Farewell to 2016: A time for introspection

self esteem

Ahhh, It’s the winter solstice; the longest night of the year. Traditionally, this time of year is associated with introspection and rebirth.

As 2016 comes to a close, let’s look back at how we grew throughout the past year.

What did 2016 represent to you on your path?

Was it a struggle? Maybe yours was uplifting and encouraging.

What did you learn about yourself in 2016?

Maybe you realized you’re an empath. Maybe you finally realized and accepted that you’re a little selfish.

What do you need to forgive yourself for?

These could be things you did directly or things you allowed to happen through silence.

When did you feel most alive this past year?

What were you doing? Who were you with? What was sacred about it?

What are you passionate about?

Animal rights? Childhood obesity? Literacy? Social justice? Human rights? Women’s rights? Homelessness? Veteran’s Affairs? The arts? The elderly? LGBT causes? (I could literally go on forever with examples).

What are you doing to pursue your passion?

Maybe you can find a way to make it your career, find an organization already working in that area to volunteer with or to donate money (no use re-inventing the wheel if you don’t have to). Or maybe it’s a regular hobby. You could also write big posts trying to educate others and spread your passion.

Are you happy with where you are in life right now?

What parts of your life are going well? (GREAT! Do more of that!) What could be improved? Time management? Better diet? Increased physical activity? Do you have the right amount and the right types of friends? How is your job? How is your sleep? How is your sex life?

Who and what are weighing you down that you need to get rid of AND how will you do it?

Are there toxic people who make you feel lonely or shitty? How does your boss make you feel? Are you spending too much money?

What self care actions can you practice on a daily basis in 2016?

Being more social? Being less social? Getting more sleep? Massage? Yoga? Meditation? Therapy? Eating better? Swimming? Bubble baths? Pleasure reading?

What do you want to let go of in 2016?

Self doubt, fear, self criticism, shame?

To what do you want to dedicate 2017?

Independence, artistic pursuits, self acceptance?

And finally, what is your plan for achieving your 2017 goals?

If you are at a loss for how transform your life and your relationships, I can help and this is a perfect time of year for this project. Call or text me.

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3 Reasons your resolutions fail

self esteem

It is New Year resolution time again.

That magical time of year when we are so hopeful because it is a new day, a new week, a new month, and a new year all at the same time!

We really want to make changes in our lives and yet it is so hard. I want my life to change and yet, change is hard work.

There are 3 major reasons why gyms are packed in January but not in March.

1. We make goals for things that we do not even want to do in the first place. I mean, let’s face it…if we wanted to do these things…we would.

  • Lose weight

  • Exercise more

  • Get out of debt

  • Quit smoking

  • Spend more time with family

2. We make the goal too big with no smaller steps built in to help us see our progress. This is the primary reason we get overwhelmed and quit. Instead of developing a plan to lose 2-3 pounds a week, we say we want to lose 50 pounds and throw all of our food away except the lettuce.

3. We do not reward ourselves with little treats along the way to keep ourselves motivated.

For example, maybe you purchase that book you have been wanting when you lose your first 5 pounds.

Before you set your goal for the new year…ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. How important is the end result to you?

2. Do you actually believe in your ability to achieve your goal?

3. Do you have an accountability partner?

If the end result is not that important to you, it will be hard to stay on track. Then, when you fail not only did you not reach your goal, but you add guilt and a feeling of resignation to something you did not even want to do. Yet, people make these goals every January.

And, this probably goes without saying, but if you do not believe the goal is within your ability to grasp then you are not going to try very hard and you will not be surprised when you fail. Then you can tell your partner, your family, or your friends: “See. I told you I couldn’t do it”.

Lastly, research shows that we are better able to stick to our goals if we have made a promise to someone or have a person who is aware of our goal and is checking in with you on your progress. This person could even be the keeper of the rewards

Once you decide that you really want the end result more than you want what you have now, you believe you can actually do it, and have an idea of someone who make a good accountability partner it is finally time to make goals or resolutions that you can achieve.

How to develop SMART goals:

The goals are:

S specific

M measurable

A achievable

R realistic

T time-sensitive

So the, “I want to lose 50 pounds” goal becomes: “I will lose 2-3 pounds per week by July 1st.”

Other examples include:

  • I will put $5 in a savings account (or a cookie jar) every Friday for 3 months.

  • I will walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next month.

  • I will limit myself to one chocolate bar (or one sugary drink) per week for the next month.

By setting smaller, time-sensitive goals it gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you complete the goal and it helps you develop your ability to believe in yourself. As you develop your belief in your own abilities, you are more likely to make goals in the future and actually stick with them to completion.

Also, be careful not to take on too many goals at once. Radical change usually does not lead to lasting success. Just pick one goal at a time.

When you have completed your goal, you can decide whether to set a different goal or begin the completed one again. For example, you could continue going to the gym for another month, or you could turn your attention to another goal which is important to you.

Caregiver stress

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Caring for others can be stressful. Whether we are caring for children:

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Or aging parents (and grandparents):

 

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Or a mentally ill or disabled family member:

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It sometimes feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. And, despite our best intentions we get worn down by our responsibilities and we find ourselves getting annoyed with those we are caring for.  Then we feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed for being angry with people we love. 

I am here to tell you that you are not alone. An estimated 65 million people are caregivers to mentally ill or developmentally delayed family members in the USA alone. And there is hope. 

  • Learn what resources are available to you. There could be respite services available through your county or day care facilities.
  • Regardless of which age group you are caring for, get some education regarding developmental expectations, or in the case of mental illness, learning which symptoms to expect can help relieve your stress.
  • Self-care is hugely important. Do something everyday just for yourself. Get a massage or go for a walk, or take a hot bath, read a book, watch one favorite tv show or movie, go out for a meal, etc.
  • Be realistic in your expectations and have small goals.
  • Support groups are wonderful. They provide you with others who can truly “get” what you are going through and you will feel less isolated.
  • In some cases, short-term therapy can be beneficial, either for yourself or for your family. Short-term therapy can help you get a handle on your emotions, help you develop realistic goals, and help you develop healthy boundaries.

I am Walter Mitty.

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I admit it, I daydream. Secretly I think we all daydream…and daydreams fascinate me. There is a quote which goes something like, “If you want to know where your heart lies, look where your mind wanders”.

Some of us daydream of being ridiculously wealthy or a hero of some sort. Some of us day dream of being super strong or incredibly important. For some it’s having the ideal body or being beautiful beyond our competition. The list of what we daydream about could go on forever…but for most of us, there is theme…something all of our daydreams have in common. Strength, beauty, power, acceptance, and wealth. Wow…to have all of those traits…and in our daydreams we can.

Some of the lucky few even get to realize and fulfill their daydreams. But too many settle for the daydream and lead unfulfilled lives. With a little encouragement and a game plan, many of us can reach our dreams.

Can I help you become a race car driver? Maybe not…but MAYBE! Your dream is worth pursuing. YOU ARE WORTH PURSUING! Daydreams can be analyzed just as our sleeping dreams can be analyzed. Let me help you reach your personal brass ring.

No, I may not be Danny Kaye or Ben Stiller, but I can sure daydream like them 🙂 I am Walter Mitty