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NEW YEAR, NEW ME

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Image courtesy of liveluvcreate.com

Written by Lauren Schultz, a BDSmktg Newme

The New Year brings with it a new slate for most of us. It is almost as though whatever hardships occurred in the previous year are now more manageable in the New Year. The obstacles we faced last year that seemed insurmountable at the time have only made us stronger this year. What is it about the New Year that makes people have this sense of optimism? Do our problems really fade once the clock strikes midnight on January 1st? Can a day truly make that big of a difference and if so, than why does this only happen once a year?

I am guilty of the idealistic “New Year, New Me” attitude. Every year I proclaim that this is it- this is the year that things are going to be different and better than ever before! The new Lauren is always so much cooler than the previous year’s Lauren. She is fitter, wealthier and overall happier; in fact 2014 Lauren seems pretty lame compared to the new and improved 2015 version. But then again that is what I said last January. It is hard to say for sure really how much has changed and in reality things may stay relatively the same from one year to the next. What I can say for sure has changed is that with both the good and bad experiences each year has brought it has challenged me to grow more as an individual.

We can also challenge ourselves. A few BDS employees have taken on a 30 day challenge. They have committed to themselves and their peers tasks they are going to go to do for the next 30 days. I have proclaimed that 2015 is going to be different and it will start with this challenge, making a little changes one day at a time.

Now, most of you may not need a 30 day challenge to incite change in yourselves, you know your goals for the year and you are fully committed to them. Some of you may be content and not interested in making any resolutions or challenges and would rather go with the flow of life to see what happens.

However you feel about the whole New Year’s resolution idea; I want to leave you with one question. I found this question after looking to my dear friend Google for articles on New Year’s resolutions.

The question that I want to end this article with is…

What can you do now that you couldn’t do a year ago?

P.S.  If you are interested in doing your own 30 Day Challenge, check out the Try Something New for 30 Days TedTalk by Matt Cutts, to help you get started!

DO YOU….REACT OR RESPOND?

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Do you ever wish you could turn back time? Press rewind on a conversation or a situation?

If you could, how many moments in your life would you redo?

Certainly, the positive moments full of love and care. Moments of regret, when you wish you could handle something differently or when the outcome of a situation doesn’t align with your intentions. It is in those times that we realize, how powerful our actions and words are. So powerful that within a moment they can alter the dynamics of any relationship, personal or professional.

In reality, life keeps humming forward, there are no replays and no rewind buttons. For that reason alone, our response to any situation is vital, therefore teaching yourself to respond versus react to the world around us, is a critical self-management skill.

Few years back, I read a book called the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the very first agreements the author introduces the reader to is “…be impeccable with your word”. Ruiz defines this agreement as “…speak with integrity and say only what you truly mean…” and “…avoid using the word to speak against yourself or others…” Finally he reminds us to “…use the power of your word to speak in the direction of truth and love.”

Unfortunately, as beautiful and simple as it sounds, this agreement is much harder to live to. Most of us are on two opposite ends of the communication spectrum. We either say what we feel immediately without filtering our reply, which is a typical reaction and has been known to quickly escalate to over-reactions. Or we freeze and become paralyzed, not taking any action. We may have grown up with the teaching that it may better to say nothing if you do not have anything nice to say. While the rest of us were raised without a filter and hence do not hold great concern with voicing our thoughts, and their resulting implications. Keep in mind that not addressing an issue, does not mean it goes away. It will remain inside you and overtime will begin to leak out via resentment and frustration which will build, until eventually it will explode and cause an unplanned and likely unhealthy reaction.

Having no filter, or being “brutally” honest on the other hand, may feel freeing. It may make you feel proud of your ability to “tell it like it is”. Some people have likely complimented you on your courage to not hold back in “telling the truth”. However the reality is this; it is still a reaction, a first impulse that breeds from your feelings toward the situation or person. And by the way, those feelings are YOUR truth, not THE truth. It is your perspective which exists from the lens only you, alone, view the world through.

So here is MY truth.

Somewhere out there lies an invisible line that teeters in between saying too much and not saying enough. If we give ourselves time to respond to a situation versus reacting to it by shutting down or not shutting up, then we can be more deliberate with our messaging. Emotions will always create a haze over any situation. When you acknowledge this and give yourself time for the haze to pass, clarity will come. I am not saying by any means that we should lose our sense of urgency when time is of essence. Just remember that when running the race, you may have to slow down and pace yourself a bit, so that you can get your sense of direction back…..and still get to the finish line which you initially set out to reach.

Since life does not come with a rewind option, let’s make the most of each moment we are presented with. Let’s acknowledge that how each of us behaves, the words we use to communicate have a powerful impact. Don’t you want certainty that your actions are in alignment with your intentions?

In closing, we can all use a little reminder to be deliberate in our behaviors, to be aware of our actions and impeccable with the words we put out into the universe. After all, who does not want the world around them to hum in harmony with their true intentions?

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