Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel

One Word Not a Resolution

In looking back over the last year, I realized in all of the craziness I forgot about my “word”.  Honestly, I don’t even remember what it was for 2020.  Life got away from me – COVID, recovery, selling our condo, buying our new forever home, settling in and living life with hubby in retirement.  A whirlwind of a year which is coming to an end….So, I’m planning 2021.

It is just a few days before Christmas and already some are looking forward to the new year.  There are hopes of a better year, for some type of normal to return to our lives.  For some, this has brought up the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, right?  Most people usually pick a resolution by a problem which has plagued them (sometimes for years) and vow to change it.  Has it worked for you in the past?  I know it never did for me.  Here is usually how it goes:

January – motivated, committed and on track to keep resolution

February – some motivation, mostly on track

March – motivation gone and Resolution forgotten

Does this sound like you?  Well, in 2012 my Director with Thirty One asked us to pick a word for the upcoming year. It was the first year, I tried it and it worked!  My word was  FAITH:  Faith to believe when the way is rough and faith to hang on when the going is tough.  faith will never fail to pull us through and bring us strength and comfort too. Helen Steiner Rice. 

That one word got me through so much during the year….FAITH helped me when business was slow.  FAITH helped me to step outside my comfort zone to grow my business.  FAITH helped me to stay on track with Weight Watchers.  FAITH helped me to overcome doubt and when I took on a part-time job.  FAITH got me through as hubby suffered congestive heart failure.  FAITH got me through when fear gripped my heart at the thought I might lose him. FAITH gave me strength when Rob had oral surgery.  FAITH kept me calm as I overcame my fear of dentists.  My FAITH grew each day as I sought God’s guidance before I made major decisions in my personal and business life.  My FAITH has got me through.  Each year after, I selected a word. Some years I was more focused then others either way, I was blessed in so many ways.

This “One Word” experiment moved me from the long list of changes to ONE WORD.  It helped me to take all my big plans, narrow them down into a single focus and create a vision.   When things got tough, when Doubtful Debbie and Negative Nellie visited; I went back to my ONE WORD and gained focus.  It wasn’t always easy but it helped me focus on the goals I had for the year.  Notice I didn’t say resolutions, I said goals.  I am still praying on my word for 2021.  I know God will nudge me in the direction I need to go.  This ONE word will be my guide as I strive for the goals I have for 2021 in my personal, and business life.

What will your ONE WORD for 2021 be?  Or are you still in the “resolution list” mode?  Either way, share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

How To Make the Most Of Thanksgiving

As I start thinking about Thanksgiving, I am filled with A LOT of mixed emotions.  Growing up, it was a day filled with football games (Neptune vs Asbury), family and lots of food.  Then, life changed and I don’t really remember much of the time between family gatherings and being a mom.  I know we celebrated but they are some of the memories lost in my brain.  Then came Belinda and recovery.  Reuniting with my dad and the other side of the family.  Thanksgiving was one of the two holidays which were “dad” holidays.  This year, is filled with LOTS of emotions.  I am celebrating eighteen months clean and blessed to be having TWO thanksgivings.  Hubby took Wednesday off so we will celebrate with mom on Wednesday and then Thanksgiving Day with Patti and the crew.  I’m sure I will cry lots of tears.  Sad Belinda will again not be home for the holidays and for those who are no longer with us (definitely going to miss Dad’s mashed potatoes.)

The best advice I can give it to take time out to truly appreciate this special day of thanks.  Here are some tips to make this year’s Thanksgiving the most festive and fun-filled yet.

1. Plan ahead for the day you want

It sounds simple, but your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Maybe you envision a formal Thanksgiving dinner complete with centerpieces, nameplates and an elegant menu. If that’s your plan, spell it out ahead of time. If you want potluck, paper plates, jeans and football, plan it and let people know. Share your desires openly with family, i.e. “I hope you will stay all day so we can have lots of time together”—to create the day you want.

2. Think about timing

It may sound like a no-brainer, but the timing of your dinner can impact the entire day. If you call your mealtime too early, you might get stressed with the-time crunch of meal prep (unless you’ve done most of it in the days before). Some like to eat later in order to enjoy appetizers and the anticipation of the holiday meal all day. Or maybe you have guests who are going to be glued to a particular football game during the day. Growing up dinner was always at 5PM, it gave everyone time to get home from the game, rest and be ready to eat since mom-mom very seldom let us in the kitchen to help (or at least I don’t remember her letting us).  Be sure to consider all of these variables and plan accordingly.

3. Relax your expectations

When I have company, this is the toughest thing for me to do!  Without dwelling on it, acknowledge something will likely go wrong with your day, but that’s OK. A quirky uncle might say something, well, quirky. Someone might not show up who said they would. If you want to have the best possible holiday, roll with the punches. (Rest assured: No one’s Thanksgiving is perfect.)

4. Set up a kids’ table

LOL.  A random memory of when we had family dinners at our house.  The kids table was ALWAYS in the kitchen but close enough to the dining room.  I know this isn’t the kin of table they are talking about but it was a great random memory.  How about letting the kids help make construction-paper place mats for their special table. It’s fun for kids to eat away from the adults, and you are likely to hear lots of giggles, too.  We still have two tables when we eat Thanksgiving – one in the dining room and one in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many little ones (yet) to have kids and adults at separate tables.

5. Take a moment to observe

Take a moment during the festivities to stop doing and just notice what is happening all around you. Watch your family as an observer; what do you see? When we stop scurrying around in host (or guest) mode, we can absorb our blessings: family, friends, a nice home, good food, our health, a break from work, laughter and more. When you stop to pay attention, we enjoy the day more fully and create vivid memories.  This has been one of the greatest gifts of recovery…. being present in the moment!

6. Take a walk

So much food, so many people, so much indoor time—you could really use a little fresh air to slow your day down and take a moment to breathe in the crisp air. Walking after a big meal wakes you up and helps you digest. Even if it’s cold, bundle up and enjoy your holiday with a brisk walk.

7. Don’t clean up right away

Thanksgiving dinner can take hours to prepare, and if you start cleaning up as soon as your meal is finished, when do you actually get to enjoy it? Cleaning up also can send the unintended message it’s time for guests to stop conversing and start helping or even leave. Enjoy the conversation fully before you pick up all the plates. Consider having dessert an hour or more after dinner to encourage family members and friends to relax, connect and stick around for a while.

8. Remember what the day is about

It’s isn’t just turkey, football and pies. Thanksgiving is truly about coming together as a family to give thanks. Focus on your blessings, and your own happiness and appreciation will infuse your holiday and guests with joy.

Share your favorite Thanksgiving memory with us…. Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Mistakes

A mistake is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” .  We have all made them from the little ones to the ones which wreck our lives or those around us.  Do you think of them as leaning lessons and are grateful for the mistake?  OR do you beat yourself up swearing to never do anything “stupid” like that again?

I will admit, depending on the mistake – I can go between the two.  No matter how you handle the mistake, you are not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another and reacted differently each time.  The truth is if we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

The good news is, you can learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom to help you in the future.

1. Acknowledge Your Errors

Regardless of the size of the mistake or who it has effected,  you have to accept full responsibility for your role in what happened.  You need to ask yourself, “What role did I play in this?”.  The answer can be uncomfortable sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but you need to own your part.  Once you have said “I messed up,”  you can start to learn from it.  This is all part of changing and hopefully, not making the same mistake again.

2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions

You don’t want to dwell on your mistakes (this is a tough one for me) BUT reflecting on them can be productive. I don’t know about you but when I dwell on mistakes, I tend to beat myself up a little bit.  So, if you ask yourself these tough questions, it can turn a bashing session into a productive one:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I do better next time?
  • What did I learn from this?

Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.  Let’s face it, we have all had them at one time.

3. Make A Plan

Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road.  It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future.  Make a plan to help avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change  No matter how you track your progress, find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Remember what works for one person might not work with someone else.

4. Make It Harder To Mess Up

How will you be sure not to mess up again?  Does willpower alone prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification (I want what I want when I want it). Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again. Find creative ways to become more disciplined. If using credit cards is your struggle – cut up the cards or freeze them.  Yup, in a big block of ice.  Whenever you try to thaw the block of ice, you will realize how ridiculous the situation is and stop spending money you don’t have.

5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again

We all have weak moments and the next thing you know, we have made the same mistake again!  Why not create a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track and be self-disciplined,  you can refer to during tough times. Put the list some place where you can see it – if shopping is a problem, put the list in your wallet next to your debit/credit cards.  If flirting on social media is a thing, post your list on your computer so when you start scrolling or are tempted you see the list.  Is it a guarantee?  NO but it may help you to resist the temptation.  Self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.

Mistakes aren’t always one big blunder. Sometimes, they are a series of little choices leading to failure.  So pay attention to your mistakes, no matter how big or how small they might seem. Recognize each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Avoiding Burnout

Time Management

How To Make it a GREAT Day

No…. it isn’t Monday but I do love this picture!!!!!

Mornings are not my best time.  I used to LOVE them.  Yup, I was one of those crazy people who was on the go from early in the morning till I crashed at night.  Then I got OLD!  LOL.  No actually MS hit. Now,  I wake up in an MS fog which takes like an hour to fade away.  I used to say, “Don’t talk to me until I had my coffee”, now it is “Don’t talk to me until I can clear the fog”.

Despite the fog, I do everything I can to make it a GREAT day!  Some days are easier than others but I am determined to make the most of it.

How do you start your days?  Do you set the alarm to get up early (maybe an hour before everyone else)?  Are you full of motivation and anticipation for the day ahead or are you dragging and dreaded what might be.  Despite the struggles which come with MS, I usually have my days planned out in some detail – where I’m going, who I will meet, what work I will get done and even some white space on the calendar for those unexpected curve balls called life.that-wonderful-monday-morning-feeling-L-56cqQ9

Yup, it is all about the Law of Attraction.  The reality is your negative (dreading) thoughts are killing your productivity before you even start your day.  I know some days are tough.  Some times it feels like every day is a Monday.   I try to keep a positive attitude.  Do you let one bad day, set the tone for the rest of the week or even the next few days?  So, are you looking to make a change?

To be honest, when I decided to make the most of every day, I actually took control of my life’s direction.  Now, before you start the negatives of why you CAN’T do these things, give them a chance.  Remember baby steps are what help change the chaotic into the manageable.  I don’t always do them all perfectly BUT I give them my best shot.

#1 REST

Allow yourself to really slow down and unwind.  Maybe it is a glass of wine or reading a book or a bubble bath or a massage or watching endless episodes on Netflix?  Why not, right?  I know, you have a MILLION reasons but a little self indulgence lets you take some well earned rest.  Your weekends (days off) should be different then your work week.  It allows you time to forget the stresses and strains of being a busy woman on the go.  You get to recharge so you are ready to start all over again.

#2 LIVE POSITIVELY

You need to practice this one daily.  I know those inner gremlins are screaming at you.  I know you have bad days.  I have them too.  The first thing I do is remind myself my life is not this one day.  STOP and be grateful for the things in your life.  It will help you  to appreciate how good life really is. Your thoughts, your words, your status’, your tweets, your Facebook posts should ALL be positive. You wont be perfect but if you do your best; it will have a huge impact on the way you live your life.sunshine1

#3 RISE EARLY

I have talked about this before…Getting up early is the most motivating and self satisfying thing you can do.  When I used to wake up before 6am; I knew it was going to be a really great day. Devotions done by 6:30AM. Coffee and a shower and I am at my desk by 7:30am.   Why so early? So I can be done in my office by 10 to enjoy time with hubby.  Days like these, I am unstoppable. My mood is upbeat and I feel energized because I have been productive.  Okay, so things have changed slightly with the onset of MS BUT on those days when I am up early and am ready to go – my outlook is so much brighter.

#4 MAKE LISTS

This is more a part of my life since the MS but I have to admit, I LOVE seeing things checked off.  I make lists to ensure I don’t miss any thing and everything gets done.  It is also a great way to set-up my planner so I don’t over schedule or over commit myself.

#5 TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

Yes, this actually is the key to being productive on any day.  By taking a regular break, I get fresh eyes and enthusiasm.  Planning all my tasks out in small increments helps too.  It ensures I am not working non stop (or running around) for long hours.  This is how I avoid the afternoon sugar and feeling lethargic so my productivity suffers.   Take a tea break.  Go for a short walk.  Take a power nap.  Read a little in your favorite book.  You will see a huge difference in the rest of your day.

So, what are you going to do to make a difference in your day which will ripple into making a difference in your week?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!