SETTING PERSONAL BOUNDARIES: A Primer for Healthier Relationships

SETTING PERSONAL BOUNDARIES: A Primer for Healthier Relationships

SUMMARY: There is a delicate balance between taking care of yourself and the giving of self that is integral to any real relationship with another person. Whether it is your partner, family of origin, friends, co-workers or children, relationships require certain boundaries to stay healthy. Learn to recognize and respect yours.

Boundaries are Limits that YOU Have and Will Not Cross

Personal boundaries are internal limits. They may not be obvious to you, but they exist and influence your actions. Boundaries are important and should be recognized and appreciated. Most of our boundaries are healthy, and to ignore them is detrimental to our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well being.  Such limits are developed for many reasons, and stem from different sources which may include:

  • Family or moral values
  • Ethical principles
  • Self-knowledge and an understanding of your personal needs
  • Awareness of the consequences of going beyond these boundaries

Boundaries are Limits that Others May Not Cross:

  • Violence, physical or mental cruelty
  • Insulting behavior (vs. supportive behavior):            

“MAKE-WRONGS” – Turn your comments, ideas or thoughts into negative feedback, often subtly and insidiously: 
Example:  
You say: “I lost 5 pounds this week.”                                                          
Make-wrong response: “Great, but how are you doing on the 50 pounds you still have to lose?”
Supportive response: “That’s terrific!  I know this is tough and I’ll help in any way I can!”                       

“PUT-DOWNS” – Convey a lack of faith in your ability to do something and/or to do it correctly:
Example
You say: “I’ll finish the project this evening.”                             
Make-wrong/Put-down response: “Sure, like you said you would yesterday?”
Supportive response: “Okay, but if you forget, do you want me to remind you?”

GLOBAL COMMENTS/CRITICISMS – Turns previous disappointments into general character statements that trap, hurt and prevent moving forward in a relationship:           
Examples:  
”You never get anything done.”                                                                                                          
“You always do that!”                                                                                                                          
“It’s always what you want!”  

Pushing The Limits

     Sometimes, the personal boundaries we set are overly protective and limiting.  This is not healthy. While they serve a purpose, they keep us from reaching for a higher rung. We are comfortable where we are, and unwilling to make the effort (emotional, physical, intellectual, etc.) to push our limits and risk the possibility of growth – or failure.

     Personal boundaries are meant to protect our values, not to stifle our growth. Limits imposed from fear are often cages. Beliefs should be looked at from a position of honesty and humility: 

“Am I a better person because of my internal limits or am I protecting myself from the challenges of self-growth or the intimacy of a relationship?”  

Personal Limits Include:

SPACE – Physical, emotional, thoughts… Everyone needs some privacy.  We have a right to private thoughts and solitary activities.

  • Not sharing everything doesn’t mean a lack of trust in another person, nor does it mean you’re cutting the other person out of your life (or being cut out of his or her life).
  • If you feel compelled to always be with others, question why… What is it about your own company that is so unappealing?  If you are just bored, develop some interests!  You can’t always count on others, but you are always around, so learn to enjoy – and appreciate – yourself. Do you need others to constantly validate you?  What can you do to build your sense of self-worth and learn to respect your wonderful, unique self?
  • Be together, but separate – practice parallel play.
  • Some people are more extroverted, in the sense that they get energy from being with others, while some are more introverted, and recharge by doing solitary activities or having ‘quiet time.’ It can be helpful to know what you – and your partner – need.

TIME – There is rarely enough time in our lives to do everything we would like to do, let alone everything others want us to do.  Give yourself permission to take time… to make time… for self-care: quiet time, sleep, relaxation, healthy eating, grooming, personal interests or hobbies, enjoyable activities, etc. 

  • Interfering with or intruding on this time is actually counter-productive and can even be detrimental to productivity.
  • It’s easy to criticize someone for “doing nothing” when there’s much left undone, but time to unwind is NOT selfish or do-nothing time. It helps us to decompress, recharge and build up the ability to attack projects, go places or just “do something.” 
  • There can be justification in expressing concern at “too much” personal time.  If both partners agree there is an excess of time spent “vegetating,” then provisions should be made to SCHEDULE certain activities at specified times.  This avoids conflict as to what was agreed upon. 
  • Scheduling also allows the person taking personal time to do so without guilt, but since the “assigned” personal time isn’t open-ended, scheduling it helps to limit over-indulgence.  Guilt-free personal time is also an excellent reward/incentive for accomplishing scheduled Task-Appointments. See “The Task-Appointment.”
  • When working, interruptions will slow you down and destroy the ‘flow.’ Some estimates say it takes an average of 26 minutes to get back on track, and that’s if you don’t get distracted by something else! And it is even more frustrating if it took major effort to get activated in the first place. You have a right to minimize interruptions – especially when you are working at a task that requires concentrated effort. If possible, turn off the computer and phone notifications for a set time. Let others know you’ll be in temporary seclusion. Consider a phone message that tells others when you will, once again, be available. Put a sign or count-down timer on your desk or office door that says when you will be free (people are more likely to wait if they have a specific time when they can speak to you).
  • Learn to say ‘NO” so you have more time to say “YES” to what really matters. Our time banks are limited, and everything you do is a withdrawal. So, choose wisely. Decide what is important and set your boundaries accordingly.

PERSONAL GOALS, DREAMS, and INTERESTS – We all need dreams to strive and hope for, but it’s important to objectively evaluate them, discard the unrealistic and work towards actually achieving goals that are truly meaningful.  See “How to Accomplish Goals.”   We also need to accept and enjoy our interests without judging them according to someone else’s barometer.

  • Expressing realistic concern about another’s goals or desires is okay, as long it’s done constructively.
  • To be critical in a negative way (“make-wrongs” or “put-downs”) of another’s goals and desires is to take away something precious from that person.  The same is true for being totally non-supportive. 
  • If your needs strongly conflict with another’s goal (e.g., your partner wants to buy a vacation home and you don’t want the stress, financial outlay and additional demands on your time), you can still express an understanding of the need, even if you are not supportive of the action. Perhaps you can both work out some compromise, such as buying into a time-share
  • The reverse is also true. We can be supportive without fully understanding another’s dreams.  Sometimes we haven’t a clue as to why something is important for someone else (e.g., running a marathon), but we can still support them in their quest.
  • Be careful that you don’t impose your dreams, or interests, on others. If you want to go bird-watching and your friends find it boring, it is unfair to force them to join you. However, don’t give up your interest, just find others who share it. Or suggest that while you birdwatch, your friend can use the time for his photography hobby, so you are both doing what you enjoy.
  • Don’t allow others to impose their interests on you. You can decline to share an activity and still be a good friend.  You can appreciate that your spouse likes to watch sports on TV but choose to watch your favorite sitcom in another room.  Not wanting to watch the news or go to an opera doesn’t mean you are superficial. (Beware the hidden make-wrong!)
  • If you know something will be difficult for the other person, even if you don’t think it should be, accept their limitations (real or perceived) and lend your moral support, without being controlling, indirectly insulting or withdrawing.

Limits Must Be Communicated

  • Know and understand your own limits. It is unreasonable to expect compliance or understanding from others if you’re not clear on your own needs.     
  • Make sure others know your limits before you criticize them for going too far, or not far enough. It is unfair to expect something of someone else unless you’ve clearly explained to them what it is you want or need. Too often we get upset with someone because we think they should just know what we want, need, etc.
  • Relationships consist of more than one person. While it is important to get what you need and to strive for what you want, it’s unhealthy (to a relationship) not to also take into account the other person’s needs and wants.
  • Reclarify as needed. Sometimes we think we said something or made something clear and the other person says we didn’t. Instead of accusing the other, accept that either one of you may be responsible for the misunderstanding and restate your needs and expectations. Remember that conversations disappear, and no one is to blame. Communication is critical. And it always helps to write down things that you want to remember, and if they relate to an event, put them on a calendar and set an alarm!
  • Ask for feedback. To be sure major points are understood and to avoid miscommunication, ask the other person to tell you what they’ve heard, and what they think you mean. (Ask nicely, not with an attitude.)
  • Be flexible. Boundaries can be expanded at times. Stay somewhat flexible and try to see things from the other’s point of view without losing your integrity or perspective.

Examples:
If your partner is ill or “down,” you may do more than your share of chores or provide greater emotional support.

A well-meaning grandparent may be allowed to ask questions or do certain things that you wouldn’t permit someone else. (But even here, there should be a limit!)

You may allow a partner or a good friend certain intimacies or criticisms you wouldn’t accept from an acquaintance.

Formulate Consequences for Overstepped Boundaries

  • Calmly state the situation (the other person may not have realized they were pushing your limits).
  • Reinforce your boundaries when they are, or might be, violated.
  • Graciously refuse to accept an over-the-boundary situation. Getting angry, depressed or belligerent doesn’t make it easier for you or the other person. 
  • Allow the other person a backdoor; an easy way to change their mind or offer a compromise that realistically works for you. 

Examples:
Employer:  “I need this report by 9am.”
Response:  “You may have forgotten, but when we met yesterday, I explained that I had to leave early today.  You said it was okay.  It’s impossible for me to cancel my plans at this point, but I can either prepare the report when I come in tomorrow and have it by noon, or give the data to Nancy so that she can prepare the report.”

Spouse:    “Honey, I’m watching the playoffs… can you please keep the kids quiet?”   
Response:  “We agreed that you take care of the children on Sunday afternoons so I can work on my thesis.  I know you really want to see the game, so I can take them to the park now, but if I do, you’ll have to take care of dinner and putting them to bed so I can complete the section I’m working on.”

Partner: “Are you ever going to get that ‘A’ project finished? 
Response: “I certainly hope so.  However, I’m also juggling the ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ projects.  If you can take over the ‘C’ project, I shouldn’t have any difficulty completing the other three on schedule.”

Child: “Mom – you didn’t wash my team jersey!  You’re in charge of doing the laundry!  I need it by 4:00, so wash it now!”
Response: “Everyone in this family is old enough to be responsible for putting their clothes in the laundry hamper. You know that. Since you left the jersey on the floor in your room, it wasn’t washed when I did the family laundry. If you want to wear a clean jersey to team practice, you’ll just have to wash it yourself.  If you’re not sure how to do that, I’ll be happy to answer your questions, but I won’t do it for you.”

Child: “I’ve had it with doing chores around here.  I’m not your slave! You take out the garbage yourself.”
Response: “I won’t force you to take out the garbage.  I know it’s not very appealing, but everyone has responsibilities. Since you don’t want to do your share of what must be done, I’ll have to work harder.  So, I won’t have the energy or time to take you to dance class on Thursday.  It’s your choice.”

Recognizing and reinforcing boundaries makes for more powerful
and healthier relationships.

STOP the SHAME!

STOP the SHAME!

It’s tough enough that many of us have challenges with ADHD/Executive Functions (organization, time management, prioritization, activation, short-term memory, etc.).  But we compound the problems when we add guilt to the mix.

I may not be happy that I’m not checking off all my To-Do’s – even when I’ve realistically created a theoretically do-able Daily Action Plan. Feeling a degree of anxiety about accomplishing things can be helpful as an impetus to action, but dwelling on my failures is totally unproductive – and unfair!

ADHD and EF challenges are neurobiological, which means they exist, like it or not. It isn’t a question of morality, intelligence or willpower. I can find strategies to compensate and even excel, but without them, I will struggle with even simple tasks. And there are days when even my best strategies will go unheeded.

I can write this blog and feel energized, but before I began, I shut my eyes to avoid looking at the kitchen counter that needs straightening, saying ‘later.’ As a productivity/ADHD/organization coach (ah, the irony!), I tell myself to just take 10 minutes on the counter (which would totally be enough time), but my brain cries out that I might lose the train of thought that inspired me to write this. So, the kitchen counter waits.

My brain works in a way that is sometimes quite incredibly wonderful, but won’t usually win awards for straightening up, making calls I’d rather avoid or working on tasks that don’t light up my engagement button. Activation, or getting started on something, has little to do with motivation. I may really want to lower my cable bill, but initiating a call to the cable company to complain meets brain resistance and is easily postponed (it’s important, but not urgent, and has now been on my list for several months!).

I can choose to feel shame and guilt, or I can choose self-acceptance. My challenges aren’t excuses, but they are explanations. I choose to not spend my life focusing on what I don’t do/haven’t done, because that would be a sad way to live. Instead, I look at what I do accomplish (often things that were not on my Action list) and appreciate my efforts. I look at where I’m struggling, and focus on compensatory strategies to help me do better.

Here’s an example: My natural tendency is to be late for just about anything. When I was honest about this, and the negative affects it had on both myself and others (my PowerPlan to Success™ Step #1, Self-Awareness), I accepted responsibility, tempered by knowing I have brain-based challenges that contribute to lateness (Step #2, Self-Acceptance). HOWEVER, I decided I could still improve (Step #3, Belief in Possibility, and that You Always Have a Choice). So, I developed a load of compensatory strategies, both practical and mindset. Now I’m late only occasionally, but if I didn’t use these strategies, I’d be back to old habits.

It’s a waste of energy and a drain on your spirit to mourn the person you are not.  Yesterday morning I spoke with a client, Annie who felt shame when she used a timer to remind her of things. It reminded her that she “was a failure, because I can’t do it myself.” We discussed this, and Annie was able to reframe her thinking from one of failure and self-blame to a positive take. She focused on how terrific it was to proactively compensate for a brain-based challenge that she could not control by willpower alone. She shifted from feeling defeated by her perceived failure to feeling empowered by her decision to let a tool (the timer) create a successful outcome.

That same afternoon I spoke with Paul, who was berating himself for not having done something on a timely basis that resulted in some really negative consequences. We spoke about systems that could make a difference going forward, but the real issue was one of Self-Acceptance. For any system to be effective, it must be used. So he needed to understand and accept that he has executive function deficits that require conscious compensation:

  • He can’t rely on his memory. There has to be an independent trigger to take action. (Although Paul’s need was for a long-term reminder, accepting, and finding a strategy to compensate for his poor working memory was similar to Annie’s realization that using a timer was smart, necessary and nothing to feel ashamed about.)
  • He can’t depend on getting something done immediately, even when remembered on a timely basis. This can be a struggle for anyone, but is particularly tough for those with ADHD. (Research shows we are less motivated by Importance than those with neurotypical brains.) Build white space, or open-time cushions, into your calendar, in case you need to delay a scheduled To-Do, then have a can’t-miss way to remind yourself when you’ve run out of avoidance time.

When Paul accepted the reality of how he worked (or didn’t!), he also let go of the shame he had attached to his failure to take timely action. And we came up with some nifty strategies to avoid this in the future.

We always have a choice. We can be the 5-foot tall person who spends her life bemoaning the fact (totally out of her control) that she isn’t 5’10”, or the woman who is 5’10” and wishes she was more petite, or we can focus on our reality and make the most out of it. We can be the person who refuses to wear glasses because he doesn’t think they look good, or we can buy funky glasses that mirror our personality or mood and have fun with it. We can want to lose weight and keep feeling guilty about our lack of willpower, or we can find a program with strategies (not willpower!) that work for us. We can take charge of our efforts, instead of being ruled by inadequacy and self-judgment. Will we always succeed, no. But there’s a lot less stress, and less time wasted wallowing in self-blame and guilt.

Please, stop beating yourself up for struggling. Accept that your wonderful, creative and capable brain has some challenges. Find strategies to help and give yourself credit for workarounds. When things don’t go the way you’d like, refuse to define yourself by your struggles – and don’t let others erode your self-esteem. 

If you need help finding alternative strategies, there are terrific books (I’ve listed a few in www.SusanLasky/Resources), and a wealth of good podcasts, webcasts and articles online. Also, consider the benefits of individual coaching to jump-start change – click here to schedule our no-obligation Initial Conversation. If we’ve worked together and you have some new (or recurring) issues, let’s catch up!

Give yourself permission to be imperfect!

The POWER of POSSIBILITY!

The POWER of POSSIBILITY!

Sometimes it is more difficult to believe in the power of possibility than at other times. So, when we have reminders, hold onto them!

What am I talking about? In my 7-Step PowerPlan to Success™ (you can download the free ebook here), the first Step is Self-Awareness – knowing who you are, and aren’t… what you’re likely to do, and what you probably won’t… what you like, and what you don’t.  It’s about accepting your reality, and so Step #2 is Self-AcceptanceThis isn’t about giving in or giving up, but about starting from where you are, not where you (or others) wish you were. New studies are showing that Self-Acceptance is fundamental to both happiness and, perhaps surprisingly, productivity. Making better choices that suit you, and planning realistically, helps minimize overwhelm, which then makes it easier to get things done.

Knowing… and accepting… yourself doesn’t mean you can’t change or improve. That’s why Step #3 is Belief in Possibility – that you always have a choice in the matter. You can’t always control a situation, but how you choose to react can change your life (and often the lives of others, as have those people who began movements or charities after being affected by negative events in their personal lives).

But I’m writing this to talk about the inner power we have that is sooo easy to overlook. Sometimes we’re reminded, and that helps. Today I had an old post of mine pop up on Facebook. It was about an event that happened three years ago, and I’m thankful for the reminder that I have the inner power to do things that I may not intellectually or emotionally believe possible.

I was at an energy workshop. The presenter was Dr. Gene Ang, a Yale-trained neurobiologist. He spoke about the power we have to heal, ourselves and others. To prove that our minds (and spirit) can do things that science would scoff at, we were all given heavy-weight metal utensils (forks and spoons). He walked us through an exercise that ended with being able to bend these thick and solid utensils with thought and energy, not strength. Of course we tried to bend them in every way (including using double fisted grip strength) before the exercise, with no success (ok, no WWE members in the group).

Then we did the energy exercise, and those spoons started bending – I mean really bending. It wasn’t our physical strength that did it, but our focus and will, channeling stronger forces as we loosely held these store-bought utensils by their handles. I admit – I was totally frustrated, being one of the last non-benders in the room. I let out a healthy expletive, directed towards my recalcitrant spoon, and let go of trying. The spoon immediately ‘softened’ in my hand and bent totally in half (see the picture – it’s a cell photo of my handiwork). Wow!

So when you’re running low on positive possibility, remember the spoons – change is within you! Apparently, the Universe wants us to succeed, when we’re really clear about what we want, and willing to put in targeted effort.

I especially like this spoon story at this time of year, bringing the focus from shopping and stress back to miracles and possibility.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season!

I Don’t Wanna!

I Don’t Wanna!

But I Don’t Feel Like it! …

I planned to write my next blog post. Great Idea. Gives me joy to share information. Helps me to stay in business so I can keep helping clients. I have the time today… but I don’t feel like it! 

The funny/sad thing about “…But I don’t feel like it” – those six short words wield a mighty power, and it’s not for good. We think them frequently, or at least many of us do, and they are the Destroyers of Productivity.

Here are some typical conversations in my head, but I imagine they sound familiar to many of you.

  • I ought to go to the gym…
  • I should re-organize my closet…
  • I need to finish this…
  • I said I would…
  • It’s at the top of my ‘Action’ list…

…BUT I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!

Just six words, but powerful enough to subvert our best intentions. The enemy of getting things done.

What to do?

I coach my clients on the benefits of reframing a ‘should… must… need to… or have to…’ into a ‘want to.’ Why? Because we’re all more inclined to do what we want. But even wanting to do something can lose traction when the ‘but I don’t feel like it’ button is pressed, and it gets pressed very easily – “I’m tired… I have too much to do…. I’m not sure how to… It’s too much work…  I just don’t wanna!”

These are powerful feelings. Strong enough to triumph over our already-compromised executive functioning capabilities. So, too often, we don’t take action and our temporary emotions/avoidance tendencies get top billing.

I don’t like giving in. Sometimes, sure. Being self-indulgent can be comforting, and there are times when eating an ice cream sundae or taking a nap should take precedence over staying on a diet or doing the laundry. But other times it feels like the nefarious power of six is in charge, and even my best plans are unwilling hostages. 
So here’s how I fight back.

  • I start from my reality. Step #1 of my 7-Step PowerPlan to Success™ is Self-Awareness, which means acknowledging how I really feel. If I don’t feel like it, why deny the obvious? Step #2 is Self-Acceptance. I already know all those shoulds, oughts, musts, etc., and instead of fighting the way I feel or blaming myself, I accept my mood, so I’m not adding incendiary guilt to the challenge of taking action (…or not).
  • I’ll remind myself I have the power of choice. Step #3 is to Believe in Possibility – that we always have a choice. It’s easy to forget this when caught up in the moment. Still, despite the way I feel (or think), I can find strategies to do things differently, thus producing different results.
  • I can take action despite my thoughts and feelings. There is a powerful concept in several therapies, including Morita Therapy, the Japanese psychology of Action, that focuses on our ability to take action regardless of the thoughts and feelings that will always get in the way. The trick is to acknowledge them, including the powerful “I don’t feel like it,’ then choose to ignore them… they don’t have to be in control, even though they seem to be.
  • Keep that action simple and immediate. If I think about writing a blog, it can be overwhelming. Overwhelm, especially for people with challenged executive functions or ADHD, will allow our fight, flight or freeze reaction to take control, making it even less likely to get anything accomplished. So, maybe I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes and open to a blank page in my notebook or Word file. Maybe I’ll just write a few buzz words (Iike I did when I started this blog by writing, “But I don’t feel like it…”). Maybe I’ll get inspired and continue, or perhaps I won’t, but I’ve done something!
  • Consider what is actually getting in the way. Sometimes this is a waste of time, but occasionally there’s increased clarity when I explore why “I don’t wanna,” enabling me to move forward. My kneejerk response “But I don’t feel like it” may be a reaction to a concern that, when acknowledged, can be remedied. Perhaps my reluctance to do something might be because I’m not sure how to get it done. Maybe I first need to do some research or create a Project sheet and break it down into small, do-able tasks. Maybe I need to ask for help. Or maybe I have too many things to do and haven’t prioritized. I need clarity.
  • Look for the options. Sometimes, exploring what’s really getting in the way gives me options.
    • I don’t want to re-organize my room because I think it will take up most of my day. OK, how can I power up that action switch? I can set an alarm, put on dance music and work for just 60 minutes. Who knows, I may even complete the job in that time, or at least make good progress.  
    • Or maybe I don’t want to straighten up my clothes closet because there’s no room. So my project shifts to reviewing my clothing with an eye towards donating. As organizing guru Barbara Hemphill says, “You can’t organize clutter.” First, I’ll declutter, then I’ll find it easier to organize.
  • Look for the motivators. What will encourage activation? For example, people with ADHD are rarely driven by the common motivators of importance, consequences or rewards (unless they are immediate). But if something is interesting or novel, we’re more likely to WANT to pursue it. I know it’s easier for me to unload the dishwasher (boring and repetitive) if I make it a game to get it done quickly: Beat the TV Commercial. I recently discussed this concept with a client, and she decided the best way to clean her kitchen after dinner is to make having her favorite ice cream dessert dependent upon having a cleared counter and sink. The yummy dessert was enough of a motivator to make her want to do it.

So how did I manage to write this blog, despite my immediate reaction of “But I don’t feel like it!”? 

  • I decided to switch my environment (a very helpful strategy) and sit outside to enjoy a gorgeous day (studies show that being in nature resets the brain, so another boost). 
  • My small, portable bluetooth speaker played perfect background music at low volume from my playlist (for me, wearing earbuds or earphones would have made the music my primary brain focus and been distracting, rather than enhancing). 
  • I filled a thermos cup with a tasty drink (self-care). No, it wasn’t wine – not a bad idea, but I was tired and would have drifted off target.
  • I took along my favorite pen and a pad with smooth, thick conducive-to-writing paper (sometimes hand writing is more inspirational than keyboarding). 
  • I began by writing down those six powerful words, “…But I don’t feel like it.” 
  • Most important – I set a clear intention and decided to put everything else on hold while I write.

There are many ways to fight these Six Powerful Words. Let’s continue this conversation with your comments on my blog, www.SusanLasky/i-dont-wanna. What are some ideas that work for you?
Still Putting off Change?

Still Putting off Change?

CHANGE…Often we avoid it, preferring to stay in our comfort zone. Or maybe we just lack the energy to explore new options. This can work for us, but it will keep us stuck. If we want things to be different, we have to do something differently.

Other times we seek out change as a remedy for boredom. Those of us with an active impulsivity trait tend to keep our radar focused on new opportunities (always attracted to that bright and shiny object). It’s probably a good idea to hit the pause button before jumping in. 

Mostly, we look towards change to fulfill a desire for something more in our lives.This is a good thing – without it we wouldn’t risk a career change, buy a new house, adopt a pet, go on a date or start a family. Change can be less dramatic, like starting a new health routine, switching to a more helpful day planner or deciding to clear clutter.

When we try something new, it may not work out, but at least we won’t 
stagnate. We’re also a step ahead, having a better idea of what will work, when we can rule out what didn’t.

Triggers for Change: There are certain times of the year when we’re more inclined to think about making changes, like on New Year’s or a birthday. Why wait? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. For many of us, summer is coming to an end – a perfect time for a new beginning; your trigger for change.  

  • What do you want to be different?
  • What can you do to help make that happen?
  • What support will make change easier?

 

Believe in the magic of possibility. Attitude matters. It is so sad that when people are caught in negative emotions they can’t muster the attitude and energy to try something new. Don’t let feeling hopeless, or like a victim, prevent you from doing something new, or changing the way you do it. Start small. Success breeds success. Limit your goals – less is more; better to accomplish one thing successfully than to work towards multiple goals only to give up, feeling overwhelmed.

An effective way to create positive change is to declare your intent, verbally and in writing. It forces you to be clear as to your specific goals. Say it with conviction (even if you find that difficult), as something you’ve already accomplished: “I am wearing that size 10 dress and looking terrific.” … “I’m sitting at my organized desk and doing great at my new job.” … “I have a special relationship with a wonderful, supportive, smart and sexy person.”  Print it out and post it where you’ll see it. If you can, include a photo that illustrates your accomplished goal.  

There’s science behind it. Our brains are quick to see the negative; not so much the positive. Some studies declare we think up to 60,000 thoughts a day, and that 80% of them are mostly negative – that’s 48,000 negative thoughts a day. That’s a lot to overcome, and we need all the reminders and reinforcements that we can muster. When we speak in the positive, it changes our expectations. When we say we will, instead of we’ll try, we reinforce our internal belief that change is possible.

So choose a goal to celebrate your new possibilities. Be realistic but positive – this time you can. I invite you to state your possibility and commitment in the comments section below.

I would love to help you turn your goals into realities. Just click here to schedule a time to talk about individual coaching or click here to learn more about my action/accountability group, The TUIT Project.

Here’s to positive, and lasting, change!