Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Okay, yes, I know it’s March 1st but it’s been awhile.  Did you miss me?  Well, I missed you.  I’ve been working really hard on writing my book which I plan to finish, publish, and launch this year.  It’s a lot to get done but that is a big goal for me and one that I have pushed off and pushed off so now is the time.  What have you been up to so far this year?

I know many people that started the beginning of the year with fasting or starting a new diet.  Are you still just as committed today as you were on January 1st?  Are you getting more sleep?  Watching less TV?  Spending less money?  Whatever it is, many of us have already forgotten about the promises that we made to ourselves just two short months ago.  What happened to that commitment?  Are you kicking yourself again for starting that gym membership and haven’t gone since January 31st?

What happens to us?  Are we that bad at committing to a task that we so desperately wanted to do this year?  What are you letting side track you and we haven’t made it to the end of the first quarter of the year?  Maybe your overall goals are exactly what is side tracking you.  If you said you want to lose weight, save money, or take a vacation, what action steps have you put in place to actually make these things happen?  The things we want to do must be concrete enough for us to do them.

I live and die by my calendar.  If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist.  Can you relate?  Maybe some of you are more spontaneous.  Going with the flow can be great if you aren’t so concerned about your destination.  If you really have some goals you want to achieve this year then you must have some strategies in place to guarantee greater success.

I started writing again because finishing my book and my mother’s book are priorities for me.  I had to employ the Pomodoro Method to my writing.  This method helps me schedule time on my calendar to write, set a timer for my writing and put it away when time is up.  It is sad that I have to play these games with myself but that’s how I get things done.  Do you have a strategy that works for you?  I hope that you can finish this first quarter of the year setting clearer priorities for all the things you want to accomplish in 2016.  Take time each week to check in with your goals to plan for the next week.

Look for me to check in with you now that I’m back writing and blogging.  If you need help creating a clear plan for your home, work, kids, or finances, contact me at: Shannon@deeprootsconsultingllc.com and visit my website at www.deeproots.consulting for more information on the importance of coaching to helping you achieve your goals.

I would love to help you in any way I can to make it a Happy New Year!

Pain Management

 

I have not written over the last few weeks because I have been battling a bit of denial.  Yes, I hate to admit that as a life coach I sometimes struggle with denial, but I’m human.  I’ve been in denial about being 44 and not 24, that working out without stretching can cause injury, and that constant stress can breed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, struggle with weight lose, and justification for binge eating.

 

I have been in pain but too scared to admit it.  Have any of these things happened to you?  Well, the pain of my denial came to a head a couple of weeks ago after I went to my primary care physician for my annual check up (something that before I turned 40 always gladly embraced around my birthday in August but somehow now delay further and further each year).  I talked about my hearing loss, my continued struggle to lose weight, and a nerve issue where I felt tingling and numbness down my left arm, shoulder, leg, and foot.  She recommended that I see a neurologist to get to the bottom of my pain.

 

After my visit with the neurologist, she began to panic and told me she thought I was showing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) or transverse myelitis.  I was so scared.  Had my stress level gotten so high that my body finally turned on me?  I really was scared.  After 12 vials of blood, a nerve test, and five MRIs of my brain and spine I was blessed to find out that I did not have MS or transverse myelitis.  What I do have, however, is a degenerating spine with herniated discs in the C, T, and L sections.  That is what’s causing my pain.  I finally got to the root.  Now I have to figure out how to “fix” this problem.  I visited a pain management doctor and he, of course, wanted me to “manage” my pain by taking high doses of high powered medication and to get shots in my back.  

 

I went to a chiropractor who said “of course the pain management doctor wants to just “manage” your pain and cover it up with medication.  Their goal is for you to not FEEL any pain but what are they going to do to eliminate your pain?”  Is it okay to just walk around and cover our pain?  Do people want us to stop feeling pain?  I guess in a sense, no one wants to FEEL pain but how do you ever get a signal that something is wrong?  What desire do you have to fix the problem if it’s already covered up?

 

I had to think about these questions and both courses of treatment.  Our lives can also follow those two philosophies as well.  Do we want to walk around in pain and get some adjustments or are we just going to manage the pain and never fix the root cause?  What do I need to add or eliminate in my life that can help to eliminate my symptoms?  Lose weight?  More water? Physical Therapy? Yoga and pilates?  These are great ideas for my physical health but what about mental health?  What do we need to add or eliminate to get to a state of wellness and not just “pain management?”  Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason.  It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.
“Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami

What’s Cooking? How to Automate Your Day

“What’s Cooking?: How to Automate Your Day”

My greatest fear is happening.  I’m becoming my mother!  All of us dreaded to hear our mother’s nag about the same things over and over again or to hear one more lesson about life that we thought only applied in the “olden days.”  My mother was no different.  She would share her wisdom with me about how to make life simple for myself but I couldn’t relate so it didn’t matter to me.  My mom was an athlete and the youngest of six children.  If anyone on this earth had a bit of arrogance and was totally spoiled, it was my mom.  She bragged about being the baby and the apple of her papa’s eye.  Since she was so spoiled she didn’t have to learn about homemaking as most young ladies of the south did during that time.  She was playing basketball and watching her older siblings do all the work around the house.

When my mother married my father she did not know how to cook at all.  She said that she could burn water.  I didn’t realize she lacked the cooking skills that a North Carolina-born woman should have because she cooked every day.  She picked up a few key recipes along the way and put them in her “play book.”  Those were her go-to meals and she mastered them over time.  As I child I could not appreciate this.  I was so tired of “meatloaf Monday”, “Taco Tuesday”, spaghetti on Wednesday, fried chicken on Thursday, fish on Friday, and Rice-a-Roni on Saturday I didn’t know what to do!!  Sunday was a little special because we would have either a baked chicken or a roast so that would spice things up a bit.

As a “working out of the home mom” now myself, I finally appreciate this automation.  Most days I have no clue what I’m going to fix for dinner and I’ve given my family way too much fast food for my taste!  My family just started watching the sitcom “The Middle” and watching Frankie put fast food on plates to feed her family each night is just hilarious.  I can identify except I don’t break out the china to eat McDonalds or Subway!  Since families rarely eat together these days, I guess eating Subway around the table is better than not talking or eating together at all.

What about our health?  Are we able to play to our greatest potential if we haven’t prepared our bodies to do so?  Growing up my household meals were so automated that our bodies knew what to expect and could keep us all at optimal health.  My parents ate the same thing for breakfast daily and only changed up a bit on weekends or when we would go on vacation.  My father never overloaded his plate and since he didn’t “work on a farm” he felt that he didn’t need to eat like a farmer.  They knew portion control and even when we ate out they would share their food.  I thought that was weird growing up as well but now I realize that it not only was romantic and an intimate thing they did, it was also economical and health-conscious.  I watched my parents split a baked potato, share a small (yes, I said small) French fry, get a fried fish dinner but split one piece of fish and save the other two for later, and even split a soda!

So maybe there’s no one in your life that you want to share food with in this manner or splitting a baked potato seems cruel but this type of automation and self-control made less stress for my mother on a daily basis.  I’ve decided it’s time to throw in the towel with guessing what I’m going to eat every week and create a bit of automation that may result in a whittled waist and money in the bank.  Here are 3 plays to live by that may create some sanity in your home:

 

  1. Eating the same meals every week isn’t so bad. – Unless you plan to be a chef on one of those cooking reality shows then finding 10 good healthy meals that you can master will help you plan better and reduce your daily stress.  Knowing what you’ll eat and when you will eat it will eliminate guesswork and temptation.  Research shows that it takes two weeks of repetitive action to make the action become automated.   I plan to adopt this automation so my girls will understand the importance of planning their meals before they get out on their own.  Just like my mother, I didn’t learn how to cook before I left home so I plan to do a better job preparing my daughters.

 

  1. Automation is key to weight loss. – My parents never suffered from being overweight. Their bodies knew what to expect and my mom could prepare her meals in a way that were healthy and nutritious.  We would eat desserts on special occasions.  They never felt that it was required to have cakes or pies with every meal (I also discovered that my mom really couldn’t bake either so that probably added to this fact).  Most people that lose weight do so because they know what they are eating at all times of the day.  I took that fact for granted growing up because I was bored with what my mother served.  I didn’t realize that she was doing me a favor and setting me up with healthy habits.

 

  1. Eating at home saves your waist and your wallet. – If I have to stop at a drive thru, check my bag to see how many things they got wrong this time and then drive home, I could have made a simple 30-minute meal that could have been on the table just as quickly as the fast food and half the calories. Knowing the ingredients that I put in my food is much better than taking a chance on all the harsh chemicals and additives that are in fast food and restaurant food. So many people suffer from allergies because of the changes in the makeup of our food now that It’s just safer for us to make our meals at home.   In addition, if I added up the amount of money I spend on eating out, I probably could be on a nice cruise with my family right now.

Needless to say, it’s nice to eat out sometimes and have other people prepare your meals but there is nothing that beats home cooking and planning your meals to keep your family healthy, fit, and full!

Retire While You’re Still on Top

Retire While You’re Still on Top
So many people at my job are retiring. One friend told me her last day is today and I just found out yesterday. She doesn’t want any parties or fanfare. She just wants to walk silently into the night knowing that she’s “done her time” and it’s time to move on to the next phase of life. She looked prepared, peaceful, and calm. She isn’t one of the new “retirees” that leaves a job on Friday and starts a new one on Monday. She wants to relish in the fact that she is at the end of her career and has financially planned her exit accordingly. Sadly, some people don’t get that luxury. With rising costs, having children and buying houses later in life, the overuse of credit cards, and the fact that people are living longer, most people do not think about retiring earlier than 62. I see so many people stressed out about making ends meet that the thought of enjoying life after retiring seems so out of reach. Many aren’t enjoying life now!

So many businesses have their employees by the neck understanding that they have the upper hand with the longevity of their stay. They know most people are too in debt to retire and we can see those disgruntled employees every day. It doesn’t just happen with government workers or the private sector. We can see it with professional athletes as well.

We see ball players with everything taped up but their heads still trying to run with the young boys. Know your limits (body, mind, and spirit) and leave the game while you can remember your best days. I watched my mom leave the job she loved because someone decided she was not valuable enough to teach high school PE anymore. They wanted to move her to middle school, which in her mind was a demotion. She helped train the new PE teacher who was young, white, and male. My mom was not going to take that lying down. She pushed barriers all her life and was not going to “go out like a sucker.” She felt that once a person hit 50 the world started to view them differently. She felt just as sharp as a 30 year old but that was not what the world saw.

She could have agreed to play along and still teach the kids at the younger level but that is not what she wanted. She knew where she belonged. She knew what made her happy. She and my dad planned, prepared, and sacrificed so that no one could dictate when she should “throw in the towel.” Are you that prepared? Can you retire at the top of your game right now if someone offered you the opportunity to do so? Maybe you’re not at retirement age and have younger children like I do but if you fast forward 10 years, how close are you to retiring comfortably and not starting a new job on Monday?

Don’t let anyone push you around and determine your worth. My mom knew her worth and played the game by her rules- no one else’s. We get caught in these work systems that are not like the systems of old. There are few pension jobs. People don’t stay at the same job long enough to get a pension if one was offered. We have lost the understanding of how to save (that’s if we CAN save).

I found an article titled “5 Ways to Know If You’re on Track to Retire Early” that can help you look at your retirement plan. Know your financial facts so that you can make an informed decision about when to retire. We can’t wait until we are 50 or older to change our spending habits, begin reducing debt, or creating a financial plan. We have to do what we have to do now so that we can do what we want to do later.

I loved the fact that my mom was fortunate enough to call the shots with her retirement. She got to go out on top and not let the financial chains of bondage keep her attached to a job that no longer valued all she had to offer. Can you say the same? Will you retire while still at the top of your game?

Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3 Book Launch

Get Unstuck

I’m so excited that today is the launch of my new book called “Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3.”  I am a part of a collaboration of authors who contributed to this book and hope that you will purchase it and become inspired.  The chapter I have written is called “Get Unstuck” and I hope it will help you laugh and learn the necessary tools to get you moving one step closer to your dreams.  Go to: Voices of Inspiration – Volume 3 and purchase the book and contact me for your free gift for purchasing today.

This is my first of many books I hope to publish and I am am so excited about all that is in store. Thank you for your support.

Do What You Said You Would Do!

Do What You Said You Would Do!

As I am writing this blog right now I should be working on my book. When my mom passed away in 2012, I promised her that I would finish the book that she never finished before she died. I have started and stopped that project hundreds of times.  I would set a goal of writing a certain number of pages each week and had a deadline of completing the book by my birthday which was on August 4. Here I am, a week after my birthday, three years after my mother passed and I am still not done with that book. Instead, I have decided that writing blogs is much easier and less painful than doing what I said I was going to do.

Why is it so much easier to finish all of the little tasks on our ”to do list” but not tackle the one big project that could be life-changing? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of success?  I know for me sometimes it can be a little bit of both. Right after my mother passed away the emotions were too raw for me to want to write about anything. Now what is holding me back?  Do I feel that the story I will tell will not be accepted by others? Do I even care if it is? Am I such a perfectionist that I have to have the exact right words and the exact right order of chapters just to get started with my writing?

Most people will look for any excuse to not tackle the big things. I know I have been guilty of that. There are so many decisions that I need to make in my life but it is so much easier to decide if I am going to have chicken or fish for dinner or go to the grocery store in the morning or in the evening than it is to sit down and actually write my story.

This has been a pretty lazy summer for me. In some ways that is a good thing because I am always on the go and most people tell me I need to sit down and relax. One of the days that I was being lazy, instead of just sitting on my couch and watching a movie I decided to re-organize my sewing kit.  That does not seem like a bad thing to do except that I do not sew!  I couldn’t just sit on my couch and do nothing while I was watching the movie, I had to stay busy. I could have been writing a chapter for my book but instead I decided that my needles and thread should be in order from smallest to tallest. Have you ever gotten distracted by meaningless tasks and not been laser focused on what you truly needed to do?  I do that all the time. I felt very accomplished when my sewing kit was nice and neat. I felt accomplished when I cleaned out my garage for the third time this summer instead of sitting at my desk and starting to just type.

I can set a new deadline for the completion of my book but where is my dedication and commitment to actually getting it written? How dedicated and committed are you to the tasks that are vital to transforming your life? I know that God has a plan for my story being told and the life lessons that my mother shared with me that I want to share with the world but somehow I am delaying this story from being told. What gift do you have to share with the world that you are delaying because of your procrastination? What do you plan to do about that today so that you can get back on track and in alignment with your purpose?

This year will be over before we know it. Will you have accomplished all that you set out to do for 2015? Even if I have to take a break from writing my blog, which I am enjoying, in order to finish my book, I must do what I have to do. I can take the energy and I used to clean my garage and re-organize my sewing kit to write the story of my mother’s life and her lessons and to share what an impact she had on me. A clean garage will never satisfy the void I feel with not being able to talk to her every day or see her face.

I hope that whatever void you are trying to fill with empty distractions can come to an end so that you can go about the business of your true task at hand. Whether it is a conversation you need to have, a doctor’s appointment you need to make, or your own story that you need to write, take just a few moments today to put that at the top of your “to do list.” There is no more time for procrastination. The time is now for you to do what you said you would do.

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Don’t you find life to always be filled with stress? Doesn’t it seem like there is always something that happens which encompasses our entire attention, and thus drain our positive energy? As our society grows more and more complex, finding true peace becomes more like trying to find an oasis in the desert. My life is a busy one as well, being a wife, mother, working full time, and running a company and all of the stress & demands that comes with it, definitely takes its toll over time. Today was one of those days that it seemed my peace as destined to be disturbed but I finally took a moment to reflect on all that was going on around me and focus.

Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you seven of the methods that I use to find peace and disconnect from all that may be falling apart around me:

Be One with Nature

We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget that it is natural for us to be in nature.  This is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a local trail. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in the back of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but also relaxes me.  If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are many trees or go to a remote area far from the city. Just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Laugh a Little

Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, I have a friend that I talk to almost every day and we laugh until our stomachs ache.  It’s such a great part of my day that we have now decided to call it our “ab workout” for the day.  I know I’ve been doing boot camp but I believe laughter with this crazy friend has contributed to the formation of my abs!  So whenever you find yourself in a funky mood or things just aren’t going right, just think of the silver lining in the cloud that you think is following you, and don’t be afraid to just laugh until you cry. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you don’t take life so seriously.

Just Breathe

When all else fails. Just breathe!  Some days you may not have time to get outside and walk or laugh with your friends but one thing we all must do is breathe.  Any time you bring attention to your breath, your mind can’t think about all your worries.  I close my eyes and breathe in slowly for 8 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds.  Depending on the day I’m having I may need to repeat the deep breathing many times until I feel calm and centered.  Breathing is healing.  I have been interested in mediation for years but have not been able to sit still long enough to feel I can do it effectively.  I discovered that by just closing my eyes and being aware of my breath is meditating.  I have stopped pressuring myself to become a master yogi and decided that inhaling and exhaling with my eyes closed and being fully present is good enough for me.

Live in the Present Moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace.

Embrace your beliefs
Faith is a belief that God will, as my grandmother used to say, “Make a way out of no way.”  Faith has sustained me in good and bad times. Faith is much more than just comforting rituals to religious people.  It has the ability to have a positive impact on mood and mental health.  We need faith to navigate this world today and must embrace our faith with our entire being. Having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to manifest disease in their bodies.  Faith can play a major role in the reduction in and protection from stress.  A scripture that helps me know how important faith is to me in my times of stress is one that my mother said to me often: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (Jesus in John 14:27).

Care about Others

You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Accept What Is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things in which we have no control. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you understand this fact and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Having peace is based on our ability to let things go and to understand that we can control and what we can’t control.  Let the small stuff go.  Focus on what is good in your life and spend your moments appreciating what you have instead of ruminating about what didn’t go your way.  My new goal is to practice being mindful, staying in the present and enjoying the little things that fill up my day with joy- because those things are there!  No matter how situations may throw us off our game, we cannot let people disturb our peace.

Promises, Promises

I’m a big music fan. Growing up in Massachusetts in the 1980s I was exposed to all types of music. I love classic rock from Queen or Led Zeppelin but my favorite type of music besides old school hip hop is old school R&B. While I was a student at NC State we used to have outdoor concerts and one of my favorite performers that came to campus was Christopher Williams. I used to love his song “Promises, Promises.” It was about someone who never kept promises to him and how disappointed he was when they broke their promise.  We want others to keep promises to us but I started to think about the promises that I’ve made to myself and did not keep.   I had real intension in the beginning to keep my promise but after deep thought and time passing, the initial commitment that I had to my promise just vanished!

These promises that we break do something to our self-esteem. It’s like what we are saying to ourselves doesn’t matter. We don’t believe what we say out of our own mouths. We don’t think what we say is true. We don’t believe in ourselves.  Because we think before we act, our subconscious mind is so convinced that we aren’t going to do the thing that we said that it puts out into the world the information that it was fed.

When your thoughts and intentions don’t match the behavior that you put out in the world, you create a more challenging life. Imagine your friend promising over and over again that they will pay back the money that they borrowed. You know they never well.  How are things going for that person in their life? That is the same for us when we make promises to ourselves that we don’t keep.   Our subconscious brain starts to not believe what we are consciously saying we were going to do. This means that we are not in integrity with ourselves.

We may keep promises to other people but what does it say to them if we keep breaking promises to ourselves? Will they believe we are trustworthy? Do you trust yourself to make sound decisions?  We are training our brains that we cannot believe anything that we say that we were going to do.

How easy of a life do you think it will be to be out of alignment with yourself?  This week, I’ve included a blog post that I found called: “12 Promises You Should Make to Yourself and Keep Forever” by Mark Chernoff.  This post really spoke to my spirit today as I do my own work on being authentically me.  Don’t beat yourself up if you are still on the road to discovering your truth.  You will know when you are ready to embrace these principles but each day should be at least a baby step towards being yourself and all that you were created to be.

Check out the post at: http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/09/17/12-promises-you-should-make-to-yourself-and-keep-forever/ and let me know your thoughts.

 

Until next week!

What Are You Craving?

Today I start my new health and fitness journey with a 6-week boot camp.  I’m excited and nervous because this is something I’ve never done before.  I am an athlete and competitor by nature so you would think this 6 week challenge wouldn’t be a big deal.  Well, it is!  It is forcing me to dig down deeply in my soul to see why I’m so nervous about it.  As I attended the nutrition class this past weekend I saw the recommended eating list, the number of times I’m required to work out and another list of “dos and don’ts.” My mind was racing.  I was telling myself: “you can’t do this, you’ll never make it 6 weeks without Apple Jacks or bagels or bacon.”  Yes, I have an odd list of comfort foods that I’ve had most of my adult life.  I was cleaning out my pantry and discovered those were not the only comfort foods that I’ve eaten over the years.  I saw my chips, luncheon meat, honey Greek Yogurt with granola, and my lemonade mix.  I apparently like to get comfortable with many foods.

This made me look at what those foods have represented for me.  They’ve represented familiarity, warmth, ease, and definitely – comfort.  But really, how comfortable am I?  I’m battling my weight, my energy is low, my skin has been breaking out like I’m a teenager and my moods have been all over the place. What kind of comfort am I truly receiving if I have to rely on makeup or can’t fit into any of the pretty summer clothes that I wore just last year!  I had to pause.  I had to get a better understanding about my cravings.  I know there are many studies out there that talk about the addictive nature of sugar and that our “corn” and “wheat” are really not corn or wheat.  I know I’m battling against myself because of how food is grown now and how eating the foods that I love will just keep me going back for more.  Would I have go deny my cravings?  Was that my fear about this new boot camp and eating plan?

Interestingly enough, it made me think about other cravings I have.  I’ve been reading a book from my life coach trainer, Valorie Burton called “Successful Women Think Differently” and she talks about four areas that made me think about what I really crave and what I really long for in my life.  The areas are: Finances,   Health, Relationships, and Career.  I want to take some liberty and add one that is important to me and that is Spirituality.  I looked at these areas to see how aligned I was with getting comfort in those areas and discovered there were many things that I was craving.

In my finances, I want to master the monthly budget battle and making time to teach my children the value of a dollar.  My 13 year old wants to start receiving an allowance and this is something I’ve never explored before.  I could just give her a list of chores, make sure she does them and pay her accordingly at the end of the week but where is the lesson in that transaction.  Yes, she would have done what is required to get paid, but she still will be void in the area of financial literacy.  I owe her much more than an allowance to have her truly see the value of money.  I owe her knowledge.

In health, I want to focus on what I’m really craving besides food.  Food is easy to consume.  You can find it anywhere.  Most of us keep on using the same old comfort foods to help us handle stress, which keeps the weight on and doesn’t resolve the real problem.  What we really want is the energy to do what we were put on earth to do but how can we do that if we let long-held habits and old mindsets leave us in a state of numbness and we just coast through life on auto-pilot.  Part of us knows that those old comfort foods will keep us stuck where we are so that we won’t have to take that uncertain, unforeseen next step.  Hiding in the foods that exhaust us and make us feel heavy, keeps a force field around us. It’s our own creative way to keep us from making the changes we dream about making.

In relationships, this craving for love or attention gets us into trouble.  We go after the wrong guy time and time again.  We stay in relationships that bring us pain but we stay because that force field that blocks our destiny gets stronger with every negative thought or emotion that keeps us stuck in a place in which we want to break free.  The craving doesn’t go away.  We just stuff it down with more food, alcohol, or other drugs of choice and lose more energy to get us moving in the right direction.  If you are married, are you stuffing down your feelings just so your spouse won’t get angry?  Are you just “keeping the peace” as my dad used to say but really, who is peaceful if they aren’t authentically themselves in a relationship.  If you are single, are you getting clear signs that this partner is not “the one” but you crave a relationship so badly that you remain in something that is unfulfilling and unhappy?

In your career, are you craving a new job or maybe a new position at your current job?  What are you doing about it?  Are you remaining in what you think is your comfort zone but really it’s just a familiar place that provides you a paycheck?  Do you want to start your own business?  How many years have you talked about it but still have not made a move towards this dream?  I have wanted to be a life coach for years but let life get in the way.  I came up with excuse after excuse about what I didn’t know about business or who would hire me but I stepped out on faith and followed my dream to help transform lives.

That’s why spirituality is important to me.  It helps me keep all my other cravings in balance.  It helps me to know that God has to be at the center of my life in order for any of those other areas to fall into place.  I can tell when I’m not in the right space with God.  It’s when all my other cravings go into overdrive.  It’s when I long for attention, my money gets funny, my health is out of whack, and my job is overwhelming that I know I’m far from God.  This is what I need to crave.  I need to crave more time in His word.  I need to crave more time to meditate and talk to him about His plans for me and not my plans which can change like the wind.

I am excited to be making strides in the right direction with my finances, health, relationships, and career but I know that I need to get out of my comfort zone and go to God to help me on my path.  That’s what we all need.  We that believe know that he is our fortress and our refugee and nothing is impossible with God.  Some of you may be thinking that it’s too late.  The habits that you’ve created are too deeply rooted to change and that you must continue to live your life chasing cravings.  That is not true.  It’s never too late.

I was reading in my quiet time last week before I started this fitness journey and I knew that everything would be just fine.  Isaiah 46:4 says “even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  Those words were so powerful.  Since I’m not dealing with the gray hairs just yet, I still have hope knowing that he will never leave me.  He’s got me.  Those words let me know that I don’t need to feel overwhelmed, sad, confused, anxious, nor afraid.  He has taken on all those things so that I can be free to release the cravings and get out of my familiar zone.  The more you lean in to him, the less you’ll need food, or a man, or more stuff to make you happy.  So what I’m asking you is simple; do just one thing differently this week that will carry you one step closer to going after what you truly crave.  What you want is waiting for you.  Tear down that force field and move into your life.

Dreams and Values

Last week we discussed the importance of dreams helping to shape our goals but we also discussed that we need values to help shape our goals.

Defining Your Values

When you define your values, you discover what’s truly important to you. A good way of starting to do this is to look back on your life – to identify when you felt really good, and really confident that you were making good choices.  Here are 5 steps to help you define your values.

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest

Find examples from both your career and personal life. This will ensure some balance in your answers.

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud

Use examples from your career and personal life.

  • Why were you proud?
  • Did other people share your pride? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

Step 3: Identify the times when you were the most challenged

Again, use examples from your career and personal life.

  • Why were you challenged?
  • What decisions did you make based on these challenges?
  • What other factors contributed to how you handled these challenges?

Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and challenges

Why is each experience truly important and memorable? Find a list of common personal values to help you get started – and aim for about 10 top values. This list will help you understand why your dreams come to you the way they do.  Dream delay happens frequently because there are too many other things on your “yes list.” Stop doing the things you want to say no to, clear the deck of things that are just “maybes,” and instead, focus on your most effective “yes list.” It’s by narrowing your focus that you can gain the much desired momentum.

Step 5: Prioritize your top values

This step is probably the most difficult, because you’ll have to look deep inside yourself. It’s also the most important step, because, when making a decision, you’ll have to choose between solutions that may satisfy different values. This is when you must know which value is more important to you.

  • Write down your top values, not in any particular order.
  • Look at the first two values and ask yourself, “If I could satisfy only one of these, which one would I choose?” It might help to visualize a situation in which you would have to make that choice. For example, if you compare the values of service and stability, imagine that you must decide whether to sell your house and move to another country to do valuable foreign aid work, or keep your house and volunteer to do charity work closer to home.
  • Keep working through the list, by comparing each value with each other value, until your list is in the order that makes you feel the most comfortable.

Turn inward to understand which of your values will support this change you’d like to make – and whether you have any limiting beliefs that might be standing in your way.  The key to transforming dreams into reality is to set goals that can be broken down into doable steps.  As Mark Twain said, “The secret to change is one step at a time.”

Sometimes even the smallest step leads us to have doubt.  We must identify our limiting beliefs  We all have them.  When you identify them they begin to lose their power.  Don’t doubt your dream. I’m too young.  I’m too old.  I don’t have the time.  I don’t have the money. These doubts are common to all of us.  One of the best ways to fight your doubts is to be clear on where you want to go.  You must take the first step.  That’s what builds confidence.  Every time you do something you didn’t think you could do, your confidence is built.  Action leads to confidence more than confidence leads to action.

The final point in this action step is to affirm your dream.  Your dream wants to thrive in a space filled with positive energy. When you believe in your dream—and affirm it through your habits—you create openings for expanded possibilities for you, for what you focus on, you will attract.  If you haven’t found your dream yet – perhaps it’s time to get still, close your eyes and see what happens by the time you awaken.