Monday, December 31, 2018

Plans for 2019?

Time is ticking away and I still haven't chosen a main focus word. Have you?

I know some of you have. That's great!

A friend on Facebook asked for three words that we hope will describe how we will live in 2019. I input "Balance, Intention, and Adventure."  Today I started my day asking God to help me be that way today. 

To me BALANCE means putting my passions and duties into balance in my schedule. 
To keep my thoughts and mindset in balance.
To take care of myself physically in balance. (I've found it's easy to focus on aches and pains and what is wrong with my health and I don't want to do that this year. Continue to pray for my healing of tinnitus and head and neck pain and chronic stiffness. Two years ago I bonked my head and I think that is a contributor).

To me INTENTION means adding wisdom to my thoughts and choices. It means thinking through the possible consequences of my choices. I hope living intentionally will help me feel accomplished and motivated. 

To me ADVENTURE means a lot less than it would to some women. I'm an introvert. I prefer staying home to read and write or create art. Adventure might mean visiting a new coffee shop, restaurant, or plant store. 

To others it may mean going into a mud run or half-marathon. It may mean blowing $13,000 on a cruise with their spouse. It might mean taking a trip to China. 

I'm not even sure what adventure might look like this year for me. It will require pushing myself out of my usual default, but I am content to slowly break existing habits, not take drastic measures. 

I'm happy and content with my life believe it or not. But I know the value of new adventures too. 

I think I might just post all these words around my house. They are ALL motivating.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Could Your Focus Word be INSPIRE?


To continue the theme of choosing a word for the year as discussed in this post, I'd like to talk about another theme that has been going through my mind. The word is inspire or inspiration.

Some word choices are more me-centered. Others are others-centered. The word INSPIRE can be both. 

I prefer to feel inspired more than I like to feel worried, sad, or bored. I seek inspiration, but have learned over time it is less about finding it in a big way. For me, it isn't about taking a European vacation. It is enjoying the immediate such as the intricacies laden in the bark of a tree or in the petals of a flower. It is about seeing beauty in the overlooked.

I started a habit about two years ago of going for a 10-minute walk around my large back yard first thing in the morning after taking my thyroid medication (which is supposed to be taken well before coffee). Walking in the fresh air gets my body going, clears my lungs, and my dog and cat enjoy walking with me, so it's fun. (It is also practical as I'm able to pick up my dog's poop during this time). But it is more than that. During this walk, I look out into the forest and up into the sky. I take a deep breath as I notice things I may otherwise miss. I invite God into my day during these walks and return to the kitchen more inspired than when I began, ready to pour a coffee. 

Pray to Inspire Others

Before I head to my gym, I say a prayer for God to put a guard over my mouth. I ask him to use my words to bless others and for others to bless me. This group has been great because it is mostly men and women over age 55. It is my peer group. We workout together and encourage each other. I can't force inspiration on them, but I hope I am an inspiration in some small way.

Inspiring someone else may seem contrived. We can't make anyone else do, think, or feel something. It's up to them. But we can ask God to help us BE inspiring. He can muster up what is already within us and use it to bless others. 

Mostly, I say this prayer so that I won't be negative, critical, insulting, annoying, and so on toward others. I want to be a light, not a Debbie Downer. Choosing to look for inspiration and wanting to inspire others is always a good choice. 

Could your word for 2019 be INSPIRE? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Your Word Phrase for 2019: Could it Be Move On?

Another Possible Word for the Year - Move On!

To continue the theme of choosing a word for the year as discussed in this post, I'd like to talk about another theme that has been going through my mind. The phrase is move on (or perhaps let it go).

What I mean by move on is to stop venting, complaining, or ruminating about something quicker. 

I desire to learn to let an event be as it is or was, enjoy it, and move on from it. I desire to resist focusing on what went wrong and look at what went well. 

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians to not find fault, to not keep an account of wrong doings or carry grudges. These verses and others like them indicate a need to put an end to endless rehashing of issues that are better left behind.  Philippians to forget the former things. That can include what happened an hour ago.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to put our focus on

 "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"

It doesn't suggest we make assumptions (which may not be true), that we look for the faults of ourselves or others, that we look at mis-deeds that might have occurred, that we look at the negative that transpired, or that we look at what's wrong with a person or situation.

Moving on is so important if we're to retain a good mood, retain peace and confidence, and happiness. It's important in making us persistent, consistent soldiers of the Lord. 

It becomes problematic when an issue becomes bigger in our mind than it needs to be. It become problematic when we spend energy complaining or worrying about things that have occurred. What we make our focus intensifies. The result of focusing on what went wrong is we beat ourselves up or cause ourselves unnecessary stress. We might even be tempted to vent to others who don't need to hear about it.  

Perfectionism and Control Issues

For myself, this theme of needing to move on is closely linked to my problem with perfectionism, the need to be in control, and over-analysis. I have trouble when things don't meet my expectations.

Another phrase I might adopt is let it go. I have found doing this takes conscious effort. 

How about you? Could you stand to let thoughts go more easily? 

Letting go means resisting repeating the negatives (referred to as venting), resisting thinking of them over and over, and changing the channel in the brain to more positive thoughts that are full of fresh hope. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Do You Choose a Guiding Word for the Year?

Many women in my long-distance coaching circle choose a word at the turn of the calendar. It is a word God has impressed upon them to act as a guiding light for the year. I haven't always chosen a word. Sometimes I've chosen a phrase. Last year, I chose Willingness.

Over the next few posts, I will talk about words you might choose for yourself.

Here's how mine helped me in 2018:

I chose the word "willing" or "willingness." I pictured myself aboard a cruise ship called Willingness.  God would be the captain. I would sit back and relax while I let Him decide where the ship would go. I would disembark at the ports of call to carry out the tasks He had in mind for me. 

The ports of call I ventured to weren't glamorous. They included some of the following:

Be willing to make a wreath for your mother-in-law's nursing home room.
Be willing to visit her on your own, as frequently as possible.
Be willing to help write her eulogy.
Be willing to get up and go to bootcamp.
Be willing to be a listener rather than a talker.
Be willing to make your mom home-cooked meals. 
Be willing to clean your house without complaining.

...and so on.

Adopting this willing mindset helped me complete tasks with a sense of purpose. It kept me from unnecessary complaining.

Right now I have a long list of possible words to choose from for 2019. Some are pictured above. I'm practicing some of them to see if God emphasizes one over the other. 

What do you think of this idea? Do you choose a word for the year? Would it help you stay focused?

Monday, December 03, 2018

Live a Simple Life with Positivity

We all meet with bleak weather, let-downs, aches and pains, and moments when it seems we aren't making progress. At times God speaks clearly to us, and other times we don't hear a thing. Some days go well, others not so well. The truth is, God makes one as well as the other. He is always in control. And so it becomes paramount to start each day fresh and to ask God what his plan is is for each day. 
Choose Positivity
Choosing to have a positive attitude will always be your secret weapon in making it through the day. 
The Bible is full of challenges to stay positive. It tells us to look to God for strength. It tells us to forgive, not hold grudges, to trust God, to not fear, to not worry.
Positivity will help you to be the kind of person others want to be around. Look at the accounts of how many downcast people wanted to be around Jesus. 
Trusting God and staying positive will keep you buoyed up on dark days. It will help you rise out of the ashes of failure or disappointment. It will pick you up when you're worn down. 
How to Stay Positive
As you lay in bed waiting to rise for the day, it will be easy to focus on aches and pains, lack of sleep, and perhaps a list of tasks you don't want to do. To stay positive, resist having negative conversations with yourself. Adopt a positive mindset even before you get out of bed.
When you arise and look in the mirror, don't criticize what you see. Don't start negative conversations with others in your home either.
If you've asked God to lead you through the day, live each hour as a moment, accomplishing what it is you think he wants you to do. Don't be harsh critic of your accomplishments. Don't become annoyed by intrusions on your time. 
To stay positive, put down self-pity that wants to rise and rule. You're not the only person with trouble, so decide you will walk through trouble not give into self-defeat or crying "woe is me." 
Instead of giving into defeat when problems arise, look for solutions. To stay positive, see everything as a test. Choose to pass the test.  Find the lessons in even the worst situations. Use challenges as growth opportunities. 
Limit your time around toxic people. These might include your own extended family members. Some people never learn the key to good relationships. They remain bitter, controlling, and negative. 
I swear, by adopting a positive mindset, you will feel happier, more focused, more productive, and more successful.