What Lesson is Your Life Offering Now?

I want you to take a minute and think about what lessons your life is offering you right now.  The truth is when we change the way we look at situations, good and bad, we can actually learn from them.

God offers lessons everyday and it is up to us to learn from them.  If you are anything like me, you are hard headed (a typical Taurus trait) and may need to go through things multiple times before you actually learn the lesson. As a result, the same lessons are offered over and over again. Whether you are going through a frustrating or exciting time, there is something to learn which will prepare you for greater opportunities on your horizon.

Today, I want you to be intentional about looking for those lessons and finding ways to apply them to the daily challenges you face.  Here are five lessons you may have learned on your journey. If so, consider these a reminder today:

1. Nothing is permanent.

Believe it or not, change is good.  The first change I remember was moving from my childhood home to a new neighborhood at the age of 11.  It took me awhile but I adjusted.  Over the years of going to college, and changing jobs, I quickly learned to adapt to new circumstances, new people, and new surroundings. Nothing in life is permanent.  This fact should encourage you to revel in the joy your life is bringing right now.  It will help lessen your frustration when you encounter circumstances you don’t like. For some change is not easy, for others they have learned to roll with the punches.  Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a new job, or a chronic illness, there is a lesson to be learned.  If there is something or someone you love, in what ways could you embrace and enjoy them more? If it is something you don’t think you can handle, just hold on a little longer. This too shall pass.

2. You are either living on purpose or living by accident.

Too many people wander through life haphazardly, for the last few years I have been one of them.  I latched onto acquaintances, jobs, and life situations just because they crossed my path. I lived by accident.  It wasn’t my plan nor did I actually think I was.  I struggled to find my purpose.  A course called “Fit Within” is helping me to create a fulfilling life where I am purposeful in my decisions. Don’t make a decision without reflecting on what long-term impact it will have on you and the people you love. Pursue the things which empower you to express your values and talents. Choose to be around people you feel good being around—inspiring, supportive people who are moving in the same direction you are. Know your purpose and live in it every day in your work, relationships, health, finances, and spiritual life. Strive not to end up anywhere by accident—just because it was convenient.

3. Fear does not necessarily mean stop.

Does FEAR cripple you?  Do you want to run away or are you ready to roar like a lion and face it head on?  Fear is as powerful as you allow it to be. Most of us feel fear and take it as a warning to stop moving forward. Been there, done that and have more t-shirts then I can count!  We should see fear as a natural emotion which pops up every time we venture outside of our comfort zone. When you feel fear, keep moving. Step out of your comfort zone.  It will help you to grow AND get you closer to your goals. What are you afraid of right now which is keeping you from living your best life? Will you make a decision to move forward despite your fear?

4. Less is more.

Are you someone who shows their worth through money and material possessions?  Are you all about keeping up with the Jones’?  Do you play the comparison game?  The simple truth about self-empowerment is it comes from knowing nothing material will ever prove your worth. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of periodically.  Your worth comes from your identity as a child of God and the impact you make in the lives of others. Don’t worry about impressing everyone else. If you are a people pleaser, this might be a tough pill to swallow.  Focus on impressing God (or your Higher Power) by living the purpose for which He created you—serving and blessing others in the way only you can.

5. The power to change your life is in the choices you make.

SMACK!  This is perhaps the most powerful and toughest of lessons. Better choices create better circumstances. It’s not what happens to you which most impacts your life; it is how you respond to it. Your choices create your future. What kind of future are you creating with the choices you are making today? You can choose to enjoy your life or to be miserable. You can choose to be flexible or keep hitting a brick wall at work or in a relationship. You can choose to pursue your dreams or keep making excuses for why you can’t achieve them. The choice is yours.

What is the most important lesson your life is offering you right now? How will you apply this lesson in your future?

Today I challenge you to take an action in the next 48 hours which will enrich your life in a positive, meaningful way.  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Let It Go!

This post is NOT all about the movie “Frozen“.  Although, I did see the movie and loved it.  This phrase has been coming up a lot lately for me.  It was the topic at a recent Weight Watcher meeting which of course sent me into emotional tailspin.  WHY? Because “letting go” is not something I do easily.  Then it came up in conversations with friends about business and personal lives.  Do you think God is trying to send me a message?

Do your emotions lead to food?  Whether we are happy, sad, stressed or angry – food seems to be solace for many of us.  We probably aren’t physically hungry but we find ourselves eating mindlessly and then wondering why the scale is not moving.  GUILTY!

Did you know between 35-60 percent of people who struggle with their weight claim to be emotional eaters.  It becomes a habit.  The two become so closely linked, we have a hard time separating them.  Yes, eating can provide temporary relief but then we never learn how to handle the emotion without eating.  Lately, it has become just the opposite for me – I don’t eat at all when I am upset.  Not good either since my body then goes into starvation mode and the end result is the scale doesn’t move.  Learning how to “let it go” is key to having balance in life (or at least in mine).  

Here are some steps to use when emotions trigger an urge to eat or when you need to let go of things in your life:

  1. Sit comfortably with feet on the floor and back straight but not rigid.  Let your gaze fall onto a spot which won’t distract you or gently close your eyes
  2. Settle yourself and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Imagine a blue sky with fluffy clouds lightly drifting across it (or actually watch them enjoying God’s beauty). Imagine each cloud passing by is a thought, image or feeling.
  4. Mentally step back to observe and label each cloud.  Maybe it’s a thought about work, a feeling of frustration, an urge to eat, or feeling alone.  You are not trying to change or stop the clouds, just watching, describing and letting feelings and thoughts pass by.
  5. Continue for two minutes.  Gently bring your attention back to your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling three times and back to the present.

You can apply this same technique to other parts of your life as well.  Anger at a friend or family member.  Frustration with your business.  Feeling alone.  Hurt by someone’s unkind words.  Letting go of emotions is not easy but when we hold on to them, we feed those nasty inner gremlins.  As a result, the negative feelings build up and the inner gremlins grow causing a downward spiral which effects all aspects of your life, including the scale.

What unhelpful (or negative) thought have you had when emotions trigger the urge to eat?  Do a reality check?  You do not have to own those feelings, you can let them go and STOMP out those inner gremlins.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A New Year, A New Closet

15781155_10208468036846971_1206639155970620493_nDo you know what today is?  Yes, it is HUMP DAY!  For some it may be a short week since many places considered Monday a holiday, I can almost guarantee many are focusing on their Resolutions.  I am always trying to get organized….Yes, this bag lady can help the messiest get organized but she still struggles with her own hot mess

Whether you are a fashionista with a perfectly color-coded closet or a man who wears five of the same type of shirt every day, chances are your bedroom and closet could benefit from a good cleaning and reorganization.  Here are some tips to help in you tame the messiest of closets

#1 GRAB A BAG AND A BOX

It doesn’t matter what kind of bag or box you use, the goal is to divide and conquer your cluttered closet and dresser drawers.  The bag will be for trash and the box will be for donations. If you think you’re going to need more than one of each, grab as many as you need.

#2 PREPARE YOURSELF

The secret to a good clean is ensuring you have everything you need BEFORE you start.  Then comes the “mental preparation”.   Get yourself in the mood to clean out your wardrobe, put on some upbeat music to set the tone.

#3 DESIGNATE YOUR PILES

Now, put everything — and we mean everything —from your closet on the bed. That includes accessories, hat boxes, shoes and whatever is in your closet. Make sure the closet is empty.  Why the bed?  Well, isn’t it a great motivator to get things done since you won’t be able to go to sleep until everything is off the bed?

Sort the items into three piles –  “keep,” “trash” and “donate.”  My “keep” pile always gets put away in the closet or the drawers right away.  You may have a fourth pile — maybes. These are clothes you rarely wear but want to hold onto for some reason.  Once you are done sorting everything, go back through this pile  and ask yourself these questions:

Have you worn the item within the year?

Does it look better on the hanger than it does on you?

Could someone else use it today?

If you answer “no” on the first question, it goes into the donation pile. If you answer “yes” on the last two questions, it goes into the donation pile.

#4 MAKE YOUR BED AND FINISH UP

After you have narrowed down your wardrobe –  remove the trash and donation piles from the room. If it is left in the room, you may never get it to the trash bins and your favorite thrift store.  I put the trash right out and the donations go in the trunk of the car to be sure they get to the thrift store.

Here is a another tip from a friend, when putting all of the clothes back in the closet, turn the hangers the wrong way.  As you wear something, you turn the hangers the right way when you put it away.  At the end of the season (or year), any hangers still facing in the wrong direction – those items get donated.  If you haven’t worn the item in 6 months or a year, there is no need to keep it.

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What is your best tip for cleaning out your closets?  Share them with us or how about a Before and After picture….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What’s Your Story?

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Happy Monday!  Are you dreading heading into work?  Are you longing for the weekend already?  Is there something you want to do but fear and doubt is keeping you from stepping out of your comfort zone? I had a rare Sunday off yesterday so I enjoyed church and an afternoon of football.   I took the time to write out a plan for the week so that I can change my story!

9f2088487cd4489a877a3ca7c0734aaeWhat does this have to do with “my story”?  Well, I was thinking.  I know – scary but when I do, things start to happen.  I am especially excited on the rare occasions brain fog is not invading my space.  Several months ago, I set a goal with a date and yesterday helped me to realize I needed to stay the course even when the going gets tough.  I have  been on a mission to get my business and my life back on track.  It seems to be working – business is picking up, the number on the scale seems to have a mind of its own and I am learning how to work within the parameters of my health issues.   Is everything going 100% according to plan, NOPE!  So why am I excited about the small changes?  My mindset changed and I am relying more on God for his guidance then LISTENING for an answer.

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I have been stretching out of my comfort zone.  I have been looking for the lesson to be learned in each perceived negative thing as it happens.  I am sharing my story – the good, the bad and the ugly.  There was a great article in the Huffington Post about writing your LIFE story.  I used to think my story was long, uninteresting and full of boosting which resulted in not being of interest to anyone. I was so wrong.

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Here are some tips to help you tell YOUR story:

1. Your 3-Sentence Life Story.  What to write: Try to summarize your life in two or three sentences. Take your time. Think about your past. For me:

Overcoming a life filled with addictions.  Gaining my confidence. Love my life. Blessed with a loving hubby, amazing daughter, family & friends.

2. Your Crucial Incident (or Incidents)  What to write: Choose one or more of the sentences below and write a page or two that begins with that particular sentence. Just write for yourself and for your clarity of mind.

Sentence 1: I was just a kid, but…

Sentence 2: I tried my best and…

Sentence 3: In that moment everything changed.

Sentence 4: It was shocking to find out that…

Sentence 5: It was the proudest day of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling when…

My sentence would be #3 with #2 a close a second. I relive moments often wondering if I had made different choices or reacted differently if my life would be different, would I be where I am today OR the person I am today.  The “what if” in your life can be the thing holding you back!

3) Your Secret Why.  What to write: Take a minute to think about the previous two exercises. Then, finish this sentence:  “I’d like to really understand everything that led me to _______________.”   What truth is important for you to get at? You have a structure (your three sentences), you have a crucial event (that may have caused or contributed to your life story) and now you have a purpose—a reason for writing which let’s you learn, enjoy and even be surprised by the story you’ve been waiting to tell yourself and—maybe, just maybe, the world, as well.

Some days, I struggle with what to write and today was one of them.  I LOVE blogging and sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences with people.  My hope is through my story, I might touch their lives.  I believe each blog has a message – even if only one person reads it and it helps them or  brings a smile to their face – it was worth it.

Write your life story and then if you don’t like it – rewrite your destiny. Share with us, if you want.  Let’s use CELEBRATE and ENCOURAGE you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!