How To Recognize Self-Sabotage

self-sabotage

I am a chronic self-saboteur.

I say that I want something and then find myself doing all sorts of things that  push that desired object further away from my grasp.

Here are just two examples. I say I want to lose weight, but I often eat way too much of foods that are bad for me. And I say I want to finish my PhD but in the past, I procrastinated for years and avoided my advisors, the very people who could help me finish. I want to be a speaker and have been meaning to sign up for public speaking classes, but have not managed to do so as of yet.

I eventually get things done, but these behaviors create unnecessary drama, prolong reaching my goals, and make the journey less enjoyable. And none of this has to be. I created all that with these self-sabotaging habits.

Wtf is that about?? Why do we cry and fuss and say that we want something so much, yet turn around and undermine our efforts?

This is self-sabotage. And its getting in the way of everything we want.

We sabotage ourselves because we have internal subconscious scripts that block our logical desires.  In other words, we think we want something, but somewhere deep in our brains, we don’t really want it so we fight against it without realizing it. I know! Deep, right?  Examples of operating scripts include: feelings of unworthiness, not believing your desires are actually possible, or fear of living in the new reality that reaching your goals would bring.  Recognizing these scripts is where the hard work happens. 

But the good news is that the more we are aware of these behaviors, the more chance we have of keeping them in check and preventing them from stopping our dreams.

Here are 10 common self-sabotage methods to be aware of:

Self-Sabotage Method #1: Procrastination

This is probably the most common form of self-sabotage. You have an important project with a deadline far enough in the future to give you more than enough time to get it done. But instead of tackling it in a timely manner, which would give you ample time to do it well and to be able to correct any mistakes, you wait until the last minute to get it done.

And  procrastination is even more debilitating when your project doesn’t have a clear cut deadline. Like saving money or eating better or organizing your home. This type of procrastination can make it possible to NEVER accomplish your goals because there is no sense of urgency.

The thing with procrastination is that it makes you dread tomorrow. Since you have unfinished projects looming over your head, you feel tired before beginning anything. Finish your projects today. Give yourself a deadline and don’t let yourself off the hook. You deserve to accomplish the things you want.

Self-Sabotage Method #2: Negative Self-Talk

We all talk to ourselves. What do you say when you talk to yourself? If you call yourself bad names or are super-critical of your past-mistakes, you are engaging in negative self-talk. This is self-sabotage because it feeds your subconscious mind into believing these things about yourself. If you repeat something often enough, it becomes an affirmation. Instead, try imagining yourself as a small child. Be patient and nurturing. Talk to yourself in an encouraging way that makes you actually want to move toward your goals.

Self-Sabotage Method #3: Creating Drama

Sometimes we don’t want to face the challenges in front of us. So instead, we engage in gossip and fan the flames of drama. This is simply a distraction. Your goals and ambitions are placed on the back burner while you deal with the drama you created. This can also include social media/gossip site addictions. And the worst part is that we often  don’t even realize we are doing this. If you have lots of “emergencies” that you have to “handle” in your personal life, this may be a clear sign that you are creating drama. Channel that attention into the areas you want to improve in.

Self-Sabotage Method #4: Dropping the Ball

You know what has to be done. You make a commit to do it. You tell others that you will do it… and then you drop the ball. You back out. You flake. This type of behavior lets others know that you are not dependable. Dropping the ball also stifles you and keeps you in place. Be aware of your commitments and honor them.

Self-Sabotage Method #5: Neglecting Self-Improvement

If you are not growing, you are dying. That is true for all living things. In order to grow, you must have a self-improvement plan. Find opportunities to expand your knowledge and abilities. Network to meet people to grow your social circle. Read books and take courses. Strive to get better. And this is not about dissatisfaction. This is about recognizing the importance of growth.

Self-Sabotage Method #6: Ignoring Basic Maintenance

Life is basically about the maintenance of things. There is a basic level of upkeep on everything from our bodies, relationships, our homes, our clothes, our cars. Yet sometimes we act as if we don’t know this. When you don’t maintain things, they break down eventually. Break-downs cause crises and are expensive, but are usually 100% preventable. Take care of all the little things in your life. When you don’t, you are self-sabotaging.

Self-Sabotage Method #7: Being a Perfectionist

When you refuse to take basic actions because the circumstances are not “perfect” you are self-sabotaging. There is hardly ever a perfect time to do anything. By waiting for the “perfect” time, you are simply giving yourself an excuse to not do anything. Do the best you can do, and move on. You will improve later anyway.

You will never be perfect. Striving for perfection is basically ensuring that you will be disappointed in pretty much anything you do. Why set yourself up? This is self-sabotage.

Self-Sabotage Method #8: Disorganization

We all have busy lives with a lot of moving parts: work, money, home, kids, appointments, social lives, etc. And if we are not careful, things can become a mess. Make a place and space for everything and everyone that is important to you. Being organized helps you to make sure that everything gets the proper attention it deserves. Being organized also helps to manage anxiety and overwhelm. The only purpose that disorganization serves is to distract you the things you need to be doing.

Self-Sabotage Method #9: Overthinking

I’m a firm believer that all major life decisions should be carefully considered. But when you are paralyzed by indecision because you constantly overthink every situation, this is self-sabotage. Life calls for timely decisions to be made. Make them and move on. Don’t sit too long in indecision. This is self-defeating and useless. Growth comes from digging in, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Self-Sabotage Method #10: Negative Thinking

“I’m not going to submit my application because they already have a chosen candidate.”

“I’m not going to tell him how I feel because I know he doesn’t feel the same way.”

“I always lose, so I’m not even going to go after it anymore.”

In life, some things  work out in our favor and some things work. Such is life. But when we assume that nothing will  work out in our favor, we are being self-defeated. The problem with negative thinking is that it affects our actions. We psyche ourselves out so that we don’t even try to go after what  we want. This is self-sabotage. Don’t let your negative thinking turn your actions into inaction. Whenever you hear the voice in your head turn negative, push past it with an affirmation. You can do it.

Remember that your goals are on the other side of your self-sabotaging behaviors. Try your best to recognize and dampen them.

If you need assistance with stopping your self sabotaging habits from undermining your goals, check out my 90-Day Goal Getter Individual Coaching Program. 

Inspiration is Everywhere

Inspiration is Everwhere

Hey Abundance Seeker,

I want to talk about inspiration today and I’m gonna share a quick story.

Many years ago I dated this guy named Chris. I was a recent college grad looking forward to what I hoped would be a long and rewarding career. I hoped to be promoted often, move up in the ranks until I was the Executive Director of a governmental agency or large non-profit. My dream was to be a highly educated, well-paid executive professional.  And when I met Chris, I was just starting out on that road.

Chris was about 8 years older than me and was in a very different place in his life.  He was  a young professional with 10 years in at an insurance company but he felt trapped, dejected, and demoralized. He had been promoted several times and made really good money,  yet it was not enough for him.

I was hopelessly optimistic. And my optimism was compounded by my lack of experience. While I thought he was in an ideal situation- young, six figures, job security- he had had enough.

Chris’s breaking point came when his favorite uncle was killed in a horrible car accident. He died relatively young and Chris lamented that the uncle never got to do any of the things he wanted to do with his life. Chris was really affected by that and decided that was all the wake up call he needed.

He made a decision to quit and strike it out on his own by starting his own business because he figured life was too short to spend in a job he hated even though it paid well.

I thought he was being emotional and was making an unwise rash decision based on his grief and I told him so.  But true to his word, Chris quit his job soon after that. We ended up breaking up. We tried to make it work, but in the end we just saw our lives going in different ways.

I don’t know what ended up happening with Chris, and I hope that his venture was  successful.  After having worked on the track that I was so zealous about then, I see how naive I truly was. And now of course, I have been where Chris was.

And I now know that Chris was absolutely right to go after his dream.

 

Life is too short to endure being miserable. The world is too big and filled with too many possibilities and opportunities to force yourself to do that.

Do you ever feel like you’re not living up to your full potential? Or like you took a wrong turn somewhere and can’t really figure out how you got on  your current track?

Maybe you even fought really hard to get where you are, but now that you’re actually here, it’s not exactly what you thought it’d be. So now you just feel trapped with no options.

I know this feeling well. This is what prompted me to change up my life and move back to my hometown. 

And perhaps you currently work a crappy job that doesn’t even begin to tap into your superpowers.

This is a rut. And it is deeply psychological.

If you are not careful, you may find yourself believing that your life will always be like this.

Say it with me:

Inspiration Leads to change

As you saw in Chris’s case, the first step to getting yourself out of a rut is to find inspiration.  And it doesn’t have to be something tragic like the death of a loved one. The good news is that inspiration is all around us. We just have to take the time to notice.

Be Inspired.

Here’s how to tap into all of the inspiration that surrounds you every day.

Be still and soak it all in

We get messages and signs all the time. Often though, we are too busy or overwhelmed to see or recognize them. Carve out small bits of time to be still and see what comes to you. Do this regularly and you’ll be surprised to see how clearly your soul speaks to you. Whether it is prayer, meditation, long walks, running. Make it a habit to allow yourself to get into a mind space that will allow you to be calm and see what comes to you.

Chase it

There are some situations that I know will always inspire me. Every single time Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, or Maze featuring Frankie Beverly come to my town, I drop everything and go. Because their shows inspire the hell out of me. There is something so inspiring about seeing people who are so great at what they do and truly enjoy it. You can see their joy exuding from them while in their element. And it gives me life!! It makes me want to get mine, too. I leave these shows feeling joyous, awed, and inspired.  Find and seek out people, places, art, etc that you know you will be able to gain inspiration from.

Create it

Sometimes inspiration comes from doing and creating. Do you have a hobby or skill that you practice regularly that allows you to use different parts of your brain? If you don’t, maybe you should. To create something means that you made something that did not exist. You used what you had around you to create something new. Creative action then, allows you to see things around you as tools and ingredients for your creation. So put yourself in a creative space and watch the inspiration flow!

If you need some help finding inspiration,  or if you need to figure out how you can get the most out of life, be sure to check out Jumpstart Your Life! 6 Week Program. It will definitely get you on track to tap into all the inspiration around you.

Organize Your Life

organize your life

Thanksgiving is this week.  The time of year when most people think about  showing appreciation for all of their blessings.

The number one thing I am grateful for this year is my time. It is precious and irreplaceable. And I can harness it and use to my advantage in order to achieve my goals.

But time can only work to our advantage if we truly appreciate it and use it well. We use it well when we are our lives are organized and when we make space for all the important things. We also use our time well when we don’t blow it all on  unimportant tasks and people who don’t appreciate or deserve it.

Here is my #1 tip for appreciating your time:

Be Organized

On a scale of 1-10, how organized you are? If I asked you where something was, how quickly would you be able to locate it?

When you are organized, you are automatically more efficient, which means that you don’t mismanage your physical space, your money, and your material resources. And if you work a job for money, all of these things translate into your time because you use your time to make money.

Organize your physical space

Make sure that your physical space is clean and orderly. I’m not talking about being obsessively organized.  But at minimum you want to make sure that you know where to find all of your stuff. Make sure that you are not compulsively hoarding things and that you put effort into how you keep and manage all of the material objects in your life. The more organized your physical space is, the more efficient your movements are. This means that you don’t have to waste time looking for things.

Organize your finances

Do you know how much money you spend on groceries or monthly bills? Do you have a budget that guides your spending? Knowing how much money you spend and bring in are both important in organizing your finances. How much money do you owe to credit card companies? Do you know how much money do you spend on groceries, or coffee. What about how much are you contribute to savings? When your finances are organized, you are aware of your spending habits youOrganizing your finances honors you time because you don’t have to use your time so  much to make more money. Organize your finances in a way that honors the time you had to use to make your money. Don’t be wasteful. Respect your time.

If organization is difficult for you, download my free workbook.

Organize your time

There should be space in your life for all the important aspects. Organize your appointments so that you have made time for your self-care, money-making, important relationships and all the other things that make up your life. Don’t fret  your time away on bullshit that does not matter. Once time is spent, it is gone.  You deserve to have something to show for it. Don’t waste all of it.

Let’s face it, Abundance Seeker, you cannot achieve your goals if you are mismanaging your time. So, reclaim it like Aunty Maxine and go get what you want.

And also don’t forget to check out my 90 Day Goal Getting Coaching Program. We can figure out a way to manage your time effectively so you can reach those goals. 

Five women and a Magical Pool: The Power of Retreat

I love a good retreat. No, I mean I REALLY LOVE retreats.

As a teenager, I was introduced to the concept of retreats when I participated in a   leadership program. And these were intense retreats led by corporate alumni like lawyers and business leaders whose  mission it was to foster leadership in urban teens. Retreat topics included male/female relationships, self-awareness, etc. They were brutal and beautiful at the same time, and I’m so grateful for those experiences now. These retreats were transformative experiences and helped shape my character.

And I’ve gone on other retreats since then. Retreats are a way for me to do important self work and allow me the luxury of focusing on my own self-development without distractions.

I’ve always wanted to lead  personal development retreats. And two years ago,  I facilitated my very first one. I rented a private villa on an all inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic and took 3 of my clients down with me for a week to heal, share, rest, relax and have some fun.

Enroute to retreat

There were many memorable moments. But I want to share one moment with you that I think was especially powerful and reminds me of the power of retreat.

On the day before everyone arrived, I did my best to prepare everything. I spoke with the resort staff the previous day and that morning to make sure the check in process was to go as smoothly as possible. On the day everyone was supposed to come, I reiterated my requests and was assured that everything would be fine.

The next day, my first two ladies checked in with no problems.

However, my third lady experienced a very difficult check in process in which everything that could go wrong did.

There was a language barrier with the staff of the resort. We were waiting outside the reception building, sure that we would see her as soon as the bus arrived. I wanted our faces to be the first she saw.

But somehow we missed her and she was waiting for us inside the office. Meanwhile, management was calling our villa in front of her to tell us of her arrival. And we of course, were not there to receive the calls. By the time we met up, she was quite upset and understandably so.  She had just gotten off a long international flight in a country she had never been to, and had experienced nothing but frustration.

retreat villa

While we apologized profusely for the confusion around her arrival, she was inconsolable and I felt horrible and looked for ways to try to make it up to her.

By the time we got back to the villa, she was still upset and not quite in the mood to chat or meet with the other ladies. Again, totally understandable.

We all kind of settled into our own rooms and prepared for the welcome dinner in a few hours.

retreat villa balcony

How Retreat Transform Us

After the welcome dinner, we all returned to the villa. I had wanted everyone to have plenty of time to settle in and informally get to know each other, so I did not have any formal activities scheduled until early the next morning.

I  changed into my bathing suit, took my Ipad and speakers out to the pool in the back yard and blasted some soul music.

One by one, the ladies came out to join me in the pool. And it was so much fun. We laughed and got to know each other all night. There were discussions about music, food, love, adventure. We shared our hopes with each other and named our fears. It was really magical.

The overall retreat was a success. I saw each woman bloom in her own way and it was honestly an honor to watch. Each woman had a breakthrough in her own right and left feeling better and more focused than she had when she arrived.

And it all started in that pool.

It was in the pool where we all let the stress of the day leave us and opened ourselves up to the promise of connection and self-growth. This event set the tone of the retreat.

This is the power of retreat. Allowing ourselves to withdraw from the day to day and tap into what’s important. Retreats allow us to slow down and be mindful of our thoughts and take control of our experiences.

I hope to see you at my next retreat.

In the meantime, be sure to check out available individual programs.

Don’t Be Jealous. Be Motivated.

What do you do when you feel jealous?

A few months ago I rushed onto a train because I was running late to work.

I made it just in time before the doors closed. As I sat down panting to catch my breath, I became aware of an absolutely stunning woman sitting across from me.

She was very beautiful and meticulously groomed. Her makeup was flawless and expertly applied.  Then I looked at her manicured nails and at how well dressed she was. Her clothes were flattering, sophisticated and she had an elegant yet edginess quality to her.  Her natural hair was neat, yet fun and free. She was very refined unhurried and was typing away on her iPhone and it looked like she was sending out work emails.

I was flustered after running from my home in clothes that I had thrown on to go to a job that I did not like very much.  This woman looked like she had all the time in the world and appeared to be happily doing work related tasks. We looked to be about the same age and yet  we seemed to be worlds apart in that moment. I think that she felt me staring at her because she looked up from her phone and met my gaze. She smiled kindly and turned her attention back to her phone.

Now,  I know better than to get caught up in the self-hating exercise of comparing myself to her and the foolishness of thinking that her life was better than mine. But in that moment, I must admit to feeling a little intimidated by her. And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I was a little jealous.

As I continued to think about it while I sat on the train, I realized that I was so affected by the presence of this woman because she was a living reminder of some of my most pressing goals: 1. step up my self-care and appearance,  2. cultivate an aura of calm sophistication, 3.  be in a position to enjoy my full time work again. She was the living, breathing embodying of some of these goals and in that moment, all of my goals seemed so far away from me.

Jealousy comes up when you are not meeting your goals. Jealousy is a clear sign that you need to be more focused on your goals.  Stop letting yourself off the hook. This woman looked the way she did because she has a desire (a goal) to look the way she did and made sure that her actions matched up with her desires. She had the dedication and standards to look for her wardrobe. This woman made sure to wake up and get herself together in enough time so that she was not a rushing mess like I was.

By the time I got off the train, I was even more inspired to recommit to my goals. I let that moment of feeling jealous inspire me and push me in the direction of my goals.

Here are 3 ways to allow the green-eyed monster of jealousy to push you in the direction of your goals:

When you are feel jealous, notice what is triggering you

I noticed how certain aspects of this woman triggered me but others didn’t. What triggers you? Is it seeing travel photos? Hearing about other people’s financial success? Seeing people in healthy happy relationships? What is it that triggers you? The triggers are the things that you want the most.  You can’t achieve it if you don’t know what it is.

When you feel jealous, recommit to your goals 

And be honest about the type and amount of work that you will have to do get your goals accomplished. The work may be psychological,  physical,  financial, etc. Be honest about the scope and nature of the work. Then commit to it and go for it. Give yourself a fixed amount of time and accomplish one thing you one step closer to what you want.

When you feel Jealous, use Positive Self-Talk

Do not discourage yourself with negative self-talk. Commit to talking to yourself in a positive way. You are not wrong for wanting what you want. And it is absolutely possible for you to have what you want. Do not tell yourself otherwise. Just because it has not happened for you yet, does not mean that it won’t happen in the future. Tell yourself that your time is coming and that you are willing to do the work necessary to obtain your goal.

Ok, Abundance Seeker, do you have moments in which you feel jealous? Does it inspire you? Or discouraged?

If you are ready to finally start accomplishing your goals, let’s work together!

The Essential Guide to Starting Your Life Over, Getting Unstuck, And Getting Out of Your Own Way

Starting Over in Life

Today, I am writing this post while sitting in my very own living room in New York City. This time last year, I was living in Chicago and would not have been able to predict this at all. I wanted to move but was not exactly sure how I was going to make all the pieces fit together. All I knew was that I was starting over, no matter what.

Have you ever reached a  point in your life where you thought, “How did I get here?”

I have too. That’s where I languished mentally for about a year.

I did not like the mind-numbing monotony of my life.  There was nothing exciting or interesting to look forward to in my immediate future. Basically, I was in a deep rut. I had allowed my world to get too small and I was suffocating in it.

What I needed was a change of pace, an adventure,  and some fresh new energy. Also, I had conquered all of my immediate challenges and was in need of new challenges and fresh obstacles. And thinking the same thoughts over and over was mentally exhausting.

When my  mom passed away a few years back, I had promised myself that I would not let myself languish too long in any one place, physical or mental. So I decided that I needed to shake things up. It was my life and I was the only one responsible for how I felt and my happiness.

I needed a do over. I needed to hit the reset button.

So, I decided to leave Chicago, my adopted city for more than a decade and return to my hometown, New York City. I left New York at the age of 17 to go to college and never returned. I had gone out into the world and  put together a comfortable life for myself.  My past accomplishments made me proud. And now  I was ready to come back home and start the next phase of my life.

But moving to New York and creating a new life for myself was no easy feat. Deciding to do it was the easy part. I had to make things happen. And starting over is never easy.

Step 1–When Starting Over, Take Stock of Lessons Learned

Even though I had decided that moving back to NYC was in fact what I wanted to do, I did not want to discount or minimize the things that I accomplished  in Chicago. I started a business and had some really transformative relationships. It was in Chicago that learned how to maintain a household and save money. I learned how to get jobs and leave them with connections that could help me in the future. I learned how to drive and earned a master’s degree.  In Chicago, I had learned all these major life skills through trial and error.  And I’m grateful because I can use these skills in New York, where the stakes are a bit higher.

Before embarking on a new phase  and making dramatic changes, be sure to take stock of all the things you’ve learned in your present life phase and think about ways that you can build on this foundation in your next phase.

Step 2–When Starting Over, Honor What You are Leaving Behind

In addition to taking stock of the lessons that I learned, a part of me was really sad to leave. I love Chicago. I love the people I met. At one point, I never thought I would leave. And if I’m being honest, there was even a little part of me that tried to sabotage the move because Chicago was just so comfortable for me.

And even though Chicago no longer fit the life I wanted I was so thankful for her because at one point she was everything I needed. You will never hear me speak ill of her! But life is about growth and movement.

Step 3– Sketch It Out

But deciding to move was not enough. I was looking to do a complete life shift, so I had to imagine a new life for myself. Location was just one aspect. But I also had to think about: what type of experiences I wanted to have, what type of people I wanted to be around, how I wanted to feel. Sometimes we get so focused on what we don’t want that we don’t make enough effort imaging and naming  the things that we do want. Vision board anyone?

Starting Over with A Vision Board

I got busy naming and claiming the exact neighborhood I would live in and what my apartment would look like and how much my rent would be. Next, I looked up the activities that I knew I wanted to participate in. Then, I made a budget that allowed room for all the things I wanted to do.   I even named the organization that I would work for.

In order to get the life I wanted, I knew that I had to design it. Because if I wasn’t purposeful, I could end up in the same old rut that I was breaking away from. So I needed to be intentional, like an artist making decisions.

Step 4– Make Small, Gradual Moves

Knowing that I was going to be moving to NYC, I knew that I would undoubtedly be moving into a smaller space. So I slowly started to get rid of things. Books, dishes, clothes, housewares.

I also sought to re-familiarize myself with my hometown. After all, I had not lived in NY for many many years and never as an adult. A few things I did:  visit family more,  joined email lists of organizations that held the types of events I planned on attending after the move. I also reached out to my network to see if anybody knew of any job opportunities. I started watching YouTube videos about NY culture.

Step 5– When Starting Over, Make Some Big Moves

Starting Over By Closing My Business

About six months after I decided to move, I closed down my physical office space. I had not made any definite plans. I did not have a job and I certainly did not have an apartment. But somehow I knew that closing down my business would bring me dozens of steps closer to my real goal. And it was super scary. Yet I knew that it sent the right signals to myself and the universe that I meant business and there was no backing down from it.

I also spent one whole month in New York staying with family. While I was there, I really imagined how my life would look on a daily basis. I reached out to people I hadn’t seen in years. It was a lot of fun and my mind really started to see this move as a real thing.

Step 6– Be Singularly Focused About Starting Over

When you are committed to starting your life over, you have to be singularly focused. I for one am very susceptible to succumbing to multiple attractive projects at the same time. But to undertake something as big as relocating and changing your lifestyle, you have to concentrate on the monumental task at hand only, even if other things fall by the wayside. I admit that this is why I was away from the blog for so long. I was getting my ducks in a row and brainstorming and figuring everything out. Some days, it was all I could think of. That meant that other things had to fall by the wayside. But the goal of starting over was more important that anything else at the time so it was given priority over everything else.

Step 7– When Starting Over, Do Not Give Up 

Starting your life over takes a great deal of perseverance. And I was firm on two non-negotiable parameters: I had to have a job and an apartment before I moved. Even though I had tons of friends and family in NYC, it was very important for me to be self-reliant. That meant that I wasn’t going to put anybody out or be a burden or inconvenience.

Finding jobs and apartments in Chicago had been relatively easy, but finding them in NYC appeared impossible. I had begun sending my resume off to several jobs in late 2014 and did not land a job until late 2016.

And there were some pretty bleak times. Like the time I had managed to get a phone interview through a college acquaintance. I was interviewed by 2 women and the interview lasted about an hour. I felt pretty good about the interview when I hung up the phone. In the 90 seconds it took me to walk to my kitchen, pour myself a glass of water and walk back to my living room, I had already received an email from them notifying me that I was not selected for the job. Damn, that’s how y’all feel?

Or going apartment hunting and seeing super expensive teeny tiny walk up apartments with no light and that reminded me of elevators or cells. Or finally finding an apartment that I thought was perfect for me only to be rejected because the landlady preferred another couple.

But I kept at it.

In the end I got a better paying job with a better organization than the one that rejected me in 10 seconds. And I also ended up finding and securing a rent stabilized apartment in a better location, for a better price with all the amenities I wanted. It was almost spooky how much my job and apartment matched the original sketch I imagined when I first made the decision to move.

Starting Over in a New Apartment

The moral of the story  is not to give up. Just focus on putting yourself out there and moving toward what you want with steadfast determination. The rest is not up to you.

Step 8– When Starting Over, Build the Life You Want

Starting Over with Family

Life does not simply unroll in front of us like a plush red carpet. We have to actively pursue the things we want.

A major reason I moved back was so that I could spend time with family. And huge part of my vision included long leisurely walks in Central Park and all around Harlem. So I got busy making sure I was doing those things.

Starting Over in NYC

I moved 6 months ago and I am still adjusting. Driving a car here still scares the daylights out of me. And the non-stop pulse of the city is both exhilarating and exhausting. I’ve set up some of my life rituals- my Sunday walk in Central Park with a cup of coffee and an audible book. Exploring fancy neighborhoods where celebrities live. I found a hair salon through trial and error.  I’ve made a few new friends.  But there is still much that still needs to be done. And I am excited about all of my new challenges.

Are you considering starting over too? Do you need to hit your reset button and need some help?  Please look into my Jumpstart Your Life in 6 Weeks Program.  Or consider another program. It might be just what you need.

The Power of Seasons

the power of seasons

Happy Spring!

How has your spring season started off?

I, for one, have been a little under the weather this past week. (Actually I’ve been A LOT under the weather. I know my poor neighbors probably think I have hacked up both my lungs). But I’m getting better day by day.

Now, I don’t get sick very often but when I do it always seems to be around the time the seasons change. Ever since I was a little girl. And I hear a lot of people do, too. Maybe that’s the origin of the phrase “under the weather.” Or maybe it’s my body’s very own built in spring-cleaning system.

Anyway, seasons are powerful things.

Seasons help us understand time periods in our life better. Yes, I’m talking about seasons of the year—winter, spring, summer, and fall- but I’m also talking about big seasons in our lives too. Like those seasons that are marked by specific people or events. Or those seasons when we are learn specific life lessons.

When seasons change they invite new energy into our lives and can get us out of our ruts by changing things up and forcing us to adapt. We have new things to look forward to. We have new problems to solve. All of a sudden we have new things to think about.

Today I want to urge you to use the power of this season change to your advantage. Here’s the challenge:

Plan out your next 90 days and be sure to

  1. Include new things and new opportunities that you’ve never done before
  2. Get rid of things that are no longer working for you

As the saying goes,

“Out with the old and in with the new!”

 

No Sugar, No Flour- Day 30

nosugarnoflour

(Please note that this is an account of a personal experience and not an endorsement or recommendation of any sort. This should not be mistaken for health care advice. And I urge everyone reading this to consult their physician or registered dietitian for nutritional advice because I am neither.)

Many in my self-love challenge community know that this year my self-love practice is focused on my physical health. I want to be healthier in general and lose a considerable amount of weight in particular.

In January and February, I focused on being more active and going to the gym.

While I knew I needed to radically change the food I put in my mouth, to some degree I felt really stuck and overwhelmed. I would make a commitment to myself to eat better and then it seemed as if my self-control would betray me almost without fail.

And I would feel really awful afterwards. And every day was a struggle– knowing I should do better, but not knowing how to make it happen.

Then I heard a neuro-psychologist talk about the addictive properties of certain foods, namely flour and sugar and the way they affect the brain. She argues that certain people are more susceptible to the addictive nature of these foods than others.

And the solution to this is total abstinence from flour and sugar.

For those in the back, I’ll say it again: She advised a lifestyle change in which people don’t eat any foods that contain processed refined sugar or flour of any kind because it’s the flour and the sugar that addict people and trick the brain into thinking that you need more and more. Some experts have even gone so far as to label sugar and flour to be drugs, or even worse, toxic poisons.

This completely changed the way I thought about food.

Now it’s not like I thought pop-tarts, cakes, cookies, brownies, pancakes, or doughnuts were good for me. I mean, I wasn’t delusional.

But I didn’t quite know how eating those types of sugary, doughy “foods” leave my brain craving more and more until I felt powerless to control the cravings.

In other words, the more of those things I ate, the more I craved those things.

The solution it seemed was to completely eliminate all of those things from my diet.

Now, I cannot express to you just what a big deal this decision was for me. I mean, virtually ALL of my favorite foods had flour or sugar in them– preferably both. And it took me a couple of days to process this information. But I eventually knew I had to at least try it.

The first thing I did was make a list of all foods I wouldn’t be able to eat, if I were to adopt this lifestyle. Including all the foods I listed above, I’d also have to eliminate- cornbread, crackers, noodles, sweet potato pie, bread of any kind, syrup of any kind, honey, virtually any kind of box cereal, any kind of boxed food in the grocery store, many salad dressings and many many more things. So really quickly, I knew that I would be cooking almost every meal I put in my mouth.  Manufacturers put sugar or some type of “syrup” in dang near everything.

The second thing I did was start to compile interesting recipes that did not include flour or sugar, so that I didn’t wind up eating the same thing over and over. (If you follow me on Pinterest, sorry for the recent overload of butternut squash recipes.)

What I Ate

Since March 1, 2016,  I have not had any flour or refined sugar.

I found a no flour, no sugar food plan that dictated 3-4 meals a day with no snacking in between, broken down as follows:

Breakfast: one serving of grain/or starchy vegetable, one serving of fruit, one serving of dairy, and one serving of meat or protein

Lunch: one serving of protein/or meat, one cup cooked veggies, one cup fresh veggies

Dinner: one serving of protein/or meat, one cup cooked veggies, one cup fresh veggies and one serving of a grain/or starchy vegetable

Snack (optional): one serving of dairy or meat/protein with with one serving of fruit

So here’s what my food has looked like for the past 30 days:

My usual breakfast is one cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup plain oatmeal (not the sugary instant kind), 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter, a banana, and a few chopped walnuts. But sometimes, I’ll have scrambled eggs and potatoes with yogurt and a piece of fruit.

nfns-breakfast

Honestly, the first day that I had this breakfast I really missed the sugary oatmeal, so I was not in love with it. But funny enough as the weeks have gone by, my bowl of oatmeal is my favorite meal of the day.

On days that I have a lot of writing to get done I will have a cup of coffee right after breakfast or lunch as well. Since I can no longer have sugar and limit my dairy to 1-2 servings a day, I lighten my coffee with a bit of coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It gives the coffee a creamy texture, and a nutty flavor and it is very very good.

Four hours after breakfast, I have my lunch.

nfns-lunch2
Lunch example–One cup cooked string beans, One cup fresh mixed veggies, 4 oz of roasted salmon

Honestly, I’m still getting used to a meal with no starch or grain. This is my least favorite meal of the day because of that.

I have dinner five hours after lunch and one some days I REALLY feel the absence of a grain/starch.

nfns-dinner
Dinner Example–One cup of steamed cabbage and carrots, one cup of roasted winter veggies, one cup of fresh kale and red onion, and 4oz of tilapia

Dinner is usually very filling and satisfying.

Four hours after dinner, I usually have a snack because I don’t like to go to bed with an empty stomach and depending on when I had dinner on some days, it has been as much as 6 or 7 hours.

nfns-snack
Half a cup of cottage cheese and half a cup of unsweetened apple sauce

The Result

Getting though the first 7 days was very difficult. I’m not even gonna lie. It took a whole lot of effort to eat on a particular schedule and to plan out my meals  in advance simply because I wasn’t used to eat. Further I was not at all used to not snacking between meals.  But by day 3, this part got easier. I just fell into a routine.

By about day 4, I started to have really intense cravings for certain sugary and doughy foods. It was kind of ridiculous, honestly. And I had a headache for like 48 hours straight. I was irritable and began to notice how advertisements for these foods were EVERYWHERE.

But…

Almost immediately after cutting out the sugar and flour, my body started to feel better. I was able to move more. I woke up each day feeling a bit lighter. Honestly. I didn’t realize just how bloated I had been.

By day 14, I had noticeably more energy.

My vegetable variety has increased a great deal. In the past 30 days, I’ve had avocado, cabbage, carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, red peppers, yellow peppers, habenero peppers,  string beans, squash, white potatoes, cucumbers, red beans, and romaine lettuce. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that many different vegetables in such a short period before. I don’t know why, but that felt like a big accomplishment. LOL.

And I lost 10 pounds.

So I’m planning to continue. I’m going to take it one day at a time and continue to monitor how I feel. I’m hopeful.

I’ll keep you updated!

Clear Out Your Inner Junk Drawer

Let it go(1)

Do you have a junk drawer?

A lot of people do.

It’s the place in the home where you can put any and everything that doesn’t seem to really have a place of its own. Things like extra condiment packets, old batteries, tape, pencils, scissors, take out menus, tools, etc.

And because the junk drawer is so great at storing things, you can kind of forget all the stuff that’s in there. And the irony is when you actually need something that’s in it, you can’t find it. Years can go by without clearing it out and before you know it, you have all this useless little stuff that you never use, just taking up space in your home and being an eyesore.

junkdrawer

But do you also notice that sometimes, we behave like we are junk drawers?

We hold onto useless baggage from the past that other people left in our lives just for the sake of holding onto it. And all this useless stuff weighs on our emotions, self-worth, and relationships.

Here are some examples:

  • An ex-lover was unfaithful and treated you badly which made you feel unworthy, so now you hold on to that “junk belief” just because a temporary person came and dropped it in your mind.
  • You got fired or let go from a job, so now you hold onto the “junk belief” that you are disposable and have little value.
  • You made a mistake for which you were embarrassed and now you carry around a great deal of shame around this mistake, even many years later.

But you are not a junk drawer.

And you simply have to let all this stuff go. Stop holding onto old useless resentments, shame, heartaches,etc. Let it go! Forgive people. Forgive yourself. Try things again. Try new things. Live in the present. Because life is happening now.

Junk is stagnant and still, but life is always moving, growing, developing, and changing. Since you are alive, you must do these things too.

Because the more you hold onto all that junk, the more it weighs you down and gets in the way of living. You will remain stuck and stagnant too.

The more you hold onto these useless unnecessary junk, the less free you are.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be free!

So here’s what I want you to do right now:

In the comments section below, please tell me what junk beliefs have been hanging out in your mental junk drawer for far too long that you are finally deciding to let go of.

Can’t wait to read them.

Til next time,
Jennifer

Self-Love Begins with A “Gifts and Gratitude” Mindset

Gifts and Gratitude

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how you wish your life was better?

The truth is that most people do.

They think that people have it so much better than they do.

I know I can personally attest to this. Many years ago, I closed my Facebook account and shut the world out because I was so consumed with looking at other people’s lives and comparing myself to them. I saw so many people I grew up with were getting married, having beautiful children, and looking glamorous, but I wasn’t. I wanted all of those things in my life too, but they weren’t happening for me. The end result was that I felt really bad about myself. I felt like there must be something wrong with me. After many years feeling like crap every time I logged in, I decided the best decision was for me to completely walk away.

And it was years before I felt good enough about myself to log back on.

So what happened in the interim years?

I developed a Four Part Self-Love Practice that I will be sharing with you in the next few blog posts.

The first part of this practice was with shifting my focus towards a “Gifts and Gratitude” mindset.

This is the room where I do most of my gratitude journaling.
This is the room where I do most of my gratitude journaling.

Here’s what I learned:

A BIG reason for why I felt so bad before was because I was so caught up in what I thought my life SHOULD be, that I couldn’t see and appreciate my life for what it actually was. And I spent so much mental energy in the gap between what I had and what I thought I should have that I was miserable.

But in hindsight, I know that at least 2 things are true that I hadn’t realized before:

  1. EVERYBODY has their own particular challenges, so just because things look so great on the outside doesn’t mean everything is perfect on the inside.
  2. There is always someone looking at your situation right now and feeling envious about something in your life.

These 2 things let me know that instead of getting stuck in a never-ending cycle of feeling sorry for myself and drowning in comparison, I needed to shift my focus to identifying the talents, gifts, strengths that I do have and showing my gratitude for them regularly.

Because, here’s the thing: if I am always focused on what I don’t have, I never get to appreciate all the wonderful things that I do have. And not appreciating my gifts is a surefire recipe for feeling bad about myself.

So here’s what I want you to do right now:

I want you to publicly name your gifts and talents. In the comment section three things about yourself that you are grateful for right now in this very moment.

We need to start a movement of beautiful women who are proud of their strengths and talents and not focused on what they do not have.

This is where self-love begins.