Unclutter Your Life

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!

Unclutter Your Life

Assert Yourself…

What do you think of when you think of someone who is “assertive”? Assertion is simply expressing yourself in a honest, straightforward way which helps you get what you need.  It shows respect for yourself and others.  So, why do we have such a hard time with it?  Why does it have such a negative connotation?

This was a recent topic at my Weight Watcher‘s meeting.  This people pleaser tends to have a hard time with being assertive when it comes to anything but food.  I can easily tell you what food I can and can’t have but when it comes to anything else – I am as timid as a church mouse not wanting to hurt other’s feelings.  I rocked being assertive when I was early in my recovery then somewhere along the lines, those nasty inner gremlins creeped in again.

Being assertive is not being aggressive although we tend to lump the two of them together.  We worry when we assert ourselves people won’t like us.  We allow others needs to outweigh our own (those people pleasing gremlins).  Honestly, I think this is a skill (yes, it is a skill) I never really learned.  The reality is, once you master being assertive in an effective way, you will be able to let go of the fear of coming on too strong.

Think about situations where you wish you would have been assertive.  Maybe it was saying “no” to a piece of cake or to adding another thing on your to do list.  Maybe it was simply making time for YOU in the course of a crazy busy day or week.  For me, it is usually about putting everyone and everything before what I would like.  Yup, the proverbial people pleaser.

Being able to respectfully but firmly express feelings and ask for support helps us in so many ways – staying on plan to reach our weight loss goal, overcoming an eating disorder, finding time to exercise, building our business or beating an addiction.  When we learn how to advocate for ourselves and NOT put others’ needs and feelings first, we are more in control of our lives.  We are in a better position to reach our goals, whatever they may be.

I love the DESC model (now I just need to practice it) when it comes to asking for support, or getting someone to stop (or start) something or simply asking what you need.

DESCRIBE: 

First, you need to describe the behavior you want changed.  For example “You watch TV and I have to do the dishes after dinner so I don’t have time to get in a walk”.  What is the behavior you would like someone in your life to change?

EXPLAIN:

Now you need to explain the effect this behavior is having on you.  Okay, here is where I either get emotional or worry about saying the wrong thing.  For example, “I end up not getting in my walk most days of the week”.  Short and sweet.  No need for a lang drawn out explanation.  “Just the facts Dano”…. am I showing my age?  LOL.

SPECIFY:

Now is the big step….specify what you want or need to get the behavior to change.  This is where you ask for what you want.  Not demand but present a possible solution.  For example, “Would you please do the dishes Monday, Wednesday and Friday after dinner so I can walk for 20 minutes?”.  Seems harmless right?  If you don’t ask, you will never know what the other person is thinking.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) mind reading is not in our genes.

CONSEQUENCES:

Clearly state the consequences for you or how it is going to help you.  This is when I have to overcome the inner gremlin which says “you are selfish” or “it’s all about you”.  For example, “I’ll be able to walk three more times than usual and it’ll help me reach my FitPoints goal”.

My challenge to you this week is to identify a situation where being more assertive could help you get what you need then use the DESC model to practice being assertive.  

Thank you Weight Watchers for this lesson which can be applied to all areas of our lives.  Would love to hear how it went, share your success or your challenge with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Hope Wissel

Are You Afraid to Say “No”?

Do you know what day it is?  It is WOOHOO Wednesday which means it is HUMP Day.  Today is when we take time for us.  Whether it is celebrating an accomplishment (large or small) or practicing some self-care or learning to step out of our comfort zone – it is all about becoming the YOU who YOU want to be.

The hardest word for me to say is “no”?  What about you?  I don’t mean the times when you have a scheduled conflict, I mean those times when you really don’t want to go or to do the requested task.  Do you get so anxious about saying “no”, you end up going against your better judgment and saying “yes” or just avoiding the conversation altogether?

I have been there more times then I care to count.  The proverbial people pleaser in me is learning to be more comfortable with the word “no”.  It could be because I am learning to “go for the no” in my business without taking it personally or maybe I am just feeling more confident in who I am.  Either way, I like the change.

Here are a few ways to help you when you really want to say “no”.

1. “Let me think about it.”

Sometimes, we’re just not sure we want to say “yes.”  Maybe it doesn’t feel right or it is a request you need to really think about.  Why don’t we just say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.” This may be tough at first if you usually say “yes” much too quickly and then end up regretting it.  This statement can and should then become a habit.  It will give you some breathing space to process the request and build the courage to be honest in your response. Then, if the answer is “no,” one of the next three statements can be your follow up.

2. “That’s not going to work for me.”

Whether it is a conflict in your schedule or a conflict in values, “that’s not going to work for me” is a boundary-setting statement.  Of course my problem is I usually follow it up with an explanation, but the truth is there is no need to explain.  This statement indicates your decision is about your needs and/or boundaries.  If the request can be negotiated, it lets the person know the only way to get a “yes” is for them to adjust the request to meet your needs.  If they really want you to do something, they will adjust and ask again.  Saying this statement takes some practice.

3. “I wish I could say yes.”

Are your riddled with guilt by saying no?  Are you afraid the person will be upset with you?  Yup, I tend to fall prey to all of those things.  So, when you feel bad about saying “no,” you could say this statement.  It lets the person know you want to be able to help, but you simply can’t.  Of course, this could also lead to some negotiating from the person requesting so be prepared.

4. “No.”

Again, every time you say “no”, it doesn’t require an explanation. Try a simple, “Thanks, but no thanks,”.  How many times has your “no”  turned into a “yes” due to a long explanation?  Why not try saying “no” then stop yourself from saying anything else. No really is a complete sentence – event if we don’t think so.

Remember when the situation arises where you need to say “no,” tell the truth and just say “no”.  You need to trust things will unfold as they should.

So, where are you saying “yes” way too often and as a result getting overwhelmed?   What is the worse case scenario if you say “no”?  Is it really as bad as we make it out to be in our heads?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

Secrets to Success  

success

Do you know what today is?  YUP, it is HUMP Day. Halfway to the weekend.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working on personal development in an effort to grow my business.  I know it probably sounds crazy to some BUT I am finding when I grow personally, I am blessed in both my personal life and my business.  I set up a morning routine which includes checking off those things I felt were absolutely necessary to be consistent (plus they are usually the things I let slip by or forget to do).

Here are some tips I have implemented based on the suggestions of other successful people:

Unknown1) They wake up early.

The early bird catches the worm, right?  I committed to waking up early.  Since the onset of health issues, early for me is 6 or 6:30AM so I can take the LONG commute (down the stairs) to be in the office by 7AM.  Why?  Because it allows me to get things done. By getting in the office by 7AM, I am able to put in at least 2 hours (or more) of uninterrupted work which makes all the difference in the world as I attack the rest of the day.  When I worked in the non-profit world, this was my key to success.  Arriving before staff came in to ensure I could clear my head before the craziness of the day.  I believe it was this routine which helped me to move up the ladder from volunteer to a Chief Operating Officer.  So, why would I not do it in my own business, right?   I challenge you to start waking up early everyday!

2) Say “No” often.

I am still working on this one since I have alway been the proverbial “people pleaser”. I am learning how to evaluate every request when it comes to my time and my business.  With every request you have to ask yourself is this going to help me get to my end goal. If the answer is “no” it’s likely you need to answer “no”. Of course there are always exceptions.  When you know your goal, it is easier to do this.

planner pic3) Plan ahead of time.

Every successful person plans ahead. Guaranteed. They have a clear path to get to their end goal.  They only veer from the path if the plan needs adjusting because their results aren’t going as planned. They know how to stick to their plans and pivot when needed.  I will admit this one is tough for me but I am working on it.

4) Be consistent.

This is a challenge for me all areas of my life.   When I plan, consistency becomes much easier.  I find it is easier to be consistent in my business which tends to then roll over into my personal life.

goal5) Set goals and see them through.

Goal seeing it not one of my strong points.  I think it has more to do with fear of not succeeding then anything else.  I also tend to play the comparison game and worry about how I measure up to others.  Having an accountability partner and setting small goals every day is helping.   The key is to set your goals, write them down and follow a plan to achieve them.  Everyone’s goals are different and so is the route they take to achieve them! Set them anyway, make a plan and be consistent.

6) Ignore what others are doing.

Do you always check to see what others are doing? Do you spend countless hours on Facebook reading posts, trying to figure out how to get ahead? I was amazed to find out successful people don’t do this – they just don’t care what others are doing.  They have their blinders on and their heads down focused on their goal. They have a plan and are consistently working it.

Those who are successful aren’t following the crowd, they are continuing to learn new things.  Once they learn something new, they figure out how it can be used to help them reach their individual goals.  Whatever your goal, are you willing to invest some time into learning how to make it happen?  Whether it is reaching your goal weight, having a successful business, or reaching the top in your field – it all is achieved when we are willing to invest in ourselves.

What is your best tip for success?  Please share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

How Often Do You Say “I’m Sorry”?

16142225_10158214267640220_190293698090786954_nI have to be honest, I never really thought about how often I say this word, until someone flat out asked me “What are you sorry for?”  The truth was, I didn’t know why.  It had become a habit over the years as I dealt with my Adjustment Disorder and became a “people pleaser“.  I’m not talking about when you are truly sorry for something YOU did;  I’m talking about when we apologize for things we had no control over.  Be honest, I am not alone, right?

I started observing people around me and I noticed the word “sorry” is thrown around like wildfire, for the littlest things. But why do we do it?

As you can guess, women are more prone to over-apologizing than men. There are actually some valid reasons according to researchers.  The main reason is women are more attuned to other people’s feelings which leads us to apologize for circumstances out of our control.

If you feel like you are saying sorry too much and don’t know why, here are some tips I am using to help me stop!

#1 – Are you avoiding conflict?

Do you find yourself apologizing for not liking someone else’s point of view?  Are you worried the other person may be upset by your point of view so you instantly apologize?  Everyone is absolutely entitled to their own opinion and there is NO need to apologize.   

The proverbial people pleaser in me wants everyone to be happy.  Is it going to happen? NO!!! I have been practicing embracing my point of view and attempting to have an invigorating discussion. Since dealing with the memory issues of MS, these kinds of discussions are a struggle but debating on topics which interest me seem to stir the cobwebs which is a good thing.

I am big on writing, as if you couldn’t tell, so I have started writing down the answers to these three questions about saying sorry so much: #1 What is making me say sorry?; #2 – Why?; and #3 – Where does it keep happening?. Then I can figure out how to fix it?  This gives us a pattern so we can change our actions.

#2 Do you have self-image issues?

When I share my past and how I have struggled with a poor self-image for years people are shocked.  Despite years of counseling and life changes, those inner gremlins hide for awhile but they are never really gone forever.  Believe it or not, sometimes when we say sorry, it is a reflection on how we view ourself. OUCH!!

The more confidence we have in ourself, the more confidence we have in what comes out of our mouth.  When I am feeling confident, sorry is seldom a word I say EXCEPT when it is actually something I did and need to apologize for.  I have not found a magic wand to wave for instant confidence or believe me, I would be sharing it with everyone.   Working on your confidence and self-image will naturally stop you from apologizing for everything.  Take it from one who knows.

#3 Do words fly out faster than you think?

If you find yourself over-apologizing, try to figure out whether you actually did something (or said something) wrong.  If you are like me, words fly out of your mouth faster than you think.  The old saying “open mouth, insert foot” was written for me.  I am trying to step back,  slow down my thoughts and think before I say something.  I know, it is easier said than done sometimes.  What often happens is the way I express the thoughts instead of the actual words.  Something I meant as a joke, others take seriously.  Something I say seriously, others laugh out.  You get the picture, right?

If saying sorry has become second nature and is easily said – STOP yourself before the word comes out of your mouth.  Consider if what you are saying sorry for is actually something you need to say at all.  I admit, it will be difficult in the beginning, but it will come with time.

Remember, you are not alone, LOADS of people are like you. Myself included. The main thing is you deserve better, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it either.  We usually feel worse after, right?  I have been told for years I am my own worse enemy so it is time for us to join together to combat the need to say sorry?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!