The Intentional Yes – A Way to Simplify Your Holiday

While most of us can boast of very busy schedules year round, the holiday season is even worse.  There are pressures coming from all sides, end of the year deadlines at work, holiday parties, the pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone in your life, family obligations, traffic…the list could go on and on.

Rather than putting our heads down this holiday season and plowing through it let’s try something different.  Let’s slow it down, let’s take some time to enjoy it, revel in it and actually be merry!

How do we do this? Continue reading

Creating an Upward Spiral

We’re all familiar with the idea of the downward spiral, right?  Where one bad choice can lead to another which can lead to another which leads to another and so on…but did you know the opposite is also true?  Good choices can lead to more good choices which lead to more that lead to more and more and so on.  We call that positive momentum an upward spiral.  It’s a positive impact on our heart and mind, a collection of successes and positive choices we have made along the way.

creating an upward spiralLet’s look at a few simple strategies you can take to begin your upward spiral! Continue reading

Stay the Course! Self-talk & Perseverance

Have you heard that phrase, “stay the course”?  For the last couple of years, as Michael & I have worked to build our practice it’s been my mantra.  “Watch the numbers but hold them loosely”, “don’t give up when there is a dip or a bump in the road”, “look for patterns” and above all practice positive self-talk & perseverance…

Stay the course!

There are many times in life when we work and work and feel our progress is non-existent or so minimal that we begin to think “why bother”.  It’s so easy, especially this time of year, when our New Year’s resolutions have already begun to gather dust or we’re not where we anticipated we’d be, to contemplate throwing in the towel.  That negative self-talk will only slow or even prevent you from reaching your goals. 

Stay the Course!

It’s seem too simple to be a great answer to our daily struggles.  Surely there is some more complex thing we should be doing…but our mind is a powerful thing.  The words we use have meaning, they impact how we feel and what we do.  By challenging those negative thoughts and replacing them with positive self-talk we are more likely to practice perseverance and eventually achieve our goals.

Stay the Course!

Every little step you take toward your goal is one step closer to achieving it.  One pound lost becomes 2, then 4 then 20, if you stay the course.  One client becomes 2, which becomes 4 which becomes a full schedule, if you stay the course.  Repeat this phrase to yourself on good days, repeat this phrase to yourself on bad days.  The more you say it the more you will follow through with it and one day you’ll look up and see that you’ve achieved your goal.

Stay the Course!

Realistic Goal Setting for the New Year

According to a Forbes study in 2013 only 8% of the New Year’s resolutions proclaimed on January 1 will come to fruition by December 31. I’m not great at math, but even I know that a 92% failure rate does not imply great odds for success…

It is my belief that most goals don’t pan out for a few reasons:
1) They are unrealistic and/or too big.
2) We are not mentally prepared to make the necessary changes (ya’ll, change is hard!).
3) We don’t have the necessary support.

For the sake of illustration, let’s take a look at the most common New Year’s resolution: weight loss.

So often people start out with a plan to workout for an hour a day 6 days a week, and maintain a 1,200 calorie diet. This is great in theory. However, if you have been eating a burger and fries for lunch every day and living a fairly sedentary lifestyle, these are pretty intense goals! After the first few days of muscle pain, the overwhelming hunger pains, and the return of the busy schedule, it is simply too easy to go back to old habits.

The person who is successful is the person who is realistic in their goal setting. The person who takes time to really examine their life, and their priorities. The person who breaks the goal down into realistic bite sized pieces (i.e. “I want to lose 50lbs” could be “I want to lose 1lb a week” – or “I want to run a marathon” could start with “I want to run 2 miles within a month.”) This does not apply only to weight loss & fitness…. This is true regardless of the goal.
So, to have the best possible chance at success this year, make sure to examine your goals and ask yourself these questions:

1) What are my priorities? Is this goal really important to me?
2) Are my goals realistic? Can I break my overall goal down into smaller, more attainable goals?
3) What steps do I need to take in order to ensure that I am really ready to make these changes?
4) Who can provide support and accountability to me in reaching this goal?

Once you have asked these questions and established goals that are truly realistic you are much more likely to fall into the 8% category! If you struggle with goal setting, or need help assessing how realistic your goals are, give us a call – we’d love to help you take a look at where you are in life and determine the steps necessary to help you live your best life possible!

Jennifer Smith, M.A. LPC  with www.246counseling.com

Setting Goals, Sex & Living to 100-Interesting Articles from the Interwebs

For You – 

Most of us know that goal setting is essential to achievements and healthy living.  But goal setting is not always so easy or so black and white.  This article, 4 Ugly Facts About Setting Goals, is a great read on some of the challenges one will likely face when goal setting.  “Enter your goal-setting process with these evils in mind and you’ll knock ‘em dead.”

For Your Relationships – 

Can you be happily married and be in a sexless marriage? This is the question up for discussion in Psychology Today’s article, Can Couple’s Be Sexless & Happy?  One researcher  named in the article identifies 2 primary reasons for sex to disappear in marriage, childbirth and extra-marital affairs.  In our experience there are other reasons as well but that’s another post for another day.  This article also looks at options available to couples that find themselves in a sexless marriage.  If this is you and your spouse, you are not alone and we’d love to help you explore those areas that interfere with healthy living and a healthy sex life.  You can also find helpful tips on our series – Creating & Maintaining Intimacy

For Your Health – 

Eating a high fiber breakfast can help you live to 100

Want to live to 100?  A U.S. News Health article says if you incorporate these 11 healthy living tips, you just might live for a whole century.  “Researchers have discovered that centenarians tend to share certain traits in how they eat, move about, and deal with stress—the sorts of things we can emulate to improve our own aging process.”  As expected appropriate amounts of sleep and exercise as well as healthy diet recommendations are on the list.  But there are other more surprising factors too such as staying connected to friends and family, being conscientious, being less neurotic & never retiring.  Check it out to find out what you can do to live to 100!

 

Four Tips to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

This is the time of year notorious for setting new year’s resolutions.  It makes sense because when is a better time to set new goals than at the beginning of a new year?!  However we all know the problem is that often times we start out passionate and excited about our new year’s resolutions then by spring break, we’ve “fallen off the wagon”.  We’ve all been to crowded gym in January only to find it empty in March.

How do we prevent falling into the same pitfalls every year?  How do we set resolutions for ourselves and stick to them?  Here are 4 tips for setting and sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions: Continue reading