I love New Years! The idea of a fresh start, a transition, a future of hope and the next chapter of the story that is my life (and your life as well) is extremely inspiring. Each year I try to think of a valuable New Year's Resolution or two, but most years I end up losing it after only a month or two. I want this year to be different, so I went all out…I Googled "what makes a great New Year's Resolution." Unfortunately it didn't really help much, until I found one little article on an obscure site that actually had some practical ideas.
First was the concept of "just pick one thing!" I know, I have so many areas to improve on (sorry, I'm not Mary Poppins and practically perfect in every way), which makes it hard to limit my resolution to just one area. Often I pick a few, thinking that I can handle a few changes at once, but my brain doesn't work that way. I need to make one change at a time. Make it specific, and make it something actually worth striving for. If I have more than one resolution, then I lose focus and failure is biting at my heels, followed closely by guilt and self-deprecation.
The second was all about "planning ahead." If I don't make a good plan for succeeding, then by default I am making a plan to fail. No one stumbles his or her way into consistently improving life. It takes work and deliberate decisions that coincide with journey toward the goal. Planning ahead involves scheduling, prioritizing, and telling my time and energy where it will go. Unproductive desires must take a back seat to the resolution I am making.
The third thing is my most difficult area, "accepting failures." Failures can either be catalysts for further change, or they can be brick walls to the future I want. To handle failure appropriately, I have to be mindful of how I respond to them. I need to prepare for them by acknowledging that they will happen and not allow myself the opportunity to break myself down over them. Instead, I need to respond positively by looking at them in the context of the entire narrative of what I am trying to do. If I instead take the time to go through and think about how I got myself to that point of failure and think through ways of avoiding those pitfalls, I win a greater battle than the failure ever cost me.
Overall, these three things are what I am using to craft my successful New Year's Resolution. 2017 is going to be a fantastic year, and I want to grab hold of all that I can from it. I hope that you also find inspiration to push forward this next year to improve your life and the person you are. If you are one of my clients or are interested in making health a part of your New Year's Resolution, feel free to contact me so we can work on your resolution together. Then, if you have the courage, take a moment to post your resolution on our Facebook page and see what others are saying as well. Have a great holiday season! Happy New Year!
Ready to hear something positive? Perhaps even life changing? How about this…
You are not alone, and you are loved.
I could be wrong, but it seems that most of the world around me seems to have forgotten that fact. When we believe that we are alone and that no one loves us (or even likes us), then we isolate ourselves from others and eventually fall into depression and despair. This really is simplifying something much bigger, but my own experience has qualified me to share what I've found.
We all have dreams, talents and attributes of our character that help to form the deepest parts of our identity. That deep place is frighteningly fragile, and yet also the place that holds our greatest strength. How we reveal our identity to the world around us is what establishes the level of fulfillment we have in life. In my own case, my weight was what caused me to withdraw and my life suffered greatly because of it. That deprived me of my dreams, my talents were unutilized and stagnant, and the lack of hope impacted how I was able to love others and myself. It is frightening how fragile our identities are and how quickly we can fall into depression that we can't seem to navigate out of ourselves. This place is exactly where I want you to be empowered to bring wholeness of life to people around you.
Take a moment to look around you. There are people everywhere that are desperate for the simple answers you can offer. You can help rebuild their dreams and inspire them to use their talents again (or inspire the people around you to go even further by your words and actions).
So, here's a little exercise. Get two or three post-it notes. Think of two or three people. (You can think of family, but stretch yourself and try to think of friends and neighbors.) Write one name on the top of each post-it note and then think of one thing that they really want to do (we can call these "dreams"). Then think of one or two things that keep them from accomplishing those "dreams". This is the important part--try to think more of what hinders them in releasing their talents, rather than the typical American mentality of throw money at it. Stick them on your bathroom mirror to remind you of both the people and their dreams. Then, as you come in contact with them, encourage them beyond those barriers through your words, actions, and whatever is appropriate. Two things will happen over time; they will rediscover hope, and you will find yourself inspired to live from who you are.
I guess what I'm saying is, living from "who you are" is less about personal discovery and more about helping others discover themselves. Why? Because it is the same search for all of us. It is the same road. The same directions. There has been a lot of research done about how we can create joy and purpose in our own lives by bringing joy to others. The more we step out of our comfort zone to help someone else discover themselves, the more we bring joy and purpose to our own lives. It is how we express true love through ourselves to the world that we find true happiness.
Sometimes it is hard to move through transitions in life. Brant and I have been going through our fair share of them lately, and although it will be good in the long run, it also can be very unnerving. The first Sunday of March was his last day at the job he's worked at for 9 years. I can see how much stress it causes him to be leaving, but he is also very confident that it was time for him to move on. I know I can relate.
In life, there are moments when you need to take steps into the unknown in order to grow. Many of these steps are small but still very terrifying. They can require us to let down our façade of strength and always being in control, in order to lean on others and be encouraged in who we are. I see that in most of the clients I coach. They are striving to hide from the world and minimize the pain, the shame, and the guilt that they feel. It is only when they open up and take that step of faith that they find freedom and hope for their lives. I guess our big job is to listen for those people that are hurting and to watch for opportunities to help in various ways.
I think that is one of Brant's best attributes. He loves people so unconditionally, which is why I'm extremely excited that he is going to be working with me! Being a health coach and growing a business takes work and even though that work is very fulfilling, it will be amazing to have him jump on board with me. But really this isn't about me. What I am really looking forward to is what this is going to do for him and other people. I know that he will find an outlet as a coach to release who he is into other people's lives. And that is what this world needs; someone who will listen, guide, and encourage people to be all that they dream of. I think he's going to do that really well! It's going to be a great year!
Would you like to know a secret for great success in relationships around you? It's an extremely simple secret that was revealed to me after having an epiphany at Super Regionals (a conference Shelly and I led locally) this last week. One of the key attributes of a speaker we listened to was his ability to ask great questions. Great questions create a moment for intense internal examination. This also creates a powerful moment that requires equally careful listening, which instills value to the conversation. A great question will generate a pregnant pause for meaningful interaction in life, but those questions must be discovered and asked with the intention of listening.
Everyone has an innate desire to be heard. In fact, just being heard often times creates deep foundations that can lead to friendships that go beyond the superficial "friends list" on Facebook. Great questions create those listening moments that tell people they are valuable and, to be honest, they ARE valuable. That is the single most important message we need to communicate to people around us, they are valuable. The problem is that valuing people enough to ask the great questions that create deeper relationships takes time, and makes us vulnerable. And not many people like to be vulnerable! We've been beaten and broken a lot in life, usually in the moments when we put caution aside and let our guard down. True strength is being willing to experience the pain of rejection to empower people to move outside of their shell and reveal themselves. I know that this is what’s consistently happening with me.
Some of the most treasured relationships I've had have been because I have listened to them and their hurt as they have honestly answered questions that go right to their core. I have cried with them, given them hope (as much as I can), and walked away carrying them in my mind and heart on a daily basis. I think that is the single greatest part of my job. It attacks the most broken part of many people's lives and brings them hope and transformation. I get to be the question person that listens and tells someone, who doubts their self-worth, that they are valuable and that together we can take their biggest hurt and make it their biggest triumph. This applies to everyone though, not just people in my line of work. Family, friends, co-workers and even the casual acquaintances need to know that someone is listening to their life story. Those moments are the things that will change and inspire a person, just like they do for me.
“Mom?” “Yeah honey?” “You are the best mom in the world.” All of a sudden nothing else matters and my daughter has my full attention. My 7-year old knows how to stop my world with just eight little words.
This isn’t the kind of “you are the best” speech with a goofy smile and the sway with hands folded stance that really means she wants something. This is a heart felt, legitimate, wanting-nothing-in-return response.
It doesn't matter what activity we are doing or about how much money we have spent. It doesn’t matter if I took her out for a hot chocolate or spent a ton of money on Frozen on Ice tickets. Money isn’t the issue here. The thing that truly matters in these moments is simply quality time and quality attention. We could be doing just about anything, but if I am fully present and fully engaged in my daughter, she feels loved. The same goes the other way. We could have planned something huge but if we aren’t engaged and present, then it doesn’t mean a whole lot to her.
We call it filling up our love tanks. My son’s love tank can easily be filled by tickling, cuddling, kissing him or just playing with him, but my daughter, on the other hand, is very sensitive and introspective and it takes a bit more work to fill her love tank. She loves all the same things as well, tickling, cuddling, kissing her (playfully) or playing a game, but there is another level with her. She needs to truly be reassured that we love her and we can only do that by showing her with our full attention.
I don’t know if any of you have ever read the Five Love Languages, but this was a great book for my husband and I when we first got married. It applies to everyone and is a great tool with our kids as well. The five love languages are quality time, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation and physical touch. For my daughter, she is definitely quality time and words of affirmation. I tell her in so many different ways that I love her, but I also give her my full attention to show her I love her.
What are your top two love languages? What are your spouses or kids’ love languages? How can we show love in THEIR love language instead of our own? It is easy for us to show love in our own love language, but if that isn’t how they truly feel loved, then we are like ships passing in the night. What are some ways to show the people you care about that you love them in a way that they will best understand? Take some time to think about what your own love languages are, as well as the people you love most.
For more info about the Five Love Languages, check out this website: www.5lovelanguages.com.