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Are You A Procrastinator?

For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. 

Procrastination isn’t about being lazy. Being curious about the underlying issues of procrastination, rather than judging the behavior, can be very helpful. For instance, delaying action can be a symptom of feeling that our action won’t be acceptable. 

Dithering may be a result of not knowing how to take the first steps or not having the innate capacity to divide a large project into smaller, manageable pieces. 

Before judging, consider that a person may seem to be procrastinating when they’re actually struggling with mental health issues or a difficult home environment. 

People don’t want to fail or disappoint. There are always barriers, whether we see them or not. 

Affirmation: I will take a deeper look at procrastination.

Coaching questions: Why do you procrastinate? How do you judge others who procrastinate? What’s a step you’ll take to discover the underlying cases of your procrastination? 

Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash 

Tightly Hugging Hope

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. President John F. Kennedy 

Today is the fifty-eighth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If you were an adult living in the United States at that time, you undoubtedly remember the day very well. As a nation we felt not only sadness but hopelessness that this could happen in our country. 

When our world looks bleak and we feel like we’re drowning in grief, pain, regret, or anger, sometimes we must rely on hope to get us through. Tightly hugging hope to your chest is a way to stay on top of what has/is happening in your world. 

Affirmation: I’m always hopeful.

Coaching questions: What do you need to be hopeful about? Where do you find hope?

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Are You Showing Gratitude For the Little Things In Life?

When trying to go to sleep, instead of counting sheep, try counting things you’re grateful for— in alphabetical order. AJ Jacobs, author

With Thanksgiving on the horizon (I’m particularly mindful because my daughter and her family are coming for a visit), it’s not too early to consider, really consider, the little things for which we’re grateful.

 AJ Jacobs, author of Thanks a Thousand, is just the guy to emulate. His book recounts his mission to thank every single person who played a part in making his morning coffee, over one thousand people. His journey took him from coffeeshop barista to the Colombian coffee farmer to the lid designer. Oh, he also thanked the lady from pest control who kept the bugs out of the coffee warehouse. 

Scientific studies indicate that showing gratitude is good for our physical and mental health. Keeping a gratitude journal helps patients in their recovery and health-care workers’ stress levels decline by an average of twenty-eight percent. We humans are naturally negative. Spreading gratitude is a way to make the world a better place. 

Affirmation: I’m grateful.

Coaching questions/request: Who have you thanked today? What difference does it make when someone thanks you? Think of someone who rarely receives appreciation and thank them.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash 

How Full Is Your Bucket?

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly. Unknown

Fill A Bucket is a children’s book by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin with the premise that we all have an invisible bucket which holds good thoughts and feelings about ourselves. When someone does something nice for you, you do something nice for them, or you do something nice for yourself, your bucket fills. 

I’ve used the bucket analogy as a Life Coach for years. I frequently noticed my client’s bucket was empty by how they sounded or what they said. Then, I’d ask them, “What will you do this week to fill your bucket?” At the beginning of the holiday season, it’s easy to deplete our own buckets while working hard to fill the buckets of others.

This month and next, keep tabs on your bucket. Notice when it’s getting low and either fill it yourself (a nap, a massage, a walk) or ask someone to help you fill it (please clean up the kitchen, take me to dinner, drop this off at the post office). As we fill the buckets of others, the joy in our buckets goes up but we need to watch the balance. 

Affirmation: I strive to have a full bucket as I fill the buckets of others.

Coaching questions: How’s your bucket doing? Is it full or empty? What can you do this week to fill up your bucket? 

Photo by Samur Isma on Unsplash 

Let’s Work For Peace!

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. General Douglas MacArthur

Like most citizens in the United States, I’m thanking Veterans on this annual Veterans’ Day. My relatives have fought in all the USA wars (except the Spanish American) since and including the Revolutionary War. I currently have a step granddaughter serving in the US Army. I have profound gratitude for the service of our military throughout the ages. 

I believe the best way to honor our service men and women is to work for peace. Peace within our families, our communities, our country, our world. I pray that someday we will eliminate the need for armies. I know this is Pollyanna thinking as there is much hatred and greed in the world. However, if we don’t work for it, pray for it, desire it, peace has no chance. 

Affirmation: I work towards achieving peace.

Coaching question: What can you do to bring peace to your corner of the world? 

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash 

Standing By Those Affected By Alzheimer’s Disease

I want to tell you how much I miss my mother. Bits of her are still there. I miss her most when I’m sitting across from her. Candy Crowley, Broadcast Journalist

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at that time there were less than two million people living with the disease; today there are more than six million.

In my book, MOM’S GONE, NOW WHAT? I share stories of loved ones who, like Crowley, missed their mothers most “when I’m sitting across from her.” I also learned from caregivers that one of the important things friends can do to help is to listen, just “be” with them. Also, do what you can to ensure they’re taking care of themselves by dropping off simple meals, sitting with the loved one so their caregiver can get exercise or run errands, and let them know they’re not alone.

Affirmation: I care about those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and their families. 

Coaching question: What role do you want to play in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease?

How Scary Is It For You To Take A Break?

Sometimes doing nothing makes way for everything. Hiral Nagda, Lifestyle Coach

I find solace in the discipline of routine. At times, I fear that once I step away, I’ll lack the mental fortitude to return. 

Last week, however, with the encouragement of my health coach, I broke away from all of my routines. I left my computer at home when I went on a week-long, out-of-town trip to attend a family wedding and other celebrations. I abandoned my daily food journaling, my gym routine, and my daily practice of writing (blogs, columns, book). I barely cooked. 

I discovered that taking a break from the disciplines of my life caused me to renew the value of their importance. I missed the results I receive from vigorous exercise, eating well, challenging my brain. I enjoyed my time away but, now that I’m home, I’m looking forward to getting back to the structures of my life.

Affirmation: Taking a break gives me perspective.

Coaching questions: What might you gain from taking a break from the routines in your life? What gives you solace in your life? 

Happy (almost) Halloween

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween. Unknown

I think it’s interesting that Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, the evening before All Saints’ Day. In ancient times November first was the new year. 

During the Celtic festival, it was believed the souls of those who had died returned to visit their homes, and those who had died during the year journeyed to the otherworld. Masks were worn to avoid being recognized by ghosts and it’s in those ways that witches, hobgoblins, fairies and demons became associated with the day. 

When large numbers of immigrants entered the U.S., particularly the Irish, they brought Halloween with them. This year I’ll be Trick or Treating with my, partially Polish and Italian, grandkids; a rare occurrence these days. I’m so excited!

Affirmation: I embrace our rich history and the cute kids who love this holiday.

Coaching question/request: What traditions did your ancestors bring with them? Enjoy your Halloween!

My granddaughter, Marcella, is ready for Halloween (the bunny was recently adopted to his forever home).

Are You Savoring the Moments of Your Life?

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life. Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author

Living in the moment makes people happier because most negative thoughts concern the past or the future. As Mark Twain said, “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

I believe, however, that savoring the moments of our lives doesn’t come naturally. Our society asks us to rush ahead, plan for the future, strive for the gold ring. To live our lives to the fullest, we need to learn the art of savoring by choosing a moment to savor everyday.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness, explains. “(Savoring) usually involves your senses. This could be while you’re eating a pastry, taking a shower, or basking in the sun. You could be savoring a success or savoring music.” 

Affirmation: I will take a few moments each day to savor what I normally rush through or take no notice of.

Coaching question: How will you tweak your life so you don’t miss the precious, unplanned-for moments?

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash 

It’s Not Too Late To Build A Better Brain

The brain remains plastic throughout life and can rewire itself in response to your experiences. Sanjay Gupta, MD

Think you’re an “old dog” who can’t learn new tricks? Think again! 

Up to the mid-1990s, we believed that brain cells died over time, never to be replaced. Sanjay Gupta, MD, author of “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age,” says, “Now we know differently. The brain remains plastic throughout life and can rewire itself in response to your experiences.”

In other words, mentally challenging yourself creates new neurons and neural connections. Always wanted to take ballet lessons, learn how to speak Spanish, play the piano, or write a novel? It’s never too late. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth the effort—you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and build a better brain!

Affirmation: I will challenge myself to learn something new.

Coaching questions: Is there anything you’d like to learn or experience? What’s holding you back? Imagine yourself mastering a new skill.

Photo by Jesse Martini on Unsplash