Decision making made easy

woman-687560_960_720.jpgWhen faced with two equally positive or negative options have you ever felt stuck?

At some time in our lives, most of us have been paralyzed by the thought of having to choose between door one and door two.  Here’s an idea that might help:

Instead of either/or, add one more

Huh? I know it sounds odd, and maybe counter intuitive, but it works . . .

Instead of either/or, add one more!

The idea is not mine, but making it an easy to remember rhyme is. I read brothers Chip and Dan Heath’s book “Made to Stick” a number of years ago, and their comments about the paradoxes of how we decide things led me to come up with my little ditty. (I have posted about it, but that was so long ago – I decided it was time for a refresher!) And, as silly as the rhyme sounds, it’s memorable and worth remembering.

Instead of either/or, add one more.

Picture this, you’ve inherited a huge sum of money, never have to work again, and have been house hunting for months. You finally found two homes you love, and although they are very different each offers you a lifestyle you have always wanted. You can’t decide whether to go with the brownstone in Manhattan or the cattle ranch in Colorado and rich as you are, you can’t afford both.

Or, you have two great job options, life coach in Florida or actress in Hollywood – nope, that one is way too easy, I’d choose being a life coach, anytime! But, I digress.

Instead of either/or, add one more.

The decision-making research cited in “Made to Stick” reveals the value of adding an additional choice to an either/or mix.

Adding “one more” helps us prioritize, which makes it easier for us to recognize what we truly prefer. We tend to think that by making things black or white, or narrowing down our choices to just two – this or that, we are making things easier on ourselves, but the opposite may be true. It appears that is easier for us to choose, when we look at and compare three options rather than two.

Brownstone in Manhattan, cattle ranch in Colorado, and beach house in Florida? Did the picture get any clearer for you, it did for me – our little island is 7 miles long on the Gulf of Mexico.

Comparing three options rather than two, changes the way we think, and may lead us to faster and even less regrettable decisions. It’s easy to spend our lives regretting either/or decisions: comparing three options reduces the drama, which may in turn reduce lingering regrets.

So what would you choose, brownstone, ranch, beach house? There are no wrong answers, pick what appeals most to you.

Instead of either or, add one more

Try applying the rhyme in your life when you are faced with any either/or dilemmas. It works well on big and/or little stuff, and can lead you down an entirely new path. Coffee/tea or Mimosa – coffee sounds perfect for me!

 

 

 

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360 into spring

Spring womanIt is Sunday and it’s spring. Life is good, and today is the perfect time to reconnect to nature and your surroundings. Here is a quick and easy, free pick-me-up that can bring a breath of fresh air to your life and a new lightness to your heart and soul.

You can shift your focus and expand your view with these simple steps…

  1. Step outside without planning to go anywhere!
  2. Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply.
  3. Exhale lazily like you have all day to do it.  End with an audible sigh, “Ahhhhh,” let your shoulders relax.
  4. Slowly open your eyes.
  5. Look up, look down and all around. Linger on what you see.
  6. Take in your world with new eyes. Squint to soft touch your surroundings. Tilt your head gently from left to right. Notice the colors, the scents, the sounds.
  7. Turn around slowly and then repeat the process.

Go for it! You deserve it! It may seem too simple or silly to work, but this 360 into spring can give you a new perspective and renew your purpose and awaken passion, especially if repeated daily. I’m stepping out for mine right now; I’m looking forward to the “Ahhhhh”!

 

 

 

Explore what you love

lotus-1205631__180Some of us recently finished a new 21-Day meditation series offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. It was free, and through a Wishful Thinking Works Facebook group we met and touched based during our 21 days of meditating.

On the 22nd day, Oprah and Deepak shared a extra post and in it Oprah noted, “Spend time doing what lifts you up and brings you love.”

Oprah’s words are more important than they may appear at first. You see, to follow these words we must first know what lifts us up, which is something we talk about all the time at Wishful Thinking Works and our Wishful Thinking Women gatherings. We have to take time to truly understand what makes our hearts sing, then and only then can we spend more time doing it.

Ocoffee-782171__180.jpgften, you will find what lifts you up is in the simplest moments – stretching in bed in the morning, planning something special for someone you love, watching the sun set or rise, drinking a rich delicious cup of cappuccino or accomplishing a difficult task at work or home.

In the last few weeks of April, practice noticing what brings you true pleasure. Then spend a bit of time digging deeper to unearth the essence of those moments, the reason they bring you happiness.

Stretching connects us to our bodies. It is one of the few moments of the day that we really experience a mind-body connection. (Most of the time we only notice our bodies when they hurt or cause us discomfort.) If you like stretching, maybe you need to do it more often, to add yoga or exercise to your life as a way of connecting your mind and body.

If planning something for someone you love makes you feel wonderful, explore the topic of relationships in your life and doing things for others. How can you deepen your connection to those you love and to your community and the world?

If cappuccino is your thing, perhaps you need to provide yourself with more peaceful and delicious moments. Long lazy baths or simply a new body cream might make you feel relaxed and luxurious or maybe cooking a new dish or finding a new favorite restaurant. Maybe you need to add more time for reflection to your life.

There are so many reasons sunrises and sunsets could delight us – being outdoors, taking time to enjoy the moment, the majesty of the color  – explore what makes them special to you personally and find ways to expand on the essence of what they bring to your life.

Accomplishments come with widely varying benefits that may change throughout our lives. Personality, age, culture, environment may all play a role. Explore why your degree matters to you, why a promotion makes you happy, why making the sale motivates you, why refinishing a chair brings you joy – then keep going until you get to the core of why those “whys” matter and you will create a journey, which may help you plan or enrich your emotional and economic lifestyle.

There is a lifetime of wisdom and happiness in what you enjoy! Let all of your discoveries – big or small – pave the way for new paths in your life. Let them lead you and provide a solid foundation for bringing more peace and joy into your life.

Namaste.

PS And if you worry for even a moment that you don’t deserve more wonder and joy, you are not alone. We often create roadblocks for ourselves on new journeys, especially when we are focusing on giving ourselves more of what we love.

Know in advance this might happen, and if it does, be prepared to find ways to gently and calmly quiet those voices in your head. You can invite them in – don’t resist them, simply say something to yourself like “I knew you would be coming, please come in, take a seat.” Then take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and then smile to yourself for being so smart! You are not only are brave and courageous you are insightful and prepared –  you can handle whatever comes your way.  Great things are waiting for you, go ahead and explore.

Weekend insights

Dawns Daffodils (2)

When the snow began to fall this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, my niece Dawn ran outside to gather the daffodils that only a few days earlier had brought the promise of spring. Instead of wallowing in the negative turn the weather had taken, Dawn found a way to save a bit of spring and the good feelings it carried with it, and to capture and share those feelings on Facebook, which made others happy, as well.

Her photograph brought two things to mind for me. First, how wonderful it is when we capture happy and second, Van Gogh’s quote that “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.” Why not do a good deed for yourself this week and picture yourself happy as a way to raise your positivity levels?

Picture Yourself Happy

Here in sunny Florida this weekend, during a Wishful Thinking Women gathering, we talked about the power we each have to interrupt difficult or frustrating moments by pausing for a second to notice how we are feeling – stressed, nervous, angry, sad, scared, ashamed and/or frustrated. When you identify stressful feelings,  two things happen:

  1. You pull yourself into the moment, which immediately reduces the intensity of the feeling, because it no longer has a complete hold on you, and
  2. You add a bit of objectivity to the situation, because awareness always causes us to step back – if even for a moment – and can help us refocus our attention, if we choose to.

If you do decide to switch gears, you can then picture yourself happy by bringing to mind a moment or memory that you enjoy. The second you do, your brain will change its mind, so to speak, and release an entirely different set of chemicals and hormones designed specifically to produce and prolong positivity.

When I want to redirect my feelings or simply increase my level of happiness, I picture myself running out of the house at the age of 8 or 9 – chores done, screen door slamming behind me as I enjoy that rich and wonderful sense of pure summer freedom.                              

The more often you picture and/or capture happy the easier it will be to be feel positive, and over time you will increase the likelihood of creating new, positive neurological and life pathways.

I love that in the middle of disappointing weather, Dawn took the time to capture happy by gathering daffodils and to “picture” happy by noticing and sharing the beauty even a spring snow storm can create.  I am sure Van Gogh would see her work as a very good deed.Dawn winter

 

 

Fun look at life coaching

Fun stuff by Kate Gavino on Oprah.com about her experience with a life coach . . . it makes a positive difference . . . we are normal looking and we help!  Love her drawings and cartoon strip approach.

This is an excerpt from Kate Gavino’s work . . .to read the full article, click here.

3 Things I Learned from My Life Coach

What’s it really like to try a life coach (instead of a therapist or the advice of friends)? We sent writer and artist Kate Gavino to find out…

Kate GavinoKate Gavino is the illustrator of this series and the author of Last Night’s Reading.

 

Eat, Pray, Love – 10 year anniversary

I posted this week about  about making your life story the one you want it to be without realizing this week was the 10th anniversary of “Eat, Pray, Love” the best seller which helped many people rewrite their life stories.

Eat PRay Love Made me do it

I didn’t read “Eat, Pray, Love” until I was on my own journey of a lifetime, but for many folks it redefined their lives. Gilbert has captured the stories of some of her readers whose lives were changed by reading “Eat, Pray, Love” in her latest book, “Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do it.”  Gilbert explained on her recent interview on Good Morning America  that the central theme of both books is “. . . my life  doesn’t have to look like this anymore. . . We can make a change; we do not have to be stuck.” Yes! That is what Wishful Thinking Works is all about – creating the life you really want.

“Here, in this candid and captivating collection, nearly fifty of those readers—people as diverse in their experiences as they are in age and background—share their stories. The journeys they recount are transformative—sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always deeply inspiring.”

I plan to read her new book as I am traveling in May and June – I think that will be the perfect time to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it because I love learning how other folks changed their lives.

Did “Eat, Pray, Love”  change your life in anyway?  Did you love the book; hate it? Tell us your thoughts. We learn from each other!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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