To Change Your Life, Change Your Perspective

I was walking along the beach the other day doing what so many of us do—thinking about the things in my life that I want to fix—when I noticed a crooked Christmas tree someone had planted in the sand. The tree was leaning far to the left and had an uneven shape. crooked tree

I wasn’t in the best of moods, so the crooked tree irritated me. I looked away and kept walking. But when I glanced back a few moments later, the tree appeared perfectly straight.

“Got it,” I said out loud, acknowledging the lesson in perspective that I was meant to receive. The tree hadn’t changed, but my vantage point had. Similarly, I needed to shift my perspective on my life.

upright tree

Immediately, I began thinking about my many blessings. And as I did, I began to feel happier, kinder, more of the world and less caught up in myself. I began to see possibilities rather than roadblocks, beauty instead of annoyances—all because I simply chose to be grateful.

Anyone can learn to do this, and it only takes a few minutes. Do it daily and it’ll knock your socks off.

How to Practice Gratitude

  1. At the beginning of each day, list five things for which you’re grateful. This positive start can carry through the day, helping you view challenges as opportunities.
  2. During the day, if there’s a bump in the road, take yourself back to your list. Notice how this feels in your body and how being grateful affects your words and actions.
  3. Just before bedtime, give thanks again for your blessings. You can do this in your head, but I think it’s more powerful to write them down. This end-of-day practice programs your subconscious with positive, empowering images and helps you create more positivity in your life.

You Are Not Broken

When I hear people say that we’re all broken, I think about the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The misfit toys—all unwanted because of their imperfections—live on an island, away from the rest of the toys. They wait on the island  until their ruler finds a child who will love them.

We all have imperfections. Many of us go through trauma at some point in our lives. And all of us have moments where we’re not our best selves. These experiences are painful at best, excruciating at worst. But they don’t mean that we’re broken.

What if, instead of holding onto our brokenness, we saw ourselves as whole, as being in the process of getting stronger? What if we trusted that somehow, we could get through this?

My experience during dark times is that I needed to process the emotions—the anger, the fear, the sadness—but every day, I also needed to find some light. It was the light, the abundance of love in my life, that gave me the certainty that I’d somehow get on the other side of the situation, even if I didn’t know how.

We don’t have to be perfect, and we don’t need to be happy all the time. We just need to be doing our best in the moment, understanding that our best will look different when life’s going well for us than it will when we’re suffering. And if we’re relentlessly grateful for the brightness in our lives, we’ll bring more brightness in.

Misfit toys see themselves as not worthy. They’re focused on their flaws and are destined for unhappiness. And because they’re so fixated on flaws, they tend to magnify those flaws.

But those who find a spec of light even when they’re in jet-black darkness are taking an important action, one that will help them recover and become stronger. By finding a bright spot and focusing on it, they’re magnifying that brightness.

 

Try this:

Be Relentlessly Grateful

People who regularly practice gratitude sleep better, experience more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness, and have stronger immune systems. Nightly gratitude helps reduce anxious thoughts that keep us awake at night, and sets the stage for a more positive next day.

Before bedtime each night, write down three things you’re grateful for. In the morning, review your list before you get out of bed.

 

New Habits, New Life

Daily habits. They may be hard to form, but once they become routine, we hardly think about them. A case in point: brushing your teeth. Remember how hard it was to learn to put the toothpaste on the brush without getting paste all over the counter, to grip the toothbrush properly, to move the brush in the right motion? And now, it’s something you just do every day, often while doing something else.

Having a daily habit that’s ingrained in you can be a good thing. But what if it’s a habit that’s keeping you in your present situation instead of pointing you to where you want to go?

Forming a habit

Forming a new habit doesn’t have to be daunting. All you’re doing is one small thing every day, taking a baby step. Here’s how to form a new habit and help yourself move closer to the life you want to create for yourself.

  • Set a goal. Make it specific and measurable. For instance, lose 10 pounds in two months or start a new career by the end of the year. Choose one habit that will help you move closer to your goal. Just one habit. It could be drinking eight glasses of water per day or replacing one hour of TV time per day with an hour learning a skill that you’ll need in your new career.
  • Start now. Start this new habit right away, and be consistent about it. Don’t take on more than this—just focus on this one thing.
  • Track it. Tracking habits help us build momentum and see our progress. Plus, some of us get a high from checking a box off every day. Keep track in your planner, on your phone, or however else works for you.
  • Repeat. You’ll know the habit is ingrained in you when you feel like it’s become so integral to your day—like eating lunch or putting shoes on—that you don’t have to track it anymore. That’s when you can stop tracking it and start working on another new habit.

 

Becoming Aware of Habits

Try to become aware of the habits that are keeping you in your current situation. To help yourself deepen this awareness, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Do this for five minutes, then switch the toothbrush to your dominant hand and finish brushing your teeth. Think about your other daily habits with this awareness in mind

What my Clients are Saying

“Wendy helped me uncover habits that were holding me back and form new ones that are helping me create the life I want.”

–Mark C.

Need more help identifying habits that are no longer serving you and replacing them with ones that move your closer to your ideal life? Book a coaching session with me today.

Six Ways to Go Old School This Summer

IMG_6539For most of the year, we’re in a rush.

We’re filling up our calendars. We’re accomplishing. We’re wearing ourselves out.

Instant gratification takes too long.

—Carrie Fisher

But in the summer, we seem to do one important thing right: we slow down. It’s the time of year when we reconnect with ourselves and others. We take vacations. Breathe. Enjoy our lives.

And then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over, and we spend the rest of the year looking forward to our next summer vacation.

This summer, let’s take an opportunity to slow down a few days a week—and then take some of these habits into the rest of the year.

Six Ways To Go Old School

When it comes to relishing my life, my mantra is “go old school.”

Here are six old-school ways to help bring back the magic of childhood and reconnect with ourselves, our friends, and our family. Have old-school practices that bring back your childhood and make you feel centered? Please add them as comments.

  1. Have family dinner at least once a week. Light a candle to make the meal feel special. Eat slowly. Sit around the table after the meal and visit.
  2. Walk barefoot. On the grass. In the sand. At home.
  3. Ride your bike instead of driving. Walk to dinner. Stop by a neighbor’s house on the way home and visit.
  4. Go on a picnic. I like to bring a picnic basket for the sheer romance of it, but you can just bring a blanket and a sandwich if you want. And when summer is over, move the picnic indoors. I turn off all the lights and picnic in front of my fireplace.
  5. Put down your electronic devices and play cards.
  6. Build a campfire. Sit around and tell stories, sing, or play games.