Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress · Women in Transition

Words for the New Year: In the Present

Living in the Present www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI started the new year with no “words” for the year, meaning, no specific words to guide me in any particular direction.

As I look up at my white and bulletin board, I see a collage of many words, sayings, and scripture that I cannot say are “from the past,” as these endeavors are virtuous attempts that I do not assign completed-by dates to. After all, we are always a work-in-progress.

A week or so ago, the words “In the Present” lifted me up and nudged at my heart.

So, what does in the present mean to me? These three words tell me to live fully in the present moment, and this is a list of what I pledge to ensure it happens (in no order of importance):

  • I will pick up books and frequently read. I will read the books that I already own and I will purchase new books as the year progresses.
  • I will not overthink tomorrow. There is a difference between planning and worry.
  • I will breathe (relax) and just be where I am planted right now. Have you ever focused on your breathing and noticed that your heart rate goes down? I do this frequently on my FitBit.
  • I will work in God’s grace, meaning, I will not work at my own pace and with God’s strength—not mine.
  • I will enjoy every color, scent, or design in my environment as if I am looking at life through the eyes of a child.
  • I will laugh often. We forget to laugh, and laughter is an incredible and healing blessing. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
  • I will not look back at the past (except to be joyous in what I have learned).
  • I will continue to rid my home of unneeded items (purge, live simply, declutter).
  • I will forgive (immediately) and hold no past grudges.
  • I will place no idols above God.

I am sure I have missed some promises-to-self in this short list, but that is okay because I am very much aware of my assignment, to live fully IN the present.

The last pledge, “I will place no idols above God,” deserves some explanation. When I think about idols my mind quickly forms images of statues and other material things that are a part of particular religions or spiritual practices. Idols can indeed be material things, but I describe idols as anything that we worship. This includes whatever frequently takes me away from my walk or time with God.  For example, I caught myself watching a plethora of YouTube videos on a particular Christian-based topic, but this went beyond worship or celebration (of God). I became nearly obsessive with learning about a group that is considered false teachers. I spent enough time researching the group that it became obvious to me that it was dragging me away from my bible study and prayer time. It definitely did not come from God. My interest became an idol. I repented and moved on.

I think about the Scripture, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatevever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

There is a reason we’ve been told to not worry. I believe part is the reason is to protect our own mental and physical well-being. What good are we if we wear ourselves out into a state of illness? As I say after I don’t get a full restful night of sleep, “I don’t function well.” We must function well. Our lives, and how we serve others, depends on it.

Have you made any pledges for the new year? Did you start the year with “word(s) for the year”?

 

Believe & Invest In You · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Fear · Women in Transition

Allowing Joy, Just Because

As a woman, do you find it difficult to find and feel lasting joy? www.maryhumphreycoaching.com

Do you find yourself digging deep into yourself, looking at what might feel like every aspect of your life and saying to self, “I am not happy with what I do, what my outcome has been this (year, month, week), nor where I am headed?”

Perhaps you have dis-allowed yourself to feel a sense of joy…

  • Just because you aren’t defined by what you do for a living.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how much income you bring in.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by how outdated your furniture is.
  • Just because you aren’t defined by and don’t want to wear all that makeup, or change your hair to the latest style, or the clothes that you wear regardless of the newest fashions.

What if you allowed yourself to feel joy in the simplest of form? What if you allowed yourself to feel joy because today, at this very moment, you are exactly who God designed you to be. You allow yourself to find joy in the things that personally make your heart go pitter-patter. You free yourself to be like a child in the nature that you take the helm and believe in yourself simply because you can, and allow yourself to be her.

You allow yourself to feel joy just because you release yourself to feel joy. Break the chains that bind you to what you believe the world expects you to be. Bound yourself to be who you and God want you to be.

Break the chains that bind you into believing that you have to change because others don’t understand your path. This isn’t their life, it is your’s

Fearlessly allow joy. Bravely shut off the lies that bound you to what is false.

What is your reality today? Share with me. Let’s set ourselves free together.

P.S. The Proverbs 31 woman, the one that sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. She, indeed may appear perfect in those beautiful Scriptures, but because this is what she does: (Proverbs 31:26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue, she doesn’t allow herself to bend here and there as the wind blows. She works hard at this. She IS mindful of what and how she thinks. (Proverbs 31:25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she can laugh at the days to come. She isn’t clothed in the latest styles, she is clothed in her style—the style that speaks, “I am bold. I am courageous. I am unique. I am proud of who God designed me to be. I walk in His strength, and I do not hang onto lies that tell me otherwise.”

Amen, sisters…let’s do this!

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

List five things that you’ve accomplished within the past seven days that you can give yourself a shout-out for.

  1. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  4. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Did you come up with five accomplishments?

During a trying period in my career, I said to my husband, “I feel I don’t have any self-Celebrateconfidence.” He corrected me. His words were, “I see you do this…and this…and this…and these are things that I personally cannot do, and many others wouldn’t even try to do. You do these things bravely. You put one foot in front of the other and you just do what is needed, and you get it done!” He asked me for examples of things that I felt I lacked self-confidence in, and for each case-in-point that I attempted to make, his responses fired back at me, “I don’t see that as lacking self-confidence.” My blood began to stir…how dare he not listen to what I was trying to say! Then, I got it. The key was what I had said, I had used the words “I don’t have any.” 

When we define our abilities with the words don’t have any or cannot (do it), we are throwing in the towel. We aren’t looking at the broad picture. We are wallowing in self-pity, and cutting our own breath off as we smother in our self-created muck.

Another beloved person said to me, “We aren’t supposed to boast, and finding that balance between boasting and patting ourselves on the back is not easy.”

No, my friend, it is not easy when you don’t take action — but I have learned to take daily steps that made those doubts disappear.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Every single day name at least one thing, preferably two to three, that you’ve accomplished. What have you achieved? Keep a journal of these accomplishments.

Better yet, keep a jar full of accomplishments. On a tiny slip of paper, once a day write down what you’ve accomplished, toss it into the jar. You’ll see that jar fill up, and it will be a visual guidepost that triggers self-confidence.

Acknowledge Your Achievements

Don’t lose sight of who you are. Self-care is not a cardinal sin.

You feel you’ve made a mess of things (i.e. that project, or recipe, or you forgot to pay the bills on time…). So! What did you do that was remarkable? There is always something, always. Life is one big learning experience. Hold up your lantern and shine your light!

Begin your accomplishment journal today and let me know what you learn about yourself. Let your pen fly across the paper and lift yourself up with supportive words!

Believe & Invest In You · Managing Stress

The Value of Partaking in Hobbies

hobby

I love hobbies. Hobbies are uplifting because we do what we love without adding any perfection or time pressures. Hobbies are a positive slice in the balance of our lives.

The wonderful thing about hobbies is that they can turn into businesses, doing what we enjoy and making money at it. Win-win.

Today, I am focusing on the benefits of hobbies, not so much the business end (when the hobby becomes work).

A hobby is defined (by Webster’s) as “doing something we love in our spare time.” Meaning:

  • We aren’t getting paid for our hobbies.
  • Hobbies help to relieve stress.
  • Hobbies are an excellent way to vanish burnout.

If you do not have any hobbies, but feel you need one, here are several ways to seek a hobby out:

Dig into your past. What did you enjoy doing that you might want to do today? What do others do that you might want to do?

Visit places you do not normally frequent, and be mindful of your interests:

  • Antique store
  • Hobby store or show
  • Auction
  • Second hand store
  • Flea market
  • Farmer’s market
  • Tool store
  • Music store (instruments and recorded music)

Read DIY books. Either purchase the books or visit the library. You Tube is also a great way to discover interests.

Finding a hobby that fits your personality is important. If you have little patience, you might not want to select a hobby that requires weeks, or months, to see the end results. If you lack in patience, pick up a project that can be finished quickly.

I believe hobbies are important to us in life. Our hobby may be as simple as collecting books or music, or collecting beads for jewelry, but this is time that is invested in us, which invokes creativity, and eases stress out of our core.

What hobbies do you partake in? These are some of mine: jewelry making (wire earrings and bracelets), aromatherapy (certified, but enjoy delving in just for me), sewing (aprons, yes, I lack in patience but love this hobby), reading (How many books are you currently reading? Depends upon your mood, right?), writing (I keep journals, which is the hobby end of my writing), soap making (was a business, now a great hobby).

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Small Steps Lead To Long Term Change

small steps saving money www.maryhumphreycoaching.comThere are so many things that a person can do to spark up a sense of achievement in their lives. The smallest of steps taken forward, what may even seem inconsequential at the moment, often amounts to huge lasting impact.

We decide to lose 30 pounds and at the 10 pound mark we purchase a single new item of clothing and what happens from there? We wear that new garment, even if it is purchased at a second-hand store (a treat for some of us, right?), with a gleaming sense of, “I feel good.” The gratification of wearing something new, an item that we can now fit into because of our efforts, boosts our confidence and creates an inward and outward change, which adds to our self-esteem. It adds encouragement to our thought process, and we continue going after the remainder of your weight loss! By the way, do not hang onto the old clothes as they become baggy. Give them away, clean that clutter out of your closet and your mind! The shear act of ridding our closet of the larger clothes, out of sight, out of mind, can lead to a lasting change of mindset.

You want to learn a new language, I’ll use Spanish as an example. We don’t have to spend a fortune to learn. I decided that I wanted to casually learn Spanish. So, I began reading the secondary lines printed on packaging (food, cosmetics), and even on the doors of buildings. I bought a drop-in-your purse sized handbook, Spanish/English to English/Spanish, and I check words out whenever I am curious. I ask my Hispanic friends and co-workers, “How do you say that in Spanish?” I have fun learning, and they certainly have fun when they hear my non-Spanish sounding rendition. Learning this language is rewarding and will be even more so as time moves forward as I have the opportunity to use it. I am reaching for a long-term goal and I am having fun while doing so.

Saving money works in a similar manner. Are you tired of not saving? $5.00 a week is a great starting point. Today, you save $5.00, multiply that by 52 weeks = $260.00 saved in one year. What if you upped that to $25.00 a week? You will have saved $1300.00 twelve months from now! Unfortunately, $25.00 does not seem to go far these days, but, let’s break the savings down into small chunks. Instead of spending $9.00 for lunch (out), bring lunch to the office twice a week. Instead of buying coffee out, carry it with you. Look at this math: $18.00 (lunches saved) + $8.00 ($15.00 + coffee saved) = $26.00 x 52 weeks a year = $1352.00 saved in one year. Once we get in the habit of saving, of accomplishing this one thing a week for ourselves, it can become lasting change. We prove to ourselves what we might have thought impossible and it sticks.

I’ve listed several ways small steps can lead to permanent and fulfilling life change. It is your turn. Jump in and share manageable steps that you have taken towards goals. How have these added value to your every day life and long-term goals?

 

 

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Managing Stress

Managing Life by what You Value

life values www.maryhumphreycoaching.comAre you super busy?  Does your day not feel normal if you aren’t working, or if you aren’t on the go?

Do you often feel something is missing in your life?

I see myself in all of the above from time to time. We all do.

What I have discovered is how my fast paced daily work-life carries into my home life. I tend to feel uneasy when I sit still, and I feel the urge to get up and produce something.

Our personalities are different, of course. Some of us are driven by production, some are driven by peaceful rest.

Think about people that you know that curl their legs beneath them and focus on a book with total abandonment to the world. Or, they take a walk, and they do not look at their phone while they do so. They enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, or nature. They sleep at night without wondering what they will do to manage an unfinished project at work. They pray in their quiet space each day, or several times a day, taking beautiful care of their mental and spiritual health. They turn Facebook off for 24 hours, or longer, and it does not leave them feeling like they are missing out on things of importance. They sit down with their baby, delighting in tiny wisps of laughter, instead of mopping the floor.

What do we do to shut it all off, to find peace (slow the pace down), to bring on the sense of complete in our world?

First, we realize that work will always be work. In other words, it is never-ending, and the only thing that separates us from it is to stand up and walk away. We close the door behind us and say work is never finished, but our work-life is.

Second, we realize that it is okay to sit still. It is okay to unload our minds and be quiet. It is okay to turn off the phone, or at least, to only check it occasionally for emergency calls or texts. It is okay to tell our friends that we are shutting down…and God bless the friends that urge you to do this!

Try this:

List the top 10 things that you personally value in life. Arrange this list by the most (#10) to the least important.

Of these top 10 things, write down what you have completed from the list today.

If your top 10 thing is to write, have you written today?

If your #10 is to connect with family, have you called your mother, sister, or brother today?

If your top 10 item is to enjoy nature, have you enjoyed nature today?

So, you don’t have a load of time today for the most valuable things on your list, how about #5, #3, or #1?

Post your list to the dash of your car, your refrigerator, on at the top of your calendar in your work space.

Make it a practice to make choices from your own personal value list each and every day.

The fidgety feeling of “What am I missing?,” or, “What should I do today?,” will ease itself off because you will be focusing your life on what you value.

Start now.

Let me know as it works for you.

The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important becuase of how long you life, you are important because of how effective you live.  – Myles Munroe

Believe & Invest In You · Life's Challenges & Choices

A New Moment to be Anxious About Nothing

refresh www.dreamstime.comWhen we hit the key to refresh our computer screen it accomplishes several things, but the main thing it does is clear the path that allows our computer to operate on a fresh new page. By doing so, we erase the junk that was slowing progress down.

Gone went the past. Restored and unimpaired came the new moment.

We do not have an easy button in our human anatomy for refresh, but we can virtually select it to unload heaviness. Just how dense and burdensome is the unseen waste from yesterday, this morning, and a few moments ago? Are you ready to give yourself a new moment to be anxious about nothing?

Clear. Refresh. Breathe.