2014

A La Carte Resolutions

Pick and choose, amend as you see fit or toss all together.

Accept that you are now entering the next year of your life and your status quo should change. You are taking the lessons of the past year (and those before it) and making tweaks, for you, and not anyone else.

Do not do “anything” for a love that is not doing anything for you. Doing so is not romantic or noble, it’s a sign that something deep inside of you needs to be addressed.

When you can, put in that extra effort required to be extraordinary. Doing so will create a life that is much fuller (and even sparkles a little).

When you leave a room, be the person they want to see again and not the one who makes them breathe a sigh of relief when the door closes behind you.

Don’t follow dangling carrots.

Recognize that those who speak negatively about others  aren’t innovative or interesting, they aren’t inspiring or informative, they are simply sad and common, and bring joy only when they leave the room. Make an effort not only to not be one of those people, but to let them know you’re not interested in engaging them.

If you want an answer to a question, go to the source. Going to someone else for “advice” about how another human being feels is like choosing a fortune teller over an encyclopedia.

Instead of judging everyone around you, people you don’t know, and yourself for being a human being (all of whom are flawed in their own way) try to understand and actually get somewhere.

Put bluntly: Don’t be anyone’s bitch.

Love, forgive and support with commitment or don’t do it at all.

Let go of the desire to manipulate your way in and out of places and relationships.  Just be yourself and go where you are invited in; where you belong.

Stop putting yourself down in order to place them on a pedestal.

Plan a few trips with your friends and just live with a smile on your face a few days.

Pick up a book at least one time for every three you pick up the remote.

Accept that you are worth way more than you are bargaining for.

See kindness for what it really is, strength and wisdom.

Be the kind of person you would really like to have in your life.

Show gratitude for the life you have been given and the life you are able to give yourself and show appreciation to those who share both with you.

Doing nothing is not a waste of time. Doing something you know won’t work over and over is. Stop doing that.

Do the right thing, right now. Repeat.

Take your vitamins.

Don’t just have a heart, prove that you do.

Make your spiritual health as important as your physical health and tone your mind more than you tone your booty.

Do something that adds value to a life every single day.

Share more experiences than wishes.

Be a Vintage Spider on the coastline and not a fire truck pushing its way through the streets.

Get a mentor. Meet with the mentor. Be worthy of their time.

Find reasons to laugh at the nuances of life, not people.

Hope with intelligence.

Get up each day with an intention.

Create with inspiration.

Make every season one of giving.

Set daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals for yourself.

Be good to the souls around you (and the one inside of you).

Drink less alcohol and more water.

Move on with your life with people who want to be in it and say goodbye to those who do not. It won’t be easy, but some people do not want to go with you at the pace you are going and that’s OK.

decembre

Monday Motivation: Three No Fail Ways To Make Effective Changes

With the new year less than a month away, I thought it would be a perfect time for us to get a head-start on our resolution execution.  I mean, there’s no time like the present to start living your best life, right?  Let’s get started.

First, I want to ask you a few questions and I am hoping you’ll move past the knee-jerk responses and really think about your answers.  Looking back on 2013, how do you feel about the year as a whole?  Were you as successful as you had hoped to be? What do you feel was a “waste of time” and why?  What lessons did you learn?  What hardships did you face?  What familiar challenges found their way to you, yet again?  Did you enjoy your time with family and friends the way you would have liked to?  How did you treat your body? Did you push yourself too far or lay on the couch too long?  Are you winding down a productive year or gearing up for one?

The answers to these questions can provide a decent insight into the habits that are pushing you forward and holding you back as well as help to identify new ones that, if adopted, may help you on your path to a better sense of balance, happiness, health and success. The truth is that while many of us may be contented, most of us could use a fresh start in some area of our lives.  Perhaps it’s a personal or professional relationship that has gone off-track or a sense of direction that needs to be fine-tuned.  Here are three ways that may help you along your way to the best year yet.

Give Yourself a Review:

When we think of our “reputation”, we often think about it on a broad scale. But the reality is that it is the people closest to home who determine how we are perceived and that perception has a direct impact on our quality of life and the opportunities that make their way into it. Approach the task as research and make a decision not to take comments personally. Then, sit down with the people closest to you–at home, at work and in your relationship sector.  Ask them to share how they are feeling about your interactions and what they feel may help to polish relationships between you.  Example: A colleague might appreciate you showing more respect for their work/life balance and a partner may want more quality time with you as opposed to sitting on the couch in front of a TV, which leaves them feeling a little brushed off. Every relationship–personal or professional–hits tough terrain, but showing interest, investing time and exhibiting a commitment to making positive changes not only works to bring things back on track, it also brings people closer by making others feel valued, appreciated, supported and worth the time and energy it takes to make sure everyone is getting what they need to feel good about where they are at and what they are doing.

Think About Your Presentation:

The clothes may not make the (wo)man, but studies have shown that 70% of  first impressions are based on what you are wearing.  Ever heard “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?” There’s a study to support that old cliche as well.  In fact 20% of the impression people get is based on tone whereas only 10% is what you actually say.  Think about the news you deliver, the tone you deliver it in and how you look while handing it over. You might be sending a message about yourself that you don’t intend to or directly conflicts with who you actually are.  While self expression is a necessary component of a healthy and happy life, the truth is that being “hard to figure out” in this capacity doesn’t always give you an air of mystery, it often leads to misunderstandings and generalized ideas that can cost you in the long run.

Strategize:

Spontaneity is fun and it keeps life colorful, but those who find lasting success don’t often stumble upon it; they set a goal, make a plan, maintain flexibility and work towards it. Whether it’s finding a new position, building a better relationship or developing a stronger sense of self, thinking about who and where you are now, who you would like to become and where you would like to go are non-negotiable conversations to have with yourself.

Know Your Audience:

This is crucial. You would not expect an automotive website reader to want to read about lipstick, nor would you place an ad for a straight dating service in a gay magazine. Why would you share unnecessary information about yourself or your life in situations with people who might find these things offensive or judge you for them?  We can say “That’s their problem” but it’s really ours. People love to point the finger, and without all of the facts (i.e., a real understanding of who you are, where you have been and what your values are and the circumstances surrounding specific situations) you inadvertently set-up shop in a fishbowl. Living an authentic life is one of the most beautiful things we can do, but do people really need to know your sexual preferences or hear your very negative thoughts about their favorite presidential candidate at a dinner party? There is a way to balance authenticity with assimilation and those who do it, and do it well, often find both peace and productivity faster than those who stick to one side.

 

single lady

10 Ways To Make 2014 The Best Year Yet

As 2013 comes to a close, many of us are enjoying the holiday kick-off and looking towards a new year.  Thoughts about change, reinvention, tweaks and making the upcoming year better than those before it are not uncommon.  That said, anyone who has ever treated resolutions as wistful wishes as opposed to action-infused goals knows that change walks towards us step-by-step.   On a personal note, 2013 offered a great deal of both joy and disappointment, but also great life lessons that truly changed the direction of my life in (what I believe to be) a much better one.

Today, I would like to share the 10 goals I have for moving further into my best life.  Perhaps you’ll find a couple of them helpful in your own journey.

Spend Time Wisely and With People Who Share My Values: I have always been someone who worked more than played (easy to do when work feels like play) but, let’s face it; a life that feels balanced is usually one that is balanced. I also tend to hold onto relationships and situations too long in the hopes that understanding and time will work together and bring things back-on-track. It’s time like these when hope and good intentions can work against you. With this in mind, I decided to write down what I wanted out of my life and to make decisions as to how I spend my time (and with whom I spend it) based on their ability to bring me closer to my goals. Leisure and frivolity are both essential, but wasting time on things and people who are holding us back does nothing for us.

Cut Out The Unnecessary Noise: Mindless chatter about celebrities was left behind soon-after college, but what about the snide comments about colleagues that find themselves sprinkled onto conversations or finding yourself in the same complaint-filled conversation? Having the same conversations about the same things (or people) is boring at best. Worse, negative thoughts and words create negative energy, so it’s no wonder we fill drained after engaging (or having to overhear) them. An uncomfortable question to ask is, “Am I draining those around me with unnecessary negativity?”

Go On a Mission: The idea that you’re going to go from  assistant to CEO in a year is a little much, but treating yourself like a business, setting quarterly goals and making daily plans where you address the priorities of the week will have you looking back at 2014 and seeing significantly more progress than just allowing the days to pull you into various directions.

Be Accountable: Maintaining a victim mentality is comforting in the fact that we don’t have to walk around feeling anything is our fault, but it also encourages the delusion that we don’t have control over our own lives.  The fact is that, true duress aside, no one makes us say, not say, do and not do anything. We choose what to engage and what to ignore.  We choose to hold on or let go, and even if our minds or hearts are still attached to something (or someone), we can push ourselves to take action and move forward until they catch up with us. Holding on to idea #1 will aid in this.

Don’t Be Sloppy: Not with your words, actions, work, drink, dress or trust–regardless of intention.  Over-promising with good intentions is sloppy, and so is sharing information that is best kept under wraps.  No one has ever found themselves in hot water by not sharing gossip or leaving a party the second they realize they have had one martini too many.

Try Hard To Look At Yourself Objectively: This is almost a impossible task, but it’s worth a try.  Instead of infusing the number on the scale with a bunch of self-bashing or coloring difficult situations with big, sweeping statements like “I’ll never” or “I always”, pay attention to where you are, right now, and tools and resources are around you to help you achieve your goals.  Try and speak to yourself about these things with as little emotion as possible. Example: Instead of “I hate my stomach and legs, I am never going to look like so and so…” say, “In order to lose weight, I will need to cut calories and exercise.  Motivating is hard for me, so let me find three resources to help me get past this.” It sounds silly, but it works.

Give To Others Exactly What You Want For Yourself: If you want understanding, motivation, respect, kindness, forgiveness, assistance, favors, etc., give it. If you want criticism, judgement, people to talk about you, to be devalued, put down and ignored, hand that out.  Our behavior has a direct impact on those around us and how the world responds to us, so changing what you put out will literally change the world around you.

Cover a Thin Skin: Let’s face it; some of us are more sensitive than others. But allowing every dirty look or proverbial scratch to cause us to bleed is not going to benefit us in any way. Being a martyr is not an appropriate aspiration if you want to be happy. Work on building a strong support network, a thick sense of self and a deep understanding of what is important to you and then walk through the winds of other people’s projections and drama protected.

Get Help: Whether it’s someone with a Ph.D, a friend or a mentor, going to someone who has knowledge they are willing to share is never a bad thing.

Finally, Grab the Lesson and Let It Go: We have all lived a hell of a lot of life. We all have our disappointments and missed opportunities, but show me one person who was able to undo what has been done by dwelling?  The only way to make amends with the past is to apologize and forgive where you can and then do better in the now.

Impossible

18 Ways To Move On With Your Life (And Do Better Next Time)

Whether going through a break-up, dealing with a career catastrophe or simply shedding some skin, you have a choice: You can focus on what has gone wrong, or accept that the universe has a plan and this is the beginning of a whole new chapter of your life.  Here are a few ways to make the next chapter even better than the last.

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Accept That You Have Flaws, But Also Gifts: The love and light you bring to those who love and value you is real, and it cannot be devalued by those who no longer have use for you or by yourself when you choose to believe those negative voices.  This leads me to why you need to…

Change Your Mantra:  My girlfriend, Annie, is one of the wisest and most beautiful women I have ever known.  Her best advice over the past 15 years? “Change the voices in your head and your life will follow.”  The things you tell yourself impact the way you act and interact with others, so if you are grateful, gentle, accountable and respectful with yourself, that is what you will attract.

Stop the People-Pleasing:  It’s not your job to make everything right for everyone and people-pleasers are often picked out and picked up by those who seek to control, manipulate and mistreat others in order to serve their own agendas.

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Make It Happen:  If you want to meet someone new, sitting in your apartment isn’t going to work.  If you want to move abroad, you’re going to need to do your research and network, and if you want to change your life, you’re going to need to work to change your outlook and choices (even if those choices are to draw better boundaries and pay closer attention to red flags).

Book The Trip:  Whether it’s sun tanning in Capri, sipping wine in Spain or laying by the water in Puerto Vallarta, getting out there into the world will open up yours.

Hold Yourself Accountable:  No one can “make” you say or do anything.  You choose how you will act and react to things, and if your reactions are disproportionate to slights (perceived or real) it’s time to get thee to a professional and figure out why (and do something to change it).

Brighter

Spread a Little Joy:  A smile, a plate full of cookies, a sincere compliment, a hug.  Why not give to the world what you seek in return?

Let It Roll, Work it Out or Let It Go:  We share the planet with billions of other humans who all have their own fears, filters, worries, flaws and strengths.  You will connect with some and clash with others; that’s how it goes.  Unless there’s a real reason to let someone get you down or hold a real grudge, accept that disagreements and annoyances are a part of life and decide whether it’s a relationship worth fighting for (which means being compassionate, compromising, forgiving and open) or walking away.  Fighting just to be right is a waste of your time and energy.

Stop Working Against Yourself:  We are all a culmination of our upbringing, experiences, relationships and daily thoughts and sometimes our habits, fears and projections can work against what we want most.  If you find yourself in the same situation and feeling the same things time and again, take a look in the proverbial mirror, make amends and get a professional and a support system to break your addictions to bad behavior.

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Know When To Let Go: Hope is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a prison.  People only change when they want to and are willing to do the work, and waiting around to get blood out of a turnip is a waste of your time here on Earth.  If you have given something your best shot, reached out, tried to make it work and done all you can do and it’s still stagnant, it’s time to move on.

Have Faith That What Is Real Will Work Itself Out: Endings can be hard, especially when you felt strongly about something or someone.  It’s helpful to remind yourself of your values, dreams, skills and desires and know that relationships, situations and friendships that coincide with these things will often work themselves out (even if that means you owning your behavior, apologizing and doing better) and the ones that don’t will fall by the wayside.

Be Grateful For The Good, Learn From The Not-So-Good: No relationship is a waste of time and no situation is without a lesson to extract.  Show gratitude, analyze how you can do better next time and move forward.

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Avoid Shady People:  If something doesn’t make sense, it likely isn’t true.    If you have to ask their friends if they are being honest or you’re getting the runaround, say adios. Life is too precious to waste your time playing detective and people who love and respect you don’t lie to and hide things from you.

Know The Facts: Men and women who love one another fight for one another.  Friends who are worthy don’t betray your trust. If he or she has moved onto someone new, it is time for you to as well.

Get Out Of The House: Meet new people, discover new things, connect with friends, get to know the world again.  Yes, it will be hard, but unless they are trying to work things out and you want to, it’s the only way.

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Don’t Be Anyone’s Fool:  You have an instinct for a reason.  If you feel that someone is not being honest with you or you should or should not do something, trust your gut and intelligence.

Polish Up:  Hit the gym, book a hair appointment, take a class or work on other ways to boost confidence and present a shinier version of you to the world.Love

Show Love: To others, to yourself, to the universe.

Reach Out and Grab It!

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation

As one year transitions into another, the hope of a better life (or a better navigational system through the one we have) often presents itself. There are those who greet this hope with dedication to work harder (and smarter) and do better, some who feel at the mercy of karma or bad luck, and those who ache to live healthier (physically, emotionally, spiritually) but simply don’t know how.

Though some of us hide it better than others, we all have pain. We all have circumstances we would like to change, things we do not understand, and moments we are not proud of. We choose whether to fixate on what has not gone right, to repeat, or to get up and take accountability, a stand, or to allow the past to infect our present and bring us to our knees.

There comes a point when sitting down and sorting through the dreams, decisions, and distractions becomes a “do or die” situation. Will we accept and learn to live with the pain of the past? Will we stare at the scars those battles have left behind and say “why me?” or “look at what I have survived!”

We often forget that we choose whether or not to be a victim or a soldier, a leader or a follower, a positive source of information and wisdom or someone who complains and reminds people of the hardships life has to offer. The truth is that life is a balance between negative and positive, uphill battles and downhill sledding. The opportunities to develop the dreams we never share are there whether or not we acknowledge and seize them. The avenues that beg for exploration are paved and ready to take us to exciting places.

We are often just a few choices away from a better existence, albeit often difficult ones.

Will you sit and allow fear to smother yet another beautiful beginning? Will you stay still when you need to move? Will you pretend you are OK when you need to reach out and ask for a little support and help? Will you talk yourself out of getting out of bed and running towards a fresh start? Will you pretend a lack of effort on your part is karmic payback or victimization? Will you do as you have always done, or will you make a concerted effort to dream bigger and live better?

Will you make a list of realistic goals and break them down into daily tasks, put time limits on execution, get a mentor, buddy or sponsor and hold yourself accountable or will you toss your desire into the universe with a word and limited action and use your lack of success as proof you can’t do it?

The reels of our lives are running in real time, and what you have to work with is what exists right here and now.

Yes, you might not succeed (but then you might).

Yes, you may get hurt (but then you might not).

Yes, you might not feel like you are ready (but you are).

Think about where it is that you want to go and how you want to get there.

Then, make an unapologetic, fearless, and bold entrance into the next chapter of your life.

Picks Of The Day: Your Future Is Golden

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As 2013 approaches, with all of its hope, mystery and desire, let us reflect on 2012 without regret.

Let us remember that “mistakes” are really missteps, and while they cannot be undone, there is a chance to redo (and do better) once we have extracted the lesson.

Glancing back is necessary, and reflection is encouraged, but when we take a step, let it be forward with eyes, heart, and feet aligned.

‘Tis the season to step into your spotlight and sparkle.

Go ahead, take a bite out of the good life.

9 Resolutions That Will Better Your Life

Make 2012 better than any year before. You’re worth the effort.

Practice Kindness:  The idea that what we put out is reflected back to us is an old one, but that doesn’t make it less true.  This year, make a concerted effort to show compassion, respect and friendliness to those you come in contact with and you’ll likely find that your life will become softer as a result.  It’s as essential to be kind to yourself.  Instead of beating yourself up or telling yourself hurtful lies such as “I’ll never achieve this” or “I’ll always be alone,” focus on ways to accomplish your goals and give yourself room to be human.

Take It Step-By-Step: Instant gratification is something most people enjoy but the truth is that anything worth having is worth working for. Most importantly, time spent analyzing and working towards a goal helps us to better understand it and specify the way we want to experience it. It’s also essential to note that sometimes we will take a step back and that’s OK–see it as a challenge to your desire.  You either want it enough to keep moving forward or you don’t.

The key to your happiness is in your hands.

Respect Your Choices: Feeling like a victim offers a bit of comfortable discomfort; we hate feeling helpless but there’s also a tranquility to be found in blaming others.  When it’s not our fault, we can’t be held accountable and therefore cannot be judged.  The truth is that we choose the life we live on a daily basis.  Aside from extreme situations, we decide what we will meditate on, the actions we take, the abuse we will or will not put up with and so on.  We also decide as to whether or not we will seek professional help for compulsive behavior that is keeping us from achieving the goals we want to achieve and living our life as our best self.  When faced with a challenging situation, remind yourself, “I have a choice here” and think about the way you want to work through it.

Eat Well:  I like to joke that my healthy diet contains “equal amounts of both water and wine.”  Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, veggies and lean meats (if a meat eater) this year.  Drink plenty of water and indulge without gorging.  You’ll find that you’ll feel less sluggish, have better vital signs, and yes, your pants might even become a bit loose.

Resolve Not To Campaign For Relationships:  This is a biggie.  Those who want to walk beside you will make an effort to do so.  If you want to make amends with someone, that’s one thing, but it’s devaluing and unbecoming to chase someone who isn’t showing you the care or respect you deserve.  This goes for friends, lovers and even family members.  Know your worth and expect equality when it comes to appreciation, love, respect, effort and attention.

Use a Lamp, Eat Yogurt, Drink Chamomile: Studies found that people who used lamps instead of overhead lights were able to think more creatively and yogurt has been known to lessen anxious feelings.  Chamomile tea helps relax the body and ease you into a restful mood.

Focus On Your Reputation: There will be people who judge and misjudge you, regardless of what you say or do.  The rest of them will construct their ideas about you based on the way you live your life and present that life to the world.  When you keep secrets (your own and others), do your best work, honor your word, respect your commitments, treat people with respect and carry yourself with dignity, you’ll notice that you’re given more freedom, offered more opportunities, and given the benefit of the doubt much more often.

Know Yourself: Sit down and think about the person you would like to be.  What does that person do for a living?  How does he or she spend their time?  What are their relationships like?  What does their financial situation look like?  How do they dress and speak?  What do people say about them?  What kinds of achievements does he or she have?  Now, think about who you are right now in comparison.  If you are noticing there is a gap, think about the ways you can get from point A to point B. Be creative in your thinking, while you may not be able to make yourself a millionaire over night, you can identify ways to better organize your spending.

Get Organized: Think of how much time you’ll save by making a daily “to-do” list, putting like items in one place and placing yourself on a schedule so as not to waste time. It’s not always easy but it only takes 90 days to break a bad habit and 21 days to create a new one. What’s three months of making yourself pick up your sock and put it in the hamper?

Know Your Worth:  Treat yourself like you would your most valued possession.  Protect yourself, love yourself and know that you are a unique and valuable part of this world, a treasure.  It’s true.