Life Goals…5 steps to create them

Think about your life goalsLife Goals…5 steps to create them

By Leo Babauta

There’s never a good time to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in life. We have busy lives, and even when we’re not busy, we might just feel more like vegging in front of the TV or checking our feeds than thinking about the rest of our lives.

Do it today, if you haven’t yet. It could take as little as 10 or 20 minutes, and it could make all the difference in the world.

And it’s not that hard. You probably already have a good idea of what you want to do, but you may not have it written down. Or maybe you’ve done this exercise before, but you haven’t updated your goals for a while. Now’s the time to do it.

1. How to start? First, think about what you’d like people to say about you at your funeral. This comes from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — the habit called “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s also very effective. Imagine you are at the end of your life, looking back. What would you like to have accomplished? What kind of person would you like to have been?

Now here’s the key: start living your life so that you will eventually get to that point.

2. Now that you’ve given that a little thought, jot down some ideas for life goals you’d like to achieve before you die.  ^^ Links to why writing is a great practice.

They can be in many areas, but here are a few to start with: professional, education, family, spiritual, travel, recreation, hobbies, community, charity. You can probably think of more, and you don’t need to have goals in all of these areas. Just some topics to get you started.

3. Refine your list, or expand it. After your initial brainstorm, you may want to trim it down. But you may also want to expand: sometimes it’s fun, and worthwhile, to dream big.

4. Now break it down. What should you accomplish in the next 10 years for each of these goals? How about 5 years? How about two years? One year? And this month?

Once you’ve planned out each goal for 10-year, 5-year, 2-year, 1-year and 1-month periods, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan.

5. Take action! I like to take my monthly goals, and make a to-do list for this week. What can I do today to further my goals? And if I can get just one thing done, I’ve done a lot to make those dreams a reality!  >> Need a bit more around procrastination? << Check this out.

Take a step towards your dreams today by writing them down, and making a plan.  Want more accountability in this area?  >>> Head|Heart|Health Club <<< is making it happen with prompts daily, action steps, and tutorials that are really helping people move forward!

5 Things to Start in a New Month to Re-charge!

5 things to start in a new month to re-chargeI don’t know about you, but I am very thankful to see the start of a new month.  I feel bogged down by all of that old month’s nonsense somehow.  Like “get it out of here already” and let’s begin fresh.  Although to be perfectly honest, it could have to do with looking at your bank account at the end of the month and seeing how many “friends” you have in there and wanting them to invite more friends over there so you know, it’s not lonely.

So whee, start of a new month. I feel re-charged with the first day in a new month.  Like it has its own energy and I am going to plug into that.  So I wanted to share with you my tips on how you can use this in your own life.

For inquiring minds, it doesn’t matter if you are single, have kids, don’t have kids, have pets, have no pets except for dust bunnies, whatever.  This really relies on you.  I need you to get that concept like you need air to breathe.  The start of changing and re-charging is always up to you and it can be done at anytime you choose.  So with that in mind…here we go.

5 Things to Start to Re-charge:

  1. Embrace the morning.  Look.  I get it.  I actually do considering I have the Vampire disease and I really am a night person, but I have been setting my alarm clock back 5, 10, then 15 minutes earlier.  Why?  What does this do for you?  First, please use a real alarm clock.  Everyone who watches my videos knows I say this.  It gives back the power and takes it away from your phone.  Any number of things can and do go wrong with technology anyway, but the worst is checking out what everyone else is doing before you check in with yourself.  << Busted.  Seriously.  The urge to check-in on social media is an addiction that only you can start to change when you get fully centered in your own routines that don’t involve the phone being the first thing you check.
  2. Start with gratitudeSo this morning, as the sleepiness was wearing off, and I stretched in bed, I was thankful for my favorite flannel sheets that I use no matter what the temperature is outside.  I embraced my eyes opening, and said thank you for today.  I did a body scan quickly, and told my body how I wanted it to act today.  << This is something I teach in my club about the power of positive thinking and using it to manifest the desires we wish to see come true in our lives.  It’s kind of a long story about how I used to feel when I woke up, but for those of you who are new here, feel free to read this later >> About me <<.  I continued to say thank you for the blessings in my life as I got out of bed.
  3. Have a plan for your meals.  I start this off when school starts again in the fall because in the summer, its fresh veggies and fend for yourself.  However, there’s strength in planning as you don’t see the worst foods in your fridge and grab those…well if you do, it’s at least because you wanted it instead of there was nothing to eat.  I am certified in sports nutrition, but even I struggle with staying on track.  Because I am gluten intolerant and do still have autoimmune disease, I get that life isn’t always fair.  So in order to go around that thinking, I have everything that supports me fully in front of me.  Like 5 foods to boost my mood <<< Read later:)  A new month means a new plan for my fridge, which oddly enough, makes me feel so good!
  4. Move your body!  People who are not used to exercise are often drawn to my style of group coaching.  Why?  Because I get that you don’t want to move when you are in pain, but the benefits outweigh the negatives.  So this summer, I started a new program for myself and I was in some pain of my own making.  And you know what?  That actually feels freaking amazing compared to the pain of dis-ease.  My youngest daughter started to run cross-country as well and her results have been amazing.  Her entire energy changed.  She came home full of those great “runner’s high” endorphins and her entire mood was different.  She was doing things she didn’t think she could do so naturally this boosted her head, heart and health.  Get your friends, fam and anyone else out there walking with you.  No one said you have to start big, and if you need help, check out my baby steps program >>> 4 Weeks to Wellness <<< for a great start to your month.
  5. End your day with journaling.  The research on this alone is astounding as some of you know that I am a former teacher who loves brain based research.  Since starting my own personal journal practice in 2015, my life has changed for the better.  when thoughts struggle to overtake me, I do my yoga breathing, get centered and journal it all out.  I create my world based on how I want it to be and I start to remove my own blocks on paper.  The research on this is that we are using language more and thinking about how to remove these blocks thus improving our immune function as well.  << Seriously.  Writing also has critical connections to speaking, and your communication improves from the “dumbing down” we have seen do to technology and using abbreviations.  << Don’t be mad, it’s not my research, but it is true.  You can use this technique with your entire family if you want and measure the results in as little as 3 months.  Memory starts to improve, comprehension, and more. 

If you are interested in getting the best of my journaling bundle, I put together some of my best resources for you to take advantage of only until the end of this month.  >>> Journaling Bundle <<<  The bundle discount ends soon. 

I really hope this inspires you to start living your best life right now.  I know that if I can do it, and turn my life around, so can you.  ~Aimee

Want to Make Friends After 40? Try these tips.

Want to make friends after 40?  Hey.  Want to be my friend?  Sure.  And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope.  I just made a new friend like this yesterday.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wish it was.

As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right?  Not so.  I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do.  My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now.  However, some of my friends have younger kids.  They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.

I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time.  I want to let you in on a little secret.  This in-between limbo place is hard.  I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well.  I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent.  Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.

The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together.  A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights.  So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?

How to make friends after 40:

  1. You have to be open to the possibility.  Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey.  That looks like fun.  Can I come too?”  <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is.  New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to.  You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well.  See what happens from there.  I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
  2. Announce it on your status.  Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right?  So say “Hey.  I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date.  Comment if you’re in.”  Boom.  You have a night out planned.
  3. Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract.  I don’t cross-stitch.  I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle.  I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights.  I could go on, but you get my drift.  I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me.  The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse.  << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
  4. Join online groups of like-minded people.  After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups.  Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital.  What if there’s nothing on the list that you like?  Start your own if you want.  Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over.  Wear your house colors though.

Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you.  That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse.  I agree with that to be honest.  I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today.  I’m writing.  It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic.  Holy Crap.  My kids are almost in college.  I need to make more of an effort.  And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age.  So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event.  I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks.  If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.

Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group?  Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<

Want to walk away from drama? Here’s how.

here's how to walk away from dramaLook.  I get it.  You’re a grown-up.  And so am I, but sometimes things have a way of following us around. As the mother of two teenage girls, I want to practice what I preach.  A few years ago, I was suffering from friendships that seemed to belong back in high school, and to be honest, I kept letting them happen.

I never saw it coming.  I always thought of myself as a strong person, but somewhere deep down inside, I knew I just wanted to be like “everyone else”.  I had convinced myself that other adults were having these fabulous girl’s nights out, and going off with other couples and even going on vacation together (did I like someone enough for that??).

So at one of my many “this is the year I am going to…” moments, I decided to reach out and make a new friend.  The problem was and still is, things come with warning signs.  Many, many, many warning signs.  And if you are so desperate for friendship that you ignore some of your own standards, it goes to hell in a handbag really quickly.  << Southernism.

You see, the toxic, drama-filled friendship was full of stop signs, skull and crossbones type warnings, and red flags.  I ignored them all.  I honestly looked for the good in the friendship and for whatever reason, thought this person couldn’t help it (note, that is bullshit).  So I had attracted a narcissistic type relationship yet again.

What’s the good news in this?

I recognized the signs one day when I realized my friend wasn’t happy about the success I was having in healing, moving on, and getting better in my life.  Want to learn more?  Check this out later: Coping when a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

How to walk away from drama:

  1. Acknowledge that you deserve better.  This is a huge step.  You are a magnificent human being.  Say that out loud.  Your past does not define you, and your past mistakes do not mean that you are no longer worthy and deserving of a great friendship, job, partner, or whatever it is that is causing you drama.
  2. Stop creating it if it’s you.  So this part might be difficult, but acknowledge your part.  Are you poking the bear?  Do you just love arguing?  Notice and reflect on areas where you might be the catalyst and start to step away from people and situations that feel like you are deliberately needing the attention or the last word.  Yes.  This is hard advice, but truly notice that having the last word with someone who loves drama will not change their mind…nor will it change yours.
  3. Gossip needs legs.  I worked with this woman once who would literally grab anyone who walked by her room, pull them inside and show them someone’s FB page just to joke on their recent photos.  It was like a Venus Fly Trap of gossip up in there.  Don’t be fooled.  Avoid, if at all possible, the water cooler type conversations where people can and will overhear.  Where Venus can run on back and grab more people saying that you, yes you, were the one that started this rumor knowing all along it’s not true.  However, people did see the two of you talking.  The perfect set-up.
  4. Set the boundaries.  I waited too long to tell someone I wished she hadn’t told me about all the back-stabbing and sleeping around every time I met one of her “friends”.  Because guess what?  If she’s ready to tell all about their business, she certainly will talk about mine.  You better believe this fact.  I didn’t want to be in that type of friendship.  It was draining to hide what I knew and draining to listen to it.  It was a loop.
  5. Accept it, learn from it, and go on with life. ~Vincent Neerings
    I could also quote good ole’ Kenny rogers and so I shall: You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.  Know when to walk away, and know when to run.  I learned a hard lesson.  And for a long time, I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to make new friends.  Then one evening, I met a new person who was so full of life she was a joy to be around.  She only saw the best in other people and we talked about everything, and never once has the conversation veered into any areas that made me feel awful, drained, or lowered in any way.

I started surrounding myself with only people who lifted me up, and I continued to heal.  I felt better about myself and life and knew that there were actually people out there who were meant to stay in my life.  I also started teaching others how to attract the types of relationship into their lives that were good for them, and how to work on healing their own lives through my journal therapy, yoga, and affirmation exercises.  If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to have you.  >> I need support. <<

Top 20 Motivation Tips

top 20 motivation tipsGuest Post By Leo Babauta

This article is a list of tips and tricks that, if used in combination, are a nearly sure way to achieve your goals.

Achieving goals is not a matter of having “discipline”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goal. Follow these tips, or any combination of them that works for you, and you should have the motivation and focus you need.

Here are the top 20 Motivation Tips:

1. Chart Your Progress. Recently I posted about how I created a chart to track my progress with each of my goals. This chart is not just for information purposes, for me to look back and see how I’m doing. It’s to motivate me to keep up with my goals. If I’m diligent about checking my chart every day, and marking dots or “x”s, then I will want to make sure I fill it with dots. I will think to myself, “I better do this today if I want to mark a dot.” Well, that’s a small motivation, but it helps, trust me. Some people prefer to use gold stars. Others have a training log, which works just as well. Or try Joe’s Goals. However you do it, track your progress, and allow yourself a bit of pride each time you give yourself a good mark.

Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.

2. Hold Yourself Back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane.

Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.

3. Join an online (or off-line) group to help keep you focused and motivated.  Editor’s note, join an online community by searching for what you love near you.  If it is daily motivation you are searching for with an online community and a closed group, check this link here and click on “I Need Support”.

Each time I joined a forum, it helped keep me on track. Not only did I meet a bunch of other people who were either going through what I was going through or who had already been through it, I would report my progress (and failures) as I went along. They were there for great advice, for moral support, to help keep me going when I wanted to stop.

4. Post a picture of your goal someplace visible — near your desk or on your refrigerator, for example. Visualizing your goal, exactly how you think it will be when you’ve achieved it, whether it’s financial goals like traveling to Rome or building a dream house, or physical goals like finishing a marathon or getting a flat stomach, is a great motivator and one of the best ways of actualizing your goals.

Find a magazine photo or a picture online and post it somewhere where you can see it not only daily, but hourly if possible. Put it as your desktop photo, or your home page. Use the power of your visual sense to keep you focused on your goal. Because that focus is what will keep you motivated over the long-term — once you lose focus, you lose motivation, so having something to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep that motivation.

5. Get a workout partner or goal buddy. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed.

6. Just get started. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.

I have a rule (not an original one) that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.

7. Make it a pleasure. One reason we might put off something that will help us achieve our goal, such as exercise for example, is because it seems like hard work. Well, this might be true, but the key is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. If your goal activity becomes a treat, you actually look forward to it. And that’s a good thing.

8. Give it time, be patient. I know, this is easier said than done. But the problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. When you think about your goals, think long term. If you want to lose weight, you may see some quick initial losses, but it will take a long time to lose the rest. If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight. If you don’t see the results you want soon, don’t give up … give it time. In the meantime, be happy with your progress so far, and with your ability to stick with your goals. The results will come if you give it time.

9. Break it into smaller, mini goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple of weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.

10. Reward yourself. Often. And not just for longer-term goals, either. Above, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.

11. Find inspiration, on a daily basis. Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain motivation over the long-term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, photos, people you meet.

12. Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.

13. Have powerful reasons. Write them down. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.

14. Become aware of your urges to quit, and be prepared for them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.

15. Make it a rule never to skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row! Zen Habits says so! And just get started. You’ll thank yourself later.

16. Visualize your goal clearly, on a daily basis, for at least 5-10 minutes. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.

17. Keep a daily journal of your goal. If you are consistent about keeping a journal, it can be a great motivator. A journal should have not only what you did for the day, but your thoughts about how it went, how you felt, what mistakes you made, what you could do to improve. To be consistent about keeping a journal, do it right after you do your goal task each day. Make keeping a journal a sensory pleasure.

18. Create a friendly, mutually-supportive competition. We are all competitive in nature, at least a little. Some more than others. Take advantage of this part of our human nature by using it to fuel your goals. If you have a workout partner or goal buddy, you’ve got all you need for a friendly competition. See who can log more miles, or save more dollars, each week or month. See who can do more pushups or pullups. See who can lose the most weight or have the best abs or lose the most inches on their waist. Make sure the goals are weighted so that the competition is fairly equal. And mutually support each other in your goals.

19. Make a big public commitment. Be fully committed. This will do the trick every time. Create a blog and announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date. Commit yourself to the hilt.

20. Always think positive. Monitor your thoughts. Be aware of your self-talk. We all talk to ourselves, a lot, but we are not always aware of these thoughts. Start listening. If you hear negative thoughts, stop them, push them out, and replace them with positive thoughts. Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.

Motivation Tips

3 Signs You Are in a Fake “Textual Relationship”

textual

Oh.  You have another message.  Should you look at it right now?  You ignore it.  He or she knows you have your phone on you.  Something just doesn’t feel right anymore and you are really tired of this “textual relationship” nonsense.

For starters, what is a textual relationship anyway?  It is a “relationship” based in online messaging, private messages, Snapchat, or anything where you actually never talk in real life.  If you do talk in real life, it is not quite the same.

In a scary online world, where quite literally anyone can be behind the computer, are you sharing too much of yourself in these private messages?  How are you getting to know this person in real life?  Would you say the same things to them in the real world that you do online?  If the answer is no…maybe you should consider what you want out of this “textual relationship”?

What are some bad signs you should look out for?

  1. They use fake looking profile photos and have only had their account up for a few months.  Okay, I get it.  The photo looks great.  Unless it’s a fake photo or a photo of their cat.  Which never ever changes no matter what.  Also, were they living under a rock?  Why are they suddenly online, but have not been prior to 3 months ago?  Are they tagged in any family photos?  Any mutual friends?  Is their name even real?  Not if warning bells are going off and many excuses are made.  Oh yeah, and never send money.  <<< huge sign they are a scammer.
  2. They use a real photo…without their spouse.  They are sending you messages about meeting up…but you know they are married.  Why would people do this?  What are they hoping to achieve?  They are hiding something plain and simple no matter what excuse they use.  They say they are happily married, then that’s great.  Why hide behind a private message?  Does their wife know?  Probably not…oh and they won’t be leaving anyone anytime soon.  You can bet on that.
  3. They like everything you post…all the time.  Even that stuff from 5 years ago.  Red flag.  Why are they going through your old photos on every account you have?  Does it come up casually in conversation?  Does it seem like they are stalking you to find out where you hang out?  What if they are there, just watching you, because you know, you have never met them?  Better yet, what if they actually know you and this is a fake profile they are using to follow you around.  Yup.  Warning.  Warning.  Warning.

Nice try blogging lady, but this hasn’t happened to me…yet.

Is texting your sole point of communication?  If so, read on.  Do you feel like you know this person and could call them up?  Then try that idea on for size.  Ask them to Skype with you one night and casually bring up things only you two have chatted about.  See what happens.

After the chatting on-screen, don’t forget to make a date to really chat in person.  Once you feel comfortable…and of course, take the back-up friend to plant in the restaurant or coffee shop just in case things go wrong.

Texting relationships allow you lots of easy ways out, but they also have many downfalls.  You can read into the texts, dwell on why they haven’t sent you a text, but you see the read receipt, and it also allows you to only send them the best photos…perhaps with some touching up done.  This is so not like real life.  There are no filters for bed hair, morning breath, and real body functions.  Just saying.  In a world where you can be anything, be real my friend. 

Coping When a Dysfunctional Friendship Ends

 dys·func·tion·al

The friendship started innocently enough.  We had lots of things in common so small talk led to drinks after work, outings, and even group adventures.  I was so happy that I had found a friend who really listened to me and supported me.  As time went on, I started feeling heard less and less.  I tried to make adjustments in the conversation, but it always circled back to whatever new and terrible thing had happened to her.  Some nights, I would be on the computer for hours consoling her and helping her through something.  I would go to bed mentally and physically drained.  The “friendship” was not reciprocal.

My husband had enough and told me to just ignore the messages that always started out the same way.  It seemed she wanted to catch up and “talk”, but we never did anything anymore.  She didn’t call me on the phone, didn’t answer my text messages, and didn’t want to see me.  She just wanted to use messenger as her personal dumping ground all night long.

I felt alone and isolated in the friendship.  I was not important enough to make time for.  There were other examples as well.  An event we were going to go to together that she said we would plan…weeks later, photos of her with someone else at the event.  Exercise class no show…and excuses on nights I asked her to do something with me, or just come over and chat.  However, throughout this process, when she needed me or wanted to come over to see a mutual friend, I made the time.  I was always making time because trust is something I value.

That’s when it finally hit me.  I didn’t trust her anymore due to the lies and excuses.  I was nurturing a friendship that was crumbling because I believed she would wake up and see what she was doing to me.  It wasn’t going to happen because I was not the only one she lied to.  She lied to her husband, to her work, to mutual friends, and most of all, to herself.  I could not fix this.  She had to get back to seeing a weekly counselor and nothing I did or said would ever be enough until she was ready to work on herself.

How to cope when a friendship ends?

  • Make a plan. What would you do if you were to run into this person again?  What would happen if this person wanted back in your life?  I know the answers seem hard to think about, but it’s best to run through that now while you are fresh to whatever happened in the relationship.  The main question is does the relationship empower me or deflate me?  Is there capacity for an authentic, honest relationship or not?  Honestly, you already know the answers to these questions.
  • Write your feelings down. I know that this is not like a funeral…but in a way, it is.  You are dealing with the stages of grief, and it is a serious thing.  You have loved that friend, cared for that friend, and despite your best efforts, the friendship ended.  I haven’t forgotten the moments of happiness the friendship brought me, and despite the fact that for the better part of a year I saw the friendship going down a steep hill into a black abyss that sucked all the joy out of it, I still regret the way it ended.  But I also know it takes two working together to save a relationship.  Not one.  The primary emotion that comes to me is anger because of the way it ended.  Anger that I was made to be in the middle of something that was never about me anyway. 
  • Think about the qualities you really want in a friend.  I was in a bad place when we met, but as I started to get better, it seemed to make my friendship worse.  That doesn’t even sound okay to me now.  How could a friend not be happy for me?  I wanted someone who could talk to me in person and not make excuses because they were mad that I was doing better.  I am not sure why I didn’t notice it before.
  • That brings me to “Don’t take it personally.” Everyone is dealing with their own demons.  If the friendship ends, there is a good chance that it is freeing you up for something new.  It will hurt for a long time, but eventually you will realize that you have broken the cycle and moved on.  New friends await you, and this time, as soon as you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, be brave and have that conversation on what is important to you in a friendship.  If this person is meant to be in your life, they will understand, value you, and most importantly, make time for you.

As your self-esteem and self-worth improves, these old friends WILL fall away if they are not meant to be in your life.  You are making room for so much more my friend.  In my closed group, the Head|Heart|Health Club, we are working on exactly what we want to attract in our lives and that includes new boundaries for ourselves and realizing that it truly is okay to feel worthy.

Shedding Guilt and Regret in 3 Steps.

Wow.  Look at that post.  Shedding guilt and regret in 3 steps.  I bet that’s a really hard thing to pull off…says you.  It is actually, but it can be done if we repeatedly practice.  Practice?  Yes.  practice.

So the other night, I was at my yoga class.  I was waiting for some more students to come through the door, and the thing of it was, I had to check my social media for a minute as that’s how they reach me if they are going to be late.  A mom made a comment on my status that gave me a little pause in my head.  Should I feel guilty for being at my yoga class?  No.  That’s ridiculous.  This is not only what I do, it’s what I love.

Years ago, I had my girls 18 months apart and I took time off to raise them, breast feed them 24/7 (it felt like it), put my Master’s Degree plans on hold because I wanted to be there with my girls, and more.  Not once did I regret it…but other people seemed to think I should.  I went to college you know and I was “wasting” my education.

Other people sure do like to be in your business if you know what I mean.  Even family.  So fast forward through the years of health problems, pain, my return to my career only to leave it again, and then my new-found love of being healthy and creating a new identity for myself after going through what I thought was an early mid-life crisis.  <<< You might have been there, and no judgement.  Who are you after having kids, or your career changes, etc.  It happens.

Which brings me back around full circle to the deal my husband made me when I wanted to stop the 24 hour chronic pain in 2013.  He said for me to keep trying and he would fully support whatever direction I went in.  In 2014, I went to yoga.  I could barely hold myself up.  In 2015, I made it through 200 hours of Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training.  I felt invincible.

Now, take a wild guess when most people need yoga?  After work.  So I only taught one night a week and my husband knew that wasn’t really enough.  He encouraged me to teach and do what I needed to do and he would take care of driving the girls where they needed to be.  They are now middle school and high school.

I am only one person.  I can’t be everywhere and I have to accept this.  So if I had told people I was going to my “medically necessary” treatment, maybe it would have been better…for them.  So here’s the deal and the real way out of guilt and regret that you might be facing when you make certain decisions.

Try These Thoughts:

  1. Did you make the best decision you could at the time when presented with all the information?  The answer is yes.  I know that you did, just like I did.  When presented with information, whether you are thinking of something in the past or something right now you are dealing with, we can only choose from the facts at hand.  The mind distorts as we look back…so don’t do that.  You probably have said “If I only knew…” 100 times in your head.  The thing is, you didn’t.  I didn’t.  I can’t go back and change anything, and the truth is, you had all the information at the time and you did your best.  So we have to start with where we are now and move forward.
  2. Can you identify what the guilt or regret is prompting you to do differently now?  Okay, you did or didn’t do the thing.  You feel like crap.  OR someone else is trying to make you feel guilty and you really don’t.  Recognize where the guilt or regret is coming from.  Is it from you?  An outside source?  The past?  If it is from you and it is a healthy guilt that is prompting you to change an action, then you have learned your lesson and can move on.  Make a decision right now to make amends like leaving work on time.  Not missing a dinner date that has been on your calendar and calling the person back to apologize if you missed it.  Healthy guilt likes you to take care of yourself and your relationships.  Now, unhealthy type of guilt might come from some outside source.  You should feel bad because this person does everything and can be everywhere at once…but you need help.  That is unhealthy and not helping you to move forward.  No two people have the same circumstances, the same support system, the same exact thoughts and feelings.  This is actually your life.  So if it is unhealthy guilt, recognize it.  Perfection is a mask.
  3. Are you able to practice mindfulness and compassion…even with your own thoughts?  Want to know a secret?  The top answer all people tell me is that they are harder on themselves than others.  Why?  Because they don’t realize that others are doing the exact same thing in their heads as well.  I am not kidding.  I do anonymous surveys with my Club members, my newsletter list and poll the audience on my page to gather information about what problems we all face and how we feel we are handling them.  If we step back, snap into our bodies for a second and be mindful of our thoughts, we start to realize that others are having a hard time as well.  So someone made a comment…it’s because they wish they could put their health first right now and are actually struggling too.  Later, they might ask you for advice on how you make sure you put self-care first.  The guilty thoughts and regrets come because we think others might be doing things differently, or we could have changed things if we had known x, y, z, but the thing is, they were also doing the best at the time, and in order to forgive them, we have to realize this.  It’s a really hard concept, I know, but suffering through regret can be optional.

Each and every month, we work through these concepts in new ways in the Head|Heart|Health Club We work on being more present, connecting with our hearts and inner desires, protecting ourselves, and growing through the practice of self-compassion and awareness.  We learn to accept ourselves as we are and encourage non-judgement.  We are working each month to develop that “observing mind” that unlocks us from the pain of regret and guilt.  We would love to see you there if you would like to learn more!

10 Easy Ways to Make Your Own Luck!

Have you ever thought about luck?  Looking over at that guy in the corner office, with the view, while you are stuck in the cubicle, have you ever thought to yourself “Some guys have all the luck.”  Well, what if he didn’t just have all the luck.  What if he created it for himself?

For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.  ~Steve Jobs

I know that I often ask you some really hard questions on the fan page…or even during my live chats.  However, that being said, I have noticed a really great pattern.  There are some people who really appreciate thinking outside of the box.  These are the people who I can see changing their lives starting right now.  Today.  Going forth and using these 10 easy ways to make their own luck.

What are they doing that is different?

For starters, they are saying yes to things that they want to do…and aren’t just closing the door on opportunity because it doesn’t look exactly like they expected.  Sometimes opportunity is, in fact, disguised as hard work.  I borrowed that from Thomas Edison, who actually said: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

10 Easy Ways to Make Your Own Luck:

  1. Reach out…and network.  I am going to be honest, as someone who works from home and has dachshunds as my office staff, when I need to reach out, I go through the interwebs usually or I message a friend who knows the answer.  I do admit that I have a hard time with this one and can count 5 people who are my go-to people.  If this one is hard for you, write down your go-to people right now.  See how many you can come up with!
  2. Is the glass half-full, half-empty, or are you missing the point?  It’s refillable.  Sometimes, the answer is one you haven’t even thought of.  Where is your optimism?  I love the question above because the first time I saw that quote, I laughed.  Why hasn’t anyone pointed that out before?  Duh.  So as you are looking at something new, think optimistically and out-of-the-box about what is going on.
  3. Do you spend time visualizing the outcome for success?  Let’s say you grew up in a household where ohhh I don’t know, let’s say your dad, thought that everything was going to turn out awfully.  There was always only one way it could turn out.  One way things were going to happen, and it was sure to be a natural disaster.  It is now up to you, and only you, to reprogram this kind of thinking by replacing this “programming” with better visualization techniques.  Start with the end result you want to achieve and work backward.  I talked about this last week, but that’s exactly what Jim Carrey did before he landed his first big movie role.  He wrote himself the check for acting services rendered, and he visualized every detail.  It is a powerful practice.
  4. Give freely of your wisdom to others.  If I have learned something that is working for me, I quite simply share it.  As you can read, I have tons of content on this blog shared with you guys about how to improve your life.  I believe in helping others by what I have learned…thus the title for this blog:)
  5. Trust your gut feelings.  This one also sometimes feels a lot like work to me…and sometimes it’s hard work.  I have to make calls in my business daily about what is working and not working.  Things that don’t feel right for me usually aren’t.  If something is bugging me enough that it is sending me a signal of my intuition to change something, well, I have to listen.  That is where the luck is.
  6. The uptight people are the luckiest…wait.  Hmm.  The truth is, the people who stay in their comfort zone, who only follow the same path, who have to do things this way and this way only, well.  Those are not the people I have seen creating their own luck.  I have seen the creative people going out on a limb and saying I wonder what will happen is I tweak this here.  I wonder what will happen if I put this large sum of money into this account or this investment or this new thing.  Trust me, it is hard to change old patterns of thought, but if you do, that is where the magic lies.
  7. Luck is going to jump out and find you…if you know where to look.  This is partly true.  I go with my hunches and call people up who I think might want to partner with me in my cool yoga adventures.  I have a wish list of people to call…and by doing so, I have created a really cool opportunity for me locally.  If I hadn’t done that, it wouldn’t have jumped out and found me.  I put it on my list and said, what if she said yes to this idea?  What have I got to lose?  Fear.  Okay.  I am calling.  And you know what?  She loves my plan and asked me to come back monthly.
  8. Take a big chance and push through the scary stuff.  Just like above, I have a “This is going to be scary, but what the heck.” list.  On that list is lots of ideas about things I see happening in the future for me.  One idea is for when I “retire”.  I already have ideas that far out, yes.  And it is so freaking wild that I love it.  Madly love this idea and want to do it now actually.  But, to be honest, I have kids at home still, so no Aimee, you can’t up and move to the mountains yet.  And have this cool yoga society of hippies.  But one day you will.  So if you need a 5 year list, or a 10 year list, create one.
  9. Don’t go back to that one time in the past when you failed miserably.  So, not everything always works out.  I have lost money.  Lots of it actually, and I have gained money, lots of it actually.  One of my dumbest things that seemed truly brilliant was my timeshare in Las Vegas.  HAHAHA.  No.  Just say no to timeshares.  They are like drugs.  Say no.  Anyway, for a while I thought about that mistake and then realized it was a learning experience…a costly one.  On where NOT to invest your money.  But hey, for a minute it was cool.
  10. Woo-hoo!  You have done it.  You created your own luck and are lucky forever now, so you can take a break.  Nope!  Not happening.  You will always be thinking so you will have to constantly realign your thoughts to the present moment and to what you are doing.  How are you viewing things?  How are you being?  What is your relationship with money like?  Do you think in the negative and live from a scarcity point of view?  Does one bill throw you over the edge like my dad this acquaintance I know?

Improving your relationship with your thoughts around luck and creating your own luck is what we are talking about in the Head|Heart|Health Club. <<< over there is how to enroll for less than $10 a month.  I teach people how to activate their gifts through daily practices in mindfulness and connection with the heart.  It truly changes your outlook on things and I would love to have you join my group!  If this article made you think, feel free to share it with others or use the pin button.

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Put Down Your Phone…and Other Tips for a Relationship.

Put down your phoneListen, I am not trying to get everyone mad at me right now, but I remember when texting first came out.  I thought to myself “This is so dumb.  I can just call you and scrolling through every letter takes forever.”  Seriously, it did.  Or I could page someone.  I am totally laughing at that because we used to think only doctors or drug dealers ran out of the room after getting a page.

If I have already lost you, perhaps you are a wee bit younger than I am.  For those willing to listen to my advice, I want to describe a whole new world.

In college, we met our friends at a lunch area that had an open table area.  We would sit on tables, chairs, the wall whatever to get closer to people and chat.  We would laugh so loud and so long about inside jokes that we dreaded getting up from the tables and drifting off to class.  We would meet later, the brothers, and the sisters, at one of the grills on the campus and cook up some food.  I can see, hear and smell it right now.  It was called engagement with your fellow people and it was life. 

Whether one fraternity was putting on a show on the great lawn for the girls or whether the soccer dudes were out there, it didn’t matter.  We walked around with our heads held high…making eye contact.  Laughing with the friend next to us.  I don’t think we knew how good we had it.

When I met my husband, he was not in a fraternity.  He had been staring at me when I went to the computer center.  That’s right, we had a place to use computers since we didn’t really have laptops back then.  Anyway, I went to print out my paper for English, one of a bazillion on Tolkien, Grendel, Vonnegut, Shakespeare or possibly Don Quixote, who knows, and the printer didn’t work.  He yelled over his shoulder it wouldn’t work and kept walking.  The rudeness.  Little did I know that we would start dating.

When we ended up across from each other in class that fall, I almost went through the floor.  It was that dude who I thought liked me, yet didn’t really know how to speak to me.  Luckily, his wing-man did.  He helped him chat with me as he ran cable in the English tutoring center I worked in.  We met face to face and chatted for hours after the initial shy period was over.  Then we would chat on the phone for hours.  Then we would go out and chat.  But the entire time, if I hadn’t been able to read his eyes or if he had been looking down or away from me during this time, I would have thought he didn’t like me, and that would have been wrong.  

The culture has changed so much now that I feel like people need to remember what it used to be like just 20 years ago…which really wasn’t that long in the past.

Put down your phone so you can…

  • Make eye contact.
  • Read the person’s body language.
  • Be fully present with the experience.
  • Know that they are interested by HOW they are being.
  • Not texting other people to already meet up while you are on a date.
  • Not using the phone as an escape.
  • Ask each other important questions.
  • Pay attention to little cues on how they treat others…like the waiter or waitress.
  • Allowing things to just be.  Can you be okay in stillness?
  • Be genuine with each other and not have a mask in place.
  • Ask about their day…and listen.
  • Go on a walk…and put phones in glove box.
  • Plan small outings to learn more about the other person.  The real person.
  • The highlights are on the phone…but what happens during bad times?  Are they there for you?
  • Can you cook together?
  • Think about the pet peeves together and plan ways to overcome the conflicts.
  • Don’t forget to say out loud, I like you.  Just liking the photos isn’t enough or proclaiming your undying love on the social feeds.
  • Meet the family…and really pay attention to what the dynamic is like.
  • Do you eat at the table or in front of the T.V.?  Where are the phones?
  • Laugh with each other.  Long and loud and free.
  • Be silly.  It’s okay.
  • Date like you just met…even if it’s been 20 years.
  • Let anything go from the past, and start today, to live in the present.

The truth is, these tips can be for friends, partners, or spouses, it doesn’t matter.  I love that my husband’s friend jokingly named everything “horrible” about our relationship the other night.  It was that we aren’t like other married people, and that we are both secure in our relationship of almost 21 years…enough so that when my brothers call me, and they still do, I can go out and hang with them and chat about the old times.

I enjoy the face-to-face time and the just being.  The bonds of friendship can be a beautiful thing when they are built on trust and love, just like the beginning of a relationship.  But one thing is for sure, you have to cultivate it, care for it, and nurture it too.  You also have to admit when you are just going through the motions.  So, I hope this inspired you to have a tech free date night…or a tech free family night.  Live like it’s the 90’s…or earlier.