28 December 2015

2016 is almost here. With it comes an opportunity for reflection and new beginnings. As we enter the New Year, remember that you have the capability to optimize any area of your life. By simply believing in yourself, you are empowered to function at your very best and shape your own future. So make that commitment to begin 2016 with a clearing out of whatever is holding you back. Take a step back and reflect on this past year. What areas of your life are ripe for change? What negative habits or forces can you now leave behind, for this transformation to happen?

21 December 2015

When life’s in full swing, it’s easy to neglect communicating to your partner what’s important to you in your relationship. This can begin a vicious circle that’s difficult to break. What do you need from your partner in order to feel just a little bit closer? What are you willing to give, that you may have been holding back? Why not agree to take some time this week to relax together and share these things in a way that’s fun and productive. Make your only goal to assure that you each feel like a winner in this process!

14 December 2015

If only you were less stressed, had more free time, or felt better in general–what changes would you make in your life right now? In my practice as a psychologist, I frequently hear people talk about waiting until they “feel better”, for example, to do something they’ve been wanting to; such as beginning the process of a career change or resolving an intense relationship issue. What do you tell yourself you’d do or change if only _______________(and fill in the blanks)? Remember, the one thing you can control are your behaviors, or the things you choose to do. So instead of waiting for an emotion to change or something out of your control to occur before acting on a goal, ask yourself, “What can I do now?” Then take massive action or at least a significant step today or this week. Then see how empowering this feels!

7 December 2015

You–as do we all–have your own unique strengths and weaknesses, in addition to the infinite number of traits and characteristics that when added together comprise the person you are. So don’t let that nagging voice in your head define you by one flaw or weakness. To do this is to needlessly put yourself down, lose sight of the big picture and all you have to offer. Make a list of your own best success stories and the life achievements you are most proud of. Access that list whenever you doubt yourself or can use a boost of self-confidence. This way, you can always be your most reliable, 24/7 source of support.

30 November 2015

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and were able to enjoy those amazing feelings of gratitude for all that’s a part of your life! With the holiday season upon us, this is a great time to give back to the world that’s larger than you are. It’s never the size of your mission or the contribution that’s important, only your intention and desire to give back — with no strings attached. True and lasting happiness often eludes us until we find a way to get beyond ourselves and–with gratitude for what we have, as the motivator–help someone else, a group, a cause or some segment of the world that can use a bit of your available energy or resources. The wonderful paradox about giving is that as soon as you forgo your own rewards, they find you effortlessly. How can you get this great concept to work for you, starting today?

23 November 2015

How about making this your week to stop anxiety in its tracks! If you let it, anxiety can convince you to avoid taking almost any action, no matter how important to you it might be. Whether you experience anxiety as just needlessly worrying occasionally, as severe and out of control panic or anything in between, it may be time to take some steps to get it under control, so that it no longer interferes with your quality of life. Remember, you may not be able to control what’s happening with the people, places and things around you, but you can absolutely learn to control your reaction to them. Whenever you begin to experience an anxious feeling, try this simple deep breathing exercise: Imagine that your legs are two giant air balloons. As you inhale, imagine your legs filling up with air. As you exhale, imagine all of that air leaving your body. Try breathing to the count of five and then out to the five. As you do this notice how the anxiety dissipates.

16 November 2015

When having difficulty making a decision, remember that the concept of certainty is a myth. Instead, believe in yourself! Where you do have unlimited power (even if at times you are not in touch with it) is in making changes that will affect you from today on, and for the rest of your life – beginning right now. By focusing on your power, you can start looking upon decisions not as burdens, but as empowering challenges! As a reminder, think about some of the positive decisions you’ve made in the past. What choices do you feel most proud of? Use these moments as a reminders of your empowerment. Now what’s a decision you’ve been putting off? As you revisit it, keep in mind that because certainty does not exist, the one thing in reality that none of us can control in any area of life is outcome.

9 November 2015

When your marriage or love relationship is in flux. Take a moment to think about the expectations you have for that relationship. Beware of what I have long called the “Soul Mate Syndrome,” which is fueled by the highly unlikely idea that your partner should effortlessly be a perfect match for you in every way. Your expectations are highly personal matters. But remember, that in reality, expectations are often premeditated disappointments! What is it that you really want from your partner? What could you and/or your partner do now that could now make the relationship work better? Consider having a light-hearted discussion about this, perhaps this week.

2 November 2015

When the work that you do is the work that you love, not only will it come easier to you, but you will feel more satisfied, engaged, fulfilled, and inspired in your daily life. When your career is personally gratifying, motivation comes from within you. Financial status, recognition, praise, and approval are certainly nice; but no longer the main forces that motivate or satisfy you. Do you love the work you do? If not, what would have to happen for you to answer yes?

26 October 2015

What part of your life could be better? In which area would you feel happier or be more motivated? As you ponder these questions, be aware of what seems most important to address first. Getting on the road to your highest potential starts by looking at what your life is now, thinking about what it could be and then-most importantly-taking action! What could you do to take that first step toward your highest potential in the part of your life that you are most motivated to change?

19 October 2015

There is much more to life than getting others to admire, envy, love, or approve of you! The most important form of admiration there is comes from within. In what area(s) of your life, could you be more accepting of yourself?

12 October 2015

To change a self-defeating belief that could be affecting virtually any area of your life, first ask yourself if that belief is “absolutely true.” Once you’ve established “reasonable doubt” as to whether a problematic belief is valid and one you want to live by, choose a new attitude or belief to replace it. Your chosen belief can be thought of as an affirmation. When you are living by your own affirmations, you are surely living life on your own terms. What are some beliefs or attitudes that you hold on to, which no longer serve you in a positive way? For each one you’ve identified, choose an affirmation to replace it. Each time you do this, you are gaining more control of your destiny!

5 October 2015

Practices such as meditation, yoga, journaling, journeying, and visualization are excellent ways to deepen and enhance your connection to the divine as well as the nearly infinite pool of resources within you. How can you use these practices to positively influence your life or enhance an important part of it? Starting this week, make a commitment to choose and begin a daily practice — it doesn’t matter which one — for accessing your inner resources.

28 September 2015

Your passions are unique! There is nobody else that can tell you what you are, should, or should not be passionate about. Moreover, your specific passions themselves are never consciously chosen. They call upon you! They are your callings. So be true to yourself and don’t ignore your callings, as they represent some of the reasons you’re here —AKA the life you were born to live. What are you feeling most passionate about right now; and what are these passions trying to tell you? Make a commitment this week to give your passions all the attention and respect they deserve!

21 September 2015

How could your life be better? If you find yourself in a rut, where life and all it has to offer starts to feel stale or boring; that fire you once had in your belly could be fizzling — instead of sizzling — or burning out. Motivation is a key component, but only part of the formula if you want to optimize your life or any area of it. The missing ingredient could be a commitment to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Examples include managing an important project at work, starting a hobby, or even learning a new skill. When you dive into a positive new challenge that’s governed by your unique passions, you’ll find yourself in that zone where you’ll have a heightened sense of concentration as well as an enhanced eagerness for it. You’ll also focus less on your concerns or worries that can dilute your experience when taking on something new. Think about how you can challenge yourself this week. It might be something new or something you have already attempted. Write down what this challenge is along with the skills and strengths that will help you succeed. Most importantly, make sure you’re clear on what’s in it for you to give it the energy it deserves. Once you have that, plan how you will start tackling this challenge today so that you will succeed!

14 September 2015

Your inner voice: friend or foe? Paying closer attention to your inner dialogue is a crucial step in learning how to better address the barriers in your life that are holding you back. Is that voice you hear encouraging you to do your best? Or is it putting you down and making excuses? Here’s a fact: you are as happy or unhappy as you think you are. So becoming more aware of what you are telling yourself can begin the process of freeing you from unhelpful voices. Take a few minutes to write down three of your strengths. Are you resilient? Motivated? Creative? You fill in the blanks. Once you have three then write down three current challenges that you’re encountering. Now at the end of each challenge pick least one of the strengths you have listed will help you achieve, manage, or overcome that challenge. It may seem unnatural at first but once you learn how to access the powers within you that have been there will along, that voice will quickly become your most reliable source of inner strength!

7 September 2015

Many consider Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer and a time to get serious about career and business goals or something you may have been procrastinating about. For instance, if changing your job or career, implementing a business decision or moving forward with another major life change (relationship or lifestyle related, for example) is something want, but have been putting off because it feels too frightening or not possible at the current time; now is the time to take a look at what is holding you back. Make it a point to list the obstacles and take them on one at a time, until you reach your goal. No step is too small, but not taking any steps will only make the task seem more and more daunting than it probably is! Examine the possibilities, even from a place of childlike curiosity and fun, if necessary. But do something this week, to move closer to your chosen goal. In addition to the obvious benefits, you’ll set a new standard for this season that can only lead you closer to success and long-term fulfillment.

31 August 2015

When serving others, it’s not the size of your mission that’s important, only the intention and desire to contribute without expecting anything of a quid pro quo nature in return. True and lasting happiness results when we use gratitude for what we have, as the motivator get beyond ourselves in a big or small way and help someone else or contribute to a cause that benefits others. Remember, the wonderful paradox is that as soon as you forgo your own rewards, they find you effortlessly.

24 August 2015

When serving others or the world that’s larger than you are, it’s not the size of your mission that’s important, only the intention and desire to give back to something greater than yourself, with no strings attached. True and lasting happiness is about getting beyond ourselves and—with gratitude for what we actually have as the motivator— help someone else or contribute to a cause that benefits others. The amazing paradox is that as soon as you forgo your own rewards, they find you effortlessly. In what way can you get this great concept to work for you starting today, by focusing on a cause that will impact others (even one other person) directly, and then you by virtue of the karma your deed will generate?

17 August 2015

There is an often-inconvenient reality of the universe: that while we can control our intentions and our actions, we really can’t control the outcome. But quite often, we pretend we can. This is also another way of saying that we can only do our best. So if you’ve truly done your best, you’ve succeeded! You can only fail to do your best. So, if there is something you perceive as having failed at, consider the insight regarding how you would have done things differently as a gift. That way you have a powerful learning experience that can make it more likely —thought ever certain— that you’ll get the outcome you’re seeking on your next try. How can you put this powerful principle to work for you this week?

10 August 2015

There are very few statements that can be made with near absolute certainty. But here’s an exception to that rule: Anyone can reach their highest potential in a chosen area of their life, who makes an unbendable commitment to do whatever is necessary to remove the obstacles that block their access to that zone within themselves, where operating at your highest potential is normal and natural. Remember, when it comes to your highest potential, you are competing with nobody but yourself! How are you holding yourself back from being your absolute best in the part or parts of your life that matter most? And what’s a step or two you can take this week to move a bit closer to where you want to be? I’ll have a lot more to say about this along with some step-by-step strategies you can apply to any aspect of your life in the very near future.

3 August 2015

When things go wrong, it’s important to recognize and define the problem. But then — as tempting as it may be — stop dwelling on it. Instead, switch to solution mode. This may sound obvious, but there’s no better application for the 80/20 rule. In reality, most people tend to give 80% of their focus and attention to the problem and only 20% to the solution. What problem or situation are you dealing with right now that can sorely use more focus on the solution? Make a commitment to shift to solution mode and resolve something in your life this week that may be lingering due to this common habit.

27 July 2015

In your relationship, if it usually feels like you’re on separate sides when trying to come up with a solution to a problem, it’s time to start playing on the same team again. Brainstorm solutions together, without judging or analyzing them. Once you have a list of all your options, you can then discuss each one and then make a decision together. Most importantly, take the time to talk through each solution until you get to a win-win.

20 July 2015

You’re not a mind reader and neither is your partner. Unless you express your needs, it’s difficult for someone else to know what they are. When you expect your partner to know how you’re feeling during an argument or disagreement and what to do about it, you could be setting yourself up for an unnecessary round of negativity. What do you need to discuss with your partner that you’ve been holding back?

6 July 2015

What you have the least direct control of are your feelings and emotions. What you have the most control over are your behaviors, or the things you choose to do. In other words, if you wait for an emotion to change before taking some important action in your life, you could be waiting a very long time! So ask yourself, “What actions do I need to take right now?” This is the best way to become and remain the master of your destiny.

29 June 2015

An effective strategy for dealing with uncomfortable emotions is to imagine that you’re in a completely safe place such as a beach, a lake, or even somewhere else that perhaps exists only on your imagination. Imagine in detail what it’s like to be in this safe, calm place. Focus on what you can see, hear, and feel. As you take in this image, allow your stress to fade away as the feelings of calm arise. Once you’ve created this place in your mind, it’s a place you can easily return to whenever can use some feelings of calm or peace. Try this simple strategy whenever you are feeling an onset of stress or one of its trademark emotions, such as anger or anxiety this week.

22 June 2015

Imagine for a moment that you were absolutely fearless and immune to anxiety. For example, you didn’t fear rejection from others, the prospect of looking foolish, or even publicly failing at something you consider important, or (fill in your own custom fear)_____________. What are some things you would do differently, or life changes you would make that perhaps your fears or anxieties now put beyond your reach? This week, make a comprehensive list of whatever comes up for you, along with an idea or two for taking at least one prudent risk to counter each fear you listed. For example, begin researching a job or career change you want to make or bringing up a difficult issue that you’ve been avoiding with a friend or your spouse.

8 June 2015

Do you find that setting standards too high is a source of stress for you? While doing your best is certainly a virtue, perfectionism — that is, settling for nothing less than perfect — has a major down side. It can potentially keep you in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction, because it’s the demand that you do better than your best. Don’t mistake the impossible standard of perfectionism for working your hardest or trying to do your best. They are really not the same at all. How might perfectionism be stressing you out or holding you back in your life? This week, practice focusing on what you have accomplished rather than what you have not?

1 June 2015

Certainty is a myth. Hindsight — as we all know at least intellectually by the cliché — is 20/20. There are many things every one of us would do differently “if only we knew ‘then’ what we know now.” But that’s never an option. So why pretend it is? Remember that just about all of your important decisions are, to one extent or another, educated guesses. And most of them have factors that would pull you in the opposite direction. After all, a decision without conflicting factors — to one degree or another — is simply a no-brainer. How can this reminder help you make a tough decision you have been contemplating and perhaps putting off?

25 May 2015

Beware of what I have long called the “soul mate syndrome,” which is fueled by the highly unlikely idea that your partner should effortlessly be a perfect match for you in every way. I know of no relationship that perfect, because this is an impossible standard! Your expectations are highly personal matters, but the higher they are, the more likely they will be to lead you to disappointment. How have your expectations of your partner — past, present or future — presented problems for you?

18 May 2015

Couples who use their opposite characteristics optimally, operate as a well functioning team with four eyes and four ears, rather than negating and making each other wrong — which creates and perpetuates conflict. How are you and your partner opposite? How do you and your partner complement one another? And how can you use your opposite characteristics to your advantage as a couple?

11 May 2015

Empower yourself by acknowledging that it is the choices you have made prior to now that have led to your life circumstances today. Take complete responsibility for them. Then simply refuse to blame yourself, your parents, your ex, your boss or any other person, or factor for an aspect of your life that you don’t like. If you could let go of all blame and the baggage it entails, what’s the first thing you would use this new power to take the initiative to do?

27 April 2015

Visualize your life without the “safety net” that may be holding you back from taking the reins. Then do something — anything — that brings you even one small step toward breaking free of a toxic comfort zone, or what I have long referred to as a comfortable state of discomfort. For example; commit to start looking for the job you really want, ask someone out for a date, say “goodbye” to someone toxic in your life that’s holding you back, get a current graduate school catalog, set some solid goals and line up a support group to help you tackle them etc. etc. In addition to the all of other obvious benefits, each time you accomplish something you set out to do, you prove to yourself that you can! In what small way can you exit your comfort zone this week to move forward with something you’d really like to accomplish?

20 April 2015

When you find yourself in a relationship conflict, forget the small stuff and ask yourself: is this issue is going to be important in a week? A month? Or a year? Pick your battles carefully and focus on what is truly important to both of you for the long run. How is the “small stuff” zapping too much energy in your relationship and what steps are you willing to do this week to turn this around?

13 April 2015

If recognition from others is eluding you, stop focusing on it. Instead, concentrate on improving the level of what you are doing, which is the only part that’s really under your control. For example, it’s usually difficult or impossible to be optimally creative, while obsessing about what others will think of your creation. So, let go of your focus on the outcome. Once you remove that pressure and instead decide to concentrate on simply doing what you were truly meant to do, you can expect to experience some amazing changes.

6 April 2015

Passion is the best currency to help you accomplish what you want. The stronger your passion toward something, the more you will become committed to it. Most of the world’s truly accomplished people would probably agree that passion and the willingness to be guided by it are the two most important ingredients that make success likely. That’s why passion is your path to that zone where you are living life at your highest potential. What do you feel passionate about this moment or generally in life that you are not paying enough attention to? What passion of yours have you been ignoring altogether?

30 March 2015

Imagine yourself completely dropping all of your roles, obligations and current relationships.Pretend for a moment that there are absolutely no sacred cows in your life and that you can be literally free of anything and everything that consumes your time and energy. As you make this imaginary “housecleaning” as thorough as possible, make a list of everything you are leaving behind, which constitutes your life as it now is. When your list is complete, it will be a sort of summary of your present life. Once again, imagine your life without all of the roles, people, obligations and other things on your list. Take a moment to savor this feeling of absolute freedom. (Some people experience this as a “George Bailey” moment as in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.) When you have that image, and are ready to move on, it’s time to start your next list. Only in this one, include first who and then what (roles and things) you really want to “put back” into your life. Make sure that it is your desires that are speaking to you, not what “should be” included in your new list. Optional step: When this second list is complete, make one final list. This one will include whatever is in your second list (what you would like to put back into your life), but which cries out for change —major or minor—before you would choose to include it unconditionally. The purpose of this third list, is to recognize what relationships, for example, need some work; what roles you want to be more or less involved with and under what circumstances; and anything else in your life that you want or need to keep, but which need some fine tuning. As you do this, you may come to recognize many shades of gray as well as what is more black and white!

23 March 2015

Comfort and even affluence, a nice, decent family life, an adequate community, religious involvement, the demands you put on yourself to “keep it all together,” as well as all-or many of-the staples of what we have come to believe constitute a good life don’t always add up to happiness or fulfillment. What constitutes fulfillment for you? What in your life that once was fulfilling for you no longer is? What change(s) in your life does this prompt you to make?

16 March 2015

Here are some definitions to consider: Successful— someone who failed, used the failure as a learning experience and tried again. Unsuccessful—someone who failed and gave up. In addition, successful people use failure as a source of insight and wisdom for going forward, while unsuccessful people use failure as a reason to put themselves down and let someone “more competent” be the one who achieves. As always, the choice is yours. Make your choice today! Then ask yourself how can I put this reality to work for something important to me, this week?

9 March 2015

Anxiety can sometimes feel too intense to permit the kind of risk-taking and self-assertion necessary to defeat it. Therefore, strategies designed to zero in on the anxiety directly can have wide ripple effects that positively influence every aspect of your life. Just remember this about anxiety—it’s the only disease I know of, where the bulk of the cure it to ignore it. So make it your mission this week to confront each situation that makes you anxious, as well as those beliefs and attitudes you harbor that keep your anxieties in place. Each time you go ahead and do something that triggers anxiety in you, the anxiety gets weaker. However, each time you “listen” to your anxiety and allow it govern you, the anxiety gets stronger. Ask yourself, how can you put this reality to work for you, with the goal of being anxiety free?

2 March 2015

Taking prudent risks and asserting yourself can very quickly bring about a major transformation for you in important areas of life. But never taking the risk is the only guarantee I know of that you will not get what you want. Sometimes, this may also involve overriding your fear of rejection by simply saying “no”, rather than being compliant and feeling resentful afterwards. What risk have you been waiting to take until there was a guarantee of success? Why not make this the week to take that risk and break this pattern once and for all!

23 February 2015

If you want to change something in your life, but feel stuck, it’s most important to first recognize exactly what’s in it for you to change. Understand the long-term consequences for you of thinking and behaving a different way that’s consistent with your goal. What in your life do you want to change? This week, identify what you are willing to change about yourself-especially where the changes might not instantly feel gratifying, but could have long-term positive effects for you.

16 February 2015

Do you worry too much about others’ opinions of you? Here’s a reality: What other people think of you is in fact none of your business! Furthermore, somebody else’s opinion of you is one of those things you can least control or even know about. Some people will like you because they see you as docile or in their eyes inferior to them in some way. Others could hate you because they believe you are more successful or attractive than they are. Still others may like you for the very reason someone else dislikes you! What has been the cost for you of pleasing and impressing others? Striving to be recognized, honored and/or accepted? Has the cost been worth the effort? What’s a step or two that you can take this week to free yourself of this burden?

9 February 2015

Look for alternative ways to both see and resolve conflicts. Dare to be different! Regardless of the area of life; e.g., work, your marriage, or friendships; be open to new ideas and other points of view.Go out of your way to accept others who are different from you. Work very hard at understanding—which is not the same as agreeing with— their point of view and accept that many other alternatives exist, which may be just as valid for someone else as yours are for you. Most likely, you already do this with certain people and/or areas of your life. How can you expand this conflict-resolving attitude even more? Now is the time to let yourself enjoy broadening your horizons even further! What’s a step or two you can take in that direction this week?

2 February 2015

Choose one thing you’ve been waiting to accomplish and make an irrevocable commitment to start doing it now. As a bonus, once you do what you’ve set out to, it’s very likely that the positive emotions — which may be eluding you — will follow. Nothing can beat the rewards that come when you take control of your life and get moving. Today is the day to stop procrastinating and just go for it!

26 January 2015

For many, dependency can be extremely addicting and hard to give up-especially if someone important in your life enables you to stay dependent and/or serves as an ongoing obstacle to change (such as in a controlling or abusive relationship). Also, many well-meaning parents unwittingly enable their adult children to stay in that “safe” comfort zone by encouraging them to live at home for far too long. More than half the battle is realizing this. Leaving your comfort zone gives you access to freedom and perhaps worlds you would otherwise never know exist, but are waiting for your discovery. If you experience your comfort zone as something that is stifling you in some way, what’s at least one small step you can take this week to step beyond it and towards something that could lead to a greater sense of the fulfillment?

19 January 2015

If we think of a computer as a metaphor for the mind, our beliefs constitute our operating system. It is our beliefs that, for example, create anger in us when someone treats us poorly, anxiety when faced with a difficult challenge we fear failing at, or depression when we actually fail at something important. What is it you most believe when you are angry? Anxious? Depressed or feeling down? Remember, these beliefs are what convert an event that happens outside of yourself to the emotions that reside inside of you.

12 January 2015

One of the great mysteries of the mind is what I call psychological farsightedness, which explains why we tend to have blind spots. So often, we cannot see that to which we are too close. Is there a situation in your life you are so close to right now that you may not be seeing the effect it has on you or others around you? If so, what could serve as your psychological “reading glasses”? Some self-reflection? A massive change of some kind? A tweak? An outside perspective from someone around you? Additional information about the situation? Or when all else fails, just let go for a bit and allow the universe select the outcome.

5 January 2015

Here’s a thought for the New Year: Any happy event, success, victory, or windfall can trigger great feelings in you-temporarily. However, as you have probably noticed many times, a positive frame of mind that depends on outside factors that you cannot control does not last. The problem is simply that you are always subject to the next life event or occurrence, and then the next one, and the one after that. The good news: As humans, a state of deep fulfillment is one you can experience at will, when you are living the life you were born to live, under the guidance of your unique passions. This zone is a natural part of you, that once discovered will not fluctuate with external events. In other words, you have inside of you, all you will ever need to be living in that gloriously fulfilling zone right now. If you were following your unique passions, what would you be doing differently with your life right now? What is a step you can take this week to be more attuned to what you’re most passionate about?