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Okay, so I’m doing resolutions again this year. A little late, haha, but that’s me all over. I did okay with my goals in 2012 – not as well as I’d like, but my failures were in those giant goals I set for myself that would require a radical overhaul of my 43-year-strong habits. Cause, you know, that’s not too much to ask of myself, right?

I spent a lot of last year beating myself up for those failures, and the rest of the time learning how to suck at something without hating myself for it. (If anything, I’d say that’s the real lesson I learned.) At the end of the year, I wrote a big long post about what I thought  I’d learned. Basically, that for those major life change, long term goals, I really needed to plan out steps and smaller goals along the way. Which is not a wrong idea, in and of itself. You know, if I knew how to do small steps like a normal person with good sense and a modicum of patience.

So, naturally, at the beginning of 2013 I did the typical Michelle thing: I made the work of goal achieving harder and bigger than it already is. I mapped and planned and plotted and charted and listed. Same old thing; biting off more than I can chew and overwhelming myself before I even really get started. All my charty listy mappy plans were just too cumbersome and added more work to already difficult (for me) goals. My checklists fell by the wayside almost immediately, and I struggled all last year to get my act together goal-wise, not getting any further ahead than I had been at the beginning. 

I did accomplish a lot in 2013, I really did. But I missed the simple resolution process that I’d started in 2012. I wanted to do many of those same goals again in 2013, but without the reminder and prod here on the blog, I let a lot of the smaller things, like visiting family and taking an outing each month, fall by the wayside. I missed doing those things, but they don’t come to me naturally. Without my resolution list, I simply forgot to aim or plan for them.

This year I’m going back to the 2012 method of setting and tracking my goals here. Some of those not-so-simple goals are back, but I’m working with a life coach to help me learn to set reasonable steps, or goals-within-a-goal. But I think the main thing she’s going to help me with is to slow down and not bite off such big chunks. Patience. And to enjoy this whole process, because it should be fun and inspirational and a kind thing I’m doing for myself.

So here are my 2014 goals:

  1. healthy budget
  2. healthy diet
  3. exercise 
  4. spend time with family or friends I rarely see
  5. go someplace different or go to an event each month
  6. keep a daily thankful journal
  7. Write at least 6 Queries for the blog this year
  8. re-paint my kitchen and put up shelves
  9. take a computer class
  10. go to bed at the same time every night
  11. get up early every morning

So that’s it, my 2014 resolutions. I’m excited to get started, or re-started, as the case may be! I hope 2014 is a great year for me and for you, too!!

My First Session with a Life Coach

On Tuesday you met Lamisha Serf; isn’t she nice? Lamisha is a Life Coach who was my guest on the podcast yesterday, and she’s helping me get a grip on the goals I want to accomplish in 2014. Or really, she’s training me how to make and accomplish goals at all!

I promised to tell you about my session with Lamisha, but I think the first question to answer is why I would hire a Life Coach in the first place. The answer to that is pretty easy: I need help!

I have all these things I want to accomplish, ways that I want to improve myself and my life, but I just can’t seem to get it done on my own. Last year I worked with my friend and Health Coach, Vicki Manual, and she did an amazing job of changing the way I viewed my successes and failures. Basically, she got my mind in the right place. Now I need help with the logistics part. I struggle to maintain long-term success with the goals I set, and even though I know some of the reasons why, I still keep making the same mistakes over and over. So after talking with Lamisha on the podcast, when she asked if I wanted to do a free session, I said “Yes, I would love that!”

And I’m so glad I did! I had my second session today, and it’s been a great experience so far. Here are some thoughts about why I like working with a Life Coach, and specifically Lamisha:

  1. Lamisha is a professional. She has experience and training, therefore she has thoughts and viewpoints that I wouldn’t come up with on my own. And when she gives me suggestions and ideas, they’re right on target. In short, she has more knowledge and insight than I do. She’s teaching me new things.
  2. She listens with a practiced ear and hears what I’m really  saying; she’s able to dig through all my yammering very quickly and pull out the pertinent information. She’s making me aware of things I’m saying that I wasn’t even paying attention to. And she’s reminding me of things I said (just a few moments ago) and how I can apply that to this other thing I’m talking about right now. It’s like I’m learning that 2+2=4. I feel like I should have known it already, but somehow I just wasn’t putting 2 and 2 together! It’s pretty cool.
  3. She’s asking me questions that I’m not asking myself: Why do I want to accomplish this goal? What does the end result look like to me? Where do I find inspiration? How can I make the things I don’t want to do more fun?
  4. Just by talking about them, I realized I had fuzzy goals. Even though I had a list item, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to accomplish. When Lamisha said, “tell me about that,” I had to think about it to put it into words. 
  5. She talked about inspiration, and that was a big one for me. I’ve viewed goals as tasks, and my self-worth has been wrapped up in whether or not I could be motivated and disciplined enough to accomplish those tasks. So a big part of where she’s helping me is to adjust my thinking about goal setting, to think of it as a fun thing, something that I want  to do, not have to do or need to do. It is something that I can be inspired to do. 
  6. The other big one is how important it is to take small steps. I always bite off my goals big chunks, and then it’s too much to chew, much less swallow. Vicki really worked hard to get me to see the accomplishments I was overlooking because I was only seeing success and failure in terms of the entire goal. She would say, “What about this good point and that good point?” Lamisha is working with me to stop taking such huge bites in the first place.

The overwhelming feeling after my first session was that it was all focused on me. I kind of felt guilty for monopolizing everything, even though it was supposed to be about me. I felt a little selfish because I was so happy to have that individualized attention. The feel of the second talk was really like a strategy and training session, building on the foundation and “homework” from the previous chat.

I felt very positive after each session, which is what you’d hope for of course. But after each talk, I had at least one tangible thing I was going to do next. And Lamisha re-enforced what I need to keep hearing, that I don’t have to do – and can’t do – everything at once. I had a lot to think about and work with, and through, between the first and second sessions, and I’m feeling good about my homework for the next two weeks. 

As for Lamisha personally, she’s a very nice person and very easy to talk to. She has good tips, strategies, and feedback, and she is clearly listening to me, which feels amazing. And she’s excited for me and about what she can help me do. It’s great not only to have a partner to work with, but a professional who is focused on me and my growth.

I just thought it would be interesting to share what Lamisha does and how Life Coaching works. Listen to the podcast too, she gives some great ideas on there!

Items of Interest:
5 Ways to Give Your “Resolutions” a Fighting Chance
Life Coach Lamisha Serf – podcast
Food Issues; with Vicki Manual – podcast
photo credit: Brett Jordan