Make it fun!

One of the first sounds of my day today was an excited screaming voice memo from a client who is now credit card debt free. I was as excited as she was and it made me pause and think…

Paying off debt isn’t fun for most people.

Yes. Paying off debt isn’t fun. Most people wouldn’t consider the run I went on this morning fun either.

But my rule is to make it fun! In my book, Put Your Big Girl Panties On, I specifically talk about this with your workout. The most important rule is that you enjoy it. If you don’t, you won’t stick to it and it can have negative effects for your fitness. I even talk about ways to make laundry fun. It’s just the way I think.

Deciding to have fun is a choice. It’s an action. You can make anything fun. Likewise, in your mind, you can decide you’re not going to have fun. And then you know what? You don’t have any fun.

If you can look at it through a different lens, you can purposefully turn up the fun. Many times we think that AFTER we finish something, that’s the time we can have fun. But you don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’re debt free to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’ve lost weight to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL your home is in order to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL the semester is over to have fun.

What we want is a life where we have fun DURING THE JOURNEY. Everytime you pay off a little debt, do a little dance, make a little love and get down that night. Every workout, play your favorite music, dress in cute clothes and do an activity you love. Every meal you eat, have something that makes you smile for it’s natural goodness. Celebrate every shelf or drawer you organize and make pretty. Go to Starbucks or the beach to study, get pretty highlighters and notebooks. Do whatever you can do to make the JOURNEY fun.

It’s kind of like how I got a glass of wine on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas. This was going to be my first vacation with my husband alone since having kids. In fact, it was going to be my first vacation ever. And my first time in Vegas. I didn’t have to wait until I got there to have fun. NOPE. I settled in that seat, ordered the wine and had SO much fun for an hour.

It’s also the way I coach. We’re going to make this fun. Whatever it is, you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to enjoy our time together and you’ll even enjoy the task at hand. Life is too short to not have fun!

So, here is your challenge:

I want you to think this thought & act out the answer today at least three times:

How can I make this more fun?

So, you’re doing laundry: How can I make this more fun?

You’re cooking dinner: How can I make this more fun?

You’re driving home from work: How can I make this more fun?

You’re doing taxes: How can I make this more fun?

I have a reminder set on my phone that asks this very question every morning at 10am. Here are some ways I make things more fun:

  • Friends
  • Sunshine
  • Get organized
  • Lists (I’m a nerd)
  • Racing/Challenging myself/others
  • Talk on the phone with a friend while __
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Countdown calendar/timer
  • Make it more beautiful
  • Dancing
  • Track progress
  • Celebrate success

How about you? What can you do to make things more fun today? Trust me, you deserve it!

Create your own domino effect: Part 1

Your thoughts create your reality. It’s a memorable phrase. It’s so important it’s one of five Jen Sincero chose from her entire book to record into her “You Are A Badass” button. (think Staple’s easy button) I own that button, thanks to my ex-boss gave me.

Your thoughts create your reality.

Even though it’s true, it sounds kind of hippy dippy. So, let’s try to “prove” this idea is to use the model created by Brooke Castillo. In this model, C stands for Circumstance, T = thoughts, F = feelings (emotions), A = actions and finally, R = results.

  • C = I have 24 hours in a day.
  • T = I am too busy.
  • F = Anxious. Frustrated. Overwhelm.
  • A = Look around at all there is to do and instead binge eat, drink or Netflix to avoid the feeling of overwhelm, which adds to the feeling of having too much to do.
  • R = Perpetually busy.

So, if you look at this particular example, can you see how the result (REALITY) of being perpetually busy continues to prove and REINFORCE your thought of being too busy? So, in this way your thoughts create your reality. Is it a coincidence? Let’s try it again.

  • C = I have a job.
  • T = My job sucks.
  • F = Annoyed. Hopeless.
  • A = Show up to work in a funk. Don’t perform well. Slug through each day, barely making it.
  • R = Continue being unhappy at job.

So, your thought that your job sucks creates the reality of you continuing to dislike your job. Your thoughts create your reality. Your thoughts are the initial domino that set everything, including your feelings and results, into motion.

Let’s look at both examples one more time and see if we can change the thought variable to produce a different outcome in the results (reality).

  • C = I have 24 hours in a day.
  • T = I get to choose what I spend my time on today.
  • F = Peace. Freedom. Hope.
  • A = Take a time inventory. Look at schedule, remove things that are not in alignment with priorities. Choose things that you want and need to accomplish. Say no thanks to everything else.
  • R = Accomplish what’s necessary and important to me.

Do you see how changing your thoughts created a different reality? The truth is that our thoughts are almost the only thing in the model that we have control over. Sometimes we can change our circumstances, but most of the time we would’ve already done that in these extreme examples if we could’ve. We also can’t control the results or outcomes. Right? We can control the trajectory TOWARD those results, but they’re farther away, they’re in the future. Really, we can control our thoughts. Those thoughts determine how we feel. Those feelings then domino into our actions. Those actions, over and over again, domino into our results.

Here’s our second example.

  • C = I have a job.
  • T = My job provides for myself and my family. OR I like my coworkers. OR My work schedule allows me to do the things I enjoy on my time off. OR I can’t control everything about my job, but I CAN control what I do. I can make my small part enjoyable and be proud of my work.
  • F = Grateful.
  • A = Show up to work grateful, do a good job.
  • R = Peace with job.

So, think about what domino effect you want to create in your life today, this week, this month or this year. Can you figure out what thoughts you need to have in order to set that domino effect in motion?

In a much more practical way, I want to talk to you about how to create your own positive domino effect in terms of actions. That’s part 2!

 

 

4 mindset switches to help you eat healthier

Our nutrition is the most important component to our overall health as well as any attempts to lose weight or reshape the body. Even if we know that, though, sometimes the doing it can be pretty tough. So, here are 4 mindset shifts you can ponder today that might help you.

Food is fuel.

Many of my clients (and myself) use food as a reward or for pleasure. If you really try to think about and practice using food as fuel, it can really help you. If your body is a car, it needs high quality food do perform well. The food you give it is simply fuel. Keep feeding it high quality fuel. It is what powers our daily activities and all of our body’s functions. 

In other cases, I’ve seen folks use food as a means for punishing ourselves by withholding it. But you know what? Food is just fuel. It’s what your awesome, strong, capable body needs to do awesome things. When you feed it the right fuel, it gets stronger and more capable. When you feed it the wrong fuel it gets sluggish and less cooperative. It doesn’t function well.

But, what about that yummy food that makes you happy?

Outsource your joy.

If you’re overweight, if you have a problem with overeating and over drinking there is a big problem. You’re relying on food for pleasure. No, really. The dopamine hit you get when you crunch those salty chips or drink that sugary coffee give your brain temporary pleasure signals and you think you’re happy. But, there are consequences. First, your body goes into panic mode trying to process and deal with the non-fuel you just fed it. Then there’s the fact that you might often feel bad either about that choice or possibly just your body image overall. In the moment happy. After the moment NOT happy. Instead, figure out what things you can do that ACTUALLY make you happy. That ACTUALLY bring you long-lasting, residual joy. Do those things instead. I’ve noticed many people feel their day is so out of their own control, the only time they can get some pleasure is their food choices. That might also be the only time they get to do what they want to do. That’s a really crappy way to live, and you all deserve better than that. Find more ways to infuse joy daily and you might find yourself turning to food/booze less. (I’ll post about creating a joy list soon! You can also just schedule a session with me if you need help here!)

Eat real food.

This is the easiest and hardest of all four. People try to come up with different strategies and different diets. That just complicates things. Keep it simple and make it so you might actually find some success. Just eat real food (food that God & nature produced, not man). For example, I have a friend who wanted to go gluten free and dairy free. So she bought gluten free bread and coconut dairy stuff. You know what’s way easier? Just don’t eat bread or dairy. That is SO much easier than trying to find these  sneaky ways to have your cake and eat it too. Now, I am not saying it’s what you WANT to do. I’m just saying it’s going to make it easier to be successful. Go back to the last strategy and do it LOTS more if you find yourself that upset over the loss of cheese.

Don’t eat food you hate.

Real food is colorful, flavorful, smelly (good or bad) and all the things. You know why? Because you are supposed to enjoy eating. It’s a total experience. But many times when we make the switch to healthy, we limit ourselves to really bland, boring or disgusting food. No WONDER we revert back to the drive thru or junk food aisle. I don’t want to eat steamed fish and steamed broccoli either.

What you can do is find your very favorite foods that also happen to be healthy. Keep them around and well stocked. Look forward to your food. That’s allowed, even in healthy land.

*The above is an excerpt from my upcoming book. To be notified when it’s released, simply put your name and email here.

*If you’d like to work together, fill out the contact form below.

Turn Negative Nancy into Positive Pam

Negative Nancy is the default mode most of our brains live in. It’s easy to be Negative Nancy. It’s natural. It feels comfortable.

In fact, even if you think your mind isn’t home to Negative Nancy, I invite you to have a closer look around. You see, our minds are so prone to finding, focusing and milling about the negative, about the problems, about what is or could be wrong about things. When we’re stuck in a negative rut, it’s all we can see. And, because we’re focussed on the negative, we actually create more of it. 

Instead, we can choose, with a lot of effort, to turn our minds over to a new tenant: Positive Pam. The way to do that is simply to start focussing on the positive in any given situation. Then, watch it multiply.

What you focus on, you create more of. It works like a magnifying glass. Pastor Steven Furtick says it like this:

What you magnify, you get more of.

This goes for everything in life. If you focus on, acknowledge and show gratitude for positive behavior with your kids (or your spouse for that matter) you’ll probably get more of it. If you start to notice how nice everyone is today, you’ll probably find more of it as the day wears on. And there’s science to back it up.

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, associated with the frequency illusion (coined by Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky), explains why when you get a new car, you suddenly start seeing that same car everywhere. The reason is our brains like patterns. When it finds one, even if it’s a stretch, it latches on hard. If we learn something new or are struck by something particularly fascinating, our brain starts this process of selective attention. This selective attention, kind of unbeknownst to us, starts searching and scanning the environment to keep that thing fresh in your mind to cement it. What’s really crazy is that two instances of the same thing cement that very thing in your brain and kind of lets all the other stuff that wasn’t great in between go. For example, maybe your kiddo brushed their teeth two times without being told. Those instances may not have been in a row and they may have been the only two times. Yet, your brain will happily let go of the other annoying times in between because you’re telling it what to focus on. What’s even more fascinating is that whatever it was wasn’t really new to us, according to the science, we just starting paying attention. I mean, mind blown.

Practically, it means you need to purposefully look for the positive throughout the day. Reinforce it by acknowledging it out loud, by writing it down, but thanking someone. That means you’ll find more positive, but hey, you’ll also get more from family and friends that are pleased you noticed. The more positive you pay attention to, the more positive you’ll have to pay attention to.

Limitations are meant to be broken

Lately I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books, the Earth’s Children series! I love those books so much that I named my daughter after the main character! The books revolve around cavemen basically and the growing pains our way, way, way back ancestors went through.

What’s fun to think about is how our ancestors developed things that we take for granted like a fork, or soap or even a sewing needle. Our ancestors had so many limitations, yet they kept finding ways to break through those limitations in order to achieve a better life. In fact, the books spend quite some time discussing how hard change came for some of our ancestors and how readily accepting some were of the limitations. So much that thinking outside of the box and doing things differently was sometimes seen as a threat.

Today, we have the same problem. We have modern limitations that have been placed on us and lots of people around us who are eager to tell us why they should stay that way. Just like our ancestors before us, though, we have this amazing “front brain” that allows us to be innovative, to see and do things differently with our creativity. These brains allows us to dream, to set goals, plan, and achieve those things.

For example, some folks might be subconsciously limited by the amount of money they can make. Others might be limited on career options. Modern limitations are changing, but there is still the idea that you need to work 9 to 5, for a bigger company or the government and probably not even really like your job. I know I once had the very real mental limitation that as a mother who had been slightly overweight before having children, I was just always going to be overweight. I had that limitation for myself.

Other limitations we set for ourselves might be that our homes will always be a mess. Or that our kids will never listen. We might think that an amazing marriage is impossible or a dream vacation is going to stay a dream.

Because of all the previous innovation and creativity, we are even more free to do what we dream about. Yet, as humans with that “back brain,” we still manage to find ways to limit ourselves. Ways to stall from progress in our own lives.

Yet, just like the first person who started a fire or used a pole to catch a fish, limitations are meant to be broken. They present you with incredible opportunities that you might not have even dreamed possible. In fact, the post limitation reality might not even be fathomable. But it is possible.

What limitations have you become settled with today? Think about it and visualize yourself breaking through it like a football team breaking through the banner as they run out onto the field. That can be you my friend!

Whine or work?

If you were my friend or client, I would feel you out before I went ahead and truth bombed you like this. The fact is most of my tribe, in any capacity loves some tough love. Some iron sharpens iron. So, let’s just assume you’re already #myvibemytribe. Here’s your truth bomb:

You can whine about it or you can work on it.

Copy of did

You see, there’s a lot of victimhood to go around. Or even just general whining. But that doesn’t help a situation. In fact, it tends to make it worse. It keeps you dwelling on what’s wrong, on the negative.

Instead, here’s what we can do: work on it. So, think about what your problem is currently. Maybe it’s fitness, maybe it’s a misbehaving kid, maybe it’s stress and yelling at dinner time, maybe it’s never ending laundry.

Now, get out a piece of paper and get ready to write down two lists. We’ll call these lists “What I can control” and “Actions.”

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The truth is you’ll never be able to fix the problem by whining. What’s more, if someone else is involved, you can’t control their behavior or force them to change.

Which brings us back to your list: “What I Can Control.”

You have a lot more power than you think.

So, fitness. What can you control? What you eat and how much you move are examples. So your actions might be this week you will not snack at night and you’ll walk everyday for 30 minutes.

Misbehaving kiddo? What can you actually control? How you respond and leading by example. Your actions might be to set a specific discipline you will use every time calmly and without yelling or getting really upset. You might also purposefully, specifically reinforce any ounce of positive behavior. You might also make sure you’re leading loudly in the area.

At dinner time, what can you control? You, your plans and your reactions. You can create positive triggers (clean kitchen, meals planned, hugs when everyone gets home) and routines at dinner time so there is less stress.

There are very often things you can do to change a situation. It does require big girl panties, sure. But I think it’s empowering to know we aren’t out of options except whining. No, we can choose to take action. We are powerful.

The trick here is to let go of what you can’t control. And certainly to stop whining about it. Instead, focus that energy on what you actually can do and let the rest go.

letitgo.gif

Now, in relationships you certainly can’t nag or criticize a person into changing. That tends to make heels dig in deeper. Sometimes there are relationship situations and other situations in life where it seems like the things you can control are limited or even nonexistent.

Stay tuned because that’ll be the subject of Friday’s post!

Enthusiastically

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (1)How do you do laundry enthusiastically?

I mean really.

The secret is to keeping your “spiritual fervor” up, as another translation spells it out. I think if you can find inner peace, inner joy, then you see laundry differently. It takes some serious work, it’s not “natural” but it can happen.

Part of my problem, I know, was it seemed like laundry was the “highlight” of my day. When laundry is always looming, of course you can’t be enthusiastic about it.

These days, I wake up on my own (not by my kiddos), I get in some ME time, I do something that fulfills me (write & workout) and then I set about serving others. My cup is SO FULL by then, laundry is just a five minute thing that I do so I can get back to other fun things.

While doing the laundry, I guess I am also grateful that we have clothes. I mean, sometimes I’m focussed on that, though I could be better about thinking it more often, I guess?

The other way I’ve been able to be more enthusiastic about it is by minimizing both the amount of laundry I do and the time I spend doing it, through systems and recruiting smart help around the house. I’m also enthusiastic about it because I know it’s important. Yes, it can seem mundane, but it’s what keeps my family looking like someone takes care of them, and that brings me joy.

Maybe it just turned from an “I have to” to a “I get to” because I feel spiritual zeal and it leaks out everywhere in my life.

That took a LONG time. A lot of personal development. A lot of help. Now, I feel called to help other moms with this and other things I’ve learned along the way. Tips, strategies, systems, mindset….all of it. I’m very excited to do it! Stay tuned!

“Use whatever gift you have received to serve others.” 1Pe4:10.

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (1)