My husband and I have driven one car for over a year now. With us both working from home and not going out a whole ton, we haven’t found a need to buy a new one.
However, recently we needed to take it into the shop for a break check up.
We borrowed a car from my mom and drove them both to our favorite mechanic shop which is a good 30 minutes away, plus traffic, where we used to live.
The drop off went fine, but the pick up was something else. We tried to leave with enough time to pick up our daughter, get the car, and get our daughter to her swimming lessons. Yet, I had a scheduled phone call for work, I had to switch over to my cell and I was feeling super unprofessional.
So once we arrived at the shop, I tried to get my daughter dressed in her swimming suit. She hates public restrooms (did I mention we’re potty training) and she was not having any of it. By the time we had received the update from the mechanic (everything was fine), my husband came to get us in the bathroom and we got her loaded up in the car.
Let me tell you, my stress level was starting to climb. I don’t normally feel like my life is out of my control, but the time crunch plus the daughter’s unwillingness had made my blood pressure start to rise and my annoyance factor climb.
My husband managed to get out of the parking lot and on the way. I on the other hand got stuck with some old guy slowly trying to get in his car which was parked in such a way that I can’t back out and exit the parking lot.
And now I’m super annoyed. I’m trying to make it to the scheduled swim lesson, and I can’t move!
Finally, I figure out I can go back into the mechanic’s area and do a loop to get out. By the time I get to the exit, the car is gone, and I’m even more upset. I just want to get to my daughter’s swim lesson on time.
As I’m driving down the streets of my former stomping grounds, fuming about the circumstances of the afternoon, my husband calls (hands free, no worries) and I tell him about getting trapped by the slow, old guy. He says to me, “Oh, the one with the cane? I rescheduled our daughter’s swim lesson for another 40 minutes, we have plenty of time.)
And now I feel bad. I feel bad that I wanted to rush someone who needed the time. I feel bad that I didn’t think to problem-solve the timing of the swim lesson, but very grateful that I had a husband who did. I feel bad that my life got out of control, and I spiraled out with it.
See, we all do it. We all have those days when everything spins out of control, and we get so upset. For some of us, that can be day after endless day, week after endless week, month after month, etc. But it doesn’t have to be. For the next few weeks I want to talk about the different areas where our life can feel out of control (at home, at work, in our love lives) and give some tips for regaining a sense of calm.
If you could use some calm in the midst of one of life’s storms, contact me. Let’s connect.
We’re starting to explore a few areas where lives quickly get out of control. Last week we tackled “in the home”. Today I’d like to talk about relationships. So I started to think about what causes relationships to get out of control, and I broke it down into these categories (recognize them? I talk about them a lot):
Relationships get out of control when we lose our sense of self values by hanging out with someone who continually pushes those values away by belittling them, making fun of us, showing us that our values aren’t as good as theirs, etc. I can’t read the news without reading about the latest child predator (R Kelly, Jeffrey Epstein, etc.) It makes me think about “grooming” the concept of people helping to break down people’s values, priorities, and boundaries so that they can corrupt the other person and get them to do what they want (for nefarious reasons). This is not something that happens over night, but over time, and when it happens to us we begin to feel crazier and crazier.
Relationships get out of control when we throw out our priorities. Maybe more affectionately referred to as codependency. I love my spouse and daughter very much, and they are my number 1 priority, but if I don’t also focus on the other things I have determined to be priorities like self-care, serving others, and building my community, I become a burned out victim in my own life.
Relationships get out of control when we don’t uphold our boundaries. After we firmly establish what our boundaries are, it’s important that we maintain them in all aspects of our lives. I’ve had friendships and romantic relationships where I’ve let people step all over my boundaries as a means to “people please” and make the other person happy. It’s never gone well. I start to resent those people, and I start to resent myself for allowing it to happen.
Relationships get out of control when the relationship replaces all of the things we are passionate about doing. We have been given passions so that we can live our life’s callings. Yet, if you have a demanding relationship that requires you to do what s/he/they want, and you do less and less of what you were made to do, you begin to lose yourself. Over time you’ll completely forget who you are until you end up becoming too much like the other person.
I wasn’t entirely sure how to encourage you if you have a relationship that is out of control. I know so many people struggling with toxic relationships. As their friends, it can be easy to tell people to just write off those relationships, but it’s never that simple. There are ties that bind us to the people in our lives whether the relationships are healthy or otherwise. So I put out an intention yesterday to hear what I needed to share with you, and here are three quotes I heard or read throughout the day. I hope they inspire:
“When you say NO to the things that don’t serve you, you allow time and space for the things you actually want to say YES to.”
“I would rather adjust my life to your absence, than adjust my boundaries to accommodate your disrespect.”
“I hold the ability to forgive when appropriate. ”
I’d love to talk more about this with you if this is an area in which you struggle, let’s jump on a Discovery Call and see if working together is a good fit.
You want to know the secret of finding calm in the midst of a crazy work day in the snap of your fingers? Okay, well maybe not a snap as much as a tap. Check this out.
In October of 2013 I was hired on for what I felt was my dream role. It was an increase in income and a bigger role than I had held previously. I loved working for the organization. I enjoyed my co-workers, and I felt like we were living a great mission.
Three months into my position the wheels fell off the wagon and major changes were in order. I love change, it didn’t phase me. I continued working with amazing colleagues, and we were still doing a lot to make a difference in the work we were doing. Together, we were making huge changes that were having a positive impact for children in Arizona.
Five months later, the floor fell out from under me. The boss I had loved getting to know and work with, tore into me for something so small and stupid (this would become the norm) and our relationship struggled for the rest of her time with the organization (I had eight bosses in the span of five years). My team and I couldn’t seem to do anything right or fast enough to please her. I also have a strong sense of integrity and when I pushed back, she didn’t like it. Ultimately, I learned that she was trying to fire me, and I was devastated.
I took some much needed and deserved time off and was going to quit upon my return, but while that was occurring, she was going through some troubles with her boss and was in essence given a “get out of here” message. By the time I came back, she was on her way out. I was in counseling during those couple of years doing what I could to survive each work day. I couldn’t comprehend a boss that wanted me to work nights and weekends, break policies and procedures (not to mention rules and laws) and said I was the one without any integrity. Sadly, I still wanted to like her and be liked by her.
Things got better for a time, but I was burnt out. My next boss was great but eventually he was shown the door. And then it came back to the mad scramble of trying to figure out what the new boss wanted who also never thought we did it well enough or fast enough. My team was trying very hard and trying to help, but it was never appreciated nor supported. Finally, I had enough. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know what I valued or if I had any integrity. I didn’t like who I had become.
I have many more stories about that workplace that could fill an entire book about backstabbing, sabotage, blaming, affairs, and depression. Later, I learned that I was experiencing workplace trauma. Something I still struggle with, although it has improved greatly in the past couple of years.
Sometimes work gets out of control and because we spend so much time there it can affect everything else from finances, quality time with the family, self-care and our mental health not to mention our relationships inside and outside of work.
That’s why I invited Sara Whiteside to come talk to us about techniques for handling work when it gets out of control. Sara is a certified EFT Tapping practitioner and coach. EFT stands for Emotional freedom technique (EFT) and it is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure.
I’ve had a session with Sara and I can tell you not only is this practice scientifically based (used by counselors, psychologists and social workers) but it really does work.
61% of Young Adults and 51% of moms with young kids feel “serious loneliness”. – Harvard Report
This statistic blows me away. In the midst of what feels like a never-ending pandemic, people are feeling more loneliness than ever.
According to Louise Hawkley Ph.D., principal research scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago loneliness occurs when there is a perceived discrepancy between what we want and what we have in our relationships.
So it’s not about the quantity of connections we have, but more about the quality of our relationships. We feel lonely when we’re not getting the level of emotional support we crave.
We know from all kinds of scientific and anecdotal research that loneliness is not good for our mental health or wellness. Research shows that loneliness is linked to early mortality and serious health issues including depression, anxiety, heart disease, and substance abuse.
In fact, loneliness has similar or greater health risks as smoking, drinking and obesity. Additional studies have shown that social isolation worsens cognitive abilities and accelerates aging.
Whew! That’s not a whole lot of positivity.
However, Hawkley goes on to explain that loneliness as an upside and that is, it may motivate you to take action. She says, “Loneliness is adaptive and evolutionary. It’s a nudge to get out there because you need something. In that way, it’s like hunger or thirst.” In essence, loneliness is your brain forcing you to establish strong social connections to survive and thrive.
Here are some techniques for combating loneliness. Try and see what works for you:
Admit you are lonely
LABELING our feelings may reduce their intensity.
Realize it’s something most of us experience occasionally
I.e. you are not alone.
Reframe your responses to situations
When someone is not responding to you like you expect, is it really you? Or something going on with them?
Take a chance
Are you anticipating rejection? You have to put yourself out there and take the risks.
Try a new group activity – book club, yoga class, dog park meetup – what are you passionate about? Check Facebook or Meet up groups for options.
Do something for others
Volunteering helps us feel connected to the community at large. Helping others takes the focus off of yourself
Adopt a furry family member
Pets are good for us – reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of anxiety, stress, and loneliness
Studies show even gazing into your dog’s eyes releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. No word yet on whether you can get your cat to sit there long enough to look into your eyes.
Gardening is good for mental and physical health
Start a gratitude practice – journal, jar, post on social media, or do a gratitude meditation
Cut back on Social Media
Face it, most of us don’t want to be on social media as much as we are. So, feel free to delete the app from your phone, set time limits around usage, or put your phone in another part of the house for a specific period of time.
Don’t use technology to replace personal contact
Research shows us that in-person interactions are better at helping us maintain strong mental health. Use technology to supplement, not replace, personal interactions with others.
Know when to get some help
You don’t have to go through this alone. There are always people you can talk to. Talk to a good friend or find a counselor or coach who can help you develop positive practices that will minimize the length and number of times you feel lonely.
Still feeling lonely? Schedule some time to chat with me. Your confidentiality is of the utmost importance. I’m here to help.
This month we’re going to talk about a standard topic, but in a new, more brainy way. Have you ever thought about goals, why we set them, how we achieve them or why we don’t? To get good at goal setting and achievement, one must first dive into what a goal is and why humans set them in the first place.
So, here goes…
What is a goal?
A goal is a desired outcome that wouldn’t happen otherwise without some kind of intervention. A goal is a detour from the path of least resistance. In practice, we set goals in circumstances where we need to do something that hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen on its own.
Goal setting is about struggle. We want to be, do or have something that isn’t coming to us easily. You may have heard the idea of a “stretch goal” which is a goal that is a little less than probable, but if we don’t set goals in the first place then all of life becomes a “stretch goal”. A goal is a catalyst to behavior change which is a fundamental element in personal growth and development. To pursue a goal one must undertake a path that they haven’t taken before.
Motivation & Skill
Goals are made up of two parts: motivation and skill. First, one must have the motivation to make an improvement, in essence, to go from Point A to Point B. Motivation is the catalyst for all behavior change. How one derives a state of motivation is highly personal. How one maintains the motivation is highly demanding.
Think about the frequently set goal of losing weight. People are motivated to lose weight for different reasons – going to a high school reunion, feeling winded when walking, or needing to make improvements for health reasons. And sticking with it can be even more challenging because any good goal is going to take time and build new skills.
The other component to achieving your goals is relying on skills you already have and developing new ones that help you attain what you desire. Again, speaking of weight loss, a person with the goal to lose weight is going to have to build new skills such as willpower, calorie counting (if that’s your thing), recognizing unhealthy cravings, etc. while building on skills you may already have like counting, cooking, or saying no to things you’ve deemed unhealthy. Your motivation and skills will be different from those of other people.
Benefits of setting goals
One of the main benefits of goal setting is that it helps drive your focus so you can set priorities and establish boundaries around a very specific idea. When you set a goal you drive toward something that you have declared as important. Also, it gives you control of your future. Instead of watching life happen to you, you now get to firmly place yourself in the driver seat and say, “I want to go over there.” As stated earlier, another benefit is that it builds our motivation muscle and helps us to uncover dormant skills and establish new skills we will be able to use in the future. More romantically, goals give us purpose.
The importance of goal setting
Goal setting begins with the reality that goals give you a focus. Focus helps us to move from doing ALL the things to doing the things that MATTER MOST. If our definition stands that a goal is a detour from the path of least resistance then focusing on where the new path (the past of great resistance) will take us, can only happen because we have a destination in mind.
Goals help you measure progress (if you set SMART goals; spoiler alert: we’ll talk about that next week). The only way to know if you’ve progressed is to be able to measure it. Whether you just want to lose a few pounds or make $1,000,000, knowing the end goal and being able to see how you got there feels incredibly rewarding. As anyone with a performance review can attest, goals can measure your efforts and help you see how your efforts have contributed to the success of your teams and company. If you were lucky, it may have come with a bonus or a raise.
Goals help you beat procrastination. I’m sure a number of you enjoy the thrill of waiting until the last minute to get something done. I’m also certain that you probably didn’t enjoy it all that much and maybe didn’t put your best effort towards it. When you have a goal staring you in the face, it challenges you to work on it daily or weekly. It tempts you to not put off anything so that you can get one step closer and another step and another one until you’ve tasted success.
Goals help you determine what you want in life. Many of the clients that I work with have one thing in common, they all want to rediscover who they are and what they are passionate about. That’s why goal setting and action planning are a huge part of life coaching sessions. The very act of setting goals forces you to think about what you truly want out of life. When you set a goal, you are saying this is what I want to be and do during my time on this earth.
Does goal setting work?
In a word, yes. Goal setting works. Many, many studies show that when done properly, creating goals helps you to carry them out and successfully achieve them. So, what’s stopping you? Maybe it’s that you don’t know where to start. Maybe it’s that you’ve tried goal setting before and it didn’t work. Maybe it’s that you get started, but can’t stay motivated. That’s where I can help. I know how to get you started, how to help you be successful at setting goals, and help keep you motivated. Intrigued? Good, sign up for a chat sesh with me and let’s chat.
**Trigger Warning – discussion around losing weight**
If goal setting is a detour from the path of least resistance, then not setting goals is a vacation cruise to “no-where-ville”, but at least it won’t be hard. Studies show that 84% of people don’t set goals. Of the additional 16% only 13% have written goals and only 3% have written goals with a plan. A 1979 study by the Harvard School of business, shows that if you have a written goal you are 10 times more successful than those without written goals and if you are part of the 3% that has written goals and a plan, you are 10 times more successful than all the rest. (Success was defined as 10 years later you were making more money than the others.)
When setting a goal first one needs to understand the source of the difficulty. As we talked about last week, she/they will also need to assess their own motivation and skills to determine if it’s a realistic goal and if they’re ready to learn new skills to help them achieve their goal. I’ve said multiple times that I’m going to lose weight, but you know what I haven’t done? Yeah, lose weight. You know why? Because I haven’t even set a goal around it. I haven’t analyzed the problem. I haven’t set a SMART goal. I haven’t written it down, and I haven’t developed an action plan.
So, let’s talk through the steps for setting goals.
Step 1. Take a look at your life and determine, “Am I where I want to be?” “If I could change any three things about my life, what would they be?” “If I could wave a magic wand and fix any of my problems, which problems would I fix?”
Analyze the problem – really take a look at it, don’t just say, “I’m overweight or I hate my job or My husband never listens.” State the problem and then ask yourself why. And don’t just start with one why, keep going until you can find the deep root of what is going on. For me, it’s my weight (sorry I keep bringing this up). Here’s my seven Why’s process:
Problem: I’m overweight.
Why: When I have the choice, I don’t eat nutritious foods.
Why: Because nutritious foods aren’t easily accessible to me.
Why: Because I lack the motivation to make them, even though I crave them
Why: Because I don’t feel like I have the time or the ingredients
Why: Because I have made other things the priority in my life and convenience foods are easier
Why: Because I don’t have a strategy for eating healthy
Why: Because I haven’t made time to sit down, learn how to set a good strategy, and take action to remedy this problem.
Now that I’ve taken that journey, I can see that it’s not quite so simple as I’m a bum because I can’t make healthy eating choices, and I don’t have the right foods for me. The deeper root cause identifies that I need to learn a strategy that I can follow, map it, and begin to follow it. Now I have a goal.
When creating a goal, make it SMART. You know why so many people fail to achieve their new year’s resolutions? Because they say, “I will lose weight,” instead of, “I will lose twenty pounds through exercising three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes and planning and eating nutritious meals and snacks six days per week by May 31, 2022.” Do you see the difference? The second one is SMART. Here’s the acronym:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time bound
So why is the second goal SMART. Let’s look at it:
Specific – I name what I want to do, and how I will do it specifically. What do I want to do? Lose weight. How am I going to do it? By exercising three times a week and eating nutritious meals and snacks six days a week (day seven can be a cheat day).
Measurable – A goal is hard to measure when no numbers are involved. Let’s look at all the ways the second goal is measurable. First, it says I will lose 20 pounds. So I can weigh myself and measure to see my progress on a daily/weekly basis (choice is mine). Also, I can track if I do 3 x 30 minute workouts per week (there are super easy and free habit trackers all over the internet). And finally, I will eat nutritiously six days a week. Again, a great habit tracker is useful to carry out this action.
Attainable – This is where either some subject matter expertise comes into play or a little need to research. Is this goal attainable? In 5 months (if I set this on January 1st) could I lose 20 pounds. The answer is yes. If I attempt to lose one pound a week and give myself 5 months which would equal out to slightly less than one pound a week, then it is attainable. If I had said, “I will lose 100 pounds in three months,” that is not attainable. But again, if you did the simple math of 1 pound per week then you know it would take you approximately 100 weeks to attain your goal.
Realistic – Realism is the other side of the coin to attainability. Is it realistic to lose 1 pound a week? Yes. How do I know because I checked with subject matter experts and researched it, and everywhere I went I found that one pound a week is realistic. Is two pounds a week realistic. Yep, still true. Three pounds…well, depends on how much more I want to work out and how much less I want to eat. So that’s no longer realistic to me.
Time bound – the key to any good goal is a due date. This goal is time bound as I’ve set it specifically for May 31, 2022. Yep, you need to know when your time will be done for a couple of reasons. First, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to do anything forever. We are rebellious by nature and don’t want to be stuck in something forever. Second, it gives you a chance to evaluate your progress and determine if your goal needs to be tweaked. If I reach my goal, my new goal would be about keeping the weight off. If I don’t reach my new goal, it’s a chance to evaluate and see what worked and what needs to be changed in order to be successful.
Another key step to achieving your goal is to write it down and put it in a place where you can see it everyday. Examples include your bathroom mirror, your work computer, on the home screen of your phone. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Vision Boarding. It’s a creative and expressive way to communicate your goals, it’s beautiful and can be put in a place where you would love to see it every day, and makes you continue to think about it as well as check goals off the list.
Step 5 – is planning, but I really want to dive into action planning so we’ll take a look at that in two weeks.
Want to achieve your goals quickly and easily with a little, friendly accountability? Set up some time to chat with me, and let’s see if working together can help you accomplish what you want now.