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 · 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!

Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Goal Setting Based on Feelings

I am switching up my goal setting this year.

To throw an overworked adage out — instead of calling my pursuits goals, I am calling them intentions.

The word intention may not have enough “oomph” to it for me to stick with it, so I am mindful that one of my goals is to be gritty in 2018 — meaning, what I start, I WILL finish.

I became increasingly conscious of my perceptions several weeks ago after receiving Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map planner. I read her corresponding book, and I dove into her process of mapping out goals based on core desired feelings.

As I gravitated into my own feelings, I warmed to the thought that the real outcome that I desire in life is not entirely about money, things, or a lifestyle, it is actually about how I feel at the end of the day. There is nothing wrong with nurturing our inner-self. Nothing! In fact, our inner-self speaks to us, and that can lead to stalling or shutting down, or it can lead to growth. Let’s all focus on growth today!

How do I really want to feel (being truthful and open here)?

Nourished — mind, body, and soul. Encouraged — I can do everything that I put my mind to do (We will always fear particular things in life, because it is human nature, it is to be expected and can be healthy, but never plug yourself with “I can’t do that!”). Do I want to live my life in a manner that raises me up to what I was designed to be (by my Creator)? Yes! What makes me feel at peace? Writing, sharing with others, making a difference in the world —even when that is only my small portion of the world. I intend to identify the steps that it takes to get me there — happy, content, comfortable that I am at my full potential — and that could be just by BEING. It could also mean eliminating things from my life that block me from heading in the right direction. It is a process.

How do you want to feel right now (today, tomorrow, at the end of the year )?

What brings the most peace to your soul?

What stops you from being at rest, from obtaining that deep level of fulfillment?

I combined all of these self-proddings with prayer and meditation. I asked God to help me find the correlation between my feelings and the outcome of my life, and how to set my life intentions to better myself, grounded within my faith. This has been a positive journey. Onwards to 2018!

How are you goal planning this year, or are you?

(I am not a paid affiliate of Danielle Laporte’s products. This blog solely reflects my personal opinions.)

 

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Managing Stress

The ABC’s of Overworked, Tired, and Burned Out

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We all have moments when we feel overworked or tired. Sometimes it is obvious that we need a break, but we are often so deep into overwhelm that we cannot pinpoint the why or what, or how to fix it.

The differences between how we feel and function when we are overworked or tired are very subtle, in fact, they can cross over.

Overworked

  • Decreased creativity and productivity in our work
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Decreased stamina, power, and speed
  • Decreased joy in life
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time

Fatigued

  • Emotions are unstable – shifting from irritable, short-tempered, to sad
  • Loss or gain of weight (too tired to eat vs. eating in hopes of an energy gain)
  • Unable to focus on exercise
  • Feeling of stress
  • Weak or short attention span
  • Signs of early aging when overwork extends out over long periods of time
  • Fuzzy minded

The feeling of being fuzzy-minded is the key difference between feeling overworked and feeling fatigued. When we feel overworked we may lose touch with joy, but we do not necessarily feel a lack of clarity. We still function as far as thinking is concerned when we are overworked, but we feel frustration and this drags us down in production.

In comparison, you can safely drive a car when you are overworked. In fact, you may feel you drive better under these circumstances. When you are tired your attention span is short. You do not think clearly, which narrows your driving ability down to unsafe levels.

Have you ever felt overworked, yet, everything felt blurred, to the point you could not figure out how to resolve it? You may have been overworked, but if the hammer had dropped the verdict would have been YOU WERE TIRED.

The steps to correcting overwork are:

  • Prioritize
  • Say no
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Set limits (schedule work hours and stick to it)
  • Delegate

The steps to fixing tired are:

  • Get adequate sleep
  • Shut down early before going to sleep (turn off the phone and anything related to online)
  • Exercise appropriately
  • Eat well and drink water

Burnout is also close in line behind the symptoms of overworked and tired.

You may feel:

  • Most days are bad days
  • Exhausted nearly all of the time
  • Spend the day doing tasks that feel overwhelming or not interesting
  • Nothing you do seems to make a difference or feels appreciated

Burnout affects your body, home, work, and social life. It is like a shipwreck in progress. You hit a rock and the boat begins to fall apart.

Here’s what you can do to kick burnout to the curb:

  1. Manage stress – get it under control
  2. Increase social contact (but do not expect people to fix you)
  3. Exercise (focus on the health of your body…make it tick well)
  4. Find value in what you do (or just be, you don’t have to DO!)
  5. Balance life (life, work, friends, family, whatever you value in your personal world)
  6. Take time off (for YOU)
  7. Eat healthy and drink water
  8. Set boundaries
  9. Take a break from technology

What do these 9 steps do for you? #1, nourishment of creativity through increased health and relaxation. It is like closing a gate to something that sucks the life out of you.

This is your mission…watch your body and mind for signs of fatigue, burnout, or overwork. Know the difference between the three, and nurture yourself through awareness and prevention.

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?

 

 

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices

Freedom: Decision Making Made Real

reaching for the sky www.maryhumphreycoaching.comI have mulled over one word these past few weeks: Decision.

This thought process came to a head on New Year’s Day, 2016. How fitting is decision for a new year, a new start…and I ask, how about making it a permanent thought process for the rest of your/my life?

As I have, you might want to print this post, or take notes. I tape reminder notes in places where I see them often. This is because a quick change of heart or mind can take place immediately, but lasting change, especially when it involves a mindset, normally involves an overhaul of life-time thinking patterns. We need reminders!

Decision. It is only an idea, a thought, until we take action.

“I made a decision today. I settled, concluded, chose, voted, made up my mind to ____________ (fill in the blank).” I may have decided to write a new book a year ago, but until I start writing the book, it is only a goal or aspiration.

What can we do to make our decisions stick? Take the first step, move it to the next level, and follow-up with subsequent steps until the decision becomes an action…until we can announce, “I did it!”

Procrastination is the killer of turning decisions into reality. (I raise my hand in admission to this fault.) Why do we procrastinate? The number one reason is FEAR. Bold faced fear.

So, what do we do now? We have this idea, this “decision,” and now we find our fear-filled selves saying, “Oh, perhaps I should not make that decision. I should not rock the boat. I should not create more work stress for myself. I think the best thing to do is nothing…” Yes, taking the easy way out. Is it truly the easy way out? No. What happens a week from now, or a year, or even a life-time later when we realize that we have never done what we felt called to do? We miss out. That is sad. We miss out on making a difference in our lives, or the lives of others. We fail to make our personal contribution to the world.

Face your fears. Stare them down. Study them. Know them inside out. Break them down into small manageable chunks (or crumbs). Change what you can and make the choice to ignore or forge through what you cannot change. Remember, we cannot change others, and we cannot change the world. We can only change how we react to it. You can only change you!

By breaking fear down, we discover the truth–real things that we should fear, which ultimately amounts to very little. We also become aware of our inner-generated story and falsehoods. The lies that we believe, and we are often monumental story tellers.

Meditate on people, those that you consider a mentor, or those that you admire. Think about the accomplishments of these people. Where would they be today if they used fear as an excuse in their lives? What if they never moved forward with an idea (made it a decision) because of self-doubt, “I am not (educated, beautiful, trained, smart enough, young enough, old enough).”

I made the decision to not accept the “what if’s” that surface in my life. The action that I took when I made that decision was to not mentally use any excuse, to only use good judgment. What if I make a mistake? What if I make the wrong choice? Growth is a bundle of both bad and good choices. Can we mature without a solid learning process?

Steps for the three F’s: Break down fear. Release your faith. Allow your faith to spread until there is no room for fear to survive. Experience freedom.

Keep moving forward, my friends. Move those feet, take those steps…advance. Turn those decisions into actions!

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

Goal Setting and Prioritizing

The Connection – Clock Watching and Procrastination

clock watching www. maryhumphreycoaching.com8:00 a.m., my office phone sprang to life. It was the CPA. The pressure was on. Not only was I required to reconcile the bank account, which should have been finished weeks ago, he asked me to “snug up the cash” and balance the statement that I had just received.

That early in the day I wanted to rush to the coffee pot (guzzle the whole thing?), turn down the air conditioning in anticipation of sweat production, and I pondered what else I might do to make the day seem less daunting. Pamper me, baby. As I looked at the mountains of work growing by the day on my desk I felt little hope. How was I to do this? What would be the outcome if I didn’t complete what I needed to do today?

After hours of putting out spot fires, I clocked in early from lunch with heavy dread rolling in the pit of my stomach. I fell into silent prayer, “Father, I know this is not the most important thing to pray for, but I practically need a miracle. Please help me stay calm so I can finish this today.”

My co-worker made faces through the glass, “Don’t look so serious. You’ll wrinkle your forehead.” Was that meant as humor? Yes. He was right. Relax those facial muscles, woman. You know how to do it, start at the forehead, feel the tension loosen in your eyebrows and next work on your eyes. That’s the ticket, keep on going. Slacken the jaw. There, you have it.

I got the first statement completed. I was in awe when I glanced through my office window into the lobby. The hands of the serious-looking industrial wall clock had barely moved. A rush of encouragement filled my veins. I can do this!

I dived into the second statement knowing that I had enough time to complete it if I held a positive frame of mind. I never looked at the clock again. Not only did I finish that long-dreaded task, but I also sorted through plans for the next day. It was then that I heard the excited voices of people gathering in the hall outside my door. What in the world was going on in the middle of the afternoon? Then, they left the building, every one of them!

I squinted through the glass and broke out in laughter at what I saw, the old clock was standing still. It had quit working three hours earlier! It was time to go home.

Pure joy filled my heart, and then the lesson came to light.

  1. Trust myself.
  2. Notice where and when procrastination begins (and make it end).
  3. Prayer is always key.
  4. Relaxing is smart and necessary.

The biggest lesson of all — the clock means little.

What have we lost in our lives by clock watching? We watch the hours and minutes rush by, and we push for deadlines, but we shove forward in the opposite direction. We make terrible choices when we feel stress. Instead of feeling motivated, we select the road of procrastination, the fastest way to get the most done, which leaves us ignoring what we view as particularly time-consuming or difficult. Where does this get us? Tired bones that want to drop in a chair and do nothing, leaving a cluttered mess of what remains, and crumbled pieces that fall through the cracks.

I challenge you to try setting an alarm or reminder and stop watching time move by. Slow down. Have faith. Do not set the outcome of your life by the clock.

The biggest benefit — a positive enjoyment of life and work, and real accomplishment.

Goal Setting and Prioritizing · Life's Challenges & Choices · Women in Transition

Are you feeling overwhelmed with life’s changes? Break it down into 5 steps.

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Feeling overwhelmed by the little things in life is one thing, these types of bumps in the road tend to pass quickly. When the cause(s) seem larger than life, and affect your daily successes and health, take these 5 steps:

  1. List the issues or items that you are leading your stress.
  2. Assign a life transition title, such as, financial, relationship, home, work, business, to each item.
  3. Determine the outcome you want for each item.
  4. List one step that you can take today towards reaching that outcome.
  5. Make the choice to take that action!

When we are caught up in frustration and stress, we fail to realize that many of life’s changes are natural and common shifts. By breaking them down, and assigning a title, we see each transition with objective eyes.

By taking one small action step today, you claim progress!

One more tidbit, life will always be in some form of transition. Learn to handle each change objectively from the start, and you will no longer say, “I will be happy once (this) happens.” You will, instead, be happy in the moment.

Signature Mary L Humphrey

Life Breakthrough Coach

Share – Encourage – Grow

newsletter www.maryhumpherycoaching.com

Believe & Invest In You · Goal Setting and Prioritizing

Every Moment of Life Involves a Choice: What are you doing with it?

As long as we are breathing, we are making choices. We choose to sit, lay choice www.maryhumphreycoaching.comdown, eat, drink, study, read, write, and the list goes on from there.

We also make larger choices, such as, when to start a project, when to end a project, when to do something for ourselves, or when to devote our time to someone else.

We often get hung up on excuses, and we have a difficult time blaming ourselves — and we are quick to blame others (it takes the pressure off of ourselves). “I cannot do this because he (she) did/did not ____________,” “If it had not been for _________________ I would have gotten that done,” or, “I cannot do this today because________________, but I can do it another day. ”

I want you to do an exercise. Look at life through a difference lens. Start today. Be aware of your choices. When you make toast for breakfast, think about the choice that you are making. Which setting is the toaster on? What are you topping the bread with? Are you having coffee or water with your breakfast? This sounds mundane, but all of these actions are choices. As your day progresses, continue this exercise, and pay extra attention to the things that you could be doing that you make excuses for. Write down all of the choices that affect your life, your future, and do this for several days (up to a week).

After several days, or a week of recording your choices, let’s take a look at what you have.

  • What decisions did you take charge of?
  • What choices did you allow others to make for you?
  • Were you a decision maker, or did you make excuses (which is also a decision)?
  • What did you choose not to do?

How have theses choices affected you today?

I believe, when we become acutely aware of our daily lives as a series of decisions, it gives us the reality to become the captain and navigate our ship. We no longer say we are too busy, or that someone else is in our way, or that we will face that decision tomorrow. We gain the clarity are in the ocean (of life) and we have to do something other than float!

What series of choices will you make today? Which direction will these lead  you?

Signature Mary L Humphrey

Life Breakthrough Coach

newsletter www.maryhumpherycoaching.com