By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Hey there, DreamChaser, are you up for a challenge? I mean, who doesn’t love a little challenge, right? Here it comes...I challenge you to a 30 Day Bad Habit Detox. This challenge will be simple; I mean, come on, it’s only 30 days, you can do anything for 30 days! It may also be eye-opening as you will gain insight on if you are in charge of your habit or your habit is ruling your life. Most important, it will give you a win, an achievement, a notch in the “I did it” column. This will boost your confidence in tackling something else. As a bonus, you might even learn that you do better without the habit you are detoxing from.
Are you with me?!?
I just rattled off a bunch of benefits but you might still be wondering why. Why should I do this? Why should I care about my habits? If everything is just fine and good enough, why bother with this challenge? Here’s why, DreamChaser. First, a little refresher on habits. A habit is an automatic behavior; it happens without conscious thinking. Habits are an awesome time and mental energy saver for your brain, however, you can also have habits that have outlived their shelf life, those that are not serving you any more. It’s a good idea to check in with your habits from time to time, and this challenge will do just that. If I am being real, “just fine” and “good enough” are the very definition of complacency, which hinders growth and is preventing you from getting those goals and dreams.
I said the challenge was simple...I didn’t say there wouldn’t be bigger things at stake here!
During the challenge, you may learn that you have habits that need to be upgraded. Or, you might discover you have habits that are doing harm, not good. You may find habits that are controlling you instead of you controlling them. This will be a great opportunity to move that needle in a positive direction towards that life you dream about.
The first step in the 30 Day Bad Habit Detox Challenge is a good old brainstorm. This challenge is an opportunity to remove something from your life or add something in that you keep meaning to do. I want you to make a list of small actions and habits from this line of thinking. Here are some examples:
Pick Your Bad Habit
Okay, as you can see, everything on the list isn’t a bad habit, right? Look again! Flossing your teeth daily means that your habit is not to floss, so you are actually detoxing from that bad habit for 30 days. The next step is to pick the habit you are detoxing from. If you really want to push that positivity needle, there are 12 months in the calendar year. Repeat this challenge every month with a different bad habit from your list. Whoa, baby!
Don’t overthink this one! Just start! Your 30 days does not have to coincide with the calendar; it just has to be 30 days. Pick your start date, which will determine your end date. Make a commitment to yourself to stick with it for 30 days. Success Tip! Remember, you are dealing with automatic behaviors, therefore, thinking that you will be able to remember to follow your 30 Day Bad Habit Detox by yourself is setting you up for failure. Use a reminder system to keep you on track; this could be a post-it note on your bathroom mirror or an alarm on your phone.
At the end of your 30 Day Bad Habit Detox, take a few moments to reflect on your experience with questions such as:
Do not skip over this part, DreamChaser! Reflection is the truthbomb life lesson of this challenge! This is how you gain clarity on how habits are serving or not serving you in your life so you can make adjustments towards your goals and dreams instead of staying stagnant. Happy Habit Detoxing, DreamChaser! Shine on!
P.S. Do you have the SoulShine Jumpstart Tracker? This will take your habit detoxing to the next level!
The Nutcase Next Door and Other Scary Stories of Neighbors from Hell. 5 Ways to Live Happily Ever After Anyway
By Jackie White
It is the season of ghosts and goblins, but sometimes we find the scariest of things right next door. What I am talking about is bad neighbors. We have all had them. The neighbor who makes everyone’s life miserable in the neighborhood. These pains in the butt seem to have an affinity for conflict. In fact they enjoy it like a cat and mouse game. So, what can you do to live happily while living next door to Atilla the Hun?
First, you have to know what you are dealing with. There are four not-so-nice neighbor types. They are The Annoying Aggravation, The NutCase, The Control Freak and The Pain in the A**. I have had my share of dealing with all of these good-time crushers, so let me shed some light.
The Four Types of Not-So-Nice Neighbors
Names have NOT been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
The Annoying Aggravation:
These neighbors are flat out annoying. They usually are loud in one form or another. Screaming kids, parents yelling at kids, blasting crappy music or over-the-top entertaining until all hours of the night. We had a family of 5, 6, I don’t know, maybe 8, kids living in a house behind us. There were so many I couldn’t keep track!
Let me say, I love kids probably more than most, but these kids...ughhhh. They would literally climb the trees next to our yard and then just drop into our backyard. It was as if the Wicked Witch of the West released her flying monkeys on us! These monkeys were LOUD, did I say, LOUD? And obnoxious, forward and undisciplined. I couldn’t keep them wrangled (not that it was my job!) Where was their parent anyways? Well, one day the mom, apparently the lead flying monkey, frickin’ dropped out of a tree into my backyard too. Who in the world does that? That brings me to the next type of neighbor…
The Nut Case Next Door:
There are many reasons that this type of neighbor could be the way they are. I have had a plethora of them. There was Burnie, the guy who burns everything in his fireplace constantly. Plastic Pam, who covers all the furniture with plastic and her behavior is a little scarily off. Or you could be lucky enough to have a Yeller (you know one that just yells all the time in the street). OH, I see, you haven’t been so fortunate to have to deal with that? It’s a lot of fun. Lucky for us, Shouting Sarah, The Yeller, has since moved and we couldn’t be happier.
The Control Freak a.k.a. The Lawn Lunatic:
His name was Charlie. We knew he was married, but we never saw his wife. Why are there just some people you never see come out of their house? There is always that one person that you know lives there, but you see them about as often as Bigfoot. As for Charlie, maybe his wife was Bigfoot because I am pretty sure that he loved his lawn more than his wife. He babied that grass cutting it diagonally, watering it and keeping it trimmed incessantly. His offense was that he yelled at the kids almost daily to “stay off the grass”. These types feel the need to hyper control all things that belong within their property lines. Stepping on a Control Freak’s lawn can take them over the edge to be sure.
And finally we come to…
The Pain in the A**
These types of neighbors are the all around jerks. They have a problem with everyone and everything. The asshat that I have experience with is known to all the good neighbors as Captain Asshole.There couldn’t be a more appropriate moniker for him, to be sure. Now, this jerk also has a thing about his lawn. What is it with these neighbors and their grass?
When confronted, Captain A was defiant! Oh yes, you can bet your sweet bippy I confronted him! I sarcastically told him that he would yell at someone for having one toe touch one blade of his grass and unflinchingly, he said yep - it was his property, so stay off!! Sometimes there are no words when another is just so rotten. Captain A is also under the impression that he owns the sidewalk, which causes a lot of guff because, uh, people use the sidewalk. He yells at sidewalk walkers and grass infractionators. He is also known to chase children from the area of his home and be passive aggressive with adults. The Pain in the Arse types can encompass many traits of the other nasty neighbors.
Now that you are familiar with these four types of not-so-nice neighbors, here is what you need to do to live your life happily despite their miserable existences.
You know it and I know it, bad neighbors are a fact of life. You may never affect change in their behavior, but you can still live happily ever after despite them. Go out and show them that you are the bluebird of happiness and they can’t shake your tree!
Hang in there and Shine On!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
It’s October, which is my favorite month in the whole wide world! Not only is all the fall awesome in full swing but it’s also my birthday month. Yes, month. Not day, not week, month. I willingly share it with my bonus baby, Lucy. Okay, let’s be real. It was not willing; Lucy’s due date being in October was a plan other than mine. I would actually prefer to NOT share my birthday month with anyone in my household...kidding, not kidding. Anyway, I digress. So there I was, at Lucy’s 2 year old routine well-child exam, that I had a realization. I have not had a physical in a long time, a very long time. Like, I’m talking that my last non-pregnancy related appointment with labs and such was before we moved… well over 4 years ago. Have I mentioned I will be celebrating my 21st birthday times 2 this month? Which, if you did the calculation right, means I am 2 years overdue for that important first mammogram screening. Whoops.
I have a load of excuses to justify why I put this off. My favorite being I was going to get in better shape before going to the doctor; anyone else use that one? The bottom line, these are a bunch of excuses to put off something I just didn’t want to face or do. As a mother, the idea of not doing something that was needed for my children, like their annual physical or twice-yearly dentist visits or eye checks, is unheard of and right up there with child neglect. But, that same emphasis when it comes to myself is not there; it gets put off. Why is that? Because going to the doctor means learning the truth about my health. I can justify, justify, justify to myself but it’s hard to argue with blood pressure readings, fasting labs, and mammograms.
Have you heard that phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? There is so much truth in this statement! The reason routine preventative physicals, labs, and tests are suggested when they are is based on when certain diseases may start to appear in someone’s life, thus, allowing you and your provider to discover and intervene before there is a problem. Most of the most common diseases plaguing this country are preventable such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. And, many of the routine screening exams are designed to detect pre-cancerous or early cancer in the treatable category like colon cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. Your provider is not someone to be wary of; they are on YOUR team to keep you healthy and living your best life! Talk about a mindset shift!
It’s time, DreamChaser, for me to be an adult about this. I have too much at stake with three young kids and a whole lot of potential to use up to put this off any longer. Let’s add on boob-squishing to my list of October birthday fun! (It is Breast Cancer Awareness month, thanks for the reminder universe.) Now that I think about it, this really is the perfect time anyway. As this year wraps up, what do we often start thinking of? How to get the new year off to the best start! This often involves exercise, losing weight, eating better, and other health improvement plans. While I would advocate that the best time to start is now rather than wait, getting a complete physical before starting these plans makes sense. And, actually, now that I am over 40, I probably am supposed to “consult with a physician prior to starting an exercise program” anyway. Sigh.
Wait a minute! I know I’m not alone in avoiding this topic. Who else hasn’t had a physical in 3 years, or more? I mean a REAL physical, not that quick wellness check at your workplace for your insurance. There’s no shame in that game; um...hello...I just admitted how long I have been putting this off myself. To live our best life, we have to be our best and that starts with taking care of ourselves. We are not doing ourselves or our loved ones justice by putting this off. Join me this month, right now, in #adulting by making an appointment for a complete physical. Let’s do this together, DreamChaser! Who’s with me?!?
My appointment is made. Your turn.
By Jackie White
As the leaves begin to fall from the trees we begin to see the change in season. However, before the change there is one last celebration of fall color that sweeps the landscape. The vibrant reds, oranges and yellows are a symphony of color playing the last hurrah of the season before the trees go dormant for a period of time.
If we look at fall as a reflection of how we too are moving into a new season of life, we too should be excited about this last hurrah. It’s a great time to celebrate all that has been this past season and prepare for what is to come.
No doubt that the pandemic has laid a thick coat of heaviness over the last year, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to celebrate. Maybe you have a new outlook on life and it’s preciousness. Maybe you have become closer to those who you live with or perhaps you have a new found gratitude for the things you may have taken for granted in the past. Those indeed are all reasons to celebrate.
As a child collects their favorite brightly colored leaves to press them in a book, you too, should be collecting the bright memories and lessons that have fallen in your path this past year. Pick each one up and examine its beauty and importance to your life story. If nothing else, this past year has put more meaning into all that we do. It’s time now, to review and seek to learn each lesson.
What’s great about using this metaphor to examine your life’s lessons is that you get to keep the favorite ones to review time and time again in the memory book of your mind. The not so favorite memories will also be filed there and can be called upon if needed.
And Now For A Scientific Minute...
Once the cataloging of these memories and lessons have been done, the time is right to lay the foundation for renewal. If we think of how a tree lies dormant during the cold winter months, it actually is preparing for the spectacular budding in the spring. It is an amazing process that the tree goes through to change its internal structure to accommodate the cold and not freeze it’s living cells. So, too, you must do the same. How can you prepare now to stimulate personal growth and development in the coming year?
Now is a great time to think about what you want the next year to hold for you. How do you want to show up? Do you have special hopes and dreams you have been holding close that need to begin to blossom this year? Now is the time to take that inventory so when you arrive upon the threshold of a new calendar year, the time when many of us wipe the slate clean and start again, you will be very clear on what 2021 will hold for you.
It’s not too early to begin because this process of budding into the new you starts with celebrating the you that you are today. It’s important to be proud of all that has gone well and also to acknowledge the things you want to improve upon.
The 6 Important Questions about Life to Consider
Grab a cup of coffee, find a quiet spot and take some time to evaluate where you have been, where you are and where you want to be. When answering the questions, just put down what feels right and not what you think others think you should answer.
What am I doing well?
What do I need to improve on?
What is my “why”? (This is referring to what is it that you feel in your heart is your purpose)
What are my core values and am I living in alignment with them? (Get your core values worksheet here to help you with this one https://lp.constantcontact.com/su/v84aAjV/corevalueslist)
Where do I see myself in the next 1, 5, or 10 years?
How happy am I today and can that be improved?
From this evaluation, there should be a few things that become obvious, things you need to either start doing, stop doing or keep doing. From there, you have a great foundation for moving into a new season of life!
As the leaves fall and you enjoy their riotous color, take some time to enjoy your own bouquet of color! Keep the good stuff moving forward and shed that which is no longer serving you. Begin the season of contemplation and plan for the new year blossoming into the life you have always imagined!
Happy Fall and Shine On!
By Jackie White
Caution. This blog is going to confront your fears of living out your dreams. Be prepared to find yourself wanting to actually chase after those dreams that have been held hostage for years by fear.
What’s it going to take for you to get on board? I mean WTF? Why The Fear? Why the fear of living life? Oh, you’re not scared? Prove it. Yep, I dare you. I double dog dare you! Ok, if my challenge of a double dog dare isn’t making you move towards your dreams, then let’s discuss how damn important your dreams are. Whooo, I know, I'm getting tough!
Listen, if you are a serious DreamChaser, then you got to get to the chasing part. Chase after that dream. Pay attention my friend: you were never given a dream without being given the ability to make it a reality. That is the truth, so what is holding you back? WTF? Let’s look at some of the most common reasons or excuses people have for not pursuing the dreams in their heart.
The Reasons...The Excuses
Time: This manifests in two separate but equally wrong assumptions. The first one is that you don’t have time to chase dreams. The truth is that life is about chasing and living dreams. When you begin living your dream, you see the world shift in ways you couldn’t imagine before. The second assumption is a danger zone. You think that you have plenty of time and you’ll get to it one day. One day and someday are really another way to hide behind your fears while time is running out.
Logistics/Resources: This excuse is for the practical person. Maybe you think you need every detail figured out before you make a move. Nope. Just make a move. Everyday just keep moving forward towards that dream! C’mon one foot in front of the other! No, you won’t look like a fool, you will look like inspiration to those who can’t seem to make the first move!
Perfectionism: To my dear Type A friends (that’s me too!), cut the crap. You know not everything needs to be perfect. It can’t be. It won't be. No you won’t die if everything isn’t perfectly thought out, executed or managed. However, you can die without allowing your dreams to have a chance to live. Ouch! So drop this excuse.
Failure: Hey man, I get it no one wants to fail. What if you fail and then your dream is gone? What you learn if that happens, is that particular dream wasn’t the dream. You have another one that’s waiting for you to live it! Another way to look at failure is that you now know, that choice was shifting you towards the right choice. Just don’t stop choosing, chasing and living that dream!
Success: If this is your problem, this is actually not a problem. This is an indication that you are just getting ready to step into the success your dream is going to bring.Success can mean more money, fame or more work. None of those things are inherently bad, they just need to be managed properly and you can do that. Most importantly, though, success mostly looks like happiness and that is worth all the effort.
Not Worthy: I especially don’t like this one because it’s just not true. I will refer you again to the fact that you do not have a dream placed in your heart without the worthiness to hold that dream and live that dream. What has to happen here, is you need to work on yourself a bit and examine why you feel this way. It is important to all areas of your life to know that you are worthy of all that life has to offer, including your dreams.
So WTF? Why The Fear? Yes, all those reasons or excuses not to go after your dreams all have one thing in common, fear. Boom! Peel back the layers and that is what all the hubba bubba and litany of excuses is about. Fear.
Lucky for you, today is the day to face your fears! I get it, you might be thinking “whoa there, Nelly, slow it down!” You might think that facing fears feels like a lot. Here is what facing your fears does, it takes the power back and gives it to you. Even if you start plotting out how you will face your fears and pursue your dreams, that is progress. Start today. Do something to start moving forward.
So, maybe this blog may come off a bit strong, but it’s only because it’s important. So important that your life literally depends on it. The satisfaction, contentment and happiness that can be found when you choose to go after dreams will make you wonder WTF all these years?
Just go do it. It’s your turn to get after those dreams!
Shine On, DreamChasers. Shine On.
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
I don’t know how familiar you are with the use of “itis”. It’s one of my absolute favorite things in the medical profession. I know you probably thought I would say taking care of other people was it, but really, it’s these nerdy, fun things that brings joy to my soul. “Itis” means inflammation and can be added to any word. Seriously. Appendicitis, inflammation of your appendix. Tendonitis, inflammation of your tendon. The real fun is when you start adding it to non-medical terms, hence, today’s diagnosis of comparisonitis, an inflammation of comparison.
President Theodore Roosevelt once said the infamous phrase that “comparison is the thief of joy”. Oh, so true. And, if comparison alone is the thief of joy, comparisonitis is the thief of so much more. (Because, duh, it’s the inflammation of your comparison.) It’s the thief of your dreams and goals. It’s the thief of kindness to others. It’s the thief of feeling good about yourself. It’s the epicenter of self-loathing, self-criticism, self-limiting beliefs. Comparisonitis is robbing you of the best life that you deserve.
Bleck, yuck to all of that.
Cue the superhero music...da ta da daaaa! Never fear, SoulShine is here to save the day with a cure to this life-sucking force of comparisonitis. The positivity potion to bring back the joy and happiness to your life by not only giving you back dreams, hope and inspiration but also those same feelings towards others’ success and happiness. Seems an impossible feat? Not with this awesome strategy and mindset shift, DreamChaser; it’s totally possible.
Here’s the key. Set your own personal record, or as runners like to call it your “PR”, and try to break it. Let me explain. I don’t know if you are familiar with this running strategy. I will admit; I am in fact not a runner. I try and try to embrace running but it’s just not my jam, but rock on for those that are! So, how do I know about this? My son, Ethan, is a cross country runner, which inspired me to see a bigger application for PR in everyday life and not just the running world.
If you are unfamiliar with cross country as I was until last year, it is an interesting sport set up. You are both an individual runner as well as a contributor to the overall team’s success. The interestingness does not stop there, DreamChaser, this is perhaps the most positive and encouraging environment I have ever witnessed. Your effort determines your success on the course and in the sport, and nothing else. You run your first race, which sets your initial time. Then, throughout the season, you work by building your stamina, breathing, and pace with the goal of beating your OWN initial time and setting a new PERSONAL RECORD at the next race. Then, guess what? You just keep repeating this action. Working on what you can control and knowing that you are doing your very best to improve your time. Whether this moves you up in the team or not may be out of your control or individual ability, but improving yourself is 100% in your control. This allows you to be supportive, happy, and joyful of your other teammates' success rather than jealous and angry. This boosts your confidence and belief in yourself, defeating self-loathing and self-limiting beliefs.
You can use this PR strategy to cure your comparisonitis in a similar way:
1. Set something to work for
Pick something on your heart, something you really want in your life that is worth going for!
2. Set you initial timeThat finish line always seems far away when you start, and there are always people that have achieved what you desire already. Before you get too far down the rabbit trail of it being too hard or far away, just start. Take that first step you need to move in the direction of your heart’s desire. Like in a cross country race, this is your initial time. Your first attempt. Your beginning. You have to start somewhere, this is it!
3. Set a new PR
Work to improve your attempt towards your heart’s desire. This progress, no matter how small, will compound over time and move you in the right direction.
4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat
5. Enjoy the journeyFailures, including plateaus or feeling stuck, will happen. Put in the work and stay the course. Each attempt will make you better. Don’t forget to celebrate the wins!
It’s easy to get caught up in the highlight reel of social media of seeing other people’s achievements. Know what isn't prominent on the highlight reel? The failures, struggles, and work it took to get there. Every single person that has achieved what you desire started at zero, as a novice, a beginner setting their initial record. The reason they got what you want is they stuck with the challenges and obstacles to beat their initial record and set a new PR. Know what else? The only person stopping this race is YOU.
That, DreamChaser, is how you cure comparisonitis, and, for that matter, comparison. By focusing on your own very best effort and improving yourself, your confidence will soar and comparison will be kicked to the curb. Then, and only then, can you see what other people’s success really is...the evidence that if they can do it, so can you. Inspiration, dare I say inspirationitis, instead of comparison.
I mean we have all heard it before. Just be yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. There is no one in the world exactly like you. Just be yourself because everyone else is taken.
If that is true, why are so many looking to be someone or something else? Well, there are a lot of reasons why, but honestly the reasons why don’t matter so much as doing something about it. To begin, you must identify that you may not be acting authentically, that you have strayed from the person you know yourself to be inside. After accepting that, it’s time to decide that you are going to do something about it.
Let’s start with the identification part. Some of us know right away that we are definitely not being true to ourselves. We may be working a job that is ill-fitting. We may be putting up a front that isn’t who we really are or we may be very aware we are living a lie. To acknowledge this takes some intestinal fortitude because it’s a hard realization that life isn’t what you meant it to be or wanted it to be
Then there are the group of folks who just aren’t sure if the life they are living is the one they really want. They might be comfortable in the ways of life and it is truly acceptable. In fact, it may be a dream life for some. They may even feel guilty because they shouldn’t be complaining about their circumstances. For these people, they may be feeling a dull ache or a feeling of longing for something else.
In either scenario, the result is that there is a decision to be made. Will you go for it or not? Will you work in the direction of your dreams? Will you cop to the falsities you have been living? It might begin as a painful process, but through pain comes the truth and the life you are supposed to be living.
How to Become YOU
Have Confidence: Stand up straight, breathe in who you are supposed to be by choosing to be confident in who you are. If this feels funny, fake it until you feel it. Eventually you feel really good and proud to be in your own skin.
Don’t Let Others Dull Your Sparkle: It’s likely you were not living authentically because someone else’s opinion about your life was more important than your own. Time for your opinion to matter because YOU matter.
Make a List: Make a list of all the things that you love. Include how you like to spend your time and how you would spend your time if money was no object. Now, pay attention to that list’s direction.
Embrace Your Weirdness: Yes, you heard me right. We ALL are weird in our own weird way! Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter if what you love is “weird”, just embrace your weirdness! YAAASSS!
Get in the Sandbox: Figuratively speaking that is! Think of those things you used to love to do as a kid. Do any of them still resonate? How can you live out that joy today? And hey, if you really want to get into the sandbox again, just do it!
Look Into The Crystal Ball: Look forward to one year from right now, will you be happy in how you are living your life? Is it true to who you are? What about in 5 or 10 more years? If not, then you have to make a change.
Make a Plan and Act on it: once you have identified all that is YOU and who you want to really be, then it’s time to make a plan to get after it. Can it be as easy as changing your hair or how you spend your time? Maybe it’s a bigger decision like changing a job, a partner or the city you live in. Either way, make a plan and way for it to happen. This must be a priority as it is the ticket to your way back to you.
Your prescription for happiness is all about just being you. Let’s let the world famous Dr. Seuss have the last word on this: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
And that’s the truth. Be You and Shine on!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Have heard that old adage “if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting”? It’s one of those, yup, #nailedit kind of insights. Yet, you still find yourself on the hamster wheel of the same actions leading to the same results resulting in continued goal failure? Gah, so frustrating!!! DreamChaser, I get it because I live it. Notice I said live it, not lived it? Because I am on the struggle bus with you on this one, especially when it comes to getting healthy. Ugh.
While listening to my current audiobook, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I had an epiphany. It was so simple, just a different application of something I was already doing. It has been such a difference maker for me that I thought it might serve you, too. Tracking, but with a slight twist. I know, you were hoping for something a bit more glamorous, right? Stay with me, DreamChaser, this might be the piece you are missing to get unstuck in your goal-getting journey.
What do I mean by tracking? Writing down the actions and habits that you are doing as they relate to what you want to accomplish. Want to exercise more? Write down how much and what kind of activity you are doing daily. Want to eat better? Write down everything you put in your mouth. Want to save money? Write down every penny you are spending. Tracking is an awesome tool to use to measure your progress as you travel towards your goal, providing accountability to yourself as well as measurable progress from where you started to where you are now.
I love everything about tracking, which may stem from my love of lists. I love seeing the streaks of exercise minutes stack up, the water checkboxes filled, the body measurements change, hitting savings goals. I love them all! Here’s the interesting part. If I love to track, then why am I not making the progress on my health journey that I want?!? I’m hitting the weekly exercise goal. I’m eating out less. I’m avoiding the sugary coffee drinks. I’m eating proportioned meals. What is going wrong?!? How do I get off this hamster wheel?
Enter the epiphany! During one of the chapters, Hardy briefly mentions using tracking to bring awareness to his current habits and actions. Wait, what? Use tracking BEFORE you even start changing your behavior towards your goals?!? In all my goal setting and tracking it had never, ever occurred to me to use this tool BEFORE, during the preparation part of changing a behavior! Could this be the difference maker I had been looking for?
Tracking your current actions works by bringing awareness to what you are actually doing, not what you think you are doing. Let’s be real, our recall is typically poor and inaccurate. For this to work, you need to write down in REAL time what you are actually doing. Here’s a key, though, for this to work. You need to be honest about what you are actually doing! Remember, YOU are the only one that is going to see this. Being honest with what you are currently doing is the only way to see where your roadblocks are. Once you have awareness of the roadblocks, you can make course corrections in the action plan towards tackling your goals. For these goals you have continually failed at, this awareness of what you are actually doing, not what you think you are doing, might be the key to getting unstuck and making forward progress!
This was a huge realization for me! I thought I was eating well, not snacking too much, drinking enough water, and exercising appropriately. That’s what I recalled, at least. But, then why was my weight and energy staying the same?!? When I decided to take a few days to track what I was actually doing BEFORE trying to restart my healthy living plan AGAIN, I found the missteps I was unknowingly making. Turns out, it was the little snack here and there that was causing the issues, not meal times. With this new awareness, I catch myself before I mindlessly eat every time I get a snack out for my three-never-seem-to-be-full children! Instead, I stop and assess if I am actually hungry before I just grab a handful of pretzels, allowing me to intentionally choose if and what to eat. Whoa!
That, DreamChasers, is all I needed to do to get unstuck to achieve new results. It’s not fancy or glamorous. There were no bells or whistles. Like many things, it’s a simple tool that leads to the big realizations. Then, why DON’T we do this? This is also simple but might be hard to swallow. We often know what we are doing wrong but do not want to admit or acknowledge it. That choice is where the hamster wheel of same actions leading to the same results resulting in the frustration of continued failed goals starts. YOU have the power to change at any time. Give tracking your current actions a try and see if it’s your key to getting unstuck, just as it was mine. What do you have to lose?
You can do it, DreamChaser! Shine on!
One of the hardest chapters for parents to go through is when their children leave their nest. The chapter begins when they enter high school and the “children” become young adults. They start making a life of their own where friends are the priority and hanging out with mom and dad isn’t so cool anymore. They get jobs, learn to drive and begin to live their own life to some extent. As a parent you joke about rarely seeing them anymore, but in reality your heart feels a bit of an ache.
With each passing year, they become more autonomous and rightly so. Parents still, of course, have a role, but the lines start becoming blurred as they enter their final year of high school.The balance of still being their parent but letting them go is a tough road to travel sometimes. The interactions might get tenuous and maybe it’s nature’s way of giving the kids the courage to leave and, for the parent, the relief from tension may make it easier to let them go.
Even though you might have a ramp up period of four years to “prepare” for them to leave the nest, when it happens, you are never ready.
Some people really feel such sadness and loss when their child leaves it is often referred to as empty nest syndrome. It’s not a true clinical diagnosis, but it is a common phenomenon. Women especially suffer from a sense of lost identity. They have played the role of mom for so long that when their child is suddenly gone, they find they do not know what to do with themselves. They in a sense have lost their purpose.
If you are an empty nester and are experiencing some of these feelings or if you have a high schooler who is beginning to stretch their wings, there is hope and a process to work through to manage your feelings.
Three Steps to Finding Yourself Again
Pre-empt the departure with working on yourself. Before those kids fly the coop, begin the process of remembering who you were and defining who you want to be. That is in your hands now! Remember all the years complaining that you didn’t have time to do what you wanted to do? Guess what? Now you do! This is great news!
Go Do: Make a list of all of the things you have wanted to Be, Do or Have. Don’t think too much about it - just make a list. Everything is on the table! Once you have the list, go back and highlight what you want to work on first!
Manage the emotions: Your emotions are a record of the past. For example, your sadness you are feeling today may be because your daughter has left the home. Your emotions can also reside in future events and come in the form of anxiety or stress of anticipating your child leaving the nest. When you look at emotions as either the definition of a past event or the fear of a future event, you are not living in the present, and you need to live in the present. The feelings become habitual and you live in a stressed state of being. You need to break the habit of feeling bad. This can be tough, but you can do this!
Go Do: The best way to bring yourself to be mindful of the present is to take time to set your intention for the day every morning. Find a quiet space and calm your mind. Tell yourself that today you will find joy or that today you will choose happiness. Now, your old habit of falling back into the negative emotion can happen, so you need to gently remind yourself to get back to your intention.
Keep Busy: One of the things that will need adjusting is how you spend your time. This will become evident even if your kids are still in high school. They don’t need you so much anymore and once they are gone, time may feel like an empty corridor.
Go Do: To avoid falling into an abyss of hours that are not filled, get yourself scheduled with activities. Meet a friend, take on a job, volunteer, exercise, read, get involved with a few hobbies, travel, etc. Whatever you do, don’t sit around and watch the clock. This is your life and it needs living!
Closing the chapter of parenting as you once knew it can be very hard, but it doesn’t need to be a time for loss! You still are a mom and you still have your child, albeit they are off to conquer the world on their terms. You now get to open maybe one of the most exciting chapters of your life that features you! So, get ready for new life adventures and great possibilities!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.