How to Defeat Self-Sabotage: Getting to the root of the problem

 

As you know, we’ve talked about self-sabotage a few times lately. Today, I want to talk about what’s behind the self-sabotage problem.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about “Imposter Syndrome” and the struggle that Moses had with feeling that he was not enough even though God himself appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush that didn’t burn. We’ve also talked about how self-sabotage can occur through unforgiveness and other footholds in our lives that result in anxiety, depression, anger, and any number of barriers to reaching our goals. Today we come to discussing the root of self-sabotage.

We have talked at other times about core beliefs and how they impact our overall wellness. Now is a good time to revisit that discussion. So in this post, I really want to highlight how all of these posts here at every day incredible really fit together to form the bigger picture of wellness and a Christ-centered life balance.

When I am having sessions with a client for mental health therapy, what generally happens is that we discuss various areas of difficulty in their lives. I ask questions to bring up more details as needed, and I pull out themes in what they are saying. We use that to get to the root of the problem, which is typically more of an overall, big-picture issue than it is about a specific situation or relationship. For example, relationship problems are rarely truly about who takes out the trash.

Self-sabotage is actually a very common issue. Some of the core beliefs, or problematic strongholds I commonly see are core beliefs such as,

“I’m not enough,”
“I don’t deserve better because of things I’ve done,”
“I don’t deserve better because of who I am,”
or “I’m not as good as they are at doing that.”

Then, it’s like we get to a point where we subconsciously tell ourselves, “if I can’t do it perfectly, which I know I can’t, why bother even trying?”

For those who struggle with perfectionism, I’m sure you’re probably nodding along with what I’m saying.

We may find something inspirational and motivational and get fired up to give it another try, yet if that core belief… that stronghold continues to exist deep within us, it won’t be long until we have that spiritual enemy whispering into our ear and to our wounded hearts, telling us just how ridiculous we are for thinking for a moment that we could do it.. for believing that God created us with strengths and with a purpose.

To defeat self-sabotage from a Biblical perspective, it needs to start with spiritual wellness.

My challenge to you is:
1. Pray for God, through the Holy Spirit, to open your eyes, as He opened the eyes of Balaam and of Elisha’s servant to see the spiritual forces around you.
2. Ask Him reveal to you any footholds or legal ground you may have given your spiritual enemy. Address them. Confess them, repent of them, and break ties with them.
3. ‎ Pray for wisdom, as James chapter 1 tells us that God will give it to us if we ask for it.
4. ‎ Ask God to reveal any strongholds to you. As we have discussed here at every day incredible before, using thought records can be helpful in identifying unhelpful core beliefs. These are those strongholds. When you learn to identify what your strongholds are, you will be more prepared to resist the temptation to feed into them when the enemy comes around to stir the pot.
5. Claim the victory God has already given you through the cross.

I’d like to leave you with a prayer today, and encourage you to pray along with me.

 

Heavenly Father, I come boldly and humbly before your throne. In James, Chapter 1, I have read that You give wisdom to those who ask for it. I ask you now for the wisdom I need. As Paul prayed for the Colossians, I ask that you fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I want to know You more. I want to please You more.
I ask that you would open my eyes to see the spiritual influences around me, that I am able to have the discernment I need in order to move forward in your plan for me. As you opened the eyes of Balaam and of Elisha’s servant, I ask that you would allow me to recognize not only the dark forces at work around me, but also the mighty warrior angels fighting on my behalf, for which I am grateful.
I ask that you send your Holy Spirit to bring to my attention any footholds I have given the enemy. Bring them to my attention that I may confess and repent of them and turn to rely fully on you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I tear down, smash, crush, and destroy every stronghold created by mistakes I have made, trauma I have experience, or generational sin before me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I cancel every assignment by evil forces against me and against those in my life. I tear down, smash, crush, and destroy every stronghold that goes against Your truth and Your love, including the strongholds of fear, anxiety, depression and hopelessness, inferiority, anger and resentment, bitterness, unrealistic expectations, and anything else that interferes with my ability to see myself for who I am and You and to see You for who You really are.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I claim the victory that has already been won through the cross. I apply the blood to my life and the lives of my household. I thank you Father that I don’t have to remain in bondage to spiritual forces because my debt has already been paid. I thank you Jesus Christ, for willingly taking on the torment intended for me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask that you send Your spirit of truth For it is written that that you shall know the truth the truth will set you free. I claim that freedom in The name of Jesus Christ. I willingly repent of the sinful attitudes, actions, and beliefs that have kept me distanced from you. Draw me close to you, I pray. In the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Have you found spiritual freedom? If so, come let us know in the every day incredible ladies facebook group, or on our twitter @incredibledaily. I look forward to hearing from you! Check back often so you don’t miss anything, and remember that there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible.

Happy Journal, Happy Life

Hey ladies! I just wanted to share a quick post about a new project I learned about recently. It is launching SOON.

Jennie Moraitis, of Little Girl Designs is releasing a book called, Happy Journal, Happy Life. I snagged an advance copy and I LOVE it. It’s a fantastic way to focus on happy moments and capture positive emotions that can point back to God’s blessings and truth.

As I started reading the book, I remembered sitting on a plane on the way back from Peru, doodling about favorite things that happened on the mission trip I’d just joined. Then on a plane on the way back from Albuquerque New Mexico, I did the same. I did a bit of doodling when I was in the UK a few months too. I love looking back at them, but I’d never thought of making it a regular form of journaling. Until now!

Sunday Night, as I was going through the bedtime routine with my boys, I asked them about their favorite happy parts of the weekend, then I doodled them in a journal. Granted, it was no work of art (in my defense, I was nursing the baby while rocking in the rocking chair WITH the room lights off for the majority of it), but I just wanted to capture some of the images, even if only in rough stick people form. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “a picture paints a thousand words.” Happy journaling is a way to say thousands of words with just a few small images. It’s fun and speaks volumes.

Not only is it a fun way to journal, it supports what we’ve been discussing here at Every Day Incredible – changing the channel to what is good, true, helpful, healthy… well, refer to Phil 4:8. It can help keep you focused on the good stuff.

Jennie is giving away free copies of the book on launch day. People can get their free copy on launch day by registering at happyjournalhappylife.com. It’s only free until Sunday, Nov 5th 2017, so go now!

I just want to note that I am not an affiliate… this is just a project that I LOVE and want to share. Go check it out!

Be watching for challenges in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group soon! Good things happen when we devote time focusing on good things!

Self-Sabotage: Understanding Imposter Syndrome

I have to, but I can’t. Who am I to do this?

Have you ever been excited and inspired to do something, only to get quickly discouraged and the excitement just… fizzles out?
Maybe you get excited when you think about going back to school for another degree. Maybe it’s about applying for a promotion that starts to make you feel energized. Maybe it’s joining in a Ministry opportunity, or a personal goal like getting healthier and fitting back into those old jeans that were once comfy.

Have you ever looked ahead at a goal like one of these and just felt yourself longing for it until your thoughts drown out the hope with self-doubt and criticism?

This is actually a very common struggle. When we talk about self-sabotage, we are referring to an internal conflict that keeps us from meeting our goals. We may have big dreams of things that we want to accomplish, then that little voice in our head criticizes us for having such big dreams.

Who are you to think you can do that? What makes you think you can accomplish that?

That little voice begins to point out every flaw we have that might stand in the way. When I think of this kind of self-sabotage, I think it’s Moses and his encounter with imposter syndrome. As he stood in front of God in the form of a burning bush, Moses began to give God… The creator of all things… A list of reasons why he, Moses, wasn’t qualified to follow God’s instructions.

1. Who am I that I should go?
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” -Exodus 3:11
When you say to yourself, “I’m a nobody. I don’t deserve this opportunity,” You’re treating yourself like an imposter. You’re treating yourself like you’re not really a child of the King who created you with a purpose. If you are indeed seeking God first (Matt 6:33), and He leads you to something… trust Him that He’s got you covered. He has given you exactly WHAT you need and will continue to give you what you need exactly WHEN you need it. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Not only are such self-defeating thoughts going against who God created us to be, they are lacking faith in our Heavenly Father who has promised to provide. If He calls you to it – He will provide for whatever you lack.

2. ‎ Who do I say sent me?
“Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” -Exodus 3:13
Do you think you have to have all the answers before you can accomplish something? Do you keep researching and planning and researching and planning and planning and researching and… Just stop. Seriously… just stop. Again, if you are seeking God first, and doing what He has instructed you to do, He will give you the answers you need when you need them. Not only that, but if you don’t have all the answers, it’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself permission to say, “You know… I don’t really know.” We’re not ever going to have ALL the answers. Only God does.

3. ‎ They’re not going to believe me or listen to my voice.
“Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ ” -Exodus 4:1
When I was a teenager, I had a relative tell me that my voice just blended into the background and people forgot I was talking. Ouch. That really stuck with me (clearly). Again though, when we dwell on telling ourselves this, that people are not going to listen to us or believe we have the credentials we say we have, we are defeating ourselves before we even start. Again, we are stifling our faith. If God has led us there, He will prepare the way. For those who don’t believe or listen… that’s on them. You are only responsible for your own part of the story.

4. ‎ I am slow of speech and of tongue.
“Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” -Exodus 4:10
Do you focus on your flaws? It’s so incredibly easy to do. The thing is – you are going to be much more aware of any perceived flaws than other people will be. In grade school, I went to speech therapy for a while. There were some sounds that were difficult for me to say correctly. There are times I still hear it and it bothers me. I once mentioned this to my husband, who looked at me strangely. He’d not even noticed it. I’ve known him since childhood. We are ALWAYS going to be our own worst critics.

5. Send anyone but me. ‎“But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” -Exodus 4:13
When we evaluate ourselves and find ourselves lacking, it can be tempting to hunker down, cover our heads, and say, “Let someone else do it, God. I’m not enough.”

Isn’t that what ALL of these excuses are saying? “I’m not enough.”

What does that sound like to you? Isn’t that exactly what we have been talking about here at Every Day Incredible? Those negative, destructive words that find a stronghold deep in our minds and make themselves at home in our wounded hearts?

Isn’t that how our enemy works? Evil is sneaky, ladies.

Acknowledge those thoughts. Are they consistent with who God is, and who you are to God?

No. I can say with confidence that they are not.

I want to challenge you to do something. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Make a list of all of the excuses that echo in your mind when you think of that goal you have always had a dream of reaching. Every excuse that comes. When you have your list, out from each excuse, I want you to challenge it with what God says is true. What is true about who He is, and who You are to Him. If you have trouble with this, come to the Every Day Ladies Facebook group and we can work on this together.

With each excuse, I encourage you to say, out loud, that you choose to no longer give into believing that excuse because the truth is – then finish that thought with the truth you have written.

 

I look forward to hearing from you in the group. Don’t forget to sign up for the Every Day Incredible Mailing list at EveryDayIncredible.net for freebies, updates, and offers. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-Centered life balance. I also want to remind you that there are opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

The Power of “Yet”

Yet.

Its just small word. Only three letters. But did you know that 3 letters can be very, very powerful? Just think about it. That one word in the English language has the power to open negative, defeating utterances to a world of possibilities and opportunities.

How often do you tell yourself you can’t do things? How often do you focus on all of the things you haven’t done, and the places you haven’t gone?

It’s easy to get trapped in that line of thinking.

“I haven’t learned to play that instrument. I haven’t learned another language. I haven’t been to Paris. I haven’t finished that certification. I haven’t gone back for another degree. I haven’t figured out how to change the display settings on my husband’s car radio. I haven’t been to a Broadway play in New York. I haven’t gone on an Alaskan cruise. I haven’t taken cooking classes. I haven’t paid off the mortgage.”

Do you focus on these things? I’m sure you have your own “I haven’t” list, right?

If you don’t keep it in check, that list can keep growing and growing and growing. This truth is, it’s not possible to do All. The. Things. We just can’t. But, how do you feel when you focus on all of the things you haven’t done? Do you feel like giving up or like it is too late to try? It’s like seeing the glass as half empty.

Now to see what happens when we toss in that one little, almost magical word…

I haven’t learned to play the instrument…yet.

I haven’t learned another language…yet.

I haven’t been to Paris yet.

I haven’t finished that certification yet or gone back for another degree yet.

I haven’t figured out how to change the display settings on my husband’s car radio yet.

I haven’t been to a Broadway play in New York yet or gone on an Alaskan cruise yet.

I haven’t taken cooking classes yet.

I haven’t paid off the mortgage..yet…. but with any of these things, if I chose to pursue them and my plans align with God’s guidance, they are all possibilities! I refuse to limit myself by what I tell myself I can’t do. Better yet, I refuse to limit God and His plan for me. When we focus only on the things we haven’t done, seen, or accomplished, we limit what our brains are capable of doing. We stunt our growth and stifle our creativity. True, we haven’t done those things we haven’t done. ..yet. That doesn’t mean we have to close all of the doors.

Open the doors, open the windows. Let the sunlight in and let the breeze air out the room. Even if you never walk through those doors, treat them as future possibilities. Look around at the options you have and ask prayerfully and joyfully, “what door next, God? I haven’t been through any of those…yet.”

Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

 

What have you yet to do that sounds exciting to you? Come discuss this and your own wellness goals in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive extra content and keep up-to-date on what is going on at Every Day Incredible. As always, check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

I Wish I Knew: Finding Confidence in Personality

Have you ever been tempted to compare yourself to others? Maybe there is a specific person you have always wanted to be just like. Maybe it’s more of a group of people that you have watched and silently wished, “if I could only be like them…”

I was always pretty shy when I was growing up. I felt easily intimidated by the “popular kids” at school and noticed every flaw about myself that kept me from being one of them. If I wasn’t among my group of friends, I generally stayed quiet. I often felt like an outsider.

I wish I could get a message to my younger self today, after gaining some life experience. There are things I know now that I wish I’d known then.

I wish my younger self would have realized that the ones who were most popular were popular largely because they acted most confidently. It wasn’t because of how fit, well-dressed, or pretty they were, though those things helped to give them confidence, or at least the appearance of confidence. I wish I knew how even “popular kids” have struggles. I wish I’d understood just how interesting our differences make us. I wish I knew to focus on what makes me feel confident and not on what makes me feel inadequate. I wish I realized that it’s okay to not be liked by EVERYONE – because nobody is. I also wish someone had told me about CLEP exams and how I could have saved time and money in undergrad, but that’s a whole other story…

We all have stories and unique perspectives on the world. We have different personality types that draw us in different directions. We truly are a mosaic of human life, in both visible attributes and those below the surface. I love telling stories of my experiences. I enjoy sharing about international travel, people I’ve been blessed to meet, and new things I’ve tried. As relational beings, we have the innate desire to share life with one another – to connect with and learn from one another. We don’t really enjoy sharing about our flaws, but they are part of us too. Each personality comes with both strengths and weaknesses. We each make mistakes and experience wins. It’s all part of what makes us uniquely us.

It’s easy to compare ourselves to our ideal image, especially in this world with social media bombarding us with the highlights reels of everyone around us while we sit and sift through our bloopers reel, critiquing each mistake and flaw.

When I was going into undergrad, I sat for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment that identifies personality types. I was fascinated how well the resulting “ENFP” type and additional information described me and my personality. Though life experiences have somewhat shifted my personality since then, it still amazes me. I want to encourage each of you to visit www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test and find out what your personality type is. Come to the Every Day Incredible Ladies group to share your personality type. Does it fit you?

Allow yourself to set aside your bloopers reel and pull out your own highlights. Take some time to reflect on your own story. What experiences, traits, skills, and strengths make you unique and incredible?

The Bible verse I’d like to leave you with today is Isaiah 64:8:


Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life and find your confidence, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Resist the Devil and He Will Flee From You (Affirmations Series #5)

Throughout this month, we have focused on affirmations as positive, healthy, and helpful self-talk. However… affirmations are not limited to self-talk. We live in a society that is quick to point out the negative. Any time spent on social media will certainly highlight this! Check out any political post, any article on public breastfeeding, or …. Well… really, any article that goes viral and is seen by keyboard warriors who care nothing about the poster or person referenced. It is both frightening and discouraging how quick people can be to tear others down just because they can.

We talked last week about the spiritual influences around us, and this is no different! The spiritual battlefield is real, and finding balance means we have to learn to acknowledge it for what it is. With that said, I’d like to turn this post toward affirming those around us.

Negativity can be an easy habit to form and a hard one to break. How many of you have found yourself in a vicious cycle of “no, stop, don’t” with your children, or in pointing out the negative in situations you face with your spouse? Telling yourself it’ll never get better? Telling your friends only the “bad stuff” happening to you?

I know I have! It wears us all down if we get into that mode. Misery loves company, so the saying goes. BUT… I’d like to stop here and share the verse that has played over and over in my head lately.

 

James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

I am realizing more and more what resisting the devil really looks like. It’s not only telling him to go away (but I totally do that too, in determined defiance), but it also looks like replacing those negative thoughts, criticisms, and hopeless statements with what we know is true and healthy. It looks like going against that sinful, selfish human nature when you are tempted to fire back a jab when your feelings are hurt. It looks like giving your child a hug when you feel like screaming. It looks like going to your spouse and saying, “I love you, how can we work on this together?” instead of slamming the door as you walk away.

 

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

 

I’m being completely real with you when I tell you, I had really gotten myself pulled into that negativity cycle for a while. With God’s help, I’m really working to change that. This morning, my 6 year old dumped his entire bowl of cereal in his lap. I kept my cool. He helped clean it up, the morning went on, and there was a lot of giggling going on about various things that happened (such as letting my three year old brush MY teeth so he wouldn’t whine about me brushing his… THAT was entertaining). At one moment, I looked at my husband and commented on the difference. I realized THAT is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice.

In another recent situation, I said something through text that came across poorly. It nearly caused a big blow-up between my husband and me. I felt that nagging temptation to snap at the response (though I completely understood how it had come across and why he was upset). I hesitated. I responded with an apology and reminding him that I love him and I didn’t mean for the statement to come across like it had. The moment passed, and it didn’t escalate. I later realized again… THAT was is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice. I thanked God and thought, “Ha! you didn’t play me that time, satan!”

I’m learning how important it is to not only resist the devil for my own self, but also to build up those around me. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to give more frequent affirmations to my family and others I encounter. Have you heard something positive about someone you know? Tell them. Is your spouse having a tough time at work? Tell him how appreciated he is. Tell your kids how great they are. Be sure you are taking time to acknowledge what is true of those around you. You will often be able to see their strengths much more quickly than they will. Help them resist the devil’s tactics by affirming them every chance you get with what you know is true. I’d like to get you started with some examples, but I would love for you to share your own as well!

 

You are loved.

You are appreciated.

You are a great kid!

You are such a great worker.

You inspire me when you _______.

I’m so thankful you are my husband.

I’m so thankful for your friendship.

You are a great listener.

You are a blessing to me.

You brighten my day.

You bring me joy.

You did such a great job with that.

You rock!

I’m so thankful to be your mommy.

You make me smile!

You are doing fantastic, thank you!

 

 

Think about what affirmations you would love to hear from others. Can you think of someone else who needs to hear the same? Tell them!

I’d like to leave you with one more passage for the week.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within (Affirmations Series #1)

  1. Brian Tracy once stated, “Using affirmations… our potential is literally unlimited.” I would certainly agree with his assessment. Affirmations are without a doubt one of the most powerful personal development tools I have come across in not only my quest to realize my full occupational potential, but also in dealing with fear and anxiety. In addition to being an incredibly powerful stand-alone tool, I have also experienced that they work quite effectively when paired with goal setting and visualization as part of a daily personal and professional development routine.

For example: Each morning, I pour my favorite donut shop blend coffee in my giant Captain America mug, grab the day by the invisible horns, and say “Alright day. The stage awaits, so let’s rock!”

My rhythm section, if you like, consists of goals and affirmations. The work I do in my goals journal acts as my in-the-pocket beat commander. For those of you unskilled in the art of being a wannabe rock star – I’m referring to my imaginary personal development drummer. Along with goals, affirmations add some attitude and flavor to the established focus areas by laying down some beastly low end and supplying an abundance of drive and determination. This rock n’ roll party (think Paul Stanley) all gets kicked off within the first hour of being awake. How do you think this sets the tone for the remaining 23 hours? Since establishing this routine, I have personally experienced a dramatic increase in my willingness to get into the work day and immediately take on tasks that might normally frustrate or discourage me.

It is very possible at this point you could be asking yourself “what is an affirmation?” That’s actually a great question. An affirmation is simply a positive and assertive statement that can be repeated out loud, as self talk, for many different purposes.

You might develop affirmations for personal growth, professional development, achievement, success, or any number of topics.

In my case, I personally relied on affirmations for dealing with fear and anxiety prior to ever using them in the context of achievement or any similar topics. For example, one of my favorite affirmations for anxiety reads “I exist free of fear.”

Compared to the effect that goal setting has had in getting me laser-focused like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair going after a figure-four leg lock, affirmations have been wildly successful in pairing that focus with a fired-up attitude towards success and achievement.

Here are a few additional examples of affirmations I use regularly:

– “I can do it.”
– “I am responsible.”
– “I feel incredible.”
– “I earn $________ per year, as an exceptional _________.”
– “I achieve the goals I set for myself.”
– “I am unstoppable.”

I should also mention that in my experience, there is no more powerful mental quality to be equipped with in life than resilience. When it comes to affirmations, one of the most important side effects I have noticed is that I am able to rebound far more quickly from rejections, disappointments, and outright failures at any time they may occur. Prior to my current routine this was definitely not the case for me. Affirmations have also provided me with the mental clarity to recognize and be reminded that failure does not exist in and of itself. Failure, in my opinion, is a very important stepping stone to success. Failure is to success as Peter Parker’s spider bite is to swinging from buildings via self-generated web.

What kind of experience have you had with affirmations? Are you in need of a tool in your daily routine that may have the ability to drown out negativity while increasing the level of optimism, resilience, drive, and excitement in your life? No matter where you are in your personal development journey it’s never a bad idea to begin incorporating affirmations into your daily routine. Don’t wait until a better time to begin learning more about the amazing resources that are available at your fingertips. Make a decision to unleash your inner juggernaut today and feel the positive effect that affirmations can make for you!

Are you ready to learn more about the unbelievably positive effect that affirmations could have in your life? Visit http://www.EveryDayIncredible.net and pick up some tips, tricks, motivation, and entertainment for your personal development journey!

The Happiest Man Alive: How to be Happy!

Are you happy? I mean really happy? What thoughts or situations stand in the way of you being happy more often? About a year or so ago, I came across an article about a Tibetan Buddhist monk named Matthieu Ricard. After taking part in a 12 year brain study that focused on meditation and compassion, Mr. Ricard has been referred to as the world’s happiest man. You can read more here.

Mr. Ricard’s primary advice is to stop thinking only about yourself. He says the key to happiness is altruism. The reason he gives is that “thinking about yourself and how to make things better for yourself all the time is exhausting and stressful, and it ultimately leads to unhappiness.” It makes sense to me!

Basically, your goal is to not be selfish. As human individuals, it is in our nature to be selfish. We see the world around us from our own unique, limited perspective and unless we make a conscious effort to try to see things from another person’s point of view and try to put the needs of others first, we will continue to be selfish.

Scripture talks a great deal about being more like Christ, and about how to have a healthy relationship with God. Scripture says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and it also says that love, among many other qualities, is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). If we are striving to be more Christlike, we need to be focusing on not being so self-involved. It was when I realized that sin is basically being selfish (putting selfish wants before God’s desire) that I had a more clear picture of a healthy relationship with God and what sin actually means. In fact, the first book I wrote was on this very topic… How love isn’t selfish, and what we can learn about God’s love through human relationships.

Going back to the advice from Mr. Ricard, He suggests to train your mind as if you were training for running a marathon. As a therapist, I completely agree. I frequently reference Philippians 4:8 because it backs up the premise of so much of what I discuss in therapy sessions. Where we choose to focus our thinking determines our emotions and behavior as well. We’ve talked in previous posts about changing the channel from stinking thinking and choosing to focus on truth and what is more helpful and healthy. That takes much practice, as would training for a marathon. Mr. Ricard does this through meditation. One specific thing he says to do is to spend 15 continuous minutes each day thinking happy thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Make positive thinking – specifically, thinking about helping others and being compassionate – a habit.

To create thinking habits, take the same approach you would take to change other habits too. Increase awareness of the habit, make efforts to stop and replace the habit as soon as you catch it (even if it is after the fact), and keep practicing. For more ideas on changing your thinking habits, revisit the post, 6 Barriers to Wellness (and how to overcome them).

Be sure to visit our Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to share your ideas on making altruistic thinking a habit!

 

Setting SMART Goals to Stay Motivated

How long has it been since you took the time to revisit your goals. We’ve been talking about figuring out where you’re going, what your personal mission is, and more, so today I wanted to dig a bit deeper into goal setting.

In the grand scheme of things, where do you want to be in 6 months? 6 years? What are the big goals you want to achieve?

If you could really nail it down, looking into your future, what are your top priority goals that, when you reach them, you can look around and think, “This. This is what I wanted to do. I have succeeded.” Obviously, we always have goals, but what big goals are next?

When you are setting goals and finding motivation to move forward, it is very helpful to be very clear, and use “SMART” Goal-setting.  SMART goals are goals that are:

S- Specific  M- Measurable  A- Attainable  R- Realistic  T- Time-based

When your goals are SMART, it gives you more of a road map with a clear path highlighted.

Let’s apply it.

Goal(s) – What is the dream, vision, hope, or desired change? What will it look like when you have reached the goal? What will be different than your current situation? For example, maybe you have a goal to be able to rate your anxiety as a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it’s currently staying around a 7. Or maybe you want to meet a goal of improving your physical health, “as evidenced by” weight loss, loss of inches, improvement in bloodwork from your doctor, your self-rating of your energy level, or any other measurable goal. Do you have a professional goal, such as completing a certification? What goal or goals do you want to give focus right now?

Barriers What specific challenges stand between you and your goal(s)? Include challenges resulting from mental illness or addiction. Do you engage in negative self-talk? Hear a lot of criticism from others? Maybe you have a physical condition that keeps you drained and makes it difficult to focus. Everyone’s barriers will be unique in some way. What are yours?

Strengths  – What individual/family abilities, attributes, attitudes, past accomplishments, motivations, etc. can help you overcome barriers and reach your goal(s)? Be generous! Give yourself credit for your strengths! This is not the time to be modest, it’s a time to be real with yourself and acknowledge those strengths. What do you have going for you that is going to help you in your success?

Objectives – Specifically describe how you will be able to measure progress. Include action words and target date to complete your goals.         S- Simple M- Measurable A- Attainable R- Relevant/Realistic T- Time-based

What are the small steps you could take that lead up to the bigger steps? For example, if you want to complete the professional certification,  you may need to obtain a study guide, schedule time for review, complete necessary coursework, take practice exams, or organize a study group. Keep the steps doable so they aren’t overwhelming, and set a reasonable time-frame for each objective.

Interventions How can your support network help you? What specific things can others do help keep you on track and motivated?

 

Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to find other ladies like you who are interested in supporting each other in their own goals. For a more personalized, private membership, check out “Take the Next Step” from the top menu at everydayincredible.net. I look forward to hearing about your goals!

6 Barriers to Wellness (and how to overcome them)

We all want happiness and wellness, right? Who wouldn’t? I certainly can’t think of anyone. Even so, we all have areas of our wellness that could use some work.

So, if it’s something we all want, but something we all have to work at and even struggle to have, where is the problem?

In thinking of some of the common barriers to common wellness I’ve seen, and would love to take this opportunity to share them.

1. Stinking Thinking

Have you ever heard the phrase,  “Stinking thinking?” It’s pretty much just what it sounds like… thinking habits that.. well, stink. We all know about habits, and all have them. When you hear the word, habit, you probably think of behaviors like biting your nails or chewing on a pencil. What doesn’t usually come to mind, however, are the habits in THINKING that we develop. Again, we all do it. Based on life experience, input from others, etc., we develop patterns in the way we think, and they are often not helpful or healthy. We often get in the habit of looking at the negative side of situations, or see the glass as “half empty,” for example. It’s easy to get into the habit of ignoring the potential good in front of us, or the good qualities about ourselves or the world around us. Sometimes we make mountains out of molehills or assume we know what others are thinking. For a great list of examples of these, check out this page at www.getselfhelp.co.uk

The good thing is that, like other habits, thinking habits can be broken and replaced! If you are trying to break a habit, you have to bring your awareness to it when it happens, make a choice to replace the habit with something more desirable, and take action. To increase awareness, you just take action every time you catch yourself engaging in the behavior, even if it’s after the fact. When you realize you’ve done it (bitten your nails, chewed on a pencil,

focused on negativity, etc., you engage in the alternative behavior or at least acknowledge what you could have done differently. If you were trying to stop biting your nails, you might move a penny or pebble from one jar to a second, with the goal of ending a day without having to move any pennies/pebbles at all.

When it comes to unhelpful thinking habits, they tend to cause emotional and behavioral symptoms you can learn to catch.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, experience problematic symptoms, have an angry outburst, realize you are feeling more depressed/anxious than normal, etc., you can dig a little deeper into your thoughts to figure out what may be leading to those symptoms. 

To do this, keeping thought records can be very helpful. A Thought record basically takes note of what the situation is, what emotions are experienced (and how strongly they are felt, rated from 1-100%), what underlying thoughts are there (sometimes these thoughts may be more of an image or scene that may have never really been put into words before), and then an evaluation of those thoughts. Are they accurate? Are they helpful? Could there be another explanation? If a best friend were saying those same statements about her own situation, would you agree with them, or would you challenge her to adjust them? Ideally, as you break down your thoughts through these steps, you can begin to acknowledge which thoughts are helpful and healthy, and which ones are tearing you down and keeping you in your rut. The next step would be to come up with more accurate, helpful thoughts, or “affirmations,” which can be used to replace those unhelpful thoughts and change the thinking habit.

2. Stress

I have no doubt that we all have our times of stress – some more than others. While much of stress may be linked to unhealthy thinking habits, or “stinking thinking,” may situations are stressful and genuinely out of our control. Combining the thought record/habit changing approach outlined in the last section, other methods of stress management include exercising good self-care. Relaxation exercises (such as these free downloads provided at Dartmouth University’s website), utilizing a healthy support network, strengthening spiritual wellness through prayer and Bible reading, journaling and exercising your intellectual wellness through creative expression… basically, making sure that you are not entirely focused on the one area of your wellness where there is a current major conflict. Strive for balance.

3. Disorganization/chaos

This is a tricky one. This is both a cause and a symptom much of the time. Have you ever noticed that? The weaker your overall wellness is, the more disorganized and overwhelmed you will probably feel. If a person is feeling significantly depressed or anxious, she is much more likely to have a messy home, desk, or car. I personally found this to be especially true following a time period of some intense grief.

As both a cause and a symptom, you can address it from both ends. Working on addressing the stinking thinking, anxiety, depression, and grief can help you feel more like tackling the disorganization, but you can also tackle the disorganization to help address the other concerns.

Start with SMALL goals – something that will be an “easy win,” so to speak. If your car is a mess, for example, make it a goal for the week fill a grocery bag with trash or items that need to be taken in and put away properly. Schedule a time frame to do it, and stick with it. If you accomplish that and feel inspired to do more, by all means, do it! But if you do that much and feel satisfied, you’ve still met your goal. Set the next one. What specifically are you going to do, and when are you going to do it…. then follow through. Just keep it simple and you’ll feel more and more encouraged with each met goal. Feeling more encouraged in one area can easily translate to others as well!

4. Distraction

I would love to know – what are your biggest distractions? What sucks your time from you? Social Media? A favorite TV show? Books that aren’t helping you meet your wellness goals? Okay, let’s be real… my dear, sweet children are among my biggest distractions… can any of you relate??

Whatever your distractions are, they can really do a number on keeping balance in your overall wellness. Even your distractions generally have their place, though (for the most part). TV shows, social media, and books can be a great way to unwind, catch up on the world around you, feel a bit more connected or find an escape from stress. Your children obviously need your attention and can add tremendously to your overall wellness, sense of purpose, and so much more. Once again, we are looking for balance. There are times we need to close the facebook, twitter, instagram, or pinterest tab. There are times we need to turn off Netflix or put down the book. There are even times we need to call the grandparent squad, a friend, or a babysitter to keep the kids. We need to make a deliberate effort to focus on things that are going to improve our overall wellness. This easily brings us to number 5.

5. Lack of Goals/Vision.

In order to achieve wellness, we absolutely must have a vision for what achieving wellness will look like to us. In earlier posts, we talked about figuring out where we are going… visualizing where we are headed so we are able to set appropriate, effective goals. It’s very important! We’ve also talked about examining your areas of wellness to decide what area or areas need the most work right now. Don’t skip these steps! Get real with yourself and be honest. Where is your overall wellness off balance?

What is it really going to take to get there? Think of the big picture and work backward so you can start with the baby steps, or easy wins, like we just talked about with tackling disorganization. One step at a time, but you MUST have goals and a vision so you know where you are going!

6. Weak areas of overall wellness

Balance, Balance, Balance. It really is key. We’ve been talking a lot about the importance of finding a balance because having one area of wellness neglected can have a severely negative impact on all of the others. To help keep the balance, focus on where your boundaries are. This could largely refer to your boundaries with people around you, as a lack of firm social boundaries is very often a significant source of trouble. Whether family, friends, workplace, or even strangers, if you do not set clear boundaries in your life, you are most likely a person who is frequently taken advantage of by others.

If setting boundaries is not something you currently do well, just remember that it IS a skill that you can work to improve. Practice. Address any stinking thinking in which you tell yourself you don’t deserve better, or that you have to give in to others so you don’t have conflict, and recognize that you have the same basic human rights as any other person, and it’s not only okay to stand up for your rights, but it is healthy. As balance is the key to overall wellness, assertiveness is the key to healthy boundaries. Being assertive basically means standing up for your rights while respecting the rights of others. Do you treat yourself like you have the same rights as those around you? Or do you treat yourself like you don’t deserve better than what you currently have, while you are treated with a lack of respect by a person or people around you?

Setting boundaries can also apply internally. Some areas of wellness are just more enjoyable to give focus than others, right? Sometimes we have to set boundaries for ourselves to exercise self-control and find that balance we keep referencing. If physical wellness is a tough one for you, maybe use another area as a reward, such as being creative after a work-out session. Instead of spending all of your time occupied in a good book, set aside time to work on building your social network. Each individual will have her own favorite areas of wellness – those areas that come easy, and those that are more of a challenge. Strive for balance. Your balance may not look like the next person’s.

What areas of wellness are easiest or hardest for you? What have been your most challenging barriers to overall wellness? Come discuss with other ladies in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. If you are interested in a more direct approach to setting your personal goals and achieving balance in wellness, check out the next step, our “Digging Deeper” private facebook group.

 

Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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