Comfort Zones: The lies we tell ourselves to stay the same - Lie #3

#3. I'll do it tomorrow 

Yep. We have all said it a time or two. Without a doubt tomorrow becomes next week and next week becomes next month and so on.

Procrastination is a lie that causes us to believe that avoiding something is somehow more beneficial than actually doing it. Procrastination is deadly when it becomes a lifestyle. Yet we've all done it. Some of us more than others. 

There are many reasons we procrastinate. However, procrastination usually occurs when people fear, dread or have anxiety about a task or change. To suppress the negative feeling we eat, play video games, surf the internet, cook, etc. We do anything other than the uncomfortable task. These distracting activities may make us feel better for the moment. BUT reality still exists and there is a task that needs to be completed.

This is exactly what happens when we think of stepping out of our comfort zone. We experience the fear of what people will think or the dread of possible failure or the anxiety of trying something new. Accordingly, we retreat back into behaviors, habits and patterns that make us feel safe and secure.  Here are a few tips to help us get over procrastination.
  1. Go slow
We've all heard the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day".  But Rome was built one second, one minute and one hour at a time. Understand that habit and behavior change is a process and it will take time — sometimes years — to master.  Let's think of it this way. Rome is simply the result of the new habit or behavior developed during the process of building. Focusing on your developing habits and behaviors is more important than worrying about your outcomes. And while it is imperative to keep perspective of goals and dreams, I think it’s better to remember that there is growth in process. Embrace the process and appreciate the growth.

  1. Break it up into small chunks
Instead of looking at a large seemingly impossible challenge or goal. Break it up  into more manageable pieces. For example, let's consider that we have set a goal to eat more fruits and vegetables. For some of use who do not enjoy fruits and vegetables this could seem unpleasant and dreadful. But if we think of it in smaller chunks it doesn't seem so bad. First we would consider how much fruit and vegetables we are currently consuming and from there decide how much more fruit and vegetables we want to consume. Second we would start with just one meal a day for one week adding an additional fruit or vegetable. Well that's not too daunting. Then the next week make it two meals and the third week make it three meals. In less than one month you've increased your fruit and vegetable intake during each meal.

  1. Tell someone
There are varying views on wether you should or shouldn't share your goals. I, obviously, believe there is great benefits in sharing. I believe it gives the person setting the goal accountability. Let's face it, if we could complete a task that gives us anxiety alone we wouldn't have any problems with procrastination. Telling a supportive friend or family member means that you have someone checking in on you to make sure that you are actually doing what you said you would do.

Many years ago I joined Weight Watchers and I did not tell anyone. Only my husband knew for obvious reasons. When I finally shared with a friend, I immediately felt a since of responsibility because I knew when I saw that friend again she would without a doubt ask me, "How is Weight Watchers going?"

The bottom line is that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today. 

Comfort Zones: lies we tell ourselves to stay the same - Lie #2

#2. This just isn't me.

Duh! Well of course it isn't you. That is why you will have to step out of the comfort zone you 
have created. Yes, there is an awkwardness attached to trying something new. Moving past the awkwardness will require getting in touch with your inner purpose. Your inner purpose is the answer to the following questions:

1. Why should I experience this new behavior?
2. What will be the benefit?

Recently I experienced a Passover meal for the first time and it was amazing. There was a portion of the meal when adults hid bread from the young children. The prize for each child that found one of the many napkins with bread was one dollar. While all the older kids easily found the bread. The younger kids, which included my 6 year old daughter, had a hard time finding the bread. I was not seated in a location that allowed me to easily change locations. Therefore the logical person in me thought, just let her look she'll find it. The logical woman in me thought, do not crawl under this table to go help your daughter because she'll be ok. But the mom in me immediately crawled under the table to help my daughter find the bread. Oh how crazy I must have looked. That's a simple example of inner purpose causing me to move out of my comfort zone. I know I looked crazy and ridiculous but at the moment I did not care because my inner purpose, the well being of my daughter, trumped all awkwardness.

If you'll be brave to try a new behavior you'll learn to embrace and even experience the benefits of the awkwardness.
  1. The uncomfortable awkwardness will force you to practice, practice, practice...
It is true that practice makes perfect. Practice is the key to everything. You have to be willing to keep trying and to open yourself up to the unknown. You have to be willing to fail — at dancing, at making friends, at finding your own style, at writing, at singing, at speaking in front of crowds, at sports, at everything — in order to get better and lose the awkwardness.

2. It's an opportunity to make your own template.

A template is something that serves as a model for others to copy like a cookie cutter. It reminds me of cookie baking with my daughter. We usually start with rolled out dough and a cookie cutter with great intentions to have uniformity. We undoubtedly end up putting the cookie cutters to the side. Choosing instead to make our own cookie shapes. It's always a bit more messy but always more fun. So it is with the awkwardness of stepping out of your comfort zone. It can be a bit messy but always more rewarding than if you tried to conform to someone else's template.

3. You will develop empathy. 

Being vulnerable will help you develop empathy for others. While it’s easy to throw a fit when something terrible happens to us, it is a lot harder to demonstrate compassion for the struggles of another person. We all have been guilty of getting so caught up in our own lives that we forget the world doesn’t revolve around our needs; before behaving like an upset infant, remember that many people face hardships that you couldn’t begin to imagine.

Yes, you will face the awkwardness and the vulnerability of the unknown BUT be brave. You'll be glad you did. What will you do today to step out of your comfort zone?

Comfort Zones: lies we tell ourselves to stay the same - Lie #1

What is holding you back
What's Holding You Back?

Let's be real with ourselves for a moment. Most of you would agree that your own unique comfort zone can be a great place. Within your comfort zone there is safety and little stress. Actually, staying in your comfort zone can result in consistent, steady performance.

BUT, think about it: Did you ever do something you were really proud of when you were playing it safe? Probably not. 

But who cares, right? You may be thinking " As long as I'm comfortable and safe it won't hurt anyone." WRONG!

Living within a comfort zone will come at a cost to you. Staying there is harmful to your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Why? Because you were created to grow and learn. Your brain is 
working at full potential when you are learning. Think of a child's development. No one ever told a child just entering this world to mimic others, to try to walk or try to talk. It was an innate desire born into that child to desire to do more as that child grew in strength. Remember that child still lives in you and desires to experience and learn.

The first lie we tell ourselves is "I don't have time."

We all lead busy lives and we use our limited time as an excuse to not challenge ourselves. We use it as an excuse to stay the same. The reality is that claiming we don't have time is a lie we tell ourselves.

I have told myself and others this lie over and over again. BUT, I always find time to do the things I enjoy like going to the gym, shopping, watching television, etc. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

Research suggests that we don’t have a realistic perspective when it comes to our use of time. For instance, one study shared that participants claimed to only get 6 or 7 hours of sleep, when time diaries showed they were actually getting more than 8 hours of sleep. Additionally, time studies have told us that when people are asked to label their week’s time, the weeks will often add up to more than 168 hours. Unfortunately, even the busiest of us have only 168 hours a week. And what we do with those 168 hours matters.

The solution? This Wall Street Journal article suggests that you swap the phrase “I don’t have time” with “It isn’t a priority.” So let's try that. "I'm not going to challenge myself because it isn't a priority." That just doesn't seem right. Something is terribly wrong with that statement. That change will surely make you re-evaluate your use of time.

We all get 168 hours per week. What will you do with yours?

7 Tips to Become Motivated: Practical tips to get things done

Conquer Fear

Friends and family who know me would probably say I'm a pretty motivated person. I can understand why. I stay busy setting goals and reaching them. However, only those people who know me most intimately (my husband) know that I've been in the habit of setting easily achievable goals. Goals that rarely stretch me out of my comfort zone. So yes, I am motivated. Motivated not to fail.

However, when it comes to striving for bigger life goals my motivation wanes. I can be an expert procrastinator and I'm even better at being busy. As you follow my blog you'll learn that I've recently set a HUGE goal for myself, that is to become a certified health coach. Insecurities have surfaced from within me that I never knew existed. Nevertheless, I'm taking courage and pressing forward. One of the biggest obstacles, however, is staying motivated in the midst of my insecurities. Here are 7 tips I've learned to help me and can help you stay motivated.
  1. Lose the negative self talk
Would you agree that it's impossible to get anything done when we're stuck on thoughts like, "I suck at life " or "I'm not worth it" or "everyone is better than me" or "I'll never follow through".

Thoughts like those make us want to never try and stay in the routine of our everyday lives. Positive thoughts are guaranteed to start you on your way to being a motivated person. If you find yourself slipping into negative thoughts (it's easy to do), stop yourself and deflect your attention elsewhere.

Try reframing your thought. For example, instead of thinking "I never follow through." Think "I will follow through this time." Also, you should display that positive thought in a location you'll see repeatedly everyday. That positive thought will become you.

Think positive

  1. Drop negative people 

Negative people are like leeches. They will suck the life and motivation right out of you. Now is a time to give yourself permission to be selfish for your own wellbeing. Someone else's negativity is not your responsibility to deal with. If they're bringing you down, you need to spend time away from them.
  1. Be Confident 

We've all had accomplishments in our lives. Take a moment to count your successes. What do you have going for you? What have you done in the past that was awesome? What resources do you have at your disposal? Think of all the things you've achieved in the past. For what reason would you not be able to achieve what you want now?! You've done similar things before.
  1. Start with small goals

Having lofty goals is tough. Instead of "I want to lose 50 pounds" think of something like "I want  2 pounds this week," or "I want to work out 4 or 5 days a week."  These will illicit  but are easier on the mind
  1. Be prepared for set backs

You are not perfect. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Being a perfectionist about yourself will just leave you frustrated and tempted to give up. There will be times when you fail. You just have to know that you're capable of getting back up and, better yet, that you will. Your failures or setbacks have nothing to do with you and everything to do with being human. They happen. Sometimes they'll happen because of you, but sometimes they'll happen because of circumstances that are beyond your control.

  1. Track your progress

Keep a journal of your progress. It will help you in two ways. First, you can look back at your accomplishments for continued motivation. You'll see where you started and how you've progressed. Second, you can look back and see what you tried that worked and didn't work while trying to reach your goal.

  1. PRAY everyday 

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! Prayer reminds you that you are not alone. God is with you supporting you and cheering you on. When you get discouraged prayer reminds you that God the almighty is on your side and often carrying you through difficulties. 

Taking the first step to reach your goal is often hardest. Step out in faith you'll never be more proud of yourself. What goals have you set for yourself? Are you ready to take the first step to reaching that goal? You'll never know if you can or if you can't until you try. Go for it!!!

What's it all about?

The most basic question everyone faces in life is Why am I here? What is my purpose? Self-help books suggest that people should look within, at their own desires and dreams. However, Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" says the starting place must be with God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God's purposes for putting us on earth.

Yes, we all have God given purposes and one of those purposes is to simply LIVE. Often times we exist in the mundane routine of daily living. We move from task to task and obligation to obligation on autopilot.

Maybe I can explain this better with an example. Not too long ago my husband and I planned a long weekend away. Leading up to the trip my anticipation grew and grew. I looked forward to leaving life with its disappointments, responsibilities and obligations behind. Our weekend was great. I had one of the most enjoyable weekends ever. However, as the trip came close to ending my mood saddened and I did not want the weekend to end.  Although I was excited to get back to reunite with our daughter, I dreaded coming back to my life of responsibility and routine. I know this expression of disappointment may not sit well with my Christian friends. I get it and I understand. I rejoice and am grateful everyday that I get to experience God's love, grace and mercy. BUT the truth is that I realized that I was only existing in this life. I was not enjoying and appreciating the beauty which is simply living and appreciating the challenges life was giving me. I was too busy focusing on and caring about a routine and priorities and not taking time to enjoy living.

God has not purposed us to just exist but to live and grow in the journey of life. I'm determined to fulfill the purposes God gave me one of which is to simply LIVE.

However, living a life of fulfillment requires that I be healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. You would probably agree that if your ill in any of these three areas it is difficult to enjoy living life to the fullest.

Will you join me on this journey of self discovery as we purpose with all of our being to LIVE? #justlive #purposedtolive #PTL

What's it all mean?
April 5th is National Walking Day. Get up, get out and take a walk!  The American Heart Association says just 30 minutes of walking every day is enough to give your heart a boost.  But many health experts recommend taking at least 10,000 steps per day, which adds up to about five miles.
In honor of National Walking Day. Here are a few benefits to walking for exercise. 
1. It is FREE. Who doesn’t like free? On an average day, 30 percent of American adults walk for exercise.
2. Walk to manage your weight. Avoiding weight gain might be as simple as taking a walk.
3. Walk to manage blood pressure. Studies show that a heart-pumping walking routine can help lower blood pressure.
4. Walk to protect against dementia. Walking which improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, may help stave off dementia, the cognitive loss that often comes with old age.
5. Walk to prevent or control diabetes. Studies show that a 20-30 minute walk can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours.
6. Walk to improve your mood. A brisk walk can boost your mood and may even help you treat depression.
7. Walk to reduce pain. Yes, it seems counterintuitive, but to reduce pain from arthritis, start moving.
Christians are also encouraged to walk by faith. What exactly does it mean to walk by faith? Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences, which are controlled and orchestrated by God. Here are reasons to walk by Faith. 
1. Faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. I want to love and serve God with my entire heart, soul and strength. My faith can make God smile.
2. Faith says yes to God and no to fear. God is bigger than every doubt. By choosing to step out in faith, I am saying, “Yes, Lord.”
3. Faith reminds me of who’s Boss. It teaches me to lean not on my own understanding and to acknowledge Him in all my ways. (see Proverbs 3:4-5) As I become more dependent on Him, I find real rest and peace. 
Today, join me in increasing your physical activity by getting in 30 minutes of brisk walking and also stepping out of fear and trusting God. Do you have some benefits of your own that are not listed? Please feel free to subscribe and comment below.
What does it mean to be "Purposed To Live"? Join me on this journey as we explore our individually unique answer to that question. I could give you the textbook response or even what it means to me personally. I'll do that in a later post.

If your reading this and considering embarking on this journey of self exploration with me, take a moment to consider what "Purposed To Live" means to you.

Furthermore, have you ever asked yourself or had any of the following thoughts:

  • I know I was created for a greater purpose but I just have no energy.
  • There are not enough hours in the day to do all that I know that I was purposed to do.
  • Why do I always feel worn down and unable to enjoy life?
  • How do I live a fulfilled life of purpose physically, mentally and spiritually?
  • Why don't I have the discipline to stick to a regular schedule of exercise and activity?
  • Why can't I maintain a healthy weight?
  • Seems like I am always sick and as a result unable to accomplish anything?

Through this blog we will explore the answers to these and many, many more similar questions and statements together. We will embark on a journey to live a more healthy and fulfilling life physically, emotionally and spiritually. Please post your thoughts and comments and we'll discover why we were "Purposed to Live" and what is holding us back from purposefully living.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Be sure to subscribe above.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone by Sharele Hatfield

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone Think about your life right now. Is it everything you’ve dreamed of? Are you in a good place?...