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Coach Carlene

I see loneliness all over.

  • For the 20 something year olds, just starting out in their jobs working remotely.
  • For the elderly lady who lost the love of her life after more than 50 years of marriage.
  • For the parents becoming empty-nesters.
  • For the recently divorced Mom.
  • For the over-booked busy people who can’t find time to grab a coffee with someone.
  • For the retired, relocating to a new community.
  • For the awkward but oh so lovable middle-schoolers who can’t find their place at the lunch table.
  • For the college students. wanting desperately to find their people.
  • Or anyone, for any reason who is suffering from loneliness.

Feeling lonely every now and then is normal. But sometimes that loneliness can grow until we feel it more often than not.

It’s normal to be alone. Loneliness, however, is a state of mind. It can leave people feeling unwanted, unloved and left out. 

When we’re lonely we still want human interaction, but sometimes our mental state can make it challenging to manage. 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling lonely blows, but this goes deeper.

Feeling lonely changes the chemistry of your brain, and according to research, it can make mental health issues feel worse.

Loneliness can put you more at risk for developing coronary heart disease and dementia and puts you at a higher risk of stroke.

The good news is that loneliness is something we can all take steps to manage. 

If you are naturally more introverted ( me too) simply pushing yourself out the door can feel surprisingly hard, but it makes a huge difference.

Consider this the push you need.

It’s time to start putting yourself out there again.

And don’t limit yourself to only meeting people your age. Everyone needs younger and older friends.

So how do you do it?

I asked my clients and friends how they meet new people and I learned so much.

We put together the top 10 tips for you here:

#1: Check out phone apps.

Some favorites are Bumble BFF (which helps you meet new friends) and Peanut (which connects moms). I have never heard of these, but I love that this kind of connection has evolved past the romantic dating apps. 

#2: Every community has a Facebook group. 

Join it so you know more about what’s going on. Even if you don’t like facebook, give it a shot.  

#3: Throw a party, start a group, or host a book club. 

Don’t know anyone? Post a flier at the library or your local coffee shop. 

#4: If your town has an events page, check it out. 

I get weekly emails from a mortgage broker that tells me what’s happening in Nashville TN. I don’t live there full-time but I bet he is getting his info from the town event page.

#5: Sign up for a class.

There must be something you’ve wanted to learn; cooking, quilting, sewing, pickle ball or heck if you’re up for something more academic go for it. The point is to be with like-minded people. It will help you boost your connections and stave off those feelings of loneliness. 

#6: Join a gym. 

Over time you start to see the same people. I did this more than a year ago. Not only did I make new friends, but I reconnected with people from my old gym before the pandemic. 

#7: Volunteer. 

It feels good AND you’ll meet people who have the same passions as you. 

#8 Develop existing relationships.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell them you’ve been thinking about them and you miss them. Apologize for anything you need to (or heck, even just for letting life get too busy). Finally, suggest a time and date to get together and plan something to do. Don’t dump the planning on them. Follow-through, (make the reservation, order the tickets) it shows you’re serious about reconnecting. 

#9 Try therapy.

You may find that talking through your loneliness with a professional helps you uncover an underlying cause. You may find a way to combat any social anxiety and feelings of sadness. 

#10 Reach out to someone else who is lonely.

When you focus on making someone else feel better, it allows you to stop thinking about your loneliness. And you always feel better after helping someone out. 

Final Thoughts

Take it slow. Don’t expect to go from feeling lonely to suddenly having a jam-packed social calendar. You’ll risk burning yourself out and isolating yourself once more. Take small steps to increase your connections slowly.

Remember, loneliness is a sign that something needs to change. It’s not a sign that something is wrong with you. It’s a sign that you need to seek more connection, so banissh the self-criticism and get yourself out the door and spend meaningful time with others. 

When I was growing up I kept a pretty, pink diary hidden under my mattress. And of course, it had a lock on it. OMG, I would’ve died if anyone read my deepest thoughts, dreams, and worries. And I’m sure there were some secret crushes in there that absolutely had to remain secret.

Keeping that diary was so good for me and I wish I would have never stopped “paper-thinking” – or today it’s called journaling.

The last few years have taken its toll on me (and I’m sure you can relate) so I started journaling and it’s brought me so much clarity, and reduced my stress and anxiety.

So I want to share with you the 5 Step Technique that makes journaling easy – that won’t leave you staring at a blank page.

All of my fellow journalers already know this.

Getting your thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper is often all the relief you need. Thinking about what you are thinking about on paper is sometimes just enough to allow you to stop the spinning thoughts in your head.

Now, you might think that journaling is just figuring out the garbage that you are thinking about during the day. Yes, that is one way to journal. But there’s more.

Journaling can basically be broken down into 7 categories.

  1. Your past
  2. Other people
  3. Things in the world
  4. Yourself
  5. Your future
  6. Gratitude
  7. Goals

All of these are things you can journal and write about.

So many of us sit around thinking all kinds of garbage about journaling. When you hear, “you need to journal,” do you think…

Ugh, journaling takes too long,

I don’t know what to write about,

This aint gonna help me do the darn thing,

I’m scared of what I might uncover,

I’m so ashamed of what I think so I’d rather not do it,

I don’t seem to go deep enough?

Here’s the problem. If you don’t change your attitude about journaling, you’ll be denying yourself major breakthroughs, a path to finally doing the things you’ve been too afraid to do.

We all got mental baggage that we can’t see throughout the day. But, the problem isn’t the baggage. The problem is leaving our baggage unchecked and unsupervised each day.

When you don’t see your default thinking on paper that means you get to see your default thinking coming true in your life in the form of self-sabotage, overthinking, or worrying.

And when I say paper, I mean actual paper that you write on with a pen or pencil. I don’t want you to type on your computer. I want you to write it with your hand. I mean, call me old school, but there is something powerful about sitting in a quiet room with a notebook on your lap and physically writing it down. Studies have shown your are having a deeper experience than when you’re just typing it. I’m not going to quote the studies, but I promise they’re out there.

So, here’s how I set up my routine. It’s very simple. I’m committed to ten minutes of journaling 3-4 days a week. I’m working up to 5 days. Yes, I absolutely could do longer than 10 minutes, and sometimes I do. But you have to set yourself up for success. So for me, 10 minutes is something I know I can do and a short-enough period of time that I will not let myself make any excuses not to do it.

Here’s the 5-Step Journaling Technique I use.

Step 1: Observe

The whole point of journaling is to just notice what you’re thinking about in any give situation. You want to ask questions that will get your brain willing to respond, like;

What problem am I trying to solve? What are the things I’m worried about today?

Another great way to get your thoughts going and get words on the page is to make a gratitude list because you want to explore some of the great things that are happening in your life, too.

You could also start with your to-do list for the day. Then ask yourself, “What are my thoughts about getting this done today? What are the easiest things to do? What are the most important things I could do from this list?

Remember, journaling for today can literally be three sentences about what you’re thinking. You just want to notice what’s coming up for you.

Step 2: Accept

A lot of people are judgmental of their thinking. I am one of them. When they observe their own thoughts, they start saying judgmental things to themselves like, “I’m ridiculous,” or “What’s wrong with me?” “Okay, listen. This is terrible. But I was thinking…”

Listen here. It’s not terrible.

Everyone has thoughts that don’t necessarily serve them. It’s not weird and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Give yourself some grace. And when you do this, it takes the pressure off of journaling, meaning no thought is “bad”, anything goes, and it allows you to start taking some authority over this process of getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper.

Step 3: Neutralize

This is when you take all the inflammatory language out of your thoughts.

Instead of thinking and writing.

“Ill never be able to grow my business,” you instead want to write something like, “I’m in the process of trying to grow my business.”

You want to take everything down a notch. Take a look at the thoughts that you have that are highly charged with emotion and highly triggering.

I’ll go over my notes at the end. I’ll look for adjectives and adverbs and descriptors, and literally cross them out.

The goal is to strip your thinking down to a neutral place because it allows you to see more of the facts.

When the emotional charge is removed, you’re able to start thinking from a clean slate, which is way more productive and so much better for your mental health.

Step 4: Recalibrate

Ask yourself, “What’s my next best thought?

If you’re thinking something like, “I’ll never be able to build my business,” and then you neutralize that to “I’m building a business,” your next best thought might be, “I am doing all the things I need to do to build my business right now.” So your next best thought is, “I’m in it. I’m doing it. This is happening.”

Step 5: Activate

Ask yourself, “What’s the next move I can make?”

It could be, to just let it go and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Or it could be, I’m going to call that person I’ve always wanted to collaborate with for my business.

Answer it. No excuses. And do it!

Your Next Steps

That’s it, friend!

I don’t want you to get to the end of your journaling practice where you just feel bad. I’ve been there. It’s like I just literally threw up on the page and I’m journaling all the challenges I’m worried and frustrated about. I don’t feel like it was cathartic. I feel like I just complained for ten minutes.

That’s why I make sure I do this 5-Step Technique, especially when I’m having a really hard time, and I put a lot of negativity on the page. I know I’m going to gently massage these thoughts into something factual, honest, and actionable.

If journaling isn’t part of your daily practice right now, I want you to look at your calendar and schedule 10 minutes – that’s it – 10 minutes to work through the process.

It takes some time to get used to, and you don’t have to do it for every journaling session. But I really do believe that it makes a huge difference.

Now, there is one final thing I’d love for you to do, whether you’re new to journaling or not. Take out your journal and write down the 5 steps on the inside cover or somewhere so you’ll see them. (Observe, Accept, Neutralize, Recalibrate, and Activate)

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to make it through your to-do list?

Me too.

The size difference between what I need to do and how much time I had in the day used to drive me bonkers.

But then I realized something helpful. I’ll always have more ideas, more projects, more tasks and more dreams than I can possibly accomplish on the to-do list.

That’s not failure.

That just means my imagination is bigger than my calendar. No puny calendar is a match for my ability to create new ideas and projects.
What freedom that is!

So, I thought I’d share 3 ways that I manage my huge imagination and encourage you to keep dreaming and imagining.

#1. Get your ideas out of your head.

Everything doesn’t have to go on your calendar. I know, I know. How many times have I preached about having a plan?

Here’s the truth. Not every idea is meant to come to life. Maybe it’s simply an idea that will lead to another, and another and finally another idea that you will bring to life.

Get a notebook or an app on your phone, and write down these creative ideas to get them out of your head. As long as an idea is in your head, it’s taking a little bit of your attention. Keep a rolling list, and trust yourself to look at the list later and take action.

Don’t overcomplicate it. The goal is to be able to capture ideas anytime, any place. The act of writing it down might also be enough to make it stick in your memory.

#2. Tap into your creative energy.

Decide which idea you will explore first.

  • Which idea gets your heart racing?
  • Which idea have you shared with someone because, well, it’s THAT good?
  • Which idea is screaming, “Pick me, pick me.”?

Don’t overthink it. Listen to your gut. Pick one and get started.

Here’s a little secret. You don’t need to schedule a time to work on the idea you choose – unless you really NEED to.

Instead, dive in when you’re feeling that creative energy. If you’re more creative at night, do it then. Pay attention to the times of day your creativity is at its’ peak.

Sometimes, you’ve got to let your energy guide you to where you want to be spending your time.

#3. Let it go.

It’s okay to flirt with multiple ideas. After all, flirting is harmless.

But if you find yourself starting a hundred things and never finishing, try this.

Before starting a new idea, ask yourself these questions about the idea you have already started.

  • Am I still interested in this?
  • Does this excite me?
  • Why is this important?
  • What have I learned since I started this, that has change my energy around it? For example, you discovered you don’t have the money, time, expertise or you’ve learned the results would be harmful or goes against your values.

If your answers are telling you that your heart isn’t in it anymore that’s okay.

Cross it off your idea list, and call it done.

When we don’t finish something we are too quick to say ” I failed”. Not motivating at all. Instead, you need to “call it” – GAME OVER! Move on to something else. Give yourself that closure and move on to your next big idea.

Remember, you are a creative being. Share your ideas with others. Think the craziest things. Let your imagination run wild.

There ‘s a huge difference between being “burnt out” and feeling “stuck”.

FEELING STUCK

Feeling stuck is a signal from your body, mind and spirit. The same way hunger or thirst is a signal. It means you need something.

When you’re stuck you need personal growth. Your life has gotten boring, stagnant, or predictable.

Feeling stuck comes from losing a connection with yourself because you are so bogged down with your day to day life.

You’re busy getting things done and you’re no longer learning anything new. That monotony makes you feel tired, complacent, and stuck.

BEING BURNT OUT

Burn out happens when you’ve had relentless demands or never-ending pressure put on you. Your nervous system is taxed and on edge.

You feel physically, cognitively, and emotionally exhausted, making it difficult to focus or feel good about yourself, your job, or even your personal life.

Being burnt out comes from chronic stress that hasn’t been managed correctly. This kind of continual stress leads to heightened cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue, furthering the cycle of making you feel tired and spread thin.

According to Psychology Today, one of the main signs of burnout is chronic fatigue. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted no matter how much sleep you get, how many breaks you take, or how much caffeine you consume… you just don’t feel like your regular self or get a boost of energy no matter what you do.

You feel disengaged and uninspired.

Instead of feeling invested, your feel detached which leads to losing your connection to yourself and the pride you used to have in your work.

You start to feel uninterested in things that normally bring you joy.

You feel like you might collapse if one more thing happens unexpectedly or gets added to your plate.

You find you’re more easily distracted or feel like you can’t get into the groove of work, even with tasks that you usually enjoy or love to do.

Solutions to feeling stuck:

  1. Get intentional about growing as a person.
    Pursue something NEW that interests you (sign up for a class, learn a second language, try a new hobby, or re-engage with a project that interests you).
  2. Spend time on things and with those that matter to you most.
  3. Celebrate every win!
    Small wins, my friend, small wins. They’re what keep you going. Do a happy dance, high-five yourself in the mirror. So what’s it going to be for you? Celebrate the the little stuff – because all those small wins will become a BIG sweet success.
  4. Keep moving forward!
    You must keep pushing on, even when you feel uninspired or down on yourself or just plain stuck.

    These are the moments that make or break you. Those “break” moments? That’s when I want you to cling a little tighter. Most people will quit when things get tough. Days will be filled with doubt and fear, questioning and exhaustion. But do you know that else they will be filled with? JOY! So much joy.

    Next time you feel uninspired, move through it anyway. Just a tiny bit of momentum can move you from uninspired to feeling ready to jump in again.

    There will be moments when you are digging in and it feels confusing. There will be days when you question if you are really cut out for this. Or maybe the ideas are just not flowing. Don’t quit! Keep moving forward.

    Progress not perfection, my friend. It doesn’t matter what pace you move at, just keep moving forward, okay? Forward is forward, that’s all that matters.
  5. Have some dang fun!
    When life gets too serious, your thoughts tend to get heavy. You are built to have fun. You are built to feel connected. So, if you’re in a “fun-drought”, plan something exciting to do this weekend. Not only will you get a burst of energy every time you think about it coming up, but you’ll get a second burst of energy from the experience itse.

Remember, you are a happy, passionate, and confident person at your core. Give yourself a break to reset or to start growing in new ways again. It’s the only way to get reconnected to yourself again.

Solutions to being burnt out:

  1. Talk to your family and friends for support.
  2. Self-care! Focus on getting sleep, good nutrition, exercise, social connection, meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.
  3. Set boundaries with your colleagues, clients, and even family members for how much you’re willing to take on.
  4. Rest. This is different from getting sleep. This is about giving yourself a break.

    Studies show that rest can increase your productivity and efficiency. So if you need to lean on that fact to grant yourself the time and space, do it! If you can, take some intentional time away from work or at the very least create boundaries and get some accountability around holding strong to them.

    Maybe you can take a week, or a long weekend or an afternoon off. Maybe it’s as simple as shutting down email and getting off your screens.

    Rest takes work, especially if your tendency is to be working all the time. For me, resting takes conscious effort but it’s worth it. I have to remind myself to slow down, to not be productive and to do things for the sake of play.

THE BIG PICTURE

You can’t go on like this. Taking a break isn’t a reward. It’s your right. If there was ever a time to find the courage to ask for time off or to take it – it’s right now.

Whether you’re stuck or burnt out, you MUST tune into what you’re feeling and give yourself what you need.

“I’m exhausted and I think it’s because I don’t take enough downtime.”

This is what one of my coaching clients is dealing with.

Can you relate?

If you can, you are going to be surprised at the outcome of this coaching session.

Together, my client and I dove into what “enough downtime” meant for her. This lead us to her beautifully color-coded daily planner.

What we discovered was she had plenty of downtime planned in her schedule.

After peeling the onion, layer by layer, she discovered she was taking the downtime, but she didn’t feel like she experienced any of the benefits.

Hmmmmm.

So, what was happening during her downtime?

There were distractions.

She wasn’t present during her “me time”.

Like anything else in life, we have to be there in the moment to have the experience, no matter what it is.

If you’re not present in the moment, you’re going to miss your “me time.”

It means being intentional and committing to your downtime. It is sacred and should be treated as such.

It’s not about how much downtime you have that matters. It’s about how you show up for it – for yourself.

But isn’t the point of downtime to NOT have all that pressure of showing up a certain way – to just let your mind wander and NOT have to be accountable to anyone or anything?

Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Yes. It’s your time to let all the stress go. To stop worrying. To stop doing all the “shoulds” on your list. Yes, this time is about you and no one else.

And the answer is also no. You can’t be distracted during your downtime.

Here’s an example.

You decide you need some time to yourself and you’re going to indulge in some Netflix binging. And while you’re watching you are also scrolling on your phone.

Before you know it, the first episode is over and you have no clue what is going on. You fall asleep because you were never fully invested or present. Netflix keeps popping up the the next episode and the next.

When you wake, you beat yourself up for not even making it through your downtime as you had planned. You also know that you’re not going to be able to fall asleep tonight because you took a 2 hour nap. You also know, that tomorrow is probably going to suck because you know you’ll be exhausted.

That is the exact opposite of what downtime is intended to do.

Downtime is supposed to be your time to relax and get reenergized.

Here’s another example.

You grab your phone and go for a walk. Someone from work calls and it becomes a stressful conversation. You’re not paying any attention to your walk. You don’t notice the warm breeze, birds chirping, or the new spring blooms. You’re present with work but not with your downtime.

You get back home and you’re more stressed than when you left. Ugh.

Here Are 6 Ways to Stay Present During Your Downtime.

  1. No scrolling. You can have your phone on you for emergencies but other than that, don’t look at it during your downtime.
  2. No multitasking. Focusing on only one thing allows you to be present and take in the entire experience you’ve chosen – be it a bubble bath, a walk, reading or working on a project you’re interested in.
  3. Make downtime a consistent priority. Try to keep it at the same time of day. Then it becomes a habit, and you know you can count on yourself to take the time.
  4. Don’t let others in unless they are part of your planned downtime – for example, if you’re working on a project with a friend.
  5. Tell others you will be unavailable for the time being.
  6. Get creative with how you spend downtime. Something active like gardening, walking or baking can help you unwind more-so than a nap. If it’s something that interests you and lights you up, you’ll be more likely to be fully present.

Remember, the challenge is not finding more free time. The challenge is being present in order to realize the benefits of relaxing and getting reenergized.

Don’t forget to grab your confidence building guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

How often do you put yourself first?

If you can’t put yourself first, first thing in the morning, then when can you?

You deserve to spend time on yourself and put your needs first for the simple fact that you exist. Believing that is the first step toward building self-worth and confidence.

One of the best ways to put yourself first is to create a Morning Routine or Ritual, where you spend time doing something just for you.

Committing to a daily morning ritual helps you build self-worth by declaring that this is your time, and you deserve to do something for yourself.

Morning routines are all the buzz on the internet and social media. 

There’s good reason for this. Morning routines are made up of rituals and set the tone for your day. Having a solid and intentional morning routine is the KEY to being happy, successful and confident.

Rituals change our brain chemistry. They signal that it’s time for something to happen. Having routines and rituals for putting our kids down at night is a perfect example.

Our kids count on taking that warm bubble bath, brushing their teeth and reading a book with us. Maybe you have a favorite saying like, “Love you to the moon and back.” Or maybe you rub their back for 5 minutes. Whatever it is, these rituals trigger your kids’ brain telling them it’s time for bed. 

So what do rituals have to do with confidence?

First, rituals are always there for us. We can pull them out whenever we need them. Mostly, we do them without even thinking about it.

Second, it is an important way of showing up for ourselves. It tells you that YOU can count on YOU. Keeping promises to ourselves is a huge confidence boost. 

Third, the ritual of NOT doing certain things is just as critical to our state of mind as the things we are doing. 

Science has shown rituals and routines have a direct impact on our confidence.

Researchers theorize that routines help focus our attention, limit distractions, help to “trigger” behaviors we’ve practiced in advance, as well as generally help us feel optimistic, energized and confident.

Having a great day starts with how you wake up. And the best way to make sure your start your day off right is by sticking to a morning routine that makes you feel empowered and in control. 

That doesn’t mean you to need to wake at 4am or block off hours of your morning. All it means is getting intentional with your time and prioritizing what YOU need in order to have a successful day.

Start with one of these 5 rituals that I practice every morning. Give it 30 days and then add in another. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do them all at once.

1. Self Before Cell

At night, put your phone across the room or better yet in another room. You’ll be less tempted to look at it in the middle of the night. 

Now, commit to not looking at it for the first 30 minutes of your day. That’s right. Think about it this way: would you let 100 people into your bedroom first thing in the morning? What about 1,000? 

That’s essentially what you’re doing when you’re checking emails or scrolling through social media first thing every day. You’re letting everyone else, and their needs come first. 

You’re also looking at everyone’s perfect vacations, cute puppy dogs, perfect friends and family and now you feel like garbage about your life. 

Now your day is defined by that instead of how you are actually feeling when you wake up. 

You deserve a few minutes every morning before you let the world in that’s just for you.

2. Start by making your bed every morning.

Yes, I make my bed even when I’m at a hotel. When you make your bed in the morning it will automatically make you feel productive since you just completed something. And doesn’t it look nice?! You can throw your covers over the wrinkled sheets, it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

One small task can make a huge difference in making you feel more confident to start your day.

3. Morning Journal

Get present, journal and plan your day.

Ask yourself these 3 questions, it will help you set an inspired intention for the day.

  • What’s one thing you want to work on today that matters to you?
  • Who are you going to be today?
  • What are 3 things I’m grateful for that occurred in the last few days.

They can be small (how someone smiled at you in the grocery store), big (a promotion), or anything that comes to mind. As you think of each of these things, notice how the joy feels in your body as you reflect on your gratitude. 

4. Care for your body

There are a number of things you can do to help your body wake up in the morning. If our bodies aren’t on board, it’s hard to get our day started with confidence. First, drink at least 8 ounces of water. By hydrating first thing in the morning, especially upon waking up dehydrated, we can reduce hunger throughout the day and reduce the potential onset of headaches. Next, do some gentle stretching. It only needs to take 5-10 minutes. This will help increase flexibility, improve mobility, and also flush out toxins. 

5. High Five Yourself

Life is hard enough, so stop being so hard on yourself. If you want the life you dream about, you HAVE to be your own greatest cheerleader.

You’ve been talking to yourself negatively for so long, and it’s gotten you nowhere. It’s impossible to grow and push yourself if your inner voice is telling you you’re not good enough. 

You weren’t born doubting yourself. Life did that to you. And if your brain can learn how to criticize, it can learn how to cheer.

So, what’s the easiest way to start cheering for yourself? Give yourself a high five every time you pass a mirror.

It’s going to feel silly at first – but trust me. It’s shockingly powerful. It creates positive change at the neural pathway level of your brain. I can almost guarantee you will start to feel a difference in your mood, your attitude, and your energy.

If you want to learn more about cultivating confidence, grab your free guide:

 The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Sometimes we are wasting our time doing things that are holding us back from being productive, happy and successful. And, often we don’t recognize those things until someone points them out. That was so true for me. Then I became an entrepreneur and learned how valuable each second of the day was – that there really wasn’t any time to waste on things that didn’t grow me or my business.

So to get started, here are eight habits I’ve adopted to boost my productivity and keep the momentum going.

Habit 1 – Limit Social Media

Being on social media – checking Facebook notifications, scrolling through pictures on Instagram, reading quick updates on Twitter, whatever – it’s part of everyday life. But if you don’t control how much time you spend on it the hours will fly by and you won’t have accomplished anything on your to-do list.

Either put a time limit on it – set an alarm for when you need to minimize it, close the app, do something else – or only get on after completing necessary work and tasks and use social media as a reward.

Habit 2 – Plan Every Day

Productive people have a purpose, a laser-focused plan of things they want to achieve on a particular day. I believe in writing things down – but only the top two or three things I need to accomplish that day, not a long list of to-do’s. Ask yourself, “What are the 2-3 things that I must get done today and when I look back on my day if I accomplished them, then it was indeed a great day?”

Habit 3 – Stop Doing Emotionally Draining Activities

If you want to create a truly productive life, you have to focus on things that positively fuel your life. Productive people don’t waste their time on things that emotionally drain them.

Before committing to activities on your schedule, be sure it will positively add to your day and life. If you believe it wont, then think about saying no, or not now. Don’t feel like your have to give an answer right when you’re being asked. Follow your gut. Don’t overthink it.

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If left to simmer, fear turns to paralyzing self-doubt. There is the fear of not fitting in, of being ostracized, of disappointing others, of failure or even success. 

I’m here to tell you that a life that is exciting, joyful and meaningful, is on the other side of that fear.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I mean it. Really take some time to answer that question. 

And when you find your answers, go out and plan to do exactly what you are afraid of doing.

We allow ourselves to be caged in by fear, the tiger in our mind that keeps us within the boundaries of our comfort zone. But fear, like any other emotion is just a feeling. It’s not pleasant, but if you can lean into its discomfort, you will discover endless new possibilities for yourself.

Life is short. It truly is. This past year has been a painful reminder to all of us. You may think you have time. That there will be a day that you will not be scared, and then you’ll do it.

But here’s the thing, that day will not come. The only way you will stop being afraid and stop doubting yourself is by doing exactly what you are afraid of. Stop waiting.

Ask yourself, is what I’m scared of really that important? In the bigger picture of it all, does it really matter?

The answer is no. If you focus on “why” the thing you’re afraid to do is important, you get to choose. 

Why is it important for you to ask for a promotion & get a raise? 

To feed your family, to take vacations, to get out of debt? 

Are those things more important than your fear of your boss saying no? 

Remember it’s not about your fear. A mantra I use, when I’m stuck at this point of choice, is NAM – Not About Me. It’s not about me and my fears. It’s about taking care of my family. 

It’s a heavy weight to carry around living your life dictated by the limitations of the imagined fears in your head. 

It is not about the absence of fear, but a way of using the fear as a compass to guide you in the right direction, knowing that whatever comes your way, you’ll deal with it. 

If you’re scared of something, then it very likely is the one thing that you should be doing. And each and every time you do this, you grow in ways you never thought possible. 

If you really knew and understood your time here was limited, would that change your perspective on your fears? If you knew you only had another 5 years, would that change things? A year? A month? A week? 

We allow ourselves to hide under the comfortable blanket of certainty. But in the end, it won’t matter. It won’t matter that you failed at something. Get real. We all do. It comes with being human. It won’t matter that it took you longer than expected or that you didn’t do the best job of it, or that you never even succeeded.  

What matters is that you succeed in life. And with that I mean, that you tried, you learned, you grew, you lived, you loved, and in some way made a difference in someone’s day.

So what are you afraid of? And what step can you take to do exactly that? What challenge can you set for yourself, big or small?

If you like this, you’ll love this free guide.

Grab it now. It’ll help you find your “why”.

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence.

Most of us dream our dreams and leave this world never having lived those dreams. I don’t know about you, but this year has taught me there is no time to waste in actively pursuing our dreams. 

Pursuing our dreams can be scary. It means we most likely have to go out of our comfort zone. It takes courage. 

What do you think courage is? 

When I ask this question, I get answers like; “It means being brave or fearless.” 

Here’s the truth about courage. 

Courage does not mean that you are NOT afraid. Quite the opposite. It’s the ability to take action when you feel afraid or uncertain. It’s taking action even when you are afraid. Courage is what will make you say yes to things in spite of your feelings about it. Confidence says, I know what I’m doing. Courage says, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ll try anyway. 

As I was watching a video from Mel Robbins, it hit me why our dreams are never lived, left sitting quietly on the horizon. 

The dream is free and EASY. But the goals you need to achieve in order to live those dreams come at a cost; time, effort, money. Goals are HARD. We need courage to do hard things.

So what’s the difference between dreams and goals. 

Dreams: 

  1. Are really big, inspiring and motivating.
  2. Should be made public. You should talk about them. Research shows that when you talk about your dreams, you feel more inspired to go after them.
  3. Never have a timeline or an expiration date. None of this, “by the time I’m 30” stuff.
  4. Are EASY
    E- Energized: You should feel it in your body
    A-Aspirational: A dream is a hope or ambition that makes you feel bigger. You know? That you’re up to something bigger than the small stuff in your everyday life. 
    S-Spacious: When you think about this dream, there is something that expands. It could be in your spirituality, your physicality, your consciousness, your purpose or the impact you’re making, 
    Y-Yours:  Your dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone else. Dreams are easy because they are yours. Not someone else’s expectations. 

Goals: 

  1. Need to be made small so you can take action.
  2. Should be kept private. When you talk about your goals, you’ve tricked your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved something, which makes you less likely to work at it. This is new to me. But there’s science behind it. 
  3. Needs to have a deadline and be measured for completion. It creates urgency and importance in your mind in terms of getting them done. 
  4. Are HARD
    H – Habit: Something you’re going to do over and over until you achieve the goal.
    A-Action: Just thinking about the darn thing isn’t going to make it happen. Goals require focus and consistent action. 
    R- Reachable: Goals have to be realistic. You can’t lose 100 lbs in a week, but you could lose 3 lbs in a week. You have to believe it in order to go for it. 
    D- Do it anyway: Yes, even if it’s hard. You have to stay in action. 

We know a dream without a goal is just a dream. 

We also know, goals without a dream are not just HARD but EXTRAORDINARILY HARD! We need the motivation and inspiration of the dream to propel us forward.

If your dream isn’t motivation enough, you need to understand why this dream is important to you.

What are you afraid of in pursuit of this dream?

Fear of failure? Fear of rejection?

Fear of success?

What is so amazing about living this dream that is so much greater than your fear? 

When you find your why, you find your courage. You will pursue your dream even though you are afraid. You’ll know that living your dream is so much more powerful than living your fear. 

If you liked this, learn more about how to find your courage in my free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It & Build Real Confidence

It’s easy to assume that most of us are facing difficult times this Thanksgiving. You may be without a job, have an illness, or be feeling lonely and anxious among many other things. When going through difficult times, it’s harder to see the good that exists amidst our troubles. But practicing gratitude during a difficult time can genuinely help.

By being more grateful for what we do have, we can increase our happiness by 25% according to University of California Psychology Professor Dr. Robert Emmons, author of the book, Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier. He says that gratitude is one of the few things that can change people’s lives in a measurable way.

He sums up his research on gratitude’s effects: 

“We have discovered that a person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress, may show increased resilience in the face of trauma-induced stress, and may recover more quickly from illness and benefit from greater physical health.” 

We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy.”

But, there’s a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. While we might not feel grateful during a difficult time, we can be grateful. We can choose gratitude. We can choose a grateful perspective.

When disaster strikes, as it has over and over again in 2020, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life as a whole and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances. 

In short, gratitude can be our raft.

Here are four ideas to practice gratitude when stress and chaos strike.

#1 Count your current blessings.  

Think about what you’re currently struggling with and identifying the area of your life that it’s affecting. Next, think about all the other areas of your life where you’re not struggling. Maybe you’re struggling with a work issue, so you think about your good health and your happy home life. Then reflect on all the things that are going right.

#2 Consider what’s way worse. 

Name what’s currently upsetting you, and then come up with a situation (or two) that’s a whole lot worse. Your worst-case scenario could be completely absurd or funny (or not). Let’s use the example of a difficult boss. 

  • Your whole team now consists of several versions of your boss.
  • Your boss follows you home and now lives with you. All. The. Time.
  • You lose your job, and your boss goes everywhere with you and nitpicks everything you do.

#3 Hunt for the positive. 

This is a great way to engage your imagination and invite some play into your life—during a time you likely need it most. Find at least three positive things, three times a day for an entire week. And all these things have to be different. But they can be small. Even tiny. For instance, you might be grateful that a stranger held the door for you, you got to savor a hot cup of coffee, or your favorite shirt was clean after all.

#4 Express Your Gratitude

Expressing gratitude to our loved ones and to strangers every day can be uplifting for both the giver and receiver. We are often so consumed with our daily routines and obligations that we may take people for granted and if we stopped to say thanks, we can make someone’s day.

Our perspective for the people who might be in need of some thankfulness has shifted this year. How long have we taken our teachers, bus drivers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, grocery store workers, healthcare workers, and so many other front-line workers for granted? We can deliver a huge boost of positive energy to them simply by expressing our gratitude. 

When you’re going through a difficult time, it’s important to honor your feelings. Honor your pain, hurt, confusion, anger, and fear. And adjust your perspective. Because even in the midst of the worst kinds of losses, there can be love and even laughter. And for that we can be grateful.

If you liked this, download your free guide: Mindset Reset Using the Emoji Technique

Are you a people pleaser? Has being busy and stressed out become a badge of honor you wear every day? Do you struggle with saying “no” to someone or something? Are there particular people in your life where “yes” comes flying out of your mouth before you even stop to think about what you actually want?

Most of us have been there too because generally speaking saying yes is easy. Saying no, well, that takes a little more courage!

In reality, saying yes all the time to please others is actually incredibly fake, builds resentment, and is a complete disservice to those you are saying yes to, when really you want to say no.

For some saying no comes easier than others. Studies have shown, women suffer from this more-so than men. Many of my ADHD clients describe themselves as “people pleasers.” Fear of saying no is real. The best way to avoid these fears is simply to say yes.

When you can’t say no, do you:

  • Fear being rejected or thought poorly of by others
  • Worry that the other person won’t like you anymore or badmouth you
  • Hold a belief that you are being selfish if you say no
  • Fear conflict with others
  • Want to be “nice” and seen as someone who contributes selflessly to others (even if you resent saying yes and contributing!)
  • Attach your self-worth to how many things you do for others
  • Allow other people’s priorities to become your own priorities (for reasons above)
  • Let others start to get used to you saying yes all the time, making finding your no even more challenging.
We have mostly been trained from a very young age that saying no is wrong or not okay. How many times did your parents get angry at you if you said no to doing something? Did you get sent to your room or grounded? Many of us have been stripped of our permission to say no from very early on.

So it’s no wonder that many of us have lost the art of saying no. But it’s not all bad news, because saying no is just like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. You can still train it back into shape!

Here are some tips that will help get your “no”-muscle back into shape so that you can focus on what matters to you and start prioritizing what you want for your life.  Read More