Four Sure Ways To Sabotage Your New Year’s Resolutions!

sabotage 2

Sabotaging method number one:  Aim High!    While aiming high can be advantageous in many endeavors I find that New Year’s resolutions stand a better chance of succeeding when they are more specific and realistic.  After all, the goal is to succeed at achieving these resolutions, correct?  The popular resolutions often involve losing weight and exercising more.  Aiming high might be saying “I am going to lose 60 pounds by summer.”  Or “I am going to work out six days a week.”  I would recommend you set smaller goals such as committing to losing five pounds at a time until you get to a weight you are comfortable with.  Or committing to working out a minimum of three times per week.  These are very attainable goals that you are likely to achieve.

Being Spontaneous in and of itself is a wonderful ability.  However, when it comes to succeeding with your New Year’s resolutions you will need a plan.  The idea of losing weight or working out more or spending less money, etc. are just that:  great ideas.  To make them more tangible you will need a thought out plan of action.  How will you lose weight?  Are you going to use a certain diet program?  Have you researched the program and made sure it is for you?  Also, I suggest you have back up plan in case you don’t like the initial program.  Quitting isn’t an option so having a second choice gives you some flexibility!

Devaluing yourself is sabotaging method number three!  While it is true there will usually be too much to do and too little time you have to make a conscious decision to prioritizing yourself if you want to be successful with your goals.  You have to decide you are worth it!  No guilt tripping yourself!  You will have to make your new goals a high priority.  For instance, if you decided to start a diet program to lose weight then it is critical that during the first six weeks you arrange your life so that outside of work and family duties you will be focusing on making you and your program a top priority.  For example, I started on a new diet December 27 last year.  A friend of mine was having a New Year’s Eve party.  I chose not to go because I knew there was no way I could follow my strict food program there.  It would have been a quick trip down the failure road.

Lastly, the command “Be Independent” is another path to failing at meeting your new goals.  While learning to be independent in general is a good thing, when you are seeking to learn new behaviors now is the time to ask for help.  Find a partner or two who also want to achieve similar goals.  Whether it be diet buddies or workout partners reach out and ask for support.  It is important to have emotional support with your goals.  A person you can call or text who can encourage you and help you stay motivated.   Or maybe you need to ask for additional professional help such as hiring a personal trainer, using hypnosis, a life coach or even therapy.

Is It Ever Okay To Interrupt?

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Interrupting all the time is sure to be one of the top traits of a bad listener. This one is very common and one I am guessing we are all guilty of from time to time.  Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to share something and the person is constantly interrupting?  There are many reasons a person might interrupt you. Some interruptions are valid such as when you are seeking clarification, “Did you say you handed that in ten days ago?”   Interrupting for clarification a time or two can show you are really listening and wanting to make sure you heard the person correctly.  However, even this can be bothersome if the person constantly has to stop and clarify.  If you do this enough the person talking may decide to shut down or may tell you to let them finish their story before you to ask your questions.

However, many interruptions don’t originate from such good intentions.  Often a person interrupts because they are impatient with the story teller, wants to correct them, prefers to argue the point, or they may be so narcissistic that they can’t bear the focus to be on someone else. In working with couples I have witnessed one partner interrupting the other due to impatience. Each of us process information in our own unique way. The one becomes inpatient with the other because he or she isn’t making their point quick enough. Because the other doesn’t communicate as quickly and concisely as you doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong .It just means the person communicates in a more paced and measured way.

Immensely frustrating and even offensive is when you interrupt another because you don’t agree with them and want to get your two cents in before letting that person finish. Being respectful of different viewpoints is imperative for healthy relationships and shows strength of character in the listener.   Debating another’s view when the person is clearly not in need of or interested in a debate is also very rude and inconsiderate. And the “all-consumed with themselves” have little ability to stay present with the others frame of reference any substantial length of time.

If you struggle with interrupting others I encourage you to make a conscious effort to stop or reduce the frequency.  Certainly seeking clarification from time to time is important.  However, try remaining with the person’s story.  Listening is not about agreeing with the person, it’s about respecting their viewpoint.  Remember the person is sharing their perspective, not necessarily yours.  And that is ok!  Also, remain alert to let them finish a thought before you interject.  You can even count to three before you respond to be sure they are done with that part of their sharing. Decreasing interruptions is a good start to becoming a better listener.

Fun listening quote “Of course I’m listening, now what was that you said”?

 

Do I Have To Forgive You?

Judgement

To forgive or not forgive! The topic of forgiveness is not a new one.  There are many books written on the subject with numerous variations about what forgiveness is and how to forgive.  I am often saddened by this topic because so many of my clients have been hurt by the beliefs about forgiveness that others have projected onto them.

What is your view of forgiveness?  Is it the often heard “forgive and forget”?  This doctrine about forgiveness seems to be a common one many struggle with.  This message about forgiveness is usually something that was learned via one’s religion or the religion of their family.  Even people who aren’t particularly religious seem to face this simplified view when they are fraught with the idea of forgiveness.  This message of “forgive and forget” seems to permeate through culture and time.

So, am I saying we shouldn’t forgive? Am I supporting you staying angry and full of resentment?  NO!  That is not the point.  However, my guess is that each of you who have been hurt in some way need your own process of forgiveness without being judged by others.  Often I think the one judging is simple uncomfortable with your painful emotions and therefore attempts to avoid these emotions by pushing forgiveness on you when you aren’t ready.

Does forgiveness mean forgive and forget? Well, I will let each of you make your own assessment of that.  However, how do you forget horrific things that have happen to you?  Does forgiveness mean that you tell your offender that what they did is ok?  Do you have to acknowledge to the other that you forgive them for forgiveness to have occurred?  These are all great questions.

I assume most of you have listened to the many terrible things that have happen to others via the media. I have heard people whose child has been murdered say they forgive the murderer and I have heard others share intense venomous rage.  I try not to judge either.

In my view the forgetting is not necessary to forgive. In fact, we don’t forget.  We don’t forget that our partner had an affair with our best friend.  We don’t forget that our uncle sexually molested us for three years when we were young.  We don’t forget the drunk driver that killed our sister.  How would one ever forget these horrific events?

Forgiveness is part of the grieving process, and the grieving process is different for each of us. The most important part of working through offenses that have occurred is for you to learn how to slowly move to a place where you are not full of rage and anger all your days.  That you learn how to move forward in life and become more productive.  How can you turn this hurtful event into something that energizes you for change?  Many people who have been through unimaginable tragedies have created new laws to protect others from the same injury.  Others have formed support groups, written books and more.

Respecting others during difficult times is priceless. It is the greatest gift you can give them and the greatest gift you can receive during these times.  Consider supporting others around you who have suffered hurtful events.  Do not project your beliefs upon them.  Deal with your own uncomfortable feelings. Acceptance is invaluable. Give this to others and demand it from others during times of suffering and loss.

If You Would Just Stop Making Me So Angry!

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There is a wonderful saying that I both love and hate which states, “No one can make me feel anything without my permission.” How often have you heard yourself saying, “He makes me so angry?” Or “She frustrates the crap out of me.” While this response is a naturally reactive one it leaves you in the one down position or the victim position. The above saying reminds me that only I am responsible for my feelings.

When someone does something that you then feel angry, it is better to reframe it correctly; such as “When he didn’t return my calls I felt very hurt.” Or, “I know what she is like and I let her get to me again.” Both of these statements put the ownership back on you! This gives you power to do something about it. It takes the power away from the other and leaves it with you. When you take responsibility for your reaction you then are in control of how you want to handle your response or feelings.

Putting the responsibility back on yourself is the primary way of feeling more in control of your life and the various situations life brings your way. I encourage you to pay attention to how you word your statements. Notice if they are more I statements or more blaming statements. Make the conscious choice to remove yourself from the one-down role to the role of empowerment and choice. It is only then that you can move forward in that situation or relationship in a productive fashion. You always have a choice! Choose responsible, mindful living! It is a much happier and productive existence.

I Don’t Want to Eat My Green Beans!

vegtables
Growing up I distinctly remember my mother trying to feed me those awful vegetables. I didn’t do too well with her canned string beans or cooked carrots. Of course she explained to me how important it was for me to eat my vegetables because they have lots of vitamins and nutrition that I needed. Unfortunately her reasoning did not convince me to eat what she said was good for me.

This got me to thinking about our lives as adults and how many things we know are good for us to do, yet we don’t choose to do them. I am assuming now that we are adults that most of us understand how important it is to eat our vegetables. The majority of us logically know about many other things that are also very important to our health yet for many you don’t comply with what you know to be good for you.

Today I want to focus on your physical health and a few areas that you may struggle with doing what is good for you. An important task for us all is to attend yearly physical check-ups and other recommended preventative procedures. Although I do not want to be nor mean to be sexist, I will admit that the majority of female clients, friends, acquaintances that I have are prudent about the need to attend their yearly check-ups and take the time to attend these appointments. I am sure there are exceptions to this and for these women I encourage you to consider what may be keeping you from taking care of and responsibility for your physical health.

Many of the men I know personally, or my friends’ husbands or clients seem to have some resistance to taking time for regular yearly physicals. This is of course not true for all men, but I have witnessed it often. If you are one of these men that don’t usually see a doctor I plead with you to reconsider. Ask yourself what is stopping you. Remind yourself that prevention is always best and it is a good thing when the doctor tells you all is well!

Another essential area is our eating habits. We all know how important it is to give our bodies the fuel it needs to work most effectively. In this area I hear a lot of “I know I should but…” comments. What makes this area so hard for you? Are you eating fast food often? Buying frozen food to pop in the microwave? How is it that for so many the vehicle that moves us about in this world is often treated so badly; even neglected?

Exercise is also something that is good for us. Regular exercise is good at any age and even more important as we age. Exercise helps us cardiovascularly; assists us in keeping our muscle tone; helps our metabolism; and can improve mood. I understand that many of us have excellent reasons why it is hard to fit this into our lives. Life is very hectic. However, exercise is also good for you and needs to be incorporated into your lifestyle.

I hope that this blog today will more motivate you to take responsibility for your body overall. You are given this one body to move about on this earth and it is your job to take care of that body. The healthier your body is the better you will feel in the other areas of your life. Ignoring your body puts you at great risk of suffering unnecessarily.

What Kind of Karma Are You Creating?

Karma
Karma is a word that many of us have heard or even used ourselves. It is an interesting concept. While the meaning of Karma is more extensive than I am going to share, one simple definition by Merriam-Webster.com says that Karma is “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to people.” While some believe this Karma is transferred to future lives I will focus on our existence in this life time.

Are your actions and words creating good Karma for you? Do you feel good about how you’re leading your life? Ideally I prefer to behave in ways I feel good about. It is an honorable goal. I find it easier to do this when I am being conscious of my choices. I can more easily behave and speak in ways I want when the situation is calm and I am somewhat in control. The challenge seems to come during those other times that are unexpected, dramatic and sometimes hurtful.

I recently read a quote that said something to the effect of “How someone else behaviors with you is there Karma how you respond to them is yours.” Wow! I posted that for a while in my office as a reminder to myself. I recently had a hurtful and surprising experience happen with a medical professional in the community. It set me off balance mostly because it was hard to understand how someone could behave in such a manner. Can any of you relate? Did that then give me permission to behave in kind? I didn’t want that so I had to stay very aware of my choices in responses and also how I elected to view the situation.

What situations challenge your character? Is it the rude person in line at the store? Is it your cranky neighbor? Is it your son’s coach? The person who is driving too fast or too slow? How do you choose to react? How do you deal with frustrating situations? And are you willing to help someone when you see a need; to behave in kindness. I know this can be a challenge for many of us and I certainly haven’t been perfect. However, noticing your reactions to people is a worthy endeavor.

Creating good Karma seems like a wonderful idea. Weather you believe in Karma or not the concept of behaving in ways that display the best of you sounds like a good way to go!

What Makes a Good Father?

emotional intelligence
It seems only fair that since I wrote a blog about mothers close to Mother’s Day that I give equal honor to this upcoming Father’s Day. It is interesting what emerged for me as I was pondering on the idea of what a healthy father might be like. I realized that this person I am describing would be rather “new age” if you will, in the sense that I don’t think many of use experienced a father that embraced all these characteristics. But, you may prove me wrong.

If I was going to nutshell what I think would be essential features in a father I would say that he would have at least an above average amount of emotional intelligence. If you haven’t heard this wording it is worth looking it up to gain a better understanding. A father who is more emotionally intelligent is aware of his and others emotions and also able to regulate his emotions in reference to others and situations.

While traditionally many would say a good father is one that provides well for his family; is a hard worker and a good disciplinarian. While these qualities are admirable and fine the child also benefits from a father who is able to be more emotionally present. A dad who can share emotions (and not just anger) with his child is a wonderful gift. A father who is able to honor and comfort the child’s many emotions validates the child.

Following in line with being more emotionally open is being able to verbally and physically express kind, loving words and physical gestures to the child. Hugging often; saying I love you on a regular basis. A father who is consistent and reliable in showing these qualities to not just the child but also to his partner, family and friends is what makes him genuine.

So am I sounding like we need a mother for a father? Segregating different roles to the mother and father is no longer in the best service of the child. Both parents need to own what we have traditionally called feminine or masculine qualities. So, do we all possess this capacity?

Psychologist still debate whether emotional intelligence is something one can learn or if it is strictly a genetic tendency. While I know our innate temperament does affect this ability in each of us, I can’t help but believe that these important qualities can also be learned if so desired by the one lacking them.

In raising three boys I have witnessed the differences that are biologically rooted. I have one boy who is naturally more expressive with his feelings. However, I have seen how the lineage of my children’s father and his father and his father’s father has travelled generationally shaping the boys in this family. It is my hope that more parents will break down the barriers of traditional roles and learn to embrace the whole of their being.