• 5 Keys to Restart Something Important to You

    hawk88-locked-calendar-1-300pxA few days ago, Nancy and I were chatting about how we’re both struggling with restarting something important to each of us. We discovered a few things about the difficulties we’ve encountered and how we’ve dealt with them.

    First, we both realize it is much harder to restart than it is to begin something for the first time. When we restart something, it lacks much of the excitement and novelty we felt the first time. Second, we already know how hard it is, otherwise, we wouldn’t have quit. But, we both agree if it is something important to us, it is obviously worth starting again. So, this time, we added the wisdom from our earlier experiences and learned:

    1. Failure is part of the process. A steady solid line upward towards success is not realistic, there are going to be ups and downs, it’s normal. Just don’t stay in the ditch, get re-started.

    2. Restarting is hard, so what–Feel the pain at the beginning and do it anyway. It takes awhile, but you will feel better about what you’re doing the more you do it. It does get easier.

    3. You don’t need to be motivated to take action, you need action to get motivated. Instead of waiting for the perfect inspiration to get back to writing my book, I just started writing again period. Interesting thing happened, I started to get more excited and motivated to work on my book. This really works!

    4. Find your community to share this goal. I now have a writing community to get and give support, as wel as share my challenges and successes about my book. For Nancy, it is a Fitbit challenge with her accountability buddy where they support and see what each of them are doing daily. (Notice for us both, we need people connection to help us.)

    5. Schedule the actions you need to take in your calendar and into your life and honor that commitment to yourself.  Value yourself and what is important to you by honoring these commitments you have written into your calendar. Just as you schedule commitments with others into your calendar and show up, do the same for yourself.

    It’s not easy to restart anything, whether it’s a health program, a book, a relationship, or a dream that’s been on hold for years. We also discovered that talking about the difficulty and what’s working (or not working) for each of us now has made it much easier. Will we quit, fall out of our new routine, fail? Probably, but we also have a better sense of how we can get going again. After all, if anything midlife has taught us how resilient we really are and that laughing at ourselves with friends lessens the pain of stumbling.

    Please comment below about what you’re struggling with and what has worked for you in the challenges you’ve faced when you’ve restarted something important in your life.

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  • How I’ve “Almost” Eliminated Gifts–4 Tips to Joyful, Stress free Holiday Season

    Are you feeling bombarded by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and all the other hyped up advertising to encourage into acquiring stuff? I am. The few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the retailers biggest sales period. They also can be very stressful for women since we’re usually the ones to make the magic happen. While I can’t eliminate all your holiday stress, I can offer a few suggestions about gift-giving which have worked for me.

    For those of us who struggle with what to give loved ones, it adds a complex layer of stress to our lives. Add to that, the  challenge when asked the question “what do you want for Christmas?” from well meaning family Ornamentand friends.  I really don’t need another scarf, a sweater, or a book I may or may not read. And every year I struggle to find a right answer without sounding like Scrooge. I really want world peace, an end to global poverty, to eliminate substance abuse, as well as a peaceful life.

    I believe I have found an answer to gift-giving. (Note this doesn’t apply to my two adorable grand-children!)

    The greatest gift we can give and receive is to show up in love for our self and with others. That means being authentic, kind, honoring our values and being respectful of others. Interestingly, two close friends just brought up the same dilemma they’re having about gifts this year. We simply want to be with and enjoy the people in our lives.

    Here are my 4 tips to create a meaningful, stress-free and more personally peaceful holiday season.

    1. Communicate early in person, by phone or email with those you usually exchange gifts. Let them know you want a gift-free year. Tell them you want to take positive action to simplify everyone’s lives and strive to make the world a little better. You might want to share that you’ll be making donating to a few charities this year in lieu of gift-giving.

    2. Say “no” to things and “yes” to shared experiences. In lieu of gifts, consider spending special quality time with those you care about. This could be a long conversation with someone far away, mailing a letter with pictures, or laughing together over a glass of wine together somewhere festive. Some families I know volunteer together, often serving meals or playing Santa at nearby churches or agencies during the holiday season. Family traditions, rituals and favorite foods are most often what is remembered, it’s rarely ever the gifts given or received.

    3.  Make selecting a donation recipient a special event, and let your choices be meaningful to you. My husband and I are planning an evening when we sit down and go through our charities of choice, discuss what’s personally important to us, and decide where we want to give. I know I’ll be giving to  Parisi House on the Hill, a residential addiction recovery center for women with small children. (I’m on the Board and know the impact this organization and its caring staff makes in these women’s lives.)  Decide on who you want to donate to,  log onto their website, and charge your donations. In a couple of hours, you’ve given from the heart, expressed yourself and made the world a little bit better. Your heart will be filled with the joy of giving and no stress!

    4. Relax and truly enjoy the holiday season. This is the season of lights, love, joy and peace. Nowhere in all those holiday songs and cards we receive, is it about stuff, stress, shopping, over-crowded malls, and overspent credit cards. You’ll then be able to find quiet, peaceful moments of reflection and joy during this time of year. Not only will we enjoy the holidays much more, we actually create our own special magic!

    Please post your suggestions for ways you’ve made the holidays more meaningful and less stressful for you this year. Especially if you’ve figured out alternatives to gift giving and how it worked for  you.