6 Pathways toward Attracting your Dreams

Attracting Dreams pic

“She wasn’t where she had been. She wasn’t where she was going, but she was on her way.” Jodi Hills

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about visioning, vision statements, laws of attraction, positive energy, etc. It sounds good on paper and in conversations but does it really work and how can you make all that magic happen for your life?

An article appeared in the Business Insider in July of 2012 and writers Aimee Groth and Ashley Lutz interviewed Esther and Jerry Hicks, authors of the book, Law of Attraction: The basics of the Teachings of Abraham. In their article the writers listed ways in which you can attract more of the life you want. In a nutshell here is the list:

  1. You attract good or bad experiences based on your thoughts. In other words keep your thoughts as honest and pure as you can because even the bad stuff gets in.
  2. Thinking about something means you invite it in, even if you don’t want it.
  3. The more you focus on something, the more powerful it becomes. Don’t worry, be happy.
  4. It’s better to trust your emotions than over-think a decision. I talked about this in my post, Decisions, Decisions ( http://journeyoncoaching.com/2014/07/14/decisions-decisions-5-mindsets-toward-making-your-best-choice/).
  5. Make good things happen more quickly by thinking about them more. Jerry Hicks says, “When you give your attention to a subject and you feel only positive emotion about it, it will come very quickly into your experience.”
  6. You have to see things as you hope them to be, not as they are. The example here was that Michael Phelps would envision himself winning each swim race every night before he went to sleep.
  7. Devote time to powerful thinking. Spending time each day thinking and visioning your goals increases your chances for success.
  8. Everyone has the same chance at success. Success is not a limited resource.
  9. When disappointment shows up allow it in but do not allow it to make a home there.
  10. Avoid negative experiences if at all possible. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting experiences as much as you can. “Your attention to anything  has the power to draw it closer to you.”

While I was going through my coach training one of the hardest yet at times most impactful questions we were encouraged to keep in our arsenal was the question of what do you see for yourself or where do you want to be in 3, 5, or 10 years from now? It’s a hard question to answer for most but a great pathway toward a true vision for your life for some if not all of us.

A college student came to me for a few sessions wonderingif she was on the right path for her life. She said that she goes through this type of angst at the start of every school year because so much money is required in order for her to keep on her path toward her bachelor degree goal. Each year she wonders if the money is worth it because she has yet to sit in a classroom and not only find respect for the professors but to feel like she is learning anything of value for what she struggles to pay for this degree.

So the question came up in a session, “what do you see for yourself when these last 18 months are over?” There was no hesitation for her to answer and say that she wants to get her bachelor’s degree yet she kept on going with her thought process until I jumped in and stopped her. “Stop right there. Don’t think beyond the want. Let’s see what it will take to make the want possible.”  And so began her journey toward her vision of becoming a bachelor degree graduate. My client felt that her overwhelm was not only in finding the money each semester but also in the unknown of whether she could finish in 18 months or would she have to extend her education time line.

Visioning becomes easier when it’s broken into smaller pieces. If 3, 5, or 10 years is too much to manage then break it down into more doable pieces like 3, 5 or 10 months or even smaller pieces by measuring progress and achievements by weeks or days.

So, let’s start with a vision statement. A vision statement is a description of a desired outcome. The statement is filled with energy and determination. The statement creates a mental picture of your goal and would reflect the best possible outcome. A vision statement is letting go of all of your inhibitions and really stretching way outside of your comfort zone by imagining only the good that will come of your creativity in the end. The challenge is to go as far out of your normal way of thinking in order to get to where you want to be, in other words to open your eyes and see things as they could be.

So how do we begin to form a vision statement? Assuming you have already asked and answered the burning question of “what do I want” here are a few steps to help you get started:

According to Dr. Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D. and her book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams, “visionaries are asked to surrender and allow the dream or vision to materialize rather than to force it. Visioning emphasizes the heart’s desire, not what we ‘think’ we want or what we think is ‘possible’ or ‘practical’.”

  1. Describe your vision statement using “now” words. Use words as if your vision were really happening and you are working it every day. “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” –Victoria Moran
  2. Make it personal. Use emotion when talking about or describing your vision. How does it make you feel to talk about it or work toward the goal you envision? Do you get excited, overwhelmed, scared, or energized? Let all the emotions come as they may. In other words how passionate are you? Does what you describe inspire you to do more, go further? Do others feel compelled to listen and support you? “The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there is nothing to make it last.” – Nicholas Sparks
  3. Stay in touch. Use describing words like colors, smells, sounds, shapes, activities, outcomes. Make the vision as detailed as possible. Make your vision as tangible to the listener as possible, even if the listener is only you. “When you work on the little things big things happen.” –Rodger Halston
  4. Let the journey take you away. Get lost in the flow of working toward your dreams. Don’t limit yourself to only what you see. Follow your heart but stay flexible so that when the road curves and twists and bends away from your original path you will be able to expand and hone your vision even further. It’s not so much how you start but that you start. The journey is in the details and the story is the journey. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
  5. Leave the inner critic at the door. Try not to let the “logical” part of you take control of the creative part of you. Think like a child who doesn’t know about limits and let the limitless you shine through. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein
  6. Say a prayer. The more energy and support you can bring to what you want the greater the likelihood of your vision coming true. “’Help’ is a prayer that is always answered.” – Anne Lamott

“The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life. ” Tony Dungy

Call To Action

What do you want? Start with something small and build from there. As you make each small want a reality you are building confidence and limitless possibilities toward the bigger visions of your life. Don’t hold back. Share your wants with me and remember I’m here to help in any way that I can.

Images by bing.com/futuresobright.com

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building and strengthening your success characteristics, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

And Now, The End is Here

 

Whew! Look at us!! We made it!!! We are at the last step in our change ethic. This final step is what Drs. Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente call the termination step from their book, Changing For Good.

In most cases, like this mini-series, it has been at least 2 months that you have been working hard at making whatever changes you chose and you have been working hard. I hope you were keeping a journal and tracking your progress. You deserve a moment to look back and really take in just how much effort you have devoted to this process and to feel proud of all that you have accomplished.

“Life is a race, and what matters most isn’t when a person crosses the finish line, but how strong they have grown along the way.” –Jen Stephens, The Heart’s Journey Home

In their book (Pg. 274 CFG)  , the doctors say that the termination step is defined as” Exiting the Cycle of Change”. The doctors contend that “the problem or behavior has been resolved with no further threat or temptation or the new behavior is integrated into the person’s life in a way that takes no effort or struggle to maintain. Behavior is now automatic and fully a part of the person’s everyday existence.”

I’m sure you have noticed some changes in the way you are thinking about yourself and your life as a whole and not just about the particular change you are engaged in creating or bringing about. Once you started feeling a bit of success toward the changes you were making I can’t help but wonder what else popped up that led you to feel that another change might be necessary or dare I say really wanted.

For me, although the surgery itself was a change and had an ending of completion after recovery, I knew that I didn’t want that one change to be the end of any changes I might go through. Instead I used the surgery as a springboard toward other changes. I capitalized on how proud of myself I was for having the courage to go through with the surgery; I capitalized on how much better I felt about myself and what I was seeing in the mirror. I became more determined to continue to take care of my body inside and out and I built upon each little bit of self-confidence by taking steps toward a new career, among other things. The good feelings I was experiencing because of how good I was starting to feel overall left me behaving more open and less reserved as a person and people started noticing me more. One good thing leads to another.

 

“A story has no beginning or end; one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

“Life changes are essential for maintenance; a new lifestyle is essential for termination. The difference is in the permanence of the change. In maintenance, you modify parts of your life such as social contacts, daily schedules, behavior patterns in order to overcome your problem. In termination, you institute a healthier lifestyle as a means of preserving your gains and promoting new growth.” (Pg. 278 CFG)

In his book, Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, Dr. John Norcross poses the question as to whether termination is ever really achieved. Although there has been heated debate on this issue, Dr. Norcross points out 3 conditions that are met in order to classify termination as a real step toward lasting change.

*You have reached termination if your temptation to regress or relapse across triggers is low

*You have reached termination if your self-efficacy to maintain is high across situations

*You have reached termination if you have established a healthy lifestyle that precludes the old problem behavior. Zero temptation = 100% confidence. (Pg. 198 CO)

Don’t panic if you don’t quite meet these 3 conditions. That just means that maintenance is where you are at and that is a great place to be because your awareness is very high and failure or relapse is not an option if you can help it however, you recognize that it might happen and you are choosing to always be aware of that fact. Good for you for recognizing a weak spot and sticking with your processes.

Your changes and how you chose to use the tools at hand to succeed in changing a problem or behavior or thought pattern is your personal stamp on the process. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Produce your thoughts with care and personalization, act as if you have already won, and wear proudly the signature of your success because no one could have done it the way you did it. Take time to really acknowledge and thank those allies of yours. These are the same helpers that will stick with you now that your change process is at an end. Most of all celebrate yourself for your success and perseverance.

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do it has increased.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember the steps it took to get you here:

*Make a pro/con list about the change you want to make. There should be at least a 3:1 ratio of 3 pros to every one con

* Clarify your WHY in terms of making a change.

* Visualize what life will be like if and when you make that change.

* Create a support group.

* Research and gather information to support your efforts.

* Develop a “worst case” scenario.

* Set clear and specific goals toward the change you want to make and how to deal with stress and anxiety within the action of changing.

* Monitor your progress while in the throes of your actions steps.

* Monitor any inner critic that pops up to sabotage your efforts.

* Use your allies as often as possible.

* Renew your commitment as often as necessary. Never lose your WHY.

* Always celebrate along the way each and every little success. Keep your motivation high.

* Forgive yourself through a relapse or slip up. Get back on track right away.

* Only you will know deep inside if you are ready for termination of your action steps or if you are going to hold the line and maintain your efforts for a while longer.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

My Story

There is no end here. I am not in termination regarding the personal changes I want to make. The “changes” have now become a part of me and it is “me” that I am working on, probably for the rest of my life. There is a person that must be developed, released and set free because of all the changes I have made so far and I am in exploration of just who that person must be in order to reach fulfillment and authenticity. I will hold the line on the changes I have made so far. I will not allow any slip ups from here on out. I like who and what I have become so far. I am very much okay with never reaching termination because that only means I am alive and learning and sharing and creating. Please consider joining me in my quest. This is the greatest adventure yet.

Call to Action

Now that you have a taste of your own inner strength and power perhaps you will take on this challenge and dare to be……

 

Dare To Be

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you are feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find their way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel that you have done your best.

Dare to be the best you can/At all times/ Dare to be…….”

Thank you for joining me in this mini-series. It has been a great pleasure to share these insights and strategies with you.

Journey On….

For information about coaching, creating lasting change in your life, help with figuring out who you want to be when you grow up or just an ally in the struggle to move up the ladder of life please contact lisa@journeyoncoaching.com or call 203-560-3061.

For more wisdom wizards please visit Lisa’s website at www.journeyoncoaching.com  or visit Lisa’s Pinterest Board at http://www.pinterest.com/lisazaccagnini/wisdom-wizards/.

 

Images by bing.com

Are you really ready for the new year?

When December 1st hits I feel like every tick of the clock is amplified because with the end of the month comes the end of the year, perhaps the end of a decade or a century. Every day ends, every month ends but the end of December is somehow more significant. Conversely the monumental end of the month of December also brings the enormous beginning of a fresh and hopeful new year, a renewed commitment to old and new goals and old and new resolutions.

Resolutions are in the air. What are resolutions anyway? Promises we try to make to ourselves to do something different or better than ever before. Isn’t that the premise of change?

Whether graduating from school, going off to college, switching career paths, dieting or turning a new age, the word “change” is the main ingredient. For most of us change is very scary and hard to start; goals are hard to set. If we are lucky enough to get started on a change, on obtaining an elusive goal, it is even harder to continue and see it through. For some of us change is exciting, exhilarating. The path toward success with any type of change is our perspective about the change and our attitude throughout the change. The idea of “different” has most of us envious of those who accomplish their changes, meeting their goals and/or running for the hills when thought about in terms of ourselves.

Amy Wrzesniewski, a researcher at Yale University, came up with the term “job crafting” for individuals who completely enjoyed their jobs but they were also making little changes that made their job more enjoyable. In terms of life changes at this time of year I suggest “life crafting”. To put it simply, doing small things, taking baby steps to make your life more rewarding. People can change but at what cost? Change is a shift in identity. We can play with our identities and imagine many possibilities for our lives. Think about someone you know who has made a change, big or small. How did that person seem to behave through the change and as a result of changing? How did you feel in your reaction to that persons change? Now, think about yourself as you are today and in one year from today. If everything about the changes you want to make has gone as well as could be hoped for…

1-      What would the person you hoped to become look like?

2-      What would the changed life feel like?

3-      What is something small that you can do right now to take steps toward that better, resolute, changed life?

Making resolutions, promises to ourselves to change what we don’t like or increase power to what is already working is vital to our well-being. In support for our natural desire to change Robert –Biswas Diener says, “Goals are future-oriented benchmarks that help us organize our behavior. By establishing goals, both large and small, we establish a gauge for success, a guide for making decisions, and a target to move toward. In the absence of goals we tend to flounder.”

According to Jeremy McCarthy of psychologyofwellbeing.com, there are 10 strategies for accomplishing change, goals, and greatness.

1-      Know that change is possible.

2-      Know that change is not easy.

3-      Keep your eye on the prize BUT know that there will be hurdles to overcome.

4-      Don’t focus only on the goal, the change or only on the hurdles. Find a balance of foucs.

5-      Want the changes you seek. For example, “What would make me want to lose weight? “What would make me want to do more exercises? “What would make me want to stick to my goals for change?

6-      What is the smallest, easiest step to take that you know you can’t fail? For example if writing a book is one of your goals, try writing one sentence per day and before you know it you’ll have the makings of your book. It’s a step that there can be no excuses attached to.

7-      Recognize that there will be setbacks and plan for them. For example, IF I want to go to the gym to exercise after work and a colleague asks me to go to happy hour after work THEN I will either meet up with that colleague after my work out or get up early the next morning to go to the gym.

8-      Strengthen your will power. This can be done through meditation or personal challenges to test your resilience.

9-      Dig in and keep going. Persevere. Work hard to achieve your end result.

10-   Know when to let goals go. Sometimes, but rarely, will you realize that the path you are taking toward your change, toward your goal is not the right path. Be flexible enough to recognize that signs of a bad plan and be open enough to change course, change the plan but not give up on the idea of where you want to go.

In this new year that is fast approaching I wish you strength, perseverance and open mindedness toward your changes, your goals and your resolutions. Happy New Year!!!