Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

Wouldn’t it be Nice if…


Let’s play a game. It’s called “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”

Here’s how to play– think of something specific you want to do, have, or be. Add that to the framework. For example, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I got eight hours of sleep,” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if it was easy for me to prioritize.”

Sure, there are some things that would be nice … winning the lottery, finding the fountain of youth, having a chauffeur. But those may be just a bit beyond your reach. However, sufficient sleep or being able to prioritize are totally doable. That is if you really want them and are ready to make it happen.

John Asseraf said, “If you’re interested you’ll do what’s convenient; if you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

Sometimes it’s easier to know what you don’t want than what you do want. So get clear about what you really want. Can you imagine being the person who does what it takes to have what you say you want?

  1. Do you believe you can have it, that you deserve to have it?
  2. Do you really want it or just think it would be nice?
  3. Finally, are you ready to do whatever it takes?

Let’s look at your answers:

  • If the answer to #1 is “not sure” or “no” you might want to start smaller and work your way up to your bigger, ultimate goal.
  • How about #2? Do you think you “should” want to do, have, or be whatever you have in mind? For example, you have friends with new cars and you have an old Toyota that you actually love, but wonder what kind of statement it makes about you. I am anti-should, so don’t let others tell you what you feel. On the other hand, it never hurts to get an outsider’s opinion on how your image is impacting your reputation.
  • Number #3 is easy. If you’re ready, it’s good to have support. Here’s where I can help. As a coach, I help you clarify your goals, create realistic action plans, schedule the steps, work through obstacles, and get results.

Routine or Ritual?

 

Habits and routines created with intention can make life easier in so many ways. I don’t mean the unconscious habits of going for a snack when you’re bored or throwing clothes on the chair rather than hanging them up. Those are the habits that most people say they’d like to change.

What I’m talking about are the productive behaviors you want to change the problem behaviors to. I’m also including other positive routines and habits – such as regular sleep and wake time, paying bills every Friday, that kind of thing. For example, I have a morning routine that goes breakfast, exercise, shower and dress, work. Sometimes I have an early client and have exercise or shower after that. The actions of the routine may get shuffled but not neglected because they’ve become habitual.

Now with a ritual you are adding an additional element—the conscious intention of the behavior helping you be more of the person you wish to be. Here’s an example that uses the process of ritual:

Intention: Organizing a space in which you can find things, get things done, and keep what’s important to you safe. Hold the intention of creating your space as a sanctuary where you can be comfortable and focus on what is meaningful.

Planning: Schedule a block of time to look at all of the things in your space. During this time, you will make a decision about every item in your space. If something has no use or meaning, or is no longer important to you, consider letting it go. Some things will be tossed, some given away, and some perhaps stored elsewhere because they are rarely used. Next, look at what will stay – the things you want to keep and use all the time. Think about where it makes the most sense to put the items you’ve decided are special to you and support your intention.

Preparation: Your first action step is the clearing and de-cluttering. A cleansing process is often done to make way for something new. After clearing, find the right kinds of containers for the things you have. Now, take a break.

Manifestation: Set aside a morning or afternoon for the ritual. Enter the room and close the door. Sit down and focus on your intention.

Select one type of object—say books. As you recognize in what way they reflect who you are and what’s important to you, you can claim them as power objects. Put them in the areas you’ve decided upon.

To close the ritual, imagine doing what you will be doing in each area of the room. Do you feel better, worse or, the same as before? Make sure you feel good everywhere. Take a photograph of your space.

Integration: Put the photograph on the wall or in your journal. Use it as a daily or weekly reminder as perhaps the first step of a maintenance ritual.

What’s Your Story?

When I was studying to be a coach, I was introduced to a book called, Taming Your Gremlin.

No, it is not a manual for those who have mythological pets. Rather it addresses all of us who have that voice in our head that says things like, “you can’t…,” “you’re not…,” or “you should.” Despite the fact that the voice is likely disparaging, we have a tendency to listen and believe what it says. We are believing that story as if it were fact.

Belief. That is the key here.

You may have heard the quote by Henry Ford that goes, “whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” Fortunately, because we have the ability to learn and change we can change our beliefs. We can create new “mindsets.” Our mindsets are beliefs that determine how we deal with life and make choices.

Do you feel like your brain is holding you back? Or, maybe, it’s not that obvious. Have you ever felt like no matter what you cannot get past this certain place? That is still your mindset – that little voice telling you that you cannot do better. If you want to make changes in limiting mindsets, the first step is to recognize that there is a self-limiting story that’s running the show. The next step is to consider re-writing the story.

Yes. You can do it. It takes practice to get the new story to take hold but it’s worth it. For example if you have a story that you “have to” do something and you find yourself resisting, try thinking that you “get to” do it. Or when you hear yourself thinking “I failed miserably with…” how about thinking, “I learned what works and what doesn’t so I can do things differently the next time.”

On the other hand, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough they’re yours.” Said Richard Bach in Jonathan Livingston Seagull. You’re so much better than that.

Why play small when you can fly?

Do Olympians Have Better Brains?

human brain with arms and legs on a running machine, 3d illustration

You bet! Numerous studies have shown that exercise not only improves cognition but also helps brain cells regenerate.

So what does this mean for you? Walking, swimming, bicycling and other forms of aerobic exercise will not only help you look and feel mighty fine, but improve your memory, processing speed and executive function now and for years to come.

You already know that positive habits and routines help you function more effectively. So scheduling regular, daily exercise…even ten minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill every morning… can boost your brain better than chugging some java and give you a better brain over time.

If you’re already going, “yeah but” followed by your lack of time or some other excuse (I mean reason) then consider parking your car farther from location destinations, taking stairs rather than elevators, or some other creative way to get the moves in.

Check out a recent Scientific American article for some eye-opening details:

www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-exercise-benefit-cognition/

Talk to me about replacing “bad” habits with ones that are beneficial.

Three Tips to Avoid Late Fees

Penalty word in 3d letters on a steel bear trap to illustrate punishment, fees or fines for breaking rules

Do you ever procrastinate on paying bills? Solutions exist.

 

The List

First make a list of all your monthly bills and their general due dates. Note that some may be due weekly, while others are monthly or quarterly. Some bills will usually have due dates early in the month while others will be due later in the month. Organize your bills in the order that they need to be paid.

 

Pay Date versus Due Date

This is a place where lots of people screw up. Whether you pay electronically or send in a check, there is a time span between when the payment is made and when it arrives. If you pay online, your bank will usually have a note as to how many days it takes for the money to be transferred. If you put a check in the mail it could be anywhere from two days to who knows when. Scheduling pay dates a week before due dates is generally a safe bet.

 

Alert, Alert

If you’re income varies, have you noticed that institutions don’t like it when you try to pay a bill with money that doesn’t exist? Alerts can help with this. With online banking you can set alerts to send you an email with your balance daily or weekly. They can also let you know when a check posts, when you have a low balance threshold, and more. This is great information whether you are paying all your bills yourself or using automatic deductions to handle the job.

 

Finally, tips are only good ideas without implementation. So schedule a chunk of time in your calendar each week to be used for bill pay. Make it an appointment. If something that feels more urgent comes up, make sure to reschedule to a time within 24 hours.

Who’s in Your Head and Why Are They So Negative?

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If you had a friend who consistently said things to you that made you feel small, things that were damaging to your self-esteem, would you maintain the relationship?

What if that so called “friend” was an ever-present voice in your head? You know, it’s the one that says things like, “what’s the use?” “why bother?” “you’ll never…,” “you’re not good enough,” “no one understands you,” “you don’t deserve…, “you should….”  Sound familiar?

I bet it does.

The thing is, as limiting and disparaging as those voices are, we tend to listen to them.

What if you didn’t?

Recognize that there are any number of positive and supportive options available at any time. No need to argue with the negative voice. Just thank it for its opinion and give yourself permission to recognize that you do deserve to have, be and do what’s important to you, that you can make mistakes and still be okay, that it might take a number of attempts to get t–hings the way you want them to be and that perfection need not be necessarily be required.

One caveat—that little voice never actually goes away, but you can definitely learn to ignore it.

Are You Ready to Take a Stand for What You Say You Want?

There’s a life changing concept I want to share with you. It’s based on a line in the 1976 movie, Network. In it, the news anchor rants to the television audience, “Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’”

Maybe you’re not quite mad as hell, but perhaps there are things in your life that you’re tired of, frustrated with, given up on. Maybe you think you “should” do something, but you haven’t done anything yet and you don’t have a plan.

we only regret chances we didn't take comment illustration design graphic

Things don’t change just because it would be nice if they did. And you’re not necessarily going to do something differently just because it’s a good idea. But if you’re ready to take a stand for what you want to do, or be or have and commit to that…well.

John Assaraf said, “If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient; if you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.” Yes, change might be a bit of a challenge. So what. Lance Armstrong put it well when he said, “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”

So I challenge you to take a stand for yourself. Use this quote by Paul J. Meyer as your affirmation. “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”

Here’s how it works. First, you imagine yourself doing, having or being what you say you want. Want it so bad that you have that commitment to do whatever it takes. Make sure you truly believe you can make that happen, and that you deserve it. Finally, create a plan and work it. Work on it every day. Get support if you need it. Do it.

Is Your Imagination “Running Away with You”?

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Does this ever happen to you?
There’s something important you need to do but you’re putting it off because you’re thinking doing it will be difficult or unpleasant in some way? Strangely, it seems to be easy to imagine the “worst case scenario” as the likely outcome.

That story in your imagination is powerful enough to keep you from doing something you actually need to do. The Temptations understood this, as you may remember from this lyric:

“A cozy little home out in the country with two children, maybe three.
I tell you, I can visualize it all. This couldn’t be a dream, for too real it all seems.
But it was just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.”

Since what you imagine can seem so real, why not practice imagining positive experiences and outcomes? Here’s one way to do that. Let’s say your task involves getting your financials ready for your tax preparer. You might have slogged through this task in past years and found it tedious. So you are imagining this time being grim and you just aren’t enthusiastic about starting.

The solution is imagining the task being more of an interesting challenge – something you can get involved in and make timely progress, and then feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Perhaps think about the benefit of doing the work.

“Oh sure,” you may be thinking. “Fat chance I’d buy into that.” No problem. The positive thoughts create what’s called cognitive dissonance, an inconsistency. Now your brain can recognize a choice.

Think of how you’d increase the appeal of doing the work. Consider what’s in it for you to complete the task, how you’ll feel when you do. It’s your imagination so you can enhance the experience in any way you want. Step into that picture and claim it as real.

The more you start thinking positive, the easier things become.

Need more tips? Check out the Artful Coaching Facebook page.

Who’s in Your Head?

Does this ever happen to you?
Before leaving for an appointment this morning, I checked my email one last time (just to make sure nothing urgent came in. Then, before I knew what I was doing, I opened one that had an intriguing subject line. Wouldn’t you know it, the article had information I was interested in pursuing. I clicked the link that took me to the website that had a list of “helpful resources.” As I scanned the list noting several articles and sites I’d like to check out the “adult voice” in my head reminded me that I had an appointment to get to and that the resources would still be there in the afternoon. Sometimes my eagerness to pursue something interesting gets the best of me. Fortunately, I have more than one voice in my head.
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Eric Berne developed a theory of Transactional Analysis. He said we have three ego states – parent, adult and child. The parent state is the one that creates the “should” that make us feel so guilty. Everyone has this part and it can be relentless. Then there’s the child state. When we’re functioning from this place we’re either resisting the parent state, maybe even being oppositional, or we’re just into having fun. The place you want to come from is the adult state. When you’re there your decisions are not based on what you should do or what’s fun, but on what makes sense.

How do you know what makes sense for you at any given time? One way is to have a future check with an “if…then” conversation (yes in your head). i.e. “if I do this now here’s what is likely to happen as a result.”

You can develop the habit of listening to the adult voice in your head that suggests behaviors that make sense. This is really preferable to being cowed by the tyranny of “should“ or the voice that doggedly resists being told what you must do or be. Of course, it does take time to develop and maintain a habit. Having someone to hold you accountable will help you succeed.
You can do it yourself with commitment and a tracking sheet, find an accountability partner, or better yet, work with a coach.

Who do you know that would love a half hour phone coaching session as a holiday gift? My gift to you when you book your own complimentary session before November 30th.

Check out the Artful Coaching Facebook page for tips and information
And please do “like” us there!

Wait Your Turn

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Does this ever happen to you? You have a thought, but before you can act on that thought another thought bumps the first thought and gets in front of it, and you start focusing on the second thought. Then as you’re attending to that new thought, you remember something related and start thinking about what to do with that. And you realize — wait a minute, wait a minute, what’s going on, and you pause to gather your thoughts. You notice the first thought wandering around and you start to bring it back to the front before another interruption can occur.
This happens to many of us from time to time. It happens to people who are not linear thinkers with frequency. People who are creative thinkers, divergent thinkers, those with ADHD often have so many thoughts vying for attention at the same time that it can be difficult to prioritize and focus on just one thing at a time.
Like right now, I’m writing this article, but ideas for another writing project keep intruding, as does an impulse to take my dog for a walk, and wondering if the mailman has delivered the mail yet.

One possible solution involves using a timer.

* Decide on something you want to/need to do.
* Determine how much time that task might require and how much time you’re willing to devote to it at a particular time. E.g. This afternoon at 3 p.m. for 30 minutes.
* Schedule that in your calendar (if it fits, of course).
* Gather everything you need plus a note pad, and clear things that might be distractions.
* Set the timer for 30 minutes and commit to it. Really.
* Write anything that pops into your head as a different “to do” on the pad so you’ll remember it later.
* At the end of the 30 minutes decide what’s next, continuing with what you were doing if you haven’t finished, or moving on to another task that now has a higher priority.

If you’re thinking, “Yeah, sure, that won’t work for me,” you may be right. It’s only a possible solution. Try it. Make adjustments. If it works make it a habit.