Positive thinking, a day to remember

positive-thinking-photoToday is Positive Thinking Day, which makes me very happy, because I’m a big believer in visualizing positive outcomes. Visualizing positive outcomes sounds fancy and maybe even a bit sciency, but all it means is that I try to spend more time predicting fabulous endings for activities and events in my life than I do worrying about them turning into major disasters. That’s my way of practicing positive thinking.

Each time I do a presentation or work with a client, I spend a few minutes before getting started, picturing how good I will feel after the session or looking back on my presentation. Sometimes I even picture folks coming up to say thanks and that they enjoyed it – and someone always does!

I developed this habit years before I read the positive psychology research that shows, there is a definite benefit to this happy habit. Studies show predicting positive outcomes produces a more positive short term outlook, which may lead to more positive outcomes. Short term – means the effect doesn’t last forever, but if used daily, positive thinking can definitely enhance your life.  I think the best part of the process is that since I spend much less time worrying about what could go wrong, my life (not just my outlook), has improved dramatically. I have learned to flick the switch to positive, which truly has lit up my life!

cake-1588967_960_720Since today is Positive Thinking Day, why not spend a moment or two predicting a wonderful outcome on some task or responsibility coming your way. You can start with something super simple, such as predicting a new recipe you are trying will come out well. Picture the finished product looking, tasting and smelling delicious. (Like this rich and powder-sugary, crispy-top, plum cake I plan to bake.) The more detailed your day dream, the better. Or, if you have a new project ahead at work, picture it in its final form, looking good and finished on-time. Envision yourself handing it in and how great it will feel having it completed.

These small steps flood your brain with a totally different set of hormones and chemicals than stress and worry do and they open new pathways and possibilities for you. Thinking positive isn’t just a pleasant pastime or or scientific mumbo-jumbo, it truly makes a difference in your brain.

Wishful thinking works, give it a try today, Positive Thinking Day. You have nothing but worry to lose!

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Mind travel

I was somewhere else

 

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Wishful Thinking Ways for 2016

Are you ready to step into 2016? The year ahead holds lots of wonderful, exciting discoveries and adventures for you. I guarantee – if you allow yourself to be open to them – there are moments of unbelievable depth, splendor and joy waiting for you. calendar-999172_960_720

Each week in 2016, I will be posting about letting go, listening patiently and living gently. I will share positive psychology tips on perspective, perseverance and passion. We will explore ways to expand your belief in yourself and how to create the life you really want.

Oh, and I’m going to start the year by suggesting that you wait until April 1, to set your New Year’s resolutions – no fooling! Cut yourself some slack this year, and try a different approach. You need time to explore what you really want before you commit yourself to a course of action!

I’ve listed two quick steps for you to follow today, but before you read them, as silly as it may sound, I would like you to get up – right now, at this very second – and step back, then step forward, step back and step forward. I know it sounds ridiculous, but taking the steps sends your brain the message you are ready for action and you’re committed to the process. I call it the “success two-step”.

We will wait for you; go ahead, get up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

footprints-511553_960_720Step back and step forward, step back and step forward.

Great, you have taken your first steps toward success in 2016!

Are you smiling, shrugging your shoulders, or shaking your head and thinking “That was stupid”? No matter – you did it! You took action and tried something new, and that is what change is all about.

Okay, now you are ready for your first Wishful Thinking Ways for 2016.

Step Back

Now, take a few minutes to list all the good things that happened to you in 2015. Include everything you can think of and keep the list around so you can add to it throughout the next 3 months. (Please feel free to download the free Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” list to get you started.)

List the happy moments; your accomplishments – big and small; sweet surprises, and exciting news. Dig deep, if you have to, but get all the good stuff down on paper. List only the good.  please forget about the rest for now, okay? Good, I know you can do it.

Step Forward

Next, write “2016 will be a wonderful year.” Now, please read the sentence out loud. “2016 will be a wonderful year.” (Louder!) That’s good.

Write the same sentence two more times, and read it aloud each time you write it. Great job! (Please don’t cheat yourself by skipping this step, it is an important primer for you and your brain!)

That’s it for now. You have completed the success two-step. You are on your way. Hope I put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Have a great day!

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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!

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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