Hope Wissel, Recovery

How To Sparkle

sparkle

 

This week starts my first “official week” at the gym.  Last week was all about talking to people about my goals, setting up a personal trainer and getting a schedule in place…..  I actually put it in my planner so I don’t blow it off.

Despite my best efforts those inner gremlins have been trying to rear their nasty heads.  They still seem to hang around but are becoming weaker as I spend more time in recovery working the steps….

Let’s face it, we all have inner gremlins.  Have you ever wondered how you can prevent the “inner gremlin” of low self-esteem from creeping in and setting up camp?  Have you ever felt like “I’m not good enough”?  Have you ever thought “I can’t do that”?  Tidbits of negative beliefs creep in every day even when we least expect it.  Let me tell you, when the personal trainer said “one week we will be working in the pool”, I was ready to jump ship!  I was all of a sudden self-conscious about my “jiggle thighs”.  I was worried what people would think.  I wanted to shout “do you  know the last time I was in a pool or even put on a bathing suit????”  She saw the look I gave her.  She asked what my greatest fear was. Then she suggested shorts with a tank top to get over my “fear” of being seen in a bathing suit. Yup, in 3 weeks I will be doing exercises in the pool….

For some, they could quickly slam the door on those inner gremlins.  Others let the negative thought simmer for a moment before kicking it to the curb. Then there are some of us who let the negative thought of “I’m not good enough” ruin their entire day.  So where do you fall in the spectrum of stomping out this inner gremlin?  I will admit, I can fall into anyone of those places on any given day.

When self-doubt creeps in here are some tips which might help:

1. Remember “Life is perfectly imperfect”.

Strive for personal excellence instead of perfection.  I know, I should practice what I preach, right?  When we try to be perfect, we set ourself up for failure and Negative Nelly starts to creep in.  Look for YOUR personal best and when you reach it – CELEBRATE!  Recovery and MS has taught me so much about this.  I do  my best – I don’t (or at least try not to most days) compare myself to others.  Yes, I am going to  celebrate the fact I even getting in the pool.  I actually had a dream where the pool was one of my favorite things to do at the gym.  Don’t worry I will keep you posted.

2. Positive thinking is your decision.

Yes, you get to decide if you want to allow positive thinking to come to your rescue when negativity is banging on the door.  To turn things around… you must have faith, release the fear (let it go…. yes, you can sing the Frozen song if it helps), and focus on the solution. Positive thinking can improve any situation, no matter how awful it may appear.  The positive aspect of the pool (my focus) and going to the gym is to help my muscles stay strong to fight the MS AND drop a few pounds or at least tone up some.

3. Everyone makes mistakes!

Yes, EVERYONE! The real truth is mistakes teach us and allow us to grow. Mistakes are evidence we are trying and doing the best we can.  As we learn and grow from our mistakes, we begin to see more success in our life. Success takes work and mistakes are part of it.  There is a sign I pass every day in front of a local shop which says “We learn from our failures not our successes”.  Focusing on my relapse and what I “coulda, shoulda, woulda” had is not going to help.  I have learned MANY lessons, gotten a little older (okay a lot) and accept my mistakes.  Do you accept your mistakes or do you beat yourself up?

4. Be kind and gentle with yourself.

This has been one of the toughest things for me to learn!  I have to believe I am doing the best I can and so are you.  Your light is shining, no matter how small the flame.  Think of a flower garden – every flower blooms at it’s own pace and shows it’s unique beauty. Continue reaching for the light, and much like the flower, your life will come into bloom as well.  It may not happen as quickly as you (or I) want it but it will happen.

5. You deserve your own unconditional love and forgiveness.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”- Max Ehrmann

Letting go is not easy.  Some days it is easier for me because I can’t remember.  Hubby has always said it is God’s way of helping me forget some of the pain.  By letting go of bitterness, resentment and negative feelings; you can move to forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Forgiveness allows you to “love YOU no matter what”. It will lead you to more positive feelings of understanding, compassion and empathy, allowing you to embrace the experience.  On the days I LOVE me, all is right with the world.

6. You can’t always change things, but you can ALWAYS change the way you look at things.

This moment, this negative thought was created by a collection of past thoughts, words and actions.  The bottom line is times can get tough – but you need to believe you’re tougher. When I struggle to remember The Serenity Prayer helps to keep me in check:

When you believe you ARE good enough to create the life you desire, and you believe YOU ARE good enough to make it through any situation…….AMAZING things happen.  The way you look at things suddenly change, and before you know it, your reality positively changes with it.

Now, who said you’re not good enough? Have a blessed day!

Gives Program

Share the Love

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out? OR are you one of thousands who are single, thinking this is just a stupid celebration?UR Loved card

Whether you are in a relationship or not, today is all about LOVE…. in a relationship – GREAT!  Not in one, how about loving on yourself today.  

I am happily married BUT for many years, this day invited Negative Nelly to visit and often camp out for days.  I didn’t love myself, in fact on most days I didn’t even like me.  Years have passed, and I have learned to accept me for me.  Sure, there are days when I beat myself up but then I bless and release.

I celebrate the gift of love in my life…

The people who are there for me when the going gets tough.  The people who help me celebrate the milestones in my life – large and small.  The people who accept me for me. The ones who inspire and encourage me.  Some I see or talk to every day while others are part of my journey this season.  And even some are now gone, their season has passed.  Through it all, they loved me and I loved them for who we are and the difference we made in each other’s lives.

To day is the day I honor LOVE. Remember LOVE is an intense feeling with deep affection and we are meant to share it with others – family, friends or just a random act of kindness to a stranger.  I challenge you to put a smile on someone’s face to day.

In a random act of kindness, I am looking to share the love with some children who have been the silent victims of domestic violence…

Will you be a sponsor and help us to make a difference in the lives of a few children?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Progress Not Perfection?

Did you know….Perfectionism is mostly a women’s issue?  I can’t say I am surprised.  Think about it.  How often have you hesitated to move forward worried about everything being just right?

We want our ducks all lined up in a row…

Let’s be honest, they seldom line up in just the right way or the way we think they should be.  As a result we obsess over how we are doing at work, at home, in our relationships, with our weight, our hair, our kids. The end result is all of our JOY is gone.  There is no time to relax because we are busy putting those ducks in a row. Which means there’s always more work to do to make things just right.

Do you wear perfectionism like a badge of honor?  If you aren’t the one saying it, then I’m sure you know someone who has said it.  When you (or someone you know) want to embrace the “I’m a perfectionist.” badge, consider this:

Perfectionism is self-sabotage. It’s fear.

For many of us, perfectionism means we are motivated by hard-working, high quality and conscientiousness BUT the truth is our real motivator is FEAR!

Do you also consider yourself a procrastinator?  Do you claim to work better under pressure or you hesitate when trying to move forward? BINGO! Perfectionism is the reason why we procrastinate.  WHY?  We are trying to get all of those ducks in a row.  We keep moving forward fearing whatever we’ve done, will never be good enough.

So what is the worse thing that could happen?  Rejection. Disapproval. The disappointment of ‘failure.’  None of us like the thought of those words right?

What if you were to change the word “perfection” to “excellence”?  There is really a HUGE difference between the two words.  Excellence sets a high standard, but not so high it keeps you from moving forward. Perfectionism sets an improbable and often unobtainable standard which usually slows progress or brings it to a stop.  Excellence is a value, a way of life. Perfectionism is a judgement from a critical spirit which rarely, if ever, is satisfied.

How do you know whether you are in a  perfectionism or excellence mode?  It is an energy which you feel.  The energy of perfectionism is criticism, doubt, and discontentment. The energy of excellence is hope, possibility and growth. Excellence is about the journey to your destination – what you discover, how you grow, and who takes the journey with you.

Have you played the comparison game?  I have been there, done it and gotten (multiple) t-shirts.  So, if you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re operating in perfectionism. If you’re focused on being the best version of YOU, you’re operating in excellence.

You need to flip the switch when you feel the anxiety of perfectionism creeping in.  Flip from perfectionism to excellence with these questions:

  • What have I done well I can acknowledge and celebrate even if I feel like I’m “not ready yet” or “not done yet”?
  • What good thing could happen if I decided what I’ve done already is enough and move on to the next step?
  • What is my definition of “good enough”?
  • What would happen if instead of fearing my efforts are not good enough, I had the courage to believe I am good enough right now, today?
  • How could I have more fun while doing this?
  • How do I want to grow as a result of this task?

I challenge you this weekend to pick excellence over perfection so you can make progress.

I have found the weekends are tougher for me then during the week to flip the switch.  Crazy, right?  During the week, we have a routine (work, kids, etc) but on the weekend there is less structure.  Less structure usually means I am playing the woulda, shoulda, coulda game.  What about you?

Take a few minutes today so you can identify at least one way perfectionism has you stuck.  Flip the switch!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Gives Program, Throwback Thursday

Throwback: An Act of Kindness

No-Act-of-Kindness-Is-Wasted  This post first appeared in 2015..

Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just getting a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Weigh to Goal

Become a Quick Change Artist

Have I caught your attention?  I wanted to share with you a few tips I have picked up over the last few weeks at Weight Watchers which could bring immediate results.  No, there is not a magic wand BUT they are some simple suggestions for better living.

Last week, I edged up on the scale .4 pounds. I know, not a major thing but it brought me to tears.  Silly, right?  The truth was, I felt like the ANT (Automatic Negative Thoughts) were flooding in and taking over.  With the help of Michelle, I took some deep breaths and we talked about simple changes I could make…

#1 – More Protein….. are you a “just coffee” in the morning kind of gal?  I’m not sure when the switch happened but it seems like for years, I have just had a cup of coffee or two in the morning then nothing until about 11 or 12 when we have lunch.  I am now learning, I need to eat more protein to jump start my body in the morning.  So, as I am writing this – I have already had a hard boiled egg with my coffee and I am getting ready to snack on some almonds. What I love about this, is it is quick and easy with no mess.

#2 An apple a day may or may not keep the doctor away BUT if you eat an apple about 3PM, it will help with the mid-afternoon slump. Have you ever known anyone to fall asleep eating an apple? Okay, Snow White but it doesn’t count.  

#3 Wear your favorite color.  It can be you lipstick, a scarf, a dress, shoes or even your favorite purse/tote.  Don’t you feel better when you have your favorite color on?  I know I do.

#4 Office Snack Stash, do you have one?  This one could be a bit tougher but why not leave it with a coworker.  Why?  You will need to take a walk to get to the snack plus you get a break and some conversation during the day.  Built-in portion control, right?#5 Swap words to keep things positive.  Do you suffer with ANTs (Automatic Negative Talk)?  Why not change your words like “difficult” to “challenging” or “failure” to “temporary setback” or my favorite “impossible” to “just you watch me”.

#6 Surprise your Body with a change in activity.  I don’t necessarily mean hours at the gym unless you enjoy it.  I mean, make your physical activity more interesting for your muscles without taking more time.  What if you walked sideways or backwards (as long as someone is guiding you) to change things up?  Always walk a flat surface, why not try walking steps multiple times or find a hill to walk up and down?  Take the stair whenever possible to get those “other” muscles working.

#7 Have kids?  Do you make them follow rules for screen time or social media?  Why not try it yourself?  I know scary, right?  Limit your at-home device time to 30 minutes a day during the week and see how you can fill your new found free time.

#8 Find you Happy thought.….We all have a happy place we go to when things are stressful.  Now, it may not be the actually place but in our minds we go there, right?  Next time you catch yourself stressing about something, STOP and go to your happy place.  You will be surprised in the change it makes when you interrupt negative thoughts with a more positive daydream.

#9 What’s something you love but never really have time for?  Sitting down for breakfast? Going to the movies?  A mani-pedi? Drawing?  Take the time TODAY! What can you do today to bring it back into your life?

Will all of these things be the magic wand to losing weight? No but it will help us to have a better quality of life.  It is the little things we do each day to make a positive change in our lives and others which improve our mood and change our lives.

What are some of your “quick change” ideas?  We would love to hear them..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!