what is a life budget

 

Often, once we get a grip on our “if only’s” we replace them with “what if’s.”  I know that I have been guilty of doing this.

I have learned to cut myself some slack because moving to a new country has been full of fantastic new beginnings and optimal possibilities, but if I’m not mindful, they can very easily get lost in a sea of what-iffery!

In fact, I’ve discovered that progress can’t be optimal when my past regret is not forfeited, or my desire for control of the future is present.  Much like financing our future, our lives need a budget to keep us aligned with our goals and aspirations. 

In other words, we need to invest in our lives.

 

Evaluating your current life balance, enjoyment, and meaning

So, now that I have defined this, how does one go about planning out a life budget?  Well, if you’re as terrible at finance as I am (which is pretty comical since I worked in finance for over five years) you might find yourself needing a little guidance.

The first step is asking the right questions to get a clearer vision of what exactly it is you want to achieve and how you can align your actions to design your future life’s balance, enjoyment, and meaning.

The easiest (I jest) way to evaluate how much balance, happiness, and meaning is in your current life is to break it up into three categories:

  1. Doing (Your job, hobbies, etc.)
  2. Having (Your possessions, relationships, etc.)
  3. Being (Your true inner self)
  • How balanced is your life right now?  Is your life/work balance healthy?
  • How enjoyable is your life right now?  Do you have time to engage in things you’re passionate about?
  • How meaningful is your life right now?  Do you believe in yourself?  Do you still have things you want to achieve?

How much of yourself are you willing to invest?

For the longest time, I didn’t understand what it meant to “invest” in myself. I figured I went to college, became somewhat active, and had a small 401k going and that was what investing in myself was all about.  While these are ways to financially and physically invest in me, self-investments are much deeper than that.

Like everything else, you need to ask yourself some important questions to properly invest in yourself and accomplish your desires.

  • Where are your strengths?  (There’s a fun test you can take here to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.)
  • Do you value and use your intuition?
  • Do you hope to set an example for others?
  • Do you have a vision of your “ideal self”?

These are just a few of the questions that need to b asked, but important ones all the same.

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Setting Goals

I would recommend setting one small goal at a time as this approach has proven to be the least overwhelming and has the highest long-term success rate.

The nutrition and fitness worlds are all about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, but in the life coaching world, there’s a bit more to this highly useful acronym.

Introducing S.M.A.R.T.E.N.U.P. goals.  

  • S-Specific 
  • M-Measurable 
  • A-Achievable and Appealing 
  • R-Realistic 
  • T-Timed 
  • E-Enthusiastic 
  • N-Natural
  • U-Understood 
  • P-Prepared    

Let’s break apart the following client goal:

“I want to lose 10% of my body weight for my sister’s wedding in July. “

Is it specific?  Yes, she has expressed a specific amount of weight she wishes to lose.  She is 165 pounds and is proposing a weight loss of 16.5 pounds by the month of July.

Is it measurable?  Yes, when she reaches 148.5 pounds she will have met their goal weight.

Is it appealing?   Yes, this goal is achievable and appealing because she can clearly visualize her body at the desired achievable weight.

Is it realistic?  Yes, with a sensible way of eating and the appropriate amount of physical activity this goal can healthfully be achieved with a 1-2 pound per week loss.

Is it timed? Yes, she has expressed the desire to complete this goal by her sister’s wedding in July.

Is she enthusiastic about her goal?  Yes, she has set a realistic and achievable goal which will provide her with the confidence she desires for her sister’s wedding.

Is this goal understood by others? Yes, she has explained to her partner that she has set this goal for herself and that she will need to cook healthy meals and has dedicated herself to fitness classes at the gym over the next six months.

Is she prepared for any obstacles?  Yes, she accepts that her goal is achievable enough that she can afford a weight loss regardless of possible injuries or unforeseen events.  This goal also will allow for her to have a less structured and restrictive eating plan, which will ultimately lead to greater long-term success.  She sees this goal as one that can be done in a balanced, enjoyable, and meaningful way.  

Once you know which goals you want to achieve — and can answer yes to these questions — you can use them as an investment in yourself. Placing your goals into action is when you tie your life budget together.   You must work within the balance of enjoyment and meaningfulness to achieve what you truly desire.

Have you ever thought about a “life budget” for your goals?  Do you use the S.M.A.R.T. goal system?  What’s a goal you’re working towards right now?

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Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good one.  I did not celebrate this year, and it was depressing, but I live in the UK now, and it’s not a thing here.  I couldn’t even find a turkey.  Apparently, they exist in greater frequency after December 1st.

Interestingly, Black Friday IS a thing here.  I guess Black Friday is a happy thing?  Unless you had to work at 4 am today.

Black Friday is not my thing – it’s kinda gross, in my opinion.  You can read all about how I feel about malls, department stores, and shopping here.

Did you miss me?  Did you notice?  It’s okay if you didn’t, it’s been a minute, and there has been much else of greater importance going on in the world.

So, for those of you who might be interested/noticed my absence, you might be wondering why?

To sum it up… 2016.

If you follow me on Instagram or IRL or whatever you know that my thoughts on this year can be summed up in two words:  DUMPSTER.  FIRE.

Ugh.  I’m going to be real right now because that’s me.  I have been avoiding blogging (on all of my blogs) over the past 5-6 months because, quite frankly, I couldn’t deal with the shitshow of the election and the atrocities taking place in the world.  I’ve been super discouraged, angry, and, if I’m honest, DISGUSTED.

I talk about positive thinking and empowerment.  I believe in these things significantly.  But I cannot deny that it’s been tough to wade through the dumpster fire without getting burned.  We have to put it out.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I also wear my conscience on that sleeve.

It’s difficult for the things going on in the world to not leak into how I feel about literally everything around me.  It’s been tough to worry about creating content when I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops about things that have been, as Michelle Obama says, ‘shaking me to my core.’

However, throughout all of this year, I have remembered that there are a lot of good people in the world and that I cannot let the focus of the bad apples and negativeness cloud my entire life.

In other news, I am back in school.  I am pursuing a new degree (to add to the collection) in an attempt to find new career opportunities here in Scotland.  I don’t know what to expect between Brexit and the recent election, but I’m remaining optimistic and hoping for the best.

NOW for better news.  I have been working on a new fitness jumpstart program which is a sign that I am getting on with things, and I will not continue to let the uncertainties of the world cloud my days.

I am aware that my privilege allows me to do so and I do not take this for granted.  

Here’s a post-Thanksgiving quick and effective workout – check it out, share it, etc.!

Sweat out some of the drama with me!

 

Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

How have things been going for you? Are you ready to send 2016 off and welcome a new year?

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how to fight your inner conflicts

In every facet of our lives, we must be in touch with what motivates us.  Without knowing our motivations, we cannot get to the very core of what makes us who we are.

Why is this important?

It’s important because it’s what’s  within us that is our true  self.  Everything else is a result of our  mental conditioning.

We become our thoughts.  And, when our thoughts are not positive or self-fulfilling, they create this alternative self that we believe ourselves to be in place of the person we truly are deep down at our very core.

I know this because I thought I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone.  I walked around the world not believing in myself and giving others permission not to believe in me either.  It was a hopeless cycle because when others didn’t believe in me, it confirmed my belief that I wasn’t good enough.

Are you dizzy yet?  You probably are, because living like this is like being on an emotional Tilt-A-Whirl.

However, there is a stop button, and you have control over it.  In fact, not only can you stop this dizzying ride but you can get off of it and leave it behind for good.

3 Actions To Fight Your Inner Conflicts

I know it seems pretty simplistic to say that just three steps which can improve your life, but it’s the power of these measures that make them so profound.

Start small with these steps, and you will be on your way to living a less dramatic and more productive, meaningful existence.

Are you ready for them?

Action 1:  Stop

That’s it. Just stop.

For instance, when I started my wellness journey after the death of my father, I was doing these three steps without even realizing it.

I stopped eating poorly.  I started exercising and paying attention to what I was eating.  I let myself be proactive about my health and happiness.  When something isn’t working for you, the very first thing you need to do is figure out what you can take control of and stop.

You must do something to interrupt the addictive emotional patterns.

So, in my case, I was tired of feeling empty and insignificant.  I was sick of using food and alcohol to numb myself while I continued to wonder why nothing in my life was going right.

I was tired of feeling like I had no control over anything; including myself.

I had programmed myself to believe that being a shell of a person was enough for me and that it was all that I deserved.  All the while, inside of me, was that confident, active, and intelligent person hidden under years of conditioning myself to feel otherwise.

I was sick of using food and alcohol to numb myself while I continued to wonder why nothing in my life was going right.

The person I was meant to be was hidden away under all of that self-destructive behavior and unhappiness. The first step I had to take to get back to my real self, was to interrupt the emotional pattern that was limiting me.  By discontinuing the negative behaviors, I did have control over (food choices, overeating, and inactivity).

Action 2:  Start

The beginning of a journey of self-rediscovery and leading a more passionate life is to stop focusing on what you think you can’t do.  If you feel like it’s a hopeless situation, these two steps will help you a) getting out of your comfort zone and b)raising your standards.

It may seem like an impossible task, but even a baby step outside of your comfort zone is an accomplishment, and a will start allowing newer and healthier habits to take hold.  When I decided to eat healthier and exercise five days a week, it was far from comfortable.  I wanted to quit at first, but I just kept reminding myself that if I didn’t make this commitment to myself, I wouldn’t be able to commit to anything else either.  I raised my standards for myself, and it leads to many additional positive changes and opportunities.

Action 3:  Become

Once the negative cycle has stopped and you have started to do things that break you out of your comfort zone, you will see yourself emerge and become the person you have always been meant to be.

The third step is when you come into your “ideal self.”  The self who has been inside of you all of your life. The one who can finally stand up to all of your negative self-talk and claims of incapability

When you finally decide you’ve got to make a change if you stop with the negative and start with the positive your true self will have no choice but to become evident to you and the world around you.

The inner conflict that I felt for so many years was due to the battle that my head waged against my heart.  I finally decided I had to stop letting it continue.  I finally decided I had to start changing my ways.  I finally became who I was always meant to be, and beautiful and positive things began to come into my life.

There are still cloudy days, and there are still struggles, but I know that the Erin I am today can weather all storms.

3 Actions To Fight Inner Conflicts

Are you struggling with inner conflict?  If you are, you’re not alone, and it is clear that the solutions to what you feel conflicted about most are already within you.

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five tips for handling constructive criticism

I can tell you — for a fact — that there is probably nobody who struggles with criticism more than I do.  In fact, if you were to ask any of my former employers, they would all probably say that “being defensive” was the one quality about me they struggled with the most.

Nobody likes criticism.

I used to have a serious problem with acting like a victim.

I always felt like I was being “attacked” for something.  From the biggest to the smallest of things, I did not like to take ownership for my part — or worse — be told how I should have handled things.

I used to become incredibly defensive and angry at anybody who would give me the slightest bit of constructive feedback because I always felt it was unnecessary.

I’ve grown to learn that criticism is a necessity.

Even though we each will receive a fair bit of criticism in our lives, there is no need to feel threatened, defensive, or ashamed of it. It’s all part of breaking away from our comfort zone. In fact, one of the most annoying criticisms I’ve received continuously has been the question, “Why do you do it that way?”

I’m sure you have heard this issue/observation many times also.

For years, this would be my reaction when asked that dreaded question.

“Why did you do it that way?”

Five steps for effective handling constructive criticism

  • Avoid being defensive whenever possible.  I’ve learned to choose not to be defensive when I receive criticism works best for me.  I used to get super defensive whenever I felt criticized.  And the only thing I ever accomplished by becoming defensive was to prove I was incapable of respecting other people’s observations.  We cannot grow from staying inside a bubble.  So, if somebody bursts yours, try and keep calm and hear them out.
  • Avoid being quick to react.  My father used to tell me all the time that I’m a “highly reactive” individual.  As soon as I heard something I didn’t agree with, I would react and typically regret doing so.  Being reactive is similar to being defensive, but the difference is that when we respond quickly, we don’t give ourselves time to process the situation correctly.  Now, I try to step back from the situation and breathe and think about how I’m going to process it.  I may choose to confront or concede, but I will have given myself the opportunity to have a choice.
  • Assume the responsibility when it’s your fault.  When I’m the root of the problem, I owe it to myself, and everybody involved to accept responsibility for it.  Nobody likes the blame game (especially when you’re the one to blame), but it’s a necessary evil sometimes.  Assuming the responsibility for your mistake shows that you are big enough to accept and learn from a situation.
  • Take it as an opportunity to gain some insight.  In every occasion, there is something positive to come out of it and to be at the forefront of criticism is a chance to gain some valuable insight.  For example, after you receive a criticism is a perfect time to ask questions about how you can better handle the situation in the future.
  • Stop taking criticisms as a personal attack.  When objections occur, we often internalize them as an attack on who we are not what we’ve done. You will likely never be able to please everyone.   Just because someone questions your work doesn’t mean they are criticizing who you are.  We all can produce work that disappoints, but that doesn’t mean that we are disappointing.

Learning how to handle criticism constructively is something we all should master.  We can choose to see critiques as an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.  As with everything in life, it’s a decision.

Here’s to making the best decisions possible!

How do you handle criticism?

 

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Do you give yourself ultimatums

By nature, people do not like ultimatums. They are threatening, limiting, and just plain nasty.

So, imagine how terrible it is when you give yourself one, or worse, many.

For some people — especially perfectionists black and white thinkers — giving ultimatums is a way of life. Even though it may seem like ultimatums are a motivational tool they are very self-destructive.

I know because I used to give myself ultimatums continually. It was part of my “all or nothing” thinking. Either I was going to get “x,” or I’d never get .”

In fact, here are some examples of ultimatums I used to give myself on a regular basis.

“Either this guy is “the one,” or I’m through with dating.”
“Either I get this promotion, or I’m quitting.”
“Either I stick to this diet, or I’ll be fat forever.”

Those are all pretty threatening, limiting, and nasty — right?

So, why would I do this to myself?

When I would propose these scenarios to myself, I was primarily retaliating against myself. By only ever give myself two choices — complete success or total failure — I would attack myself. I wouldn’t just limit the action itself as a success or failure; I would confine myself as a success or failure if I didn’t receive the desired outcome.

The problem with this way of thinking was that when I was only giving myself one of two possible outcomes, I was always placed 50% against myself.

 

 

With those odds, I wound up always struggling between the demands I had put on myself and the result of those requirements. That is where my inner conflicts began, and one of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire something from yourself (or others).

Instead of declaring “Either this guy is “the one,” or I’m through with dating,” I began saying things like, “Perhaps, I’m not what he is looking for, but that’s okay.  I’m now one step closer to finding someone who thinks I’m amazing.”

Positioning the relationship prospect as being only a success or a complete failure,  provided me with only negative outcomes.

Changing the way I placed things, created greater odds for positive results.

Also, I’m now happily married, so I’m quite happy I gave myself more options!

I know it can be tough to stop giving yourself ultimatums and creating unnecessary conflicts within yourself.

Remember, there is no reason to be more demanding of yourself than anyone would be of you. And there is no need for anybody to be that demanding of you in the first place!

Be kind to yourself.  Always.

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