Well, here we are wrapping up the end to another year and today also happens to be my birthday. As I reflect upon the 2019 I can say I have definitely learned a lot about myself, becoming more clear on who I am, what I want for myself, and what I need to work on. This is the time of year when everyone starts considering resolutions to do or stop doing something for the near year. I prefer to set goals throughout the year instead of just proclaiming a resolution where I am no longer going to continue a bad habit or start a good one. The true success behind accomplishing the desire is the game plan and action behind it but most of all, making it believable and achievable in your mind.
To state your are going to lose 50 pounds or quit smoking is a big commitment right out the gate. I find setting small goals is the best way to find bigger success. Maybe set your goal to lose 6 pounds by Valentines Day and another 4 by St. Patrick’s Day. So by mid-March you are already 10 pounds down! If you want to quit smoking just steadily cut back when and where you smoke. Be realistic so you can stick with it, for example, if you want to drink more water and you barely drink one bottle of water a day now…then you probably will not be able to go straight into drinking 7 bottles of water daily and sticking with it long term. Actually, I highly recommend habit stacking when setting a goal like increasing water intake. I always drink a bottle of water when I first get up in the morning (I have it by my bedside ready) and then another on my drive to work. Usually I drink another on the commute home as well, so that is a guaranteed 3 bottles that I just associate with other activities I am already doing. I have done it for so long that I just automatically have a bottle by my bedside and always grab one when I head out to my car to drive anywhere. Habit stacking is one of the best tools I have found for building productive morning and evening routines. I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear to learn more.
Too often I see people looking for the quick and easy way to success only to end up with more problems than anticipated. I have a friend who has been on prescription sleep aids for over 30 years and the side effects of those medications are not good. When I ask him what else he has tried to help the situation I realize it isn’t much, he has just chose to take the pill because it’s easy. The real work is in the healthy option which would mean, cutting back on alcohol, losing weight, exercising more, removing the electronics from your bedroom, having a healthier night-time routine and not eating or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime. The easy button is not usually the best way. How bad do you want it? What would your life look like when you do accomplish this goal? Being able to fully imagine and believe the positive affects of the success in your life is helpful when trying to stick to the steps of a goal. However, we are all human and setbacks will occur.
Be gentle with yourself and understand that change is not an overnight occurrence. It takes time to build good, healthy habits and routines. You may start off determined and strong for a month and then have a whole week where you are tired and just don’t care. Instead of beating yourself up over that one week and giving up, get back on it and start again. If you continue to do well three weeks at a time and fall off on the fourth, I promise at the end of the year you will still be better off than where you started. Our whole lives we have been falling and getting back up again, why is it acceptable for children but not adults? We are all experiencing each new day for the first time. I have never been 42 before! I am navigating my life at 42 years old for the first time today and I can promise you I will probably fuck something up! Hahaha! So give yourself grace and learn to laugh at the learning process, but never give up and never stop setting goals to better yourself.
With love, health, and happiness for the new year,
The focus wheel is a method created by Abraham Hicks that is designed to help an individual focus on a desire and get into alignment with that desire through asking, believing, and receiving. This focus wheel helps us with the believing part of the process. Often, it is easy for us to know what we want and ask for it but believing it is already ours is hard when we can’t see the physical manifestation of it in front of us. We often ask…how can we truly believe it if we can’t see it? This is where having faith in the process needs work. Trust that your source knows exactly what you desire and all you have to do is believe.
Start by writing your desire in the center of the wheel. Then in each spoke of the wheel write down a positive statement that helps you come closer to believing the manifestation of your desire is possible.
For example: My desire is to have a successful career but with finals and a new semester starting soon I feel some doubt and fear creep in. The wheel I have provided has 12 spokes, so lets list twelve different statements that help me believe I have the successful career already in my grasp.
- I am currently working on my graduate degree and making a 4.0.
- I am already working at a private practice similar to the one I hope to have for myself.
- I listen to audio books and pod casts to increase my knowledge in my field.
- I am seeking education and training in other modalities to add to my practice.
- I have a true passion for the field I am working in.
- I am learning something new about myself each day that helps me grow as a therapist.
- I am collaborating with others in my field.
- I have created goals in other areas of my life and have successfully accomplished them.
- I am a strong person who does not give up easily.
- I am already successful in other areas of my life.
- I have great support through family and friends.
- I know I am on the right path because I feel in alignment and like I can do it for hours when I am doing something related to my career goals.
These statements help bring me into alignment with my desire and help me see that I am on the right path. I don’t have to have all the answers of when, where, and how but I know I am heading in the right direction. This eases the worry and doubts that may creep in and take me off course when I am having a rough day. The focus wheel is a great tool to help you refocus on the true desire and not all the negative road blocks that can take you off course. Keep your eye on the prize!
With love, health, and happiness,
It is a good time of year to evaluate your individual wellness as the end of the year approaches and we are often in the mindset of “a new year, a new you” and new years resolutions. In review of personal wellness I often use a wellness wheel to review the main categories of my life. The exercise asks you to rank each area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very weak and unsatisfying and 10 being very strong and satisfying.
- Physical: Ask yourself how you are in the physical aspects of your life. This is a popular area for people to choose to work on when it comes to resolutions. This is proven by the major increase of gym memberships around the first of each year. However, physical is not just about getting in shape at the gym, it can also mean just taking time to stretch, or even get an annual physical with your doctor, an eye exam, dental checkup or skin evaluation.
- Environmental: Are you spending time outside in the sun and fresh air? Are you connecting with nature in some way? Are you taking care of the planet by recycling, picking up trash, or even planting a garden or trees? Research shows, connecting with your environment has positive affects on our health.
- Occupational: How do you feel in your job or career? Are you feeling burned out? Do you need a new perspective on your job, are you thankful for your job, have you been doing your best in your career? Do you need a change and want to quit and start your own business or go back to school? Are you financially stable with your job and does it support you with insurance benefits and/or a retirement? Be honest with yourself and address your fears and how you can improve in your job status.
- Intellectual: Do you read, listen to audio books, listen to pod casts, have a mentor, have a library card, watch documentaries or attempt to learn through movies, videos, YouTube, Ted talks, seminars, or any other method that helps you in your personal growth? You should be attempting to learn something new, no matter how small, every day.
- Emotional: Where is your emotional maturity? Are you capable of understanding and expressing your thoughts and feelings in your relationships? Are you struggling with certain areas and feel excessive anger, sadness or other emotions? Do you hold back emotions and shut down in order to avoid the pain? Counseling, prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are all great ways to understanding and managing your emotions better.
- Social: Are you a social person? Do you have time to spend with friends and family outside of special occasions? Making time for a simple coffee with a friend or even just a weekly phone call to talk to your mother can make a big difference. Studies show, having good social connections each week are important to our mental and physical health.
- Spiritual: Do you make time to have a deeper relationship with yourself to explore your own thoughts, perceptions, morals, values, and beliefs? Do you research and explore different belief systems and areas of life to make your own decisions on what you believe? Do you make time to regularly practice your beliefs and find that peace and connection with your source?
As you evaluate each area of your life and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 and ask yourself what you could be doing to make each area better. This process can help you narrow down what areas of your life might need a little extra attention. Then, you can set some goals and take steps to work on improving. Finding balance in all of these areas will most definitely lead you to a healthier and happier life.
With love, health, and happiness,
As we move through life and get older we often encounter relationships and experiences that leave a mark on us. Unfortunately, the marks left and most memorable seem to be the negative ones. Often we replay conversations in our heads and think about how we should have handled things differently or said something different in those moments or maybe you feel you should not have said anything and just walked away. Maybe you made bad choices and those stay in your mind overriding any good choices you might have made along the way. The truth is, we are all our own worst critic and we tend to be much harder on ourselves than anyone else would be.
Holding on to those negative experiences and choices from the past and replaying them in your head only builds the negativity within your mind, body, and soul and can only lead to increased stress and even illness. It is important to find a way to accept the past for what it is, take away any lesson or growth opportunity that you can apply in the future and fully let go of all the other nonsense that plays on repeat. Holding on to past negativity can poison your future if you hold on to it, especially if you take the negativity from old relationships into your new ones. This is why it is so important to give yourself time to grieve and heal from a broken relationship before moving on to a new one.
Letting go is a conscious choice and not always an easy one. Ruminating over past incidents that may have hurt or angered you is part of the healing process in order for your mind to try and make sense of the pain you are feeling. After a period of time the ruminating no longer serves as part of the healing process and becomes unhealthy. Letting go is necessary and requires just admitting to yourself that you may never fully understand why things happened the way they did. You may never understand the mind of another person and trying to will only create more struggle and hurt. Each day is a new day and a chance to choose differently about how you feel and what you choose to think about. Why choose negativity when you can choose something positive?
Science has shown where you focus in the mind is what will manifest in your life. Here are some ways to shift from the negative to a more positive thought process…
- Write your new story focusing on how you want things to be when you are living your best life.
- Create a vision board on Pinterest of all the things you love and places you want to travel.
- Make a goals list of long and short term goals.
- Create a focus wheel.
- Write a list of positive affirmations.
- Go for a walk or hike in nature.
- Spend time with your pets.
- Take a yoga class that involves meditation.
- Invite friends to breakfast instead of dinner to start your day positive.
- Learn to cook something new.
- Get a massage.
- Take a bubble bath while listening to a positive audio book or pod cast.
- Plan a trip, even if its just a weekend road trip.
- Go to your place of spiritual connection, church, or nature…wherever you feel most connected to God or your source of love.
- Smile more throughout your day and be nice to strangers you encounter.
- Learn something new or start a new hobby.
These are just a few things that can inspire and motivate to stay in a positive frame of mind and not get stuck on that hamster wheel of negative thinking. I have practiced enough I will only speak positive over the people who have hurt me in my past if they come up in conversation. I refuse to relive that part of my life and I sincerely pray for them to find a better way of living as well. The laws of the universe will only bring those negative thoughts, words, or feelings back around to you eventually anyway. So train yourself to choose to look for the positive and focus there, research shows, just 17 seconds of focus on something positive can shift your whole day. If you start making a habit to catch yourself when your words, thoughts, or actions are becoming negative you can make a shift. Move yourself to a positive exercise or just go general if being positive seems too frustrating in the moment. Pause and allow yourself to become hyper aware of your surroundings and how your body feels, what thoughts are flowing through your mind? Self-awareness is the key to changing the negative thought patterns and refocusing on the positive. It takes practice but it will be life changing.
With love, health, happiness,