3 Easy Steps to Writing Your Personal Mission Statement

I was always a “go with the flow” kinda gal.  An Eternal Optimist.  In my youth, I was so open to whatever was coming, that I didn’t seize opportunities.  I stumbled upon them.  Or rather, they stumbled upon me.

This is a great way to live…when you’re 20, but not as effective beyond this.  At some point, we need some direction.  A plan.  A goal.  Something to live up to and become.  So this year, how about, instead of “going with the flow” of life, you create a mission and purpose for the year?  Nothing too specific.  A “theme” if you will.  C’mon…I’ll help you!

The key to making a great mission statement is to keep it short and to the point.  You should be able to memorize it pretty quickly.  It will provide just enough information to help you determine when you’re on or off track.

  1. What are you committed to?  I am committed to…
  2. How do you achieve this? By…
  3. Why do you do this? So that…

That’s IT??? Yup, that’s it!!

Here are some examples of what some might look like:

I am committed to living more healthfully this year by eating and preparing more natural foods and increasing physical activities.  I will do this so that I set a good example for my children and feel better.”

I am committed to improving the quality of time spent with my family by having more family meals together, day trips and more focused attention when communicating with them.  I do this so that my family knows I love them above all else and strengthens the bonds we have with each other.”

I am committed to investing in my own personal needs by meditating every day, reading more often and planning alone time.  I do this so I am able to be more fully present in the other areas of my life and feel less stress.”

You can expand on these if you wish, but make sure you can remember your statement.  It should be broad enough to allow for many opportunities that contribute to your mission.

Post it in places where you’ll see it regularly.  Share it with friends and family.  WARNING: Do not get upset or angry when you make choices that conflict with your statement.  It’s not about perfection, it’s about the big picture.  If you are aiming to eat more healthfully, and you do this most of the time, don’t feel bad when you opt for that special treat.  It’s a marathon, not a race!

You can create statements for any area of your life: romantic, professional, parenting, spiritual.  It can also be a fun exercise to create a “couple’s” statement or a “family” statement.

Here’s mine for 2014:

“I am committed to stretching my comfort zone this year by taking more risks and meeting new people.  I will do this so that I accomplish more successes and learn more about myself and others.”

If you’d like to share yours or offer any tips you have, click above in the “comments” section just below the title.  As always, thanks for being here!! <3


5 Tips to Achieving your 2014 Resolutions

Happy New Year!! Ahhh, the New Year.  Time to answer the age-old dreaded question…”What’s your New Year’s Resolution?”  The Couch Potato says, “I’d like to lose 28 pounds and run a 5K…in March.”  Uummm, hmmm, ok.  The Jaded One says, “I don’t believe in resolutions.  It’s just another day.”  Oh, well, ok.  Then there are the Greater Middle.  We want to lose weight, get fit, save money, enjoy life, etc. etc. etc.

Déjà vu?  Didn’t we all say that LAST YEAR?  Worry not!  This year CAN be different.  Here are my five tips to achieving this year’s resolution.

#5 – Accountability Buddy – We need some skin in the game!  If you just think about what you want to change and improve, there’s no risk in failing.  No one else will know, right?  C’mon, I don’t know about you, but I can rationalize just about anything that disrupts my comfort.  Find someone who will hold you accountable and see through the BS you’re dishin!

#4 – Clear Measurements – Those wishy-washy, half-assed, conveniently vague resolutions are lame.  “I just want to be healthier” or “I just want to love more” are weak UNLESS you have clear and concrete measurements.  You must answer the HOW then answer it again and again and again.  How do you want to be healthier?  Lose weight. How are you going to go about doing that?  Working out at the gym. How often will you go to the gym? 4 times a week. How are you going to measure your progress? BMI and weight loss. See where this is going?

#3 – Make it Fun – If you didn’t work out for 9 of the 12 months last year, what on earth is going to make that different this year?  It’s got to be fun.  If you hate vegetables, that’s not the route to take to lose weight.  If you love Designer purses, vowing to give them up isn’t going to save you money (because you’ll buy them anyway).  Like jumping on a trampoline?  That’s a great workout…get one.  Wanna save money? Brown bag your lunch and make your own damn coffee for eight or twelve weeks, then reward yourself with the Coach bag you would have bought anyway!

#2 – Several Small Steps – Resolutions have become a pass/fail test.  So if you committed to working out 4 days a week, then skip one, or two, you have now FAILED!  Game Over!  Maybe next year.  Where are the cheese and crackers? Stop this!  Make a list of several small steps you can take every day that contribute to your ultimate goal.  If your fuzzy, wishy-washy goal was to be healthier, make a list of actions that contribute to this.  Eat a healthy breakfast, walk for 20 minutes every day, eat a salad as one of your meals, etc.  This way, if you skip some, you’ve got others that you’ve accomplished, so you don’t feel like a total failure.

#1 – Resolve to Succeed Program – A little self-promotion here…This program that I’ve designed will do all of the above and TONS MORE!! This customized 90 day coaching program will ensure that you achieve your resolutions and goals this year and give you a framework to achieve any others going forward.  Bottom line- I am going to bust my ass making sure your goals become your accomplishments! Here’s the link to learn more:  http://authenticlifechronicles.com/services/resolve-to-succeed-program/

Ultimately, if you are in the great minority and can follow the first 4, you can make this happen for yourself.  But if you suspect that you will rationalize yourself right out of it, (raise your hand if you’ve been there!) then check out #1 and enroll in my program!  No matter what, I wish you NOTHING BUT SUCCESS in 2014!!

Share below your resolutions and the steps you’re going to take to achieve them!

2 Must-Do’s Before New Year’s Day

As you prepare to end the chapter for 2013, is it how you hoped it would finish?  Did you accomplish all you set out to this year? Are you disappointed in missed opportunities?

One thing I have learned over the years:  Beating yourself up about past shortfalls, changes NOTHING.  So, I hope you’ll focus on what you HAVE accomplished.  Because surely you’ve grown in some way; intellectually, professionally, emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, somehowally?

Next week will focus on how to REALLY accomplish the resolutions and goals you set for yourself.  But let’s not jump ahead.  I want you to do two things this week.

  1. CELEBRATE WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED – We are all just doing the best we can, right?  You made efforts of some sort.  You focused your attention on some good and productive things.  How about you just be nice and say to yourself, “Self…YOU ROCK!”  Write down (really, I’ll wait for you here.  Go get a pen & paper.  Like now.) Write down at least 20 good accomplishments you made this year.  Did you feed someone, make a donation, lose a pound (even if you found it and a few of its friends later), show patience, learn something new, give someone a hug?  This is easy.  You could go WELL BEYOND 20, right?  Yay You!!
  2. NOW WRITE DOWN THE GOALS YOU HAVE FOR 2014 – (if you listened to me before, you’d already HAVE the pen & paper! I’m waiting!!)  Don’t worry about making them look pretty or organized, just brainstorm a bit.  Make a list.  How would you like your life to be different and better next year? I’ll help give you some clarity next week, but prepare a bit now. Go ahead and add to it throughout the week if you’re so compelled, but save the list for next week’s post.

There are times we need someone to light that fire under us, and there are times we need to be kind to ourselves and recognize all that we do right!  This week, as we close out 2013, let’s be kind.  Be kind to ourselves.  Be kind to others.  Be thankful for what we had, for what we have and for what we have yet to attain.

Here’s wishing YOU a Very Happy, Healthy, Loving and Authentic New Year!!  I’d love to hear some of the wonderful things you’ve accomplished in 2013, so please comment below and brag a little, won’t you?

7 Tips to Avoid Family Drama this Holiday Season

Winter, and the holidays that come with it, often result in joining family and friends in confined areas.  with alcohol…and grudges.  This is perfect if you’re a producer on the Jerry Springer Show.  Less so if you’re not.  Nothing brings out passive-aggressive behavior like a good party in the winter.

Here are my 7 Tips to Avoid the Holiday-Drama-day!!

  1. Don’t TAKE the Bait – Those digs and comments are MEANT to get you going.  Let them roll over you like a cool breeze on a hot day!!
  2. Don’t DROP the Bait – Those digs and comments are better saved for a more appropriate time.  You know damn well that you will resolve nothing today, so save it for a private conversation that doesn’t drag everyone else into it.  You know you’re right (at least partially), take that high road.
  3. Set the Example for the Young Ones Present – You are teaching them how to behave in this world.  Whether they are 3 or 23.  Show them the appropriate way to behave with class and dignity.
  4. Easy on the Alcohol – This liquid truth serum doesn’t always support high-roading.
  5. Remember What’s Important – Is getting that barbed-wire comeback in worth ruining a holiday?  Probably not.
  6. Is This How You’d Like the Story to End? – If you or the person you’re spatting with was run over by a reindeer after the gathering, what are the last words you’d like said?
  7. Arrange for Back-up – Ask your partner or a trusted family member or friend to help support your planned “high road” travel.  Ask them to get you to the nearest “rest stop” should you appear to be diverting from the plan.

I know a lot of this is easier said than done, but traveling the high road gives you a great view of those who travel on lower ground.  This means you’ll have some great stuff to talk about AFTER the party!!

Let it roll and just Love this holiday season.  Plus, won’t it be cool to show how “above all that” you are this year?

If you MUST share juicy family drama, please feel free to comment below. 🙂

26 Things I’m Thankful For

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”  -Alphonse Karr

Let any anniversary of loss be a reminder of all there is to be thankful for.  Here are 26 gifts I’m thankful for:

  1. I am thankful for my children
  2. I am thankful for my family
  3. I am thankful for my friends
  4. I am thankful for my enemies
  5. I am thankful for the future – whatever it may hold
  6. I am thankful for every mistake I’ve ever made
  7. I am thankful for laughter
  8. I am thankful to have known incredible people who have passed
  9. I am thankful for the ability to walk and run and play
  10. I am thankful for VIP’s
  11. I am thankful for my insecurities
  12. I am thankful for wine
  13. I am thankful for my pets
  14. I am thankful for a warm home
  15. I am thankful for chocolate
  16. I am thankful for my material possessions
  17. I am thankful for books
  18. I am thankful for stars in the sky
  19. I am thankful for kind strangers
  20. I am thankful for my childhood hometown
  21. I am thankful for my imagination
  22. I am thankful for struggles and challenges
  23. I am thankful for memories
  24. I am thankful for the capacity to love
  25. I am thankful for the sun
  26. I am thankful for change

There were moments of pause, but honestly, I could have continued on.  And I shall. I encourage you to create your own.  When you take a moment to be thankful, the sun just seems to shine a little brighter.

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!”            -Henry Ward Beecher

Won’t you comment on those things that YOU are thankful for?  I’m thankful for you…whether you comment or not.  <3

Highway to Happiness – 12 Tips to Driving Safely This Season

Not as catchy as The Twelve Days of Christmas, but… It’s a busy month, so I’m trying to be extra diligent about keeping my posts short and relevant.  This holiday season typically involves a LOT of traveling.  I’m here to help keep the middle fingers on the wheel.  I want to keep you, and everyone else on the road with you, safe and happy.  Here are my Top 12 tips:

  1. Plan extra travel time.  This is the most important tip.  This one step alone prevents road rage AND reckless driving.
  2. DO NOT travel in the left lane (aka: passing lane) if you aren’t, in fact, passing anyone.  Some drivers will weave in and out of traffic to get where they’re going more quickly.  You’ll keep yourself, and everyone else, safer, if you give faster drivers a straighter path.  Let the “Staties” take care of them.
  3. Be cautious when washing your windows when there are cars behind you.  This creates a domino-effect of drivers being momentarily hindered while driving.
  4. Be patient with travelers (damn foreigners!).  Honking a horn at a traveler uncertain of where to turn does NOT improve the situation.  We’ve all been that person.  Be nice!
  5. Use your blinker/directional.  Letting others know your intent keeps everyone informed, and therefore safer.
  6. Don’t drive when you’re sleepy.  This is incredibly dangerous.  Pull over and nap for 20-30 minutes.  This is usually enough to recharge you.
  7. Don’t use cruise control on wet surfaces.  There is a greater likelihood of hydroplaning when doing so.
  8. Wear your seatbelt and make sure your passengers do too.
  9. Check for (and correct) any brake or blinker light issues.  It is incredibly dangerous to follow a person with perpetually lit brake lights or no lights at all.
  10. Have a map as a back-up.  GPS isn’t always 100% accurate.
  11. Plan your route – know the tolls (if any) so you can have money ready.
  12. There are enough A**holes on the road…don’t feel obligated to join that group.

Just remember your destination.  We all just want to get where we’re goin to see the people we’re lovin’.

Safe travels readers!!  Comment below with any tips you have to keep travelers safe!!

Merry Christmas v. Happy Holiday’s

This debate has reached ‘Black Friday at Walmart’ proportions!!  I have just one question:  What the hell is wrong with people???  I don’t think “inclusiveness” has incited such chaos since African-Americans, Women and Same Sex Marriage supporters have demanded equality!!

I consider myself a Christian, and as such, celebrate Christmas.  I also consider myself a loving human being, and as such, appreciate and respect those incredibly wonderful people who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Nothing.

Most of the people I know celebrate Christmas, but many do not.  Out of respect for those who do not, I will use the “Happy Holiday’s” expression or the one specific to their beliefs.  If I KNOW someone else celebrates Christmas, I will wish them a Merry, but if I’m uncertain, I will wish them Happy Holiday’s.

Does being inclusive have the potential to make others feel discounted?  If there were only a few females in a male dominated field, and a guest speaker, aware of this, addressed the group as “gentlemen”, would that be rude?  Ya think??  If the speaker instead addressed the audience as “ladies and gentlemen” would the men feel slighted?  Only if they’re idiots.

I know this is a touchy subject, but to be honest, I’m just not clear why!  I have no personal objection to people saying Merry Christmas or any other holiday-specific phrase.  What irritates me is how ANGRY people are about the whole topic.  Should someone really be saying Merry Christmas with spite on their tongue?  Doesn’t that contradict the teachings of Jesus?

There are so many more important topics, in my humble opinion, to debate on.  Why would people want to waste such energy, so negatively, on a season that is supposed to be about loving and appreciating others?  There’s room for all of our holidays.  Let’s spread cheer, not hate.

Comment below and feel free to disagree…but one rule…you MUST share one tradition, based in love, that you enjoy partaking in during the holiday season.  (Happy Holiday’s Readers!) 🙂

When ‘It’s All About Me’ Isn’t a Bad Thing

It’s tough being you, isn’t it?  Think for a moment of all the people who rely on you:  Partners, kids, parents, siblings, bosses, co-workers, customers, clients, friends, family and neighbors.  Did I miss anyone?  Are you sure?? I didn’t miss ANYONE???  What about YOU? Do you rely on yourself?  Of course you do!  But how often do you take action on something that serves only you?

Would you run a marathon without preparing your body for it with proper nutrition and exercise? Of course not, yet, isn’t this what you do in life?  You serve all these people, subsisting on caffeine, skipped meals (or fast food if you’re lucky), and minimal sleep.

The word “Selfish” has really been dragged through the mud.  Its connotation is always negative.  Yet, what are you advised to do in an emergency landing of an airplane?  That’s right…place your oxygen mask on BEFORE assisting others.  Nobody is holding up the “Selfish” sign then; they’re too busy getting oxygen!

Giving is important.  Helping others is crucial to feeling contributory.  But you can’t run this marathon of good will if you aren’t taking care of yourself.  This means doing things that directly support you and your well-being.   There are some rules though:

  1. Schedule It – You have to make it part of your day. Every day. Some days it may only be 15 minutes, but do not skip it.
  2. Give Yourself Permission – You can’t waiver on this.  We all have those ‘bottom feeders’ in our Pond of Life, who will take and take and take.  You have to stand up for yourself despite the complaints of these scavengers.
  3. Communicate – Those around you need to know when “You Time” is.  This way they know you are not to be interrupted, barring an absolute emergency.  If that 30 minute bubble bath is your time, make sure your housemates know to keep out.
  4. Don’t Justify – Finally, don’t feel like you need to justify this time to every person in your life.  Sharing this information should be on a “need to know” basis.  A simple, “I’m sorry, I’m not available then…” will suffice.

Energy is like a muscle.  In Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz’s book, “The Power of Full Engagement”, they liken energy, and the need to recharge, to physical muscles.  Overuse of a muscle without allowing enough time for recovery results in soreness, swelling and potential injury.  The same is true with the energy you expend serving others.  Without recharging, you are risking your own health and well-being.

So whether your selfish recharging is 30 minutes of reading, a night out with friends, cooking with the family or a 3 day weekend alone in a cabin, just own it.  C’mon…all those people are relying on you to be your BEST you…they deserve your best, but more importantly, YOU deserve your best. Comment below how you like to recharge and spend your You Time.

Santa Is Watching You Too

With the holiday’s approaching, we all have a tendency to get a little, ummm, hmmm, well….bitchy.  This means not only do we get a little snappy with the ones we love, but we also get less tolerant of people who irritate us in some way.

And let’s face it: there are a lot of people with the propensity to irritate us.  Like the clerk at the grocery store who can’t properly explain why an item rang up wrong.  Or the sales associate who explains that the item you purchased was NOT part of the advertised sale.  How about that dumbass in the passing lane doing 60mph?  The co-worker with coffee breath who likes to talk up-close and personal?

We all have peeves that hit our “bitch-button” like a kid playing whack-a-mole.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we need to act on our impulse to lash out.  When we are distracted and overwhelmed, (common holiday emotions), we forget that people, ALL people, have feelings; battles; struggles.

Here are some tips to keep your Grinch at bay this season:

  • Plan shopping trips ahead of time and bring a list.
  • Expect to only get half of what you hope to during each shopping trip.
  • Purchase as much as you can online.
  • Create a Holiday Planning Calendar and schedule each task (decorating, shopping, cooking, baking, invites, etc.). (check out http://www.wincalendar.com/2013-Word-Calendar.htm)
  • When interacting with others, ask yourself what you could do to make their day better.
  • Eat healthy before you start your tasks, and bring snacks on every shopping trip.
  • Know a friend, neighbor or co-worker that celebrates the holiday’s differently from you?  Learn more about it and make a gesture that honors their traditions and beliefs.
  • Smile.  Even if through bared teeth.

Regardless of which holiday (if any) you celebrate between now and January, be the best version of you.  You’re being watched: By Santa, by the Elf on the Shelf, by God, by Karma or maybe just by that little kid who’s watching how you treat others.  Be kind and considerate, even when it’s hard.  Almost anyone can be kind and considerate when it’s easy.  Don’t judge, don’t hate…you’re better than that.

You know the drill…comment below with your thoughts and any tips YOU have to keeping your ‘crazy tucked in’ this holiday season.  Then get started on that calendar!!

Who’s in Your Circle of Influence?

“You are judged by the company you keep.”  I recall hearing that old adage frequently when I was growing up.  And while there’s certainly truth to it, I think it is also true that you are influenced by the company you keep.

In fact, one study, headed by Rose McDermott of Brown University, found that participants of the research were 75% more likely to become divorced if a friend was divorced and 33% more likely to end their marriage if a friend of a friend was divorced. (Read the full article here: http://fowler.ucsd.edu/social_network_effects_on_divorce.pdf)

Numerous other research has continually supported this “contagion” theory in other behaviors as well, like obesity, sexual behavior, and pregnancy, just to name a few.

Considering these findings, might there be benefits to this influence as well?  What would happen if we surrounded ourselves with people who had attributes we wanted to cultivate for ourselves? For example, I have selected those in my innermost circle very carefully.  These are people I admire.  Often, these people have strengths in areas I’m trying to improve in myself.

We all have aspects of our personalities that can dim our greatness. By surrounding myself with people who embody the greatness I’m in search of, I am putting myself in the ‘contagion space’.  I observe them, I’ll ask questions, and then I’ll try to emulate those characteristics in a way that fits with who I am and who I’m striving to be.

There are also great public figures that can serve this purpose for you.  Who do you admire? Check out their websites, books, videos and podcasts.

Take a moment to write down 3 aspects of your personality you’d like to improve on.  Really write them down (we talked about this last week, remember?)  Now who do you know, or know of, that could help you improve in this area?

It’s never too late to become the person you were meant to be!   Who do you admire?  What have you learned from this person? Tell me in the comments section below.

If you would like to partner up and work on living a life by design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com