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Posts tagged ‘Lifestyle’

5 Ways to Give Your “Resolutions” a Fighting Chance

Today I present you with a guest post by Lamisha Serf!

Lamisha is a Life Coach who blogs at, and she’s also my first guest on season two of the podcast, which premiers tomorrow (listen here). And it’s totally awesome, because Lamisha had great advice and was really inspiring!

Today Lamisha offers us five great suggestions to make our 2014 goal setting more successful. Take it away, Lamisha…

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Here we are in a bright and shiny New Year and many of us are overflowing with tons of inspiration and motivation for making it the BEST year yet.  We have big plans, amazing dreams, and we have resolved to make them happen in 2014.  We have planned, schemed, and outlined exactly  how to succeed only to find a few weeks into the New Year, things get difficult and our inspiration and “resolutions” fall by the wayside.  Below are 5 ways to give your dreams and “resolutions” a fighting chance.

  1. Set intentions instead of resolutions.  Resolutions often feel so definite and leave little room for error.  We are all human and are bound to have a cookie or skip a workout now and again.  Instead of setting ‘resolutions’, consider setting an intention to eat more veggies or to get to the gym a few times a week.  Simply changing the word you use can make your goal feel less rigid and can greatly improve your chances at succeeding.
  2. Start small.  Setting an intention for the New Year doesn’t have to be a big bold move.  It can be as simple as trying a new veggie each month or to begin a walking regimen.  Too often we think we need to hit the ground running with huge changes and giant leaps.  Remember small steps add up to successful change.
  3. Make it fun.  When goals feel super serious, they can also feel quite restrictive.  I guarantee you are less likely to make lasting change if you hate every single step of the way.  Why not find a way to make it fun?  If you want to get healthy, find a fun exercise class or a group of friends to join you.  Want to write a book?  Join a writing group or class to get your creative juices flowing.
  4. Be kind to yourself.  Remember that lasting change takes time.  You are human and there are bound to be times when you slip up on your intentions, and when you do be gentle with yourself.  Don’t judge or demean yourself if you miss a day at the gym or eat something that is less than healthy.  Simply regroup, refocus, and revisit your intentions and begin again.  You only fail when you quit trying.
  5. Find support.  A lot of times this comes in the form of friends and family members, but it can also come in the form of a coach or other professional.  There is no shame in seeking a bit of help with your intentions.  In fact, people who have accountability partners are more likely to succeed than those who do not.  So find someone you mesh with and who will remind you of #4.  You don’t need a drill sergeant to whip you into shape as much as you need someone to inspire you to keep going.

2014 is going to be an amazing year and this is only the beginning.   Remember to have fun and be kind to yourself as you set your intentions for the New Year.  You were meant to do great things and it all starts with a single step.  Good luck and Happy New Year!


Thank you so much, Lamisha!

I was so taken with Lamisha on the podcast that I booked a free Life Coaching session for myself. I’ll post about that on Thursday; it was really great. So great that I hired her to help me with some goals and improvements I want to make in 2014. She’s still offering free sessions for a little longer, if that’s something you think would be helpful for you:

If you find yourself wondering where to begin or you need a little support creating your easy, peazy plan for 2014, I would love to offer you a free coaching session to chat.  If you are interested in seeing what life coaching can do for you, feel free to contact me at and include a little information about what you want to accomplish this year, and we can get you scheduled for your free 45-minute session.


Lamisha bio shotLamisha Serf is a life coach and dreamer extraordinaire that uses her Masters in Psychology to work with inspired souls who are ready to make their dreams a reality.  With her unique, inspiration-driven coaching philosophy, she helps clients get out of their heads and follow their hearts to the incredible life they are meant to live.  When she is not coaching or writing on her blog at, she can be found with her nose in a good book or her head in the clouds dreaming of her next big adventure.


Items of Interest:
People I Almost Know podcast – my chat with Lamisha
Lamisha’s Story
Lamisha’s program
How Lamisha categorized her goals and dreams
photo credits: Lori Ann & Dvidshub respectively

Country roads lead me home.

People ask me all the time, “Aren’t you scared, living out there in the country all by yourself?”

And I always think, “Noooo…aren’t you  scared living in the city?”

Country crazies stick to ourselves themselves;  that’s why they live in the country.  Except for the ones who were born here and just never escaped.

But city crazies are the social types.  They don’t like to be alone, they like to come stand by you.  And they can follow you home and you wouldn’t even know it.  Do you think I wouldn’t figure it out if someone was following me home?

“Hmmm, that car has been behind me for 30 minutes, making every turn that I do, country road after country road…  Well, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.”

See my driveway? It’s there.

The city crazies would have stopped following me by the time I got on the highway, or if I go the back way, maybe they’d hang on 10 minutes or so, but I doubt it.

So, when people ask me that question, I always answer that most crime happens in the city, not the country.  We don’t get a lot of muggings around here, and people don’t drive out all this way just to cause trouble.  If something of yours gets stolen, you can almost guarantee you know the person who did it.  And all the crazy killer types don’t much care to bother with us.

To which I always get some variation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre thrown at me.  “That’s not true!  Terrible things always happen down some back road, in some little cabin, in the middle of the woods!”

Have you even been listening to me?  Have you learned nothing from these movies?

Let me explain.  No, let me sum up: that’s just the country way of saying, “Hey you, kid!  Get off my lawn!”

My front yard.

Sometimes I do get the impression that the grass is out to get me.

Aren’t most of those movies about people who wind up in places they shouldn’t be?  Maybe they get lost and knock on the wrong door for directions.  Maybe their car breaks down in front of the wrong long dirt road.  Maybe they even go looking for mischief – and then they find it.  Whatever the case, the country crazies don’t generally come out looking for you. It’s not really their fault if you go find them, is it? Nobody invited you.

So no, creepy slasher movies that happen way out in the country don’t make me scared to live, well, way out in the country.  I do, however, believe in “better safe than sorry.”  So I have two security systems in place:

Louis: security guard, first defense, weapon of mass barking, attack dog (trained in both the I Will Jump on You I Can Reach Your Knees and Just Because I Won’t Come Near You Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Dangerous schools of combat).

Zombie early warning system. Crack the door and look in the mirror before you open up the storm door. Okay, this is not a great plan, but it’s what I’ve got.

Having said all this, I’ll admit that I get a little weirded out if Louis is acting nervous. Not so much when we’re outside, because I figure it’s just another animal that he’s smelling. But when he’s acting like that inside the house? That’s creepy.

And every now and then, I’ll come up that long, dark (cause it’s always night when this happens) driveway, pull up to the house, and the chills will go down my spine. It’s the sharks all over again: something unseen and menacing and utterly imaginary is stalking me. I’ll go searching through closets and under beds and around corners and into dark rooms. No boogie man is going to jump out at me! Better to face my fears and know for sure I’m foolish there is nothing to worry about.  Of course I never find anything; I’m the only crazy one there.

Oh, and stay off my lawn.

Items of Interest:

What to do if you think you’re in a scary movie

Wherefore At My Door, Opossum, Oh Possum

A Snake in the Grass…err…Weeds


I Exercised! ……for maybe five minutes

Oh, my friends…  I’ll have to fight hard for this one.

On month eight of twelve, I finally pulled out my tiny trampoline to start fulfilling my exercise resolution.   Should I tell you that I didn’t even do that until the third week of August?  Yeah, I think I’ll keep that to myself.  Should I tell you that there are various items sitting on it right now, that I dumped there when I came in the door, and that it’s been accumulating detritus for a week?  I don’t think I’ll tell you that, either.

In August, I realized that I want all these things for myself, and yet I don’t have a plan for getting them.  I set these goals, these resolutions, but I never took the time to map out how I would reach the end of this one-year journey, what steps I would take to get there.  In one case, that didn’t matter: I wanted to take a photography class, so I found one and signed up.  But the rest of the goals I wanted to accomplish do not fall into that one-and-done category.  The rest of my goals required thought and planning and…well, more goals, defined steps to get there.

Simply thinking about my big goals hasn’t provided me with the concrete guidance I need.  Thinking about a goal gives me an overall idea of what I want and how I might accomplish it, but when it’s time to do the work, I am left to meander here and there, finding my way to the end any way I am able.  It’s like following pathways in the woods: some are real, some are dead ends, and some just lead you around and around to nowhere.

There’s another drawback to just “thinking” about what I want: I’m noticing that I spend too little of my thought-life in the present.  Particularly with the resolutions I’m not successful with, the ones that are more difficult for me motivation-wise.  I spend most of my time in “if only”.  If only I had stuck with my healthy eating in April, where would I be now?  I’d feel so much better; I’d weigh less; I’d be happier with myself and with my body.  If only I had kept strictly to my budget, I’d have more money in the bank, I’d be this much closer to paying off that last credit card.

If I’m not thinking about the past, then I’m “could-ing” myself into the future.  By this time next year, I could have this much money in the bank.  By this time next year, I could be at this weight.  The thing is, when I’m concentrating on the “if only’s”, I am less happy, less motivated, and it’s even harder for me to keep going.  Because I’m concentrating on something negative, on what I didn’t do or what I wish I had done.  Those thoughts and feelings hold me back as much as anything else, because they mire me in my failures.

I fully believe in visualizing yourself attaining your goals, but if all you’re doing is planning and thinking about the future, then the present slips beneath you unnoticed.  All your excitement and your hope is focused on some vague point down the road.  It seems to me that it would benefit my journey more if my excitement and my hope were centered around my next step.  Anything that I can do to make my next step easier and more natural, then that will make my end goal that much more possible to achieve.

At this point I’m just going to keep plodding away.  I know I’ll continue at least three of my resolutions into 2013, and I’ll use the experience I’ve gained so far to build on next year.  I can’t continue just “thinking” about what I want to do – or should do, or might do, or will do in the future.  So, I’ll spend the last months of this year putting together a real set of goals: not just a final destination, but the steps I’ll take to get there.  No more wandering down forest paths – I’m going to make myself a map.  That way, I’ll know where I’m going, I can accurately measure my accomplishments, and I can focus on the steps I’m taking RIGHT NOW .

Items of Interest:

Resolutions – August 2012


You Can Never Be Too Thankful


I haven’t talked about Practicing Thankful since February (six months!) when I wrote a great big long post about how far I’d come on my thankfulness journey. It was all true, and I’d like to say that in the months since then I have effortlessly maintained that lovely, positive, thankful attitude that I worked so hard to achieve.  But…that would not  be as true.  I haven’t quite reverted into the Little Miss Cranky Pants that I was before, but I’m most definitely still a work in progress.

When I started working on thankfulness, I decided to keep a daily list of things I was grateful for.  On my blog.  For everyone to see.  I found that to be extremely helpful, because it made me focus on the positive, even if the only thing I could think to write was, “I’m so thankful that this stress-filled day is over!”  But it was tough to really get myself started.  I struggled with being thankful, partly with the task of writing my Thankfuls down, but mostly with just remembering to be thankful.  I had some tough times and was pretty hard on myself, but I persevered and it slowly started to work.  My attitude began to shift and, for the first time since I was a pre-teen, I was able to see the world through truly positive eyes.  Purposely focusing on what I was thankful for enabled me to see just how much I had to be grateful for every day.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to stop writing daily Thankfuls.  I had always found it hard to keep the blog up to date, whether I wrote them in a notebook, on my day planner, or directly onto the blog.  That part of it had always felt like a burden; necessary to the process, but a burden.  The fact that anyone could see whether or not I was fulfilling that commitment only added to the pressure.   Honestly, I think that having a “burden” is part of what made it work; the fact that I had a task responsibility made it more real and kept it fresh in my mind.  Having a tangible task to complete forced me to maintain my focus.   I didn’t see it that way in February, though, and I felt I had come far enough to cut back on the daily written re-enforcement of my goal.  Here’s what I said:

I am comfortable with the progress that I’ve made so far.  I am paying attention.  I drive to work and look at the trees and the clouds and the sky and just everything around me…and I’m thankful.  I’m not necessarily thankful to be up early, but I’m sure thankful that it gave me an opportunity to see that sky.

And that’s what it was supposed to be about.  It was about approaching the day, approaching my life, in different way.  Instead of being grumpy and non-observant and self-involved, I wanted to be looking outside of myself.  I wanted to be thankful that I can see and smell and touch and taste all of these wonderful things that populate my life.  

Though I’m not where I ultimately want to be, I am in a much more positive frame of mind, a thankful frame of mind.  I will definitely continue on, but with a weekly Thankful.  It will be easier to keep up with, and I want to see where it takes me.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the next stage in the thankful journey will be; I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to gain from Practicing Thankful in 2012.  But in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the appreciation that I’ve gained so far.

As I re-read that February post, I remembered just how at peace I was back then and how totally awesome that felt.  I think it’s like when someone’s meds are starting to work: “I’m cured!”  

“Um, no, honey.  The medicine  is working; that is not  the same thing as being cured.  Take your pill.”  My thankfulness medicine was simply starting to work.  I was calmer and more peaceful.  I wasn’t seeing as much negativity in the world around me, because I was no longer looking for it.

I did enjoy my new-found appreciation for a while.  But over the last three or four months, I have felt myself slowly, slowly, slowly paying ever less attention to thankfulness.  It’s like I’ve been sliding down a rope, and I finally realized, “Oh, my gosh, I’m going in the wrong direction!”  I don’t want to let go of it, to slide all the way back to where I’m not thankful at all.  

To combat this, I first re-focused on noticing the moments when I feel thankful, and acknowledging them.  Taking the time to say “thank you” makes me feel good.  It’s helpful for me to recognize the good things that happen when things go right, but also to distinguish the good parts when things are not going well.  When I say thanks, it reduces my stress and reinforces the positives in a bad situation.

I want to – need to – start writing daily Thankfuls again, but I haven’t made that happen yet.  In the meantime, I read a post by KJ, who talked about making a gratitude necklace.  She used it like a rosary, naming something she was thankful for as she touched each bead.  I thought that was a wonderful idea, and another reader talked about making a bracelet.  So that’s what I did.  Having my thankfulness bracelet and putting it on every morning is a physical reminder of the many blessings in my life.  

That was one of the things I struggled with last year: what did I really mean by “going into the day” with a thankful attitude?  How can you be thankful for things that haven’t happened yet?  Last year I thought I had my answer, that it was all about approaching the day with the expectation of thankfulness, that there were things to be thankful for waiting around every corner.  That is still true and important, but I considered those questions again as I was making my bracelet.  I had to keep adding beads for all of the things I was grateful for, and this bracelet got bigger and chunkier by the minute.  It’s not the kind of jewelry that I would normally wear, in fact it’s the exact opposite.  But I love it, because each and every bead is a reminder of the things that hold my life up.  I have so, so many things to go into the day thankful for.

This Thankfulness Bead represents my blog!


As I look back on this last bit of my thankfulness journey, I’m seeing that the first stage wasn’t over six months ago; I still had a lot more growing to do.  Backsliding has taught me something important: I have to keep working to maintain my thankfulness.  In February, I thought that I was ready to move on, but instead of amping up my efforts and branching out, I scaled back.

For now, I’m working on getting that peace back, because I can feel the difference in myself since I wrote that last Practicing Thankful post.  I’m not Little Miss Cranky Pants maybe, but also not the calm and peaceful, positive and thankful minded woman I was becoming.  The stress of failed resolutions didn’t help, either.  But maybe if I’d been as fully focused on Thankful as I had been before, those failures wouldn’t have looked so bad to me.

Items of Interest:

The power of gratitude by KJ (in which the bracelet idea is born)

Thankfully Moving Forward (in which I thought I was)

Not so Thankful in September (in which I have a hard time with failure)

Thankfulness! by Harold