Wishful Thinking Ways #14

Wishful Thinking Ways

Today is the last post in our Wishful Thinking Ways series. For 14 weeks we’ve been meeting on Fridays to find new ways to create the lives we really want and to zero in on one very specific change in 2012. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series!

Today, I will be explaining a formula, which will help you achieve the change you want in your life. Before we begin, if you haven’t already, please complete the free Wishful Thinking Ways “Change Circle” sheet. Then jump on the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel, which is a great way to get off the Ferris Wheel of Denial we sometimes ride when we go round and round instead of forward in our lives by telling ourselves why a particular change is not possible. Completing the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel can get you started in the right direction. If you are new to the Wishful Thinking Ways series, click here.

“20/5/90 Formula”

I’m a believer in life coach and author David Essel’s “20/5/90 Formula”, because it works! It’s an easy to use method to create change in your life. All you have to do is create weekly, time-specific, realistic action steps, which you then work on at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 90 days!

Each Sunday night, or other consistent day of your choosing, layout the time-specific, realistic action steps that you will do for the next 5 days, 20 minutes a day. As an example, let’s say your goal is to exercise more. On your chosen day, write how you will move toward that goal over the next 5 days. Lead with the reason you have chosen that goal, and write the sentence as though you’ve already achieved it.

“I’m excited that I’m living a healthier lifestyle and as part of my goal I will exercise 20 minutes a day for the next 5 days. I will wake-up early each day and so I have time to exercise from 6 to 6:20 a.m. I will keep my exercise clothes and shoes next to the bed to make it easier for me to get up and going.”

    1. On Monday I will walk outside (or on treadmill) from 6 – 6:20 a.m.
    2. On Tuesday I will work out at home with my __ pound weights for 20 minutes. I will do ___ sets of _____________ for my arms and ____ sets of __________ to strengthen my back. I will also do _____ sets of ____________ for my legs, etc.
    3. On Wednesday I will walk outside from 6 – 6:20 a.m.
    4. On Tuesday I will work out at home with my __ pound weights for 20 minutes. I will do ___ sets of _____________ for my arms and ____ sets of __________ for my legs, etc.
    5. On Friday I will walk outside from 6 – 6:20 a.m.

The goal, of course, is to create weekly time-specific, realistic action steps that are right for your change. Gear the time-specific, realistic action steps to your change goal – getting a new job, starting back to school, opening a business, etc. The “20/5/90 Formula” works for everything.

The key is taking time to write a plan each week. Once you begin holding yourself accountable, change becomes easier. As you achieve each day’s step, remember to savor your success, which can make you feel more confident and motivate you to keep moving forward. And, even if you are following the same steps each week, write them down as if they are new each week. Writing is part of the commitment process.

You can do this. You can absolutely create the changes you want in your life.

20 minutes a day, 5 days a week for the next 90 days, is not a huge amount of time and the results can be amazing.

Before too long, you might find yourself committing more time each day to your goals, that’s great, little successes build to big successes by increasing our confidence, congruence and stamina.

Special Tip

I believe it is better to allocate more time per day, than more days per week to your goal and here’s why. If you start doing your time-specific action steps 7 days a week, the odds increase that you might miss a day. Once you miss a day, it’s too easy to fall into a pattern of beating-up on yourself.

 “Man I missed a day, I said I wouldn’t and I did, I never finish anything, I’m lousy at this, why do I even try?”

Any version of a negative thought pattern can easily lead you to throw in the towel on your change process – in fact, it is a very common way to sabotage yourself.

“I didn’t ________________so I must be ___________________.” (Insert any negative term or phrase.) “This is too hard. I will never change. I don’t deserve to do better.”(Your version may sound different, but I think you get the idea.)

While using the “20/5/90 Formula”, do not under any circumstances allow yourself to use a missed day or a shortened time frame from a day to build a case for failure. Okay? You’ve been warned, missing a day is bound to happen, so I suggest creating a support statement to tell yourself, if or when you skip or shorten a day’s assigned activity. I call this your “Getting back on the horse” statement. Make your statement supportive, kind, and energizing.

“I didn’t do ____________, but that doesn’t mean I have to throw in the towel. I really do want change and I’m good at it. I’ve changed and achieved lots of other things in my life. So, even though I missed a day, I’m going to keep going and keep moving forward. I feel great when I do what I say I’m going to do and I really do want to change, so I am going to keep going.”

My example is long, but I wanted to make sure you get a feel for how to write your “Getting back on the horse” statement. As always, use your words, fill in any blanks and go for it. You can do it.

Study after study shows that if our goal is important enough to us; if we are committed to achieving it; if we are specific in our plans, and if we create an environment that provides feedback – change will take place. (“The getting back on the horse” statement is a form of support as is working with a partner on your goal.)

Let’s Do It

If you start on Sunday, April 1 by Friday, June 29, 2012 your change will be a part of your life. No fooling! June 29 might sound far away at the moment, but here’s the thing – June 29 will be here no matter if you change or not, but a new you is guaranteed to be there to greet it, if you follow the “20/5/90 Formula”.  Do you want to find the same old you on June 29 or do you want to meet the new and improved, confident and congruent you?

The choice is yours. I can’t wait to hear about your success!

Wishful Thinking Ways #13

Congruency Champions
Congruency means that things are in agreement; they are in accord. Opposites of congruency are conflict, disagreement and discord.
Why am I bringing this up on such a beautiful spring day? Well, we are at Wishful Thinking Ways week #13. We have spent the past 12 weeks preparing ourselves for creating change in our lives. I want each of us to be super successful with the changes we are undertaking, and I believe becoming our own congruency champion is a great way to do it. (If you are catching-up, see weeks 11 & 12; if you are just getting started with Wishful Thinking Ways, you can go to week 1 or read on and catch-up later.)
Creating change takes action, and action in the direction of our dreams is a form of congruency. It’s walking the walk, not just talking the talk. It’s doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it. Taking action is a way to live in accordance with our values, which is another form of congruency.
Congruency, if you let it, can be a powerful motivator and an amazing life enhancer. Here’s how:
After you move in the directions of the dreams/take action/walk the walk, give yourself credit for doing it. Each and every time you accomplish your daily goal (which we will set next week), stop and tell yourself something kind, supportive and energizing. EX: “Wow, I did it. I walked for 30 minutes. I did just what I said I would do. I’m really happy that I did what I said I would. I’m good at doing what I say I will do.”
5 tips to becoming an absolutely great congruency champion:
    1. Be specific – include the action you took when you give yourself credit.
    2. Be you – put your supportive statements in your words; they have to sound right to you.
    3. Be positive – always end with the sentence “I’m good at doing what I say I will do.” It took courage, energy and commitment to do what you did, so you are not exaggerating or lying – you are good at it!
    4. Be consistent – champion yourself each and every time you do what you say you are going to do. Repetition is important when forming a new habit, and becoming your own congruency champion is new for most folks. So no matter how corny or awkward it feels, do it and keep doing it!
    5. Be aware – take 30 seconds to savor the moment, and let yourself feel good about being congruent. (This is an important part of the change process, because taking the walk (writing the page, sending the resume, not-smoking, eating, drinking, or spending the money, etc.) may be difficult, not feel uplifting or rewarding on any given day or in any particular moment, but feeling good about doing what you said you were going to do is an empowering elixir, and if you let it, it can change your life. (You can savor the feeling right after you accomplish the task, at night before you go to sleep, or first thing each morning – pick the time that works for you.)

Change takes change; we’ve talked about that before. And, for many of us, living according to our wishes and giving ourselves credit for doing what we said we were going to do, is new. It is a change. Achieving change takes support. Becoming your own congruency champion is a great way to give yourself the support you need.

I know you can do it!

Crazy Sexy Cancer

Kris Carr & her Crazy Sexy Cancer

Talk about creating the life you want – no matter the circumstances . . . Kris Carr’s story is so inspiring I wanted to share it with you on the first day of spring, which is a great time for all of us to think about the possibility of new directions in our lives. Here are a few excerpts from her web page:

“I’m Kris Carr, New York Times best-selling author and wellness warrior. On Valentine’s Day in 2003, I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer. This whiskey tango foxtrot moment (that’s military lingo for WTF?!) sparked a deep desire in me to stop holding back and start living like I mean it! I sold everything and hit the road on a deep healing pilgrimage. What I learned transformed my life forever – now it can transform yours. . . . “

” . . . My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out. It taught me how to listen to my brilliant inner guidance, brought me back to nature (my church), the garden and the people and animals who set my heart ablaze.”

Kris created a film of her journey and has since written 3 books. For a boost of belief in the power each of us has to determine how we live our destiny – check out this video of Kris on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday”. It’s my favorite, and applies to each and every one of us. It’s under 5 minutes, please make time for it in your life. If you are really slammed go right to the 3:10 point, and listen as she shares her life altering thoughts.

Wishful Thinking Ways # 12

Are you riding a Ferris Wheel of Denial?

Change Circles

Last week  in Wishful Thinking Ways #11, you identified specifically what you want to change in 2012. Great job! (If you are just joining Wishful Thinking Ways, you can click here to start at the very beginning.)

What change did you decide on last week? Use that change topic it to fill in the blank in this sentence:

I am so excited that I am ______________________.

The goal of this exercise is to say, and then write the sentence as though it has already been achieved. Here’s a quick and easy example: If your goal is to lose 10 lbs., you would say and then write:

I am so excited that I am 10 pounds thinner.

You can go a step further and add other positive statements such as, “It feels so wonderful!”

The goal of this exercise is to keep it simple, positive and energizing. Use words that fit your personality and style, and keep the sentences upbeat and positive – after all you are 10 lbs. thinner!! How cool is that? It is essential to say and write the sentence in the positive tense, “I am” as opposed to “I will”. (The exercise works on big or little goals.)

Read your sentence out loud. Wonderful, now write it. (Writing it each and everyday, is a great way to remind yourself of your goal and to keep on target, and it only takes a few moments. So, do it, okay?)

Real Deal Change Wheel

Now you are ready to jump on the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel. It’s time to be completely honest with yourself, and get off the Ferris Wheel of Denial you’ve been riding regarding the change you want to make in your life. (It’s not just you – we all tell ourselves stuff to keep from changing, problem is that’s what it does – keeps us from changing!)

To get your free Real Deal Change Ticket, click here. The first step in getting real is to identify what you’ve been telling yourself about why you cannot make or haven’t made your change – yet. (I know you can change, but now we need to convince you that you can. The Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel will help you do that. )

Click here to print and complete the Real Deal Change Wheel. If you don’t have a printer nearby, no problem,  open the Real Deal Change Wheel, take a moment to read the instructions, and recreate the Wheel on paper – no excuses! (There really is no good reason to ignore changing yourself and your future. It’s time to get real. And, I guarantee it is a much better ride than the Ferris Wheel of Denial.)

We have just a few more Wishful Thinking Ways in March. Come back on the next two Fridays to learn about the deep, rich wonderful impact of congruency and easy ways to develop the steps that will lead you to successful change.

You can do it!

And, breathe . . .

In our Wishful Thinking Ways #3 weekly post we talked about inhibitory breathing. Folks around the world are holding their breath in times of stress, which may lead to anxiety and, over time, to health problems.

This past Saturday a group of Wishful Thinking women gathered and Wendy, one of the participants, shared this wonderful site with all of us: www.doasone.com

Do As One’s vision is to have 1 billion people – yup, 1 billion – synchronize their breathing by November 11, 2012. To this end, they have created a wonderful web site so folks can learn to breathe moment to moment! (There’s even an App!)

Give yourself a much-needed break and go to Do As One now, and learn to breathe full-body, life-enhancing breaths. You can choose from a number of “breathing rooms”, where you may then select background audio (choices include softly falling rain or Tibetan bowls); color – a rainbow of options; intentions – peace, harmony, abundance, and length of session.

“Do As One” offers many more relaxing options for intentional breathing beginners and experts, and for folks who are looking for meditative options. “Do As One” is an excellent tool for bringing peace and relaxation into your life one breath at a time. A minute or two of full-body breathing, will relax you and help you focus your awareness in a gentle, easy way. You will feel the tension melting away. It’s like a mini-vacation for your mind.

Relax your shoulders, stretch a bit and begin now.

Don’t underestimate the power in each and every breath you take – being more aware of your breathing patterns can help you change your perspective and may transform your life.

And, breathe . . .

PS Let us know of other breathing and meditation sites you have used and recommend. And, thanks again, Wendy!

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Wishful Thinking Ways #11


Would you like to feel more confident, courageous and calmer? If so, you are in the perfect place at the perfect time – Wishful Thinking Ways week #11!

Today we are creating your Change Circle. Click here for a customized Change Circle sheet you can use to decide exactly what you want to change in your life. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to select one, and one thing only to change.

By choosing one, and one thing only, you concentrate your efforts and dramatically increase the odds you will achieve your goal. And, by accomplishing whatever you set out to do – you will not only achieve your change goal, you will also gain confidence in yourself and your abilities, and build some courage along the way. And, if you allow yourself to celebrate and savor your success you can go to sleep and wake-up feeling calmer. It’s a win-win-win situation! The trifecta of change – confidence, courage and calm. (Ooh, that feels good . . .  I’ve been working on my personal change goal, and I can tell you it feels wonderful to see the changes taking place, but that’s another post.)

You can do it.

If you have been following Wishful Thinking Ways over the past 10 weeks, you are completely ready for this. In January, you set the stage; in February you spent time exploring and discovering your dreams, and in March you will begin making them happen. The past 10 weeks of Wishful Thinking Ways have been chockfull of ideas and activities to get you started and moving in the right direction. (If you are just joining us, no problem, click here or on the last link below.)

Wishful Thinking Works  – all you need to do is to slip into the driver’s seat and get behind the wheel of your life. You are in control! I know there are days it may not feel that way – we all have them – but deep down you are capable of creating change in your life. I am absolutely sure you have done it before, and just as sure you can do it again.

The free Wishful Thinking Ways “Change Circle” sheet will help you. Click here, then read and print it. No printer, no problem – read the sheet and make your own circles on a piece of paper. (Where there’s a will, there’s a way!)

No excuses, you can do it. Go for it! No matter where you are today, it is the perfect starting point for where you want to be tomorrow.

Click on the links below to review or start your Wishful Thinking Ways.

It is never too late to create positive change in your life.

Wishful Thinking Ways #10 – My Wishful Thinking Ways

Wishful Thinking Ways #9 – Your Story, Your Way

Wishful Thinking Ways #8 – Mind-Mapping & More

Wishful Thinking Ways #7 – Change Drawings

Wishful Thinking Ways #6 – Questions Hold the Key

Wishful Thinking Ways #5 – Exploring Label Fables

Wishful Thinking Ways #4 – Name that Feeling

Wishful Thinking Ways #3 – Physiological Tells

Wishful Thinking Ways #2 – Simple Steps 

Wishful Thinking Ways #1 – Start at the Very Beginning


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Wishful Thinking Ways # 10 – sort-of

I’ve had a bit of a computer problem, and my back-up computer is out of reach because I’m on the road, so I thought I would take us on a different Wishful Thinking Ways journey today. Since we are ahead of my original Wishful Thinking Ways program, which was designed for 12 weeks, I’m taking advantage of this moment to share a bit about my personal Wishful Thinking Works journey. So put your feet up and relax while you read. (If you are just joining us, welcome and click here for the first Wishful Working Ways 2012.)

My personal Wishful Thinking Works journey began about 2003, when I decided my life needed . . . well, I didn’t really know what my life needed, but I knew I wasn’t as happy as I once was or could be. Instead of trying to figure it all out and come-up with an immediate solution, I decided to lay back and see what unfolded, which was a first for me. I’m a doer and was a Type-A personality with a capital “A”. Get it done, move forward, onward – now!

There is nothing wrong with being a “doer”, if “doing” makes your heart sing – but my heart was barely holding a tune at that time. I knew a change was needed.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.” (Anonymous)

I made the decision to stop “doing” so much – to stop filling my days with this and that and to take more time to relax and reflect. This was a huge change for me in fact, it terrified me, but my personal and professional lives were overflowing with self-inflicted challenges and real-time commitments that were leaving me out of breath, rather than breathless. I had created a life I really didn’t want and it was beginning to cost my heart, my head and my health dearly.

Over the next two years, I stopped doing all the things I normally did to find out what I really wanted to do. I spent a lot of time alone, doing nothing – I puttered instead of planning. I read and walked without purpose and at a much slower pace. I turned down invitations – super tough for a social butterfly, and began to see solitude as a source of energy rather than a statement of popularity.  I also delegated more and more at work.

Once I became comfortable doing less – it took months – I began trying new ways of spending my free time – with fun and interesting results. I went on what I thought was a yoga retreat and discovered yoga nidra, which is still a rewarding part of my life. I spent a weekend at a Benedictine monastery, which I thought was going to be a silent retreat, but by the end I was praying for silence! I didn’t answer my home or cell home unless I felt like it (Remember home phones?). I drove slower; turned the radio off in the car and on at home. I stopped trying to do 100 things at once. I joined a laid back adventure club for women, which led me outdoors and to the fun of feeling 10 again with the added benefit of warm, wonderful and lasting friendships. At night when I laid my head on my pillow, instead of worrying about what needed to be done tomorrow or next week, thanks to Oprah’s influence, I began noting the moments in my life I was grateful for.

My experiments led me through lots of starts and stops, which I learned to accept as part of my personal scientific process. (I once believed I had to finish everything I started – even books I wasn’t crazy about became albatrosses for me.) Thankfully, I learned to trust my instincts more than ever before and stopped regretting not completing things that held no real interest for me. The additional downtime allowed lots of wonderful feelings and thoughts to rise to the surface, and I learned to spend time savoring them.

I must admit that in the beginning the good thoughts were almost always followed by stressful ones: “Who was I to think that I could . . . or had the right to . . . What would happen if I . . . Who would take care of . . . if I didn’t.” But, my growing resolve and belief in myself helped me realize that I was not the center of everyone’s world, and believe it or not, most people and projects could get along without me. That didn’t mean I didn’t have or add value to the process or their lives, but moving myself from center stage to the sidelines and observing rather than feeling I had to direct was a refreshing, eye-opening change for me,  and left lots more time for creating the life I really wanted, which in the end, made everyone happier!

“Life is a marathon not a sprint.” (Anonymous)

I learned to accept that change is an ongoing process. It’s inevitable, and that’s okay. I also realize that most of the things I thought needed to be done NOW, really don’t. These realizations along with my Wishful Thinking allowed me to expand and deepen my life in ways far beyond the expectations I had in 2003. My relationships with family and friends are more meaningful and better than ever, and stretch around the world. I’ve traveled to places I once only dreamt about  – and some I never knew existed, and I followed the career path of my dreams including serving twice in the United States Peace Corps.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher, 604 BC – 531 BC)

I know now that Wishful Thinking Works and I know believing that – for many of us – is a huge leap of faith. I get that and thank you for being here, because accepting that Wishful Thinking Works and has a place in our lives is a big step. It can be downright terrifying to accept that we can change, yet alone create the lives we really want. So, today I want to say thanks for being so brave, and to applaud you for being part of Wishful Thinking Ways.

Wherever you are along the path of change, please applaud yourself for being there. Even if you are only thinking about creating the life you really want, give yourself credit for the thoughts you are thinking! I encourage you to keep moving forward. Take as many baby steps as necessary, but don’t stop! Let the process be your guide – keep what resonates and feels “right” and find ways to let go of what doesn’t.

Blend courage with curiosity, experimentation with examination, and find time for quiet reflection.

Your assignment this week is to redo one of the earlier assignments, or complete one you skipped. The choice is up to you; I trust your judgment and know you will pick what is right for you.

WTW Dandelion

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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