Monthly Archives: July 2011

Try, Try Again

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Instilling Confidence

Action is the foundational key to all success –Pablo Picasso

I have been around children my whole life and have seen a wide spectrum of personalities and seen different parenting approaches.  I have discovered that though we all are born with unique personalities, most beliefs we develop about ourselves come from what we hear from those around us.

Do you remember the last time you really beat yourself up over something?  What was it over?  Generally we are hard on ourselves for making mistakes, or not being successful enough.  As a young child, these things would have not phased us, but as we have matured, we have learned that these things are unacceptable.  In some cases, our maturity is a form of respect and needed in society, but so many times we beat ourselves up over things that really don’t matter.

Parents have so much influence over their children, even when they are grown.  I still find satisfaction in making my dad proud, and to hear it from him is even more satisfying.  The success of our society depends greatly on the success of our families.  But how is success measured?  Is it because we have raised another Einstein or perhaps another Babe Ruth?  Do our children have to become some famous super stars to be successful?

We live in a competitive world, and it is in our nature to do the best or be the best in whatever we are doing.  Most parents start to unintentionally push their children at a young age to believe that their success depends on how well they do something.  The child’s self-esteem soon is wrapped up in their talents.  When they get to a point where the skill level required is more difficult, they start to believe that they are worthless, and don’t think they can ever overcome their struggles.  Most want to quit and find something that they are truly good at.  Some might say that it is all part of the learning curve, but what if there was a better way to help our children find success?

True success is not the final product, but rather the road that got you there.  If we teach our children while they are young that they succeed by putting in the effort, then when they get to a difficult crossing in building their skills, they will know that even if they struggle, all is not loss.  When we build confidence in how hard they work, and not how well they do something, we will help them to succeed.

When praising a child, let them know you are impressed with how hard they worked, or let them know that you can tell that they took their time.  All too soon they will learn how competitive the world is, but if we have built up their confidence, they will find success, Einstein or not.

Quick Tip: Closet Control

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist. –Tammy Faye Bakker

Most of us women have a weakness for clothing.  Shopping can be therapeutic, but if we aren’t careful all that therapy can create more stress with an overwhelmed closet, giving us more reason perhaps for some alternative therapy.

There are a few ways to avoid this closet dilemma;

  • A couple times a year (perhaps at the beginning of summer and winter)  go through your closet and get rid of anything that you haven’t worn over the past year, either because it is outdated, doesn’t fit well or has been worn out.  If you haven’t worn it for a year, you  probably will never wear it again and might as well let someone else benefit from it.
  • If you already have pretty good control of your closet and prefer to do small purges; for every new item you add to your wardrobe, get rid of a similar item that you no longer use.
  • For the fashion diva’s that just absolutely need all your clothes; keep your out of season clothing put away in storage, and change it out as the weather changes.

When you keep a grip on your wardrobe, you’ll find that your clothing is better utilized.  And we all know that when we look good, we feel good, helping us save a little dough in therapy costs:)

Weeding Time

Don’t water your weeds. –Proverbs

As I was weeding this past week, it got me thinking about what things in my life need to be weeded out.  These weeds can be a little more difficult to recognize and can vary from clutter to obligations to bad habits.  But once we spot them and remove them from our garden, it really can help our lives flourish.

Too many of us have burdened ourselves down with over-excessive dreams and wants.  We can gain much by letting go.  It is time for some simplification and new-found FREEDOM!

Evaluate your life over the next few days.  Where do you spend your time, and is your time spent where you really want it?  What items around your house haven’t been touched or used for years, and do your really plan to utilize them in the future?  Do you feel that your life is benefitting from holding onto to these things?

Find at least two things that you really think are holding you back from where you want to go in life.  Maybe it’s the back room of your house that you have been avoiding to clean and have been feeling guilty about all the while, or perhaps an obligation that you used to profit from, that now is a liability.

Once you find two things that you are ready to rid yourself from, make a plan and liberate yourself (and perhaps your family too)!  Give yourself adequate time to conquer these weeds.  Once you have your simple plan, put some safety nets into place to ensure you follow through.  I always like to make myself accountable for my goal, either by putting it on my calendar or asking a friend to check up on my progress.  Once these weeds have been removed, enjoy the freedom you have gained!

In simplicity there is freedom, freedom to do less and enjoy more. –Katrina Kenison

Following the Laws of Inertia

An object will stay at rest or stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force  –Sir Isaac Newton

I clearly remember learning about the laws of motion in middle school, doing some experiments to see exactly what it was all about.  At that point, I thought it only pertained to balls, but I have now found it can go way beyond that.

Have you ever noticed yourself following the laws of inertia?  You get going, and ain’t nothing going to stop you!  Then just a few days later you find yourself having a hard time pulling your butt out of bed.  Why is this?

MY HYPOTHESIS:

When we have places to go and things to do, we go into SUPER PRODUCTIVE MODE and follow the objects in motion portion of the law.  We might not do everything that comes to mind, but the results are pretty impressive.   On the other hand, when we don’t have much to look forward to or work towards, we find ourselves dragging ourselves out of bed late in the day and almost accomplishing nothing.

This all goes back to the idea, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.  If you find that you follow this pattern in your life, use it to your advantage.  Pick a “day of rest” and enjoy a good book, spend time cuddling with your loved ones, or spend time meditating.  Then makes some goals to work towards on the other days of the week and get going!

And don’t forget if someone asks why you did nothing but read a book one day, you can always use the excuse, “I’m just following the laws of inertia.”  It’s one of my favorites!

Work Hard, Play Hard

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy –James Howell

With all these posts about planning and getting the most out of your day, let’s not forgot the importance of devoting some free time to ourselves and family. It is important for our health and longevity to make sure we give ourselves some time to relax and have a good time.

If you keep a calendar, remember to block out time for yourself and/or family and don’t feel guilty doing it.  These moments are what make for good memories and happy people.

As a self-employed working mother, I know it can be extremely difficult trying to find a good balance between work time and free time, but both are important parts of our lives.  When I first started working from home, I felt guilty no matter what I was doing; working, cleaning the house, spending time with family or trying to make time for myself.  We have to remind ourselves that each is important and that when we give that aspect of our life attention, it is because it is important.  Finding the right balance is difficult but very important so that each is getting the time that is needed, and that all depends on each individual and their priorities.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and it is possible even if you have a heavy work load.

Planning Day

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. –Lucille Ball

Why do you think this saying is true?

As a working mother of three, I have found that my weeks are generally packed pretty tight.  Trying to juggle all my obligations can be a real challenge.  That is why I started a planning day.

Every Sunday, I try to sit down, look over my calendar and make a list of everything that I need to accomplish for the week.  After I get my list together, I divide them up by which day I need/want to accomplish the tasks.  If I didn’t complete anything from the prior week, I add it to my new list.

I like to use a Weekly Planner notepad that I purchased from Michael’s, similar to the one seen below, but it doesn’t have to be fancy (if you consider a $1 notepad fancy).  I love to see it all down, and just love when I cross off all my tasks for a day.  And I’ll admit, sometimes, when I don’t get to the things on my list, I add some tasks that I did do that day just so I can cross them off:)

I have found that writing down what I need to do helps me to think clear, accomplish more and helps me from over scheduling myself.  It generally only takes 10-15 minutes a week, but saves me a lot of time and headache.  I encourage you to try it, you’ll be amazed how much it can give you such peace of mind!

Nagging Mom Solution

Children aren’t happy without something to ignore. And that’s what parents were created for. — Ogden Nash, The Parents

This post if for you parents out there.  Not too long ago, I was struggling because I had become Nagging Mom.  Something I had promised myself while young that I would never become.  But no matter what I tried, it seemed like anytime I wanted my kids to do something around the house, I had to become Nagging Mom.

Then I stumbled upon a simple solution that has helped cure my Nagging Mom problems.  The solution has had other added benefits for both child and parent alike.

I purchased a couple of small dry-ease boards, one for each child, positioned them in a central location in our home and when there are things to be done, I simply write down a list (my kids like to have check boxes to mark off).  Sometimes I make the list once a day, sometimes more.  For my beginning reader child, I draw pictures next to the words to help him determine what is on the list.  We usually go over their list during breakfast or after they get home from school and I give them a time frame that I want the chores done by.  Free-time always comes after they have completed all the chores.

Since I have started the chore list, I have found that my kids are a lot happier to help around the house.  Here are some of the other benefits I have found from using the chores list;

FOR THE KIDS

  • It makes them feel important and needed
  • Gives them clear expectations, no more “I didn’t know I had to do that”
  • It boost their self esteem, they really enjoy crossing off the chores and are always proud when their list is complete
  • Helped them become more organized
  • It has helped my beginning reader with his reading skills

FOR THE PARENT

  • Helps to cure Nagging Mom/Dad
  • The house seems to stay cleaner

FOR BOTH

  • We generally have more family time because the children stay focused while doing their chores and they don’t need constant reminders, saving us both time!

It can be done a variety of ways, but I like the flexibility I get with using the dry-ease board.  If I want my kids to do their usual chores, I put that on the list.  If I want my kids pick up something they dropped on the floor, I put that on the list.  The possibilities are endless with this solution and it is easy to keep up on, but I know that we all have to find something that works for us.

Since I have found this solution, I wanted to spread the message to everyone I knew because I had brought so much peace of mind to our home.

If you have found any solution to helping you stay more organized, please share!

Organization Basics

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”–A.A. Milne

Most people cringe at the thought of getting organized.  It can be a daunting task, but the reward is priceless and let’s face it, it just makes life so much easier in the long run.  If we could just get over the prejudice we have against organizing, we could come to realize that it is something that can greatly improve our lives.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle we have when we are trying to get organized is knowing where to start.  And with our over-committed schedule, we leave ourselves little time to think, much less, get ourselves pulled together enough to get organized.  To overcome this downward spiral, let’s take a look at the basics and take this bit by bit.

There are three basic parts of organizing;

  • Simplify
  • Plan
  • Prioritize

SIMPLIFY:

“Less is more!” –Unknown

There is simple truth to this simple saying.  Let’s learn the lesson from our forbearer’s and apply this wisdom into our lives.  We all want more out of life, and if doing less is what gets us there, then by golly, let’s do less!!

So many of us have such high expectations of ourselves and even our family members, especially all you parents out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very important to have hopes and goals for both ourselves individually and for our loved ones.  We just need to take a step back sometimes and realize what cost we pay for our excessive dreams.  If we are always stressed and unhappy, then something just isn’t right and we need to address it ASAP.

To simplify our lives means we need to take a moment and re-evaluate what we are doing and find ways to make it less complicated.  This can go in so many different directions, from clutter to time management.  When we simplify, and find ways to cut corners and perhaps lower our expectations by just a small degree, then we will find more time to enjoy life.  Isn’t that what we all want?

PLAN:

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”–Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s time to stop wasting our time wishing and start planning.  Plans come in so many different shapes and sizes, but they generally have one result, peace of mind.  When you take the extra time to pre-think what you are about to do, your chances for success increase dramatically.  There have been studies that indicate the fact that simply writing your goals down significantly increase your chances of accomplishing your goals. (http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals.html).

Since a good chunk of society has a never-ending “to do” list and ever-increasing expectations of ourselves, perhaps if we could take this simple advice of writing it down and creating a simple plan, we might decrease our stress level and increase our chances for success in achieving our goals.

PRIORITIZE:

“Organize your life around your dreams – and watch them come true.” –Unknown

It is amazing how many of us spend a good chunk of our precious time doing things that really don’t matter.  When you get a chance, take a minute and evaluate how much of your day is spent wasted to TV, the internet or other time-wasting devices.  I know that these things can be useful and help us relax at times, but are we really using them to the best of our advantage.  I’m sure if you were to sit down and write out your life goals, watching a lot of television would not be on your list.  So then my question is this; why do we spend so much time doing things that really don’t matter to us?

Take a moment and write down what is important to you.  After you get a list, put them in order from most important to least important.  Does your list coincide with the amount of time you spend involved supporting these priorities?  If not, what can you do you spend more time
enjoying those things that are important to you?

Prioritizing our lives will help us find more happiness, because we will be spending most of our time doing the things that are important to us.  And who doesn’t want to be happy?

When we take the time to put a little effort into our lives, it is amazing how much smoother things seems to go.  I challenge you to try it.

“It is my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”  –Henry Ford

Mental Mind Blocks

All of us have felt overwhelmed at some point or another.  Some people seem to be better at it than others.  Not really a trait one would hope to have as a talent.  Fear and worry are unhealthy and unproductive emotions.  Mastering these reactions can help us to become more successful in all aspects of our lives.

Take a minute and ponder on these questions;

  • What make you feel overwhelmed?
  • How has this emotion helped to solve the problem?
  • What do you do that feeds into this unproductive burden?

Coming to the realization that stressing about something does nothing but create ulcers can help us gain control of these unnecessary feelings.  Do you often feel overwhelmed by chores, phone calls or other work?  Do you find yourself waking up at 2 AM to stress about them?  Is it working to your advantage?  Probably not.

Realizing it is half the battle.  How do you gain control?  It probably won’t happen overnight, but as you change you mindset and convenience yourself to stop fretting, you can slowly master your anxiety.  The solution will all depend on  timing and each individual’s personality.  We will explore these in later blogs.

When we come to a realization that “today is not forever,” we can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying.  We will always have work to do and problems to solve, how we approach it makes all the difference.

Let’s gain better control of these emotions, it will ultimately make us happier people!

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