There’s a sense of hope and renewal in the air when the season shifts to spring. Think of the words we associate with spring: fresh, blossoming, awakening, growth.
As you continue to move forward with plans, goals and projects, take some time to do some spring cleaning in your life. Clear out what no longer serves you so that you can make room for all of the positive things that are coming into your life. Here are a few things to throw out with last year’s boots. Excuses
There’s two parts to this. First is to ask yourself if the reason you’re making excuses or procrastinating is simply because the task at hand just isn’t as appealing as watching Netflix with your cat, or if it’s because the task is not truly necessary or tied to something you are passionate about.
If the task isn’t a required part of life, and it doesn’t align with a goal that is meaningful to you, you may want to reevaluate why you feel the need to do that task in the first place.
But be honest with yourself here. If you do truly see the value in completing whatever it is that you’re putting off, shake off those excuses and get on it. You’ll thank yourself when you’re done. Physical clutter
When your home/vehicle/workspace/etc. is cluttered, it can be hard to focus. We all have a different threshold for how much of a mess we can tolerate (I personally can’t handle doing anything after dinner until the dishes are done), but if you’ve reached yours, tackling the physical clutter can go a long way in clearing the clutter in your mind. Clean all the things! Guilt-driven commitments
Sometimes you’re going to agree to do something you don’t really feel like doing because it’s the nice thing to do (you’re such a sweetheart). That’s awesome! But if you are finding yourself saying yes to every opportunity, commitment, and invitation that comes your way, you may not be leaving a lot of room for the things that you do want in your life.
It can be tempting to take on as many opportunities as you get offered, or difficult to say no to an invitation from a friend, but when it comes to what you allow in your life, think quality over quantity. Negativity
This is probably an obvious one, but worth talking about nonetheless. I’m not talking about ignoring your sadness/anger/frustration/whatever has you feeling crappy and slapping on a smiley face.
I’m talking about examining those feelings, maybe even trying to make friends with them (or at least acknowledging their existence), getting to the bottom of where they’re coming from, and then, little by little, taking back the power that they have over you. Negativity may be a part of life, but only you decide what you do with it and how much it dictates your life. Self-shaming
You know that golden rule “do unto others as you wish to have done unto you?” Here’s another one: do unto yourself as you would do unto others. Would you talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself in front of the mirror? Would you hold a grudge against someone for a simple mistake the same way that you haven’t forgiven yourself for that slipup you had last year?
Be kind and compassionate to your beautiful self! You are growing – be gentle and let yourself bloom. Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit http://www.fayeaarmstrong.com.
Imagine this: you’re presenting at a big meeting tomorrow that could take you from being “kind of a big deal” to being legitimately a big deal. Game face: on. Pinterest-inspired outfit: carefully selected. Alarm clock: set three times on your iPhone. You’ve got this. Until…
You shut all three alarms off in your sleep and wake up late. No time for coffee. When you get to work, Sandra from accounting totally eyes up your outfit – and not in a good way. It’s time to turn things around. But how do you keep your game face on when it’s crunch time and everything seems to be going wrong?
We know about the power of positive thinking, but some days, it can be harder than others to see the bright side – and it doesn’t help when the pressure’s on to be at your best. Here are three quick fixes for when you’re feeling less than stellar. Power poses
In social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your body shapes who you are,” Cuddy teaches us what our posture does to affect the levels of testosterone and cortisol in our brain, which, in turn, affects our feelings about ourselves.
In other words, even if you’re feeling not so hot about your fine self, standing tall and peacock proud has been proven to have a positive impact on how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us.
Cuddy says that you can put this into practise by doing powerful poses before that big meeting, job interview, or date – whatever you need to pump up those tail feathers for. Sneak away for a little bathroom break and spend a few minutes in powerful stances: keep your feet apart, chin up, and put your hands on your hips or raise them above your head in a V shape.
When you’re done feeling silly, holding this stance for a couple minutes will help boost those alpha-hormones and get you prepped for success. It’ll be our little secret.
Fake it ‘til you make it, Baby. Get moving
Realistically, you may not have time on a crazy day to squeeze in a workout or yoga sesh before your pressing engagement – and even if you did, that “post-workout glow” might not be the professional look you’re going for during that important presentation. But, sitting at your desk can keep your mind stagnant, and those negative thoughts are not what you want to get stuck on repeat during a crucial moment.
Walk around while you practice your presentation. Give yourself a hug. If you can, sneak a little mini-dance party in. Movement – even simple movements that you can do from anywhere – releases the nurturing hormone oxytocin, improves focus and concentration, and helps to reduce stress. Breathe
When you’re really down to the wire or need to discreetly turn things around, this is something you can do even in the midst of a stressful situation: just breathe. Many of our physical reactions to stress are caused by how we are breathing.
If you’re with other people, pause for a moment and take a deep breath or two before continuing. Better yet, if you are alone, or can find a way to quietly sneak this in, do some breathing exercises.
I like the 4-7-8 trick: breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this consecutively without taking breaks in between until you start to feel the calm floating in.
Even the simple act of breathing can help slow your heart rate, bringing you out of fight-or-flight mode, and returning your thinking capacity back to a normal state.
Try these on their own or all together for a killer combo for success. And the next time Sandra gives you the stink-eye, tell her she looks stressed and hand her this article. Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit http://www.fayeaarmstrong.com.
What I love about the new year is that it is a time to reflect on the past, savour the present with friends (hello champagne!), and look forward to the future. A new year can feel like a fresh start which in itself can be a catalyst for positive change. But – I have a little bone to pick with New Year’s resolutions.
So you made your list of goals for the coming year: start working out, save more money, find more work-life balance. Yes! Love it! But there’s an important step that is missing and that is the why: the core, underlying feeling that you want to experience.
Some might be obvious, and some might take a little more unpacking to get there, so channel your inner two-year-old and keep asking yourself “why?” until you uncover your core, desired feeling.
Here’s an example: “I want to start working out.”
Why? So that I can get into shape.
Why? Because I want to look good on the beach at my cousin’s destination wedding.
Why? Because I want to feel confident.
OK! So now we know that the core desired feeling in this case is to feel confident. Your core desired feeling can be any feeling you can imagine, but let’s use confidence for example’s sake. Working out may help you get there, but it is not working out itself that is the true goal. The true goal is to achieve your core desired feeling of confidence.
Identifying this is helpful for two reasons. One is that it can help you to more strategically choose actions that directly align with the feelings you are seeking to achieve. Working out and getting into shape are great action steps toward gaining confidence, but there may be other things you can do that can attribute to your goal of feeling confident, such as saying affirmations or doing something outside your comfort zone like joining a Toastmasters group for public speaking.
You may also find that once you have identified the underlying desired feeling, the action step that you originally had in mind might not line up so well after all. It’s like when you’ve had a really bad morning so, hell yeah, you’re going to have three doughnuts for lunch because obviously that will make everything better.
But if you sat with the feeling of your crappy morning for a minute, you might come up with other more effective actions like re-arranging your afternoon to make it less stressful or problem solving the morning’s stressors directly (although, sometimes three doughnuts totally is the best solution – let’s be real.).
The other reason for identifying the underlying desire is that it is a powerful tool for motivation. You know how when you were a kid, it was near impossible to save your allowance unless you had something specific that you were saving for? The thought of those brand new rollerblades (what’s up ‘90s kids?) – or better yet, the feeling of freedom gained from having them (“I can get to 7-Eleven way faster on these”) – made it easier to fill that piggy bank instead of spending it all on Slurpees and Spice Girls stickers.
When you’re making your resolutions this year, consider challenging yourself to identify the “why” for each of them and then rewrite your resolutions to reflect your answers. This can help you get clear on what you truly want and stay on track to get there. When there’s a “why,” there’s a way! Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit http://www.fayeaarmstrong.com.
I just got back from a little Vegas vacay – my first time in Sin City – and I can certainly see where it got its nickname from. But omigosh it was fun!
Sometimes we just need to let loose, ya know? With a little help from the seven deadly sins, here are a few ways that you can get down with your bad self – without being so bad after all.
C’mon – all the cool kids are doing it! Lust
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, sex has plenty of benefits – besides the obvious ones. A 30-minute steamy session can burn 70 calories. Plus, sex releases DHEA, a hormone that has anti-aging properties, and oxytocin, which helps reduce stress.
Oh, and sorry ladies, but that headache excuse is old news: sex also releases endorphins which have a similar effect to morphine, so having sex may actually help cure your aches and pains. Gluttony
Have a peek at Pinterest and you’ll find a bevy of healthy but equally tasty swaps for your favourite comfort foods. Or pay a visit to Winnipeg’s own Ashley Rae at http://www.raeofsunshinelife.com for tons of wholesome, vegan, and totally delish recipes (Cameron Diaz raves about her). With a little creativity, you’ll feel like you’re indulging every day while still nourishing that bod. Greed
Common beliefs about riches like “money is the root of all evil” can be self-limiting. If you believe that money is evil (subconsciously or not), it will be difficult to align yourself with accumulating wealth.
Financial wellness can give you the tools and freedom to do what you want with your life. Money is a part of life, so don’t feel guilty about setting realistic goals relative to your finances. Sloth
Sometimes you just need a solid day of laziness. Why time-shame yourself? If you’re going to do it, really let yourself do it, minus the “I should be doing something productive” commentary in the back of your mind.
Want to spend Sunday Funday binge-watching Netflix? Go for it. The to-do list can wait and your mind and body will appreciate the break. Can’t justify a whole day of blissful nothingness? Clocking just one extra hour of sleep a night can help improve memory, productivity and physical health. Wrath
We’re equipped with a full range of emotions for a reason. Think of your emotions like a scale or spectrum. When we are on one side of the spectrum (content, ecstatic), our energy vibrates at a higher frequency, which in turn attunes us to other high-vibrating (positive) energies.
And the opposite is so for the other side (annoyed, hella pissed). Your emotions give you insight into what frequency your energy is emitting – and in turn, what you are attracting. If you’re in a crappy mood, simply bringing your awareness to it can help you take steps to improve your state and frequency. And if you just feel like staying mad, the adrenaline that anger pumps out can be a great motivator to help you go for that run, clean the house, or get creative. Envy
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. If you’ve been jonesing to keep up with the Joneses, let it be a motivator instead of letting your jealousy bring you down. Focus on those things you want with positive feelings instead of negative ones.
Make a vision board or write in a journal about the objects of your affection and then get in the mindset of having them – not just wishing you did. Believing that it’s possible is the first step to making it happen. Pride
Maybe it’s just because I’m a Leo but, I dunno guys, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being proud of your fine self. Give yourself a pat on the back and give yourself some gratitude for your accomplishments and how far you’ve come.
Was that really so bad? Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit http://www.fayeaarmstrong.com.