When it comes to learning how to relax there are a few things one must do to achieve a peaceful relaxed state. If there is one thing that can mess with our minds when we’re trying to relax its guilt. To feel guilty because we are taking a break can absolutely ruin our efforts in relaxing. Why? Because “busy” is the norm in this day and age. “Busy” is acceptable and at times “busy” is how we measure our days. Let’s give permission for our mind and body to let go and loosen the tension.
What does busy mean anyway?
Why would we need a definition of busy? Because it helps us understand if we really are busy. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says ‘busy’ is: engaged in action, occupied. My definition of ‘busy’ is this: ‘Busy’ is yearning to do things you want to do without having the time to do them. The difference between the two definitions is this: when I’m ‘engaged in action’ with an activity I want to do, I’m not ‘busy’, but when I want to do something I can’t because of running errands, etc, then I am ‘busy’. You might need to read that again to let it sink in. Where do you lay right now with ‘busy’?
How to relax?
How do we relax so we have the freedom to work on the things that bring purpose into our lives? Or on the flip-side, how do we not think about anything and just be?
Men are pretty good at being able to turn their minds off. My husband and I will be having coffee, talking right along then five minutes of silence go by. I ask my husband what he’s thinking; and he says, “Nothing”. Seriously? Mark Gungor, author, and motivational speaker has an excellent and hilarious way of describing the differences between men’s and women’s minds. For instance, men have this thing called the ‘Nothing Box’. I mean, what the heck is that? You can watch it here; so funny yet true.
5 essential tips for us ladies to learn how to relax
But how do we ladies go about finding relaxation when so much pressure is put on us daily and even socially?
1. Change environments
Escape from the environment that is causing you to constantly think of your to-do list, or the problem you’re facing. For instance; for me, I need to step away from the house. Because I’m a stay-at-home-mom I live in my work. So when I’m at my house it’s natural for me to always have a project. For short-term results, I’ll go to my favorite store and wonder. I didn’t say buy stuff, just window shop. For long-term effects, we get out of town; and for my family that means camping.
If you’re stuck inside there are a few things you can do to escape. You can find a space that is only yours; a closet works, the laundry room, even a corner space that says you. Make this space a place for your soul to regenerate. Get some amazing wall art and lose yourself in the picture, find inspirational quotes or scripture and post them on the wall, decorate with string lights, put splashes of your favorite colors throughout, and be sure to have something cozy. Make this a space you can’t wait to escape to.
2. Write things out, this is how.
Writing all the crud or to-do list down on paper can lessen the power it has in your mind. When it’s on paper, it makes something that was a big deal in our minds, easier to digest. We, humans, tend to let our minds get away from us. I personally enjoy taking a clean sheet of copy paper, grabbing a pencil, and drawing a circle. From the circle, I create branches of all the things I’m thinking about, then I break those branches into smaller do-able bites. A journal works too.
Speaking of journaling. Writing freely helps too. Ask yourself thought-provoking questions that can get to the meat of the busyness. Here are some great questions to get you started.
3. Converse with God
Talking with God helps to release the chains and give them to Him. Did you catch what I said? “Talking with God, not at Him or to Him, but with, like a friend talks with a friend. He wants a relationship with you, he wants to hear your side of the story, and he wants to help you. All you need to do is talk with Him.
For instance, I escape to my favorite walking place and pray while I’m walking. For me, hearing my voice speak rather than trying to sort it all out in my mind helps me focus on the conversation. Then I stop talking and just listen; this gives me a breather and a chance for God to breathe into me. I enjoy Jesus Calling as a nice devotional to help hear His voice.
4. Watch a good show, read a book, or listen to instrumental music
When we are entertained it gives us time to relax and just be. It’s a chance we get to wander out of our reality and into a story. Whether it’s a good movie or book, get the comfy clothes on and kindly alert the family to not interrupt your time.
Here’s a tip, be picky of what you put in your brain. If you’re looking to just feel good and float on a cloud, don’t choose The Silence of the Lambs; maybe try La La Land, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Steel Magnolias. Ask yourself what you want to get out of a show before you start channel flipping. And yes, it’s true, what you put in your mind affects how you think, and how you think affects how you act. Be careful of what you put in your mind, you could be inviting darkness in.
Instrumental music is an extremely effective way to relax. Find a track you enjoy. When I get stressed I turn to Soaking in His Presence by William Augusto. He does such a great job of putting me in the right frame of mind. This music is also amazing to pray with. Love it!
Creativity gets your mind off the stress and into a relaxed state of being. Entrepreneur.com has a great article on the benefits of putting our creativity to use. There are scientific studies on how it can reduce stress. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that when you “lose yourself” in the composition of a song (creating)…, you are essentially entering a healthy flow state. No wonder I feel so great after I create something. Try experimenting in the kitchen, rearrange your furniture, color, sew a baby quilt, and create a playlist…we all have creative abilities. Tap into your creativity and make it a hobby.
There are other obvious tips to relax like taking a hot bath, getting a massage, taking your time in sipping a fancy coffee, or watching the birds, my last bonus tip is to set boundaries for yourself and those around you. Don’t let others steel your relax time, protect it with all your might. If you’re at the coffee shop and there is an annoying person by you, get up and move.
I challenge you to tap into at least two of the above suggestions this week to relax. Ask yourself what do I need to let go of to give myself the time I need? Know how to slowdown and be less busy so you can be your best!
How to live your dream life starts with looking at one word in a completely different way, this one thing can be a huge game-changer in how you move forward. To help paint this picture let’s look at a movie.
In 2018 the movie I Can Only Imagine debuted and has made over $85 million. The song I Can Only Imagine hit radio stations 19 years earlier. The story behind the song is based on the life of the songwriter, Bart Millard. When the movie came out, I personally thought it would be a boring movie. Two years later, I finally watched it and my emotional response shocked me.
Why did the movie grab me so much?
This past summer I was in a funk. We had just come off a 3-week vacation camping at a nearby campground…kudos to my husband who stayed there the entire duration, but for me? My busy brain came home now and then to get things done around the house, to tend to appointments, and so forth. The campground was only 30 minutes from home. I just couldn’t settle down. It wasn’t until the last week that I could finally sink into a vacation. Have you ever experienced something like that? I was actually mad I couldn’t submit to vacation.
Since I did most of my chores while on vacation when we got back home I didn’t have any motivation to do anything! Needless to say, I needed to reset my brain and escape to a movie.
As I was flipping through movie options my finger stopped at “I Can Only Imagine” and thought, what the heck; it’s Sunday, why not watch a Christian movie.
From the start of the show, I was into it. The crazy thing about this specific movie was how emotional I found myself. My heart was jumping from one character to another. One minute I was sad for Bart, and the next I was upset about his mom. I was sad his dad was so confused. Then my heart ached for his dad when he was trying to figure out the Bible on his own. And then back to Bart of how he heard from God and pursued to live his dream life. But what was I really crying about?
The truth comes out
Deep emotions surfaced from my own past, and as I peered closer to the anchor which has kept me down, I saw a four-letter word written on it. Through my blurred teary eyes the word “can’t” became clear.
Throughout my life, I have heard “you can’t” from people I love and respect, from people I have trusted, and mostly myself. With ideas and dreams I’ve shared, I was hopeful for encouragement and instead got, “that’s silly”, “you know how hard you’d have to work?”, “you don’t want to do that”, “do you even qualify to do that?”… “you can’t”… these words not only were verbally spoken, but the Enemy whispered them in my ear too. They pretty much say, “don’t even try”.
Not only did I hear it from my family and friends, but I heard it on the media. “You can’t do that without this.” “You can’t lose weight without this system and support team.” And the list goes on.
To add more shine to the word “can’t”, my body was telling me I can’t! My digestive system got so messed up that I’m unable to eat a “normal” diet. I actually have to think about what to order at a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for me to eat. Other aliments loitered and set up camp for months and then years crippling my ability to sit for long periods and walk without pain.
I was really starting to believe I couldn’t do the things I had ideas about. It felt like no one took me seriously or believed in me…even me. Do you know what that’s like?
As I reflected on the movie and looked closer at the word “can’t” I realized something. Do you know how some people get motivated when other people tell them they can’t do something? Then you turn around and the next thing you know they’ve achieved that very dream someone told them they couldn’t do! From a Christian perspective take a look at the configuration of the word “can’t”. What do you see?
This movie showed me something I’ve missed for so many years. If you want to l live your dream life, the next time someone says you can’t, look at the letters of the word very closely. You may just be thanking them for that. Simply said, anything is possible with Jesus.
Stress has touched everyone; knowing how to manage it is something we can all get better at. Just look at our world in the early 2020’s. Ouch. Let’s get this straight from the get-go, stress management is a skill. Managing stress is something we learn and practice over and over again. Whether we need help with managing work stress, health stress, stress with parenting, social stress, or stress when moving; let’s hone in on how to get better at it with 5 of my favorite stress management tips!
Fix it, please
Years ago I accidentally deleted my entire website. Yeah, ‘File Not Found’ stared at me in the eyes. My stress level went from three to a hundred in a matter of milliseconds. As a result, about 5 seconds later Worry settled in, and in a matter of 60 seconds, anxiety settled in.
Furthermore, because I did my own website work, I couldn’t just call a web person and say, “Fix it please”. All this hard work…GONE. The “undo” button or back arrow was pointless in this case. I tried it. Do you ever have times like these? When you ask yourself, “Why did I just do that? Did that really happen?” Wishing there was an “undo” button?
It’s funny when these stressful mistakes occur and we believe for a split second, maybe it will go away and fix itself, or everything will go back to normal if I just close my eyes. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this.
Hubby? Are you awake?
Above all, what really put the icing on the cake was that this website disaster occurred right before bed. Like sleep was going to happen! My brain was fried. Knuckles locked. Fingertips deaden. The courage to push the keys on my keyboard was in deep jeopardy. As a result, when I did find the strength to push buttons, I immediately checked my backup. Well, guess what, it wasn’t working! My ears got hot and my gut started to cramp. Stress management tips to the rescue, please!
Talking this situation out with someone is a great stress management tip to start with. My husband was sleeping already…not that he knows anything about websites…but I needed someone by my side, to listen to my predicament. Through the years I’ve found healing when I talk to someone about an issue. When we “vent” it’s like we release the problem from our minds and put it out in the world for the world to figure out. Maybe the listener can relate to how to deal with the subject. I see stress as a pressure cooker. When there is too much pressure, we need to open the cap to let some steam out.
When no one is there
Since my husband was sleeping, I didn’t want to disturb him; he has enough sleeping issues as it is. With no one available, I folded my hands and closed my eyes tight, “God, I’m freaking out. I made a mistake and I’m not sure how to fix it. Please help me dig deep and figure this out.” And then I prayed again. God is always awake and He’s available.
What’s next? The size of my problem.
After giving it to God, I needed to do something else for a minute. All I wanted to do was escape, to get out of the room, away from the keyboard. In the black of the night, I slide on my slippers, grabbed a towel, and walked outside. The dark sky was peppered with a twinkle. It was a welcoming reminder of how small my problem was and how big the world stands. “Was anyone else in their backyard stressing out like me? Probably.
As I folded my towel into a neat square, I anticipated sitting on it to just be. The shadowy trees surrounded me, but not in an intimidating way. No bugs, no noises, just stillness. I watched my breath let go. The quietness blanketed my shoulders. The earthy air filled my nose. And I felt a peace embrace my soul. There at the moment was God telling me all was going to be okay.
The value of this stressful night revealed to me the power of perspective. If I didn’t get stressed out, then I wouldn’t have prayed, I wouldn’t have felt the nudge to go outside, I wouldn’t have encountered nature in its nightly glory, and I wouldn’t have experienced the healing powers of my backyard.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, like your backyard, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep.* And you wonder why I craved to get outside…
The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones.” Nature has the ability to heal and to soothe the soul. Going outside isn’t just for kids to play in, but for us to pray in. You’re going to want to check out my post on Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors.
Focus on the calm
Consequently, I know this is hard, but when you encounter a stressful situation, I challenge you to focus on calming down immediately. In doing so; you will gain a better perspective of the issue and will respond in a wiser manner. After a good 15 minutes, I wasn’t worried anymore. Whether I had to start from scratch or come up with a different solution, it was going to be alright. That night in my backyard I stood up, shook my towel out, and walked back inside. My feet slid out of my slippers and I went to bed. I actually slept.
5 Stress Management Tips
#1 Talk it out.
#2 Pray without ceasing
#3 Go outside and take a breather
#4 Rest to be your best
#5 Back-up everything that’s important to you.
My take away
The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I got up extremely early to mend my mishap. With a well-rested body and mind, I was diligent to figure this out. Hence, venturing into the back-end of my website was scary but I succeeded and found an older backup. Thank the Lord! Later that day I took a long walk amongst the trees while being grateful for my state of being. Practice how to manage stress. Next time you’re stressed out, take out these 5 stress management tips and see how you do. You may be surprised at how simple it works.
Before you go, check out these other great posts on stress.
Problems are going to happen, be ready for the next one by learning these three problem solving strategies people often forget! In life, we are going to be dealt some hands we may not be able to control, but we can adjust how we react to it. Let me share a personal story with you before we get to the 3 problem solving strategies.
Years ago, I went sailing in a Butterfly sailboat. This sailing trip wasn’t just for leisure, but for clarity in life and direction. Engaging in the outdoors helps me put things in perspective and take a step back to look at the picture I’m in. This particular solo sail was different than my previous marine quests. It was in the fall, in beautiful Michigan. Gray skies, inconsistent wind, and cool temperatures circled me, but I went anyway.
My husband was working on his computer while I ventured out on the water. As I left I said, “Honey, please keep an eye on me. If I tip over, I might need your help,” He replied back with, “Yeah, no problem. Have fun.”
Off I went. The wind pressed my face. The sound of the wake soothed my spirit. This is just what I needed, then WHOOSH! A gust of wind caught the sail. I quickly loosened my grip on the rope. My skin prickled as I stood vertical for a few seconds; then the boat crashed back down where I almost tipped over backward! “That was a close one,” I said out loud. I continued to get random gusts. My grip on the rope ached.
A circumstance is a condition that accompanies a fact or an event. We all face circumstances (a.k.a. problems) in life. And we all are challenged by how we react to them. We can throw a fit, fight it, or blame everyone…but ourselves; however, our other choice is to tighten our belt, accept the challenge, and work through it.
In Psalm 16:8 David says this about circumstance, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (NIV) If only I practiced this throughout my life. I’ve been through many problems where I threw fits and blamed others…not proud moments of mine. But when I give the problem to God for him to figure it out, the circumstance isn’t as big as I make it anymore.
When the wind blows
With the wind howling and my grip weakening, I started to head back to shore. WHOOSH! The boom shot out! The rope burned my palms. I couldn’t control it. “Oh crap!” Into the water I went.
After fully realizing what just happened, and seeing that the wind was pushing the tipped-over boat. I looked to the shore for my husband. Eck-em’…I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm. Husband?
“Okay, I can do this,” I coached.
With all my might, I shimmied up the daggerboard with my lifejacket on…this is a lot harder than it seems. From past experiences, I knew I had to stand on the board and lean back to get the sail out of the water. The only problem was that I was by myself and was worried the wind would grab hold of the sail and the boat would take off. As soon as the boat flipped up-right, I clinched the edge. Sure enough, the wind got a hold of the sail and I quickly got my body back in the middle of the boat. I took hold of the rudder and carefully managed the sail, but the wind gusts yelled at me. This was a bad idea.
My mind raced. I was about 150 yards from the dock. Whitecaps were forming. Darker clouds were approaching. And there was no way I could sail without tipping again. I looked to the shore for my husband. Hmm. Where was he?
“Oh help me God,” I prayed.
Then I got an idea, take the sail down and swim back.
3 powerful problem solving strategies people often forget
How is this making me feel? Who is this affecting besides me? What values do I have that are above this circumstance? What can I learn from this? How can I solve this puzzle of a problem? What are my options?
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) Discipline isn’t a bad word, it helps direct us. We have the power to discipline ourselves. We can discipline our tongues, actions, and even thoughts. To help us, we can feed on goodness…good music, positive movies, healthy conversations, healthy clean food, and the words and stories of the Bible. Even just a little bit can make a big impact.
We pray and ask for help while we try everything in our power to manage the circumstance. We give it all to God and let God be who He is, our Savior. Have you heard, “If we do our part, then He will do His”? Do what we can to move forward while praying for Him to do His work in you.
“You can’t be a prisoner of your circumstances.”
Wrapping problem solving strategies up
I swam the boat back to the dock that day. I faced my problem; in fact, I jumped right into it. It was humbling, it was cold, and it was hard, but I used what God gave me and saw Him help me through it.
This sailboat experience is just a small physical example of how we cannot control all the problems that happen to us. I know my sailing event doesn’t compare to unemployment, infertility, sickness, loss, expenses, and broken relationships…or does it?
What is one small step you can do to help manage a problem you’re facing now?
Be sure to check out my other posts to keep moving forward.
If you were to ask Mark Twain how to get motivated, he’d say this, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started is probably the most difficult task ever. We know what we want to do, we can see where we want to go, but we don’t necessarily know how to start. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top three must-haves in how to get motivated to start anything.
Super important. Read this.
Before getting into the tips on how to get motivated, I want to address one thing. Fear. Fear can hold us back from…well…everything! The fear of failure is a big one. Unfortunately, our world measures success primarily based on money. So if the world saw you start a business and see that you didn’t make any money, then the world would say you failed. Not cool. However, the Bible says in Romans 12:2 to not conform to the pattern of this world but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind, it is then you will be able to test and approve God’s will for you, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
The Bible is truth, the world is broken. Your business that didn’t go the way you thought? Isn’t a failure at all. It showed the world that you had the courage to make something happen, you learned a tremendous amount about business, and you’re living a life without regrets; that is a whole lot of success that you can take with you where ever you go. Don’t be afraid to start anything, be afraid of not starting it. There are other ways to measure success and I encourage you to take a stronghold of these other ways, for if you only measure by money, you’re going to miss a whole lot of blessings. Read up on 5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers.
4 Critical Tips to Start Anything
If you jumped to this spot without reading the two paragraphs above, back up, and please read them.
1. Have a plan
Of course, I was going to say that. If there is no plan, there is no map. When the map isn’t in front of our faces, we won’t know what direction we’re going in. We could be going in circles for all we know…which has happened to me. In fact, I was going so fast around the circle, that I actually thought I was going somewhere. This creates busyness, and we all know being busy can be a trap. With that said, you may want to check out how not to be busy and How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers.
Take things one step at a time. The first step is to write everything down. I know your ideas are in your head, it’s time now to get them down on paper. For some of us, this might even be a scary thing to do. Draw pictures, use details; it can be hard to transform information from your brain to paper, but at least we can see it now. Using a planner helps, especially if it probes questions and helps you organize. Being organized encourages your mind to get clearer on where you want to go. When your thoughts are down on paper, your idea becomes real. Now that’s really scary. But to move forward, it starts with paper and a pencil.
2. Get organized
As I mentioned before, how to get organized is a huge step in getting motivated. The next step is to take all those things you wrote down and organize them into categories or to-dos. Organizing your ideas, the steps you need to take, the research that needs to happen, and the tools you need to acquire are critical to your success. If we take things one step at a time, we won’t get overwhelmed and will stay motivated.
Lastly, break down these tasks into do-able steps. I know you’re going to want to go fast, but there is no sense in going fast if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Step by step. With each step, we get a little more confident in what we’re doing. And with more confidence, comes the next step, then the next, and so on. Get the free printable on goals at my Freebies.
Speaking of confidence. A lack of confidence can completely stop you in your tracks. We all struggle with confidence, it happens to the best of us, but what differentiates the ones to move on and the ones who go nowhere is getting back on the horse. Here are some tips on how to build self-esteem.
3. Seek encouragement – big one for how to get motivated!
“Gotta start somewhere” is a great weapon to protect you from judgment and to help you stay motivated. When you’re trying to describe your dream or idea to someone and they just don’t get it, you’re probably going to get some weird looks and unasked-for opinions. Remember this with your kids. When they come to you and say, “Hey Mom! I’ve got this great idea to make popcorn bowls out of my old basketballs!” If you want your child to come to ask for your opinion in the future, be wise in how you react. The idea may stinketh, but they need to figure that out on their own.
Lesson one: tell someone you trust, who will give you encouragement…more on this in a minute. Lesson two; don’t say a thing to someone who may bash your idea into liver pudding. Remember, if someone comes to you to share an idea, this person came to you, they feel safe with you. They are seeking a green light. No matter what the idea they tell you, give them a high-five or an “Oreo Cookie” response: say something good, then your constructive critisim, then something good again! Anyone who drums up the courage to tell someone something dear to their heart deserves encouragement.
Encouragement from inspirational quotes
Inspirational and motivational quotes can also give you encouragement. Here are some great ones I look to often:
Super important about encouragement…read this please!
My ideas got hammered many times before I finally learned my valuable lesson of ‘pick who you share with’. I touched on this briefy above. The most hurting time was when I shared some ideas with someone I loved. You’d think that is the right person to share with, and sometimes it is, but those loved ones can be very critical. Parents, spouses, and best friends listen to me, please. You may think you’re helping, but you’re not. At this point, think before you speak, this isn’t your spotlight to steel with knowledge or ego, it isn’t a time to ask a million questions of how they’re going to do it, again, just be excited for them, let them have this moment and give them encouragement.
Getting worked up
The embarrassing time when I shared my idea was at a dinner party with my husband and his colleagues. Wrong time. I panicked really. Of course, at any work function, one of the questions people ask is, “Where do you work?” I should have known better and prepared for this. Why wouldn’t they ask? We’re all curious to know what people do and secretly compare our lives to theirs. We’re all guilty of that. In a weird way, this experience helped me know how to get motivated. Anyway…while we were sitting at the dinner table waiting for our salads, the butterflies started to flutter in my belly.
Here I was a stay-at-mom-home who was trying to start a blog. I wanted to say something important like I’m launching a new product. Everyone else has these big fancy things they were doing. My blog was just starting out and I wasn’t too confident about it yet. My hands were getting sweaty as the person next to me told us what she did. These people have awesome jobs. Me? I had a hobby. And the annoying part of this experience was that it was loud in the restaurant so you had to yell for anyone to hear. Go figure.
“What do you do?“
Yikes! My turn. “I’m starting a new blog to help people go after their true dream in life and do more than exist.” At the time my blog was domorethanexist.com. From my answer people just stared at me, which seemed like five minutes. Because no one said anything I felt like I had to explain myself. I should have stopped there. Not really knowing what I was saying I went on and fumbled, but tried to catch myself. Big “L” to the forehead.
When I was trying to explain the blog the expression on their faces made me feel so out of place like I had a bug on my face and they were trying to figure out if they should smack it or let it crawl in my mouth and choke me. All this was going through my head until I said my magic words “Gotta start somewhere, right?” All of a sudden, the bug jumped off my face and into their mouths, they couldn’t argue, they couldn’t judge. Those four words made all the difference, and who knows maybe they were jealous they weren’t in a position I was. Toast to that! Wipe to the brow.
Two quick lessons at the dinner party:
Know your pitch before you go to a dinner party
When you get that ‘bug on your face look’ use “Gotta start somewhere, right?”, they’ll simply nod their head and repeat, “Gotta start somewhere.” Try it, it’s funny.
Where do you get true encouragement?
Know who to go to.
This goes back to some of the things I just said. If you know the person you’re going to is going to be critical, don’t talk to that person. I know that’s going to be hard, because sometimes we have this weird emotional acceptance thing that goes something like this, “if Sally (the critical person) approves of my idea then it’s gotta be a good one. I’ll just keep asking her opinion on my ideas until I get a thumbs-up from her.” STOP IT! You’re playing the acceptance game, fold your hand and leave the table. If you continue to go to this person your self-esteem will tank.
Don’t have anyone? Talk to me! Seriously, send me an email and we’ll talk.
The Bible is full of encouragement. In a weird way, the Bible is not dated, meaning God speaks to us individually through His words no matter what year it is. One verse may mean something one day, then a year later that same verse may mean something totally different. He knows what you need to hear and when you need to hear it. You just have to be willing to read the pages. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).
Teachers, mentors, coaches, our kids.
Teachers are great encouragers, and so are mentors, coaches, and even your own children. Kids are pretty smart, they’re extremely observant. On a side note, just the other day, I was trying to figure out a new plugin for the website and it took me forever to figure it out, when in fact, I couldn’t get it to work. My son had asked how my day went and I told him I had wasted it on a plugin, but nothing got done. His response surprised me, “Mom, you didn’t waste your day, you learned what not to do!” I laughed, smiled, and said, “Right On! I needed to hear that. Thanks, Honey.”
If anyone can encourage you, it can be yourself. Gotta start somewhere. With that said, head over to my Freebies and download my top favorite affirmations. Depending on others to motivate you isn’t doing you any favors. How to self-motivate is a BIG bonus. Practice different ways that will teach you how to get motivated.
More sources of encouragement come from non-fiction books, YouTube videos of motivational speakers, stories from those TV talent shows, music, and even a stranger. When I first started out I got encouragement from Holley Gerth’s book, “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream“. I still reference it today. So good!
4. How to get motivated? Tap into courage.
In 2008 I started blogging. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it for that matter. Note the dinner party. All I knew was that I needed to start somewhere. In the various books, courses, and ‘how to blog’ posts I read over the years, I’ve noticed a common denominator; nothing happens until Courage is invited. I had to get the guts to try. “Gotta start somewhere” gives us permission to take a step forward, to try it on for a bit.
With courage it’s important to understand who you are. If you don’t know who you are, knowing how to get motivated is going to be tough. What makes you tick. Where you want to go. To learn more about yourself you’re going to have to make time for yourself. Embrace “me time”. Here’s a post on 9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself.
What is courage?
Courage is the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but we do it anyway. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) Gotta start somewhere.
When we put ourselves out there, people are going to judge. The magical element of courage is that we don’t care what other people think, we have a vision and we’re going to try our hardest to see that vision become part of the big picture. When people watch, give them a show. Show them how to move forward, how to stand back up, and how to live in freedom.
Those bug-on-your-face looks are beaming with curiosity or maybe jealously. Remember, everyone has their own opinion, and they are only opinions; it’s you who you need to believe in. Here are 5 Easy Ways to Build Courage & Confidence.
Wrapping up how to get motivated
I’m going to keep this to the point in a simple way. And if you skipped the whole post on how to get motivated, you might want to reconsider and go back and read, you may miss the blessing you need to hear to get motivated. In the meantime, here is the nutshell review:
Pray. Daily. In Jesus’s name. “Lord, light my fire within. What is my next step?”
Plan. Step by step.
Practice. Try your dream on, take it off, try it on again. Trust who you tell.
There is one last bonus idea that you can try to get motivated, and that is to dress the part. Simply put, play dress-up. How to get motivated? “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same.
Off-track? Want to know how to achieve goals for good? When our goals and declarations stutter to a stop, our proactive self immediately turns into a reactive being. We get into a vicious cycle of reacting to our circumstances instead of making things happen. I’m here to help you prevent that from happening. Learn my 4 repair tricks!
What ain’t gonna work
Forward is the right direction, no? As with anything in moving forward, it’s a lot easier to use a flashlight than to stumble in the dark. A key to knowing how to achieve goals is to understand what throws us off. What are your triggers and how do you defeat them?
Picture this; we start the year off strong. The first week we’re super motivated. The second week it gets a little harder. The third week something happens; we’re not sure what…but we veer off course; so much so we decide to set up camp. I’ve personally been there many times. Frankly, my old patterns are comfortable, they’re easy. But friend, there is something else I’ve learned; “comfortable” and “easy” ain’t gonna getcha where ya want ta go. So let’s learn more about what trips us up in the first place.
Here are the top stumbling blocks:
L = LIES we believe.
It’s too hard. Let’s face it, when things are hard ‘quitting’ comes to mind. This year quitting is not an option. Your goals need to be challenging, but they don’t need to be hard. There’s a difference. It’s called pace and workload. It’s too hard is a lie. Are you looking for an excuse to stop? When things get hard it is SO easy for us to quit. Here’s the thing, when you quit you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, and you just missed it because you gave up. Keep moving forward. When hard things are taken step by step it’s heck-of-a-lot easier to make things happen.
THE FIX: Break down your resolution and put a plan in place. Write down what you want to do every week, then every day, then every morning and evening. Get into a routine that helps you win. I don’t care how small the step is, you’re still moving forward. Make the day count. I created a mind map that will help you take things one step at a time. This is actually a great family activity to do; you’ll hold each other accountable!
A = ACTIONS WE DON’T TAKE.
There’s a lack of motivation. When I’m unmotivated I procrastinate. I wait until I FEEL like it. Well if I waited until I FELT like it all the time, nothing would move forward and I would have regrets. There are a couple of things I’m talking about. The first is to understand the purpose. Why must this get done? What space does it fill? What piece of my goal does this satisfy? The second is the FEEL part. This is a time when you pull up your bootstraps and put the emotions aside.
THE FIX: Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I get this done?” If your answer is ‘relief, amazing, good, a load off’, then that means it needs to happen…make it so. This is so incredibly good for your mental help and confidence.
Z = ZOMBIE GOALS.Sabotage #3
How to achieve goals is to have specific goals. The sabotage is that our goal is not specific. It’s like we’re walking around like zombies. Let’s say my resolution is to manage my finances better; I declare “I’m going to save money this year.” Then what? Ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Who is going to help me? What changes am I going to do? When am I going to review these things? Where am I going to go if I need help? How am I going to succeed? When you have the answers to these questions you have a better view of how it’s going to happen.
THE FIX: be specific when writing your goals, something like this: “I’m going to review my cash flow and budget every Thursday after work.” To help you out in the goal department I created a printable that you can get for free. Head to my Freebies.
Y-YELLERS get our attention.
We get distracted. Distraction is a HUGE sabotage! When our focus isn’t on our end goal we flounder around in circles. Some people get stuck in this pattern and find it harder and harder to break free. To break through this twister, we must intentionally turn away from the distracting force and focus on what lies ahead. I read an article a few years ago about the power behind just seeing the word “FOCUS”; it said that it can mysteriously snap us back on track. It sounds crazy, but I tried it and it worked for me.
THE FIX: when you find yourself getting distracted, recognize what is happening and remove yourself from the distracting environment. Write the word “focus” and place it in areas where distractions linger.
And…there it is…how to achieve goals
If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the acronym I used for goal sabotages was LAZY. Our goals fall short because we get lazy. Been there, done that! Another way to look at it is that you might say we get a “lazy eye”, not physically, but mentally. We lose sight of our WHY, why am I doing this anyway, we might ask.
The word “lazy” means: unwilling to work or use energy. Talk about a knife in the wound. Lazy isn’t a bad word, especially on your day off. But it can be used against you in all other states of affairs.
My perspective about personal goals and resolutions is this: no one is going to do it for you. If you want it, YOU have to go get it. Staying reactive to things in life isn’t life, that’s existence…you just exist. But when you use your knowledge, resources, talents, strength, and creativity to go after your own goals…that’s not only productive, that’s doing more than existing.
Take things step-by-step, check your motivation, use specifics when setting goals, and FOCUS. May you be filled with dreams, plans, and amazing goals for your soul.
If you want to simplify your life, there is only one thing you need to do. When people think of simplifying they generally think of decluttering, painting their interior walls white, and swapping out their tv for books. All those things are awesome but simplifying is so much more than organizing and making a trip to the donation center.
What does this look like?
If we could strip down our homes, our closets, cars, fancy hair colors, elaborate foods, and our swag what would you see? How would you feel? To answer those questions kind of depends on where you are in life. But no matter where you sit on this stripping down, we all have a common ground. We all have the same amount of time, we all need to have clean water to survive, we all have bodies to take care of, we all have drive and purpose unique to our own, we all have family (whether by blood or by friendship) and we all have a heart.
So when people come to me and say “I want to simplify my life”, I get excited for them and understand them. They are ready for change. For I know their main target, whether said or kept silent, is to find peace and joy in this chaotic world.
Simplifying does get them there, yet the more we uncover the rubble of our homes, lifestyle, and everyday living, the more we will see what’s happening around us and in us. It is then where we conquer and achieve the peace and joy we were set out to claim.
Do you want to simplify your life?
Okay, then, you want to simplify your life. Then, love. It’s love that will simplify your life. Love comes first. Love for God, love for your family, love for the things you enjoy, and love for the things you are grateful for.
That’s right, if you can just prioritize love, then everything else will take care of itself. It is what our Creator wants us to do, to love Him, and to love our neighbor…which is everybody in case you didn’t know. Love will get you places and put you on the path He has created just for you.
What do I mean by love?
I’m not talking about sexual love. Nor am I addressing the love of steak or red velvet cake. The love I’m talking about is genuine. Love is very complicated yet simple in form. I address the simple because it really is the little things that make such a big difference!
What is the simple form of love?
The simple form of love is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. This is so easy, yet so difficult because we get in our own way. When we can put ourselves to the side…happily…we will experience the peace and joy we’re after.
How do we learn to love in this way?
We look to Jesus. He came to earth to give us an example of how to love. Not only that, he then took on a brutal beating, got nailed to a cross by his hands and feet, and suffered a slow death of his earthly body…for you. He went through all of this to forgive you of your sins so that you can talk with God directly, and go to heaven.
Not long ago I did a little experiment and practiced what I just preached. It has been an amazing venture. And I have learned a great deal about how to simplify my life. I simply loved my neighbor. During this time I also discovered more about myself, an added bonus.
How do you love your neighbor to simplify your life?
You listen. Listen for keywords, for joys, for a cry for help. What are they going through, what are their needs, and how can you bless them, or put a smile on their face? If you were in their shoes, what would you want? Listen to your own heart, what stirs it, did something strike it, is there something you know you should do?
With my experiment, I did just that. I put myself in others’ shoes and it really changed how I talked to people and what I did with my time. And you know what happened? It took the focus off my own problems and I experienced joy and peace. Whoa!
Here are some ideas to love on your neighbor:
Mow their yard
Shovel their driveway and/or sidewalk
Rake their leaves
Make them a special treat
Make them dinner or buy them takeout
Drop over some flowers for no reason
Share your garden goodies
Send them a card
Invite them to go on a walk
Think of them while you’re shopping, pick up a surprise for them.
Wave to them
Smile and say hello
Pray with them, pray for them
Keep your eyes and ears open for how to lend them a hand
Listen to them when they need to vent. Then listen to them again. Remember they’re not looking for you to solve their issue, they just need someone to listen to them. So instead of giving them your free advice, ask them questions and be curious in what they are trying to express to you. Listening is a huge way to love.
To simplify your life life is not necessarily about stuff being organized neatly or having a blank calendar. Simplifying life is about making a shift of priorities and focusing on what your Creator would like you to focus on…love. He’ll take care of the rest. Here’s a great post about How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps.
Learn more about yourself so you can live a happier life. When we were born, we were born with an identity. One of the problems I see in unhappy people is that they don’t know who they are as an individual. I’ve been there in many seasons in life. Our job is to learn who God created us to be, to not only be happier but to fulfill our deepest need: purpose.
There are times in life when we don’t feel like we’re doing anything; we’re just going through the motions to get through the day. The tug-a-war happens when we want more out of life, we want to make a difference in society, we want a fulfilling life, but don’t know how to go about that because we’re stuck in a cycle of worldly pressures. How can we break away? We do that by understanding who we are.
Do More Than Exist
Do more than exist (DMTE) used to be the name of this blog. Those four words are pretty powerful and say a lot! Do more than exist can mean a variety of things. It can be about getting off the couch, starting a business, getting healthy, raising a family, volunteering, running a marathon, going on a mission trip, contributing to a global cause, or expressing your artistic ability. We all have our own unique meaning behind those four simple words. And we all have a fingerprint that is critical to our success. To do more than exist is to learn more about yourself. Get a Do More Than Exist sticker here.
Discovering Who We Are
Discovering oneself is quite a journey. We may go down many paths to look for opportunities, to look for clues of who we are, yet find nothing. I remember way too many rabbit trails I followed, only to find disappointment. “WHO AM I?” I would yell in my mind. Tears streamed down my face out of frustration. I so badly wanted to know what God made me do on this planet.
In my worry, I missed something very valuable. I was so focused on a map that I forgot to look between the paths. Following or trying to follow everyone else made me feel like a failure. I didn’t fit in and thought something was wrong with me! It took me a long while to learn that what worked for someone, didn’t work for my individuality. Let me save you some tissue, the trap of comparison will throw your compass off and you’ll just keep going around in circles if you don’t do something about it.
With that said, let me tell you that your path in life isn’t going to be one path, rarely does that happen. If we want a fulfilled life we’re going to have to adapt to the seasons we’re given in life. When we have children, be a mom. When we have to bring the bacon home, bring the bacon home. It’s okay if we don’t feel purposeful at the moment. But I do ask you this: always learn who you are in the role you play, you will then have a clearer picture of the path you want to take.
9 Easy Ways to Live Beyond our Existence
Taking the time to explore our hearts to understand what we like and dislike is extremely important for our overall happiness. Our hearts shape our lives and our values affect our choices. When our values align with our decisions, something magical happens…a smile on our faces. If you want to learn more about personal values, you can check out my freebie here.
Learn more about yourself
1) Help others. If you see someone in need, help them! Hold the door, pick up something they dropped, simply do what unto others as you would do unto you. It’s crazy how simple yet complicated with can make life. A happy life isn’t rocket science; get to know your heart and do something.
2) Spend some time alone. I like to go for walks outdoors on a trail in a park. Spending time alone at home with a fun project or your hobby is also a great way to have fun with yourself. I have even gone to the movies solo. There is something about taking a time-out for yourself without having to worry about a kid or dog, or spouse for that matter. It’s just you. Enjoy the silence and have fun spending time with yourself.
3) Journal. Writing down your thoughts, prayers, and frustrations helps you understand what’s going on in your heart. Over the years I found the tone in my journaling started out pretty rough. I was swearing, mad, and confused about what was going on in my life and relationships. Rarely did I find a positive entry. But that is what journaling is for, an outlet, a venting passage. It’s to give our thoughts permission to leave our minds so we don’t have to think about it anymore...it’s documented on paper so I can now let it go.
On the flipside, journaling is also there to be creative, to document life, and to tell yourself good things. As I grew older I found my journal entries to be much more positive and creative. My journal entries turned into prayers and things I learned. As I flip through the pages it’s gratifying to see how far you’ve come. And to see what seemed like a big deal then is not so now.
4) Engage in an activity you normally wouldn’t do. Push your introvert-ness aside and step out of your comfort zone for just a little bit. Challenge your limits, physically and mentally. Build your confidence! This may sound silly but I recently went to an estate sale. I did raise my card at one point. Scary! Going to an estate sale might not sound like a big deal to you, but it was something completely out of my normal routine. This is a very small idea of what you can do.
5) Clean out your stuff. Clutter is toxic. Sifting through your stuff and giving it a good organization will do your mind good. You’ll learn all about yourself and what stuff you like to keep. Maybe you’ll even understand why you want to keep it or give it to someone else. Be sure to check out my post on 5 ways to know how to simplify your stuff. Take a look at your stuff and ask yourself, what does that say about you? At the auction I went to, I learned A LOT about the people who were selling it. So what are you saying to the world with your stuff?
6) Write down what you want to leave behind. I’m not talking about stuff. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for? And how can you start doing that today?
Lastly, get busy
7) Volunteer. Choose an activity at your church or community center and volunteer to help out. This too can be scary. We don’t have much time, especially since we have little ones, so bring them along. It not only helps you feel good about yourself contributing to society, but it shows your kids how to do it. Again you’ll learn about your attitude and capabilities simply by lending a hand. Check this post out on knowing how to start volunteering.
8) Get your body in check. Stress is a major cause of health issues from muscle imbalances, digestive issues, and heartburn, to even autoimmune disease and who knows what more; stress can physically kill. It’s important to take care of your body, mind, and spirit for your life and your choices depend on it. The way you feel affects your decisions. And your decisions affect your path.
9) Do something creative. Draw, doddle, sew, design your own landscaping or garden, make your own cookie recipe or stir-fry dish, arrange flowers, move your furniture around, or mow your lawn in a different pattern. Get those juices flowing and see what you create!
By engaging in these activities you will have a better idea of who you are and who you want to become. I suggest starting small. Maybe try one of the nine exploring ways every few days or on the weekends….except for the body one, which should be done every day (wink). When we get to know ourselves better, our path in life becomes clearer and more fulfilling. It’s funny how this simple exercise can give you a wealthier life.
There is nothing so comforting to the soul than encouraging words. Quotes and inspirational sayings, young and old, impact our mental health. I’m sure you have infamous words of knowledge with hopes of being passed down through generations. I encourage you to bring light into people’s darkness with those sacred statements and with ones that got you through.
What are we to do?
However, words and even quotes from the living and deceased can be destructive and lead you to believe numerous lies about yourself. Words go both ways, and the way we interrupt them can either help us rise or make us fall terribly onto a slippery slope. Stress overtakes us and depression follow.
This blog post is about quotes and how to face challenges, but before I share my favorite top 10, I offer a word of caution to your tongue. If you are not speaking kind words that are helpful and encouraging to the receiver, then SHUT IT, not just for their sake, but more so for yours!
Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)
Sticks and stone…yeah, right.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me. This lyric was to help those who were being bullied. It’s unclear who said it, but it was recorded in March of 1862. Boy did they have this wrong. Words do hurt a lot longer than a bruise from a stick. If only our hearts healed as quickly as a shiner to the eye.
Unfortunately, the most (not all) hurtful words come from people we love or respect. I’m sorry if you have experienced this. Remember hurt people, hurt other people. They have their own issues and, unfortunately, are taking it out on you. It’s unfair. There is no question. With that said, do not believe them. They don’t know you as God knows you. Instead, go to the Book of Truth to hear the truth about you.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
It’s time to destroy those meaningless words people speak and to plant words of purpose into your heart and soul.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Here are my top 10 favorite quotes to bring words of encouragement when faced with a challenge.
Top 10 Quotes
1. Look less at the mountain and more at the first step. For the first step can be harder than the whole journey.” – Christy Troy
2.We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. – Jim Rohn
3. The best way to recover from rejection is to make someone feel accepted. – Christy Troy
4. The secret of change is to focus all your energy NOT on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates
5.If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.
6. Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine
7. Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character. – Les Brown
8. Decisions are easy when values are clear. – Unknown
9. To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are. – Roy Bennett
10.Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. – Michael Jordon
The Bible is not that scary
There are no better words than what is in the Bible. The Book may be intimidating but it is the most liberating. It’s hard to know where to start. And it’s easy for me to tell you to start wherever. Personally, I started with the shorter books like James, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Peter.
It’s also good to look in the Concordance in the back of the Bible and look up a word you may be struggling with, for instance, “love”, and to then look up the verses that pertain to that particular topic. Most importantly, be sure to read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. So good! As for what version of the Bible? I personally like the NIV Study Bible.
Wrapping it up
Thank you, God, for your Word, for it is filled with words to live by, with genuine love, protection, and instruction. Help us to have the desire to read and to do what we’ve read. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Remember, it’s words that form us, not sticks and stones. Keep shining your light. I believe in you. Seek the words you need to hear to help you move forward. Here are some printables to help you along!
Inspirational quotes are not all fairies and rainbows. Inspiration is meant to make things happen, not to sit on a cloud and wander. We all need encouragement or stimulation to get moving. We all certainly know how to complain, and lately, in the world, there has been A LOT of that going on. Let me remind you (and myself) that complaining gets you nowhere where you want to go, but doing does! This all boils down to what motivates us. Is it money? Freedom? Flexible schedule? Wellness? What gets you moving?
Right now in the world – ouch
The number of “Help Wanted” signs is at an all-time high, but people don’t want to work. We’re in a strange time right now that will eventually catch up to us. And when all this unemployment does kick at our heels, what does that look like? Enticing money bonuses come and go, yet encouraging words last a lifetime. I wonder what would happen if more words of inspiration were spoken instead of handouts? Think about that for a minute. People need encouraging words. They need something to inspire them to want to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you make millions or a few pennies, everyone needs to know they are important and wanted.
Why words matter
When we’re inspired, things happen. Not only that, but when we read or hear an amazing quote, something ignites us inside. We are all different people, motivated by a variety of things in a number of ways. When the right words are said or heard, it makes life meaningful.
Some of the most powerful words are the simplest words, like ‘Thank You’ or ‘Good job’. How does it make you feel when you hear, “Keep up the good work!” or “I believe in you”. What about “You’re really smart”, or “You’re full of creativity”? Some of my favorites are, “You’re a hard worker” and “I appreciate you”.
With something as simple as speaking or reading words with a purpose, it’s easier to start things, to accomplish tasks, and to make a difference. Brighten someone’s day by speaking into their goals; heighten your day by fueling your dreams. To help you with this, I put together a list of my top 10 inspirational quotes. May these words inspire you or someone you know.
My top 10 inspirational quotes:
1 – Be the change that you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
2 – Every great achievement is the story of a flaming heart. – Harry S. Truman
3 – Focus on things that are small enough to change, but big enough to matter. – Kat Cole
4 – I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do. – J. Stanfield
5 – Live out of your imagination, not your history. – Stephen Covey
6 – Most of us don’t need more instructions; we simply need someone who believes in us. – Bob Goff
7 – No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others. – Charles Dickens
8 – Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him. – Holley Gerth
9 – We’re here to make trails, not to follow ones. – Christy Troy
10 – When someone tells you it can’t be done, it’s more a reflection of their limitations, not yours. – Dr. Andy Baldwin
Words go a long way in peoples’ lives. A few words of encouragement or inspirational quotes can definitely change the course of life and open doors we didn’t even know were there. Why don’t we try for a week to stop complaining and to do one task about the things we complain about. I wonder what would happen?