Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Photo Credit: Photos by Mavis via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Photos by Mavis via Compfight cc

In this life there are always going to be problems. After all, as I have been reminded of time and time again, we live in a broken world full of broken people. And broken people hurt each other – sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident. The bottom line is, everyone gets hurt at some point. And I’d venture to guess if someone insists they have never been hurt, they were probably either the ones inflicting the pain, or they are lying to themselves. I suppose there could be the rare case that it’s actually true, but if it is, then it truly is a rare case indeed. It would be nice to be able to say that the cause of all my problems rests squarely on the shoulders of others, but unfortunately for me, often I am the cause of my own problems.

So, if I am the problem, what can I do to fix it? And shouldn’t that make things easier to fix? I mean, the only person I can really do anything about is myself, right? Alas, it’s not that simple. It’s actually easier to see the problems in someone else’s life because I’m not part of that life, and it has no bearing on me. I’m a neutral party. But the reality is, it’s not my job to see everyone else’s problems. It’s my job to work on me. So, how what does that mean for me?

First things first. Before I can begin to fix a problem in me, I have to actually know that there is a problem. My experience has been that I don’t really see my own problems. I’m too close to the issue. That’s where friends come in and help. I am blessed to have at least 2-3 good friends who are willing to point out to me when I have a flaw in my thinking or if I am overstepping my bounds. I trust these friends with pretty much every aspect of my life – which is saying something because I don’t really trust people easily. But because I trust these friends, I know that if they are taking the time to tell me I have an issue, I listen. I don’t like it. But I listen. I might get angry at first. But I listen. I listen because I don’t want to be one of those people who refuses to see the issues in my life and stay in the same unhealthy patterns. But what do I do once I have seen or someone has pointed out to me that there is a problem?

I think there are three things I need to do in this situation. After all, God gave me a brain, and He gives me the tools necessary to learn and grow.

1) I need to review what has been pointed out to me or what I suspect, to determine the truth in the situation. Sometimes a perceived problem, isn’t truly a problem. But often it is. So, first, I need to examine the facts. Who is telling me I have an issue? Is it someone I trust or someone I just happen to know? Is it someone who tends to find problems in everyone or someone who usually thinks well of people? Am I just feeling insecure, or do I have facts that back up my suspicions? This could mean that I need to ask for honest feedback. It definitely means I need to get into God’s Word to see what He says. The main point here is that I need to be willing to take an honest look at what has either been pointed out to me, or I have a suspicion about.

2) Once I have determined that there is actually an issue, I need to be willing to admit that there is a problem. Admitting the problem means that I recognize the issue, and now I want to do something about it. I don’t want to be one of those people who says “Oh yes, I have a problem, but that’s just who I am.” That’s not a healthy outlook. If I have a true issue, then it is something that can be remedied and worked on. Yes, I have a personality, and that personality makes me who I am, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if I allow myself to be ruled by my personality, then I am not looking out for the best interests of others. And as a child of God, I am called to care about other people. Philippians 2:1-4 says:

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (NASB).

I don’t have the luxury of thinking only of myself. I have a responsibility to look out for the interests of others. So, if I have an issue, I need to admit to the issue. It doesn’t mean an overnight change necessarily, but it does mean I need to admit there is a problem.

3) Finally, I need to address the issue. I need to take steps to improve in that area. Sometimes that’s difficult to do because perhaps the action or thought has been so deeply ingrained that it takes a long time to make the change. Making the change quickly isn’t required. Committing to making the change and then acting on that commitment is. Some things I can do to help me with that is to ask someone to help hold me accountable. Knowing someone is going to be asking me about my progress means I am more likely to take action. Another thing I can do is get into God’s Word and see what He says about that issue, and also memorize Scriptures that can help me stick to my commitment. I can also keep a journal to track my progress.

I do need to remember, though, that making progress isn’t necessarily overnight. I am going to have times when I fail. At those times, I need to remember that this is a process, and instead of giving up, I need to get up and keep moving forward. My experience has been, when I have actually done this, I have walked away feeling better about myself and have been better able to help others in the process. And really, isn’t that what I’m here for – to help others?

What about you? Do you have other ideas for how to make changes in your life? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo Credit: vandan desai via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: vandan desai via Compfight cc

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

So, today you’re getting a “special edition” blog posting because my schedule was off yesterday due to traveling. Today, I am writing from the comfort of my hotel room in Rochester, NY. It’s a balmy 25 degrees here on this beautiful, sunny day. I am a little surprised at how calm I am, to be quite honest. I tend to be a nervous traveler, but today, I am just feeling calm and relaxed. I guess that’s a good thing. Anyway, while I’ve been traveling, I’ve been considering how different I am seeing things these days – especially as it relates to doing things out of the ordinary.

A year ago, I would not have traveled any distance alone just because I felt like it. I would have wanted to go, but I wouldn’t have had the courage to take any action (and in fact, didn’t). For so many years, I have made excuses about why I couldn’t come back to NY. It was always something like, “I don’t have the money right now” or “I just don’t have time to go.” And while those things were somewhat true, I do believe that I could have figured out a way, had I possessed even a small amount of courage.

That’s why this trip is such a big deal to me. I think in a way, it’s proof to myself that I have changed. I have grown, matured, and become more adventurous than I have been for so many years. It’s like there was a part of me buried inside that I had hidden away because I thought I could never be that person again. And over the past few years, and especially in the past year, I have slowly begun to dig that part of me back out.

See, when I was younger, I wasn’t this scared person who was unwilling to try anything new. I was actually quite outgoing and loved to go new places, meet new people and do new things. Somewhere along the way, what with the hurts and the disappointments, that person disappeared, and only a shell of her was left. The longing inside of myself was buried so deeply, I couldn’t see it. But lately, staying in the same patterns, doing the same things day in and day out, has become monotonous and is no longer palatable to me. I have started to feel the pull of getting outside of my normal and being more spontaneous.

So, on this trip, I haven’t really done a lot of planning of what or who I will see and when. I have only made a few plans, and the rest of the time, I intend to take things as they come. I want to fully experience this trip in a way that I haven’t before. I want to go home feeling like I have been renewed and have a new outlook. This is the biggest thing I have done in so many years, and I am excited to see where my “adventure” takes me. So, with that, I’m off to enjoy myself on this journey I have undertaken.

Your turn! Do you have things that you’ve wanted to do, but you’ve made excuses about why you can’t? What can you do now to take even a “small” step toward that dream, goal, or desire?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

By Chris Sardegna

By Chris Sardegna

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I like things my way. I make plans all the time, and when things don’t go the way I planned, I get a “little” upset. I’ve gotten somewhat better over the years, as I have come to realize that not everything is going to go my way, but those little frustrations still arise when things don’t go quite right. That’s when I find I have to be careful. My tendency at those times is to whine, complain, explode or any combination of those. And when that happens, I want to just stop what I’m doing and quit. I wish my first response were to take it in stride, but most times, it’s not.

For instance, this morning, as I was running, my app decided to kick me out mid-run. Now, I was having a good run this morning, and it really irked me that my app stopped working. I couldn’t get it to let me back in, and boy was I mad. I had a few choice words to say about my phone and the app at that point, and they weren’t ones I am willing to repeat. I’m not proud of myself for those moments, but those moments do happen. At that point, I almost said, “Forget it! I’m done running today!” Thankfully, I’ve come a long way from where I was a few months ago, so this little setback didn’t stop me from going forward. So, instead of quitting, I just finished my run. I knew when I had started, so I knew when I was supposed to run until, so there was no reason I couldn’t finish. But that one little frustration almost made me throw in the towel.

The truth of the matter is, there are always going to be things I can’t control. My plans are always going to have unexpected things thrown at them, and that’s OK. In fact, Proverbs 16 has a lot to say about man’s plans. I think the one that sticks out to me the most is Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (NASB). I can make all the plans I want, but if that’s not where God wants me to be, I’m probably not going to end up there. In some ways that’s a frustration. I mean, I want things to go my way. I make all these plans, and they’re good plans. So, why would God want me to go a different way than what I planned? But on the other hand, it’s also a comfort. I don’t have to worry if things don’t work out the way I planned because God is directing my steps. I need to trust that He knows better than I what is in store for me. He has His own plans and purposes for my life, and as a follower of Him, my job is to follow where He leads. That’s comforting because it means I don’t have to figure it all out on my own. I am never alone on this journey. I always have a Helper who is ready, willing and able to direct my steps.

So, as I go forward on this journey through life, my goal is to become the type of person that takes the unexpected and looks for the opportunity in it. I don’t just want that to be a one time thing. Rather, I want it to become a characteristic of mine, so as I make my plans, I am striving to become flexible, resilient and willing to change direction if necessary.

How about you? How do you handle the little frustrations in life? Are you like me, and like to have things your way? Or are you more open to things going a different way?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

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I am the type of person who likes to celebrate the extraordinary. I like it when I can say, “I have finally reached my goal!” And there is nothing wrong with that. But, so often, I am so focused on getting to the “big win” that I fail to notice the “small wins” that come my way. Or, I am so disappointed in the fact that I didn’t reach my goal, that I fail to realize how far I’ve come.

I attend Weight Watchers meetings most Saturdays. One of the things they mention is to look at the non-scale successes. It’s so important in the midst of losing weight to realize that there are other wins besides seeing the numbers go down on the scale. For instance, I have experienced all of the following in the past month, which in the past, I would have ignored, but now, I want to revel in the fact that I have had these “little” successes:

  • I haven’t craved sugar in a month. This is probably the most significant success to me. I have a major sweet tooth – to the extent that once I start eating sugar, I will want to keep eating it until it’s all gone – hence the binge eating I have been known to do. But, to my amazement, I realized the other day, that while I have actually eaten sweets on occasion, I have not craved them, but even more amazing to me, even when I ate them, I didn’t want more. I was satisfied with what I had. And, while before, if they were available, I would partake, but now, I have actually been able to turn down sweets when offered to me. I didn’t even want them. That is truly a success to celebrate.
  • I am able to be more active. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be able to run 3+ miles in 45 minutes, I would have laughed in your face. There was no way I believed that I could do that. I could barely walk without losing my breath. But today, I can run over 3 miles in 45 minutes. I don’t huff and puff when I walk. I don’t lose my breath as much when going up stairs. And, last week, my friends and I participated in a dance mob video for our church. Me! I did that. And I loved it! I so would never have done that even a month ago. What’s not to celebrate?
  • My confidence level has grown by leaps and bounds. I have a tendency to fade back into the shadows. I don’t want to give anyone the chance to reject me. For some reason, I have convinced myself that I am not worth knowing and that anyone who gets to know me will eventually just walk away or reject me outright. But something I have noticed, as I have been moving forward in my journey toward healthiness,is that I have started to become more outgoing. I will admit, this has been a long time coming – and it didn’t start in the past month, but I have noticed a huge leap in the past month toward being the outgoing self I was when I was younger. And I am finding, I really like this side of me. I like that I am not so afraid to open up to others. I love that I am more willing to talk to people I don’t know. I like that I am becoming more confident. That’s a win worth celebrating.
  • My clothes are all getting too big. Yesterday, I put on a pair of pants that I have worn for the past 4 years (no, I am not exaggerating). I went to button them, and they were so loose, I realized that I could actually take them off without unbuttoning them. A month ago, they were a tight fit. And, I have mixed feelings about the fact that I now have to retire them, since they were my most comfortable work pants. But the reality is, I am so pleased to see such progress. I can finally take them out of my wardrobe, and replace them with a new pair of pants. I never expected to see that happen so quickly. Talk about something to celebrate!

That’s just a few of the “small” wins that I’ve had recently. I could probably go on and on about little successes, but the point here wasn’t to brag on what I’ve accomplished (well maybe a little), but rather, to point out, that those my not seem like “big wins” in the grand scheme of things. And I still have a ways to go to get to where I want to be. But I think if I wait until I reach that goal without taking the time to celebrate the “little wins,” I do myself a disservice. The only way to get to my big goal, is to meet little goals, and I need to be willing to celebrate those wins. Because, ultimately, those small steps are what are going to lead to my “big win.” They give me the encouragement to keep going.

What about you? What “small wins” do you have to celebrate? What things are you missing out on celebrating because you’re so focused on reaching that “big win?”

~Until Next Time

Karen Signature

0218141009Last night I attended a webinar being led by Jacqueline Carly. She shared with those who attended some of the things we busy women have challenges with when it comes to eating healthy and getting exercise in. Most of what she shared, I have to be honest and say that I already knew. (Of course, we also know that knowing isn’t the same as doing!) But there was one thing that she talked about that resonated with me. She told us to tell our “story.” Not the part of how we got stuck where we’re at, which is often what I tend to dwell on. Instead, she said, “What is the story behind your goal? Why is it that you do what you do?” She wanted us to look at what we need to take into account and then look at the total package of what we will need to deal with – but without the excuses that many of us, me included, tend to use to keep us from moving forward. And that made me think because I so often get stuck on the where I’ve been, that I forget where I’m trying to go.So, here is my story. I have a goal to lose weight. I have about another 80-85 lbs to lose before I am at the goal range I’d like to get to. Jacqueline called this an “outcome goal.” This goal is dependent upon my behaviors. So, what are the goals I have set, so that ultimately, I can get to my end goal? Well, first, I need to eat healthy. One goal I have set is to eat in a healthy manner as much as possible. For me, that has meant cutting out most of the processed foods, eating foods with less sugar, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Do I fail sometimes? Absolutely! But that isn’t a reason to quit. When I fail, I acknowledge it, and I get back on track.

Another goal I have set, is to get more movement in. So, as I have mentioned before, I started running again. I run three times a week, and I do Pilates three days a week. I also fit in at least one 15 minute walk per day most days. I have found that, unlike the past times that I have tried to do this, I am totally loving it this time. I love the feeling I get after I get done with a particularly difficult run or workout. I feel like I have accomplished something, and that I am making a difference in my life – a positive difference.

The results of just these two goals has been that since January 11, I have lost a total of 15 lbs. This isn’t the first time I have tried to lose this weight. I have gone back and forth for so many years, I was beginning to think I’d never succeed. So, what is different this time? Why am I succeeding more this time than I have ever done before? It took me a little while to figure it out, but I think I know at least part of why I am succeeding. Always before, I was focused on those numbers on that scale. If those numbers didn’t move, I got frustrated and wanted to give up. In fact, I often stopped trying so hard. I’d go through the motions, but I hated every moment of it. And then I would binge on foods that were not healthy for me. It was no wonder I couldn’t succeed. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I would say that I was doing it for my health, but I didn’t really mean it – I was lying to myself. This time, though, I am truly doing it because I want to be strong and healthy. I want to set a good example for my girls. I want to leave them a legacy of healthful living – not just physical, but emotional and spiritual as well. I want to be my best, so that I can give my best.

The other reason I think I am succeeding more this time than I ever have before is, I have a much stronger support system. I have friends who help hold me accountable, and I them. They push me to go when I want to give up. They help me to stay on track. I had heard it before, and I always thought I had a strong support system, but the reality was, I didn’t. I had competitiveness and sabotagers. Getting healthy is not a competition. It’s making positive changes that in the long run affect me and all those around me in a way that brings about the best in us all.

So, that’s my story. This is why I do what I do. I truly believe that this is my year, the year when I make the positive changes that have been so necessary. I’ve already started, and the little successes I have seen so far have made me hunger for more. I look forward to what the rest of this year will bring.

What about you? What’s your story? What makes you get out of bed each morning and do what you do? What are your goals? I’d love to hear from you.

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature