Maria Connolly, LPC

Tag: Habits and Routines

The ABC’s of a Life Vision: from Dreaming to Achieving

You can use these same 6 specific steps that I consistently use to turn my dreams and life vision into an exception life – I call them my Life Vision ABC’s.“Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” ~ Jonathan Swift

Have you ever been encouraged to put your dreams “out there” and let the Universe bring them to you? That’s a common coaching practice today. While I agree there are benefits from positive thinking, achieving your life vision is not as simple as waiting for someone or something else to deliver your dreams to you on a platter.

We can’t expect things to just happen without us having to do any hard emotional or physical work to get it. Where is the self-satisfaction and self-esteem in that? We grow as we see ourselves doing what we didn’t think was possible. (Examples of a little victory and a huge victory.)

Over time, I’ve noticed that I consistently use the same specific steps to turn my life vision into reality. I call them my Life Vision ABC’s. Be sure to give yourself plenty of creative time and space to work on this project. You won’t be able to do it justice in one day.

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Self Leadership – The “Missing Link” to Living an Extraordinary Life

Self leadership means you make intentional choices that help you, your family and business to excel. Here are 7 ways to improve your self leadership skills.When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

Take a minute to visualize all the people you lead… who do you see? Do you see your child, employees, clients, colleagues? But do you also see yourself? Self leadership is the most important type of leadership there is, yet it’s often ignored.

By leading yourself first, you make intentional choices that help you lead all those other people in your life. If you’re not quite achieving the life you want or if you feel frustrated with the people you are leading, then it’s likely your self leadership could use some attention.

What do I mean that your self leadership skills need work?

Well, if you complain that your husband doesn’t communicate with you, it’s likely your communication skills need work. Or if you feel like your team is always blowing your business budget, perhaps your budgeting skills need work instead. Or if your goals are never completed on schedule, perhaps your time management skills need adjusted.

To fix any issue or problem, you’ll want to first look to see how your own behavior is contributing to it. After all, it’s not fair to ask something from them, if you can’t deliver it yourself. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to strive for perfection. Rather, take a hint from Jack Kerouac when he said, “Rest and be kind, you don’t have to prove anything.” Make changes to be true to yourself and not to please someone else. When you master self leadership, you model behaviors and traits you want to see in the people around you, and they, in turn, will reflect those behaviors back to you.

No matter what your area of interest is, there are 7 self leadership principles you can apply to obtain greater success…

Embody your purpose. Instead of waiting for “some day”, take steps to start living your dreams today. If you haven’t created a roadmap, vision board, or outline of how you want your life and business to be like, it’s time to do so now. Identify what you want, why you want it, and when you want it. Give yourself as many specific details and time limits as you can. And start taking baby steps toward your dreams.

Practice mindfulness. Self-awareness is essential for identifying your behaviors, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. Only then can you make changes that support, not sabotage, the kind of life you wish to live.

Choose personal responsible. Take ownership of your decisions, actions and outcomes. Shifting the blame to someone else isn’t productive. It’s your choice in how you want to be in any given circumstance.

Deepen your emotional intelligence. By managing your emotions, you increase your self-confidence and learn to influence others positively.

Master self-discipline. All aspects of life require self-discipline, if you want to fully live. Getting out of bed, eating healthfully, exercising regularly, being financially responsible, maintaining a productive schedule, to name just a few, take getting tough with yourself, instead of pampering yourself.

Develop systems for life. To move forward, it’s vital to plan the route you wish to travel. This includes goals, life systems and micro-habits that support you in your quest for fulfillment.

Adjust your dials.” Improve the quality of your life by heightening your mindful awareness of actions, thoughts, speech and emotions and how they are, or are not, serving you. When you make small, incremental changes to each area (family, career, physical well-being, spirituality, recreation, etc) or “dial in” your life, you’ll think in terms of creating life-transforming microhabits instead of vague, undefined goals that are unsupportable, like “going on a diet” for example.

Self leadership is all about the actions you take, the beliefs you cultivate, and the attitude you live by. I believe you can nurture and grow the leader within. To do so, I invite you to sign up for my newsletter, so you receive monthly doses of self leadership training. As you implement each suggestion, you’ll start to see tremendous personal and professional growth.

9 Powerful Reasons Why Work Rituals Deserve a Place in Your Business

Work rituals are a strategy you can use to achieve excellence time after time. How? They carve out a special moment in time for a specific, desired outcome…“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” ~ Colin Powell

Are work rituals the same as work routines or work habits? Yes…and no.

We perform a ritual over and over again like a routine or habit, but we attach more importance and significance to a ritual. It elevates something mundane and transports it into something deeply motivating, because of the meaning we attach to it. It becomes something special, something that inspires us with wonder and power. Our rituals are symbolic actions performed at key moments to help us connect all our Parts into one deeply motivated being.

When you add work rituals to the workplace, you carve out a special moment in time for a specific outcome you desire. As food for thought, here are 9 reasons why work rituals matter…

  1. Work rituals foster a sense of shared purpose and experience.
  2. Work rituals help people feel more deeply involved in a project.
  3. People who have work rituals deal with anxiety and disappointment better.
  4. Work rituals engender a sense of control.
  5. Work rituals make celebrating successes memorable and more motivating.
  6. Work rituals welcome new employees in a special way.
  7. Work rituals create team spirit.
  8. Work rituals de-personalize mistakes and facilitate discussions about lessons learned.
  9. Work rituals reinforce positive self-talk that you’re disciplined and focused.

We all have routines that we can change into rituals by performing them more mindfully. In the workplace, it’s important to understanding your body’s natural ebb and flow of energy and craft work routines that tap into the time when you’re most focused and powerful.

It doesn’t really matter what you choose as your ritual — wearing your “lucky” shoes, stretching, breathing, exercising, taking a coffee break, stepping outside the building, looking out the window, mentally closing a file… What’s important is that it symbolizes that you’re doing one of two things: 1) You’re making the task in front of you special or 2) You’re using the ritual to close out one task to free you up to move on to the next.

As an example, imagine the executive who wears a favorite jacket to each of her speaking engagements. In and of itself, that jacket doesn’t have some magical power, but when she puts it on, she’s gearing herself for success, because her brain recognizes the pattern: wear this jacket, feel confident, and smash the presentation! And she does every time!

Don’t be afraid to create your own work ritual, no matter how unusual. You don’t have to even tell anyone you’re doing it.  Would you like to formulate some more personalized ways to achieve business excellence? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). We’ll brainstorm the perfect solution for you!

9 Everyday Rituals That Can Enrich Your Personal Life, Too!

One of the most effective ways to change your belief patterns is by practicing everyday rituals that support and empower you to achieve your full potential.“If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you won’t have to motivate yourself to have it grow. It will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.”  ~ BJ Fogg

The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition that they have the power to shape their reality through the way they think, believe or expect. One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is by practicing everyday rituals. When I read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, I loved his powerful observation about habits or rituals: “And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them.”

I truly believe it is our responsibility to change something in our lives that isn’t working for us or that isn’t challenging us to reach our full potential. Oftentimes, we get stuck because we don’t know where to start. So, I’m going to share some of my everyday rituals to help you explore possibilities for enriching your own life. My everyday rituals include:

Getting restorative sleep. Early to bed, early to rise is the motto I live by.

Working out. I move my body first thing each day.

Eating breakfast and dinner with my honey, because I want us to continue feeling connected and close.

Guarding my boundaries. For example, I hold to my ‘No work before 10’ policy fairly well.

Eating clean. For me that means, eating whole foods and not drinking alcohol. A couple of years ago, I started noticing that just the little bit of alcohol (my hubby makes some tasty homebrew!) would leave me feeling sluggish and fuzzy for a few days afterwards. I started to pay attention to that and experimented with no alcohol for a few weeks and then reintroduced it. It became clear that my body was telling me that consuming alcohol was not in alignment with how I wanted to feel and operate in the world. Do your own experiment. Notice what is no longer needed in your life and create new ways to support yourself throughout the day.

Fostering personal growth. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, take online classes on a regular basis, use Tea Time and self-editing to be current with my emotional and mental state. I see my coach regularly to always have better perspective on situations and make better decisions. I know that I’m stronger when I support myself in a consistent and deliberate way.

Fully being present when I take time off. Whether it’s a retreat, a vacation with my family (I look forward to my yearly trips to visit my mom, brother and niece – they are nourishing and exciting!) I take time to unplug and get away so that I can return feeling refreshed and recharged.

Making changes. I need to change something in my life on a yearly basis. It might be changing the furniture around or updating my website, experiment with no meat for a month or taking a new route to work. I need to try Neways often (my business name is Neways after all!)

Expressing Gratitude. I like sending handwritten notes to people I love. I like surprising people with a thoughtful gift or just saying “you are important to me”. It’s a way I also acknowledge how blessed I am.

Has my list of everyday rituals given you some ideas of what new rituals you’d like to implement in your own life? Why not make this a family topic and come up with some rituals that help you reconnect with yourselves and each other? And I’d love it if we could stay connected too! Please sign up for my newsletter to stay current with the changes I’m making — in my own life and in those of my clients — including my Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP training coming up September 26 to 29, 2019.

Harness the Power of Rituals So Your Life Goes Where You Want It to Go

Harnessing the power of rituals will help you feel more centered and grounded, less overwhelmed, and make you more intentional about day-to-day activities.“A daily ritual is a way of saying, I’m voting for myself. I’m taking care of myself.” ~ Mariel Hemingway

When you feel overwhelmed, because your life is out of control, how do you regain your balance, centeredness, and harmony? Do you have a particular ritual you rely on? Of all the things that empower us, the one that I think is most sustainable is harnessing the power of rituals.

The power of rituals that I’m referring to are the daily actions, habits, routines or patterns that keep you grounded and centered throughout your day. No doubt, you’ve experienced how one event can send you spiraling down until your whole day has been ruined. On the other hand, I hope you’ve also experienced how starting each day with a quiet, mindful practice can give you focus and strength that you can continually draw on throughout any crisis during the day.

Just as we harness a powerful horse to take us in the direction we want it to go, we can engage the power of rituals intentionally with a definite destination in mind. Whether it’s feeling better physically, connecting more fully with loved ones, achieving satisfaction from your work…

Tapping into the power of rituals involves creating an intention, then making repetitive, beneficial choices and actions until they become an ingrained habit. It becomes part of who you are. You wouldn’t consider going a day without engaging in it. Repetition makes your new ritual easier and, once it’s established, it takes much less effort on your part.

We naturally develop rituals around daily activities. Think for a moment how you get ready for work, travel to the office, and how you proceed through your work load. What rituals have you already formed?

I love what Stephen Covey said — “Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.”

Therefore, harnessing the power of rituals helps you:

  • reconnect with what’s important to your inner self.
  • become the creator of your reality.
  • make order out of life’s chaos.
  • enter the zone more easily.  
  • perform at a predictably high level, without over-thinking.

There are many ways of checking in and reconnecting with yourself. Here are just a few examples of how you can use the power of rituals in your own life:

  • Sit outside with a cup of coffee as the sun arises to set intentions for the day.
  • Read your collection of inspirational, motivational messages, when stressed, to regain your composure.
  • Stop, stretch, breathe to reconnect with what your body is telling you.
  • Light a candle or smell essential oils to calm, focus and prepare yourself for a challenge.
  • Go to your sacred place, to reflect and meditate on what’s truly important to you.
  • Before a challenging event, check in with a trusted friend or coach.
  • At the end of each day, grab a drink, go to the back patio, and talk with and listen to your significant other.

The most helpful rituals engage all of your senses, as this anchors the experience and allows you to revisit it in your mind when you need to be centered during the day. Simple and intentional rituals are the best. They set you up for the best possibility of success.

A ritual is usually comprised of a certain series of actions you do over and over again. You can harness the power of rituals by breaking down the individual steps and tweaking each one individually.

Would you like to learn more about the power of rituals in your life? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to brainstorm some ideas with you so it can relieve your feelings of being overwhelmed by your workload or personal responsibilities.

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