life coach

My favorite daily habit to improve our dispositions

We are all born with different personalities, preferences, inclinations and dispositions. There was a vast study done in the 1950’s called the ‘New York Longitudinal Study’ where they studied infants to predict the various temperaments each child would likely exhibit as a toddler and further on in life.

And ask any parent with more than one child, they will tell you that they are all different…same parents, same DNA, different sensibilities.

So what about those of us drawn to the “broodier” side of life? Some people seem to be “hard wired” to see the negative, the mistakes, the worst case scenario. Is that you?

Or maybe you used to be pretty happy in general but life has just served you up platter of poopy life circumstances and you feel bummed out more days than not?

(Let me be clear, I’m talking about general malaise. NOT clinical depression. If you feel clinically depressed or suicidal, seek medical help immediately.)

Well, there is good news for those of you who tend to feel down. You can ‘rewire’ your brain to actively look for things that bring a smile to your face. It just takes daily practice.

– Random Acts of Kindness have been proven to, over time, help elevate people’s moods. That means, just doing something nice for someone else for no good reason, can nudge you out of a slump.

– Physically moving your body in positive ways (dancing, singing, looking up at the sky, etc) has a psychological effect on your moods. So if you are staring at your feet feeling sad, look up! That sends a neuromuscular message to your nervous system to change its focus thus changing your state from bummed, to uplifted.

But, my favorite way to rewire our brains to see the good, is:

– Journaling…in a very specific way

Everyday for the next 2 weeks, sit down and write about something good that happened to you that day. It can’t be the same thing as yesterday! You have to come up with and write extensively about something new that happened to you…every day for at least 2 weeks.

Our brains love repetition. Don’t take my word for it. Notice, do you brush your teeth with the same hand every day? Do you tie your shoelaces the same way every day? Do you drive to work the exact same way every day? Of course you do. Our brains are wired to create energy saving habits (more on that in upcoming newsletters). So, by repeating this action of positive journaling every day, your brain will start to look for more experiences for things to write about. Your brain can’t help it! It’s driven to create habits! And, this habit happens to feel good…so your mind will have no choice but to reinforce this habit daily.

This may sound overly simplistic, until you give it a try. For some of us, at first, finding a good thing to write about might be a challenge. So, start small and easy. Did someone smile at you today? Did your car get you from point A to B without incident? Did you see a funny video on YouTube? You don’t have to come up with monumental things that happened to you. Just write about something that made you smile, or laugh, or feel at peace. Stick with it for at least 2 weeks and then start to notice how much easier it gets to remember the great things that happened every day.

And no need to wait until you’re depressed to start this habit…I think we could ALL benefit from practicing journaling our good experiences every day.

FACT: We all have the capacity to increase the sum joy in the world every minute of every day.

Despite our dispositions, we do have a choice.

If this is something you have struggled with, get in touch. I’ve helped a lot of people break out of negative thought patterns and I am available to work with you if you want help with this.

WHY do you want what you want?

“CHANGE IS NEVER A MATTER OF ABILITY. IT IS ALWAYS A MATTER OF MOTIVATION”-Tony Robbins

So, here we are at the brink of a new beginning. We are inundated with messages of resolutions and self improvement. Many of us follow along and set some goals and then look back at them in frustration when, after a few months have gone by, we notice we have done little to achieve them.

Well, I encourage you to try a new approach.

Why do you want those goals in the first place?

That’s the most important question you can ask yourself when you are goal setting or looking to change something be it a bad habit, a relationship, your career…”why?”. Why do you want it to be different?

Here’s the trap…a lot of us will answer with “because I don’t want to feel ___ anymore”. In most cases, that answer pretty much insures that the change you want won’t happen.

Our brains are hard wired to “go towards things”. Particularly, things that make us feel GOOD. That’s pretty obvious, I know. But if you want to change something, you have to focus on how you WANT to feel when you have achieved that change. Not on how you don’t want to feel.

For example:

I want to lose weight.
Why?
“Because I hate the way my body feels in my clothes”…is the trap.
Instead maybe you can answer:
“Because I want to feel fabulous and confident in my clothes, I want to have more energy”…etc

Another example:

I want to earn more money
Why?
“Because I’m sick of living paycheck to paycheck”…is the trap.
Instead, maybe you answer:
“Because I want to take a vacation, get my car cleaned, go out with my friends”…etc

Another example:

I want to get a better job.
Why?
“Because my boss is an asshole and my life is being flushed down the toilet”…you can clearly see the trap there!
Another answer?
“I want to tap into my natural talents at work, I want my work to be fulfilling and soul affirming”…etc

You get the point. You have to phrase your desires in “moving towards” language. And then, focus on THAT rather than focusing on what you DON’T want to feel. Focussing on what you WANT moves you forward and brings you closer to actually getting it.

It also elicits the energy required to receive that which you want. This is not new age “woo hoo”, it’s basic physics. Low vibrational energy attracts low vibrational energy. And, high vibrational energy attracts high vibrational energy. So, focusing on what’s wrong, what’s not working…low energy thoughts…will attract more of that energy. The same is true for higher energy thoughts. Thoughts of enthusiasm, gratitude, and vitality attract more of those high energy vibrations. The old saying “ What you focus on, expands” is not self help jargon. It’s a law of physics.

And if I was breaking a habit or embarking on a new career, I’d be harnessing all the high energy I could! I’d want the law of physics on MY side.

By reframing your goals from “moving away from” (low energy) to “moving towards goals” (high energy), you can effectively get the energetic world on your side. Which leads to: better results more efficiently and with greater ease.

If you want support as you go for your New Year’s resolutions and goals, get in touch and we’ll get to work on them together.

How AWESOME are you?

How AWESOME are you?…how flooding good feelings helps build momentum with your actions
We are almost to the end of the year. That means celebrations, catching up with friends and family, and for some of us, it’s a time to reflect on the past year as well.

If you are looking back at the year, notice where you are placing your attention? Many of us zero in on where we fell short. Maybe you didn’t lose the weight, book the gig, find a partner, etc. Maybe some of your dreams didn’t become a reality this year…

First of all, I’m yet to meet anyone who ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED EVERYTHING they wanted to do! So, we’re all in the human race and we all get side tracked sometimes. Cut yourself some slack.

But more importantly, in reflecting on the year…where were you AWESOME? When and where did you kick ass? When were you hilarious, grateful, supportive, intuitive? When were you freaked out but courageous anyway?

Make this list of awesomeness LONG. Riff on all the great things you did, experienced, and created. Include the times you laughed so hard you almost peed your pants. All the goodies…reflect on them all.

Now, flood yourself with these great feelings. In other words, jump from great memory to great memory like the waves of the ocean. Remember one time, then another time, then another, then another…Let the good feelings literally flood over you and take you over completely. For the next week, do this for at least 3 minutes every day.

Aside from giving yourself a serious boost of self esteem and kick ass mojo (which should be reason enough!), this practice creates more neuro-pathways based on positive results and responses. In other words, you are not only training your brain to look for more ways to feel good, you’re programming it to take more actions to feel good. Practicing this daily, is a quick and easy way to add momentum to your goals. (and the more you practice this, the more great memories will pop up!)

So…How friggin’ great are you???

Write it out. Post it where you can see it. Keep adding to it as more great things show up.

Own Your Awesomeness.

Why Gratitude is Always an Ingredient of Success

Being grateful and knowing why you are grateful is more than just a fluffy self help practice. Conscious gratitude has a direct influence on your life as a whole.

Unfortunately, when things aren’t going so great, we tend to focus on what’s “wrong”. The problem with that is, you attract more of what you “don’t want”. Your subconscious works with images, not words. So thinking and obsessing over what’s depressing you will only bring more of it into your days. However, when you focus on what your are grateful for, you are sending an energetic signal to your subconscious and the world that you want more of those joyous things to be in your life.

What’s on your gratitude list and why?

A client of mine was struggling with work and the money was running out. I had her make a list of what she DID have and why she was grateful for it. What she had that she was most grateful for, was time. She had an abundance of time, so to speak. So instead of dwelling on her lack, she focussed on her abundance. And, without compromising her job search, she utilized her free time to volunteer. She worked with her church to provide food and support for the homeless in her area. She loved it. She had in essence found “work” that she enjoyed. She also continued to acknowledge how grateful she was for it. And soon enough, her job search turned into an actual job. And a great one. She still volunteers and is grateful for her meaningful work…both volunteered and paid.

You’ll notice, I’m not saying to pretend everything is okay and to lie to yourself. You know if you’re unhappy. But to change your situation you must first change what you focus on. Focussing on the pain brings more pain into your life. Acknowledging the good things in your life breaks that pattern and helps your mind focus on what you want vs what you don’t want.

Doing this same practice when things are going great is also helpful.

I can say I am grateful to have worked with some incredibly talented teachers in many areas of learning. Everything from piano to Pilates to knitting. I’m grateful for the amazing coaches and books that assist me as well. Why? Because if I want to change or set a new goal, I have all the tools at my disposal. And these tools help me be a better teacher and coach.

And then? My inbox gets filled with more good news from happy clients than junk mail. I sent out the message and the universe responded.

What’s already working in your life that you can be more consciously grateful for? Is there something you want more of? Why? By actively focussing on and being grateful for what you already have, you will bring more of it into your life.

One last thing, write it down. When you take the time to sit and write about something, it becomes more real to you and you will harness more energy to attract that which you want.

Do this everyday…and see how blessed you truly are.

Beating back the hold your EGO has over you

 

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time”- Andre Gide

Your faith must be greater than your fear if you have big plans for your future. And your fear is manifested through your ego.

Your ego HATES new plans…particularly big juicy ones. Your ego’s primary interest is to keep you safe. That means no risks, no rocking the boat, no new paths and absolutely no expansion whatsoever. It wants you stuck to the trunk of the tree while your big plans require you to step onto the skinny branches further up and out. Your ego will do everything in its power to stop you from taking that risk.

Think of it as an overprotective parent. Their intentions are good: they love you and want you to be safe. But the minute there is a suggestion of anything new and unknown, they go into full panic mode and start locking all the doors and grounding you for life.

So, here’s how positive change goes for a lot of people. They take the first few steps and are rockin’ it! Synchronicity is pulling in a bunch of opportunities…and then, bam! They get laryngitis. Or crash their car. Or their smart phone dies. Deadlines encroach on their time and their money gets tight and suddenly, all that excitement and enthusiasm is gone. They get sucked back into their mundane lives.

This is classic ego at work. Your ego is setting you up to fail by using all your forms of self sabotage. It wants you to screw up…horribly. Why? So you won’t attempt to do something new and risky again. It wants you safe and stable and has no interest in anything new. To the ego, new = danger.

By knowing this, you can override your ego’s tantrums. You can become aware of the challenges cropping up. Yes, someone may have slammed into your car. But that doesn’t have to stop you from going for your goals. Get the car fixed and move on. Your day job may be interfering with your free time but you can focus on the time you DO have and capitalize on THAT. Instead of crawling in the fetal position when your iPhone dies, take a deep breath and make an appointment at Apple’s genius bar.

By seeing the issues and moving forward anyway, you can beat back the ego’s power. Also, the more often you “feel the fear and go for it anyway”, the more comfortable you will feel taking risks. The most successful people in the world, also took the biggest risks. When they failed, they failed big. But then, they dusted themselves off, learned what they could from the experience, and went back to the work of going for it.

So, yes…it feels like the universe is conspiring against you. But it isn’t. Your ego is. Your ego is moving heaven and earth to keep you stuck and safe…and bored.

Turn your focus to moving forward anyway. Get comfortable being out on the “skinny branches”, and start leaping for your dreams.

The Truth about Synchronicity

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous” – Albert Einstein

Synchronicity happens when you take a bold step towards following your passion. What you think is a coincidence is actually the universe’s helpful response to the actions you take to live your life’s purpose.

It doesn’t happen while you’re dreaming about your goals, it happens when you take deliberate, focussed actions towards achieving them. To finally say “I’m going for it!” requires high energy. Think back to a time in your past when you set a big goal and then took those first few steps. You weren’t sleepy or grumpy…you were excited and enthusiastic.

Energy attracts ‘like’ energy. Have you ever noticed when you are having a “bad” day, it feels like the world is plotting against you? Usually your energy is in the toilet and you are dealt problem after problem throughout the day. I’m not saying that sometimes crappy things don’t just happen. But ultimately, we create our experiences whether we’re conscious of it or not. So just notice that when you are cranky or run down, simple issues become major challenges. You are literally pulling that low draining energy into your experience.

The same is true for high energy choices. Resolving to lose the weight will likely have you notice your local gym is running a sale for personal training. Deciding to finish the script by December 31st could attract an unexpected meeting with an agent interested in finding more clients. Committing to meditating every day for 30 days could cause your schedule to change in a way that makes it easier for you to sit and practice. (I literally had that happen with yoga. I decided it was time to switch classes and boom! My schedule changed to make room for the new class and fill the previous time with a new client!) This is synchronicity at work.

But,again, this kind of “luck” doesn’t come from sitting at home doing nothing. It happens with action. You must move in the direction of your passion in order to receive the goodies of synchronicity.

To quote Oprah, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” The world is energy…the more charged with excitement you are, the more of that same energy will be drawn to you.

Start taking big actions today towards your goals. Enlist all of your passion and determination. And watch the world step up to support you in ways you never even thought of.

procrastination…what are you really committed to???

We all procrastinate sometimes. After all, work is called “work”, not “play”.

Sometimes our procrastination is a signal to shift gears and reevaluate our goals. And if that’s the case, we usually feel it in our gut. Maybe it’s telling us to rethink a goal we may have set, or a job we’ve signed up to do. This is a healthy form of procrastinating and it’s a signal to stop and rethink.

But, some of us are sabotaging our dreams by letting procrastination run amuck. If you are procrastinating on something you are passionate about… writing a script, getting an agent, building a website… then you are sabotaging yourself.

Oddly enough, you likely have very good reasons to avoid taking action. The problem is, you don’t know what those reasons are. Your subconscious fears are running the show. Getting to know your personal sabotage “signature” is your biggest weapon to self defeating urges.

So, how do you figure out what beliefs you are being ruled by?

Ask. Ask a lot. Ask, ask, ask.

I had a client who was concerned about starting a new business. From personal experience, I will tell you that starting any new venture is time consuming and offers no guarantees. This is why many people are happy managing say a Peet’s vs opening their own coffee shop. Going your own way takes money, courage, and a shit-load of energy.

So, he had reasons to be nervous. But he’d done the research, had a good financial plan, and for all intents and purposes, it looked like a risk that would be worth taking.

Yet he stalled. And avoided. And got distracted…

So I asked:

“If the worst case scenario were to happen, what would that mean to you?”

He said he’d lose a substantial amount of money.

“And then what would happen?” I asked

“I might have to move, I might have to get another job, I’d be pretty broke”

“And then what would happen?”

“Take out a loan…if I could…”

“And if you couldn’t take out a loan, then what?”

“I guess I’d have to ask my father to help me out”

“And then what?

“He’d see that he was right. I’m terrible at business and should have just followed in his footsteps instead.”

“And then?”

“He’d think I’m an embarrassment to the family.”

BINGO!!!!

He was procrastinating because he believed that if he failed, his father would be ashamed of him. Now THAT is a very scary thought for most of us. As “grown up” as we all are, most of us still don’t want to let our parents down. And nobody wants to feel like a cause for family shame.

No wonder he was avoiding going for it fully. His identity and self esteem were at stake. He was MORE COMMITTED to keeping his self esteem intact and not upsetting his father. After realizing that, he could then acknowledge to himself that win or lose, he wasn’t going to incur the shame of his Dad. Taking action became easier and easier until his business was up and running. When he caught himself backsliding, he asked himself the same questions I did…and asked and asked until he got to the real reason for his self sabotage. Which then he could then conquer fairly easily.

So why are you stalling on your dreams? What would happen if you failed? And then what? And then? And after that, what would happen?…

Dive into the rabbit hole head first and figure out what you are really committed to. If you are procrastinating, you are afraid of something. And, you are more committed to avoiding that pain than achieving your goal.

Once you figure that out, you can choose to override it and take the necessary actions to achieve your success. And when you slack off or stumble, get curious. Ask and ask until the truth comes out. If you want to defeat the dragon, you have to look it in the eye first. And your dreams are worth fighting for.

(If you need more help with this issue, please, get in touch and we’ll get to work.)

Meditate your way to new healthy habits …“but I suck at Meditation!”

Change is hard. Even when we know it will benefit us in the long run, we still resist it with all we’ve got. Whether its cutting out fast food, learning a new skill, hitting the employment sites to get a new job…the desire to bail is often greater than our desire to go for it.

And there are plenty of reasons for this. Mainly, your whole psyche is geared around keeping you safe. Survival is essential. Change means instability and our bodies and minds will fight that at all costs. Also succeeding at survival is more likely when we can react quickly and without hesitation…the opposite of what it takes to stick with and create a new behavior.

This is why we need to become aware of our thoughts, our physical sensations, even our breathing patterns, to override this resistance to change.

And, just five minutes a day of meditation can be your biggest weapon against your instinct to play it safe.

It sounds too good to be true, right? Don’t take my word for it. Google “scientific tests on five minute mediation” and see all the studies that pop up. Study after study has shown the benefits of meditation from getting over addiction to getting better grades.

“But I suck at meditation!” you say. Actually, the “worse” you are, the better for creating lasting change.

Meditation is nothing more than being still and paying attention. Focusing on ONE thing, be that music (the link to my fave meditation tracks are below), your breathing, a fixed place on the horizon… You can focus on a word or a color if you want. Just choose something to focus on and then, sit still.

Likely, you’ll be able to focus for about 15 seconds before your mind wanders. You are not failing at meditation! THAT’S NORMAL. THATS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. But the next step is what makes meditation so beneficial. The moment you notice you’ve stopped paying attention to the music, etc, let go of whatever thought has pulled you away from your chosen focus. Just drop the thought that pulled you away, and come back to your breath, music, etc. This releasing and returning will happen repeatedly. And that is how you override your desire to stay safe. Notice the thoughts that grabbed your attention, and return to your focus..

When you practice this form of meditation, you are training your brain to react differently to urges and impulses. For example, if you’re a smoker, you may not notice that a commercial for beer or coffee trigger you to reach for a smoke. If you’re chronically late, you may not notice that you’re choosing to send just one more email before heading out for your appointment. If you are a procrastinator you may not notice that you actually feel more committed to goofing off than getting to work. (Which is usually the case with procrastinators…stay tuned for a separate newsletter about that topic)

By becoming aware of our thoughts while meditating, we can more easily notice our “unconscious” thoughts, habits, and behaviors in our daily activities. Armed with this information, we can begin to consciously change. So, for the smoker trying to quit, they may have to avoid watching TV at night for a few weeks. Tardy people trying to be more accountable may choose to put their smartphones in their backpack 15 minutes before they want to leave the house. Procrastinators might be able to acknowledge their desire to slack off but not be pulled into that desire. They will be able to make the conscious decision to get to work.

Change requires HUGE amounts of focus, attention, and willingness. Training your mind to be effective at noticing your thoughts, and then letting them go, is crucial to creating lasting change.

And it starts just with five minutes a day.

(And I coach people with this all the time so if you want extra help getting a meditation practice started…fire me an email and we’ll set up a session.)

And my personal fave meditation music: THALLEE link