“What is the worst thing about yourself that you like?”
How often do you know that there is something that you need to change about yourself and don’t realize that maybe you’re struggling to make that change because, on some deeper level, you really enjoy that behavior?
What if you have a habit of sneaking a candy bar on the way home from the grocery store? You know it’s a really bad idea – especially if you have to grocery shop every couple of days! But, if you secretly really like the experience, you aren’t likely to make a change.
You can simultaneously want to change – and enjoy just about any behavior (or addiction).
Exercise (or lack of exercise)
We went on college visits over spring break and I came back chock-full of crazy stories of people we met during our travels. I really try to avoid talking bad about people (especially people that I know) because I believe that gossip is inherently wrong. I decided years ago that positivity was far more in line with who I want to be and that I would especially not allow that side of myself to further contaminate the virtual world.
But when I found myself chatting about our spring break trip with a neighbor yesterday afternoon my snarky side snuck through my defenses. Truth is that I kind of like that ugly part of me. When I let ‘her’ loose people tend to laugh and have fun (and my ‘normal’ personality is remarkably more mundane than ‘Snarky Tina’). It was FUN to share the stories of strange families and college tour guides with abysmal grammar who were planning on using the university’s resource center when they were ‘like forty’ and still didn’t know how to manage their finances.
The truth is I like that side of myself a little bit even though I know that’s not the person I want to be. Even worse? Gossip probably isn’t the worst of my negative traits.
I’m trying so hard to tackle those difficult areas this year and that requires me to be honest with myself.
So what bad traits do YOU love to hate?
Spring is in the air which makes me incredibly excited for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I LOVE
playing in the dirt gardening. I could spend an entire weekend weeding and planting and digging – it might be my very favorite thing. And even though my body gets sore from all of that work, I always feel great when I’m working outside (and I’m usually reluctant to come back inside)!
I always thought that it was the sun and fresh air that made me feel amazing but apparently there are microbes in the soil that ‘stimulate serotonin production making me relaxed and happier’. According to this article ‘Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection’, which is great news for me because when I finish working in my garden I am COVERED in those healthy microbes!
kind of like that!
Maybe it’s time for a new flower bed around here…
I hope the weather is nice enough this weekend for you to get out and play in the dirt. I can’t wait to hear what you plant!
It seems like it should be so easy but I’d venture to guess that most of us struggle with this virtue on some level in some area of our lives.
I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about how much I lack self control and how failing to rule myself limits me in so many areas. When I fail to exercise or eat right I suffer decreased energy. When I fail to complete my work efficiently during the day I have to work later and miss out on special time with my kids before they go to sleep – or I miss out on sleep that I desperately need. Maybe most important, when I fail to rule myself my self esteem suffers – and that makes EVERYTHING more difficult for me. Can you relate?
This year I am focusing on learning to master myself. I want access to all of the strength, vitality, and blessings that are available to me and I finally realize that there is no way I can unlock those doors when I am a slave to impulse and habit.
Check back tomorrow and I’ll share my plan and how it’s been working so far.
About six months ago I became really aware of how little time is left before my children start leaving the nest and I made the decision to savor the opportunities that I still have to spontaneously spend time with them. Since it seemed that my phone was the number one activity that prevented me from experiencing maximum closeness with my family, I decided to begin consciously putting my phone down and sitting with the people that I love whenever I sensed that they were reaching out to me.
Sometimes it’s still difficult for me to stop what I’m doing and give my full attention, but the result has been incredible. In the past few months my two teenagers have become so much more affectionate and open with me. We have spent hours sitting close together talking about all kinds of things and both of them have started approaching me out of the blue to give me a hug or a kiss. At the very time that I was sure they would be pushing me away I feel closer than ever to these awesome people. (It’s made a difference in my marriage too.)
What do you do to be present with the people that are important to you?
Knowing what goals you want to set for the next year is not the last step and not all goals are created equal. I recommend that you try the SMART Goals acronym formula in the infographic above. Using this format you would change the goal ‘I want to lose weight.’ to ‘By the end of 2015, I weigh # pounds, eat a salad every day, and habitually complete eight Minute Movements each work day.’ This format goes beyond simply wishing that something would happen to setting you up with a clear plan for making it happen.
Happy planning and Happy New Year!
Image credit: http://teacherweb.com
Yesterday I invited you to spend some quiet time reflecting on your habits (the things that you do consistently on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis) and where they are leading you. Today I’d like to take it a step further and work on a little goal setting.
Now, you can just randomly set goals if you really want to. And maybe there’s a goal that’s absolutely obvious to you (‘stop smoking’ for instance) but if you want to go deeper I have a few suggestions to direct your focus when setting goals. Writing prompts like these help activate and organize my thoughts a little better and I hope you find them (in conjunction with the list of habits that you made yesterday) useful as well.
The most simple list of categories is.
Mind, Body, Spirit.
This is absolutely enough and could be the best option because limiting your goals to a small number could be the best way to insure that you’ll reach them!
Another option is this list, which I found a couple of years ago. I like that these questions are more specific and that they help me think beyond my normal territory.
A skill I’d like to learn ____________.
A person I hope to be more like ____________.
A good deed I’m going to do ____________.
A place I’d like to visit ____________.
A book I’d like to read ____________.
A letter I’m going to write ____________.
A new food I’m going to try ____________.
I’m going to be better at ____________.
My third list is a little more extensive but it touches on all of the important areas of our lives. Last year I used this list and, while I did make progress in each area, I didn’t necessarily hit my goals. This year I think I’ll prioritize this list and choose just a few areas to focus on at first.
Family – Is your relationship with your family everything that you want it to be? Are you spending quality time with them, do they KNOW that you love them, do YOU know how you can help them succeed? Do whatever it takes to draw closer to them – even if you have to schedule time in your calendar (and lock away all mobile devices!).
Social – Time with friends (in real life) can have such a huge impact on life satisfaction and even your health. Besides prioritizing time nurturing your established friendships consider ways that you can make new friends as well – you might find a new ‘bestie’ when you finally join that new dance class!
Financial – Do you need to increase your income or curtail your spending? Maybe you have a huge amount of debt hanging over your head that’s stressing you out. There are so many programs to help you get control of your finances (many of them are free). No price can be put on the peace of mind that comes from being on top of your finances!
Career – Do you love your job? Do you feel confident in your ability to move ahead? Was there something in your last performance evaluation that you need to address? Maybe you want to go an entirely different direction. Whatever it is, take steps toward improvement – you spend the majority of your life at your job and it should be as rewarding as possible.
Spiritual – This might be the most important area of your life whether you actively practice a religion or not but it’s also often the easiest area of life to ignore. Nurturing your spirit can help you get everything else in perspective and keep you grounded.
Physical – I imagine that this is the most popular area for resolutions or goal setting each January. Do whatever you need to do to make your body stronger and more healthy this year. If it’s been awhile and you can’t find time for exercise, start doing your Minute Movements right away.
Intellectual – Is there a new series or genre of books that you’d like to explore? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn another language or how to build birdhouses. Learning new things makes us more interesting – to ourselves and to other people. Try something new this year!
Pick a list and do a little brainstorming today, think big and believe in yourself. Tomorrow I’ll have a few tips to share on how to set great goals that you can achieve but today just focus on your dreams.