Celebrate your Accomplishments!

Celebrate 2015!
With less than two weeks to the start of the new year, many of us have begun to think about New Year’s resolutions we will set, others, like me, have not set any. This year, I decided to set aside time to reflect upon and celebrate my successes from the past 360ish days before I plan for next year. By taking time to celebrate every success, no matter how big or small, it builds your confidence and makes it easier to keep pushing forward to reach those large-scale future goals; not to mention a celebration affords closure on goals you’ve been working towards for a while, provides encouragement to continue, and makes every success even sweeter.

During this busy time of year take a bit of time to sit back, relax, and consider all that you’ve accomplished. Maybe ask a friend or spouse to join you. Honor your successes because they have not been easy. I say this because all of us have things in our lives that keep us very busy: work, family, friends, and the list goes on. As you remember your successes, notice how they make you feel. What words do you draw to mind? Successes are important, they are what keep you moving forward as you set new goals. Now that you’ve brought to mind all that you’ve accomplished, are you ready to celebrate? Your celebration doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be something you do alone or something you share with others. It just has to make you feel successful and help you savor your accomplishment.

Here are some great ways to celebrate your successes, both big and small:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Reflect on the path you took.
  • Write down your success and put it where you can see it everyday.
  • Thank everyone who supported you.
  • Support someone else in reaching his or her goal.
  • Cross it off your master list of goals.
  • Go for a run.
  • Veg out.
  • Cheer for yourself.
  • Do something you enjoy but rarely have time to do.
  • Go out for dinner.
  • Spend the day with your family.
  • Start a success journal.
  • Treat yourself to a day of rest and relaxation.

How doesn’t matter, it’s just important that you do celebrate.

Congratulations on all your success in 2015!

Wendy

Gratitude

It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.

Recently, I’ve been contemplating the word gratitude, it’s meaning, and how I feel when I express my gratitude or when I sit quietly and realize all that I have, but the biggest question for me is: Are we participating in expressing our gratitude often enough?

Each of us can express & recognize our gratitude in a variety of ways.  We might express it verbally, write a letter of thanks, or today’s version, send an email or text. But I was searching for other words because I know that when I show my gratitude or think about what I am thankful for, there are many other emotions that surround and warm me to the soul.

Words that come to my mind are: community, kindness, heartfelt, thankfulness, thoughtfulness, smiles, fortunate, warmth, and appreciation. Several times over the last month I have felt especially grateful for all that I have that has no monetary value, yet lifts my spirits for days on end and makes me proud to live in a small community where people know each other by name.

As I typed the word gratitude into the Google search engine, I found these basic definitions, “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” and “Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has.” Concise, brief statements, yet full of so much power.

We’ve all expressed gratitude and have felt grateful but do you know how many health benefits are generated? TONS! You can’t go wrong with expressing gratitude. Do you know that a positive mental attitude is good for your heart? Yes!!! Positive health fends off depression, stress, and anxiety. We can cope better with daily stressors and reduce negative emotions. Our immune systems are stronger, which aids us in getting a better night’s sleep and the best part is that we will have more energy! Yes, energy and that is without exercising!

You might think that practicing gratitude or thankfulness is difficult but here are several easy ways to practice:

  • Keep a gratitude journal & write in it each day at a time that works best for you
  • Pull out a paper and pen and write someone a heartfelt letter and mail it the old fashioned way, via the U.S. Postal Service!
  • At dinnertime, have each person go around and share one thing that they are grateful for.
  • Keep a gratitude board. You can create this easy to make board by typing up the words “Today I am thankful (or grateful) for…” and insert it into a picture frame. Keep dry erase markers close by so that you can write on it daily or weekly.
  • Be present: Focus on the present moment. Notice what’s all around you. Use all of your senses: What do you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste?  Experiencing what is right in front of you is one of the surest ways to keep a grateful heart.
  • Create a gratitude jar: take any jar or container and each day, write on a piece of paper what you are grateful for. Then, after a few months, look back over the lists/items in the jar.

It truly takes a few short minutes each day to remember what you are grateful for. I encourage you to begin your awareness of gratitude today, to express it to others and feel all of the warmth, kindness, energy and love that this nine letter word generates.

Let it Go, Let it Go!

Whenever I hear this phrase all I can think of is the movie “Frozen”. Think about how nice it would be to let things “go”. What would letting go mean for you?
Recently, I’ve begun sitting in silence for at least 15 minutes each morning in order to work on “letting things go”, working on being “me”. Trust me when I say that it isn’t easy; one’s mind can be very active but if you can draw your attention back to your breath, you will find that sitting in silence is calming and full of discovery.
I read a quote recently by Ann Landers, it states: “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” It is important to let go as it relinquishes our hold on unhealthy attachment to ideas, things and struggles that we’ve experienced in life. It is important to let go of negative thoughts in order to let clear, positive things into our lives.
As we grow and mature in our lives we come to an understanding of what we need to hold onto, what needs to be left behind because it no longer serves us. Personal growth and change can be extremely uncomfortable, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck in a place where we don’t belong. Growing means moving out of our comfort zone, trying something new or a new way of thinking. Another quote: “Change the way you think and the way you think will change.” I’ve posted this quote on my refrigerator so that I can see it many times during my day (yes, I love food)! Have you been holding onto a particular thought that no longer serves you, makes you feel sad or emotional? Work on letting it go.

At different times over the last several years, I found myself hanging onto “things/thoughts” that no longer serve me. I was fueled by my anger which I felt throughout my entire body. Holding onto the negative is easy, the hard part is making a change for the better. In order to find clarity, I began sitting quietly for 10 minutes each morning, then I increased my time gradually. Through quietness, I found answers, I slowly let go of the things and people that I had felt “wronged” by. By “letting go” I felt a release in my body, over several months, a calm began to take place, the anger was dissipating. I encourage you to try sitting with your thoughts, send the negative thoughts out of your mind, imagine them floating out the window, never to return.
Here is a short 5 minute video to get you started. Try it out and see what takes place for you, feel free to explore the thoughts that come to your mind, letting go of things that no longer serve you. Do not judge, just be with your thoughts, see what they may reveal.

Doing what makes you happy

Occasionally, people will ask me how I find time to get out and kayak, hike or bike. I ask them, how could I not find time? Doing the things that I love to do makes me feel complete. I find that I feel balanced, my creativity improves as well as sleep and a calmness within my body.

I ask you, what are you not fitting into your lifestyle? Do you know what you would do if you could do anything? I ask you this: what makes you feel ahhh-Mazing?! What lights your fire? How does one make the time?

IT’S NOT ABOUT “HAVING” TIME, IT’S ABOUT MAKING TIME.

Here are some ways that will help you find the time to do what you love to do:

1. Stop doing things you don’t love to do or need to do.

I know, it sounds crazy right? Some things must be done but, are there others in your household that can help you out? Are there things in your life that you can simplify or eliminate? Do you watch hours of television or are you on Facebook or Pinterest for large amounts of time? Eliminate those things……

2. Find out how to be more efficient at the things you do need to do.

The things that we “need” to do, sometimes get in the way of things that we “want” to do.

Here is an example, I need to have a lunch each day, and it takes a chunk of my morning to make snacks and lunch to take with me. I will set aside a couple of hours on a Sunday and prepare lunches for the week or, make two large pots of soup and freeze the amount wanted into mason jars. Easy peasy, pull it out of the freezer and you are ready to go.

3. Decide what you want to do more of in your day.

You must choose your priorities. If someone asked me what is important in my daily schedule I would say:

  • My personal relationships
  • Exercise
  • Being outside
  • MeditatioN
  • Reading/Learning

Each of us will have a different list but you know what it is that you want in your day, create a list.

4. Schedule time in your day for it.

Look at your day, you have not simplified or eliminated things that are taking time, you hae found ways to be efficient and….you know what it is that you want to fit into your day. Pull that daily planner out and schedule your “happy time” into your day. Your schedule might change, you may find one activity more important than another but you now have the time to do something that makes you happy.