2020! New decade, new you!

Happy New Year!

Let’s start at the very beginning! A very good place to start!

When Julie Andrews, as Maria, sang “Do-Re-Mi” to the children in movie “The Sound of Music”, she was encouraging them and making singing fun. Maria wanted to give them the confidence and courage they needed to enjoy a new aspect of life, and that is exactly what I want to do for you today.

I am sharing with you today two FREE resources to help you create the life you really want through positive reflection and insight, which will increase your confidence and your courage, and maybe even make you feel like you are on a mountain top singing! (The resources are great to do with kids and teens, as well.)

1. Wishful Thinking Works 2019 Year in Review “Ta Da” List

The first resource is the Wishful Thinking Works 2019 “Ta Da” List, the first version of which I developed in 2012 to help you live your best life by reflecting on and savoring the good already in your life. My “Ta Da” List has been so effective in reminding me of what was good in my life, that I no longer wait an entire year to use it to reinforce the goodness that has come my way or to review the positives I have achieved.

I complete my “Ta Da” List during the first week of the New Year and then again around the 4th of July, which is Independence Day in the U.S.A. My twice a year habit gives me both confidence and courage, and when I review and savor each entry, my brain is flooded with positive chemicals and hormones that can create the same level of joy and excitement the original event did. I love that it is like a two-for-one sale in my brain! And, who doesn’t love a good sale. especially at this time of year?

It is so much easier for us to focus on our sad times and our real and perceived losses than it is for us to savor the good ones, using your Wishful Thinking Works 2019 “Ta Da” List will help you redirect your energies, ramp-up your enthusiasm and reinforce your commitment to living your best life.

2. Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List

Using your Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List is a fun way to design your future. It can help you give a totally new direction to your life, or simply create new pathways for you to enjoy.

To use your 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List, simply list all the things you want to happen in 2020 – big or small – as if they already have happened and how having them or accomplishing them has made you feel.

EX: “I feel fantastic that I finished my degree. It was tough, but I am so proud of myself for keeping at it. I learned so much about myself and the world by pursuing this degree. I feel so happy about getting it.” Remember, you do not have to have the degree in 2020, only the desire to start or finish it – you are predicting your success.

Be bold. Be brave. Don’t censor yourself or your dreams. I have been predicting success for myself for more than a decade and so many of my dreams have become a reality – my Masters degree, serving 3 times in the Peace Corps, travel beyond my expectations, a loving relationship, warm supportive friendships, living my purpose daily and so much more.

Don’t be afraid of your future – predict and then picture it! The Wishful Thinking Works 2020 Predict Success “Ta Da” List is one page and will get you started, but I encourage you to transfer the categories to a notebook so you can fully explore and write about your new life throughout 2020.

 

Wishing you the happiest of New Year’s and the confidence and courage to believe in yourself and your potential and the possibilities that exist for you in the decade ahead. Wishful Thinking Works – go for it!

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Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity; what you do with it is up to you.” 
Patrice K. Robson

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National Coffee Day

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Today is national coffee day, and a great time to get in touch with the things you love.

A warm cup of cappuccino with any kind of delicate design gracing its surface is one of my most delectable delights, especially when enjoyed in a quiet cafe with Autumn colored walls and a painted cement floor.

Call me crazy, but cappuccino in a round, thick, ceramic cup lights up my day, relaxes my mind and fills my heart.  I love that it stimulates so many of my senses: sight, taste, touch – the warmth of the cup, and smell – that strong dusky scent. (Studies show that even sniffing coffee can awaken our senses and reduce stress!)

What treat, item, or setting, washes away the worries of the world, and makes even the greyest day shine for you?

Research shows that enjoying and savoring our personal pleasures is a great way to re-set and redirect our gloomy feelings and thoughts. The more descriptive and detailed your description of your pleasure the more likely you will be able to recreate its effect in your mind, long after you’ve enjoyed it.

I hope today you treat yourself to your favorite special moment or food, and then take time in the days ahead to replay the joy it brought you. I’m heading to a old-fashioned New York Italian bakery a perfect half-mile walk away for a steamy cup and and a crunchy, walnut, shortbread cookie, and I plan to savor the memory when I am back in Florida, 1200 miles my favorite cup of that delicious brew!

 

 

 

 

If truth be told

I met with some amazing women last night and we were talking about truth.

Many of us have buried our truths so deeply within ourselves, we don’t even know where they are anymore and often deny their existence.

What do you really want? What do you really love? Where do you hurt? What makes you smile? What do you want more or less of?

Don’t be afraid of the truth. Telling yourself the truth is never a bad thing. It will change things, that is true, but it is the best way to really understand yourself and to recognize your dreams.

candle-1240376__340When you start telling yourself the truth, you will have this overwhelming urge to tell others, please don’t, not yet. Let your truths see the light of day and adjust to it. Let them enjoy being with just you until you become comfortable telling yourself the truth and can treat your truths with tender, loving care. Then you can begin telling others – if you still feel the need.

You see, a miraculous thing happens when you start living with your truths. You open yourself to a world of new ideas and options, a world where vulnerability, humility, confidence and creativity combine to create new ways of living and acting. Doors appear. Pathways emerge. Satisfaction and happiness grow and flourish.

Treat your truths with the love and respect they deserve. Truth be told, they are a part of you – the rich, wonderful, creative, talented, intelligent, beautiful person you truly are.

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

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What lens will you use to view the world in 2016?

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How do you want to see the world in 2016?

How do you picture yourself?

Our view of the world, shapes how we react to it – and may shape how the world responds to us. This wonderful 3 minute video helps illustrates that.

How you picture yourself can influence almost every aspect of your life.

Visit Wishful Thinking Works often in the days and weeks ahead as we help you focus on creating the life you really want through articles and posts, free resources, workshops and much more.

 

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Communicating with heart

heart-968777_640At one of my Wishful Thinking Women gatherings this weekend we talked about a wonderful way to improve communication with those you love, care about or work with. I first shared this post in 2011, and after talking about it on Saturday, I thought now would be a great time to re-post it. Enjoy!

Would you like to improve your relationships with your kids, your spouse, significant other, friends, extended family and co-workers?

If so, try the method Dr. Martin Seligman describes in his latest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Seligman is the father of positive psychology and in Flourish he discusses PERMA, the 5 pillars of well-being:

P – Positive emotion (happiness, fun, gratitude);

E – Engagement (flow – loosing ourselves or becoming completely absorbed in our work, our hobbies, or the moment);

R – Relationships (those that touch our hearts, our souls and our minds);

M – Meaning (a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives) and

A – Accomplishment (learning and moving forward with endeavors big and small and knowing and using your strengths).

Today, I’m focusing on only one aspect of PERMA – Relationships, and how to create better connections.

Dr. Shelly Gable, a researcher and professor of social psychology at UCSB, took a positive psychology approach to love and marriage research and discovered that how couples celebrate the good times, is a stronger indicator of the strength and resiliency of relationships than how they fight or deal with negative situations. This might not seem like a big deal, but for decades psychologists have been researching and trying to fix conflict or breaks in relationships rather than focusing on what make them stronger.

“Shelly Gable turns all this on its head. She is one of the few who work on what makes a marriage great, and her work holds a crucial lesson for all of us who want to transform a good relationship—marriage, parent, or friendship—into an excellent one.”

Gable developed the chart below to show and categorize how people communicate in response to good news. Read the chart and decide where the majority of your responses fall. (Be honest – awareness is the first step of change!)

Next, observe yourself in action this week to see if your reactions fall squarely where you think they do. If you discover that your actions are not speaking as constructively as you would like, follow these steps and in no time you will be seeing positive results.

  1. Pay attention. Let the person who is talking to you “see” that you are listening. Look them in the eye, turn your body toward them. Smile, laugh, touch them.
  2. Say something positive: “Oh, Susan, that is wonderful.” “I’m so excited for you.” or whatever words work for you. Let your choice of words and the way you say them show your excitement.
  3. Ask questions: “When did you get the good news?” “How did you find out?” And, then follow-up with a sincere “Tell me all the details.” or “You must have been so excited, tell me all about it.” Any words that show your honest interest are the perfect words. You don’t need to overdo it, just ask and then listen – actively. Stay involved in the conversation so the person you care about, can share and savor the good news with you. Let the conversation be all about them.
  4. Suggest a way to celebrate. “Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate.” “Let’s open a bottle of wine.” Let’s go to the movies.” “Let’s . . . ” simply fill in whatever you know the person or child would really enjoy.

If you’re involved in a conversation and you realize that you aren’t responding as you would like, no problem. Simply stop and ask for a do-over. Say something like “You know what, I don’t think I’m being as positive as I can be about your good news, can we start over?” And then, do it. Your listener may be surprised, but will appreciate it.

Active/Constructive communication works so well, you may notice immediate results. Seligman shares a wonderful story in his book about an Army sergeant, who began actively and constructively responding to his young son and reported “about halfway through the conversation, my son interrupted me and said, “Dad, is this really you?” The sergeant’s new approach made his son uneasy at first, but within a few minutes the happiness in the boy’s voice shared just how much his Dad’s attention and approval meant to him. (Seligman has designed and iimplemented a very successful resiliency program for all Army personal, which includes the concept of PERMA.)

Give active/constructive communication a try, and let us know how it works.

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Time to celebrate with your personal “Ta Da” list

It’s time to begin celebrating your triumphs. This is the fourth year I’ve posted about this timely topic; I love creating blog traditions!  Today is the 183rd day of 2015, which is the halfway point.  It is the perfect time to celebrate you and your life by creating your very own “Ta Da” list.  The Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da List is much more fun than a “To Do” List, because it’s for all the wonderful things you’ve already accomplished!

What have you accomplished this year that just six months ago seemed impossible or a distant possibility? (Feel free to include anything you have ever accomplished – this is the time to toot your horn.)

What new trails have you blazed?

What have you found the strength to face?

What promises have you kept?

What chances did you take?

What teeny, tiny or wondrously huge steps have you taken in the direction of your dreams?

I think that since folks will soon be celebrating with parties, picnics and pyrotechnics for the Fourth of July, it’s a fantastic time to combine our patriotic triumphs with our personal ones – and celebrate them all!

Start now to make this Fourth of July your personal Independence Day. Complete your “Ta Da” list to light-up your life by counting your successes.

Most of us spend way more time thinking about what we haven’t done, than what we have done. It’s time to change all that and make 2015 your year of the have’s not the have not’s

Celebrating success builds confidence, which moves us forward faster and makes us happier along the way!

fireworks-180553__180Don’t be shy – this is the season for aiming high and lighting up the sky. List everything you have accomplished, big and small, and then, when you are watching “the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air” congratulate yourself on your 2015 accomplishments thus far, and all the exciting ones that lay ahead. Let those bright lights and loud booms ignite a sense of personal pride just for you.

To get started, click here for your free Wishful Thinking Works downloadable Ta Da List .  Don’t forget to share with family and friends so they can begin celebrating, too. 

Have fun, and here’s to a perfectly positive Independence Day in 2015!

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The magic of mindful eating

MP900177759Easter is just days way, and for many of us Easter baskets are wells of temptation. Instead on mindlessly chomping on handfuls of jelly beans or quickly biting off the head of a milk chocolate bunny, why not savor and enjoy each bite?

Studies show that paying attention to what we eat, how a food tastes and feels in our mouth and how we feel when eating it is not only is an effective weight loss tool, it is a great way to increase our happiness, especially if we consider the food we are eating a treat.

peeps1So, before you dive into that bowl of jelly beans or rip open a package of Peeps – take your time to pick out a few, put them on a special plate and then savor their color, aroma, texture and taste. Roll those babies around on your tongue and let your senses engage. Give those delectable delights your full attention, release those endorphins and enjoy every single second of  the experience.

Mindful eating can not only bring you sweet and satisfying moments, it can increase your happiness and your productivity.  It will raise your mood, and possibly interrupt the urge to eat more than you really want, which can reduce all those guilty feelings you might experience afterward.

It’ a win, win, win – enjoy!

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Capture happy!

Capture  Happy Patrice Koerper Wishful Thinking Works

Today is International Day of Happiness!

Take some time to capture happy and enrich your life in the process.

Positive thoughts and feelings are like hi-test fuel for your brain.

Capturing – labeling, wallowing, and replaying – positive thoughts and feelings will spark the release of even more positive-producing hormones, chemicals, and connecting agents in your brain.

It’s science, not hocus-pocus or feel good mumbo-jumbo.

Positive thoughts and emotions light-up our brains in all the right places, giving us the fuel we need to move forward in a positive direction.

The next time you are feeling particularly perky and positive, warm and fuzzy, or cozy and comfy – capture the moment.

1. Label it.

“Hey, this feels good.”  “I feel great.”  “I like this.”  “I’m happy!” “This feels wonderful.”

2. Wallow in it.

Take time to let the feeling soak into your entire body, let it flow throughout your body.

3. Replay it.

Hours, days and weeks later, take a moment to relive an earlier moment that have made you happy. If you took Step 2 seriously, you will be able to bring back the same feelings you had when the moment occurred with almost the same intensity. A totally sweet deal – that is available to you for free, 24/7!

The goal is to capture yourself feeling good and give equal time and effort to imprinting those memories. You will build-up a reservoir of good feelings to relive, which will eventually spill over onto your attitude and outlook. And, with time and you will catch yourself feeling happier and happier.

You can choose what you record and replay. What better way to celebrate International Happy Day then by capturing happy?

PS I know you can do this, because we do it all the time with negative thoughts. We rehash and relive each and every second of our drama/trauma moments – blow-by-blow, insult and injury. You see, those moments were highly charged, we allowed them to make an impression and they are easier to remember, but with practice you can do the same thing with everyday positive moments and memories, and then use them to recharge yourself. (This post has been revamped from a 2012 Wishful Thinking Works post)

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Gain “The Happiness Advantage” in just 21 days!

Positive Psychology studies show happy, positive people are healthier and enjoy more creativity, success and have better relationships. Are you interested in adding more happiness to your life? Would you like to gain a “Happiness Advantage”? If so, keep reading to learn about Shawn Achor’s 5 Steps for creating your Happiness Advantage and to get a free copy of my Wishful Thinking Works tracking sheet to make the process just that much easier!

Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor “graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. For seven years, Shawn also served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard and counseling students through the stresses of their first year. Though he now travels extensively for his work, Shawn continues to conduct original psychology research on happiness and organizational achievement in collaboration with Yale University and the Institute for Applied Positive Research. . . . By researching top performers at Harvard, the world’s largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn discovered patterns, which create a happiness advantage for positive outliers—the highest performers at the company. Based on his book, The Happiness Advantage (2010 Random House), Shawn explains what positive psychology is, how much we can change, and practical applications for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.”

Shawn understands “The Happiness Advantage” and has created “The 21 Day Challenge” to help each of us get started on a positive future. The 5 steps of the Challenge are free and easy to do. (Please note: Shawn’s notes are in bold and are from a Huffington Post article he wrote in 2011. My notes are in italics.)

1)    Bring gratitude to mind

Write down three new things you are grateful for each day . . . Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even six months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

You’ve probably heard it from Oprah and by now from dozens of other sources, but do you do it? If not don’t worry, you can start today. For more info on gratitudes and savoring them, click here, here, and here.

Here is a bit more from a Shawn Achor interview about why it works . . . “What they’re training their brain to do is to scan the world, not for the stresses, hassles, and complaints first, but actually training their brain, like an athlete, to look for the things that they are grateful for.  Now, you might assume that that advantage might only help them for about 45 seconds after writing down these three things that they are grateful for, or saying them out loud.  But what we found that after a period of 21 days, the pattern gets retained in the brain, it’s what I call the Tetris Effect where if an individual plays Tetris for five hours in a row, their brain retains this pattern where even when they’re not playing Tetris, it’s still parsing the world into how do I make straight lines, which is exactly what you do in that video game.”  

2)    Focus on the Positive

Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours.  This is a untitledstrategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos.  This dramatically increases work happiness.
This step really helps you key in on why something matters to you and can help you truly understand what makes you happy. Take time throughout the 21 days to review what you wrote about and see if there are any patterns emerging. 

3)   Exercise

Exercise for 15 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

In a TED Talk Achor mentioned 15 minutes of cardio a day, which is I shoot for since it gives the most bang for its buck – BUT getting into the habit is the most important part, so if you need to start with 10 minutes, do it! Walking, stretching, working with weights, go for it!  No matter what you start with, get started and keep at it until the 15 minutes of cardio is a regular habit.  Exercise increases your mood by increasing the amount of endorphins and decreases cortisol levels – the stress hormone. So any exercise is a good thing, but remember 15 minutes a day, of cardio will have multiple pay-offs.

4)  Meditate

Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out.  This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time.  It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

Two minutes makes a difference! If you are meditating longer, keep it up. If you aren’t meditating at all or never have, get started by thinking about one of your positives/gratitudes and why it mattered to you and then simply close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, out through your nose, in long, slow, deep, belly filling breathes . . . and release . . . and inhale . . . and exhale . . .

I call this Step “Take 2”; it’s amazing how refreshed you will feel, and it can quickly become a healthy habit. Use it as many times as you like throughout the day. I love to “Take 2” before I start a new task, and find it particularly refreshing before meetings, presentations, and working with clients. It helps me focus and really enjoy the moment and to redirect my energy exactly where I need it!

5)  Send A Positive Email

Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.  This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.

If you aren’t working, or run out of folks to email, no problem, share the love by including friends, family members or people from your past you think of, but have fallen out of touch with. The key is to reach out to those you care about in a detailed, positive way. And, if you are working, remember your “team” can include colleagues in your department or beyond, vendors, customers, etc.

Here’s the really great news about Achor’s 21 Day Challenge you can add all 5 Steps to your life for 21 days, or you can start by simply adding 1 Step to your life for 21 days, and then try another each new 21 day period! The choice is yours. And remember, any step in the direction of happiness will give you an advantage!

To make the process even easier I’ve created “Your 21 Day Happiness Advantage” tracking sheet. To receive your free copy, simply fill out the form below and I’ll email a copy to you. (Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends so they can gain the Advantage, too.)

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can change your life, click here.

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Find out what makes you uniquely you!


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Did you know that you are a very cool and unique combination of virtues and character strengths?

Yes, you! You are uniquely designed to be good at certain stuff. How cool is that? Positive psychology studies show that one of the best ways to feel happy and fulfilled in your life is to identify and use your personal strengths to accomplish the “stuff” that best suits you.

Having and exercising your Character Strengths is nothing new, yet sometimes we have to be in just the right mood to move forward on something, so I am mentioning it today incase the spirit of the Olympics inspired you this weekend, and you are wondering what you can do to pursue your personal best.

Why not get started by taking the VIA Charcter Strength Survey to find out more about yourself and what makes you uniquely you. It only takes 15 -20 minutes, and it’s free. Not a bad investment for such a positive return; it could be the beginning of a whole new you or maybe just a more “fit” you, because once you discover your strengths and begin exercising them, you can increase your happiness and your sense of fulfillment. 

Don’t miss out on exercising your strengths, it’s a workout that can keep you fit for the rest of your life! Think of it as the Olympics for your mind! It only take a few clicks and less than 30 minutes to discover and begin exercising what makes you, uniquely you!

After you have completed the survey, click here to receive your free Wishful Thinking Works Circle of Strengths, which can help you exercise your strengths and work your way up to your personal gold medal of happiness! 

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking gold medal June 2013

 

If you are ready to go for the gold in your personal life, having a coach can help you focus and move forward faster.

Contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works coaching, today.

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