washing the dishes, relaxing with my husband, doing my back exercises, getting ready for the next day, and oh yah, I fed my dog a few times in there. My list is generally not all that exciting, but what I have realized is that it is all important stuff, it is all good stuff.

I’m sure your day is filled with similar things. Here are some reminders of why these “normal things” are so important and how they make a difference in our world.

  • It is important for homes to be a sanctuary, a place where we, and those we love, enjoy spending time. Tasks such as doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming the floors can all feel meaningless, but they are all a part of making our homes a wonderful place to be. All that we do around our homes contribute to the lives of those who inhabit it. We want to feel “at home” and all the work we do around the house makes that a reality.
  • We all need energy. The food that we provide for ourselves and those we love contributes to their health and the energy they have to live a great life. This is an area I struggle with because I do not like to cook, but it is vitally important. When I have a day that I feel particularly sluggish, I can usually look at the food I ate, or lack thereof, and understand why I feel the way I do. Feeding ourselves and others can feel tedious at times, but know that all that you do contributes to the health and energy for others to live their best.
  • We need each other. The time we spend driving around from stop to stop is important. The time we spend at our child’s soccer practice is important. The time we spend talking to a dear friend fills our lives with great things. John, Pebbles and I spend at least an hour each night just hanging out watching TV. It is what we do, and it can seem pretty uneventful, but it is important. All of the big and little moments in our lives with those people who are important to us contributes to our best life.
  • You know my blogs are not complete until I remind you how important rest is. The time you and your loved ones take to rest, gives us all a fresh start to a new day. When we get a good nap or good night’s rest we, and our loved ones, have a better capability to handle what comes our way. Our rest gives us more motivation. Rest is a very normal part of our life, but so very important.

If you have taken care of something in your home today, fed yourself or those you care about, spent time with others and went to bed and got some rest, you have accomplished a great deal today. We all need these simple things to live our best life, and you have made them happen! You are needed, valued, significant, appreciated and admired!
Here’s to washing one more dish and knowing it does makes a difference!

There’s No Time For Messing Around

There is simply not enough time in a day or week to do all that we would like to do. Weekends fly by and the evenings after our work day is done feels almost non-existent. How do we get it all done, and more importantly, how do we find peace and joy in this crazy busy life?

whats most important

I start my day at 5:00 am. Sixteen hours later, I can barely keep my eyes open and I conk out by 9:00 pm for the night. I try to fit in a good 8 hours of sleep and get up the next morning to start all over again. I have about three hours each evening during my work week to fit in as much as I can, but I simply cannot fit everything in. For those of you that have children, I do not know how you do it! We all need a few more hours added to each of our days, don’t we?

The question is, would we ever have enough time to fit everything in, or would we simply fill that extra time up too, needing even more? I think the answer is more about choosing to do the best and right things, and choosing not to participate in everything that presents itself to us and our loved ones. Saying “no” to many activities and events and “yes” to the ones that are most important to us. But how do we choose? How do we know what is best and right for us, and what is most important?

One exercise that I have personally utilized and seen other benefit from, is to imagine yourself at the end of your life, at your funeral. You get a chance to walk around unnoticed.

  • First of all, think about who you would like to see at your funeral and write down those people’s names on a sheet of paper. These are the people who are most important to you.
  • Now, go around and listen to the conversations people are having about you. What will people talk about? Will they say you were an amazing parent and spent quality time with those you loved? Will they say you were a kind and giving person who was always trying to build other people up? Or will they say, she really loved to work…we really did not get to see her much. Or will they say that he was just so busy, too bad that kept him away from spending time with those who love him. Answer the question, what do you want to be remembered for?

By going through this exercise, you have identified a few things; who is most important to you and what activities and qualities are most important to you. We can also identify what we do not want to be remembered for.

For me, I want my husband, John, to be at my funeral. I want my family to attend. I want my friends to be at my funeral. I would even love a few mystery people to show up and say that I impacted their life in some special way. I want John to talk about the fact that he was loved and prioritized in my life. I want my family and friends to talk about positive fun times we had together. I want people to remember me as kind, loving and generous. Within the past few years I had an acquaintance, who is now a friend, say that they could tell I had a true north star. Well that north star is my relationship with God. These are the kind of things I want talked about at my funeral. These are the things that define what is important to me.

Once we start to identify what is most important, how then do we apply this to life and the twenty-four hours we have in each day? Before you say yes or no to people and activities that are vying for your time, ask yourself:

  • Does this fall in line with what is most important to me?
  • Will this activity add to or take away from who and what is most important to me?
  • There are always trade-offs. Am I willing to trade my time to engage in this activity? What will I have to give up in order to fit this into my schedule?
  • Remember also, you do not need to give people an answer right then and there, even if they want you to. You are in control. Let them know you have to think about the commitment they are asking for and you will get back with them. You are in control!

We do not need more hours in our day. We need to cut out the less important things and focus in on the most important things. We need to commit to the most important people and activities with all of our heart and energy. And at the end of the day, we need to go to bed knowing we filled our day with the best and right things.
Here’s to saying YES to what is most important and living our twenty-four hours exactly the way we want to!

I Love TO Learn…But Not The Hard Way!

One way to live our best is to be lifelong learners, which will look different for each of us. Some individuals love to read, some love to listen to talk radio, some love to watch and observe people. There are so many ways to grow and learn in our lives, but there is one way that we all try to avoid; learning the hard way.

mistakes

This past week I started my new job. The first few weeks of any new job is riddled with awkwardness, confusion, and yes, a lot of mistakes. Thursday was a particularly mistake filled day for me. Not only did I miss a few important things, I down right forgot a very important task that I am responsible for on a daily basis. I was sitting at dinner that night listening to John as he shared his day with me and suddenly it hit me out of the blue, I had completely forgotten to do this important task. I knew that it was going to cause inconvenience with my co-workers in the morning, but there was nothing I could do about it until I got to work the next day. I tried not to beat myself up about it, after all I am always writing about how mistakes are not failures if we learn something from them. It was much harder putting the concept into practice, but I kept reminding myself that this was a learning process and it was ok. I probably told myself that one hundred times that night.

I, like you, would much prefer a different means of learning. We really dislike the pain and discomfort of learning the hard way.

I recently read a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. He cited an article from The Washington Post called “Americans Use Far More Opioids Than Anyone Else in the World.” I know, what does that have to do with learning the hard way? He shared the very interesting insight that I think is very important for all of us to learn from.

One significant reason, the author Keith Humphreys, identifies for America’s addiction to pain-relieving medication is

“relative to Europeans, Americans have more faith that life is perfectible (e.g., all pain can be avoided).”

He goes on to say that we think we can avoid pain in our jobs which

“may send us jumping from one career to another constantly looking for that one job with no bad days.”

We want to avoid pain in relationships

“causing us to give up too quickly on other people.”

We want to avoid pain in our homes. We don’t want the pain involved in sore muscles after exercising. We want to avoid the discomfort of having to stop eating certain food to get our blood sugar under control. Like me, we want to avoid the pain of making any mistakes even though it is going to make me more knowledgeable and stronger in the long run.

I still do not like pain and I do not like to make mistakes, but through this process I am trying to retrain my mind to remember that some pain and discomfort is a part of life and is a part of living our best.

I encourage you today to identify the areas that you want to learn, grow and move forward. Then ask yourself “am I holding myself back in this area because I am trying to avoid pain or discomfort?” Remember the Hokey Pokey, it is fine to have one foot in our comfort zone, but let’s not neglect that foot outside of our comfort zone. Both play an important part in the process of moving forward!
Here’s to learning, growing, and moving forward even when it is uncomfortable.

Be Aware!

Awareness is a starting point for change. Becoming aware of our posture allows us to sit and stand taller reducing back pain. Becoming aware of how our bodies utilize the food we eat allows us to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or feel more energized. Becoming aware of our stress level and how it affects others can help us make adjustments that will benefit us and those we care about.

Doggy Love

This past week I ran around quite a bit more than usual. I accepted a job offer and suddenly found myself having a ton of things to get done before my first day of work. My daily schedule instantly had little routine and with appointments that were changed at the last-minute, my days were packed to the gills. Through all of it I knew there was some elevated stress, but I was doing pretty good, I was handling it. About half way through the week, my dog started to show symptoms of being sick, and within a few days it was apparent that I would have to get her into the vet. They checked her over and did not find anything wrong with her. Then the vet asked me if there are any major changes happening in our lives or our schedule? I shared with her that I would be starting a new job and this week had been unusually busy. She indicated that there was a good possibility that her symptoms could be related to anxiety. Suddenly I became aware of the fact that between the interview prep, interviews, waiting to hear about the job and then the sprint to get ready for starting day, my stress was elevated and this had a negative effect on my sweet dog.

It suddenly dawned on me that we all deal with stressful things on a daily and weekly basis. We deal with them as best we can, but like me, many times we forget to realize that our stress does have an impact on those around us, most importantly, the ones we love.

Becoming aware helped me in three important ways:

  1. My awareness helped me slow down, breath, and intentionally reduce my stress. I was reminded of a book a I read years ago called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, And It’s All Small Stuff. One of the things I took away from the book was that my “To Do” list will still be here tomorrow. Our chores never end and I needed to remind myself that stressing myself out and trying to get everything done was not good for anyone.
  2. My awareness prompted me to make sure I continued to prioritize those I love. The greatest gift we can give is the gift of our time. I made sure I stopped and distributed as much love as I could. Low and behold, it made me feel much better too!
  3. My awareness reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help. Many times we feel we need to take care of things ourselves, but that is a lie. There are times we simply need help. I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to ask for help.  In order for me to prioritize my most important things, I had to ask for help.

If your stress level is on the high side right now, take a moment to think about how your stress is affecting those you love. Did a late night project keep you from snuggling and tucking your kiddo into bed last night? Did your lack of rest cause you to snap at your spouse or co-worker? Are you always thinking about work, and not asked your loved ones about their day?

Life involves stress, but becoming aware of it, how it impacts our lives, and the lives of others is the first step in making a change for a better future.
Here’s to taking care of ourselves, then passing that onto others!

What’s the Big Deal About “Keeping Things Simple” These Days?

Think of some of the sweetest moments in your life. It might be a time with a loved one, or it might be a time all by yourself. As you think back to a special occasion, was it filled with busyness and chaos? Even if your special moment was in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve surrounded by people, noise and celebration, I would venture to say that the special moment you had was very sweet, and simple. In most cases, the simplest times in life are the most precious.

simple and importantI go through times in my life where my mind is filled with so many things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking about numerous things, but I have found that my mind can get consumed and start to spiral out of control. Just recently I noticed the mental clutter that was starting to accumulate in my mind. As I traveled through my day I felt weighed down by all of this “stuff” I was carrying around with me. I realized it was time, once again, to do some mental and physical housekeeping.

Here are some of the benefits I have found for keeping my life simple.

 

  • I can focus better. Our minds are very capable to working fast and furious, but they do not work well for long periods of time in that state. I find my mind spinning at times,  jumping from one area of my life to the next. I have found that I need to be very intentional about keeping the clutter out of my mind, and as I do, I am able to focus and think clearer. I have a number of friends and loved ones who have started the process of meditation to clear their minds. Every single one of them have reported positive results. I have not personally studied the practice of meditation, but I have learned techniques to clear my mind of the clutter and keep things simple. Find what works for you, but be intentional about calming your mind and you will find yourself able to focus better.

 

  • I can stay focused on the most important things. There are so many “good” things in our lives, but we want to have time and energy to focus on the “best” things. In addition, we want those “best” things to receive our best, not just our leftovers. I don’t know about you, but I do not have much leftover at the end of my day. Keeping our minds and our lives simple allows us to give our most important things the focus, time, and attention  that they deserve.

 

  • I can focus on generosity and say goodbye to some Rubbermaid totes. A few years back, I read some interesting books on the concept of minimalism. Minimalism, to me, is about getting rid of the clutter in all areas of our lives. One of  topics I learned about, that struck a chord with me, was that there are people in our community and world who cannot afford the simplest things, the things that I take for granted on a daily basis. The benefits of minimalism are numerous, but I love the fact that I can give away or donate the things that I have stashed away in Rubbermaid totes and impact lives right here and now. One example was that I had a portable room heater that was sitting in my closet not being used. When I got into this mindset of being generous to others, I decided to ask someone I knew who lived on a very low-income, if she could use the heater. To find out, she desperately needed that heater to heat part of her trailer. We simply never know how we can help others until we look at the things we are not using through a different pair of glasses. Ask yourself, could someone else benefit from this stuff that I have stored and am not using? Focusing on generosity in our lives has so many benefits.

 

  • My focus lightens my load and brings silliness back into my life. When I am bogged down with mental and physical clutter, I find myself with an intense mindset. I have to stay serious and focused to make sure I am on top of everything. When I an intentional about lightening my load in all areas of my life, I suddenly find myself more light-hearted, silly and able to have more fun. During my most recent job search, I found myself in this intense serious mindset, but at various time when I was able to chill out and let things go, I found myself more relaxed and goofy. I know it is hard in our busy lives, but life is so much more fun when our load is lifted and we can be a little silly.

There are so many benefits to keeping life simple. Our loved ones, coworkers, and even our own health will benefit from simplicity. You are needed and I know you want to be your best and give your best. Take some time today to think about one small baby step you can take to bring simplicity into your life.

Here’s to bringing some silliness into your day today!

Job update: I have been offered a job and have accepted it! I am super excited! But don’t you worry, encouraging you to Live Your Best is one of my “most important” things in life!  My “Weekly Encouragement” and blog posts will continue to be delivered to you each week!

What’s Your Speed Limit?

What is your pace of life? What pace of life stresses you out? What pace of life makes you feel great? I believe we all have a Personal Speed Limit and when we live our lives according to that speed limit we think clearer, are more productive, make fewer mistakes, feel more creative, and can live our best.

speed limit

Within the past year, I have been asking myself why I like to take things slow, steady, and methodical. Why is it that I don’t enjoy moving at a fast pace? A somewhat silly example of this is when I purchased my road bicycle this time last year. I was told that I would go so much faster on this bike and that I would love it. It’s true that I have the capability to go much faster, especially in comparison to my very heavy mountain bike, but I quickly realized I have no desire to go faster. I will never forget the first time I was able to get it out on a ride by myself. I thought to myself; I am going to go as fast and hard as I can to experience this new fast pace. What I found out was that even though I had the capability to go faster, I still did not have the desire to ride faster. I thought “this fast stuff is not what it is all cracked up to be.” I then slowed down, found a pace I enjoyed and I felt great. My speed on my bike and in my life is a slower steady speed, and since I have discovered this, my life has changed in some important ways.

  • My pace in life feels right. I have known for a while that I do not like to be rushed in the morning. When I am rushed, my stress rises, and I cannot think straight. I usually end up walking out the door without my coffee, lunch or cell phone. Ever been there? I have learned that if I get up a little earlier, give myself plenty of time for my morning routine, I start my day with much more peace and calm. Now, that is what works for me. The question is, what works for you? What makes you feel good? Do you love to hit the ground running? Do you feel energized by getting out the door quickly and on with your day? My husband gets up and is ready to go, and that’s how he loves it. When you discover your personal speed limit, it will feel right.
  • My pace in life gives me energy and does not drain me. I was just recently working in my yard and I had a good amount of work to do in a relatively short period of time. My tendency was to push myself to go faster, but the moment I did, I started to feel worn out. I decided I was going to work at my personal speed limit, which is slow and steady, and see if I could still get the task completed in the time allowed. What I found was; I got it done, felt great and had energy left over. As you try to discover your personal speed limit, try working both physically and mentally at different speeds and find what gives you energy, what feels great.
  • My pace in life allows my mind to be more creative and make fewer mistakes. I enjoy quilting. Well, certain aspects of quilting. As I was working on my most recent project, I again decided to be intentional about working at my perfect speed. I impressed myself! I felt more creative in how I was going to sew all of the pieces together and I finished it without having to use my seam ripper once. You have to realize that there have been some quilts that I have taken apart more because of my mistakes than I had sewn together. This time I worked at my perfect speed. When we work at our perfect pace, I believe our mind is working at the speed that comes natural. Therefore, we will come up with new creative ways of doing things and make fewer mistakes.
  • I have learned to love myself more, appreciate the fact that I have a Personal Speed Limit and that my pace of life is perfect for me. I used to think that I needed to be like everyone else. Certainly our culture tells us that we need to go faster and faster every day. Well, faster and faster does not work for me, in fact it just stresses me out. I have learned what pace is right for me and I have learned that my pace is what is best for my life. I have more peace, calm, creativity and energy and that is what I want for you as well.

I hope someday I can put together an assessment tool for you to be able to easily identify your Personal Speed Limit, but for now I encourage you to pay attention to the times you feel good and the times you feel stress. Ask yourself if you are moving at the Speed Limit that is best for you. Experiment, learn and start to live at the pace that is perfect for you. Here’s to living our best, going the Speed Limit!

How Do We Stay Encouraged When Change Takes Time?

You have probably heard the saying that “the best things in life are never free!” Well, I am going to change it up a little and share an additional truth.  “The best things in life take time.” Healthy relationships are grown and enriched over time. The health of our bodies requires a lifelong commitment. Financial investments take time to mature. The question is, how can we keep going for the long haul, and how can we stay encouraged?

long haul

I am shaking my head at myself as I think back to something that happened yesterday. Last week I shared in my blog that I was starting the process of looking for a full-time job in addition to my Life Coaching and writing. Over the weekend, I put my job search plan together and hit the ground running on Monday. I felt like I had a pretty productive day, both on Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday arrived with a cloud looming over my head. I woke up that morning starting to get discouraged and dead-end after dead-end that same day brought me spiraling down hill. At one point in the day, I just started to laugh at myself. I was on DAY THREE of my job search and I was already discouraged. DAY THREE!

After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked myself, what am I going to have to do to keep myself going for the long haul? How am I going to stay encouraged when the process is so long? Here are some of the things I thought about.

I had to adjust my expectation of the time it was going to take me. Going into this job search I was told that if I worked hard I might have a job in five months. Why then did I expect immediate results? Why is it that I thought it should go faster for me? I think we all fall into this trap, don’t we? We think we should be able to lose weight faster, save up money faster, quit smoking faster. Part of this comes from the fast paced and instant gratification culture that we live in. We are used to having everything right now. I had to adjust my expectation by:

  • Stepping back to reset my thinking.
  • Removing the thought that this was going to happen fast and be at peace with the fact that the process is going to take time.
  • I will have to re-commit and remind myself of this every single day.

I fell into the trap of “I will be happy when…” I don’t know how it happened, but my mind shifted to “I will be happy when I get this new job.” On day number three when I felt down in the dumps, I remembered that I want to be happy right now. Yes, I am really excited about going back to work outside of my work at home, but the only thing that was stopping me from enjoying life right now was me. That night I picked up one of my craft projects and enjoyed my evening. I guess it also goes back to my blog on the Hokey Pokey. I want to keep pushing forward with one foot out of my comfort zone, but also enjoy life while keeping one foot in my comfort zone. Have you ever fallen over while trying to dance the Hokey Pokey? Well I figuratively got off-balance this week and toppled over.

I have to do what it takes to keep myself focused on the positives. I just got off the phone with a loved one and they said to me “I am just trying to stay positive.” This is extremely important because our lives are filled with negative things. It is unfortunate that positive feedback or a complement is a rare thing in our lives. Why is it that it is so easy for coworkers, and even loved ones, to point out everything we are not getting done or not doing things in the way they want us to. I have always said that I love to encourage others because it is so rare in our world today. Let’s ask ourselves “what do I need to do to keep myself positive?”

These are just a few things to keep in mind as we tackle the big, long changes in our lives. Remember, you and I are doing great! We are running a marathon and we will get to the point where we will win the prize as we make our desired change a reality in our life. Let’s keep taking one baby step at a time, take our eyes off the road, look up to enjoy the sunshine and keep going. You can not begin to imagine how proud I am of each of you!

Here’s to the long haul!

Don’t forget this month’s Something To Look Forward To Planning Calendar! Click the image below to get your copy.

April 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar