Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘reward’

Retraining Myself to Focus on My Assets

Switching My Focus From Ass to Assets

Created with CanvaLike many women, I have a tendency to obsess over the parts of me I’ve deemed less than perfect. Needless to say, those parts appear larger than life, while I sometimes have a tough time recognizing my assets. It’s been especially difficult the last few months when I’ve danced at a friend’s house once a week where one wall is mirrored. I see myself in the mirror and notice every bulge, every hair not quite laying right. I compare myself to my friends, all of whom are slimmer than me, and of course, find myself wanting.

Recently, I realized how cruelly I was treating myself, and resolved to focus only on my qualities, not my faults. It came as quite a surprise when I looked in the mirror and realized I looked pretty darn good when I wasn’t magnifying and obsessing over those faults! In fact, as I focused on a pair of legs made strong and solid through a lifetime of dancing, an upper body strengthened by over a year of regular weight training, and a face which reflects the weight I’ve already released and kept off, I found I didn’t even notice the roundness of my mid-section at all!

Getting Away From the Need to Fix Myself

I think many of us spend far too much time focusing on things we need to “fix” until we magnify them out of both proportion and importance. In part, it’s through years of seeing ads promoting the perfect body, the clearest skin, the silkiest hair…you get the picture. We’re conditioned to see ourselves wanting, no matter how hard we work or how perfectly imperfect we might be (and everyone is!).

Yet, I discovered with the teeniest change of focus you can reverse some of the negative conditioning. Of course, I realize the change I made is only temporary—for now. Like every other habit I’ve set over the last few years, it’s going to take time and repetition to make it stick. But the positive reinforcement I gave myself already is an integral part of setting my new outlook in the proverbial stone.

Encouraging Positive Changes With My New Outlook

I’m also finding what so many have observed; obsessing over the numbers on the scale does not make them go down! Instead, I’ve reinstated food logging using MyFitnessPal. So far, results are mixed, but at least I can see where I am self-sabotaging. Currently, I’m seeing too much sugar in my diet. Yes, I know it tastes good, but the numbers help me remember the harm it does to my body. And I’m working too hard to both heal and strengthen it to lose ground by eating something I can do without. (I was going to say “easily” but face it. Ice cream and chocolate taste good for a reason!)

Of course, all the activities like food tracking, weight training, and consciously moving during the day are important, but the single most important factor in self-improvement is mindset. As I mentioned earlier, when I look for my faults, I see them in movie-screen sized technicolor. But when I look for my qualities, suddenly the faults shrink to, if not invisibility, at least a more manageable size. I can honestly look at myself in the mirrored wall and think you’re looking pretty darn good! All the hard work and discipline are paying off!

Even first thing in the morning when most of us are at less than our best, I can honestly tell the face in the mirror she’s looking especially radiant—and mean it!

Change Can Be Its Own Reward

Often when we think about making improvements, we assume doing so means https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYpwe have to sacrifice, and frankly who enjoys sacrificing? But I’m finding when I focus on the good parts and give my obsession on the needy parts a rest, the gremlin inside me who thrives on self-sabotage either curls up for a long, winter’s nap, or goes off in search of easier prey.

I’m no longer inclined to camp in front of the TV with snacks at my elbow for hours on end. In fact, the idea is becoming distasteful (sorry Hallmark movies). I can’t even sit for hours at a time in front of the computer. I need to get up, do a chore, go outside and visit with my barn cats, or re-stock my freezer. Granted, I haven’t worked my way up to a daily walk yet, but I suspect that will come in time as I continue to reinforce my positives.

Could You Use a Change in Perspective?

If you’d like to “play along” with my new self-improvement process, here’s how you get started:

  1. Pick something about yourself you don’t like, but currently obsess over.
  2. Find something in the same area (looks, health, habits, etc.) that you love.
  3. When you find yourself focusing on the quality in #1, switch your focus to the one in #2. Make a conscious effort until it becomes a habit.
  4. Positively reinforce your focus on your positive qualities. This can be something as simple as giving yourself a compliment.
  5. If applicable, add a new habit which emphasizes and builds up the positive qualities.
  6. Share your progress with my readers. (we all love success stories!)

The truth is, you can be your best cheerleader or your worst bully. Too often, you allow outside influences to make you see yourself through the most hideous of fun house mirrors. For your own sake, try using a mirror that’s lit softly, emphasizing the smoothness of your skin and the soft curve of your cheek; the way your hair curls softly around your face (or hangs shiny and straight). And look at the heart shining from your eyes.

I guarantee, when you change your focus just a little, miracles will happen!

Is Overwhelm Causing You to be Too Hard on Yourself?

Sometimes it’s simply overwhelm which has you seeing yourself in an unflattering light. Are you beating yourself up because you have too much to do and not enough time? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

For Best Results, Keep Your Gratitude Meter Full

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for small changes which yield big results.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to refocus my attention when I start going down the rabbit hole of negativity.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who see my qualities and remind me to look for them too.
  4. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my epiphanies as well as my stumbles with my readers. It helps me be a better person and a better, happier me.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, inspiration, opportunities, motivation, dreams, self-improvement, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

6 Steps to Kick Procrastination

Kicking Procrastination in the Butt

Now that my Thanksgiving dinner for an intimate group of 30 is over, my house feels remarkably empty with just me and my furry roomies. It would be easy to  allow the sudden silence and lack of activity to lull me into a soporific stupor, and at times, I’ve been tempted.

Drowsing my days away won’t, however, help me achieve my goals, hopes and dreams. Yet, there are a multitude of excuses whereby I might delay my efforts. What to do?

One of the marks of a procrastinator is our ability to be easily distracted by, well, almost anything. In my case, it might be chores, or administrative tasks or a book that falls on my head. So I set out this week to eliminate all possible culprits.

I sit here now with my bookkeeping chores complete, my bills for the month paid, all piles of laundry washed, folded and put away, and the remnants of Thanksgiving tucked away until next year. I also have a freezer so packed with food I can’t even find room for single servings of another pot of chili. (and I’m down to my last 2 containers, so I need to make room soon!)

The issue now is how I’ll avoid going off on still more tangents which inhibit forward progress on those aforementioned goals, hopes and dreams. So, how do we keep ourselves on track towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams?

Step 1: To Do Lists

I am a great list maker, and for awhile, I’ll even stick to them. The key is to make them simple and actionable. Too many long-term projects on the list and you’ll get discouraged. When you get discouraged, the list will go out the window like so many other things you’ve tried and given up on before you had a chance to see if they’d actually work.

Step 2: Break it Down

If you’re like me, you have a tendency to set huge projects for yourself, then wonder why nothing ever gets done. I liken it to being a hoarder who wants to reform. You stand in the doorway of a room full of stuff and feel overwhelmed by the project before you even start.

I’ve learned through a great deal of trial and error that every project can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This way, you start seeing successes right away. By deciding how quickly you need to see results, you’ll know how much to break those projects down.

One of my biggest projects is to clean up my garage. Somehow, things always get tossed in there when I don’t know what else to do with them, and soon, everything is falling off shelves and onto the floor where it gets tripped on, stomped on and otherwise scattered around. Recently, while looking for my staple gun (which sadly, I still haven’t located) I faced down the mess which had accumulated in front of my tool box. In about 15 minutes, I had cleared the clutter, re-organized the bottom shelf where I keep the power tools, and swept up the crud which had been coating the floor for years. Yes, I did say years!

The best part is, the space in front of my storage room is now completely clean and clear, making it easier to get in and get to what I need (like, for example, the boxes of wrapping paper and paraphernalia necessary to make beautiful Christmas packages for my kids). I can even accomplish it without aggravating myself with false promises to someday clean up the mess. Why? Because the mess is gone!

Step 3: Set Goals

We all need something to strive for. Just like the hopes, dreams, and goals we have, there is a feeling of accomplishment when we achieve the simplest things; clear the clutter from the dresser, dump the cat food into the bin and put the bag in the recycle barrel, wash the load of towels that’s been accumulating in the garage. Get the picture? It isn’t about getting the whole house clean or all the laundry done. It’s about getting something done. If you’ve made some progress with Step 2, you already have the hang of breaking those goals down into manageable pieces. Here are some examples of small daily goals I set myself. I’ve found they make it easier to set and achieve the larger ones which might span a week, a month or even longer.

  • Wash the dishes
  • Scoop sandboxes
  • Make the bed

And here’s an example of how I break down the larger chores:

  • Wash clothes
  • Fold/hang up clothes
  • Put away clothes

Do you see how you can give yourself credit for each step, and while you’re at it, get something off your list? Not only that, you’re not giving yourself time to stare at the pile of clean laundry for days before you just use it up by wearing it every day. I don’t know about you, but the sight of a laundry basket full of clothes in the middle of my room is a constant reminder of the many things I have to do but haven’t. It’s also a cat magnet in my house, and it’s hard enough to leave the house with minimal fur on my clothing when they’re put away in their proper place!

Step 4: Congratulate Yourself

This may sound silly, but we all need an attaboy now and then. Why not give it to yourself when you check something off your list? Over the last couple of years, I’ve slowly managed, in spite of the ADD which has me starting something, only to go into another room with an item to be put away and start something else, to clear a number of spaces in my home. Many of these spaces are part of larger projects, but the clean spots inspire me. They not only let me know that I am capable of clearing a space, but show me how pleasant it can be to have those clear spaces.

Step 5: Make it Fun

The best way I’ve found to make myself get things done is to turn work into play. It might be something as simple as music in the background or dancing with the vacuum. Or maybe you turn a project into a game, or a competition with yourself (How fast can I…? How many…can I in…minutes?). Think “Whistle While You Work” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Step 6: Reward Yourself

I know you’re thinking you don’t deserve a reward for doing things you should do anyway, but nothing could be further from the truth! Just because you should do them doesn’t always mean you do them willingly, much less, cheerfully. So why not give yourself a treat? (Having spent years fighting my weight, I don’t recommend an edible one unless you’re one of the lucky few who burn off everything you eat!) Here are a few examples of my treats of choice:

  • A couple of hours of reading for pleasure
  • Watching/going to a movie
  • A visit to my local bookstore
  • A foot massage

For you, it might be a hike or a run, a walk on the beach, a nap, a long bath. Use your imagination, and make it something you’ll truly enjoy. Give yourself small rewards for getting one or several of the small things done, but make the reward really special when you get a large task (that you’ve broken down into several smaller ones, of course) completed.

No Excuses. Make that Dream Happen.

Now that you’ve managed the stuff you have to do, you’ll find you not only have more time, but more energy to go after those things you really want. You’ve also acquired a few skills which will make achieving them easier and maybe more fun as well. Use the time and the skills to map out that dream you have of building a business or writing a book or showing your art. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is it’s something which makes your heart sing with joy. It’s something you don’t have to do. It’s something you want to do but have put off because you don’t think you have time.

By simplifying your life, by making it more fun, you’ve suddenly found hours you didn’t even know you had! I wish you many dreams-come-true.

Don’t Forget the Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I learn and the words with which to share them.
  2. I am grateful for the things I’ve accomplished by simply following the rules I found for myself.
  3. I am grateful for making my dreams come true.
  4. I am grateful for keeping it simple
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, dreams, goals, hopes, friendship, success, writing, published work, readers, followers, clients, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest via Flickr

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