Learning from your experiences last year and desiring to self-improve so that 2019 is even more wonderful than 2018 is a great plan. Around now – the end of January and the beginning of February – you may be doubting your decisions about how to do that or you may be feeling disappointed (“beating yourself up!”) about not following through on your New Year’s Resolutions. Doubt and self-flagellate no more! Instead, clearly align with what you choose to do in 2019. Choose your distinct colors to paint your year in the style you desire. Here are ten ideas to assist the artist in you!
1. Focus on what you want. When we focus on what we don’t want, that is what we notice and what we receive – more of what we don’t want. Focusing on what you do want will have multiple benefits. Your communication with those in your life including your requests to your children will be clear. You will also begin to notice that you are receiving more of what you want. In addition, there is an ease in communicating like this. There is less stress and more flow resulting in more energy for other things.
First, begin by noticing how often you use the word “don’t.” Then practice removing the “don’t” from your requests. Instead, phrase what you are saying or thinking in terms of what you DO want. Rather than saying, “Don’t track mud in the house” consider saying, “Please leave your shoes by the door.”
Tied in with this is the concept of saying, “Yes.” Click here to know more about The Wonderful Results of Saying “Yes”.
2. Repair upsets. Make amends. Repair relationships when things get out of whack. If you’ve had an argument with someone close to you, things feel amiss and you can feel how your heart is not in sync with the way you desire it to be. Your relationship feels “out”. Make amends by doing a make up with the other person.
In a program for middle school students the other day, one boy identified fighting with his brother as his biggest challenge. He felt disconnected from the brother that he cherishes. Their hearts were out of sync. We explored how to talk to his brother beyond simply giving an apology. The boy was committed to disagreeing without being hurtful and was going to let his brother know that.
3. Embrace your imperfections. In The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown wrote, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
There is no one among us who is perfect. Our imperfections make us unique. Even if you wish to improve on some aspect of yourself, embrace your imperfections as a part of who you are right now. Reading Brene Brown’s book is a great place to start!
4. Practice vulnerability. Vulnerability is strength. Brene defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” It is “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.”
In The Gifts of Imperfection, she wrote, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
Another great book to check out is The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage.
5. Know that you are not alone. We are all in this together. Some years back, I was on a quest weekend in Sedona, Arizona. We were climbing beautiful red rocks, and I suddenly realized that I was profoundly afraid. I could see my husband continuing to climb ahead of me, and I couldn't budge from where I was standing to move either up or down. If choosing between flight, fight, or freeze, I was definitely frozen! I let a nearby friend know what was going on with me, and she said something amazing. She said, "Whatever is going on, you don't have to do it alone."
That woke me up to how often I do go it alone or believe that I have to.
How often do you believe you are in it by yourself? How often do you hold back from sharing what is happening with you or not ask for opinions or assistance from others? Take notice. Then take a chance, because you are definitely not in this alone!
6. Make being close more important than being right. When being right is a top priority, we distance ourselves from the very people we desire to be close to. When this is happening, consider what you love about the other person. Respond from a place of treasuring your relationship over being right. Be patient with yourself as you practice this.
7. Listen to and learn from your feelings. By feeling your feelings – not necessarily expressing them – you will learn a great deal. Feeling your feelings allows them to dissipate rather than stagnate.
To learn more about this, check out this article which includes a video with me and my husband, Bill.
8. Allow your children and those close to you to say ‘no’. One of the biggest triggers and greatest challenges for parents is handling a refusal from a child. It may surprise you to know that you can still be in charge when you allow your children the option of saying ‘no’. Having grown up in a military family where this was not an option, I will tell you that handling ‘no’ from our daughter took practice and was an experience that allowed deep learning. Knowing that children who can say ‘no’ grow into adults who can say ‘no’ was the motivator for me. I recognized how difficult it had been for me to say ‘no’ as teen, young adult, and even as a full-fledged adult. I wanted my daughter to have this under her belt long before then.
The refusal is not the end of the story. It is actually the beginning of a conversation. Follow a ‘no’ with a question such as, “What will you do instead to assist? Will you wash the dishes or clear off the table?” The word ‘no’ does not have to be a trigger. Guide your children beyond the ‘no’ by offering choices.
A terrific way to become proficient at this is through attending Freedom to Be: An Embracing Life Experience offered by Your Infinite Life Training & Coaching Company. With courses around the country, you can find one near you. By attending, you will gain great confidence and flexibility in handling ‘no’ so that it will rarely if ever be a trigger for you again.
9. Be clear on the qualities that you value as a parent, spouse, friend, and leader. What qualities matter the most to you? Think of your own parents. Think of a leader who you admire. Consider someone who is a great friend. Who in your life is a terrific manager or co-worker? Choose three characteristics for the role in which you want to develop and write them down. Then use the three characteristics as a guide for how you respond. Remind yourself daily that you embody those three qualities. Notice each evening how you responded from them. Practice this for six weeks and then check out the difference.
This is a fun activity to share with your spouse, partner, children, and others close to you.
10. Know that you can begin again in any moment. If there is an argument, choose to begin again. If you are engaged in a power struggle, agree to begin again. You can begin again any time. For deeper insights into this concept, check out The Joy of Beginning Anew…Multiple Times.
Would you like this list of suggestions as a printable document? You can hang it on your fridge as an easy reminder. Email me to get your copy!