Now or Later?

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=61538&picture=terrified-man
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=61538&picture=terrified-man

I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date.  No time to say hello, goodbye!  I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”  The White Rabbit  in Alice in Wonderland.

Just like him, we often rush around here and there convinced we’re late and that we have no time.  This makes us either give our dreams a lick and a promise or—worse—postpone them with the mistaken belief that we’ll have more time later on.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the same thing that I have:  you never have a chance to re-do what you gave the lick and a promise to, and it’s never more convenient or easier, and time doesn’t expand or slow down later on.  And, I’m usually never braver Later On.  In fact, it seems that Later On never comes—that my better able, more courageous, energetic self does not materialize.

I’ve discovered that Later On is a trap and a dead end.  When I put things off, oftentimes I find that Later On I’m even more pressed for time and I’m even more tired and overwhelmed and anxious.  It dawned on me that I don’t solve or gain anything by putting things off until Later On.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Now.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Now.jpg

Realizing this might have led you to the same conclusion that I came to, which is this:  taking steps right now to the best of my ability is the only really good shot I’ll get at moving toward my goals and dreams.  Right Now is the most convenient time, Right Now is when I’m the bravest, Right Now is when I’m at my best.

Your homework for today is to take that next step, no matter how small, Right Now.  Go for it!  Challenge yourself; you can do it!  Yay you!

Post in the comments section below the step you took Right Now!

I’m so proud of you!!

You’re Friend,

Lauren

Internal Critic versus Gut Instinct

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=38599&picture=thinking-gorilla&large=1
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=38599&picture=thinking-gorilla&large=1

Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish when your gut instinct is sending you a flash of insight and when your Internal Critic has cleverly disguised itself and is mimicking your gut instinct.  It does this because it wants you to go back to the status quo, to quit stepping outside your neat little box, and, for goodness sakes, stop pushing the edge of the envelope!!

How can you tell the difference when it isn’t so obvious?    When a thought pops into your mind that makes you second-guess yourself or causes you to pause—or if it’s sending confusing messages—here are a few things to try:

Take a moment for some quiet thinking time.  Ask yourself what would be the outcome if you followed through on the thought?  If the outcome is something that would keep you in the status quo or keeping you with the familiar and the known, then it is probably your Internal Critic speaking.  It doesn’t like change, the unfamiliar, or new situations.  It likes the familiar, the comfortable—safety and security.

If, however, the outcome of following through on the thought moves you closer to your goals and dreams, even in a tiny way, then it’s probably your Gut Instinct talking.  Your Gut Instinct wants to help you live the best life you can.  It wants to help you achieve your full potential.  It isn’t afraid of a little uncertainty or being in an unfamiliar situation.  Your Gut Instinct is actually energized and invigorated with the new and different.  It likes adventure!

Your homework for today is to note the thoughts you’ve been having lately and determine if they are your Internal Critic or your Gut Instinct talking to you.

If it’s your Internal Critic, take a look at the steps you’re taking and break them into smaller pieces.  This can help you “fly below the radar” of your Internal Critic.  And smaller increments can be more comfortable for your Internal Critic—and you, too!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coca-Cola_Thrill_Ride_-_geograph.org.uk_-_278463.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coca-Cola_Thrill_Ride_-_geograph.org.uk_-_278463.jpg

If it’s your Gut Instinct, then buckle up your seat belt and enjoy the ride!!  Enjoy the thrill!  Go for it!

Post in the comments below all the fun you’re having by following your Gut Instinct.  Anything serendipitous happen when you followed your gut?

I’m proud of you!  You’re terrific!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Rarin’ to Go!

Copyright VNS Images
Copyright VNS Images

Are you ready for a wonderful week?  Here are a few statements to get you going:

You are awesome!

You are in the right place at the right time doing the right things in the right way;

You are perfectly positioned for your success;

You are fully equipped for taking the next step;

You are a victor;

You are a warrior;

You are a conqueror;

You are good enough just the way you are;

You are smart;

You are strong;

You are resilient;

You are capable;

You are competent;

You have what it takes to achieve your goals and dreams;

I believe in you!

You can do it!  Go You!

You’re homework for today is to do mirror work and repeat the above statements, or ones that you’ve come up with yourself.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Just_because_(near_Oltu,_eastern_Turkey).jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Just_because_(near_Oltu,_eastern_Turkey).jpg

Get excited!  Speak enthusiastically.  Smile at yourself.  Go ahead and jump up and down!  The more excited you get, the more energy you create, and the more the message sinks into your psyche.  The more that happens then the deeper and stronger your belief is in yourself.

Post in the comments below statements that really get your engines going!

I’m so proud of you.  You’re a Rock Star!

You’re Friend,

Lauren

Awareness

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnifying_glass_2911.JPG
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnifying_glass_2911.JPG

We’ve completed the first seven days of the month.  It’s time for some gentle evaluation.  Take a look at this past week and note what went well, achievements you’ve had, and a few things that might need tweaking.

When you identify things you could have done better or different choices you wish you would have made, take the judgment, recriminations, and blame out of it.  Don’t think of them as mistakes or something you did wrong or incorrectly.  Instead, think of them in terms of awareness.

Now that you’re aware, what would you do differently next time?  What tweaks would you make to your schedule to make it more realistic given the obligations and responsibilities you have?  With awareness, you can—and you will—make better decisions.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celebration_fireworks.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celebration_fireworks.jpg

Please be kind to yourself.  Recognize that you’re living life in the here and now, as it comes to you in each moment.  Acknowledge that you’re making adjustments on the fly and the decisions are the best you can do at that time.  It’s easy for anyone to be a Monday morning quarterback, meaning that in hindsight everyone can figure out what they “coulda woulda shoula” done.  But you aren’t living your life in hindsight; you’re living it in the moment.   Give yourself credit for doing the best you could.

For your homework today, celebrate the accomplishments you’ve had this week.  No matter if they’re teensy-tiny, they still count and it’s all good stuff.

In the comments section below, post the accomplishments you’ve had.  I want to celebrate you, too!

I’m so proud of you for sticking with this.  You’re terrific!!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hearts_on_a_window_sunset.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hearts_on_a_window_sunset.jpg

Normally we spend this day expressing our love and appreciation to family, friends, and our Special Someone.  It’s important to do this today—and every day, for that matter!—but make sure to include yourself

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love_heart.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love_heart.jpg

Your homework today is to appreciate yourself and your life.  Recognize that you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of appreciation and praise; you are good enough right here and right now exactly the way you are.  Pat yourself on the back for having the gumption to go for your dreams.  Give yourself a hug for sticking with this for six weeks.

Post in the comments section below some of the qualities that you like about yourself.

I’m so proud of you.  Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Fall in Love

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Candlelight_dinners.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Candlelight_dinners.jpg

Today is the day before Valentine’s Day.  Usually, the focus is on romance and couples and the dreamy, starry-eyed expression of that love.  Romantic love is great fun as well as deeply and profoundly moving, and I hope everyone has a Special Someone in their lives with whom to share this special type of love.

But if you haven’t already, also fall in love with your dreams and goals—especially your most cherished ones.

It can be scary admitting to yourself that you’re in love with your goals and dreams.  But it’ll be one of the best things you’ve ever done in your life—just like when you told your Special Someone that you loved her/him.

We make a promise to our Special Someone to care for them and be with them no matter what.  Sometimes it’s hard to follow through, but we do it because we’re people of honor and integrity; we said we would and our word is our bond.

We should make this same commitment to our goals and dreams.  Promise to never toss them to the side when it seems too hard or too much to stick with it.  Pledge to be there for them while making great progress as well as during the inevitable setbacks.  Vow to believe in them and have faith in them even when it seems crazy to do so.  Above all, swear your oath to respect them, honor them, and to cherish them.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leonardo_da_Vinci_(attrib)_-_The_Holy_Infants.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leonardo_da_Vinci_(attrib)_-_The_Holy_Infants.jpg

Your homework for today is to make a commitment to your goals and dreams no matter what.  Now think about what this looks like in your everyday life:  What are you going to think, say, and do regarding your goals and dreams?  How are you going to treat them now that you’re in love with them and have committed to them?  How will you think about them—what self-talk will you use?  What would you do and think if someone was dismissive or derisive of them—would you continue to call that person a friend?

Post in the comments section how your attitude toward your goals and dreams has changed now that you’ve committed to them.

I’m so proud of you for continuing to take these steps toward achieving your goals and dreams.  You’re a rock star for doing this!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Off Kilter?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stuck_in_the_Mud,_Hull_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1175164.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stuck_in_the_Mud,_Hull_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1175164.jpg

Feeling stuck, overwhelmed, and plain-old out of sorts?  One quick and easy way to help yourself out of this mess is to be a help to someone else.

When feeling off kilter, oftentimes we give in to it and let it steamroll us until it’s done.  When it’s finally through with us, we’ve lost a day or two—sometimes more than that, much more.  Sometimes, we try to use logic and reason to get out of the slump—or even try to bully ourselves out of it—usually with little success.  Still we’re beaten up by these emotions.  Again, we lose days.  In addition, after all is said and done, we usually end up feeling worse about ourselves.

Not a good plan.

A better strategy is to reach out a helping hand to someone.  It helps us as much as it helps the other person.  Of course writing a donation check is great but nothing does the trick of pulling you out of the doldrums than doing something nice for another—especially if what you do is unexpected.

The cool thing is we don’t have to get all elaborate and fancy with it and we don’t have to put forth a huge effort.  The helping hand can be something as simple as paying for the latte of the person in line behind you or letting someone in front of you in traffic.  You can hold the door open for someone, too, or it can be as simple as a smile or greeting someone pleasantly.

The biggest pay-off for you will be when you help someone you know—the closer to you the bigger the pay-off for you in confidence and optimism.  Again, it doesn’t have to be a huge deal.  In fact, it’s best to pay attention and do something nice and/or helpful in the moment.  Your attentiveness and observation is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you care.

Your homework for today is to be helpful and nice to at least one person close to you.  Challenge yourself to be present in the moment and “tune into” the person.  What simple thing can you do for them right here, right now, in the moment, that would show them how much you care?

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=32842&picture=-100
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=32842&picture=-100

The benefit to this is you’ll make someone you care about very happy, which will strengthen your relationship, and it’ll pull you out of the doldrums.  You’ll feel like a million bucks!

For extra credit, make a list of people you can help and the different things you can do.  Have it handy so that you can immediately refer to it when you’re feeling out of sorts.

Do it now!

I’m so proud of you.  You’re awesome for doing this!

Post in the comments section some of the simple acts of kindness you did today.

Your Friend,

Lauren

Make New Friends

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thesaurus.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thesaurus.jpg

I heartily recommend making friends with your thesaurus.

In order to help myself stay on track and to help myself “hang in there”, I often choose a word and repeat it throughout the day, using it as a mantra.  I choose a word based upon what I need that particular day, such as feeling confident, secure, fearless, or whatever type of strength that will help me make a small movement forward.

As a result, I’ve come to love my thesaurus (I have several!).  I prefer the kind that has words listed conceptually rather than alphabetically like a dictionary.  I like the conceptual listings because I have an opportunity to view other words that are similar but yet a shade different than the synonym I was originally looking for.  Oftentimes, I’ve found an even better word in a grouping either preceding or following the original word group.

In case you don’t have one in book form, a thesaurus is included in Word (and other word processing programs) and you can one online.  I prefer one that I can hold in my hands because, as I said in the preceding paragraph, I can scan word groupings that I can’t access as easily using either an online thesaurus or the one that comes with word processing programs.

Lately, the word “grit” has resonated with me.  I use it when I’ve hit a snag and I feel that I need to dig in and plant my feet securely so I can push back against Life.  Other times, the word “resolve” seems more appropriate, mainly when I’ve stumbled and need to brush myself off and try again.  The word “steadfast” has also been a good one for me, especially when part of me is whining and wants to quit because I don’t seem to be making any headway.  Saying “resolve” to myself throughout the day helps me give it one more shot.

Your homework today is to jot down a handful of words—three to six of them.  Now pull out your thesaurus and have fun looking up synonyms for them.  Make a note of the ones that resonate with you.  Use these as often as you need them.  Write them out on sticky notes and post them where you’ll see them frequently.  Look at the words in the groupings that come before and after the word grouping in which your word appears.  Be prepared for happy surprises and learning interesting new words!

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books

For extra credit, grab your dictionary and look up the exact meaning of the words that strike a chord with you.  Of course you probably already know the meaning, however, the dictionary often lists alternate and even archaic meanings.  I enjoy using a dictionary that also lists the etymology, the roots and origins, of the word.  It’s very interesting, indeed!

Have fun with this!

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,

Lauren

Crazymakers

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jester_20071028_Manga_Expo.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jester_20071028_Manga_Expo.jpg

Has someone ever blamed you because they’ve made bad choices and their life is a mess?  Do they somehow make you feel that their problems are your fault and your responsibility to fix?  These attacks may not be out-right, they may be very subtle and hard to detect.  The result is that you feel guilty and that it’s somehow all your fault.

But, their drama isn’t your fault and it isn’t your problem to fix.  The results of their poor choices are things for them to work out and lessons for them to learn.  Push it back onto their plate!

Think of it this way:  If you were seated beside someone and they took off their coat and their glove fell out of their pocket onto your lap, you’d politely tap them on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, you dropped this.”  If they got huffy with you and berated you because they accidentally dropped their glove into your lap, you’d think there was something wrong with them and you’d probably keep your distance.

It’s the same thing with people who try to make you feel that their bad choices are your fault and problem.  Push that stuff back onto their plate and then keep your distance as much as you can!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warning_run_away.svg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warning_run_away.svg

Your homework for today is to think about the people in your life, all of them.  Identify the people who Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, calls Crazymakers.  Read the chapter on Crazymakers.  Brainstorm ideas and strategies to handle them so they don’t wreak havoc in your life.

For extra credit, come up with a sentence or phrase you can say to these people—NOT something that explains or justifies your new stance.  These Crazymakers are so discombobulating to you and your life because they know exactly how to push your buttons.  So don’t give them the chance by justifying or explaining.

Come up with one or two phrases or short sentences that lets them know you’ve made a decision and it’s final.  Repeat the phrases as often as you need to whenever the person tries to make you feel guilty.

Remember to be calm and firm.  This isn’t about creating a scene, out-shouting the other, or winning a battle of egos.  It’s all about you sticking to your truth and what you know is the right thing for you.

Here are some examples of short phrases to repeat as needed:

“Let me know what you end up doing.”  Then walk away.

“I know you’ll figure it out.”  Then walk away.

“You can do it!  Then walk away.

If they try to rope you into fixing their life:

“I’m so busy!”  Then walk away.

“You’re smart.  You can do it!”  Then walk away.

Notice the “then walk away” portion of each phrase.  Changing the subject also works if walking away isn’t an option.

Please know that it’s okay to work up to the ability to say a phrase and to then walk away from these Crazymakers.  They are very good at manipulating you and knowing which buttons to push.  As with all the changes you make, take this one step at a time.  This a new skill for you and you’re going to need practice and to break things into tiny, manageable pieces.

Don’t be surprised if the Crazymakers’ behavior gets worse.  They’ll notice that they can’t lure you into their craziness like they could before so they’ll turn it up until you take the bait and they’ve ensnared you again.

 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brillanten.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brillanten.jpg

Hang in there and keep practicing.  Sometimes you’ll be better able to hold your own than at other times.  As you stick to it, one day you will be able to respond in a way that’ll make you proud.  The added bonus will be that the Crazymakers will eventually leave you alone and bother someone else.

You can do this, I know you can!

I believe in you and I’m proud of you!

In the comments section, post the ways you’ve come up with to handle the Crazymakers in your life.

Your Friend,

Lauren

Are We There Yet?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BBHTJerichoTrailSign3.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BBHTJerichoTrailSign3.jpg

“Are we there yet?” You’ve probably heard this from your children a number of times. Also, you can probably think back to when you were a kid and bugging your parents with this same phrase.

Of course, the response to the question is “We’re almost there.” It satisfies your child for a short while but soon your child is asking, yet again, “Are we there yet?”

After asking “Are we there yet?” a number of times a child might also say “We’re never gonna get there!” We reassure them we’re closer than we were just a few minutes ago and with every revolution of the tires and each passing second we’re getting closer and closer. We point out sign posts and mile markers to assure the child that we are making progress and we are getting closer.

This is exactly the strategy to use for ourselves as we journey to the life of our dreams.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_News_Photo_090527-F-2319R-002.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_News_Photo_090527-F-2319R-002.jpg

Your homework today is to set-up sign posts, mile markers, and other indicators of your progress. They can be simple such as knowing that when the timer dings you’ve completed your commitment to your goals and dreams for that day. Of course the guides can be large such as graduating from a program that gives you the necessary credentials for your dreams. Pay close attention to the small markers, though, as these are the ones that will keep you motivated and show you that you are making headway.

Have fun with this! You can do it, I know you can!

Post in the comments section some of the sign posts you have for yourself.

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend,
Lauren