Stop trying to find yourself. Create the woman you want to be.

2013- Happy Family from Taking Action

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 5: All the World's a Stage; What Character are You?

Growing up around the theater I had heard the expression "All the world's a stage" numerous times. Just recently it dawned on me that there are a variety of meanings that you can put with that statement. Take a few moments to really consider your life story on the stage of the world's theater. What story is being told? You are the main character. Do you think anyone cares about your character? I do. The question I'm asking myself right now is- do I like the character I am showing to the world?

As a fiction writer I have to understand my characters. This means knowing how they move, what they would wear, what they would say and how they would react to the things around them. The other day I looked in the mirror and realized that I am completely distanced from the character my actions and body shape portray. The person looking back at me in the mirror  was a frumpy, miserable, angry, tired-looking woman. That's not the character/person that I thought I was. It is not the one I want to be.

This was no more prominent than a few weeks ago when I went on a job interview. I dressed my best. My hair and makeup were perfect. I felt confident and my posture and disposition proved how good I felt about myself. I accomplished great things that day, including landing the job. AND I felt pretty awesome. No yelling or losing my temper. Not even crazy bumper to bumper traffic could turn me into a raving lunatic. THIS was the character I was meant to play. This "Throw anything at me right now because I can tackle the world" character.

And just like that *insert snap of fingers here* the old frumpy woman appeared the next day. What happened? How did she come back so soon? To be honest, it's because permanent change is a pain in the butt. It's not something that happens overnight. Being someone else for a day is easy. BECOMING the person you truly want to be takes time and effort. So you with me?

Time to ask yourself if your clothing, hair, body and makeup match the character you want to be. Take a long look in the mirror at the average, everyday you. Do you look like more like Patricia Heaton, Dana Delany, or Rosanne Barr? Who do you want to look like?

Take charge of carefully creating the character you want to be in your own life. Keep reading your goals everyday. Take the necessary daily steps to mold the person you are destined to become.

Want to join the 100 Day Challenge? Start here.

We Interrupt Your Irregularly Scheduled Posts

I have a confession. This post is dated for only one day after the last one. I'm doing this to let you know that although I've been creating posts in my head they haven't been making it onto the blog. Why? Um, because I fell off my 100 day challenge wagon. Who am I kidding? I fell off, cracked my head, rolled down the hill, hit a slope-shaped boulder and catapulted into the nearby ravine. Upon landing in the water I proceeded to flail about insanely hoping to be rescued and no one noticed. That's when I realized that the water was only hip deep and I had to get my own butt out of the water by crawling up onto the grassy shore.

So starting today I am back on dry land and will be posting all of those awesomely amazing blog posts to help motivate those women (and men) out there who struggle with balancing homemaking and their sense of self. I will be back dating all of them so that anyone coming into this part way can start from day 1 and go straight through to day 100 without wondering what the hell happened in between.

Without further ado (and in the words of Linguine the chef from Ratatouille) I say "Let's do this thing!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love; Love Will Keep Us Together-Day 4

Let me preface this post by explaining a little bit. A few bloggers I know choose a word to represent their motto/goal for the year. After a great deal of prayer and meditation I have came to rest on LOVE. 

There's a saying that until you learn to love yourself you cannot love others. I also believe that until you love yourself you cannot truly BE loved by others.
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 What does love really mean?

  • Patience: When you truly feel love for yourself and those around you it is possible to step outside your own circumstances and have compassion for what others are going through. This means when that cashier at the store is super slow you stop and think maybe a member of their family just died or maybe they have a painful condition. If your 5 year old still can't find their shoes then you will stop and think of how to help them find them now and how to remember them later.
  • Kindness: People are often in such a hurry to get things done that they forget to show kindness to those around them. What do you consider true kindness?
  • Selflessness: I'm not talking about sacrificing yourself. I'm talking about having a servant's heart when doing tasks for family and friends. Instead of thinking horrid thoughts while doing laundry or cooking, you think about how you are blessing those around you with clean clothing and a wonderful meal.
  • Thoughtfulness: Thinking beyond the everyday and remembering the little things.
  • Resisting being rude: If you are loving yourself and those around you then you aren't thinking "Just shut up already." or "I'm so stupid."
  • Not being irritable: Connecting in love allows you to let go of being angry.
  • Able to believe the best in people: You stop dwelling on the mistakes that you have made and that others around you have made and look for a fresh start.
  • Not jealous: When you love yourself you let go of why don't you have or why you aren't like others. You accept yourself for who you are and where you are in your life.
  • Make a good impression: Loving yourself makes you want to put your best foot forward and always show that love to others.
  • Unconditional: Love perseveres regardless of weight, economic status, or marital status.
  • Cherishes: This isn't just a term for marriage. You must also cherish yourself.
  • Let others win: You don't have to be first all of the time.
  • Delight in life: Knowing true love in your heart frees you to be truly happy.
  • Honorable: You are able to do what is right with ease and grace when you have real love.
  • Intercedes with prayer: Love is about praying for your loved ones problems not hounding them about changing.
  • Promotes intimacy: Using your heart to lead you with real love helps you to connect at a deeper level with your loved ones.
  • Seeks to understand: You want to find out the whys instead of looking to place blame.
  • Spiritually motivated: You must be connected to your spirit in order to find real love.
  • Faithful: You honor your beliefs and your commitments. Love does not allow you to back down from your responsibilities.
  • Peace: This is something that cannot be attained successfully without having real love.
  • Protects: You are able to protect yourself and your family from spiritual attacks as well as from the emotional damage that can happen when you come into contact with hateful, mean and virtually evil people.
  • Forgives: You cannot hold onto a grudge if your heart is overflowing with love. This includes issues you've had with yourself.
  • Responsible: No hiding, no ignoring issues. You face things head on.
  • Encourages: You are content with yourself so you are able to encourage those around you to be a better them.
  • Brings unity: Loving yourself attracts others to you. You are then able to share that love and create a bond that no other emotion can.
These are only a few things that I could think of. Are you ready to love yourself through the changes? Are you ready to love yourself for where you are right now?

Bonus idea: If you have been feeling empty or alone try looking for one way to be kind everyday. This can be forgiving yourself for not completing your schedule, giving your family extra hugs, or giving something away to a complete stranger.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming-Day 3

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 I love the movie Finding Nemo. It is a testament to courage, adventure and perseverance in the face of life altering circumstances. 

Have you already started to get discouraged? Don't let yourself get into the mindset of "Well, I've only completed half (or less than half) of my daily to-do list so I should quit."

When babies start to walk they fall down A LOT at  the beginning. Do they give up? No. They get up and try again until that seemingly elusive moment happens. This needs to be your attitude about change. Take each day and even each hour as it comes. This goes back to keeping your focus. It takes 21-30 days to create new habits. Permanent change requires that you get rid of the old habits and you make new ones. 

Think of Dory from Finding Nemo when you are tired or discouraged. Regardless of what situation she finds herself in, Dory recites in a little sing-song voice, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."

Bonus idea: Look back over the day and determine where things fell apart. Was it anything that could have been prevented? If so, how? Perhaps you should have planned better for the day or overslept. How could you change your schedule or how could you have handled things better?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop Using Your Crystal Ball-Day 2

While we are working towards a future goal there is often a glitch. The problem is that often we spend so much time looking into the future that we forget to concentrate on today. It's the elusive "I'll be happy when ."
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Live for today and not for the future. Exercising your action plan TODAY is what is going to get you to where you want to be. Live moment to moment. If this is the hour you are suppose to exercise or help your kids with their homework; then let your entire body and mind be focused on THAT. Don't let your mind wander to the bills or housework or even what you are suppose to do next.

Live with a timer if necessary. Designate X amount of time to accomplish a task and put 100% of effort into that task. When the timer goes off it's time to switch your focus.

Bonus idea: Don't get overwhelmed with any task. Spend 15 minutes of non-stop action at a fast-paced speed to finish those dishes or that pile of laundry or any other task that may seem daunting. Even 15 minutes a day cleaning the bathroom leaves you with a sparkling bathroom.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Steps are Key-Day 1

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 You have your goals written down and you are all set to get started. Hopefully you have your goal set for the end of the week. Did you break down this week's goals into daily steps? If not, then you may find the day getting away from you and your goals fading into the distance. 

Stop what you are doing and look at this week's goals. Name two things you can complete on a daily basis to get you closer to each of your goals. An example would be to exercise for 15 or 30 minutes a day if you are trying to get healthy. If you want to save money then plan out your meals and spend a little extra time preparing them earlier in the day if needed.

Write each of these steps down so that you have the continual visual reminder. Put this list with your goals sheet. Read over them first thing in the morning and before bed. You are already reading your 100 day goals during this time so an extra 5 minutes won't be a problem.

Bonus idea: Keep a journal and jot down a few thoughts about how the day went. This can be a few sentences or just key words about how you felt each day. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Planning 101: 100 Day Life Challenge

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It's really hard to get ANY where if you have no idea where you are going. What are the immortal words that are plastered on numerous inspirational posters? Failing to plan is planning to fail.

So in preparation for the 100 Day Life Challenge we are going to use the weekend to really understand where we're going. I have divided life into seven separate categories and created goals for each of them. You don't have to do this but I thought it would be helpful so that you can truly narrow down what you want to work on.

Get out a notebook and start jotting down how you would change your life in the following areas:

  • Spiritual-Are you secure in your spiritual walk? Do you have true peace about your beliefs? Do you spend time daily connecting with your spirit, your God, or the universe?

  • Career-Are you looking to work outside the home for the first time in years? Maybe you want to find a work-at-home job. Maybe your current career is stagnant and you are ready for a change.

  • Marriage-Ask yourself how happy are you in your marriage. Are you content, happy, or simply comfortable? Maybe you're miserable. It's up to you if you want to change it.

  • Family-Are you teaching your children the basic skills they need to live on their own? Are you happy with the amount of time you spend together or are you lacking?

  • Home-Your home should be a refuge for you and your family to escape from the outside world. Are you happy to come home or does the chaos and clutter in your home make you sad or overwhelmed?

  • Health-You should eat to live, not live to eat. Ask yourself if you are eating foods that are going to fuel your body so you can do the activities you love or if you are making your body into a waiting heart attack. Are you at your optimal level of health in size and weight or are you unhappy with your body?

Not Just Wishful Thinking
In order to make these goals actually become reality there are a few steps you have to follow. Hitting your goals is like hitting the target during an archery contest. You must find the target, aim your arrow and shoot. The chances of you hitting the center of the target the first time up are slim. As a matter-of-fact, you may not even hit the target at all. You have to learn the right way to hold the bow and release the arrow. THEN you have to learn how to account for any outside influences that will effect the outcome of where your arrow will land. This can be anything from noise to wind to an obstruction that moves only long enough to sneak an arrow through. Are these obstacles or challenges going to stop you from doing your best to get the arrow in the center of the target? Without learning and practicing the proper steps you will almost never hit the bulls-eye. Meeting personal goals are no different.

Create SMART Goals (and write them down)
Some of you may have read about SMART goals before but a refresher never hurts.

  • S-Specific. You cannot say "I want to lose weight." or "I want to be rich." Write down how much you want to weigh or how much you want to earn this year.
  • M-Measurable. What does being rich or successful mean to you? Maybe being successful in your marriage means you have a standing weekly date night or that you renew your wedding vows. If you can't measure it then you aren't being specific enough.
  • A-Attainable. If you only finished high school then completing college in the next 100 days is impossible. Pick something that is reasonable for you. Someone that is a couch potato cannot expect to run a marathon within a month.
  • R-Realistic. Again this goes back to taking into account your current lifestyle and the demands on your time matched with our 100 day time goal.
  • T-Timely. This is where your current situation and how much you are willing and able to put into (in this case) the next 100 days.

Once you have written down your SMART goals for the next 100 days you will need to read over them every morning when you get up and every night before you go to bed. This helps keep them fresh in your mind and reminds you to stay focused throughout the day.

Breaking the Elephant Down
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So take your goals list and break it down into manageable steps. Start with the ultimate 100 day goal and work your way backwards.
Example: If your objective is to lose 30 pounds in 100 days you must lose just over 2 pounds a week. You will need to reach 15 pounds lost by the 50 day mark and 7-10 pounds at the 25 day mark. In order to make this happen what steps should be taken each week? Take the weekly goals and break them into daily steps. I would aim for 1-2 daily steps for each of your goals. Read over these steps in the morning with your goals list and read over tomorrow's steps with your goals list at night.

Whether you use a notebook or a blog to record your goals and the steps to reach them, your rate of success increases exponentially if you write them down and study them daily. Are you up for the challenge?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You an Honest Frugalite?

We are all trying to save an extra buck here and there. Couponing is becoming fashionable and you are no longer considered an outcast if you shop for clothes at thrift stores.

My question for you guys is do you tell little white lies in order to get out of paying more? After researching various blogs and forums I've come to realize that honesty and saving money are not simply black and white. There are a lot of grey areas that people love to argue about and express their opinion. For instance, do you tell the cashier at the movie theater that your 4 year old is actually only 3 so that you don't have to pay for an extra ticket? Maybe you do the same for the kid's menu at a restaurant? Or maybe you cram extra people into a hotel room in order to not have to buy another room. I confess that I have purchased candy from the dollar store and "snuck" it into the theater so that I don't have to pay $3+ per box for candy.
At one time I thought this was harmless. I mean the movie theater makes a ton of money so why do they need mine? I also allowed my then 10 year old to sign up for some games sight using their name but my birthday because they had to be 13 to join the site. It seemed harmless enough at the time.

Little White Lies and Our Kids
Here's the problem. These little white lies are teaching our kids that it's okay to lie as long as "it's not hurting anyone" and YOU DON'T GET CAUGHT. Yes that is what it says. Come on. How embarrassed would you be if you told the movie cashier your kid was 3 only to have your child tell them "I'm  four."? Honest answers ladies. You would be mortified to be caught in the lie. Do you really want your kids to think it's okay to break the rules or lie to ANYONE as long as no one gets caught?

My Revelation
When I truly sat down and thought about this I realized that I want my kids to do the right thing regardless of whether anyone is watching or not. I want them to be able to do whatever is required of them without thinking twice as to what they should do. To be completely open with all of you, I have had the problem of little white lies (and some great big ones) for as long as I can remember. This has gotten me in a great deal of trouble in life and has caused great rifts in relationships with my family and my husband. The biggest problem was that I was so good at it that small things became good things. But I learned early on that as long as you don't get caught then you're fine. Guess what? That's not the case. I am just now, in my mid-30s, relearning how to be completely honest with the people around me. This is really hard and sometimes I have to catch myself from going back into old patterns.

Something to Think About
Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish money-wise, saving money is never a good excuse to "fudge the truth". Being honest with those around you and with yourself is one of the best way's to insure that your finances and your family relationships will flourish to their utmost potential.

What have you done to save money that made you think twice later?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year, New 100 Day Life Challenge

All right, who's ready to make this the best year of your life? Are you ready to see true progress this year? I'm officially launching the next 100 Day Life Challenge for 2012.

Why Join the 100 Day Life Challenge?

Accountability and Motivation

We've all started off a new year with a laundry list of resolutions only to crash and burn within the first month. I'm just as guilty as the next person. You have the greatest of intentions only to be taken down by a hectic schedule or that piece of chocolate cake calling you from the refrigerator. 

Ask yourself why you continually make the same resolutions year after year and never seem to reach that goal. Is it from lack of dedication, lack of desire, lack of support, or knowing that no one else knows what your goals are so no one will know if you quit?
Numerous studies show that it takes 21-30 days to create a habit. Did you know that a great deal of failure is due to not being able to create new habits? The hardest thing we ever do is to change the habits that we have created over years or even decades. 

But if we know that someone is going to hold us accountable, to be ready to praise our every success and push us to follow through when we "just don't wanna" then new habits are a little easier to accomplish. This is where the 100 day life challenge comes into play.

I want to help all those moms out there find their goals and actually reach them. I'll be posting on here and on Facebook. You can join me by leaving comments on posts or on our Facebook page to help lend support to one another. Your community just got a little bigger. This challenge will help you look at your goals a little differently and maybe even inspire you to do more!

Get Support
Get daily inspiration and challenges to help you meet your goals. I'm even going to post a few videos for those of you that get tired of reading and reading.

Rally your friends online and off to help you change your habits.

Have a community of women to offer advice on being true to yourself and your goals.

Forming Friendships and Feeling Connected
When you join a challenge of any kind you are joining a group of like-minded people. In this case you are connecting with women/moms looking to make their life and themselves better over the next 100 days. Learn from others that have "been there". Gain camaraderie with women who are in similar circumstances to your own. Find a different viewpoint or learn tips on how to deal with your situation differently.

How Much Does it Cost Me?
Time and effort. As for money, it’s absolutely FREE!  I'm not going to try to sell you something or ask for anything in return. Okay, let me rephrase. I am asking that you give it your all. I ask that you honestly attempt the challenges for the next 100 days. You would be amazed at what can be accomplished!

So if you're up for the challenge then chime in on the comments and join our Facebook page (the link is on the right side-bar). Pre-planning will take place on Friday, January 13. After all, you can't reach a goal if you don't know what it is.