Look for the Solution

It used to be that when I had a problem, I talked to everyone about it. I hashed it and rehashed it, and asked everyone’s advice. What should I do?

Often, people would want me to do things that I really didn’t want to do, which created even more stress and struggle. Sometimes even making small decisions—like where to go to dinner—was laborious and emotionally draining. Typically when the time would come to make a decision, I still wouldn’t make one—which is in itself making a decision—and I would just let events and situations play out.

Talk about giving up all my personal power! It was a painful and unhappy way to live.

Part of the process of taking back my power was to stop talking about the problem. Talking about the problem can feel like we are looking for a solution, but truly it is just making that problem seem more stubborn and feel more insurmountable. You cannot see the solution while you are so intensely focused on the problem.

Shifting your focus to finding the solution takes energy away from the problem and opens your mind to possibilities that you would otherwise be blind to.

So how do you shift from focusing on the problem to focusing on the solution?

Being solution-focused is really being future-focused. You have to look away from “What was” and “What is,” and instead look towards “What will be,” and even more powerful, “How you would like it to be.”

Part of it is also trusting, believing, and knowing that there is always a solution to every problem. This is one of those Universal Truths that people don’t always believe because they are so problem-focused that they often miss the solutions, so they think there wasn’t one. Being solution-focused does take a certain amount of faith or confidence that the solution is there and that you will find it.

Taking responsibility for the choices and decisions you are making is another piece. For instance, if you want to reduce your weight, you have to take responsibility for the food you eat. While your eating can feel out of your control, it isn’t. No one else is forcing you to eat anything. Whether you are conscious of it or not, there is always a thought and emotion behind that action. Until you take responsibility for it, you give up your personal power.

And finally—and probably most challenging—is you have to stop looking outside of yourself for the answer. Sure you want to analyze data, understand the problem, and do your research, but people often get stuck in that analysis phase thinking the solution will magically appear. That’s still being focused on the problem. Once you have a good grip on it, turn your focus towards looking for the future-solution. This is when you want to stop asking other people for their opinions of what you should do.

Other people don’t know who you are, what your experiences have been, where you are on your path, and where you want to go. They know what they want and that is not the same thing.

This is where a coach is helpful. A well-trained coach is not going to give you advice, but instead is keenly aware that you have the answers for you, and helps you find them.

Your path is your path. No one else can walk it. When you take your focus off the problem and instead look for the solution, the absolute best step for you will become clear.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do What Feels Good

You have set the goal and intention to reduce your weight and improve your health so that you can be the best parent, partner, and person you can be.

What feels better—to get up and do the workout, or to stay in bed?

While you may assume that staying in the warm and comfy bed feels better—does it really? Can you honestly say you don’t’ feel discord, both in that moment and later when you get up? How do you feel about yourself throughout the day when you think about that missed workout?

How did you feel when you got up and did the workout anyway?

Now if you were truly at peace and it felt good to stay in bed, you probably needed the sleep. But if you listen to your heart, you can always feel if your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions are in alignment—even if you are taking an action that on the surface seems like it would feel way harder.

This is true whether you are reducing your weight, improving your life, or standing up for something that you believe in. Your emotions are your direction, gauge, guidance, indicator, litmus test letting you know if you are moving towards who you are meant to be, or are taking a detour.

My Mother taught me this from her example. In 1957, she was a student at Little Rock

My mother in the late 50s.

Central High School when it was first integrated by nine African-American students. She did what she felt was right. Simple things, liking sharing her desk and math text book with one of the incoming students on their first day. Smiling and offering encouragement throughout the year.

And for this, she was spat on, harassed, and sent threatening notes on almost a daily basis. The other white students made her last year of high school a living hell. And yet she did not waver.

To this day, I don’t think she feels better about anything else she has done in life. If anything, her regret is that she didn’t do more.

But clearly she did enough. During one of the anniversaries of the integration, Oprah Winfrey asked the Little Rock Nine, as the students came to be known, if any white students had helped. My mother was the only one they remembered. Oprah flew my mother out to her studios and reunited her with the student with whom she had shared her book, and he let her know how very important her smile across a room had been.

Doing what feels good, what feels right, what feels like it is in alignment with who you are, what you value, what you believe, and who you want to be may be damn hard. But the reward will always be absolutely worth it.

Doing what feels good does not necessarily mean doing what is easy. Nothing feels better than doing the work to meet your goals, or facing the challenge.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Accountability

Aside

Accountability for December 30, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

 

Weighed this morning and I have maintained over the holidays, surgery, and recovery. Woo hoo! It’s clear I will meet my goals of maintaining my weight and feeling great on January 2.

In addition to 20 minutes of walk/jog intervals, I got in two short walks yesterday. Also ate well with the only splurges at dinner out with friends being half a cocktail, two bites of apple cobbler, and two peppermint hard candies. I’ll take it!

Today I will do a low-weight upper body workout and will get in at least one short walk. Tonight’s New Year’s celebration with friends will be my free meal for the week, and I will be back on track tomorrow with our area’s traditional New Year’s day meal of collard greens and black-eyed peas.

Thank you Fabulous Readers for helping me meet my post-surgery diet and exercise goals!

 

Are you making New Year’s Resolutions and have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.

 

Resolve to Feel Good

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts about the importance of setting goals and resolutions for the New Year. All of them are right that focusing on new desires is important and gets the life-juices flowing.

But one of the reasons that New Year’s resolutions are often dead by February 1 is that unknowingly, people are focused more on not having the thing they so desperately want. They don’t have enough money, aren’t thin enough, aren’t fit enough, aren’t healthy enough, aren’t organized enough—what they want is missing from their lives and they will finally be happy when they meet their goal.

And even though they set the resolution to get out of debt, lose weight, get fit, healthy, or organized, the majority of their thoughts and energy are still focused on the fact that they lack whatever their resolution is focused on.

When you think about the foundation principle that Energy Attracts Like Energy (also known at the Law of Attraction), you can begin to see that thoughts are our mental capital to invest wherever we want, with the dividends being our future life-experiences.

For instance, when you invest the majority of your mental capital on the fact that you don’t have enough money, you are actually building the account that creates more life experiences without enough money. If you invest that mental capital in the belief that you have more than enough money to meet all of your needs, your account includes an increase in life experiences of having more than enough money.

It’s often difficult to recognize where you are investing your thoughts. It seems like if you are focused on money—regardless if it is lack or abundance of money—you should get more money. It can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging to think you are focused on more money only to continue to get lack of money. But your life experiences are always letting you know where you are investing most of your mental capital.

A good way to tell where you are investing your thoughts and energy is by paying attention to how you feel. Focusing on lack feels like yearning or even desperation. This is why wanting often gets a bad rap; people confuse wanting with yearning. A feeling of lack always feels bad.

Wanting is a feeling of confidence that you will get the thing you desire. It’s knowing the goal you have set is yours. It’s enjoying the thought of what you want and being thrilled as you watch the process of life shifting to help you achieve your goal. It’s feeling engaged and excited to do the things you can do to bring your request to fruition and letting go of what you can’t control with an absolute knowing that the Universe (God, All-That-Is, Higher Self—whatever works for you.) is happily engaging all of its incredible resources on your behalf.

But it can be hard to shift your focus from yearning for something to thriving in the process of life that will bring you to your goal. Often it is easier to move yourself forward by shifting your mental capital from the account of money (or whatever your goal is) and to instead invest it in more general life accounts, such as feeling good most of the time, loving and laughing more easily, and enjoying your life more.

You are still investing your mental capital where you would like to build your life experiences, but there is less risk that the investments aren’t going into the account you truly intend. You can tell if you are investing more wisely because you feel good.

If you want to make New Year’s resolutions, by all means do it. Just pay attention to how you feel, and think about diversifying you mental and energetic investments so that you get a better return. You can tell you are putting your mental capital where you want because you get the immediate bonus of feeling good and having more fun right now.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Look for an Excuse to Workout

I had my first post-surgery appointment with the doctor yesterday and he confirmed that I am recovering remarkably well. He gave me permission to slowly go back to my regular workouts, and assured me that my body will let me know if I am doing too much.

It’s gratifying to me that I have missed my workouts for the past two weeks, and am looking forward to getting back to them.

In the past when life got stressful, the first thing to go would be my energy for workouts. That would be closely tied with my eating for comfort rather than wellness. Pretty quickly, even the idea of working out would be emotionally and physically draining. This would often be the beginning of my wellness spinning out of control, resulting in my regaining the weight I had recently lost—and then some.

The first time I really saw this change was in the summer of 2010 when my husband was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was an incredibly scary time when my vibrant and active husband suddenly became so pain-ridden he couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. It was several weeks before we got a diagnosis, and several more before treatment gave him some pain relief.

Instead of using that incredibly stressful time as an excuse to stop my personal care, if anything it motivated me to take care of myself even more because I knew if I wasn’t feeling good, I wouldn’t be able to take care of David. The best way I could help him, was to take care of myself.

That doesn’t mean it was easy. There were days I had to make myself go workout, even if it was for 10 minutes. Fortunately, getting started was often the hardest part and once I did my 10 minutes, I usually was able to keep going and get in my full workout.

And I reached out for a lot of support. Not only were my friends and family incredible during this time, but I also leaned on the transformation.com community—a free on-line support site focused on physical, mental, and emotional fitness. (I still participate in the Fabulous Friends accountability group, and would love to have you join us if you are looking for support in meeting your wellness goals.)

As a result, I not only survived this extremely stressful situation, but I thrived and used that time as an opportunity to move towards who I am truly meant to be.

This time, it was me who was facing the medical challenge—fortunately a much-less serious one than my husband continues to face with remarkable aplomb. In addition, because it was happening to me, I found it much easier because I was more in control and could tap into my inner confidence in my personal wellness and wellbeing. It was easier to be focused on what I could do to speed my recovery—following the doctor’s orders to take it easy, and getting in four walks a day and drinking lots of water. I also know the benefit of eating healthy foods and the impact that has on how I feel.

I also have the personal experience that exercise relieves stress, and now I use stress as an excuse to workout rather than a reason to avoid it.

While it may feel like the very last thing you want to do, focus on the stress-relieving benefits of exercise and how much better you’ll feel afterwards. And when you do the workout and are in that better-feeling place, notice it, focus on it, and celebrate it so that you can remember it the next time you are trying to convince yourself to go workout.

Figure out the minimum that you can do that will make you feel like you’re making progress. Even a walk around the block has benefits and will help clear your mind, and it’s a lot easier to convince yourself to at least get that walk in. And if you really can’t motivate yourself to get a workout in today, forgive yourself and focus on doing what you can do to take care of you, even if it’s putting away the bag of potato chips, or saying “No” to the cookies.

The results will be worth it.

Together we can do it!

 

Photo by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

What’s Your Holiday Focus?

For the past several days, I have been more focused on what I don’t want then what I do want.

  •  I’ve been focused on not eating sugar instead of eating for health and wellness.
  • I’ve been focused on my worry over gaining weight instead of being confident in my ability to maintain my weight.
  • I’ve been focused on all the things I can’t do because I am recovering from surgery instead of what I can do.
  • I’ve been focused on being bored instead of milking every ounce of rest and relaxation out of this recovery time.

Just remembering that what I focus on is a choice feels so much better! With that reminder to myself, I will practice shifting my focus every time I notice that I am feeling out of sorts. Like magic, not only do I feel better, but I have more fun, my stress level drops, and life unfolds in a more beautiful way.

For many people, the holidays are a time where they focus on stress, too much to do, family squabbles, and maybe even judgment, disappointment, sadness, and loss.

This is all focusing on what you don’t want.

What can you do to shift your focus to all the opportunities presented by the holidays? Here’s what those new thoughts might look like:

  • I’m choosing to do these extra things because I love my family and want them to have the best holiday ever.
  • I will do what I can, and am willing to let go of those things that really aren’t a priority.
  • I am going to focus on how I show up at family gatherings, and will let go of past problems and expectations.
  • The past is over. I have a new opportunity right now to create a better-feeling present and future.
  • I recognize that the holiday season is about love, forgiving, and giving, and I’m going to demonstrate that to everyone I encounter.

Don’t beat yourself up if you catch yourself focused on what you don’t want. We all fall into that pattern sometimes. Just gently and persistently shift your thoughts to what you do want.

Practice focusing on what you want, who you want to be, what you want to do, and how you want to feel. What difference does that make in your life?

Together we can do it!

 

Photo by suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net