A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action

Practically Magic blog

 

Or, what comes after affirmations…

We love to talk, right? we love to talk about ourselves and our ideas, our childhoods and all the horrors (imagined or real) of that, we love to talk about all the things we want to do in our lifetime. We. Love. To. Talk.

Talk, talk, talk…

But, I’m here to tell you, talkin’ gets you nowhere. Okay, let me back up, talking is great for creating and keeping relationships, great for brainstorming, great for coming to agreements. What it’s not great for is achieving those things in your life you dream of achieving, getting, growing.

You actually have to do sh*t.

When I was a supervisor, I had a direct report who was incredible at looking busy, and not just busy, but, BUSY with a purpose, he would stride forcefully around, look as if a great thought had suddenly come to him and then stride purposefully somewhere else. Then he would go make tea for 27 minutes.

I said to him, “let’s go in the office for a sec.” Probs not what anyone wants to hear, but he follows me in none the less, and then I say, “What have you been working on today?” He’s not sure what to say, a lot of “well…”s etc. And I said:

Here’s my problem, I haven’t actually seen you do anything.

That got his ruff up. As it would for many. So he said he could write me out a detailed list of all the things he’d done, I told him that wasn’t necessary, what I wanted was visible proof that he wasn’t just “doing” things, but that he was accomplishing the things that needed to be done. That others could look at him as part of the team.

Okay, so where am I going with this? I think you know…stop being coy.

We all are masters at doing stuff at being so incredibly busy, we don’t know where the day goes.

But where do we stand at the things that NEED to be done, the things that MEAN something. And, how do we stay accountable (whether to ourselves or our team)? Let’s loop back to affirmations. If my affirmation (dream) is to be an excellent and productive writer and I don’t do the actual writing, uuhhhh…I am all talk and no action! And, every morning as I’m saying my writing affirmation, out loud five times, my brain is going to be nagging me with whispers of “liar.”

So, a plan. An Action Plan, which is to say a plan that requires action. Action that you ACTUALLY do. That’s the kicker in the asser.

Start small please–and chunk it out. I  tend to create plans like this:

  • Finish 3 young adult novels (without breaking it down into any chunks)
  • Go back to school, get my degree
  • Run 3 days a week, Yoga 2 days a week, lift weights 3 days a week
  • Create online shop for the jewelry I started making but stopped…wait, what?
  • Read two classics a week

And then I get so completely exhausted by the list that I sit in front of the TV and watch Tiny Home something and do NOTHING. I know I’ve written about my incredible (read: horrifying!) lists before, but I just want you to learn from my mistakes, of which there are quite a few!

Anywho. My Action Plan now entails tiny chunks of action done in a very doable way. Plus an accountability partner. A serious one…my mother!

At first I was worried it might not s t r e t c h me enough, you know, that whole “get past yer comfort zone” thing. But, what I’ve found is, I’m ACTUALLY doing the things and not looking at my list and feeling all guilty and shame-y. I HATE that feeling!

Once you start the “action” portion of the plan, the daily affirmations start to have a different flavor on the tongue, there is a feeling to the words that wasn’t there before. I truly believe they work hand-in-hand-in-hand.

I just thought of this–it comes down to the three As:

Affirmations

Action Plan

Accountability Partner

What small thing could you do to move yourself closer to your dreams?

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Skoal! Goals!

Do you use the Amy Method of setting and achieving goals?

Not sure? Let’s test it:

  1. Decide setting goals is the way to go, because, A goal without a plan is just a dream, is a wicked cool quote even though it doesn’t quite fit…but you figure the first step is a realio-trulio goal.
  2. Decide on Goal, after further analysis, decide it scares the crap out of you, set a more reasonable goal.
  3. Write it down, really like the way it looks, decide to set more goals.
  4. End up with 10 goals written in green and purple ink in a nice notebook. It is a beautiful thing.
  5. Satisfactory sigh.
  6. Get busy with overflowing toilet (generic life-happening example).
  7. Occasional memory sparks of goals.
  8. More toilets overflowing.
  9. Settle in to life as you know it–not bad.
  10. Read article with statistic that people who set goals are 80 Bajillion times more likely to achieve those goals if they read them every day, also, if they ACTUALLY have a plan.
  11. D’oh!
  12. Find written goals, become overwhelmed with making plans for all ten. Decide on three.
  13. Go about day…forget to make an action plan for each of the three goals.
  14. AUTHOR INTERUTION: Remember that the whole point of wanting to write a blog about creating a easier, fun, exciting, better life is so I can learn right along with you–I have taken so many wrong turns! I want to share my missteps and discoveries so we all come out on the other side a little better.
  15. Decide to write post on setting goals…
  16. So, uh, write goals (not to-do lists, whoops).
  17. Write (reasonable) action plan.
  18. Set a timeline with all the goals and the plans.
  19. Print out and leave on bedside table. And bathroom closet. And purse. Also car.
  20. Find a GOALS partner! Let them know (that’s kind of key)that they are your goals partner. Check in with them!

So. There you have it on why you should NOT follow the Amy method! Well, the last five are pretty good. The trick is to do it all in one day. A Goals Day! Yay! What’s your number one goal?

Affirmations, Your Easy Button For Your Best Life

My mother,  Joan Kennedy has been saying daily affirmations for, gee, 50+ years, she’s been speaking and writing about the benefits of daily affirmations for 40+ years, I always listened to my mom and have been wowed by her public speaking talks for 30+ years. How long do you think I’ve been saying daily affirmations? Less than 1 year. Yup.

How does that happen? I liked what I heard and read from my mom (and others) and I saw firsthand how saying daily affirmations changed her life, and yet, I never made a habit of affirmations for myself until December of 2016. I think it was for a number of reasons:

  1. Why say them when I know how I wanted my life to be?
  2. What if I come up with WRONG affirmations?
  3. Tra-la-la…life happening, forget all about intentional living and affirmations…
  4. I’ll feel stupid saying them out loud–someone will make fun of me.
  5. What if I affirm something and nothing happens?

Honestly, there were probably more “reasons”–I can think of millions of reasons NOT to do something beneficial–but what finally convinced me was an idea I had about blogging on “My year of living affirmatively.” Welp, if I were going to blog about that, I had better start affirming. I’ve written a little about this, deciding to start, writing the affirmations, not doing anything with them, finding them again, re-writing them, and finally, finally starting to say them.

I found the easiest thing for me, was to say them in my car every morning on my way into work, and yes, I say them out loud–and no, I don’t feel stupid, turns out I don’t care, I mean, what do I care if the person in the car next to me thinks I’m talking to myself, I am! I started with maybe 5 affirmations, I did have a cheat sheet, but it didn’t take long at all to memorize them. Once I had the five down, I started adding on, it was an organic process to add affirmations (either ones I’d read from someone else, or others I’d created) and to let some go.

One of my favorite affirmations is: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” This was created by French Psychologist Emile Coue (1857-1926), at the time, it was called an optimistic autosuggestion. It pretty much encompasses everything, which is why I like it! It was one of the first affirmations my mom told me about, another favorite of hers was/is: “I like myself unconditionally.” Which, some days can be a hard one to believe…on those days, I say: “It feels good to like myself.” Much easier.

The subconscious mind is funny and amazing, which is why affirmations should always be said in the present tense, as if it’s already happened and in a positive way, otherwise your subconscious will be all, oh, you want this thing someday? Errr, I don’t know what that means, must mean never. Instead of: I want one million dollars, say: I am grateful for all the money I have and could ever need in my bank account now. The first example will have your subconscious being all, fine, you will WANT this forever. You’ll be in a perpetual state of “wanting.” Whereas the second gets you in gratitude and opens yourself up to all possibilities.

As for the positive aspect, say: I am an excellent salsa dancer, rather than: I am not a klutz. Your subconscious puts a big red line through that word “not”–it only hears: I am a klutz. I don’t know why, besides I’d rather repeat something positive than something negative.

My favorite affirmation at the moment is one I took from the Brandi Carlisle song, That Wasn’t Me:

I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet

Saying this one five times everyday cements it in and in moments when I might not “make myself a blessing…” it’s as if my subconscious slides it into my conscious mind and I remember the me I am trying to be.

supporting oils: Frankincense and Valor

Do you say affirmations? Do you want to start?

 

Muscle Memory

Have you ever noticed how, when you stop doing something good, like: writing, drawing, dancing, exercising, meditating, delivering a baby,* even if you start to want to do it again, your “this is so good for my soul” muscle says, “um… sorry, no.”

*Of course I have to tell you the story of the interruption of delivering a baby…

1987: I was in the birthing room with my sister, (husband was there, but had a hard time with that kind of thing) things are progressing smoothly, this was my second child plus my sister was my breathing coach. As I was transitioning, we’re talking full blown labor, dilated to 10, the nurse comes in to check and she says:

“You can’t push yet, the doctor isn’t here.”

In case you’ve never experienced labor, my ENTIRE essence, all my cells, everything was on the only mission there was–which was to push with each contraction, each contraction that were now from finish of one to the start of the next probably 30 seconds apart. Every 30 seconds and lasting for 60-90 seconds the MAIN DIRECTIVE was to push my baby out.

The nurse said:

“Do your breathing exercises.”

When your body is trying to turn inside-out and someone tells you to “breath” to get through it, many bad thoughts about that person flit through your head…luckily, my sister was there and she really did coach me to breath the right way–because, also, when the whole body inside-out thing happens, you really do forget how to breath, at least how to breath the right way for that circumstance.

S L O W F O R W A R D 30 minutes…the doctor is in!

All-righty, let’s get this show on the vaginal canal road!

Except, I had interrupted the natural “body in motion” of child birth, I had stalled it and now, my body said, “um…sorry, no.”

Eventually I did give birth, but the fact that I could stop a natural process and then not be able to simply, naturally, begin again was, to say the least, disheartening–I felt like some kind of birthing failure. I didn’t understand this at the time, but when I think about it now I admit I wonder what hope I have with any process whose habit I haven’t sustained?

I don’t have an easy answer for this–wish I did! We all need to come to our own way, maybe you need a “coach”–my sister helped me “not deliver” but then she was able to coach me back to the natural state of labor and delivery.

Maybe you need to remember why you’re here–I’m here to have a gosh-darn baby, today, for cripe’s sake! Dagnabit!

What ever it is, the first thing is realization that you’re NOT doing something you want to be doing–don’t worry about why you’re no longer doing it, don’t even worry about how you’re going to start again–not once did I think, well, geeze, how am I going to get back to wanting to push.

You do need to find your WHY for DOING IT. I wanted my baby in my arms. And it helps to find a coach, whether that’s someone you admire online, from a book, or it’s a real relationship.

I’ve been struggling with why I haven’t re-started the things I want to accomplish and do. I think I’m on to something, and then I let it peter out…I hate when I realize I’ve let something slide. Then, yesterday I saw something, it was a blurb for someone’s book that was going to be published in 11 weeks–11 weeks out, I think is how it read.

And something clicked. 11 weeks. What if I made a plan based on the outcomes I wanted in 11 weeks? And then sort of worked backward, what would I need to accomplish everyday, week and month? And what if I made my mom be my coach. (off-topic, we’ve been talking about creating a Master-mind group–cool, huh?) She hasn’t actually said yes yet…

I wrote out a rough draft, then I re-wrote it, I created landings–as in every Sunday, plan out the week, every night plan out the next day, NO TV until all goals for that day are done. This is my first day in my 11 week journey and I’ve hit three of my 5 goals for the day so far. Yippee!

By the way, semi-off topic: I believe our hearts have a muscle memory too–the more we practice/act open-hearted the more we are open-hearted.

My supporting oils for today: Young Living’s Abundance, it smells like everything-I-want-to-accomplish-is-done, ha!

Please share something you realized you’ve stopped doing that you’d like to start again.