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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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?

 

How to be your very own BFF

Here’s how to love yourself, or, at least not be an ass to yourself!

Back in April I wrote a post Hopelessly Devoted to You, in it I wrote about being devoted to yourself–I’d like to continue the conversation, because it’s important, and because I like to repeat myself :).

Question, how often do you say to your best friend, What an idiot! Why won’t you learn? Could you be any fatter? No one is ever going to want you.

What’s that? Never you say? I should hope not!

So, I’m wondering why we think it’s okay to talk to ourselves like this. And I’m thinking if we started to talk to ourselves like we were our own best friend, maybe we’d be kinder and gentler with the only person who is always there. With us.

Joan Kennedy said one of my most favoritest (it’s a word) quotes:

you will never leave you, you will never divorce you,

you will never die on you.

It’s time to promise to love honor and cherish yourself,

and be your own best friend.

I don’t know about you, but the first time I heard that in one of her (she happens to be my mom! yay!) talks, I was blown away by the sheer why-have-I-never-thought-of-that? Because, duh! We are always with us!

Here’s something to try, the next time you want to beat yourself up over something you perceive as inadequate or idiotic, take a breath (even better if you’re wearing a necklace or bracelet infused with your fave essential oil) and simply say:

I’m getting better at this.

That seems totally doable, yes? Look, I’m not perfect at this either, knee jerk reactions fall out of my moth and pop up in my brain. But. I’m getting better at this…

{supporting oil: peppermint, for focus & ideas}

What’s one thing you do (or could do) to treat yourself like a bff?

 

3 Ways to Dress Your Best (most fun and favoritest) Self

Have you ever looked at old pictures and wondered what the hell you were thinking wearing those pastel striped pants? Or, is that only me?

Yes I have a picture of myself in pastel striped pants, no, I will not post it here! I dubbed them my “clown pants” because, well, they made me look like I escaped from a circus.

Was that really the way I wanted to look, or was it easy and maybe comfy and no thought had to be involved? Yeah, I’m thinking all three of those.

Now, think about a picture or a time when you were wearing something that made you feel fabulous–something that garnered compliments from others, something that made you feel like your favorite self, your true self.

Don’t you wish you could have that feeling more often? Of having your inside self be your outside self, or maybe having your outside self help your inside self get where she wants to be?

Look, I know looks aren’t everything, neither are clothes or shoes or jewelry. But they sure the heck can make me feel good!

I have recently come to the conclusion that the reason I adore Halloween is it allows me to dress like parts of my inner self.

  • Sometimes I’m all connected with the power of magic and I like to dress as the personification of that by donning a pointy hat and wearing black and holstering a magic wand.
  • Sometimes my magic comes through in a different way, with bright colors and scarves and lots of jewelry.
  • And other times I like to be the adventurer, the seeker of knowledge, so I dress in vests and goggles, with plenty of gadgets at my waist…you get the idea.

All these “costumes” are really my fun inside me shining through to my outside.

In extreme.

But, once I figured out why I liked to dress up for Halloween I figured out how I could always have fun while dressing as the “me” I was on any given day. And in case you missed it, the operative word is FUN.

FIRST: 

LOVE your clothes. I am not even kidding, why wear meh when you could wear YES!? This is a tough one–people gift us with things we feel obligated to wear, right? All the time! And if it’s our child, we feel even more obligated, ouch.

So here are some scripts I am gifting to you:

Thank you! (yup, that’s it. If you rarely see them, just say thank you and then return it, if you do see them all the time, explain you had to exchange it, as it was too small, there was a small hole, it didn’t look right on you, and leave it at that)

Okay, I only had one script for you–Thank you. It’s really the best though, unless your husband gives you a brown fleece zip up jacket, then you say, “Really? Fleece? I will never ever wear fleece.” But that’s not the greatest script.

SECOND:

Do not own too many clothes. Once again, I am not even kidding. You dilute your wardrobe with too much detritus. I always need to relearn this one, I love going through my clothes at the change of seasons–I actually see what I have, I decide if I still L.O.V.E. each thing and if anything needs attention.

Have you ever shopped in a store where you could barely move the clothes on the rack to see the next item? Well that’s what happens in your closet–too many clothes EQUALS “I have nothing to wear.”

THIRD:

Have fun. F U N. Add things that make you smile. That give you joy. I have an off white scarf with pink skulls on it.

I adore that scarf–and I love to wear it with pearls, that’s part of my fun with clothes, a sense of irony. I add two or three pins to my jacket du jour–a cameo and a name crest and an old school girl scout pin (they don’t have to match, but there could be one thing about them that ties them together).

I usually try to keep FUN to accessories, but sometimes it crosses over to actual clothing–the only thing to be careful of with FUN articles of clothing is they might not actually GO with anything. I have an awesome gauzy shirt.

But I can wear this with jeans, black dress pants, I also wear different shells under it, black, orange, green–that changes the look of it.

That’s it. For now. Next time I touch on style I’ll dive more into the “themed” dressing, aka a Halloween closet.

What’s your biggest wardrobe style challenge?

Fashion Has Nothing to do With Style

I come by the love of style honestly–we’re talking clothes style here–my mom was the Fashion Coordinator for a large Department Store in the late 60s and early 70s. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?! Just let all that mash-up of Mod and Hippie soak in for a sec. Okay, cool.

My mom could pull off a purple mini dress with green tights because she believed she could. She once wore a pink brocade full length vest over an off white pant suit and topped it off with a pink wig to go to the Guthrie Theater. PURE GENIUS. Unfortunately not ONE photo was taken.

Now, she rocks purple and pink feathers in her non-GMA hair.

my stylish 93 year old mother

At 93 my mother has more style than most 50 year olds. Why is this? Okay, she was a model, and then a housewife, and a mother, and then a divorced woman who needed to make a living–she didn’t think she “knew” how to do anything, but she knew fashion.

So now fast forward 45 years when most of her peers are wearing kitten sweatshirts she’s still rocking leather boots, leggings, and a tunic sweater. Why? Sure she was a model, 70+ years ago, and worked in fashion, 40+ years ago. But why so stylish now? So I asked her…

Me: Why does personal style matter to you?                                                                                                                      Joan: When I’m wearing clothes that are my personal style, I feel comfortable and
confident. I feel good and I know I look good.
.
Me: How would you describe your personal style?
Joan: My personal style has not changed over the years. My style is classic. I
change the look with new accessories. (I would add, her accessories are pretty fearless)

Me: What is the one piece you never want to be without in your closet?
Joan: A black suit, because you will always have something to wear. You can dress it up or down, wear it with a sweater,blouse, scarves, pearls. It’s the one thing you can depend on to take you anywhere.

Me: When you’re dressed for (whatever), what feeling do you have, or are you
dressing for a certain feeling?
Joan: I dress, first of all, to look good and to feel good. I don’t want to think about
what I’m wearing, once I’m dressed.

Me: Who is your style icon?
Coco Chanel. (Chanel made more changes in women’s fashion, then any
designer since. She designed the first little black dress, costume jewelry, and
twin sweaters. She used jersey for dresses and skirts. (at the time, jersey was only
used for men’s underwear!) Coco Chanel thought outside of the fashion box.

Me again, my mom says, “Don’t compare fashion with style–fashion is what’s happening in designers’ showrooms and on runways. Style comes through self acceptance and dressing for yourself.”

That statement is the crux of this series on finding a personal style and owning it. Look for many more posts (with pics) starting the third Monday of every month (we may end up doing more, because it’s fun!).

Do you have a personal style? Do you wish you had a personal style?