Day 17 – Balance?

We are about to wrap up this series… small changes = BIG results. I’ll be announcing soon the next series too so stay tuned!

As we finish this one up though I want to end with some exercises which shouldn’t take long but will help you to understand yourself better. Even if you are the most self-aware person out there, we typically don’t spend the time just reflecting on who we are. In doing so though we can begin to understand our motivations, our thinking processes and the ever-fascinating question, why we do the things we do.

Here is exercise #1. In each of the boxes, write 3-5 adjectives to describe yourself.

PHYSICAL
INTELLECTUAL
SPIRITUAL
RELATIONAL

Are there any areas of your life that you have been neglecting? Is there a particular area you spend the majority of your time focusing on? Are things well-balanced?

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This and other resources will be available on the new site. I hope you take the time to complete them. They won’t take long but you’l be surprised at what can happen when you are intentional about your own growth.

See you tomorrow!

Day 16 – Switch things up!

I have some exciting news! In about a week I will be moving my blog over to a new site! I’ll keep you all posted so you know how to find me… hoping to see you all over there once the move happens!

This change has gotten me thinking though… it’s good to switch things up every so often. Life gets boring when everything stays the same all the time. If you’ve read my previous posts (or know me at all for that matter) you know that I am not, by nature, a change-loving person. Or at least I haven’t been until recently. My husband’s and my move to North Carolina has been key in producing within me a new-found openness to change.

I’ve always known that change is healthy; from an intellectual standpoint that is. But until I experienced my own major life changes, I remained somewhat closed off to the idea. The past year has been full of transition  and the fear that that change always used to produce within me has slowly but surely begun to fade away. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to me; a world full of adventure with new people and new places to visit. It’s exciting and fun, no longer something to run away from. That has brought great freedom.

How are you at dealing with change? Are you a fan? Or do you fear it like I did? This week I challenge you to switch something up in your life! Make the change you’ve been putting off and let me know how it goes.

I am really looking forward to launching the new website… my upcoming change. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do! See you soon!

Day 15 – Habit Spiral

I read this post the other day and wanted to share it with all of you. It written by a guy who really seems to practice what he preaches… Which as you know I love! It illustrates wonderfully the idea of starting small, getting that momentum going and creating big results in your life.

Check out this post. I am sure you’ll be encouraged by what you read.

Happy Weekend!

 


Day 14 – Exercise for the Mind

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” -Elizabeth Hardwick (American literary critic and author)
Are you a reader? Reading is one of the best ways to build confidence and actually become a more interesting person. It is also a way to increase your understanding of the human condition, of other cultures and explore different interests. You know all this right? I am not stating anything new… but do you do it?
I was at a dinner party a couple weeks ago and a conversation started about the books we’ve read lately. There was so much variety as one woman described her love of both fiction and historical biographies. She told us about a few of the books she’d read recently, some of which my husband read in the past year as well. They exchanged thoughts and connected through this shared interest.
There is a reason that Oprah’s book club is one of the most popular initiatives she’s started. There is joy that comes from reading. There is great catharsis that can come from getting so involved in a story that you actually experience the emotions of the characters yourself. When reading biographies, one of my favorite genres personally, you get the chance to glimpse in on someone else’s life. Have you ever just thought to yourself “If only I could be a fly on the wall in that person’s house”… well, when reading someone’s life story, you basically get to! I also love to read self-help/therapy books as a way to learn and develop my skills. There is always more to learn, no matter what your career or interests.  

Here are a few other reasons to hit the books:
· Reading improves your concentration.
· Reading develops discipline.
· Reading can improve your vocabulary.
· Reading is to the brain like running is for the heart. It is a good workout!
Check out this article on Oprah’s website for more benefits.

So… Your small thing for the weekend is: Read something! Choose whatever kind of reading material you want… magainzes, an online news source, fiction, non… whatever sounds good at the time! Think of it as a workout for your mind!

Day 13 – The Power of an Hour

Guest Blogger: Coach Carrie
Carrie Roldan is a Life Coach and mother of 3 living in Southern California. She is such an inspiring woman who lives her life with passion and enthusiasm. It’s such an honor to have her write a guest post for the series (and hopefully in time I’ll get her to write more)! Check out her blog if you get a chance!

What could you accomplish if you could add just one more hour to your day?  Could you squeeze in that workout you never seem to have time for?  Maybe you would find the time to read or journal.  What if I told you that you can have that extra hour (or more), every day?  You can!  I’ll tell you the secret…

Step 1: Set your alarm for one hour (or more) earlier than you currently get out of bed.
Step 2:  Get out of bed when it goes off.
Step 3: Use the time for what you intend it to be.

Step 3 is the hard part.  But do it.  You’ll thank me later.  Just get out of bed.  I promise you will be a more productive person for your effort.

There is a natural tendency among many of my clients to argue “Well, you are a morning person.  I could never do that.  I am more productive at night.”  This may be true.  I am a morning person, and I tend to be the most productive before noon. But, I assure you, I wasn’t always setting my alarm for 4:00 AM.  The hard truth is that the way you START your day matters.  It sets the tone for everything that follows.  I start my day by honoring the needs of my soul. I “fill myself up” in the mornings so that I can pour my best self into the day.

4:00 AM is uncomfortably early even for me (although this morning I got out of bed at 3:45), but I’ve learned that my days are better if I can manage to get 2 full hours (or more) of “me time” before the kids get up.  I get my quiet time, my workout, and one or two other things in and start the day feeling whole; like I have nourished my soul.  When I feel this way, there is more of me to give to my kids, my husband, and everyone else I encounter during the day.  If I were to wait until the end of the day to get my “me time,” it would most likely be spent unwinding.  I may go to bed feeling more balanced and whole, but the rest of the world would miss out on it, and I would have missed out on the increased productivity that is a natural result of starting my day with scheduled “me time.”

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Just try it for a week.  You can start with a half-hour if you like, but set the alarm, and get out of bed.  Notice how much more peace this one little habit brings to your busy life.   I promise, it’s not that hard once you just make it a habit.  Commit to giving yourself some morning “me” time.  You deserve it!

Day 12 – Avoid No Longer!

Small thing for today… Do that one thing you keep avoiding! Or at least take a step in the right direction.

This can be so difficult yet so freeing once you do it! What is that one thing you’ve been putting off for what feels like forever? Is it having a hard conversation with someone who hurt you? Or is it organizing your files for tax season? What about researching a potential new career path?

It can be one of many things but for some reason, something has been holding you back from moving forward in a particular area. Depending on the subject of the avoidance, perhaps you simply lack the time to get it done. My husband and I have been insanely busy the past few weeks with some exciting new things happening in our lives. But, with that, we have also been putting off chores around the house, getting our files in order, going through mail etc. And while it has been a conscious choice to avoid those things, the stacks that are piling up are stressing us out! If we would just go through them, not only would we de-clutter our lives, but we would feel so much better on the whole. Plus, if we would just take the time to go through things little-by-little, we wouldn’t have to spend so much time later.

Or are you dealing with more of an emotional pain? Has someone hurt you and you are having trouble finding the words to express how you feel? Are you avoiding the inevitable risk of sharing your feelings with someone and experiencing either a lack of understanding or rejection in return? Having those emotional kinds of conversations are incredibly difficult but the truth is, once you deal with your fear and take that risk, the rewards are often worth it. The thing is, whether you get the result you’re looking for or not, merely confronting the issue will enable that weight to be lifted from your shoulders.

Perhaps you’re aware that there is a yearning inside of you for something more… something different… but the idea of actually pursuing it just seems impossible. Maybe it’s going back to school or pursuing a promotion or a new career path all together. Try this: You don’t have to turn your life upside down today. Or tomorrow. But what if you were to start looking into the possibilities today. You can afford to be a little noncommittal at first. Just take the first step!

There comes a point in life where we have to confront our fears and the little things in life that we find ourselves avoiding. Is it easy? Well, some things are. You just have to make a decision to do it and follow through. But some are absolutely not easy. In fact, not only are the acts themselves scary but the potential repercussions are even more frightening. But once you deal with whatever it is you haven’t wanted to deal with, that dreaded issue loses some of its power and it is no longer so feared in the future.

So your exercise for today is to take one step forward toward working through the avoided task in your life. Some of you will read this, call your loved one and work out whatever has been bothering you. Others of you won’t feel ready for that so perhaps you could journal about your fears, debrief with a friend, create a plan etc. Just do something! This series is all about the little things we can do to build some momentum and make positive changes in your lives!

Let me know how it goes!

Day 10 – Silence is Golden

Today’s tip for the day: Ssshhh!!

This does not take long and may even appear simplistic, but trust me, it’s powerful! Incorporating silence into your life has proven to provide health benefits such as reduced stress and a greater awareness of your senses. When you slow down and allow yourself to experience silence rather than the overs-timulation that is usually present in each of our lives, you begin to discipline your mind.

Contrary to popular belief we do have the ability to control what we think; many of our thoughts are automatic but once we become aware of them, as well as how they effect our behavior and feelings, we can then begin to grab hold of our minds and in a sense, “train them,” to think in healthier ways.

When the world around us is noisy, chaotic and stressful, being able to be silent in the midst of that will create an inner peace that remains constant despite our outside surroundings. Peace does not have to be dependent on our circumstances. If that was the case, we would only be able to experience it when life is calm. Life, as we all know, is not always calm and that’s a very good thing! Sometimes it’s exciting and we want to jump up and down and express our excitement with great energy. Other times we grieve, but regardless of our circumstances, we can achieve a level of peace inside ourselves that surpasses understanding.

Becoming disciplined in the area of silence can also impact our spiritual lives. For those of us whose minds tend to wander during prayer or worship times, we can actually begin to concentrate better and deepen our relationship with God. Just as there are spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation, silence is a discipline that can greatly enhance those aspects of our lives.

Are you sold yet? So here’s an exercise to try: Click on the link below. You’ll be taken to a page with a beachy scene and a two minute countdown. Allow yourself to sit in silence for two minutes. If you move the mouse or touch the keyboard, the countdown will start over. Try it and see what you think!

http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/

Day 8 – Take a break already!

The first part of this series I have focused mainly on concepts or ideas to consider that could facilitate growth in your life. Yesterday I talked about how discovering your unique personality traits could impact both personal and professional growth. Earlier on I talked about how much our attitudes effect the way we view people and situations, as well as the importance of gratitude.
I want to get into some more practical tips now. Some may seem obvious but I want you to really think about whether or not you implement these practices into your daily life. If not, why? If so, what effect do they have on you each day?
I read an interesting article on Psych Central describing research being done regarding the kind of impact that taking breaks can have on a person’s attention span. The article explains that changing things up a bit (i.e. stopping what you’re doing in order to do something else) while engaging in a time-intensive activity can actually increase one’s ability to concentrate on whatever they are doing. Contrary to popular belief, breaks do not distract from the task at hand. If we are constantly stimulated, then whatever we are doing eventually begins to seem unimportant to our brains, causing us to lose interest and no longer have the ability to take in all the data.
Do you ever find yourself spending so much time on something that eventually you lose your sense of focus? I remember in grad school I would work on papers for hours on end and literally did not get up for even a bathroom break or to get a glass of water. I felt like I needed to continue without stopping until the paper was complete. Or during the work day I will stay at my desk despite feeling antsy and having difficulty focusing. According to this study, our concentration will actually improve if we incorporate some breaks into the day.
So today’s small thing (if you haven’t figured it out yet!) is to take a break! Or two! See what happens! Are you more focused when you return to the task?
Comment below. See you tomorrow!

Day 7 Additional Info…

If you’re interested in learning more about your personality type I want to recommend a couple resources. The most commonly used inventory that assesses personality is called Myers-Briggs. In addition to testing whether you are an introvert or extrovert, the test also determines where you fall in three other categories and provides a 4-letter description of your overall personality type. This test has been around since the 1940’s and produces a reliable assessment of who people are. You may not agree with all of your test results but if nothing else, it gets you thinking about the different aspects that make you, YOU!

There is another test called the Keirsey Temperament Sorter which is very similar to the Myers-Briggs. David Keirsey has written a book called “Please Understand Me II” that contains the actual personality test as well as tons of information about each personality type and even how they interact with the others. There are also chapters that describe how your personality may play out in marriage, parenting and leadership endeavors.

Both resources are incredibly informative! I hope this is helpful!

Day 7 – E or I?

I took a class on Diversity last week and one of the things we discussed was diversity with regards to personality traits. We defined the introvert and extrovert characteristics and then divided up as a class into those sides. What surprised me, was the fact that only four of us clearly knew where we fell on that spectrum. The other 15-20 people in the class were unsure of whether they were an introvert or extrovert.
As someone who has read books and taken classes on personality, this topic is one I am familiar with by now. But I am realizing that not everyone is aware of what defines their personality and how becoming aware can impact a variety of situations in life.
So we’ll start with descriptions. What traits characterize an Extrovert and Introvert?
Extrovert
Introvert
Gets “recharged” being around groups of people
Gets “recharged” during alone time
Gets lonely and bored quickly from being alone
Gets tired easily from being around people
Sometimes speaks before they think
Thinks before they speak. Sometimes spends too much time thinking and misses an opportunity to speak.
Values having a large social network
Values having  a few close friends
Vents problems verbally
Tends to reflect on problems internally
Can be difficult to just sit and listen
Does not have issue sitting without interruption

Extroverts make up approximately 70-75% of the population and introverts make up about 25-30%. There is nothing right or wrong about either personality type, but as you can see above, they are clearly different.  You may be reading these descriptions and thinking that you don’t fit into either category; while there is a spectrum for sure and you may land somewhere in the middle, the majority of people land on one side or the other.
So what does this mean for your life? Well, a lot actually! This seems like a small thing but understanding yourself better is incredibly important.
I have heard a lot of introverts complain about the fact that they are not as social as their extroverted friends. That they “don’t have a life” or that it’s harder to really make their mark on the social scene because they tend to be more quiet or need alone time. Introverts can still have a life without feeling like they have to push through to the point of exhaustion (attending every social event they get invited to, going out of their way to help everyone that asks, never saying “no” etc.). If they do that they won’t be effective for anyone; They just need to step away every so often to get rejuvenated and explain that need to their more extroverted friends.

In the workplace, extroverts may speak up more in meetings making introverts feel like they can’t. It is helpful for coworkers to understand each other and know that introverts are not being quiet because they don’t care but rather they need some reflection time before they give their two cents. As a manager it would be helpful to know this in order to seek out introverted employees and make sure to find out their thoughts on various work issues. Extroverts may speak up without even thinking and say things they don’t mean or that are even out of line. Rather than judging them or writing them off as inappropriate, managers need to understand them and have patience. It’s also helpful for employees to understand their supervisor’s personality type. If an extroverted supervisor is frustrated and speaks out negatively toward an employee, it could be that the comments weren’t well-thought out. Or, if an introverted manager is intentional about setting side time each day to lock themselves in their office and be unavailable, it’s not necessarily because they don’t like their employees or are lazy and antisocial, it could be because they need that rejuvenation time.

Both personalities are important and understanding this small thing can really make an impact for people both socially and professionally. So… are you an extrovert or introvert? What do you want others to understand about your personality?

See you tomorrow!

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