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Create Your Ideal Life

Create Your Ideal Life

by Mardi Allen, Life Coach,

Happiness is a Choice

Are you happy?  Do you think happiness is out of your control?  Do you think the events in your life are what determine if you are happy are not?  According to a Gallup study, 57% of Americans are happy, 40% are trying to be happy, and 3% are suffering.  Are you part of the 40% trying to get happy?  While genes may account for up to 50% of our happiness, the good news is that we can control the other 50%, so happiness can be learned and managed.

It is not what happens to us in life but how we react to it that matters.  When you choose happiness it does not mean you will not experience challenges, but happiness is a choice and shouldn’t be determined by outside circumstances.  You can feel like a victim and let it affect your happiness or you can look for the good in the situation, find a solution, and know that this, too, will pass.  A great tool for helping to eliminate stress and to increase happiness is to breathe!  According to Harvard University, spending just 10 minutes a day sitting still and breathing can increase happiness.

Happiness is also not about having more things. Dan Buettner, author of Thrive: Finding Happiness – the Blue Zone, says that the happiness that comes from a new purchase such as a new vehicle lasts, on average, about nine months. So don’t look outside yourself for things to make you happy.  Happiness comes from within, so make a decision to be happy.  Make sure to mind your mind and think happy, healthy thoughts, as they will determine your emotions, your feelings, and in turn your happiness.

Avoid unnecessary worry and realize that 90% of what you worry about never happens.  Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.  Instead, let them go and don’t expend valuable energy on those things. Worrying will just paralyze you and keep you from taking action. Let the worry go, take action, and get busy controlling what you can.    Don’t worry, be happy!

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Create Your Ideal Life

Create Your Ideal Life

Break Through Fear

How often does fear and self-doubt hold you back?  Do you find yourself avoiding something you really want to do because of fear?  How would your life be different if you knew you could handle anything?

The New Year has always been a time of reflection and making resolutions.  Oftentimes, fear and self-doubt get in the way of people achieving their goals.  Here are some facts about fear:

•  You will always have fear if you are growing and stepping out of your comfort zone.
•  The only way to get rid of fear is to push through it.
•  Everyone has fear.
•  The real fear is that you think you won’t be able to handle whatever happens, not the thing you fear.
•  Affirmations are a great tool to use for becoming more confident, trusting yourself and changing thoughts of self-doubt into empowerment.

Many people stay stuck, thinking that the fear will go away. However, it is the doing that makes it go away. We can’t wish fear away or pray it away. The only way to get rid of it is to push through it and move from pain and paralysis into trust and power, turning indecision into action.

If you knew you could handle anything that came your way would you have any fear? Of course not! What would there be to fear?  It is important to develop your ability to trust yourself and believe you can handle anything that comes along.

A great affirmation to start with is “I can handle it!”  Repeat that affirmation many times daily, over and over again.  We fear what we think about so if your focus is on being confident and trusting, that you can handle anything, you will no longer be thinking about fear.  Affirmations are positive statements that can help you believe in yourself.  Use them.  You will become empowered by them, turning your self-defeating inner dialogue into positive, affirming thoughts.

Trust in yourself and your ability to handle whatever comes your way; push through the fear to achieve your dreams and aspirations.

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Create Your Ideal Life

Create Your Ideal Life

Just Say “NO!”

Are you a people pleaser who has a hard time saying “no?” Do you say “yes” when you want to say “no?” Do you feel guilty if you say “no?” If so, you are not alone.

When we try to be all things to all people, we can easily get out of balance, feel overwhelmed, and lose ourselves. If we say “yes” when we want to say “no” because we feel obligated, we can become resentful and end up doing the task poorly or not at all.

Stop putting yourself last and instead put some of the attention on you!  In order to say “yes” to yourself, sometimes you have to say “no” to others. Here are some tips on how to do that.

•    Start slowly, with baby steps. Start with something small like, “No, I don’t want to go to that restaurant.” You will feel more confident as you go along and it will become easier.

•    “No” is a complete sentence. Don’t feel like you need to justify, understand, defend, or explain. “No” is “no” and that is all you need to say.

•    Sometimes “no” can be the beginning of a negotiation. If the other person is not happy with your “no,” it is his or her responsibility to come back to you and start the negotiation. At that point you can say, “I can’t do that but I can do this” or “I don’t know how to do that, but I can help you find someone who can.

•    Oftentimes, we are caught by surprise and just don’t know how to say “no.” If that happens, pause for a few seconds and say, “Let me check my calendar and I will get back to you.” That will give you time to gain control and come back with a “no.”

You are not a bad person if you say “no!” Getting rid of the “disease to please” is a process, but it is better than being overwhelmed and feeling resentful about how you spend your time and energy. Saying “no” can be very empowering; try it!

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Create Your Ideal Life

Create Your Ideal Life

Why Me?

by Mardi Allen, Life Coach

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why me?” Or how about, “Why can’t I do this, why did this happen to me, why did they do that to me?”  The questions we ask ourselves strongly impact how we live our lives and how we deal with challenges.  They will empower you or they can leave you powerless.

When you ask a question, such as “Why am I so unhappy?” your brain will search for examples to find out.  It may not even be true or relevant, but your brain will come up with answers.  If you ask, “Why did I do that? It was so stupid,” you will stay focused on your shortcomings instead of your strengths. What if instead you asked, “What I can do to change my behavior next time?” That approach puts you in control, moves you into acceptance, and then into action and change.

We all have challenges in our lives and the questions we ask can help us get through them quickly with grace, or can keep us stuck in a rut being the victim. Parents often discipline children by having them go to their rooms and spend an hour thinking about what they did wrong. What if instead they thought about what they could do differently next time?

Pay attention to the consistent questions you ask yourself and start asking questions that will empower you.  Where do you want to spend your time, dwelling on something you really can’t do anything about, or on a solution to change?

Instead of asking:
•  Why me?  Ask what can I learn from this?
•  What is wrong with me?  Ask what can I do to change this behavior?
•  Why did they do that to me?  Ask what do I need to do to attract the
right people into my life?
•  Why am I so sad?  Ask what can I do to lift my spirits?
•  Why can’t I do this?  Ask how can I do this?

The wrong questions keep you focused on your shortcomings, so ask the right questions, focus on your strengths, and move into action and power.

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Create your Ideal Life

Create your Ideal Life

by Mardi Allen, Life Coach,

Tell a New Story

Are you trapped in the past and telling the same old negative stories over and over again?  Do you find yourself repeating negative events that happened to you years ago?  Do you wish the events would have been different and are you holding on to blame and anger?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. I saw a television show where women in their thirties and forties were still holding on to the fact they were teased in school.  One woman was homeschooling her children solely based on the fact that she was teased in school over 30 years ago.

It is easy to become attached to these negative stories and keep repeating them to anyone who will listen. Words are very powerful and reliving your negative stories may keep you in a victim role, disempowered, and stuck in the past, unable to move forward to a happy, healthy place. Become aware of the negative stories, how often you repeat them, and why you are telling them.  Is it for sympathy or attention?

Stop playing the blame game and take responsibility for your happiness and your life.  Forgive anyone who has ever hurt you and forgive yourself.  Forgiveness is a huge key to inner peace. Holding onto resentment and anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Change your greeting and how you respond to others. Instead of identifying with the suffering start affirming your strengths and always use a positive greeting.  Become empowered and identify with your greatness. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we deal with it, so choose to tell a new story and get rid of that old tape recorder. Release the past with love and let it go, as it no longer serves you. Heal, move on, and choose to live in the present with peace and happiness.

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Create Your Ideal Life

Create Your Ideal Life

Follow Through…You are as Good as Your Word

by Mardi Allen, Life Coach,

Do you have a list of good intentions but you have not followed through yet?  How many times have you promised something to someone and not followed through?

The best advice I ever received from a former boss of mine was the importance of “follow through.” While sharing with me his secrets of success, he felt this was one of the most important skills he embodied. Throughout my career, I have found that to be instrumental in my success.

One definition of follow through is carrying a project or intention to full completion. People who keep their promises are regarded as having integrity, while those who don’t may not be taken seriously. It also can affect how you feel about yourself. Unfulfilled promises to self can drain you of energy and make you feel badly about yourself and add to the unresolved baggage that you carry around.

I don’t think most people are insincere about their intentions; it is just that they don’t follow through. In this time of amazing technology, it’s faster and easier to connect to others yet it requires a new set of organizational skills and more of a commitment to go past the intention.

1.  Make a commitment to self to follow through.   Start small and build on that.  We don’t change overnight.

2.  It is about process and not perfection.  If you need to get back to someone, do it even if it is a one-sentence communication.  It does not need to be perfect.

3.  Do the hard things first.   Avoiding them just contributes to you feeling bad about self. It is so much easier to avoid follow through on perceived difficult tasks.

4.  Invest in yourself; get help with organization and accountability. One reason coaching has become so successful is that you contract out accountability to another person.  You can gain tools to move forward and have motivation and accountability at the same time.

“Those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else.  It is the people with the follow-through who excel.”
Mary Kay Ash

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