Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Accountability!

As the new year comes around, the world looks forward to what will come in the next 365 days of the year.  Media fodder and commercial organizations are more than willing to share how you can be better in the next year.  Whether the improvements are financial, spiritual, or health centered, there is a company with a quick fix just waiting for you to purchase their product, program or potion that promises to get you to your resolution and goals.  The answer to your issue is easy and easy at hand via a one click purchase or digital book.

In essence, the pressure is off. Someone else can pick up for you where you need improvement.  The answer to your happiness is in just a book away. Where you have failed, a program will make you right.

Wouldn't it be nice if a pill, a plan, or a program could fix you? How fantastic it would be to have something other than you to hold accountable to whether you reach a goal or not.  At the end of the 365, if you are not where you want to be you could claim the program failed you or the product didn't work. Yes... that would be nice indeed.... to be able to hold someone else accountable for your own missed marks.

Women Enough: Here is the hard truth...

The only one accountable to you reaching your goals is YOU!

If you are not happy where you end up at the end of the next 12 months, it sits squarely on your shoulders. No pill or program will be the fix you need.  It may be a temporary solution to a finish line, but certainly not what will take you past the finish line and on to success.

If you use a program to reach a goal but then stop the program do you slip back to where you were and say the program didn't work? That is much easier than looking yourself in the mirror and saying "I didn't make the changes I needed to make to not slip back." Maybe the program wasn't made for long term sustainability of your goal. But the reality is that you didn't make the changes in you, your habits, or in your outlook to sustain it long term. You didn't accept your own responsibility in the equation.

Yeah... that hurts a bit. I know. I've been there and done that more times than I can count.

But Women Enough... Here's the fantastic thing about holding yourself accountable.  It's tough to get honest with yourself about your own part in your missed mark.  But when you do, it changes your perspective.  When you look at your own accountability in your goals, you see that you truly do have power over whatever it is you are trying to reach.  You are NOT dependent upon a product or program nor is the product or program responsible to get you there. Yes, they may be a tool, but the biggest component of your success is your willingness to accept and MAKE changes that you need to.

  • If you reach a weight loss goal on a program, but immediately upon reaching it go off of the program and back to your old eating habits? What happens? Unless you've made true change in your lifestyle, you gain it back. 
  • If you use a program to get your finances under control but as soon as you have a balanced budget, go back to your old spending habits, you end right back in the financial straights you were before. 
  • If you use self help programs to make your life "feel" better  and change how you see yourself but don't change how you see the world, it becomes more of a self hinderance. 

Do you see the accountable for change theme here? You - and no one else is accountable for your success or your happiness. You and no one else is accountable to make the changes you need to make to reach your happiness and goals.  YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR OWN CHANGE!

Women Enough: I challenge you not to simply state a resolution, but to truly take accountability and make change. There is no sugar coating here; it's often very hard to change habits in lifestyle, spending, thinking, or what ever it is that needs change.  It is habit because it is an easy default way of doing things.  You don't want to work hard - You don't like it.  You are tired in life, and you don't want to have to think, struggle or battle your inner monsters over the change.  You like the comforts that you have and it would be really crappy to give some of those up.  I get it.

But suck it up, put on your big girl pants and just do it. NO ONE WILL DO IT FOR YOU!

Women Enough! I challenge you to a New Year New Accountability!

Monday, December 24, 2012

It All Passes By So Soon

Women Enough... the time passes by so quickly.... enjoy and savor every moment while you have it.

The first Christmas kiss 'neath the mistletoe ball
Love that grows with the winter moon
The hopes and dreams of two people enthrall
It all passes by so soon.

Newlyweds' bliss on a new Christmas morning
Their hearts are now one, not two
The anticipation of the life they are forming
It all passes by so soon.

Baby's first Christmas such a joyous sight
With boxes and bows and balloons
Sweetly slumber that holiday night
It all passes by so soon.

Little kids' toys under the tree
That will litter the floors of their rooms
The little ones sitting on Santa's knee
It all passes by so soon.

Teenagers who wince and roll their eyes
Wish for high-tech not heirlooms
Dread helping mom make Christmas pies
It all passes by so soon.

Young adults come and bring their new spouses
Rush off before it turns noon
To celebrate Christmas in their own houses
It all passes by too soon.

Grandchildren visit on Christmas Eve
And sing happy holiday tunes
But before long they must leave
It all passes by too soon.

That first Christmas kiss 'neath the mistletoe ball
Love that grew with the winter moon
The hopes and dreams of two people extolled
It all passed by too soon.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm On the Naughty List... Or Am I?

Women Enough- I must confess....

I am on the naughty list this year.

If you celebrate any sort of St. Nicholas gift giving tradition, or even if you don't, the mention of the naughty list evokes some sort of emotion or connection to the idea of not being good enough for gifts. Being relegated to one or the other list puts a label on value and worth, and implies judgement of some kind.  All year long, parents use the persuasion factor (OK, guilt and fear factor) of the dreaded "naughty list" to get kids to behave.  If you have kids you may have used the same tactic to get your kids to stop arguing, to clean their rooms, or to behave.  You may remember the terror the "naughty list" brought to your heart when you were a child.

This year, I fell short this year. I missed the "nice" list and landed myself on the naughty one.

The social expectation of the winter holidays centers around gifts and decorations, holiday letters filled with all the goings on in one's family, a model worthy family photo card sent to each and every one of your 200 closest friends, or at least a hand signed pre printed card. Social etiquette and timing in these expectations is that by a particular date, they are received and fawned over by the recipients. I didn't meet these expectations.  I mailed packages late which will most likely not be received by December 25th.  I didn't even send a single Christmas Card.

As silly as it sounds I truly struggled about not getting cards out, not to mention the late gift.  Whether the recipients were people that I truly wanted to send holiday greetings to, or our historical card exchange was simply the obligatory "I'll send you one because you sent me one", I feared judgement. I feared the judgement of those who were on top or their game, getting cards and packages by the end of November.  I even feared the judgment of those who didn't plan on sending holiday greetings my way, but because of some social construct saw it as the respectful thing for me to send them greetings.  My lack of sending holiday cards landed me on the naughty list.

Funny how even when we are grown, we still feel bound by the list.  The things that put us on one or the other are not the same as when we were kids, but they are still there.  We feel our worth and value tied to particular things and expectations of family, friends, society, and especially ourselves.  Whether it is the perception we get from those around us (which by the way, is often us just being stuck in our own heads), or our own judgment of what we feel qualifies us for the lists, we still place ourselves on the naughty or nice list.

Did you get that last sentence? WE still place ourselves on the naughty or nice list.  No one else does.  We do.

Women Enough - NO ONE HAS THE POWER TO PUT YOU ON THOSE LISTS EXCEPT YOU! Cut yourself some slack.  Things happen throughout the year that throw a wrench in our lives.  Stresses, challenges, joys, opportunities... all of those things affect how we manage life, including the holidays.  There are some years that we are just plain tired and can't get to everything that is expected of us, and everything that we expect of ourselves.  IT'S OK!

"Perfect" holidays only happen on Christmas Cards.  Truth be told, I'd much rather live my real life holidays with the real life experiences. And, I won't put myself on any list because my holidays don't look like a card.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Was That Rant Worth 15 Minutes of Your Life?

Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop sipping my brew and gathering my thoughts when the conversation at the next table caught my ear. I couldn't help but listen - the volume kept rising.

One of the women at the table was unhappy with her order. She was going to call the corporate offices, post scathing posts on one of her social media sites, and vowed never to come there again.  The other women at the table, who appeared to be her sister and her mom, joined in her lament, fueling the already irritated woman.  On and on they went.  The volume continues to rise. The rant reached a fevered and frenzied pitch.  Truly, you'd have thought that there was possibly nothing worse that could have happened to these women by the way the rant went on.

I could take it no more.

I got up an moved seats to the other side of the shop, but they seemed to get even louder. I could feel my own anger and irritation welling up inside- not at the supposed "wrong" that had been done to them. While these women ranted on and on, louder and louder, disrupting everyone over being charged $1.50 for added bacon on an order, I was sitting in the same space, collecting thoughts and writing notes for the eulogy I was giving at my sister's funeral.  My heart was breaking and they were upset over breakfast meat.  How little were they?

How could these women put so much energy into a 15 minute rant over bacon? Didn't they know that in the scheme of life, that it truly meant absolutely nothing? Did they not know that they could never get those 15 minutes back, nor could the people that heard them ranting?

My heart actually hurt at the shallowness of their griping.  I truly wished for them that the great bacon swindle was the worst thing that would happen to them that day.  In their griping, they lost out on 15 minutes that  they could be sharing joy, 15 minutes of time with each other, 15 minutes of building something up instead of breaking something down.  How could they not see what a waste it was of time as I was sitting there wishing for more time with my loved one?

Like a cup of water in the face, I had a realization.  Often, I had acted the same way as those women.

In my lifetime, I had probably wasted countless hours ranting on meaningless things. I make mountains out of molehills, wars out of misunderstandings, tragedies over simple little trip-ups. Sitting in traffic, waiting in long lines, feeling slighted or cheated, having my nose out of joint because of something someone said... I had done the same thing those women had done time and time again.  Maybe it wasn't over a slice of bacon, but over things that in the scheme of life were just as meaningless. Like those women, I had lost time that I could never get back over things that probably wouldn't have added any value, time, or joy to life.  People around me probably thought the same of my actions as I had of those women in the coffee shop.

I vowed then and there to be aware of my own shortfalls, my own rants, my own wasting time over things that mean nothing. I want to cherish all of the 15 minutes in life I have.

Women Enough - Check  yourselves when you find yourself angry and upset.  Assess if what you are irritated about is worth the energy you are giving it.  If it has no real impact on your day to day happiness, your immediate welfare, your future, or your overall joy in life, set the anger down.  Always ask yourself "Is this rant worth 15 minutes of my life?"