Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Happiness Formula

I talk to men and women nearly every day who possess a lack of happiness in their lives.  As I listen to them talk about what they believe is the source of their unhappiness I often discover that they lack understanding about both the cause of their unhappiness as well as the solution associated with overcoming it.

HappinessMany people believe that happiness is determined by their circumstances.  “If only I weren’t sick,” “If only I had more money,” “If only I was married – or single,” “If only I was thinner,” and the list of “if onlys” goes on and on.

Since the late 1990’s, psychologists have been taking a closer look at the topic of happiness and why it seems so elusive to many people.  In their book The How of Happiness: A new Approach to Getting the Life You Want, psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ken Sheldon, David Schkade and Martin Seligman, outline what they believe is the formula for happiness: H = S + C + V.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Daily Grind or Wise Investment?


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once said, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? How do you keep going when it seems like an endless cycle?

Some days you go through the motions of your daily routine, wondering why you bother going to the same old job doing the same old things. Or you can’t remember why it’s important to prepare meals and wash dishes and laundry day after day.

So what’s the answer to why you do it? The answer is investment. Every good thing you do for your family, friends, career, church is an investment in the lives of others – even the daily routine tasks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dealing with The Critic

CriticEvery time Steve turned in a project, his boss consistently found something to criticize about it. Despite Steve’s many attempts at trying to please his boss, he couldn’t find a way to make it happen. After several months, Steve became so discouraged he gave up and quit his job.

Laura could never seem to please her mother. She studied late into the night and made straight A’s in school. She was Student Body President and showing great promise with her leadership skills. Yet her mom would say, “I am so proud of you, but why can’t you use some of your talent to clean your room?”

One of the most challenging people in life is the Critic – the person with the “gift” of spotting a flaw a mile away. Whether it’s your spouse, your boss or your parent, here are some tips for getting along with the critical person in your life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Can You Guess What The Foundation of a Happy Marriage Is?

Happy MarriageWith Valentine’s Day upon us, our minds turn to love and romantic relationships. What do you think is the foundation of a happy marriage? Many people would guess that it is good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, mutual respect, or martial commitment. Although these things are very important recent research shows that the best predictor of marital happiness is friendship.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Job Stress Can Interfere with Being a Father

FatherAccording to a Pennsylvania State University study, when you combine a highly demanding job together with marital problems the result is a father who is out of the loop related to his school-age child’s daily life. There is no question that both mothers and fathers can face extremely challenging circumstances as they balance work life and home life, but today we will focus on the fathers.

Many men are deeply work-oriented – instinctively trying to conquer the two-headed beast of achievement and competition. In a job market that creates higher demands on each employee many dads are working longer hours and even bringing more work home, making them less available to their wives and children. This creates a great deal of strain on marriages. I hear in counseling from women who feel their husbands are “missing in action” and not tending to their emotional needs and leaving them to shoulder all of the physical and emotional responsibility for the children, and it may affect their sons even more profoundly than their daughters.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

You Can Learn to Trust Again

TrustWhen it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy.  In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.

But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy.  These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear.  Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly.  The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Authentic Self-Disclosure Makes You a People Magnet

People MagnetEveryone wants to be liked and accepted, although you wouldn’t always know it. Some people give the impression that they couldn’t care less about what people think about them, but that is rarely true. Their cool, standoffish style is more often a wall they have built to protect themselves from possible criticism and rejection. This wall may succeed at deflecting emotional pain, but it also prevents you from experiencing the meaningful, satisfying connections that close relationships provide.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

procrastinationThis is the third installment of a 3-part series on overcoming procrastination.  I admit to feeling the pressure of finishing on time, considering the topic!  So, here are the final three Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Get it done early 

You’ve probably heard, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.”  We see this played out every April 15th as cars line up at the post office so taxpayers can get their returns posted by midnight and in jam-packed retailers on December 24th. If you put things off to the last minute, you not only increase the stress associated with the looming deadline, but you add the stress of knowing that there is no margin for error.  Think of how much more calmly you would be able to approach a project if you gave yourself an earlier “soft” deadline, worked consistently to meet it, and had confidence in one of two likely outcomes – either the satisfaction of being finished early or the comfort of knowing you have more time to work the bugs out. In Part 1 of this series we talked about training your brain, and reinforcing an earlier deadline for yourself can help you stay focused and on task, which prevents procrastination. 

Get others onboard 

One factor in breaking down your project into bite-sized pieces is to determine if any of those pieces should be done by someone else.  Consider who has the information or resources you need and ask for their help as soon as possible. Remember, other people struggle with the tendency to procrastinate, too, and they’ll need adequate time to provide you what you need.  Another factor in gaining cooperation from others involves those outside the sphere of your project. The real world includes people who need or

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Get It Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

procrastinationIn my previous blog I shared some of the reasons we procrastinate and the first three strategies for overcoming it. Today we’ll work on the next four strategies for Overcoming Procrastination.

Procrastination – You Snooze, You Lose

Get realistic 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time, of course!  When you have a big project, be realistic about how much you can accomplish each day or you risk becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.  Identify different elements of the project and list them separately.  For example, if your project is to arrange a meeting of your company’s national sales team, your break-out list might include elements such as Facility, Transportation, Agenda, Food, etc. and each of these can be broken into even smaller bites including tasks, calls, reservations, etc.  As you check these manageable chunks off your list, you’ll gain momentum and enthusiasm.  In order to avoid boredom, fatigue and disinterest, it is also important to schedule in breaks every 45 minutes or so.  Breaks are a great time to positively reinforce your effort by using that time to take a brisk walk, eat a snack, call a friend or catch up on your favorite sports team.

Get free from distractions 

Life is full of “shiny objects” that grab our attention. When your goal is to make significant progress on a task you must remove the things that can easily tempt your five senses.  Turn off your telephone ringtone and other notifications; close your door and even your blinds, if necessary.  Only open computer programs directly related to your project and leave the television off.  Since your brain can only process one language-based function at a time, even music with words or a radio station with an announcer talking will short-circuit your concentration.  This may sound extreme, but when

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Get it Done! 10 Proven Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1


Do you want to save time and lower stress? That’s exactly what you will do if you learn and consistently apply the strategies to overcoming procrastination outlined below.

Like most people, I have struggled with wasting time and creating self-induced stress by waiting until the last minute to get things done.  I can often remember telling myself, “This is the last time I’m going to put something off until the last minute,” only to do the same thing a short time later.

Sometimes when we’re stressed because of everything we have to do, it’s because we’re not actually doing it.  Procrastination often triggers worry and anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, frustration, poor eating habits and many other unpleasant outcomes.  Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, studied 374 undergraduate students and discovered that subjects who put off completing homework were more likely to eat poorly, sleep less and drink more compared to subjects who got their homework done early.  We know from years of scientific research that stress compromises the immune system.  Based on his research, Dr Pychyl concludes that “procrastination is a stressor,” which means it can literally make you sick.

Many of my coaching clients ask how they can overcome procrastination because they realize it not only creates unnecessary stress, but it is also a huge time waster and can cost money if you incur late fees, interest and penalties on your bills.  One client recently told me that he gets so stressed by putting things off that he has to look for ways to calm himself down.  His favorite coping strategy is surfing the internet and playing time-wasting games, both of which ultimately help to create even more stress.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

There are a number of contributing factors that influence

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