I took these screenshots from my personal account on MyFitnessPal.
I took these screenshots from my personal account on MyFitnessPal.
To keep ourselves motivated, it is crucial that we stay focused on the good. I’m not saying ignore the not-so-good, just don’t let it outshine the positive. Science tells us that in order to achieve continuous motivation, we should use the 3:1 ratio as a standard for behavior management. Simply put, for every one opportunity we identify to better ourselves, we should identify three positives.
When we participate in negative self-talk, we have lower self-worth and feel defeated. This practice releases higher levels of cortisol which fires our fight-or-flight response and halts productivity, we stop. On the other hand, when we use positive self-talk or affirmations, our brain releases oxytocin resulting in feeling good about ourselves and promoting forward movement. In effect, the self-talk we choose to use has both a physical and emotional consequence.
We humans tend to hold on to more negative thoughts, emotions, and experiences than we do the good ones. Flipping the switch on this is imperative if we want to improve ourselves in any way. We can change our thoughts and behaviors when intentionally look for and focus on the good. The 3:1 ratio is great place to start.
Create a daily scorecard for yourself. Every day, write down three things you did well and one opportunity for improvement.
Here’s my scorecard for day one of BECOMING.
3 Wins: 1) I exercised. 2) I had no wine. 3) I was productive.
1 Opportunity: 1) Next time I’m faced with a half-eaten bag of potato chips, I will toss them in the garbage instead of eating them.
Wait, isn’t change, by definition, becoming different? Well, yes, it is, but let me explain my thought process. Often times when we focus on change, we’re focusing on what we don’t want, the negative. On the other hand, if we focus on BECOMING, we pivot our attention to our desired outcome which is usually a better version of our self or situation. So, I’m choosing to BECOME!
If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with personal development, remaining positive – seeing the silver lining, and creating new normals through life’s transitions. So, this whole becoming thing really isn’t new for me. It’s more of a try, try again situation.
I, like most people, am blaming covid for some weight gain, lack of focus, and increased laziness.
Last March, with the onset of quarantine I started cooking and eating a lot of childhood comfort foods…creamy, cheesy, buttery, carb-laden feasts! Yum! I enjoyed day-drinking like I was on vacation. I also stopped working, put a six-week hold on exercise, and began watching hours of Netflix from my big, comfy couch (wine glass in hand).
Even my return to exercise was not enough to balance out the undesirable habits I was creating amid my social isolation. While my intellectual self knew what I was doing wasn’t a healthy way of life, my desire for comfort during uncertain times easily won the internal tug-of-war. It downright ignored it!
By May, even this introverted girl had enough. I was ready to get back to a routine and ready to see other humans in person. Covid stole my old routine so I had to create a new one. I decided to learn how to play pickleball and created my own local group to play outside, socially distancing of course. I looked for a part time job that would get me out of the house and provide a covid-safe (ish) environment.
July brought the decision to spend time doing more of what I really love. I enrolled in two continuing education courses in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and I’m pursuing my life-long dream of writing a children’s book.
I’ve held steady enjoying the summer months of my newly defined routine which cured the loneliness and laziness. However, healthy eating choices, are mainly eluding me. I love food…and wine…and food…and wine! (Insert big sigh here.)
It’s September first, time to try, try again, time to continue my journey to BECOME who I’m meant to be. Specifically, a less fat version of my physical self.
During this month, I plan to share my journey through my blog (you’re here now!), my Instagram account (@pattyslupecki), and my Facebook business page (so as not to overload my personal feed and annoy my friends).
Follow me, join me, support me, challenge me, learn from me, teach me!
Here’s to BECOMING – Cheers! (with water in my glass, not wine;-)
The Covid-19 pandemic is an event causing an avalanche of change in our world and lives. On an unpleasant note, our freedom to move about as we wish has been significantly scaled back, jobs have been lost, thousands of people have died, and our economy is suffering. On a more positive note, families have spent more quality time together, we’ve slowed down, and our ingenuity and creativeness have bloomed. You don’t have control over the pandemic, but you do have control over your response to it.
The pandemic is simply an event, a change. It is the change that puts you into transition. Transition is the process you go through in response to a change. It’s your thoughts, feelings, actions, emotions and what you do with them, how you use them to redefine yourself.
According to William Bridges, PhD, author of Transitions, change is situational, and transition is psychological. In other words, change is an external event such as the covid-19 pandemic, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, moving to a new house, or sending a child off to college. Transition, on the other hand, is the internal reorientation you go through to deal with the change at hand.
In his book, Bridges says all transitions are composed of three phases:
1) an ending,
2) a neutral zone, and
3) a new beginning.
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic sounding phase names. This journey is not simple nor linear, it looks and feels more like a child’s multi-colored scribble on a freshly painted wall.
Change can come in the form of good or bad, chosen or circumstantial events. Whether you have control of the changes in your life or not, you must still work your way through the three phases of transition in order to move forward. Otherwise you get stuck in the scribble of life.
So, you may ask, ‘What is the ending with regard to the pandemic?’ Well, the answers depend on you as an individual. It could be the end of a job, end of social engagement, end of a hobby, end of familial or life celebration, the end of school, end of a friendship, end of financial security. It’s probable that you are experiencing multiple ends right now. Before you can move on to the next phase, you must first identify and acknowledge what has ended for you.
This is the scribble part. Things don’t make sense, you feel disoriented, adrift, insecure. You have many questions and may wonder who you are, who you want to be, what you want to do. There could be exciting ideas, trial and errors, and downward spirals. You may dream of getting back to normal and leaving the uncertainty and confusion behind, until you realize what you really need is to find a new normal. Leaving the familiar is hard. It causes stress and overwhelm, and may leave you feeling empty, alone, or out of control.
You may not see a clear path forward right now and that’s okay; it’s part of the journey. Be open to new ideas, opportunities, and perspectives. Bridges calls this neutral phase “…the place between chapters.” This is where you evolve.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you gain some insight on where your new beginning may be. First, ask yourself what you want and wait for the answers to come. Write down everything that comes to mind no matter how silly it may seem. Spend some time here, thinking, reflecting.
Then, ask yourself what you really want and wait again. Write down what comes to mind. You may identify some of the same things from your first list or create a completely new list. There is no wrong answer.
Until the path forward is made clear, put short term plans and routines in place to ease the chaos. Be patient with yourself; the path will unfold in its own time.
This is the exciting part; it’s your new chapter!
Are you listening?
Do you hear me when I’m quiet?
Your words can sting, even bite. Do you see me recoil? Do you hear my silence?
Your words can cheer. Do you see me smile? Do you hear my silence?
Your actions can feel like a punch to the gut. Do you see me wince? Do you hear my silence?
Your actions can feel like a big, warm hug. Do you see me relax? Do you hear my silence?
Your laugh can intimidate, humiliate, and condemn. Do you see me flinch? Do you hear my silence?
Your laugh can inspire, encourage, and bring joy. Do you see me shine? Do you hear my silence?
Your stare can leave me feeling self-conscious and defeated. Do you see me hide? Do you hear my silence?
Your stare can leave me feeling blessed and loved. Do you see my enthusiasm? Do you hear my silence?
Are you listening?
Do you hear me when I’m quiet?
When you ignore me, I can feel invisible. Do you see me sink into the background? Do you hear my silence?
When you pay attention to me, I can feel special. Do you see me standing tall? Do you hear my silence?
When you lash out, I can feel unsafe. Do you see my fear? Do you hear my silence?
When you show self-control, I can feel safe. Do you see my faith? Do you hear my silence?
When you yell, I can feel small. Do you see me shrink? Do you hear my silence?
When you speak softly, I can feel understood. Do you see me grow? Do you hear my silence?
When you don’t show up, I can feel alone. Do you see my sadness? Do you hear my silence?
When you show up, I can feel valued. Do you see my happiness? Do you hear my silence?
Are you listening?
Do you hear me when I’m quiet?
3 Steps to Stop Being a Victim of your Circumstances
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I must tell you…the easy button doesn’t exist. On the flip side, there is good news: YOU CAN CHANGE. You can be the creator of your life instead of the victim of your circumstances! It’s a simple process, but not an easy one.
If you’re living in survival mode, your focus is on the worst-case scenario. You are constantly prepared to run from the unknown. This serves us well when we are actually in danger – the better prepared we are, the greater our chance of survival. This is instinctual. However, if we allow ourselves to live in this mode on a regular basis, all of our energy is spent on survival and we can’t do anything else. We can’t learn, grow, connect, create, or repair.
Some people spend most of their time thinking about the worst things happening and even emotionally embracing these thoughts. When this is done repeatedly, the body is conditioned for fear, worry, anxiety, and even panic attacks. In this state, you don’t believe in possibility because you’re stuck in the negative cycle of that familiar past – thinking the worst and feeling the emotions of those thoughts.
How do we go about breaking that cycle? How do we change? How do we stop living in survival mode? How do we become the creator of our desired life?
I’ve boiled down the process into 3 simple steps.
Where we place our attention is where we place our energy. When we invest our energy in ourselves, we create joy and fulfillment. We change. We create our desired life!
Are you living in survival mode or thriving as the creator of your life?
As young children, the beliefs we held about ourselves were formed from what our caregivers told us. We did not have the ability to filter information nor did we question what we were told by others. We simply took every word as truth because, developmentally, that’s what we were capable of doing.
During our school years, we were expected to conform. Conform to rules, routines, social norms, and even peer pressure. Yes, I’m making sweeping generalizations. But stick with me here.
We were told to stop daydreaming.
We were told what to make in art class.
We were told what books to read.
We took the exact same classes as everyone else regardless of our interest or talent.
We were told what we could and couldn’t do.
We were told no…a lot.
We were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, not who we wanted to be.
Then, off to college we went to become something, instead of following our dreams.
The first 20 years of our life were spent doing what we’re told or expected to do by others. The next 20-30 years were spent building the life, family, and career we thought we should. We collected things, lots and lots of things to fill the bigger spaces we attained.
Without warning, one day around the mid-life mark, we look in the mirror and are shocked by what we see. Signs of aging are beginning surface. This should be the pinnacle of life but what we are suddenly and keenly aware of is the lack of time remaining, the goals not achieved, and the dreams unfulfilled. We begin to question our identity and life’s purpose.
Some call this time a midlife crisis. I prefer to think of it as a midlife awakening. To this point in our life, we were focused on the outside world, what others expected of or needed from us. At midlife we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, find purpose and passion from within, and create our desired life.
I’m enjoying this summer like I haven’t since I was a kid.
Everything looks greener and smells fresher than I remember.
I thank God every day for the blue sky, sunshine, and breeze.
I bought myself a grill and started cooking again – real meals, on a real plate, that I sit down and enjoy all by myself.
I put myself out there and connected with people I haven’t talked to or seen in years – what a blessing they are!
I searched for new relationships and found some great friends.
I trimmed the unnecessary, the drama, and the people that no longer serve me. That sounds harsh, but it is NOT. It’s about loving and honoring yourself and eliminating what drains you, takes advantage of you, or holds you back.
I slowed down, I thought about who I am, where I am, and who I want to be. I re-evaluated my life.
I stopped pursuing the person I thought others wanted me to be and began being me…un-botoxed, frizzy haired, no makeup, stretchy pant wearing, sun worshipping, early to bedder.
When the pandemic quarantine began, I wrote a blog post entitled: Covid-19 is a Blessing. Turns out I was more correct than I could have imagined!
Read my original post here!
In this age and culture of instant gratification, constant contact, and overworking, maybe the world health crisis is meant to slow us down.
Maybe this is an opportunity to reevaluate our priorities and rebalance our lives. Maybe this is the time to think of others first, deepen relationships with our families, and appreciate the small things in life.
Maybe we could reflect on our blessings like freedom, shelter, clean water, and food. Maybe it’s time to reassess or needs and wants and make better choices for ourselves.
Maybe our creativity can be explored, developed, and celebrated. Maybe we could be open to learning something new or teaching someone else.
Maybe we begin saying ‘thank you’ to those we overlooked or under-appreciated before. Maybe we can make good memories for our children to carry into the next generation.
Maybe life is made precious to us again. Maybe people become the most important choices we make. Maybe time isn’t wasted. Maybe we pray. Maybe we care a little more. Maybe we see how alike we really are.
Maybe, just maybe, covid-19 is a gift.
I have done hours of research, reading, and watching various newscasts regarding the current health crisis. I’ve spoken to friends around the globe, people I trust, and I no longer believe that this pandemic should be taken lightly. While the information available to us is ever-changing, I believe we need to be cautious about the opinions and conclusions we come to.
Are there over-reactions? Certainly! But there are also under-reactions. I fall somewhere in the middle.
The bottom line is, we don’t know what we don’t know. I will continue to watch, listen, and do my best to keep an open mind during the developing realities we are facing.
For now, I’m choosing to stay home and hunker down until further notice. For me, this is the responsible decision for my family, my community, and for myself.
No matter your opinions around COVID-19, government reaction, or media coverage, I implore you to think outside of yourself. Being cautious will not hurt others – Ignoring world health recommendations may.
I share my personal decision and opinion here and request your respect and understanding as I did not arrive to my choice lightly or without regard for how my personal decision may affect others.
#choosethepath #faith #covid19 #socialdistancing #be3smart #thinkofothers #thistooshallpass