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6 Thoughts On Keeping Those 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year where we head down that same ole path of “New Year New Me”.

Come February, we both know it will be back to “I really need to work out” but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have seen articles about how to write resolutions and how to follow them. I have seen articles on how to let go of the need to make resolutions and instead do what feels right for you. These are all great and you should get excited about making some life changes in the New Year provided you are ready and not just trying to follow the crowd.

Maybe the New Year is a good time to work towards a new you but if you are not ready to commit to the process of making changes then the timing may not be good. Timing is a big factor in change but the biggest factor to making any change is making sure you are on board. If you have not sincerely bought into making any changes (be it New Years’ or any other time of year), the changes you are contemplating won’t ever be anything but a nice thought. Harsh, I know, but hang with me here.

So, how do you know if you are ready to make changes for the New Year?

Ask yourself the 6 following questions…

1. Are you being honest with yourself?

Have you chosen resolutions that you can realistically accomplish? Are you asking a lot or a little? Are you giving yourself the amount of time you need to be focused or lazy? Or are you jumping on the “New Year” bandwagon because that is what everyone else seems to be doing?

2. Have you done any research?

Just as technology changes and improves so does information – from weight loss to nutrition to psychology to fashion! Know what you are getting yourself into and do your research to learn about the changes you are taking on. Don’t “learn” from others as they may understand information differently than you.

3. Who will be impacted by your changes?

This is important. Your changes don’t just make a difference in your life but in the lives of those around you particularly those in your immediate inner circle – you know, those people that are allowed within 18 inches of your personal space. Your changes, be they physical or at a deeper level, have the ability to affect more than just you. If your changes are going to impose a great deal of change upon others you’ll need their buy-in as well. Your loved ones may not be looking to make changes for themselves though they should be willing to support you. Additionally, the sacrifices they may need to make for your changes should be reasonable.

4. What kind of support system do you have in place?

Your support system should be hand-picked friends or family who are aware of your goals AND your timeline. They should also know what is okay and not okay to say to you in order to help you be successful. Verbalize the words you need to hear from them and how they can approach you. Develop code words or some sort of system for when you need that extra kick in the rear to maintain your focus. 

5. What are you willing to sacrifice?

Depending on what you are looking to change you might have to be willing to sacrifice certain things or people in your life. This is a HUGE thing because this can turn emotionally unpleasant very quickly and make it hard to follow through on your resolutions. Making changes, taking on serious resolutions or accomplishing goals does not come without its losses along the way. This goes back to being honest with yourself and this may be when you learn more about you than at any other point in your journey. If you are not willing to give up this, that or, the other thing then you are not going to succeed. 

6. Can your income support the changes you want to make?

This seems silly to ask BUT depending on what your resolution is you may need to think about budgetary restraints and plan accordingly. Maybe your budget won’t be affected but you need to know this right off the bat. Don’t expect to dress like a Kardashian on a Ramen Noodles income or to acquire the body of a full-time athlete with only 30 minutes a day to workout.

Asking yourself these questions will help you determine how successful you will be at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. They may even help you define your goals further which can only increase your potential for success. As you venture down your New-Year-New-Me journey or any journey, remember to have compassion for yourself. Not only are you your biggest supporter but you can wind up as your own worst enemy. In order to avoid that, you will need to know how to forgive yourself for your failures and be willing to focus on your goal.

You can do it!

Love - We're All Doing It Wrong

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

Are You Unknowingly Inspiring Others?

You may not know it but you are impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it.

close up photography of person s eye

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in; soak it up.  Don’t just read the words like you would a random post.  Hold on to it for a moment.  Believe it, don’t believe – that’s up to you. But, give the time necessary to really understand the message.  Once you have done that, take a breath and then absorb this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

There is nothing scarier than the person in the mirror and yet it is that single person who is supposed to be your biggest fan, not your mortal enemy. That person in the mirror is an intimate heart you are supposed to trust and embrace, not fight and doubt. That person in the mirror is supposed to love you first because it might seem as though no one else does….and that is quite alright.

We live in a society that tells us we should place a higher value on the opinion others have of us over our own opinion. With that in mind, is it any wonder we are a country with the highest depression rate? We have a limited sense of self-appreciation and an overwhelming curiosity of “What do YOU think of ME?” (Remember Bette Midler in “Beaches”?)

We have it bass-ack-wards.

man old depressed headache

Marianne Williamson has it figured out and yet what her quote fails to mention is that while you are building yourself up you could be doing it alone. However, there are silent rewards and they are incredible: “…you give other people permission to do the same.”

Not too long ago a co-worker of mine left her job to pursue her own business venture. During her departure tour of the office, she stopped by my desk to wish me a good day. During our conversation, she told me how inspiring she thought I was. I had a puzzled looked on my face. She told me that when she first met me, when I started at the company, she saw that I was tall, just like her and yet I wore heels and held myself up high. She saw my confidence and that made her feel comfortable. She thought, “Hey, if she can do it, so can I.”

I unknowingly gave her permission to enjoy something about her that she had tried to hide and for six months I had no idea. I was clueless that by being me, unapologetically, I had given her the validation she was looking for to enjoy something others found “unusual” about her.

My former co-worker had tried to shrink herself because she was one of the few tall women in the office. She didn’t dislike her height but she did try to minimize it because she was in a class of few.  She gained confidence in herself because of my confidence. Someone showed her it was okay, even good, to enjoy who and what you are even if it doesn’t fit the average mold.

closeup photo of woman with brown coat and gray top

What’s the point of my story? I’ll tell you. You may not know it but you’re impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it. As you struggle and hurt, as you fall down repeatedly and rise up again, and again, you give someone the space to better herself because she is looking from the outside in on your world. She is watching you and learning from you. YOU are making a difference, whether you believe you or not.

Remember, you may not be impressed by you but someone is inspired by you. Just because you don’t get to hear it doesn’t mean it’s not happening…hell, it surprised me.

You’re doing it and you don’t even know it!

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

When Facing The Unknown You’ll Need Attitude And Optimism

Changes are a test of attitude and optimism. Attitude is how you look at or view change and optimism, despite common belief, is realizing there are negatives and positives to every situation; it’s your ability to adapt or adjust to change that makes the difference.

My attitude and optimism were tested some time ago.  I am an optimistic person. I don’t just find a way to make the best of a situation, I realize there is a time frame with every positive or negative event.  I know that I have the ability to choose how I view a situation and the ability to choose how I emotionally respond to it. I may have control of the situation or I may not, but the important thing is that I can control myself even during my most difficult feelings.  So when I was laid off from my favorite job, I took it better than others expected.

grayscale photo of person in parka coat

 

It is tough being forced out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Honestly, the moment I realized I was being laid off, it was an upsetting one.  I won’t lie. My security had been ripped away from me and my ability to provide for my kids had been scrapped. My comfort zones were threatened if not erased; a part of me wanted to break down and cry huge crocodile tears and scream out in fear while running away in shame.  However, the mindful part of me took over and eased the fear within. The confident side of me took the lead reminding myself of the very thing I offer others facing challenging changes, “You can do it!”

Losing a job is one of those situations that single parents don’t think about because it scares the hell out of us! Not knowing where your next paycheck will come from can be enough to send anyone over the edge.  Being jobless is a terrifying thought to wake up and yet, that didn’t bother me despite having three children, a mortgage, a car payment and a (strong) desire to shop.

Given all this, you could understand the panic I felt.  I was well within reason to panic, should have I opted to!  So if I made a scene by yelling at my boss, accusing him of being a heartless bastard for letting go of a single mother, you would likely understand and not fault me.  A reaction like that might seem natural.  What may surprise you was my response to the sour news.  I told my boss that I did not envy his position, as he had a difficult decision to execute.  I told him I was grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed my time on the team.  I understood it was business and it was time for me to move on. I left that office with the respect of my boss and supervisor and my dignity intact.

I could not have been more proud of how I handled such an extremely stressful situation!  

blonde hair blur daylight environment

After leaving my office building, I took with me the unknown future and the biggest smile on my face. Typically, that kind of smile would be accompanied by having an idea of where I would be going or how to get there but not this time. I knew where I was going; I was headed to start my new path and a new chapter in my life. My job might have divorced me, which was a much easier process than my previous divorces, but I was not worried.  My job might have made a choice for me and I might not have had a say, but that didn’t matter.  What mattered was my ability to pick myself up, dust off and keep moving onward and upward.  What mattered was my ability to adapt to the situation!

Life goes on…and so should you! 🙂 

It would be fair to say that my being laid off was the proverbially lemon to my life.  I could have taken that lemon and made matters worse by squeezing it into my eye to gain further sympathy.   That doesn’t seem to solve any problems, though.  It is definitely more constructive to retaliate the citrus attack with sugar or even vodka as a means of enjoying life’s sense of humor.  I mean, maybe that part of my world at work came to a sudden stop it didn’t mean any other part of my world was also going to stop.  So, I squeezed that lemon and made something I could work with…I didn’t necessarily like what I got but then I didn’t stop squeezing that lemon or any lemon thereafter.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white backgroundYou may be curious as to how I can do that?  How could I possibly have such a “get-er-done” attitude?  How could I have such optimism for a situation that is out of my control?   For one…I don’t take “no” as an answer, only an obstacle. Two: I don’t give myself a break when there is work to do meaning it doesn’t make sense to use my sitting bones when there is a need to move.  And three: I tried the pity party and self-wallowing only to learn that they result in (spoiler alert)…NOTHING.

The key thing is to understand that what you ARE doing may not be nearly as important as what you ARE NOT doing.

You ARE NOT going to feel sorry for yourself when the lemons strike.

You ARE NOT going to beat yourself up with the lemons.

You ARE going to dust yourself off and move!

Fear of the unknown is what makes things scary!

The loss of a job, or the like, are not easy situations to pilot through, even with a positive mindset. The fear of the unknown tempts us every day. The panic wants to creep in and overwhelm you and I. The voice of self-defeat likes to whisper daily to whoever is listening.  I could easily look myself in the mirror and say, “I give up.” If I did that I would not be the person I encourage others to be; I would not a good steward of my beliefs of personal empowerment. If I cannot be an example of what I preach I cannot be credible.

woman wearing strapless dressYour attitude determines how you look at any given situation or change. Your ability to adapt and adjust projects in your level of optimism. Without change, it is hard to grow and develop as a unique person.  Changes are not meant to tear us down but give us the motivation to evolve into better versions of the person in the mirror.  They are designed to move us forward, not stall us.  If you think about it, you have been through some pretty bad situations.  In terms of those, where are you?

We won’t always be prepared for life when it happens, but changes help us to realize we are more ready than we know. As we receive new chapters in our book of life it’s important to remember the pages are unwritten and the pen is in hand. (Points if you know the song loosely referenced here!) 😉

What are you going to write?