“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” ~ LL Cool
I can hardly believe we’re at the end of 2018 and that it’s time to get ready for a new year. It’s an exciting time to create the life you want and to define your success. To that end, throughout this month I’m going to be sharing useful tips so you can make 2019 your best year yet!
It’s always good to take some time and reflect on what you did well during the last year. This is when your journal will really be helpful, because we tend to minimize or forget our wins. Or you could write a letter to yourself about the lessons you’ve learned this year.
To up your game and maintain greater focus, it’s vital to create a Master Plan to make 2019 your best year yet. I find that some of my clients get sidetracked in the minutia of life and lose sight of their bigger picture. Where can you start and what needs to be given priority?
#1 Priority – Fuel your body, mind and spirit. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you will not be able to implement the following suggestions. A successful Master Plan will make your own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness top priority. Feel free to download my 7-Point Wellness Assessment and it will help you begin creating a healthier YOU today!
#2 Priority – Make restorative sleep a priority. Your health, mental clarity and ability to be productive depend on it.
#3 Priority – Develop systems. Goals are fine, but if you want to create real change, it helps to have supportive systems in your life so that you perform important tasks automatically rather than relying solely on using willpower.
Before you proceed, please, take care of yourself with these priorities first! Then the following suggestions for developing and maintaining your focus will help you make 2019 your best year yet.
Remove distractions. Use the rest of this year to get rid of the clutter in your house, mind, desk, email inbox or schedule. This will help make room for any opportunity that arises.
Define your goals. When you define your goals according to a yearly, quarterly, monthly, and daily schedule, you’ll be less likely to lose your focus. Yes, that’s a lot of work to do before the year begins, but it’s worth it. It’s how you connect each day’s activities to your significant life goals.
Divide each goal into small tasks. Do you find yourself saying, “Where do I start?” “If” and “then” are small words, but they are indispensable tools in your productivity arsenal. Ask yourself, “If I want to accomplish my big goal Z, then what absolutely has to happen? If I want to work on Y, then I need to finish S, T, U, V, and W.” Baby steps and microhabits are your best friends for making progress.
Work on hard things when you’re fresh and energized. Days can pass without accomplishing much toward your big goals, if you don’t learn to work to your strengths. Whether you’re a morning person or not, be selfish and keep the first hour of the day for yourself. Start with something that gives you an immediate win, like meditation, exercise and setting your intentions for the day. As you’re feeling confident and centered, you can turn to working on the hardest project of the day. Leave running errands and repetitive tasks for lower-energy moments.
Create and stick to your boundaries. Especially if you work at home, you’ll benefit from creating boundaries about when you answer emails, the phone, the doorbell or when your family can interrupt you. I like this reminder from Steve Jobs:
“Focusing is about saying No.”
Hold breaks as sacred. Under Oregon law, the typical adult employee who work eight hours must receive at least a 30-minute meal period and two ten-minute rest breaks. Yet many people who work for themselves will not treat themselves that kindly. They push until late at night, skip meals, and work through break times. And their bodies hurt! It’s time to listen to your body and heal yourself from that abuse.
Reward yourself. Celebrate every small or big win each day. Get up and dance, grab a latte, cuddle your cat, buy a flower. Make each win memorable, because that’s how you’re going to know at the end of the year that you really did make 2019 your best year yet!
If you’re tired of going it alone and are looking for an accountability partner, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s work through the rough patches so you can make 2019 your best year yet!
“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” – Rachel Naomi Remen
This time of year can be so stressful. Dark winter days, end of year demands, and celebrations with family who delight in pushing your buttons can all add up to unwanted stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can learn how to understand, manage and take control of what pushes your buttons.
In the English language, there are so many ways to express how people set off your emotional triggers – pushing your buttons, getting your goat, rattling your cage, yanking your chain, throwing you off your game. And therein lies the truth of the whole matter…when you react badly to an event, it is common to blame the event or other person for your emotional reaction. “He makes me mad. She upset me. If that hadn’t happened…I wouldn’t have…”
While it may feel good to blame someone else, you’re cheating yourself of an opportunity to get to know yourself better and to change any behavior that is no longer serving you. When you think about it, this is tremendous. You have the power to turn off all of those buttons or emotional triggers. However, it will take a great deal of mindful effort to discover your untapped pools of inner strength and courage.
Emotional triggers are a manifestation of your own beliefs, feelings or views. That’s why my emotional triggers are different from what pushes your buttons. Yes, I still have some! Common ones revolve around:
- Disrespecting personal space
- False accusation
- Being interrupted
- Being ignored
We all have emotional triggers. You do and so do the people you encounter. It’s vital to be accepting of this fact. It doesn’t work to expect perfection from ourselves or others.
An emotional trigger is an experience that draws you back into the past and causes old feelings and behaviors to surface. For example, there may have been a time you were required to do something you didn’t want to do, but were forced to do it by an authority figure. Or you may have lacked confidence, so you couldn’t say “No!” Now when you hear a demand, it triggers an unfavorable emotional response, even if it’s really just a poorly worded request.
How you think of yourself on the inside dictates how you behave and are perceived on the outside. Your unwanted emotional reactions can make you think that you’re weak and hopeless. But that isn’t the case at all!
When your buttons have been pushed and you feel yourself losing control, take a deep breath and mindfully let your mind sort through the event to see what’s really bothering you and what belief you can change to regain your emotional control.
Examine the situation that triggers your emotional reaction. You have three options for dealing with it: change the situation; change how you think and feel about the situation; or remove yourself from the situation.
Maybe you’re not in a position to immediately examine your emotions. What can you do then? Before the day ends, go to a quiet place and reflect on the episode. You might even want to journal about it, to gain the greatest clarity. Don’t edit yourself as you write. Just pour it all out. This will be most revealing. You’ll also have a written record that allows you to track behaviors or habits that you want to change.
When you know you have an emotional trigger, don’t avoid it; challenge yourself and keep trying to manage it. Plan how you’ll respond next time. “If Situation B arises I will do XYZ. This course of action supports my need to have a choice and be appreciated!”
Of course, you’ll want to be loving, kind and patient with yourself as you peel back your emotional layers. It will take time to make adjustments to your beliefs, feelings and values. Work at building a strong foundation of mental energy and physical wellness, as well as a supportive network of people; then you’ll be able to unplug those emotional triggers and turn off what pushes your buttons.
I’d love to be part of your supportive network. It’s one of my life’s pleasures to use Somatic Coaching to help my clients gain emotional freedom and reach their fullest potential in life. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
How much would you pay for a tool that changes your day? You could live anywhere in the world and use this tool to turn a gloomy day into a bright cheery day; you could combat illness and make yourself healthier; and you could even change your brain, so you gracefully cope with any distressing event. Guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor; you already own this amazing tool. It’s the power of gratitude.
To illustrate how the power of gratitude works, try to put yourself in the following story and feel what Meg feels.
Monday morning Meg wakes up early to get to her new gym class on time. It’s not easy, but she’s happy, because she’s determined to honor her promise to protect her health. As she enters her garage, she sees the car has a flat tire. Not only that, she discovers that her son left the lights on and the door ajar, so the battery is dead.
Meg’s good mood disappears. She won’t make it to the gym. As she thinks about calling Triple A for assistance, she gets very angry with her son. He’s ruined her day. She’s not even going to make it to work on time. She slams her coffee mug on the counter and sprays coffee on her coat. Great! Can anything else go wrong? Yes. While she was preoccupied, her favorite cat, which just had surgery, slips outside.
My guess is she, and you, are feeling pretty stressed right now. It’s human nature to dwell on negatives and to what you don’t have. But when you take your focus off these things and zoom out, so you’re noticing your life from bird’s eye view, you’ll feel a shift occur.
In your imagination, zoom out so you see your house on your street – see the trees, the road, the stop sign, and the neighbors’ houses. Zoom out further and see your house nestled in your city block. Zoom out still further and see it within your city. Now return to the story. Let’s see how the power of gratitude can change your feelings toward “your son.”
As you look down on the garage, you notice the tree he helped plant in your pretty garden. Yes, your son made a mistake, but at least he’s not battling leukemia like the young man down the block, and he’s not on drugs like the boy across town. In fact, he’s a really good kid. And you start to feel grateful that he is such a good kid.
At the very moment you soften and feel gratitude, your breathing and heart rate slows. You notice tension in your shoulders, and you shrug it out. You start noticing how nice and warm your home is; how beautifully the sun glistens off the early morning frost; how lucky you are to have a family that loves you.
It’s not just a coincidence that gratitude creates such a profound shift. From this highly condensed story, we can identify how the power of gratitude works. (In real life, the process may not occur so quickly.)
Gratitude makes you present in the moment. Rather than becoming stuck on “the disasters” you aren’t afraid to take a step back and see the bird’s eye view of your life. Why? Because, on a deep level, you already know for a certainty that there’s an abundance of goodness in your life that you can rely on.
Gratitude makes you aware of your body sensations. You don’t notice how tense you become during the crisis, but feeling gratitude brings awareness and allows you to let it go.
Gratitude makes you see what you do have. The negative event is crowded out by the thought, “He’s a really good kid.” No matter what’s happening in your life, it’s not as bad as someone else. As you become aware of other less fortunate people, you’ll feel a deeper appreciation for what you do have.
Gratitude makes you content with what you have. Feeling grateful feels like you’re giving yourself a giant hug. You love your life and everything about it. No doubt, there may be things that you’ll change in the future, but for today, what you have is enough to fill you with satisfaction, joy and well-being.
Gratitude is contagious. Being grateful has the power to block out negativity. You can’t pay attention to what’s missing or what’s not going well, if you mindfully focus on what is. Since the Thanksgiving holiday is here, why not come over to my Facebook page and let’s spread the power of gratitude. Please share with me: What are you grateful for today?
Read other articles on gratitude:
Choosing Gratitude – The Recipe for a Happier, More Meaningful Life
Amplify Your Attitude of Gratitude – The Secret to Lasting Transformation
Practice Gratitude and You’ll Feel Rich Beyond Measure
Rewire Your Brain by Taking in the Good and Savoring the Moment
Lynne Goldberg’s Story on Gratitude
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
For years, we’ve heard advertisements for apps like Lumosity that work to improve your neuroplasticity. But what exactly is neuroplasticity, and how can you use neuroplastic healing to achieve optimal health and well-being?
According the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, Neural plasticity (also called neuroplasticity or neuronal plasticity)…
“can be defined as the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to adapt in response to changes in the environment or lesions. This property of the CNS may involve modifications in overall cognitive strategies to successfully cope with new challenges (i.e., attention, behavioral compensation), recruitment of new/different neural networks, or changes in strength of such connections or specific brain areas in charge of carrying out a particular task (i.e., movement, language, vision, hearing).”
Did you notice the words I highlighted in bold type? They show that just as plastic is flexible, your brain and nervous system is flexible too. If it wasn’t, you couldn’t learn a new skill. In a nutshell – when you mindfully make healthy, new connections between the neurons in your brain, which result in greater well-being, you’re taking advantage of neuroplastic healing. If one brain circuitry isn’t working properly, you can often consciously train a different brain circuit to work around the broken one.
Another way of explaining neuroplasticity is to think of it as rewiring your brain. Take for example deeply ingrained habits. They literally form pathways in your brain, however you can mindfully disrupt these and reroute to create a new pathway towards a better habit. It takes time to form these new paths; that’s why using microhabits can be so useful.
Problems may arise because of inflammation, toxicity or genetic abnormalities at a cellular level. Brain circuits may die, become dormant or fire at irregular rates. Other circuits may become overactive. If your system has gone haywire because of illness, stress, trauma or unhealthy choices, your whole body-mind-spirit wellness will suffer.
Since your nervous system physiology is directed connected to your neuroplasticity, it’s important to keep your nervous system healthy. Read through the following list of how a person benefits from a healthy system. Then use this information to determine where neuroplastic healing may help you obtain your optimal state of well-being.
People who are out of balance and need neuroplastic healing often react to life’s challenges in one of two ways:
- They either live in the survival mode of fight/ flight response that pumps adrenaline and cortisol throughout their system all day long.
- They freeze up, shut down, tune out or numb themselves so they feel nothing.
When you work at restoring total body-mind-spirit wellness via somatic coaching, you create a foundation for neuroplastic healing. Then the above-mentioned benefits will become part of your life naturally. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
Will you be disappointed, if the next time you’re sick, you go to the doctor’s office and you aren’t given a prescription for medication? Sadly, we live in a culture that, when we feel bad, we want to get instant results from popping a pill. While there’s a place for medication, much of today’s ills are a result of the lifestyle we live, whether by choice or circumstance. The good news is that you can learn to heal yourself of many of the emotional, spiritual and physical ills that today’s stressful society puts upon you.
If you want to heal yourself, you have to be willing to do the work, because no one can do it for you. It’s up to you to learn what foods are nutritious and good for your body; what exercise is fun and sustainable for you; what information feeds and builds up your mind and spirit. When you learn to connect with your own body’s inner wisdom, you’ll be able to support a lasting healing process from within.
Healing is deeply connected with learning.
Recently, I was interviewed by Rachel Stewart on her Pieces of Grit Podcast, and I shared with her why I love Somatic Coaching. It’s a coaching philosophy that moves the sectors of learning out of the head and into the whole body, which allows you to connect with something bigger than yourself, something spiritual. (You can listen to this lovely interview with Rachel Stewart on iTunes or on Rachel’s Website, or on her Pieces of Grit Library website.)
Never before in history have we had so much information available to us. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people saying, “this is the right way to live” or “that’s the wrong way to live”. However, because you are the only one who will live your life, I believe it’s up to you to choose your individual path, which makes you feel whole and healthy.
The reality is that people today, women especially, have been socialized to be less than what we are capable of being. We’re so much a product of our background and family experience, which may put unnecessary limits on us. Past traumatic events shape behavioral patterns and physiological reactions that we accept as normal, but our bodies show us how they’re damaging us instead.
When you choose to take in the right information for yourself, you can begin to heal. The more you learn the more you heal. The learning and healing journey are unique to each person. Don’t be afraid of it. I encourage you to embrace it as a way of growing.
Healing yourself involves learning to interpret what you’re given. All of the feedback you get from “your circle of influence” or “your tribe” gives you insight and fuel that gets you to the next stage in your development as a human being.
I like to think of our daily choices in terms of adjusting our dials.
We have different dials – family life, career, physical well-being, spirituality, recreation, etc. For example, some days we dial up career activities, while dialing down recreation; other days we dial down career and dial up family or exercise. Learn to suspend judgment as you mindfully create greater awareness of the dials that are important to you. (My free 7-Point Wellness Assessment is a great tool for doing this.) Then you can use any feedback you get, as a means of gauging if your dials are adjusted properly for the present moment.
Learn to relate to the people around you and your environment with curiosity, an open mind and healthy action, instead of a self-limiting emotional reaction. Would you like to become more mindfully aware of how to identify and interpret emotions and body sensations, so you can adapt or respond in more positive ways? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Each step toward making positive choices is a way of learning how to heal yourself from within.