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How to know when it’s time to change your course

Life is a series of things running their course. Nothing stays the same forever. Things change. We accept that.

But what about when the change is coming from you? When what you’re doing doesn’t feel quite right for you anymore?

How do you know when it’s time to change your course?

When your mind is set on one thing, you may not want to give it up and start something new, especially when you’ve put loads of time, effort, money, and emotional stock toward that goal. But still, something about it doesn’t feel right. 

And it’s more than working through those daysphoto courtesy of public domain pictures accessed on google commons published on strong-woman.com when you have to do the crappy stuff. Nothing is fun all the time. Every job, relationship, venture has those times when it feels like you’re walking through the mud in the rain. You work through those times and the sun eventually shines again.

This is different.

Now, it no longer feels right to keep the course. It’s time to make a change.

How do you make the switch to something new when the future is uncertain?

First of all, know that it’s okay to change course. This is no small point. It can feel like you’re quitting, like you’re giving up. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

It takes courage to make a switch.

It’s normal to be nervous and even fearful when you venture into the unknown. And it may get worse before it gets better. Follow your gut. Once you’ve decided, keep moving forward. Have a plan if you can, but be flexible.

Once you’ve made a decision and changed course, don’t look back. It’s tempting to doubt and wonder if you made the right choice, especially when a new course of action isn’t working out like you hoped it would. You can’t go back. Remember what got you to where you are, go with your gut, and then keep moving forward.

Staying on a course that’s no longer meant for you keeps you from better things, from doing what you’re meant to do. It takes courage to make a change, to take a leap. Believe you can and you will.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Choose the Opportunity of Now

My husband introduced me to a website wolframalpha.com “an engine for computing answers and providing knowledge”. The website provides facts – quantifiable facts. It doesn’t provide opinions or recommendations.

Interesting information

Type in Chicago, Illinois and you’ll get Chicago’s population statistics, current weather and time, income statistics, demographics, and more.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Put in today’s date and you’ll get information about observances and holidays, moon phase, sunrise and sunset times, and more.

Type in a specific date and year, like your birthday, and you’ll get the day of the week it was and how many days have passed since that date.

It provides facts. Facts alone aren’t disputable. It’s what you do with the information that can make a difference. For me, the information it provided spurred more questions and judgement.

Facts made personal

For example, I put in my birthday. I was born more than 20 thousands days ago. That’s more than 2800 weeks. That’s really a long time. I had to ask: Have I done enough? It makes me wonder about how many more days will I have and how will I do everything I want to do?Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

It’s easy to get discouraged about the time that’s passed, to feel sad about getting older.

Most of us struggle with that at one point or another.

But I realize it’s better to get excited about right now and living each day being as happy and productive as I can. Not so much to live each day as if it were my last, but to not waste it regretting the past. It’s much better to be motivated about the opportunity of now.

Almost exactly a year ago, that’s 365 days, I quit my job as a school librarian and decided I wanted to do something different, that what I really want to do is write. I finished my 1st draft of my 1st novel on March 15 of this year. As of this blogpost, that’s just over 80 days ago.

I’m on the 3rd draft of revisions.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself:

Isn’t it a little late to start a new career? Maybe.

What could I have done if I’d started when I was in my 20’s. A lot more than starting in my 50’s.

Would I be a better writer now? Almost certainly.photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

And yet, I know it’s pointless to re-visit past career choices and wonder if I’ve made good use of my 20 thousand days.

The more important question is “What now?” Better to move forward grateful for every day and the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

It’s not just about living in the present. It’s also about looking forward to the future.

We all know our time is limited. That reality can be either depressing or motivating. Each of us has to decide for ourselves which it will be.

Choose to be motivated by the opportunity of now.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Attitude is everything

Years ago I had a well-paying but unfulfilling job. Every day, every hour of every day was difficult. I felt like I belonged someplace else, doing something other than what I was doing. The daily grind and long hours made me feel I had very little control over my day to day experience.

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I wanted to leave that job. I wanted to quit. Check out. Explore other opportunities. There must be something better for me out there, but where?

The job wore me down. I felt desperate for change.

And then one day I realized I had a choice.

I asked myself Why do I continue when I feel so unhappy?

At the time, my kids were elementary school age. I was a single mother and I felt to my core that my most important job was to be their mother, that God had given me the responsibility to care for them. At that time in my life, that was my purpose.

The job helped provide: food on the table, a comfortable home, vacations, and clothes and shoes for them. It provided stability and continuity for us.

Photo published on strong-woman.com
My kids and me years ago.

The job wasn’t fulfilling or satisfying, but it afforded me what I needed. It was like a safety net when life felt a little shaky. Maybe I could’ve have found something better suited to my strengths, but I had two good reasons for staying.

Coming to this realization helped shift my attitude and the job became so much more bearable. I showed up every day knowing why I was there and it helped. A lot. I still had my struggles, of course, but at the end of the day, I was grateful for the luxury of choice.

Whenever I feel stuck, I remember that experience. What are my choices and why am I doing what I’m doing? What’s the underlying purpose of my actions?

Do you feel stuck sometimes? Is what you’re doing driving you crazy with frustration?

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s a choice.

You may feel like you don’t have a choice because the choices don’t seem very good. In that case, make the best choice available at that time. And keep moving forward.

Crossroads photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

2. Be grateful for every day.

Just a little bit of gratitude spills over into all things. In my case, it calmed me down and helped me be a better mom and a happier person.

3. Take a big-picture view.

Your options may not be great. You may have to make the best choice depending on your long-term goals or immediate necessities. Take a step back and get perspective on the big picture.

The only thing that changed was my attitude.Courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

These 3 things – knowing I had a choice, being grateful, and taking a big picture view – helped me change my attitude and my outlook even though my circumstances were the same.

Same job, same schedule, same juggling of work, kids, and home – everything.

When I realized I had good reasons for choosing to show up to the job every day, my whole disposition changed. I was happier, more calm and relaxed, more grateful.

Sometimes you have to make the best “bad” (not-ideal) choice. That’s life. That’s the human experience. And you don’t know where your choices will lead or what awaits you on your path.

Choose love and it’s easier to keep a positive attitude. And attitude is everything.

Photo by Mark Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Dreamer’s Mindset

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. 

~ C. S. Lewis

Age really is just a number. Some people feel old when they’re thirty and some seventy-year olds think of themselves as “getting up there”, but they’re not there yet.

What’s the difference? How can you get the most out of life and be thankful for each day instead of longing for the “good ol’ days”?

You’re never too old to dream

No matter your age, keep setting new goals. Keep dreaming new dreams.

Start where you are now and move forward. Make the most of your life experience and play to your strengths. Or try something new just for the fun of it.

Photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
You’re never too old to learn or dream.

Every day’s a chance to learn something new. You don’t have to make massive changes or take great risk.

It’s okay to start small.

Be willing to change up your routine and start as a beginner.

Don’t talk yourself out of it. Go for it.

Do it for you.

Where will it lead?

Who knows?

Do it for the love and sheer joy of it. You never know what wonders await you.

Photo courtesy of National Archives Project on flickr.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Have a Mindset of Self-Control

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Back in the day, we used to call it a “put down”. Something said or done to make you feel bad, to make you feel inferior.

Some one may “put you down” in order to feel superior to you in some way. Maybe it’s an attempt to manipulate what you say or do.

Words have power

We can be mean to each other. It’s normal to feel bad when some one says something

Downloaded from pixabay.com public domain published on strong-woman.com
Eleanor Roosevelt

hurtful, especially if it’s some one you love and trust.

But when a person tries to put you down and keep you down for the purpose of making you feel like you:

Aren’t good, smart, or deserving enough,

Know that you control that.

You can’t change people, but it takes two to play that game. And you don’t have to play.

You can’t control what people say or do, but you can control your reaction to it.

What can you do to help yourself?
  • Let your actions speak louder than your words
  • Listen
  • Be respectful

Then, you can walk away with confidence, peace, forgiveness, and grace.

We can’t control others. The best we can ever hope for is to control ourselves. For most of us, it’s a constant work in progress.

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Mindset Monday – Sprinkle Your Day With Gratitude

Gratitude is a simple concept.

It’s that feeling that what you have is good. And that what you have is enough for you to be happy today.

Why be grateful?

Gratitude brings a level of contentment and satisfaction to each day. And sometimes it takes practice.

Start with a sprinkle.Stretching in Autumn photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Instead of looking at what’s going wrong, think of what’s going right.

When you’re tempted to focus on what you don’t have, shift your focus to what you do have.

Rather than getting discouraged about what you haven’t accomplished, look at how far you’ve come.

Instead of saying, “I wish I had…”, say “I’m grateful that I have…”

Gratitude opens your heart

Expressing gratitude opens your heart to the goodness life offers, and an open heart makes way for more blessings.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Do you have what you need?

What are the bare necessities of life? Not much. Air, food, shelter.

And yet what do you have beyond that?

Consider the people and things you use, interact with, work for, and would miss like crazy if they weren’t there.

Don’t take anything for granted. Life is precious.

Sprinkle every day with gratitude. Or go ahead and pour it on. You can’t overdo it.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Your resolution to succeed is the most important thing

President’s Day Mindset Monday:

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.

~ Abraham Lincoln

This quote is from a letter Abraham Lincoln wrote to a friend who was discouraged by a setback he experienced while pursuing his law degree.

Lincoln encouraged his friend to continue studying, to not be deterred. His message: If you really want it, let nothing stop you.

Medal photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Abraham Lincoln knew about getting past setbacks. He faced tremendous struggles in his life – poverty, family tragedy, little formal education, and failed business and political ventures.

He could have given up his pursuit of higher education and political office. Certainly no one would have faulted him for quitting. He suffered devastating personal losses and challenges.

And then, he was elected president at one of the most tumultuous times in American History.

Slow and steady is okay

No matter what, don’t give up. Resolve to keep moving toward your goal, no matter what.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Make your resolution strong. Focus on what you really want.

Whatever your definition of success, resolve to see it through.

Of course, it can be discouraging when one thing after another knocks you down. And sometimes, it may feel like it’s just too much to take.

No doubt, you’ll face setbacks, but don’t stop. Keep at it and figure it out.

Your resolve, your commitment to your goal, is bigger than any setback or circumstance. That “resolution to succeed” will keep you going when it’s tempting to quit. You’ll continue to inch forward, despite obstacles.

Keep at it and you’ll get there.

For information about all things Abraham Lincoln, visit AbrahamLincolnOnline.org.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Love Yourself Like You Mean It

Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Love yourself like you’re in it for keeps.

Lifelong romance kind of love – that’s the good stuff. Work toward that.Photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Make it nurturing, forgiving, patient, respectful, humble, and kind.

Be nurturing. Take care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit.

Be forgiving. We all make mistakes and being able to forgive means forgetting pride and getting past the mistake, error, or wrong. Even the big ones.

Be kind. We can be our own worst and most unkind critic. Turn it around and work to be your own best and kindest supporter.

Be patient. We’re all a work in progress. And wherever you are in the process of being the best you possible, understand that you may not “get it” right away. Keep at it. Don’t give up.Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Be respectful. Actions speak louder than words, but words speak pretty loudly. You’re worthy of respect from yourself as well as from others .

Accept yourself as you are. Accept where you are and believe your’e worthy of love from others. Instead of looking at what you can’t do or what you don’t have, take stock in what you do have. Stop tripping over what’s behind you. Accept where you are and move forward.

Be humble. Build others up. Let your actions and work speak for themselves.

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Oscar Wilde is on to something.

Because no matter what, in the end, there you are.

Better to love yourself than not.

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Be empowered by the truth of this simple statement

Have you ever had a teacher make a life-long impression on you?

My 3rd grade teacher at St. Paul’s Catholic School, Mrs. Stehling, I think was her name, was a tough lady – old, shaky, and a little scary.

She didn’t sugarcoat anything.

Whenever a classmate asked for clarification on an assignment, for example, “Do we have to write 2 pages?”, Mrs. Stehling would say, “You don’t have to do anything but die.”

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We all sat there shocked, looking at each other wide-eyed, with that “Did you hear what she said?” expression.

I’m sure none of us had any idea what she meant, but I’ve thought about her response many times since I was 8. (How’s that for having words stick with you?)

All these years later – her response, though harsh, rings true.

And it’s solid.

Sure, there are consequences, possible ramifications of action or inaction.

“You don’t have to do anything but die.”

Yes, it’s stern, but empowering too. You don’t have to do anything.

Everything you do is by choice. And understanding that you have a choice can shift your perspective.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

 

It changes “having” to do something to “wanting” to do something.

 And how do you choose?

How do you decide what to do especially when you don’t feel like you have much of a choice?

Choose to act out of love, instead of obligation. Act with joy in your heart, instead of resentment.

Peace, instead of anger.

Acceptance, instead of judgement.

Sometimes circumstances demand courage to act, stand up for yourself, or fight for a cause you believe in.

Or to take a leap of faith even though the outcome is uncertain.

Let the truth of Mrs. Stehling’s statement empower you to be courageous, strong, and happy.

Choose a variety of vegetables and flavors picture published on strong-woman.com

Why Oprah’s Message Matters More Than Her Weight Loss

January’s the time of year when you can’t get away from commercials for gyms, diet programs, and diet pills.

photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

You may have seen Oprah’s new commercial in which she gives us an itty-bitty glimpse of her life and shows off her 40 pound weight loss. If you haven’t, you can watch it here.

It’s hard to say what effect the new commercial will have on Weight Watchers’ sales, because that’s the real objective of this ad campaign.

Increased sales or not, congratulations to Oprah! She’s lost 40 pounds! That’s a great accomplishment. And yet, she doesn’t look thin, slender, or super fit.

What’s the selling point? Other than Oprah saying the product is great.

The underlying message here is to live well while losing weight without feeling deprived.

If you’ve watched Oprah for a while, you know that she’s struggled with her weight for years. Imagine having that kind of history and doing this program publicly.

It took courage for her to put herself out there and make herself vulnerable, even if she is getting paid for it. And even if she is Oprah.

No, she’s not skinny.

Has she reached her goal? Does she really cook her own food? (Really?!)

Is she okay with her current weight and ready to maintain it?

For anybody who’s ever lost weight and then gained it all back, you know that’s the hard part.

 

I heard this advice years ago and it’s changed my way of looking at losing weight and dieting: “Pick a weight loss plan you can live with to maintain a healthy weight, not just to lose weight.”

That’s the tricky part – maintaining a healthy weight.

The secret? Find what works for you and then make it a lifestyle.

For me, low-glycemic eating put an end to years of yo-yo dieting. Read more about yo-yo dieting and low-glycemic here.

Oprah’s message is about more than losing weight and being thin.

It’s really about making healthy-living a lifestyle.
Being happy and healthy.
And then getting on with the business of living your life.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t the easiest thing to do. But it’s do-able and well worth the effort.

Does seeing a celebrity endorsing a weight loss plan or product motivate you to try it? I’d love to hear your take. Feel free to post in the comments below.