counselor Murrieta

How to set goals you can actually accomplish in 2019

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2019. It seems as if last year rolled by too fast. Now, if you're like most people, you probably have great dreams for this year. You want your life to be filled with joy, you want your family to be healthy, and you want to accomplish some great goals. The problem is you have a bad habit of setting New Year's resolutions and then forgetting all about them by February.

Remember that unused gym membership from 2018? Remember the time when you said you were going to write a book but you didn't? Well, today is your lucky day because I'm going to give you 6 tips to increase your chances of actually following through with your goal.

1) Make your goals SMART

We all set life goals, but the problem is that some of us have goals that are way too vague. 'Make more money,' 'Lose weight,' 'Be happier,' all sound like great goals on the surface, but they are way too broad. I like to break my goals up in a SMART way. Here are the steps:

Make sure your goal is Specific: Make sure your goal isn't too vague. You brain can't compute anything that's too vague and your heart won't become emotionally tied to a vague goal. If you are emotionally attached to your goal, you'll be more motivated to follow through. So, you could say something like "I want to make $1,000 more in January 2019." That's as specific as it gets. 

Make it Measurable: Quantify your goals. Make sure each goal either has a completion date or some type of number attached to it. So your money goal of making $1,000 in January 2019 is measurable. We know exactly how much money you're trying to make and we know the deadline for completing the goal. That way you can break it down further each week to know what targets you should be hitting to stay on track.

Make sure it's Achievable: It's always great to reach for the sky, but how many of us have actually ever touched the sky?  If your goal is unattainable, it has the opposite result. You'll get discouraged and stop trying to pursue it. If your goal is to make $1000 in January 2019 but you haven't held a job in the past 5 years, chances are you might not be able to achieve it. So set something attainable, then set another goal as soon as you reach that one. So if you haven't had a job in 5 years, perhaps your goal could be to make $100 extra in January 2019. After you've met that goal, set a goal to make $200. Be systematic.

Make sure it's Reasonable: Also pay attention to your abilities, the level of support you have in your life, and your resources. If your goal is to travel to 5 countries this year but you know that you work a regular 9 to 5 job and you don't have any time off, that's pretty unreasonable. Even though it's great to think outside the box, an unreasonable goal will discourage you. And a discouraged person most likely won't be motivated to complete a goal.

Make it Time Limited: Add a completion date to your goal. An open ended goal will kill your ambition and you'll lose steam fast. But when you know you're going to be working toward a goal for a limited amount of time, it's easier to maintain focus. It's helpful to set 3 month and 6 month goals to begin with. Then as you get good at maintaining your focus, you can stretch those goals into 1-year, 2-year and 3-year goals.

2) Get an accountability partner: When you have someone positive cheering you on, you are more likely to work tirelessly toward your goal because you know they're going to ask you about it. No one wants to deal with the embarrassment of letting their accountability partner down. Make sure you only pick someone who is positive and encouraging. A Debbie Downer will kill your mojo.

3) Post your goals somewhere visible: I like the added accountability of posting my goals on a mirror, a door, in my car or somewhere I cannot ignore it. Why? Because if you can't see your goals, you can easily ignore them. Out of sight, out of mind. But when you are greeted by your goals every single day, you'll be more motived to actually work towards them.

4) Plan out small steps towards your big goal: A 5 year goal can be very daunting. So after writing the long term goal, break it down further. If you want to accomplish something big like buying a house in 5 years, what would you need to do in 3 years to help you reach the goal? Break it down further. What would you need to do in 1 year to reach your goal? Break it down further! What would you need to do in 6 months to reach your goal? Even further. What would you need to do in 3 months, and then weekly to reach your goal?

5) Schedule everything: Once you've broken down your goal into smaller steps, it's time to schedule it out on your planner or phone. I love Google Calendar. It's free and it can also send you reminders. Spend 1 day planning out your tasks and setting them automatically on your phone. That way when the alert pops up, you remember to get right on it.

6) Give yourself a reward: Goal setting is difficult business. Set a benchmark for yourself and agree to give yourself a reward every time you hit that benchmark. So for example, if your goal is to make $1000 more in January, you can buy yourself a treat every time you make $250. If your goal is to buy a house, you can do something special every 3 months as you're on your way to rocking your goal.

There you have it- 6 easy ways to actually accomplish your goals this year. And if anxiety or insomnia are keeping you from accomplishing your goals, I'd love to chat with you for 15 minutes to see if I might be a good fit for you. I help anxious women, insomniacs and engaged couples in the Temecula/Murrieta feel calmer, sleep better and lay a solid foundation for their future. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call.

 

How to deal with your difficult family this Christmas

Christmas time is here! Merry Christmas to all you folks out there in Murrieta, Temecula and the entire Inland Empire. I hope today will bring you lots of happiness, and all the warm and fuzzy feelings.

But for some people, Christmas time is not so warm and fuzzy. Christmas time brings painful memories of family woes. No matter what type of family you were raised in, understand that it is possible to still have a happy, healthy life-there are just a few boundaries you can set.

Here are some ways you can begin to manage a difficult family:

1) Decide what you want: If you have a toxic family, you'll know it. They leave your self esteem lower than ever, you don't want to open up to them about personal areas of your life, they're judgmental, your heart races every time you go to visit them, you hold back tears when you're in their presence, and you breathe a sigh of relief when the festivities are over. If you nodded your head to the above statements, chances are your family is either really difficult or toxic.

If majority of your holidays end in disappointment, you must decide if it's worth it to sacrifice your precious days off to be with your family. Perhaps you'd do better if you spend the holidays alone or with people who actually fill you with joy. Although it's a tough decision to make, decide what you want and stick to your decision. This is important for those days when you're feeling guilty for not spending all your time with them.

2) Challenge the overt or covert messages they've sent you: Many people who are in a dysfunctional family, have no clue how much their family has harmed them emotionally. Spend some time thinking about some of the negative things your family members have said and done. Once you've thought them out, write out about 5 of them. Next to each one, write out how that event has made you feel about yourself. For example, if every time you see your dad, he talks about how much weight you've gained, your dad's statements might have made you think to yourself, "I'm fat."

Now remember, because your family members say something doesn't mean it's true. If your dad talks about your weight all the time, you do not have to change the way you look just to suit him. If the message you've been telling yourself is "I'm fat," come up with another, more realistic message to counter it. Such as "I am beautiful just the way I am" or "I love the way my body looks." It'll take a while for your brain to catch up with your heart, but say these more realistic statements over and over again.

3) Create some space: Many of us were raised with the idea that every holiday must be spent with family. But what happens if your family holidays are perpetually sad or filled with arguments? Then it might be time to find someone new to spend the holiday with. A few weeks before the holidays, let your family know that you'll be going elsewhere to celebrate. Yes they might yell, they might be offended and they might clutch their pearls, but if you do this every year, they'll eventually get the message and get used to your new plan. You cannot please everyone.

You can also create space by limiting communication with them. Avoid contentious topics, reduce the number of calls you make to them, and just try to keep the conversation civil and light. The goal is to keep your mental space stress free and as positive as possible.

Another way to do it is to do a drive by Christmas with your family, and then spend a longer period of time with someone who brings you joy. So you could choose to spend an hour with your family, and then spend the rest of the day with more cheerful, positive people. That way you only have to take your family in small doses and your entire holiday isn't ruined.

4) Remind yourself why you're doing all this: When you start to create some space, the backlash will begin. Remind yourself why you have to do it. If you remain in the toxic environment, it WILL drag you down. But if you hold on to your boundaries, work on your mindset and surround yourself with positive people, your Christmas will go off without the usual frustration and tears.

And if you want to learn about how your friends could be increasing your anxiety, click here to read more.

Ready to learn how to maneuver a difficult or even toxic family? I love to help women and engaged couples in Murrieta figure out how to create lives that are anxiety free. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation. You could also call me at 951-905-3181.

 

How to set appropriate boundaries in your relationships

If you follow me on social media, I talk about boundaries A LOT. Why? Well because boundaries either create a sense of safety or they provide a sense of vulnerability and insecurity. We all have boundaries- even if we don't know it. Some people have very rigid boundaries that keep them safe, yet keep people out. And others have very porous, open boundaries that let lots of good (as well as bad) in. But porous boundaries hurt you in the process. Having both types of boundaries serves a specific function. Rigid boundaries will definitely keep you safe-especially if you've had loss and hurt in the past. It's a great way to protect yourself when you've experienced lots of bad. The problem is that rigid boundaries also keep good, safe people out. So you'll definitely feel safe, but you might end up being lonely.

With porous boundaries you will get lots of good people coming into your life, but the bad will also be able to come in. It's a great way to get to know lots of acquaintances and have tons of fun, but it means you don't have a screening process to let the good in and keep the bad out. Many people I talk to don't give much thought to boundary setting. I suggest that you start to think more about it. If you don't think about boundaries, you might open your world and your heart to people who aren't a good fit- thereby causing you a world of pain, confusion and frustration. In reality you want healthy, flexible boundaries so you can keep the bad out and allow the good in. And once the good is in, flexible boundaries allow them to stay in.

So, how do you begin to set boundaries?

1) Get clear on what your values are: If you've never decided what your values are, you'll open your life up to just anyone and everyone. So sit and think, "What are my top 5 non negotiable values?" These will serve as a guide when you're on the hunt for friendships, acquaintances, business partners and romantic partners. Because boundaries aren't just for marriages, boundaries affect every aspect of your life. If your values include honesty, sobriety, patience, family togetherness and love, then you will instantly screen out anyone who doesn't have the same values. Does this mean all your friends have to be just like you? Nope. It just means your friends should have similar values- even if their personalities are different from yours. If you value sobriety, but everyone you hang out with is using substances, chances are you'll always feel uncomfortable around them and might even end up using just like them. You are who you hang out with after all.

2) Know what your people limit is: How many people do you want in your life? Sometimes you might feel the need to have 100 close friends. Well, not everyone can tolerate a full social life. Be honest with yourself. If you feel exhausted being with a lot of people or always being on the phone to check up on the people in your life, then perhaps you don't need a huge list to fulfill your social needs. But if you have a few close friends and a yearning to open your life up to more people then perhaps you need to do just that. But be honest with yourself. Are you expanding your social list because you think it's the thing to do, or will adding more people bring you more joy? It's your life. You get to set the limit regardless of what others think.

3) Write a detailed list of the type of people you deserve: Now that you're clear on your values and how many close friendships you can comfortably tolerate, the best step is to dig deeper and write out the specific qualities you want in your people. Realize that hot every person is your person, and that's just okay. Even if the people around you believe both of you would make great friends or acquaintances, you don't have an obligation to include everyone in your life. So, what are the qualities you deserve in a friend, acquaintance or partner? Write them down, review them regularly and study them. This list will set you up for boundary success.

4) Write a list of the type of people you don't deserve: After you've created a list of the qualities you'd love in someone who is a part of your inner circle, what qualities do you absolutely not deserve in a person? Think about habits and character traits that drive you nuts. Or think back to people who have caused you pain. What qualities do you need to be protected from? Of course, you should add things related to abusive and controlling traits as those will only bring you pain- no one deserves abuse and mistreatment.  

5) Figure out what type of person you need to be to attract the right people: Like attracts like. The next step is to figure out what type of person you need to be in order to attract people with your desired traits. Why do you need to do this even for friendships? Well because your friends will either raise your self esteem or completely tear it down.  You need good quality friends who will fill you with joy, give you sound advice and help your journey through life be better. The people you spend majority of your time with will do a great job of shaping your ideas about who you are- so pick wisely. Many women think they can attract nice, respectful friends, but are they also nice and respectful? You see, if you want to attract good people, you also have to work on building your character. Sometimes coaching or therapy- depending on what your needs are- can help you with this.

6) Figure out a system to push out the bad: Once you've set your values, figured out who you deserve around you, and worked on building your character, the next thing to do is to weed out the bad. When someone tries to date you, but you realize they don't meet your character standards, then you simply turn away (or run!) in the other direction. It's that simple. You don't owe anyone anything. What if the person is family? Well it's time to learn how to spend less time with that person and reduce the impact they have in your life. Remember, bad boundaries could even affect your self esteem.

So are you ready to start creating healthy boundaries? Which one of the above works best for you? And if you'd like to work with me on setting clear boundaries so you can become a confident women, click here to schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation call. Life is too short to spend it with people who don't life you up. I also offer online counseling or therapy sessions for women who live anywhere within California.

5 tips to reduce anxiety

You know that uncomfortable feeling. It's the pit in your stomach, the thoughts that run through your head and prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. It's anxiety. Here are 5 things you can do to reduce overwhelm in your daily life:

1) Know your limit: If you're anything like most ambitious women, you'll find that your plate is always piled high with activities from the moment you wake up, until the moment you sleep. Know that you only have 24 hours in a day. Learn to add only about 5 items on your to do list and either delegate other tasks, or save them for another day.

2) Plan ahead: Many people feel anxious when they have to cram 25 tasks into 1 day. One day a week, sit with a blank calendar and write out every single task you want to accomplish during the week. When you've done that, pencil in each item during the week so that your entire week will be planned without hassles and headaches.

3) Ask for help:So of course we would all like to think of ourselves as super heroes. Well you know what? Every super hero has her kryptonite. Ask for help when you need it. If dishes need washing, ask your teenagers to help you. If you need to pick milk up from the store, ask your spouse to do it. There's no shame in that.

4) Schedule regular self care:If you're always on the go and always in work mode, you stand the risk of overworking yourself. Schedule at least 10 minutes each week to unwind and relax. Do something simple like sipping a cup of tea, spending some time alone in silence or even sneaking in a quick nap. Your mind and your body will thank you.

5) Put things in perspective:When things aren't going your way, do you focus on what is going wrong or do you shift your mind to the things that do go right? In a moment of overwhelm, it's really easy to focus on unfinished tasks. In that very moment, slow down, breathe and remind yourself about your wins and accomplishments. Stop whatever you're doing and come back to it when you're in a better mood. You'll thank yourself.


What can you do to reduce anxiety today? If you'd like us to work together to reduce anxiety and overwhelm, schedule a consultation with me at 951-905-3181.