Measure what matters

Knowing what matters to you and focusing on it can make your holiday season richer, more memorable, and way more fun!

Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to fill our holidays with strife and worry and thoughts of who gets what and who doesn’t; who gathers where and who doesn’t and what gets done and what doesn’t, we drown out much of the joy of the holiday season before it even has a chance to surface.

We layer our lives with so much stress that when magical moments appear – the kids playing quietly in front of the lit Christmas tree at dusk, an unexpected card or gift from a loved one, watching a child help a grand parent, a heartfelt hug or the mention of how much we mean to someone or even the kind gesture of a stranger – we barely notice or bother to savor them.

The good news is, studies show that what we focus on tends to grow. Therefore, if we focus on what really matters to us, we can increase the likelihood that those things will move center stage in our lives because we will be more likely to notice and enjoy them.

Start by asking yourself what really matters to you.

Christmas Holiday (2)What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season?

What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season?

In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? Religion? New Experiences? Traditions? Food? Fun?

Once you know what matters it will be much easier to notice those things and begin planning ways to integrate more of them into your holiday plans. And, with practice you will soon be sloughing of the stress and slights that normally occupy your mind.

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, use one of these suggestions.
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit. (Next year to spread the joy, you can make gift jars or chain supplies for other family members and share them in November or early December!)
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like life is moving too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post was adapted from an previous year’s Wishful Thinking Works post, because I loved it so much and it was a great holiday reminder for me!

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Each moment

The Thanksgiving Slump

Does this sound familiar?dog-1926763__340

You’ve spent the past two days eating way too much, and you’ve been beating up on yourself for almost as long. And now, you are making promises to yourself you can’t possibly or won’t keep. “I’m not going to eat anything today.” “I’m going to fast and just drink liquids.” “I’m going to go to the gym every day this week!” “Just water for me, please.” Or, you’ve already thrown in the towel and decided to spend the next few weeks eating anything and everything you want, since you’ve already blown both your diet and your good intentions.

If I’m reading your mind, take a deep breath.

That’s good, now take another one. Belly breathe, which means you not only inhale through your nose and fill your chest with air, you fill your stomach, as well. Pause and exhale slowly and a bit longer than you inhaled. Now, merely note “I probably ate more than I should have.” Follow with another deep, belly-filling breath. “Yup, I did.” “I wish I hadn’t, because now I feel bad about it.” And, breathe . . . Take two more deep breaths.

The deep breathing gives your brain enough time to focus on what you are saying and feeling, and will relax you even if you were feeling guilty or frustrated a few seconds before. Resting your brain also gives it time to readjust and switch gears, and that’s a good thing.

Tell yourself something positive.

“I’ve been in a tough place before and I have gotten myself out of it. I can do it again.” “I bet I can get back on track, if I slow down and really savor what I am eating.” “I know I can do this, and I will feel better about myself for cutting back.” “I am good at many things, one mistake does not a failure make.” “I love you, and I know you can do it!”

And, breathe. Keep the deep breathing going, as it not only relaxes you, it breaks the negative spiral your brain may lead you back to at this point. “Oh, why do I even try. I always overeat.” “I can’t lose weight, why do I even bother?” “My family just metabolizes food differently, other people eat more than me, and they are skinny; it’s not fair. . .” You’re right, it’s not fair, and I’m sorry you can’t just keep eating everything you want. It’s hard to pass up all that food, especially during the holidays, but you can do it.

Picture yourself at your ideal weight.

Create the vision you want to see of yourself. Picture yourself in your skinny jeans. Imagine how good it feels to zip them up with no trouble. Or envision yourself wearing that dress you love, how it glides over your hips or how good it feels to not have to add a jacket or shawl to cover your jiggling bits. The more detailed and real the picture is in your mind, the more likely you are to achieve it. 

The key is to create the image that works for you. You will know what works for you when it feels real and makes you feel good at the same time. (We spend so much time predicting disasters in our lives or rehashing our mistakes – perceived or real, why not tip the scales in your favor and begin predicting positive outcomes or pictures?)

Mentally give the you in your vision a hug!

This may sound silly, but do it, because that is the you that you genuinely want to embrace. The you, you know you want to be. You can physically hug the real you, as well, which will release the “love hormone” oxytocin. (A 20-second hug, even if it is self-administered, can lower stress. Simply wrap your arms around yourself and gently rub your arms. Give it a try, I just did and could not help smiling- an added bonus!)

Now, figure out what you can do today to get back on track. 

Throw out the leftovers. I hate wasting food, most of us do, but yesterday I chose my health and happiness over my aversion to wasting and tossed lots of leftovers. I also made a mental note to cook, bake and buy less food in the weeks ahead. (Picture the you, you want to be each time you head into the grocery store, it will help you resist temptation!)

Find your walking or running shoes, put them on and head out the door. Or, walk or run up and down the stairs a few times. Stretch. Hold your arms out to your sides and make small circles, 20 times forward and then 20 times backwards. Crank up some holiday tunes and dance. Get your kids, grand kids or significant to join the fun. Do whatever you have to do to feel energized and good about yourself. 

Remember to take a moment to breathe deeply and often throughout the day – it takes practice, but is worth the effort. And, bring the mental picture of the you you want to be wherever you go. Every time temptation strikes – and it will – envision that you. When you wake up and before you go to sleep – breathe deeply and slowly and picture that you. Make your vision a part of your life, and it will be!

You are no longer alone, and you have a plan.

box-2953722__340Breathing deeply and picturing the new you are the perfect holiday gift to give yourself. After all, ’tis the season for believing, why not start believing in yourself? 

You can do it! 

 

 

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One question

Are things in your life falling apart or into place?

Sometimes, things may look like they are going wrong, but with time and perspective and or by simply staying in the moment, we realize they are actually falling into place.

Have a great day!

Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

Patrice encourages all of us to identify and follow our dreams, because she knows first hand that Wishful Thinking Works.

Patrice Koerper Robson is a United States Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who served in Macedonia from 2006-2009 beginning at the age of 53. She is one of only 460 people over the age of 50, who have served annually in the United States Peace Corps (Approximately 6% of the Volunteers who serve each year are over the age of 50).

Patrice loves Macedonia, and is happy to have traveled back to the tiny, mountainous country many times. Her first return trip was in the fall of  2010 for two months to visit friends and work on projects. She traveled back again for a month in 2011, and as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer for four months from 2012-13. 

In 2016, she and her wonderful husband, Dan, spent their extended honeymoon in Macedonia combining five weeks in the ancient and beautiful city of Bitola with side trips to Venice and to the Isle of Corfu. Patrice was also a Response Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia for four months from 2011-12, which she plans to revisit in the future.

Patrice’s main passion and occupation is Wishful Thinking Works life coachingworkshops and presentations, which combined with her family and friends and travels with her husband, are all part of the life she is really wants

 

 

 

 

Revive your relationship this summer

I am enjoying “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath this summer and love so many of their tips for personally and professionally enhancing your life. One of their free resources tips for spicing up your marriage or relationship is a fun one, and I thought this summer might be a great time to take advantage of their advice.

Art Aron had couples engage in a date a week for ten weeks. One group did a standard date. For example a couple that habitually went to dinner and a movie would have dinner and a movie. Another group did something different than what they would normally do. If they normally see romantic comedies, they might take in a horror film or an action/adventure. If they normally ate Italian, they might try Vietnamese. The biggest increase in marital satisfaction was among the novelty group.

Any type of change will be good for your hearts and souls, and you don’t have to commit to ten weeks to feel the benefits. Whenever you “Break the script.” by trying something new, you increase the odds of creating a memorable moment.

  • Pitch a tent or picnic in the backyard under a tree. If you are sightseeing, trade-in your shorts and tops for a great summer dress and you may become his favorite site!
  • Plan to watch the sunrise or set as part of your travels or from a special vantage point where you live. Add in some finger foods and a bit of bubbly or ice cold beer and sit, sip and savor the moment together.
  • Enjoy a staycation and treat yourselves to a nearby B & B or hotel with room service.  One of my sisters is still talking about the surprise trip her husband planned a year ago just an hour from their home. She loved it, and when she describes the details she’s still smiling inside and out. She had so much fun, she got me smiling about the memories and I wasn’t even there! (Thank you, Deb!)
    • If your hubby or significant other isn’t a planner, surprise him or her with something they would love and instead of keeping score over who has done what for whom, sit back, watch and truly absorb the fun they have enjoying your surprise. (If their response isn’t as positive or thankful as you had hoped, don’t let it get you down. Focus on the fun you had planning it and know that not everyone shows their excitement or appreciation as easily as others.)

The goal is to get started thinking of new and different ways to bring joy and memorable moments to your lives, all of which can strengthen the bond between you. Your options are endless, the choices are yours, and a cool summer evening or breezy sunny day will make every memory just a bit sweeter.

 

Are you ready to create the life your really want? Start today! 

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“30 Days New” – Days 20-26

So many days, so many “News” 

I truly lost track of my “News” this week while hosting guests. I did not manage a “New” each and everyday, which was “New” for me! But I am happy to say that by not holding myself to strict a standard while spending time with my wonderful friends, my week was much more relaxing! Cutting myself some slack on a public commitment was “New” for me, and easier than expected because the pay off was so rewarding – fun with friends!

One friend was visiting from abroad and another from Colorado. I met both while serving in the United States Peace Corps from 2006-2009 in the country of Macedonia. Oddly enough, because of her travels to the U.S. and mine to Macedonia, I have seen my Macedonian friend many more times than my American Peace Corps pal!  It has been nine years since we all have gotten together, so coordinating their visit was a definite  “New”.

One of the joys of reuniting was realizing and talking about how lucky we were to have met. It is astounding to consider all of the twists and turns our individual lives took to connect us originally and the many choices we have made to keep in contact since we first separated nine years ago.

Nine years laterTo celebrate gathering again, we recreated a photo we took in the tiny, remote village of Dupeni, Macedonia, which was one of the last times we were all together. Recreating a photo was another “New” for me! My husband very patiently juggled our phones until we agreed that one of the many, many new photos he took was flattering enough for all three of us – thank you, Dan! Our quiet, peaceful Long Island backyard was the setting for our new photo; we agreed it had some of the same relaxing characteristics of my friend grandparents’ villa in Dupeni, and also agreed we should not wait another nine years to gather again – somewhere in the world.

One line a dayAnother “New” this week was learning from my American friend about her “One Line A Day” habit, which began with the gift of a five year journal in which you simply write “One Line A Day.” She has passed the one year mark in hers, so she is now enjoying having past year thoughts at her fingertips as she adds her new ones. She shared some of the insights she has gained from writing and comparing her thoughts from year to year, which inspired me to buy a similar book. As soon as it arrives, I plan to start a new way of journaling – “One Line a Day”, which will be “New” for me.

A foot injury kept me on Long Island this week as my friends headed into New York City on the train for a day of sightseeing. Admitting I could not join them was tough and a “New” for me, I usually push myself no matter the circumstance. But as their plans solidified, I knew I had made the right choice, and I smiled throughout the day, knowing I was comfy, cozy at home and doing the right thing. Smiling about a limitation was definitely “New” for me!

Teddys PorchAnother “New” this week involved a fashion choice – not the most earth shattering “New” but stepping out of my comfort zone into a seersucker dress was “New” for me. The dress will not make it into my regular summer rotation – it’s a little too old school for me, but I was happy I gave it a try, and have lots of photos commemorating it’s debut! Here is one of us relaxing on Teddy Roosevelt’s front porch at Sagamore Hills. Posting the photo is another “New” – it is not my most flattering photo, but the moment and circumstances surrounding it make it special to me and sweet to share.

This very special “New” is from a wonderful friend and Wishful Thinking Works reader, who shared how “30 Days New” inspired her to develop “News” of her own. I love her “News” and the fun she is having creating them:

I have loved reading your “30 Days New”. I haven’t managed it every day, but I definitely made a start. 1) I learned to make goat kefir 2) learned to make kombucha 3) learned to actually LIKE the kefir and kombucha 4) learned I can take my grandkids 2&4 to the swimming pool without them drowning or me having an anxiety attack :-) 5) learned how to create and use Event Brite for an organization I work with 6) learned to make almost professional looking greeting cards 7) learned to make 2 other fermented probiotics, but still trying to like them.

What is “New” with you? Have you tried anything out of your comfort zone lately? How did it feel? Feel free to share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear about your success!

To read more about how my “30 Days New” habit got started, click here.


Are you ready to create the life your really want?

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30 Days New – Day 18 & 19

“30 Days New” – Day 18 & Day 19

I am still focusing on my watery goals of being in the moment each and every time my hands touch water.  Loving that my “New” practice is expanding to other moments in my life. Once my mindfulness habit kicked in, I began slowing sown and savoring more daily experiences.

I have started giving myself mini-hand massages when they are soft and soapy and it feels great!  I don’t know anything about the art of hand massage, but I mimic the movements of my wonderful manicurist and even a minute or two feels fantastic.

I have also become more aware of my steps! Throughout the day I have been walking with awareness, and enjoying it. Focusing on how our feet and legs feel as we walk can be very relaxing.

I learned how to do meditative walking many years ago with a monk at a Thai Buddhist Temple in Florida, and have used the practice at one of my retreats, but as with many things I had forgotten to integrate it into my daily life. I had forgotten to integrate it into my daily life. It is a simple way to bring serenity to each step.

You can begin a meditative walking practice by simply noticing the movement of placing your foot on the floor. Where do you feel contact first, then next? Breakdown the action in your head and pause to feel where the sensation goes in your body. We are so often on automatic pilot, we forget we are placing our feet and pay no attention as to how our bodies complete the action.

feet-2683898_960_720To add to the sensations of the moment, go barefoot on the grass in your yard or on the sand at the beach. Pause to really absorb the moment after each step. If the experience inspires you to try a more formalized meditative walk, check out this meditative walking post I found.

You might also want to read this Wishful Thinking Works post for a meditative look at how calming walking in circles can be!

Day 18 & Day 19  Results – Amazing reminders and awareness of how many quiet, peaceful moments our bodies can provide us with, if we simply slow down and tune in to their movements and sensations and tune out of our heads! Being more relaxed and finding new ways to release the stress and strain of everyday living can be found from the tips of our fingers to the tips of our toes.

“New” Idea for Fun

The first person who posts a photo of their feet during a meditative walk, will receive a free on-on-one, 60 minute coaching session on the topic of their choice. 

The first three people who post a meditative walking or hand-washing related photo on the Wishful Thinking Works Facebook page, will receive a free 30 minute, one-on-one coaching session on the topic of their choice. 

Since this type of offer is new for me, I am planning to count it as my Day 20 “New”.  I hope you join in the fun and you might be part of my Day 20 Results!

To read more about how my “30 Days New” habit got started, click here.


Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

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