Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook

Category: Change Your Life

Your Best Year Yet? How Can It Be, When Others Are Suffering?

Could you still make 2020 your best year yet? It’s possible! Even if you feel stuck, unmotivated or too guilty to strive for a better life, consider this...“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Francis of Assisi

We all started this year with a lot of optimism for the months to come. We were feeling inspired to make changes and improve some things. You were DETERMINED to have your BEST YEAR yet! Even if you knew that after a few months your drive was going to diminish, you had a backup plan for getting going again. And then things got ugly…

No one was prepared for the kind of changes 2020 has been bringing us…so much loss, so much pain. If you’re someone who is suffering, I grieve with you. And I want to encourage you to hold on and hope for better things, because they will come.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve written off the possibility for making this year “your best year yet”. Some clients have expressed that they feel stuck because they feel too guilty to strive for a better life, while so many other people are suffering. What’s the sense of working on a new routine, when the future is so uncertain?

Or perhaps your world has turned upside down, because the changing circumstances have revealed a new passion for you, so that you need to pivot to a new direction and you’re at a loss to know what to do next.

It is NOT an insensitive act of disrespect or selfishness to continue your personal and professional growth, when others are suffering. It’s actually a beacon for them that they, too, can hope for better times. That they can rise above their present circumstances and know that tomorrow will bring new opportunities. When you show that it’s possible to grow during these challenging times, you lead the way for others to do the same. It’s as Henry Ford said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Since we’re half way through the year, it’s time to bring out my 10 go-to techniques for building your best year yet…

1. Deal first with what is in front of you — this is vital because we can get caught up in supposing and worrying about “what ifs”. They’re not real until they happen. And most likely they won’t happen, if you deal successfully with what’s in front of you. Don’t borrow trouble…identify what IS and leave off jumping to conclusions, imputing wrong motives or reading too much into a situation.

2. Double up on self-care — this cannot be confused with self-indulgence because it takes discipline to do what’s best for YOU and others.  Real self-care requires mental toughness and a deep understanding of what really matters.

3. Make small, but consistent, changes — this proves you’re undeniably capable of making improvements, giving you confidence and motivation to keep working toward your big dream.

4. Revisit the original goal altogether: it might not be relevant anymore — this is important since the world around you is changing, and your WHY might change along with it. You might need to refine your goals to make them fit the present circumstances.

5. Assess your skills and close the gaps — this taps into your resourcefulness, because you are capable of doing anything you want, either by learning a new skill or delegating a task to someone else.

6. Of course, breathe, and look ahead — this is a way to quiet your life so you can meditatively and mindfully “hear” what your body is telling you about the choices you’re making right now. 

7. Connect with helpful friends, mentors, allies, supporters — this need has been highlighted, since we have less structure in our days due to social isolation. It’s easy to give in to temptations to stay in pajamas all day, eat more junk food, binge on TV, etc. We make an extra effort when we know we’re being held accountable.

8. Always acknowledge even the smallest progress — this gives you PROOF that you are growing and will keep you motivated.

9. Focus on nurturing a growth mindset, not on resolutions — this works because you engage your innate capability to change and develop whatever skills are needed, making you flexible and resilient enough to try Plan B, C, D, all the way to Z, when Plan A doesn’t work.

10. Plan for days you miss the mark — this is part of life, so embrace “failures,” mistakes, or setbacks as your body and mind’s way of saying it needs time to regroup. It’s never a failure. I don’t believe in failure. It’s a learning experience. It’s a lesson. It’s not a reason to quit. It’s a time to mindfully reflect, re-center and restore your energy.

To successfully inspire any kind of lasting change takes building a structure that support your habits, rituals, and routines. If you’d like some help in creating sustainable structure in your life, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation by phone or via Skype. I’ll help you find internal and external resources for building your best year yet.

Change Your Thinking: 30 Ways to Make the World a Better Place

As you change your thinking, your life will change and the quality of our world will be improved because each of us will model the behavior we want to see.“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” ~ Aldous Huxley

The recent tragedy and the resulting protests across the world have made all of us think about how we can be a force for good in the world, not passively turning a blind eye or actively adding to the sorrows. I believe the solution lies in this: if you want to change the world, change your thinking.

Wouldn’t you agree that the quality of your life depends on YOUR attitude — the way you think about your life? It’s not dependent on your circumstances, who you’re with, or what you have. People can have it all and still be miserable. People can have so little and be joyful.

The quality of our world will be improved by each of us modeling the behavior we want to see. What qualities do you want to experience more fully?

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Become The Observer of Your Life, Then Lasting Change Will Follow

Like an artist, you can become The Observer in your life, to mindfully acknowledge each “brush stroke” as it transforms your “canvas”, your life.

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

How observant are you? If I asked you to identify the colors in a picture of a forest, no doubt you would say green, brown, and maybe some yellow. But an artist closely inspects each area for color or hue; she also sees the variances of shade (black added to the hue), tone (gray added to the hue) and tint (white added to the hue). Not only that, she detects the differences in intensity and value. Before the painting is done, the artist will have mixed hundreds of different combinations of paint, each one intentionally performing a specific function on the canvas.

Likewise, I encourage you to become The Observer of your own life and mindfully acknowledge each “brush stroke” that is transforming your “canvas”, your life. You get to choose. Or as I often share with my clients a quote from Pema Chödrön, “You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” Conditions and circumstances, like the weather, come and go. You get to decide what stays permanently.

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Coaching Vs Therapy: Know What Option Is Best for You!

s coaching vs therapy the right option for you? Learn how to make the best decision for you and how you ensure you benefit fully from the choice you make.We are interdependent beings; we can’t go it alone. So, it’s only natural that we highly value having someone who allows us to freely express our feelings and thoughts, without judging us. Too often, we hold back, because we have to be careful about what we reveal and to whom. For example, you probably don’t want to discuss your love life with your business partner, nor discuss a business option with your mother. There are definitely times when reaching out to an impartial, objective professional can be very helpful.  

I’m so happy to see more people taking advantage of this invaluable resource for bettering their lives. That’s a courageous step! However, hiring someone to help you get past your comfort zone or mental and emotional roadblocks is a highly personal choice, and it can be overwhelming. When you start looking for someone who can actually help, you’ll find a wide array of life coaches, business coaches, executive coaches, counselors, therapists, psychotherapists, mentors, consultants, and the list goes on. Some are licensed and regulated by the state, others are not.

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Pain Changes People — How to Ensure It Changes You for the Better

Pain changes people. Break the cycle of fear, inactivity, misery, and pain by somatically improving the mind, body connection, which alters your pain level.“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran

Do you think pain changes people? If you’ve ever been to a doctor and had to describe your pain, you know how isolating pain can be. “Where does it hurt? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate it?” After these questions, the doctors think they know what you’re feeling, but do they really? Even your friends and family can become impatient with your pain and just want you to “learn to live with it.” It’s no wonder pain changes people!

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Professional Certified Coach by International Coach Federation