Fear: What it Means to Me

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. If you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” – Stephen Covey

 

When I was a little girl, I had no fear. I didn’t know anything about the consequences of my actions. When I failed, I tried again. I didn’t worry what other people thought. I was like a sponge, learning every day, making discoveries, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Think about it, when you’re a child learning to walk, you’re going to fall. That failure isn’t going to scare you into giving up You just do it again. And again, and again. You don’t worry about what other people think, you just keep doing it until you learn. It’s built in. You haven’t been taught fear yet.

As we grow older, fear begins to creep in. Outside influences slowly begin to mold our personalities and behaviors, and take a major role in how we formulate our opinions. We aren’t even aware this is happening.

We learn about worry.

We learn about responsibility.

We learn about consequences.

We develop habits. Some good, some bad.

We form relationships. Some good, some bad.

If you’re reading this, you probably got to a point in your life where you realized what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been living your life doesn’t feel right anymore.

You need something to change.

That’s what happened to me.

I drank so much my brain felt like mush.

I was overweight.

I could be really mean sometimes, even to the people I  love the most.

I had no drive, no ambition. I was stuck in a daily cycle that didn’t include anything related to self-development or self-improvement, only self-loathing and self-destruction.

I surrounded myself with like-minded people, and together we dwelt in our “happy” toxic world where we all  judged other people, hated those who were successful or physically fit, and anyone else who wasn’t as miserable as us. I acted as if I didn’t care what other people thought, but deep down I really did, and I hated myself for what I had become.

I had all these dreams and grand ideas but I never took any action, never had any follow through.

Never once did I ask a successful person how they did it. I just sat back and would growl to myself, “Must be nice..” Never once did I think about what it took for that person to be where they are today or how much work they must’ve put in to get there.

Fear had completely engulfed me and I either didn’t know it, or I just didn’t accept it and ignored it.

Fear had me in its mighty grip, grasping tighter every day.

Fear of financial problems.

Fear of my health.

Fear of disappointment.

Fear of acceptance.

Fear of life.

No fear of death, though. I had truly gotten to a place where I didn’t care if I lived or died.

 

Today I don’t let fear rule any aspect of my life.

I’m working on going back to that no fear mentality I had as a small child.

I’m comfortable with my body. It’s not picture-perfect, but I’m not overweight anymore.

I love learning new concepts and sharing what I’ve learned in the hopes of helping others achieve a better quality of life.

I’m not afraid of being wrong or failing anymore. I look at failure as an asset. Something to build on.

I don’t fear my financial situation anymore. It’s still not ideal but I’ve taken steps to educate myself on budgeting and saving for retirement. I’ve shifted my focus on what I can gain later rather than instant gratification.

I quit drinking and wasting time in a bar with the people I thought were my friends. They were really just acquaintances who had the same fears as me, and we just fed off of each other. We were in the same downward spiral pulling each other further and further down.

Turns out, they don’t even miss me. No one from that part of my life ever calls me to ask where I am. They don’t care.

I’ve started forming more healthy relationships with people who have what I want out of life. People who pick each other up instead of judging and putting people down.

I’ve traded negativity for positivity.

I read every day instead of watching TV.

I exercise every day.

I research every day.

I write and brainstorm every day.

I learn every day.

I improve just a little bit every day, and since I’ve made that change, my life has improved immeasurably!

I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not afraid of change. Change is inevitable. Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the concept of change, I no longer fear it.

Change for the better is a good thing, and change for the worse is a learning experience. Which is a good thing.

In order to change your life you have to change your paradigms. In order to change your paradigms, you have to change your attitude.

I’ve found that it’s much easier and more efficient to change myself than it is to change everyone and everything around me, to suit me.

To have a better life, it takes work. But it’s totally worth it!

Don’t give in to fear.

Take action! Change your inner circle of friends if you need to. Nothing is more important than your personal well being. Because without that, you can’t be helpful to anyone else.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC

 

New Way of Thinking

Bad Attitude = Bad Habits = Bad Work Ethic = Bad Life

Being the victim is a choice.

~LC

Starting out my day by writing down what I’m grateful for has made my life so much better, and it worked almost instantly!

Sure, I still get mad sometimes but I deal with it in a different way now. Instead of dwelling on whatever pissed me off all day, and getting angrier and angrier, I’ve learned to let it go. Focusing on what I’m grateful for helps me focus on what needs to get done. I know that if I want to continue to grow both professionally and personally, I need to also grow spiritually, and for me that starts with practicing gratitude every day.

Even if it’s something as simple as a sunrise, or having indoor plumbing, or anything else I often take for granted until I miss it, anything helps. I’ve come to realize I’m much happier just appreciating what I have as opposed to being pissed off about something I don’t possess or have control over.

I know it’s ok to want more out of life, and to strive to improve, but perfection will never happen. And that’s ok too. I know as long as I’m moving forward and improving myself every day, I’ll be a lot less stressed.

In my experience, if I get angry about something that isn’t perfect, it ends up ruining both mine and someone else’s day, and no progress is made.

Too many people seem to be focused on the small picture. They are greedy and always ask, “What’s in it for me?”

Maybe if those same people tried practicing gratitude, tried helping out others more, and stopped having the attitude of, “Well I’m not going to do a good job because I don’t get paid enough.”, they might actually get a raise or promotion. They might even actually be able to be happy!

Or maybe not.

All I know is what works for me. And what works for me is having a good attitude even when things aren’t going well. Overcoming challenges with grace and a good attitude are what helps me grow and be happy. And when I’m happy, I can be helpful to other people. And being helpful to other people makes me happy.

And so on, and so on…

Thanks for reading ~ LC

Fake It ’til You Make It

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Back when I drank a lot I had trouble focusing and being completely mentally present at any given moment. I didn’t have the willingness to do the work it would’ve taken to turn my life around. I wanted my life to be better, but I wanted it to just happen, with no effort whatsoever on my part. I had no interest on living my life on life’s terms. I wanted to live on my terms. Life had other ideas…

My life had to get completely unmanageable for me to finally get the willingness I needed to even begin the process of working toward my goals. Once I got the willingness, I started acting “as if”. I began looking at my life “as if” it were already better and I began acting “as if” I really wanted to do the work even though deep down I still didn’t.

I’ve learned in my recovery that if I brought my body, my head would soon follow. So I started going through the motions until my actual state of mind caught up with my new approach on life.

This was a slow but steady process, and it worked! My life has improved immensely since I started the simple process of acting “as if”. I just focus on doing the next right thing and I try to improve myself just a little bit every day.

I’ve been able to apply this technique in other areas of my life as well. I’m able to adapt to sticky situations much easier now.

Now, if there’s something I don’t particularly want to do, I fake it ’til I make it!

~Thanks for reading – LC

How I Form New Habits, and Keep the Momentum

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

I’ve had trouble in the past with keeping my momentum flowing forward and getting new habits to stick.

I’m sure you can relate..

It took me several years, after trying the first time, to stop drinking my face off every night. I wanted to quit but I didn’t tell anyone because if, (I mean WHEN), I failed, no one would know.

I didn’t have any way to be held accountable, and no one was disappointed in me, except myself.

Forming New Habits

Trying to get into a new habit is hard. I’ve heard it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit, but, depending on the degree of difficulty, it could take much longer.

Now, when I want to break a bad habit, or make a lifestyle change, I tell other people about it. This creates accountability and makes me feel like I don’t want to let them down, so I try harder.

Telling other people also creates a support system of people who can keep encouraging me when the going gets tough!

I’ve noticed people like to be involved in other people’s affairs and they can be quite supportive when they know their opinions have value.

I try to begin new habits with a shift in mindset. I tell myself I’m the kind of person that does _____, and not _____. For example; I tell myself that I’m the kind of person that faces challenges head on rather than the kind that procrastinates and hides.

Then I start actually practicing the new habit. It helps me to start from the inside and work my way out.

Keep up the Momentum

Once I get a good momentum going I try not to give in to anything that drains my energy or drags me down. If that happens, I try to recharge with conditions that put me in a good mood. I must be persistent.

I increase the activities that move me forward, and decrease the activities that hold me back.

I take a stance of action rather than procrastination.

I can make to-do lists all day long, but until I take action, they are just words on paper.

Build a new identity

  • Say “I don’t” instead of “I can’t” – If you want to be more active and lose weight, try saying, “I don’t lay around, I do stuff.” Instead of, “I can’t lay around, I need to do stuff.”
  • Create a plan and have substitutions ready – If you know you’re going out somewhere that healthy food is not an option, pack your own snacks. Bring your own food to work instead of hitting up that vending machine.
  • Find Balance – If you’re trying to get in better shape and you decide to run 3 miles every day, maybe start out with something easier and build towards that goal. And don’t sweat it if you occasionally indulge in a sweet treat.
  • Get some sleep – While you are unwinding after your day, spend time focusing on how you did and what you can improve on. And give yourself props on a job well done. De-clutter your mind so you can get a good nights sleep. If you can improve even just a little each day, the effects will multiply exponentially!

It takes practice, but changing bad habits into productive ones, and then keeping that momentum going is possible with the right mindset and attitude.

In order for me to be the best I can be, a healthy body and a healthy mind are the two most important things I need to obtain. Yoga gives me both of those and when I practice, my day runs a lot smoother. Combined with meditation and deep breathing exercises, I leave the house feeling unstoppable!

Remember, invest in yourself!

Why put off til tomorrow what you can do today?

Chin up, smile, look yourself in the mirror and say, “It’s going to be a great day!”

Stay positive, you can do it!

~Thanks for reading, LC

Balance: For Love, For Life

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How do I find balance?

Work, sleep, life = 8 hours each?

Do I eat mostly healthy but indulge myself in treats once in awhile?

Everything in moderation, including moderation?

How do I know when to let go? When to tighten up?

When I’m not working, how do I balance my time? Rest? Exercise? Household chores? Fun? Obligations to other people? Eating? Reading? Couch surfing? Friends?

How do I balance sanity with insanity?

Too much coffee? Not enough coffee?

Goals and Dreams vs. Work/obligations/rest?

Am I too selfish? Too generous?

How do I balance self-pity with gratitude?

Do I consider what what I think is important, or what really is important?

Do I make decisions based on fear? Or growth?

Am I hopeful? or Jaded?

Anger? Or peace?

How do I balance pride and humility?

How do I spend my money on wants vs. needs?

How do I get “right sized”? Ego vs. Humility?

How do I balance healthy boundaries with the need to want to please other people?

I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my goals and dreams with everything else I have to do. I read somewhere if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s where I want to be. Where I make money doing what I love. I want to be in a place where I’ll never need a vacation.

How do you find balance?

~Thanks for reading – LC

Feel Good, Look Good = Look Good Feel Good

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When I look good, I feel good. The reverse is also true. There have been many days where I know I didn’t look my best, but I felt good and it showed. Other people could see it and remarked how good I looked. I thought, “Really? I haven’t showered and I’m still in my grubby work clothes.” People notice.

On days where I don’t particularly feel good, (like when I’m stressed out, frustrated, and feeling resentful towards everyone and everything) but I manage to take the time to make myself presentable and look good, that shows too! And when I look good, it helps to make me feel better too.

The best way I’ve found, for me, to look good and feel good is to work it from the inside out. If you put a bunch of junk in your body, then junk is what’s going to come out. Same theory applies to what you put in your head. Aside from the occasional treats I allow myself, I eat healthy, whole foods. Not fast food or any pre-made microwavable stuff with ingredients I can’t pronounce.

I like to make large batches of food ahead of time to keep in the freezer so I can have something good when I’m in a hurry. I split it into smaller portions so I can pull out a little bit at a time.

==>Recipes

A good nights sleep is key to me looking and feeling good the next day. I organize my clothes I’m going to wear the next day as well as my thoughts. I have a plan in mind for the morning so I’m not scrambling around, grabbing whatever is convenient to eat and trying to rush out the door barely in time for work.

I do something good for myself first thing. I can’t be helpful to anyone else if I don’t first take good care of myself. And when I take care of myself on the inside, I can be fully present and more helpful to others. And being helpful to others also helps me feel better!

I take deep breaths and meditate while moving my body in a fluid motion trying to become one with the universe. Ebb and flow. I do some light yoga stretches. All this gets my blood flowing to my brain waking me up and clearing out any junk thoughts that might be floating around in there.

All these things make me feel good on the inside. I think of it as building layers, kind of like an onion, from the inside out..  When I feel good on the inside, it’s easier to look good on the outside!

Then I get myself ready on the outside.

I brush my teeth, do my hair, clean up and put my fresh face to the world. I put on clean clothes. I smile at myself in the mirror and tell myself “It’s going to be a great day!” (Even if I really think it won’t, I say it anyway. I fake it til I make it..)

When I leave the house feeling and looking good, inside and out, the world knows it, and I am better able to practice kindness to both myself and others, which ultimately benefits me in the long run!

I’m also particular about what I feed my mind. I rarely watch TV because it’s mostly junk. I prefer to read. And mostly what I read is uplifting and motivating. I try to build layers of good from the inside out. It’s helped me become a more helpful, productive, and positive person.

And I feel great!

~Thanks for reading – LC

 

 

Decision Making

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A lot people, including me, lack the ability to come to a definite decision in a timely manner. It’s something I’m getting better at, but I’m still practicing and probably will be for the rest of my life. In Napolean Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”, it says people who can come to a definite decision quickly are more successful in their lives than people who make decisions slowly. I took that to mean I must make the decision now to change my habits and routines If I want my life to improve.

Procrastination is the opposite of decision. People who procrastinate are destined to fail. You can’t achieve anything if you don’t do anything. People who can make definite decisions in a timely fashion have a much higher chance of succeeding. It really is that simple.

Go ahead and make the decision RIGHT NOW to take back your life!

Go ahead and start taking the necessary steps now!

What are you waiting for? The best time is now.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Keep practicing every day until you form a new, better habit.

Make the decision RIGHT NOW  to lose weight, get toned, gain confidence, or whatever your goals may be.

The only thing holding you back is you. This is why I created this blog. To share my experience and give tips to help get and keep you motivated and thinking positive.

Invest in yourself. YOU are worth it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

~Thanks for reading – LC

Everything in Moderation (Including Moderation)

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I like to reward myself once in awhile for being good by over-indulging in things that I normally keep at arms length.

It feels good to blow it out once in awhile and not have that worry of counting calories or acting proper.

Once in awhile I like to pig out on some junk food. I used to like to drink my face off, but since that got out of hand and can’t be moderated at all, I don’t do that anymore.

Sometimes I cut loose and get loud and don’t follow proper manners or act like a lady.

It’s great for morale, to just spend some time not worrying about consequences and just doing whatever I feel like doing.

I’ve found the best way for me to keep myself balanced is to knock myself off balance once in awhile.

~Thanks for reading – LC

Meditation and Breathing Practices

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Meditation and breathing practices are a good way to begin building your awareness of the body and mind to begin the transformation into a healthier, more positive you. Focusing on breathing helps you be in the present as opposed to dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future.

Mind/Body Connection

Interconnected and interrelated are the heart, mind, and instincts. I know when I get stressed my body gets tense and I’m uncomfortable, disturbed. This then sets off a chain reaction that finally culminates in bad eating habits, frustration, and bursts of anger. Once I realize this is happening, I focus on my breathing, my heart lightens, and I begin to relax a little.

Our breathing is connected to our emotions. We breathe differently when we become emotional. Once you become aware of your breathing, you can better control your emotions.

Being aware of my breathing is what helps me successfully make it through my day. It’s something I have to practice daily. When I practice relaxation and breathing it eventually becomes second nature. Bring the body and the mind will follow. I believe the opposite to be true as well. Since they are related, it would only make sense that if you bring presence of mind, the body will follow, too.

Healthy mind, healthy body = healthy body, healthy mind. Just work on whichever part is easiest, and with enough devotion the rest will fall in line.

 

Breathing Practices

Why practice breathing?

  • Clear the mind
  • Distracting thoughts subside
  • Experience inner peace and relaxation
  • Feel refreshed

So much of our stress and tension comes from the mind. When the mind stills, happiness and contentment arises.

The benefits of practicing breathing can ultimately be one of the greatest things you can do for your body, soul, and peace of mind. We can connect to our emotions through our breath. Since our emotions make us breathe differently it makes sense that we could control our emotions through breathing.

To elevate your presence of mind, become fully aware, and engage in the present moment, I practice regulating my breath. This helps me be present, or, “all the way there” when dealing with other people and situations in which I need to a part of. I’m easily distracted and my mind wanders a lot, which makes it difficult for me to engage in the present moment. Once my mind is right, my body soon follows. I’m then able to be of maximum service and fully present.

For more information on different types of breathing practices check out:

Breathing Practices and Pranayama in Yoga

and

6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less“.

 

Meditation

Why meditate?

  • To learn how to calm yourself when difficult situations arise
  • To achieve mental calm and peacefulness
  • To overcome external circumstances that distract from a feeling of “undisturbed”
  • Mental balance
  • Ability to control your mind

I’ve found, for me, the simplest and safest way to achieve balance in both my emotional and physical states, is through meditation, not medication. I don’t like pills and I don’t think it’s right for me to have to depend on them for my sense of well being.

My mental state has dramatically improved since I began practicing meditation and breathing exercises. It helps me to get my mind prepared and ready to tackle the day, and to be able to deal with any irritations that happen on a daily basis.

I highly recommend practicing meditation for at least 8 minutes a day for a life that knows peace and comprehends serenity. For more information, check out this article about the positive effects of meditation.

Take care of yourself and respect yourself. Give yourself every advantage you possibly can. It’s a scary world out there but it doesn’t have to get you down! Stay positive and invest in yourself!

 

~Thanks for reading – LC

 

 

Adaptability

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did things our way?

Wouldn’t life go much smoother if everyone were on the same page and thought things should be as we like them to be?

Unfortunately, that almost never happens. One of the many things I’ve learned in my recovery is that my serenity is directly proportional to my level of acceptance.

Even though you can’t always control outside occurrences, you do have control over how you deal with it. You can overcome what life throws at you once you learn to adapt to situations and work through your inner conflicts.

But how does one do this? With a little open mindedness, faith, and in some instances professional help.

It’s human nature to do what it takes to survive. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for our ancestors amazing adaptability. I find it fascinating that there are humans all over the world, living and thriving in just about every climate. Our brains enable us to assess the world around us and make choices based on our surroundings.

Adapting to change is something I struggle with. I don’t exactly “Go with the flow” very well. One of the things that helps me cope with change is my openness to new ideas. I like the idea of learning new things and new ways to do things, even though I feel a little resistant at first. I’m learning to look for more than just one “right way” and to consider multiple perspectives.

Acceptance

I think acceptance to change has a lot to do with the ability to adapt. And willingness. Accepting things I can’t change instead of being resentful toward them, having an open mind, and having the willingness to try something a different way are all key factors in being able to successfully adapt to change.

It takes a lot of energy to try and rearrange life to suit yourself. Sometimes you might find you need to change your core principles to keep up with changes in the both the world, and life in general.

It can feel almost impossible to change a feeling. An open mind is a key factor in being able to adapt to change, and openness to new ideas and the idea of learning something new are two concepts which in turn can shift thinking. It’s possible to gain new positive experiences with an open mind but it will take a lot of time and effort.

Nothing worth having comes easy. You have to be willing to work for it.

Check out this article on 12 ways to adapt to anything life throws at you.

~Thanks for reading – LC