Is Your Routine Keeping You Unhealthy?

After a few weeks of celebrating the holidays with family, I’m back to blogging. While I fully enjoy time away from my normal routines, I also relish getting back into them; I find it’s easier to be balanced. Routines don’t have to own you, they can actually help you achieve goals or create lasting change.
If you decided to make some resolutions or changes for 2016 how are you doing with them? Routines will help. Even before you decided to create changes, you were in a routine. It was just a routine absent of the ingredients necessary for you to change. It was a routine that kept you in the place from which you decided you wanted something different.
The easiest examples relate to poor nutrition or lack of exercise. If you don’t eat well or get regular exercise you have routines that support these self-defeating behaviors. When you decide to change, you are simply creating new routines to help you reach your goals.
You are in routines of varying sorts every day. Which routines will you choose today? The ones that keep you stuck or the ones that lead to physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual and relational health?

3 Keys to Creating Change

There’s a voice in my head that sometimes tells me I’m not good enough.  Do you ever have that voice?  I’ve spent many years working on this piece.  Its many facets seem to show up in different areas of my life. I have been working on healing this negative voice facet by facet.  In my journey, I have found three keys that, when implemented, propel me toward success in my quest to heal, grow and move forward.
Anytime you want to create change in your life, a few ingredients must be present for you to succeed. This is not an exhaustive list, just the three I consider the most important.
Consistent – You must have consistency. If you are working on stopping an established habit or belief, you will need a plan that is carried out on a regular basis. Maybe one of your strategies for change includes starting each day reminding yourself of your goal, the reason you want to change the habit or belief, the good you will get out of it. It’s up to you to be consistent and look at your goals every day.
Transparent – You must be honest with yourself and others about what’s really going on for you. If you are trying to hide the very part of you that you want to change, you are not likely to have success. Get honest, get real and be transparent with trusted people, which leads to the next key:
Support – You will need people around you who are for you. These are not the people who you like to hang around because they tell you everything you want to hear. These are the kind of people who tell you the hard things, the truth. They also have your best interest in mind but not in a care taking, it-depends-on-them way; they care about you, they like you, they are willing to journey with you. Some of your support people might come in the form of a counselor, coach or mentor.
I can tell you from first hand experience, change is possible and it is incredibly rewarding!
I’m cheering you on!                                                                                                                                                                    Karen

Failing at Perfection?

While watching the Seahawks/Green Bay game last Sunday, a thought hit me.  These guys are the best in their division.  They train nearly every day to be the best.  They eat, sleep and breathe their profession.  Wouldn’t dedicating themselves to football result in perfect or nearly perfect games?  The obvious answer if you watched that game, or any for that matter, is no.  So, why do we expect perfection of ourselves when the professionals in any given field are not perfect?
Perfection is actually an unattainable achievement and yet we get really down on ourselves when we miss the mark on any goal or expectation we have.  Does beating yourself up help you do better?  Generally the answer is no.  There are always exceptions but eventually the exceptions implode.
So what is the goal or expectation you have missed that you are now beating yourself up?  Evaluate the goal or expectation.  Is it realistically achievable?  If you’re not sure ask a few trusted people what they think.  It might help to get some outside perspective.  If it is achievable, what is keeping you from reaching your goal?  Is it a negative belief about yourself along the lines of “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve to do well,” “I never reach my goals so why should I think it will happen now”?  Start by challenging the negative belief when you notice it.
Are you trying to reach a goal alone? It usually helps if we have others either joining us or encouraging us along the way.  Back to those trusted people in your life.  Invite them to be a part of your “team” cheering you along or maybe even joining you.  Don’t have trusted people in your life?  Find them!  We were not designed to live life in isolation.  Get involved in a group and find people you connect with and, over time, can trust.
Be gentle with yourself in this process.  We can be so hard on ourselves, expecting perfection, and when we miss the mark we berate ourselves.
If you are hitting walls in this area, meeting with a coach, counselor or support group could help.

Time to Defrag and Mapquest

When our computers get bogged down with junk, we can run a program to clean things up and enjoy quicker response times. What about our brains or our life? What can we do when we seem to be getting bogged down? There’s no program we can run to do it for us. We have to do it ourselves but how? Sometimes we simply hit pause and stop all activity for a few hours, a day, a week. I’m looking at that word, “simply”. Simply? How do we simply hit pause? If it is that easy, why don’t we do it regularly?
Life gets going really fast sometimes. You know those days when the moment you wake up you wonder how you’re going to get everything accomplished? We move from fire to fire putting out the flames of the tasks that are most demanding. At the end of the day, we still have a sense of, “There’s so much to do!” All those tasks seem so important we can’t imagine stepping away to take time to clear our minds. Yet, that is exactly what we need. Think about that slow computer. It may take awhile to defrag but in the end you have a system that operates with increased efficiency.
It helps if you have a plan. Where are you wanting to end up relationally, professionally, spiritually and physically? Bring in a trusted friend, advisor or coach to help you define your plan. It’s tricky to do this in a vacuum. Sometimes I think I would like to paint furniture. This sounds harmless but the problem is I’m not crafty. I can envision how I want something to look but it never turns out remotely like my vision and it’s not good. It just isn’t. I need people in my life who hear my plans and ask me, “Is that the best use of your time and talents? At the end of the day will you find fulfillment in that?”
Take some time each day to look at your to do’s. Are they in line with your plan? If you were looking at them on a roadmap, would they be part of the directions to get you from where you are now to where you want to be? I love programs like Mapquest that clearly show with a blue line the best route to get from where you are to a desired destination. I can see from a bird’s eye view which route is the fastest or the least expensive or sometimes even the most scenic. Once you plan out the best route, stick to it. Distractions pop up all the time. Look at them in relation to your plan. Do they fit in or are you going to be taking an expensive detour?
Life demands that we address certain tasks that may not seem in line with our goals. Laundry and cleaning appear to have nothing to do with my goals but they must be done and I do not have the income to pay someone else to do them for me. I realize having a clean house is calming for me and having clean clothes to wear helps me feel more confident, so they are actually helpful in getting me where I want to go. That knowledge helps me when I have to make time for them. I can see how they actually are part of my route.
There you go. Doesn’t that sound simple? OK, I know it’s not that easy but if you choose to be intentional about how you use your time, you will experience the joy found in getting where you want to go.