All posts by Tyra

Diary of a New Year’s Junkie: Resolutions Rock!

It’s January 1st! I always love opening a new journal in a new year with a new plan, and a new pen. Most important to have everything shiny and new. Clear the mind of all of last year’s clutter, especially those unfulfilled dreams, and the too many sweet indulgences, leading to the unfulfilled weight loss plan of 2014.

Oh well, operation clean slate starts right now.A good time to start something new.

How exciting! I wish every day felt so fresh and full of promise. It’s like the first day driving home your brand new car with a huge grin plastered on your face, your new baby so clean and perfect. It feels like the world pauses in awe, all the stoplights are green and people smile at you in appreciation as you sleekly whiz by them. But not silently, as if driving an electric car. That’s just creepy, coming up on people unawares and scaring the crap out of them. No, this car sounds confident and powerful, but not deafening. Too loud is just as insensitive to people as too quiet. Now if they could just get rid of that ‘new car smell’, all would be perfect. Gives me a massive headache…

So, back to the point. New year, new plans, new purpose, brand-new motivation. New is good. Brand-new is even better; no previous failures to sully the waters of this new start. I used to think I had motivation, but when days, weeks, months go by with no progress, evidence tends to point to motivation missing in action. Now, though, this time, I feel more connected to doing the best things for me. And why not? Who else will lose the weight for me? Who could possibly care as much as I do if I learn to speak Italian? Why would anyone else come over and cook all my meals for me?

Well, they wouldn’t, would they? It’s all up to me. I am in charge. I’m the boss. When you want something done…

Starting to sound a bit lonely. But, when you get down to it, you really are all alone in the world. People come and go, some you enjoy, some you tolerate, some you even pawn off on unsuspecting friends, but a few you love. A lot. And they make everything else worth it.

Okay then. Time to get serious. One fantastic year coming up. I am in charge, and it will be full of fantastic times with the people I love, trips to places I’ve never been, a new wardrobe in a size 8 (or 6!) and many impressive interactions (perhaps cooking?) with other fluent Italian speakers. Si! Molto bene!

 


Bring Your Life into Balance

The ability to find and maintain balance in your life is a skill. Some people may be more or less skilled at keeping up with all the responsibilities in their lives than you are. If you already feel pretty good about this, you probably can share this article with someone who may need it more than you. If you feel overwhelmed, and not sure how to keep it all running smoothly, then you’re in luck. Finding and maintaining balance is a skill, and because it’s a skill, you can learn or improve it. It’s also a habit. and once you learn a new habit, it gets easier and easier to keep it up. Ready?

beamazingSimplifying life is the easiest way to find and maintain balance. This means finding ways to streamline all areas of your life, so you are not using all your time and energy in only one or two areas to the detriment of others. For instance, you may be working long hours at work, and continuing to work once you get home. As a result, your relationships with family, friends, and your physical health may start to suffer.

It’s like the Plate Spinner at the circus. Perhaps he is capable of successfully spinning 6 plates at once. He starts with one, gets it going smoothly and adds another, and another until all 6 are aloft. Each requires minimal periodic attention to keep it going.

If he skips a plate, or spends more time on another than necessary, the others start to wobble, and eventually fall. Life is like spinning plates. You have your work, your home, your relationships, your physical needs, your spiritual needs, your social responsibilites, and perhaps others.

Take a quick look at how you utilize your time each day, and week to get a glimpse of how many plates you successfully have spinning. This is not to make you feel inadequate if you have only one or two up in the air. It is just to help you determine if some of the plates-or life areas- which aren’t spinning are keeping you off-balance. You’ll notice if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about situations which you wouldn’t have before, or are feeling tired, out of shape, lonely or unhappy with work or life in general.

Simplifying life then is to find a way to include the missing relationships or needs. To find a way to spin a couple more plates will require you to spend less energy on the one that demands too much time. This could mean finding ways to delegate responsibilities, or saying no to nonessential requests, or combining activities that can spin plates in more than one area. For instance, taking a walk with a spouse or friend  adds relationship and physical value to your life. Enlisting help at work can be social as well as working. Make a list of some activities commitments you can drop, and some ways to combine your life areas.

Simplifying life is like cleaning out your closet. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need and doesn’t suit or fit you. Keep only the things which you love. You and your closet will have more space to fill with the activities which make you feel fulfilled and happy.

 Get simplified, and enjoy more…life.


Give a Piece of Your Heart

Our senses are direct lines to our memories. Certain smells can put you right back in your grandma’s kitchen, or singing around the campfire. Then you are bombarded with the feelings you experienced there.

Songs can take you back to a time with someone special, or a place with great memories. You can travel there in your mind with the music, can’t you? All the memories may not be happy, but they are part of who you are today. Be grateful for them.

Today, as I walked outside in my beautiful autumn-fied neighborhood, I heard a song that took me back in time. I smiled, a lot. It felt good to relive the feelings. It also inspired me to look back at some old writing I’d done, and came across this poem, called ‘you have my heart’.

To me, it’s a reminder to how all our connections with people, no matter how long or short, can have an impact on us. They can leave an imprint on our life story. How truly fortunate! We may not always know how we affected someone else, but often times we can make all the difference to them at that time and place. If you have children, then surely you feel that they are pieces of your heart walking around in the world.

Just as we leave pieces of ourselves with others, think about the people who have helped, inspired or supported you in your life. Isn’t it miraculous that you connected with those people when you did? They left a special piece of themselves with you.

So here’s my poem, dedicated today to all of you who have connected with someone who left their name on your heart. Blessings to each of you for accepting a piece of my heart each time you find inspiration in what I share.

 You Have My Heart

 A humble beginning

chronicles the merging

of two hearts into one

 

Hope and promise

beckon what waits ahead

in the story that is theirs

 

In the blink of an eye

the years pass by

adding chapters

 

Joy and pain

share the pages

leaving their marks

 

Through it all

 is clearly written

you have myheart

 

The last page turns

in all great books

much too soon

Go share your amazing self with someone today.


Be More Successful by Adding Gratitude

You want to have success in your life. Be something important, do something that changes the world, even if only your corner of it. Do you know how to do it? Or are you stuck, wondering what will get you there? Chances are, you need a better plan, and to appreciate your life where you are now. Let’s speed things up for you.quotethankyou

What is success, but an accomplishment of an aim or purpose? You dream up goals for your life, and when you achieve them you are successful. The key first step is having goals that you want to tackle. Not just ideas, dreams, wishes, which can get the creative juices flowing, but real goals with deadlines and steps to get there. If you don’t have these written down, that would be your first step to success. Know what you want to achieve.

When you have a plan, sometimes it just stays a plan, much like a resolution to join a gym or lose ten pounds. It sounded great on Jan. 1, but you have to act on the plan to make it happen. What could be keeping you from jumping in and getting things done?

Sometimes it’s a fear of failure, or success. These can keep you frozen, inactive. Or it may be a lack of belief in your worth, ability, experience, etc. You may not know what is hindering your success, but you can circumvent it.

The magic solution is gratitude.

Gratitude is a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And gratitude begins with appreciating all you have right now. You can be grateful for all you’ve experienced in life that has brought you to this moment. You can even be grateful for all the painful learning experiences in life, for the lessons you learned.

What does this have to do with success? Well, you need to combine the two ideas to speed up your progress. Look first at things you’ve successfully completed in the past, as simple as learning to ride a bike to completing a marathon. Make a list. Then add to it some current ones. Earned an award at work, or bought a new car. We all have countless examples of success.

Now, look over your list of ‘Successes’, and read each one. After each say, “Thank you for my success at (fill in the blank). Make sure you do this for each item. Make it fun. Thank other people who supported or helped you achieve any of them. Pretend you’re giving an acceptance speech.

You may have heard that what you spend your time/energy on multiplies. So instead of spending time worrying or complaining about how awful things are, turn it around and be grateful, for everything. Especially those things you want more of. Concentrate on appreciation and you will be rewarded with more things to appreciate.

Now, go find (or write) your list of goals. Take the steps to get there, celebrating with gratitude each small success. Be thankful for the opportunity to achieve more great things.

Want to learn more about using Success and Gratitude to live the life of your dreams? You should check out my new Project/Course on Simpleology to get step by step guidance.


How to Get Where You Want to Be in Life

Getting where you want to be in life seems hard and confusing sometimes, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to. It’s quite similar to using your computer or GPS system to guide you from one location to the next.

There are a couple of basic requirements for GPS to work. You need to know where you’re starting from, and where you plan to go. The more specific, the better. You can say you want to travel from Chicago to San Francisco and get most of the necessary directions. If you add specific addresses to both locations, you have a plan that takes you from door to door. How simple is that?

You have your own ability to go from one place in your life to another. It’s called your Inner Global Positioning System (GPS). It has the same basic requirements as the auto GPS; you still need to know where you are and where you want to go.

This question, however is a bit more involved. Not all of us know where we are, or where we want to go. Your Inner GPS can’t give you any help without this information. You are at a standstill, or you are lost.

What does it mean to know where you are now? This involves asking some tough questions and giving honest answers. Start by taking stock of your life in these areas:

  • Career/work
  • Family life
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality

 

Think back 3, 5 or 10 years and ask yourself, “Where did I hope to be right now in these areas?”. If you regularly set goals for yourself, this should be fairly easy to determine. If you don’t set goals, or write New Year’s Resolutions, you may not have a yardstick to use as a measure.

This is a critical first step to calibrating your Inner GPS. Even if you have goals or life plans, updating them every 6 months or so is an excellent habit to keep you on track, as you never know when construction detours by way of unforeseen circumstances (lost work, sickness, divorce, etc.) can impact what you want for your life.

Take some time and write down where you are in your life right now. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know how to get to your desired goals! Make this a priority so you don’t wander aimlessly through life.

The next step is to know where you want to be with your life. Do you want to start a new career? Are you itching to live someplace warmer? Have you thought about your family size? What about feeling healthier and happier? What specifically do you want to accomplish in these areas?

These are the next questions you need to clarify. Using goals and visualizations in all areas can help you stay focused on getting you going in the right direction. The clearer you are about your plan, the easier for your Inner GPS to lead the way, and show you the steps to take to get there.

It’s time now for you to turn on the GPS and start taking steps to your ideal life. Start today, don’t look back 3 years from now and say, “I wish I had started sooner”. For more help, see some of my other articles on Goal Setting on my website.

Enjoy, and may all your traffic lights be green!


Want Some Inspiration?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Want to Feel Inspired?

Here I am, cat sitting on Cat Mountain.

This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?
This is where I get inspired? Where do you find it?

This place is beyond simply beautiful, it’s truly inspirational. If I had an incredible view like this to gently wake up to every day, I genuinely believe I could easily create something worthwhile, a heartfelt book to bring inspiration to others like it does me. Of course, for me the first few hours here are spent just appreciating the rolling hills, the winding river, and all the twinkling lights. I am feeling content to just be here. And now the croaking sound of frogs mixes with the rhythmic call of the multitudinous cicadas and the distant cars creating an unusual score for this live film about a typical evening in the Texas hill country.

What is it that I could possibly do that would be so inspired? How does the utter magic of nature apply to this dream I have? And how has this serendipitous circumstance brought me here, right now?

I feel completely at home here; I guess having a dream home like this then seems more attainable. I can absolutely feel what it would be like to spend the entirety of my days here, or some other tranquil, awe-inspired location. My oasis of inner peace might be overlooking a beautiful turquoise beach, or atop a mountain with miles of nature to feed my starving muse. Yes, I can picture it clearly- soaring windows wide open to the inviting pool and spa, which provide the most magnificent view. Always a soft breeze, and at night the clearest sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. I feel infinitely better already.

Where do you go to feel inspired?


Indulge your Muse and Your Senses…
You’ll feel like doing it again, and again!
 


Need a 15 Minute Vacation?

Ahh, it’s finally time to relax, let go of all your work, home, and other obligations because you’re on vacation. You’ve been dreaming, planning and counting the days until now. How often do you get the opportunity to let go of all the messy, stress-y stuff you experience in life every day? Once a year, or less?

And, if you do take a vacation with the family, how often does it not turn out the way you planned and imagined it would be? We once drove from Texas to the Grand Canyon with three children under age 12. An amazing experience was planned. The first sign that things were not going according to plan was when the fun car games were exhausted after only three hours, and promptly

Wish I Was HERE!!!
Wish I Was HERE!!!

replaced with a chorus of, “are we there yet?” The crowning achievement was when we arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and within 10 minutes they were all ready to leave. No interest in exploring or hiking or even taking it all in. So much for the ultimate vacation. Sigh.

Sound familiar? What if you could take a vacation any time you wanted, and not have to worry about the enjoyment of others at the same time? You can, if you don’t mind using a bit of imagination.

There are limitless ways for you to get away, if only in your mind, for a mini-vacation, but here we’ll talk about four quick and easy ones. One or more should be available to you almost anywhere, anytime.

1. Go Outside. Sounds easy, and you may wonder how this could be a vacation; you did, after all come in from outside at some point today. Well, this journey out-of-doors will have a different purpose. Your mindset on this short trip will be to look around you at whatever flora, fauna, and interesting views may be found. If you have time to walk to a park or more natural area, great! Regardless, find a place to sit, or lean and just look around. Take in the sights, smells, and the feel of the temperature, sun or breeze on your skin. Just pay attention, and let go of everything you just walked away from. Notice what may be blooming or fading. Are there any critters around? Watch the birds or squirrels, and you may find yourself laughing at their antics. In other words, take a few minutes-or more- and smell the roses. When you feel ready to go back to your life before your mini-break, go ahead, but bring the feeling of being connected to nature with you. And, if you can’t actually go outside, find a window where you can do the same things. Imagine the scents and the feel of the wind. Be creative.

2. Visualize Your Favorite Destination. If you have favorite places you’ve been, sit back, close your eyes and take yourself back there and relive it, if even for a few minutes. Try to make your pictures in your mind as vivid as possible. Put yourself in the place and see yourself feeling great, having fun. If you can’t visualize very easily, find a few photos from your trip and look at them, and then get into the feelings you experienced while there. If you do this regularly, it will be easier to get away in your mind. Stay as long as you need to feel like you did on vacation.

3. Read a Travel Book. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to Australia, but don’t have a plan to make it happen. Buy a book on your dream destination and take a few minutes to look at the beautiful photos and highlights of must see places once you get there. Imagine what it will be like. The bonus here, is that the more real your vacation seems to you, the likelier you are to make it happen!

4. Write a Travel Journal.  On paper or your computer, take a few minutes as often as possible to write down where you have been and loved, or places you are longing to visit.Call it your Travel Bucket List. Have fun picking all your most interested spots, and write about what you want to do/experience at each. Pretend you are there, and write an account of what you are experiencing. Use your imagination. Again, the more you want it and the more you feel motivated to make it happen, chances skyrocket that you’ll find yourself in that very spot someday.

Just a few quick ways to take you out of your present here, and travel to a place where you can be calmer, less-stressed and perhaps happier. Try to carve a few minutes out of every day, and you’ll find yourself better able to handle the rest of the day. Until your next mini-vacation. It’s waiting for you. Go.

 


Get Out of Your Way, and Be Awesome

 

You are your own worst critic.

Do you believe this to be true for you? If you aren’t sure, take a day or two and pay attention to the voice inside your head and what it says about you. See if any of these sound familiar for you. “Why did you do that?” “Don’t look in the mirror, it’s disgusting”. “Idiot, why didn’t you speak up?” On and on, right?

Chances are you’ve been saying these things to yourself for so long you may not even pay attention to the voice any more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happily piling on the bad feelings and guilt for you to swallow and to confirm, yet again, that you indeed are not special, or beautiful, or talented, or smart, or whatever you feel you may be lacking. Ugh, does it have to be like this?

…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!
…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!

No it doesn’t. Do you know what’s great about this? You can also be your biggest fan. You don’t have to believe everything you hear about yourself, even if it comes from your own mind. Chances are it started out somewhere else. Perhaps you had a dream of becoming a world-class athlete, but those around you told you it wasn’t possible; you were too clumsy, or undisciplined, or tall, or short, or whatever they thought you were lacking to be successful. And over time you started to believe it; these people know better than you do, after all.

But do they? Who could possible know what you, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life better than you? Nobody. Yet somewhere along the way, you may have let their opinions hijack your own dreams. Good news is it’s not too late to take back control of your own preferred life. Does that sound exciting? Or are you skeptical?

All it takes is a concerted effort to listen for the voice in your head, and when you hear the criticisms and put-downs, take a moment to stop, and do something different. It’s really only the breaking of a bad habit (talking negatively to yourself) and replacing it with a new, better habit (talking more positively to yourself).

As an example, let’s say you wanted to stop chewing your fingernails. In order to be successful, you could find something else to do instead of biting them, whenever the urge arises. For instance, you may chew on a piece of gum, or a hard candy, so your mouth is already busy, until the urge passes. Or, you could find a way to make the habit less desirable. Others have tried painting their nails, or even having fake nails attached to discourage the satisfaction of biting. Or, you could apply a pepper or vinegar or other un-tasty flavor either on or under your nails. Eventually, if you aren’t feeling rewarded for your behavior, you will stop desiring it, and ultimately no longer indulge.

Let’s apply this strategy to combat the negative voices in your head. Here are a variety of options. Pick one, or more, that works for you.

  • Start by listening to what you say to yourself, pay attention, and start catching the negative comments by saying “NO” whenever you hear them. The first step is finding the problem and acknowledging it. Write them down in a notebook throughout the day.
  • When you do hear one, take a moment to counter them with positive, encouraging statements. For instance, when you hear the voice tell you, “you might as well finish the ice cream, it’ll just be calling you the rest of the night”, you can say, “NO, I only need a taste to feel good. I can save the rest for another day.”
  • Write down the opposite statements. Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and write it down. Then think of an opposite, better thought and say it out loud (or in your head if you’re in public). When you write the thoughts down, they are exposed, and you can see clearly how they are hindering your happiness and growth. You may keep a notebook filled with them and watch how they will change over time as you eliminate them.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. When you knock yourself down for being inferior, counter with, “I am doing the best I can, and learn to do this better every time.” Even Thomas Edison touted his successful inventions only came after thousands of failed attempts.
  • Find examples of past successes. When you hear yourself say you are ‘always this’ or ‘never do that’, stop and think about, or write down times in the past where you were successful at this, or something similar. You already know how to be better, reawaken this belief and find the criticism shrink away.
  • Start with your strengths. If you are unsure about your strengths, ask a few people whom you trust and have your best interests at heart. Armed with what they tell you are your amazing qualities, you can move ahead knowing that your thoughts are wrong. After all, if your best friend, who cares about you, believes that you are a fantastic problem-solver, and get along with anyone, who are you to disagree? Own it, and quiet the dissenting voices with a reminder when you hear them.

These are just a few ways to replace the critics in your head with tried and true fans. Try them all, or pick one and focus on success, until you feel good about you. I highly recommend writing down your experience, whichever strategies you use, because when you can see the change happening, you will be encouraged to keep going. You will be just as awesome as you thought you were as a kid.  Next, perhaps work on that habit of turning on the TV or you-tube, when you want to avoid doing something…Old habits are hard to break, but luckily not impossible.

 

 


Make Your Dreams Happen With SMART Goals

SMART goals. Use them when you want to make sure your goals have the best chance of success.

This means that instead of just having pie in the sky wishes like, “I want to be the next Oprah Winfrey, (or Roger Federer, or Steve Jobs)”, you get very specific about what you want. How do you do this? Use the SMART way of writing your goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

Let’s say my goal is to be the next Oprah. What are the particular qualities or attributes about Oprah am I wanting? Do I want to be a single 50-something woman with a lot of money? Do I want to own (no pun intended) a cable channel and a magazine? Am I interested in meeting and talking with leaders and change-makers from the world over? Can you see how there are an infinite number of ways to define this?

What SPECIFICALLY do I want? This is the first step in setting a good SMART goal.

Next, you want to make sure your goal is MEASURABLE, in other words you will clearly know when you have reached it. Continuing with our goal to be more like Oprah, let’s say you wanted to have enormous amounts of money like her. If you state it in terms of a specific amount, then it is measurable.

GOAL: I want to have 12 million dollars in my bank account. This is specific and measurable.

Now, is it actionable? Are there steps you can take to make this happen? Yes. How you do that is the key, and will most likely have many smaller steps to complete. For instance, perhaps you want to buy and sell real estate to make money. Or buy and rent it. Or develop land into commercial properties. Or write and sell a book on How to Make Money in Real Estate. Endless options. You do have to DO something to make it happen. So let’s say your goal will look like this:

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties until I have 12 million dollars in my bank account. Specific, measurable and action-oriented.

Next we ask, is this a REALISTIC goal? Do you believe I can do it? Certainly it has been done many times by many people, but the key here is your belief in my ability to do it. You may want it, but are you willing and capable of following through? The test isn’t if you are afraid to do it, but rather do you feel passionate enough to push through the fear and do it anyway. Any worthy goal will usually cause you to stretch outside your comfort zone – Outside the Box, if you will. Take some time and make sure you feel up to the challenge your goal presents. Also, take the time to envision what your life will be like once you achieve it. This is very powerful. Then, we tweak the goal or reaffirm it.

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties until I have 12 million dollars in my bank account. Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic.

And last, the goal needs to be Time Constrained. To say that you want to have 12 million dollars is great, but unless you have a deadline you could be working toward this the rest of your life. By when do you want to have this accomplished?

GOAL: I will buy/sell real estate properties to accumulate 12 million dollars in my bank account by December 31, 2014. Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time limited.

Now you have a SMART goal. Of course this goal is going to take a bit of time and effort. To reach it you will need to break it down into smaller goals. Examples might be:

  • Buy and resell 12 properties by 12/31/12.
  • Hire 6 new agents to work for me by 5/31/12.
  • Secure Investors for 5 million dollars for subdivision project by 4/30/12.

These are a few examples, and you may need more, but with mini-steps with deadlines, it will be much simpler to stay on track to reach the Big Goal! For more examples of SMART goals, see more articles!