when getting where you want to go seems too hard (how about those 50 pounds?)

It's really interesting to me how my various clients' needs seem to dovetail a lot of the time. Reminds me of that thing about women in college dorms all getting on the same menstrual cycle.

These days, just about all of my clients have expressed the desire to lose 50 pounds.  They're all saying the same number.  In some cases, weight has always been an issue.  In others, it's the stress of the separation and divorce process, with food becoming the only real source of comfort.

Along with the desire to shed a large number of pounds comes the feeling that it's just too hard to even contemplate getting started.  They're feeling exhausted, and not in the mood to get off the couch after a long work week and family responsibilities.  The ex isn't really helping with the kids, or the help comes at the high price of his acting like he's doing the family a big favor rather than wanting to fulfill his role as a dad.

Is it that my clients are lazy?  Definitely not.  I carefully assess potential clients before I agree to work with them, and in our initial conversations I have tried-and-true ways of finding out whether a woman will experience great success with me.  If there's a question in my mind about whether she'll follow through and get the big results that I promise, I'll never suggest working together.

When it comes to weight loss, though, I think many women just can't stand the thought of getting started, the possibility of failing or of it being too hard, and then being disappointed all over again.  My clients have been disappointed waaaaay too much, in too many ways, and they're very smart about picking their battles.

I love helping them on this because, if you can identify a really strong desire and find a way to make progress toward that goal, you can use those skills toward

any

goal.  It opens up a whole new world of being able to reach out and grab what you want.  This is the kind of future I want for my ladies, and I know it's possible.

First thing is to be sure that weight loss is a goal that is really important.  More important than enjoying food in the way that you've been enjoying it so far.  That's a subject unto itself, as is finding other ways to comfort yourself that will be as easy and as enjoyable as eating comfort foods.  So, sometimes, we look for new ways that clients can feel the sense of calm and relaxation that food can provide, and then it's easier to tackle the diet and fitness piece a little bit later.

A fun thing to do, though, is to create a

Pinterest

board where you can park all kinds of exercise and diet ideas that you might like to try.

Very important:  You're not committing to doing any of these ideas now.  

You're just collecting things that appeal to you.  Especially food ideas that are quick and easy (and

include lots of vegetables that you already like

).  Don't like vegetables?  It's time for a fun exploration of expanding your food choices, and finding vegetables that you can enjoy.  Sometimes, a big part of that can be how they're prepared.  On Pinterest, you'll find all kinds of interesting ideas (with beautiful, colorful pictures that make you happy just looking at them).

And, look for quick and easy video workouts that you think you might actually do.  Make a list of physical activities that you like (or that you used to enjoy).  Think about how you might be able to fit them into your life (maybe, at first, just once a week, and then twice a week . . . and watch it become something you look forward to and maybe even do some of these activities with friends).

Remember, this is just information-gathering.  After you do this for a while, you'll reach a tipping point where you feel motivated to pick something from your list and try it.

If you don't feel motivated after a few weeks of collecting things to try, then losing weight has not come to the top of your desire list yet.  Meditate on what you really want most right now.  Maybe it's related to making more friends.  Maybe there's a hobby, class, or activity that you really want to do. 

Making yourself happier is a through-the-back-door way to change your relationship to food.

This really is magic.

Whatever goal you may be dreaming about (even though it may seem too hard and too far away), think of some deceptively simple and tiny ways to start on it.  Things you can do that are so small and harmless that you won't be tempted to avoid doing them.  Then, be consistent about fitting that tiny, baby step into your life and watch the magic happen.

When you observe some small, but perceptible results from that one little thing you're doing, you'll get excited about adding one more tiny little step.

This really is magic.  Try it, see what happens, and please comment with your successes!

Of course, if you'd like some help from me, just get in touch to ask a question or two, or to schedule a get-acquainted call with me.

10 ways to rock a dreary Monday

This time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, mornings are dark and dreary, and Mondays can be the biggest challenge. Especially when you're already feeling low energy and depleted from all the changes that divorce brings.

Here are my top ten strategies to make going back to work on Mondays a happier and more rewarding experience.

Get a head start that sets you up for the whole week:
1. Have a warm and nourishing crock pot meal ready to simmer for Monday night dinner, so it's effortless when you get home. Have everything in the crock pot, in the fridge on Sunday night, so all you have to do is take the pot out of the fridge, set it into the heating element, and turn it on.

2. Get your wardrobe in order for the entire week in advance. Pull out five outfits, with all lingerie and accessories already placed on the hanger for each day. You can use this process to weed out your closet, too. As you try on clothing items, if they're too worn, don't fit right, or don't make you feel good, put them right into the donation bag for the thrift store, not back in your closet. This process will take just one hour once a week, and you'll enjoy more variety in your workplace attire instead of relying on the same outfit or two over and over. When you look good, you feel good -- and you'll be more relaxed when you don't have to make a clothing decision each and every day.

3. Get all your weekday lunches sorted in advance, too.  If you make a crock pot dish over the weekend, you can put individual portions in the refrigerator or freezer for your lunches during the week. Make sure you have individual-size yogurts or other favorite healthy snack items so that you have your lunches preplanned.

4. Get to bed on time so that you have plenty of rest.  Start to wind down about an hour before bedtime. Turn off the television and step away from your computer and phone.  Try a little yoga for relaxation, 20 minutes with a good book full of self-nurturing thoughts, and a small glass of red wine or a nice warm cup of herbal tea. Just after you turn out the lights, prayerfully release all stresses and worries, knowing that getting a good night's sleep is the best thing you can do for your future.

Feeling good from the start:
5. Create a Monday morning wake-up ritual that you love. Set your phone alarm to wake you up to a favorite song, have a special treat ready for breakfast, have an inspiring audio book ready to play on your commute. The basic idea is to make morning as cozy and luxurious as possible. No chaos, no rushing, no tension.

6. Just before you start work, do a quick week-starting ritual that sets you up for the day. Here's a suggestion: Center yourself with a few slow, deep breaths, and write your personal intention for the day on a post-it note, keeping it where you can see it during your workday

7. Keep a few fun rewards in view as the day progresses: A delicious lunch that you're looking forward to eating, a mid-afternoon treat of some kind, and definitely something fun to look forward to after work.  More on this below, under "reward yourself for your magnificence."

8. How about a 10-minute late lunchtime nap at your desk while listening to soothing music or a motivational .mp3? Go to youtube.com and search for the emotion you want to feel, such as confidence, relaxation, or abundance.

9. Preschedule a mid-afternoon break that is truly a break.  Walk away from your desk.  Talk to someone you like.  Connect, even for just a few minutes, with an activity you love.  Make your break something that you really look forward to.  Can you work from a cafe for an hour in the afternoon?  Can you take a brisk walk for a few minutes outdoors?  A change of locale can really help.

Reward yourself for your magnificence:
10. Reward yourself with something special after Monday's workday is done:   Have a few videos queued up that you can't wait to watch (allow yourself to veg a little; it's Monday).  You've already arranged for dinner -- it's in the crock pot, so all you need is a bag of mixed greens and some salad dressing -- so there's no dinner to prepare.  Unsure how to reward yourself?  I'm always in favor of having a 25 Little Luxuries List handy, so you can always quickly choose a treat for yourself . . .

Steps to make this happen:
Before the weekend (total time is about 3 hours, and most of this research is reusable):
  • Come up with some yummy, quick recipes for lunches and Monday night dinner. Try epicurious.com or just search "quick lunches for work" and "crock pot meals" on Pinterest for lots of fun ideas. (Don't own a crock pot? You can buy one for less than $30.) 
  • Shop before the weekend (when the grocery is less-crowded) or have your groceries delivered
  • Make a playlist of music that inspires you. You can use this list to wake up to a different song every morning, and have some tracks to enjoy as you dance your way to getting ready for work. Everyone needs at least a few favorite songs on her phone! 
On Saturday or Sunday (total time is about 3 hours, and it gives you a much, much more relaxed week):
  • Arrange your outfits for the entire workweek (with all accessories on the hangers). Once you do this the first time, every week it will be easier (and it will make you feel so fresh and ready for anything). 
  • Cook a couple of dishes for weekday lunches, and pack individual portions in the fridge. 
  •  Have your crock pot meal ready to plug in on Monday morning. 
On Sunday night:
  • Shower and wash your hair to streamline preparations on Monday morning.  
  • You've already pre-planned so well that your Sunday night can be very relaxing, so savor the satisfaction of having a wonderful strategy for a painless (and, dare I say, fun) start to your workweek. 
Have your own tips to feel happy about Mondays?  Please share in the comments below!

8 Must-Haves for Every Dynamic Divorcee's Recovery Toolkit

When you're slogging your way through every single day, unsure whether life will ever get better, it really helps to inject a little fun and whimsy into the process.

With that in mind, I offer you my version of divorce recovery first aid: 

8 Must-Haves for Every Dynamic Divorcee's Toolkit.

We have all five senses covered here -- and the sixth sense is even in here, too : ) .

Including all of your senses in your toolkit helps to stop your mind from playing it's endless loop of gloom and doom.

Put together this toolkit today.  Especially essential when you don't have enough love and support around you.  And, these days, who does?

8.   You might be wishing for a security blanket right now -- I did.  Here's the adult version that works so well for me:  A favorite, comforting light-weight scarf, keeping you cozy and protected, like one of these from World Market (and, bonus, some cute ways to tie them, here).

It will pick up the scent of whatever yummy fragrance you wear (more about that below), and will start to give you a soothing, relaxed and happy vibe every time you wear it.  That vibe is cumulative, so wear it often, have it on you when you attend happy, uplifting events, and it will start to remind you of the good times and the good people in your life.  (A new scarf is best.  Don't choose one that has memories associated with your ex!)

7.   A talisman that centers you whenever you hold it in your hand.  Sometimes the nicest one is the one that you pick up during a long walk.  But, if you have a local rock shop or metaphysical store, you can see which crystals or gemstones feel the best in your hand.  You don't have to research the meanings of the various gemstones.  Just choose one that feels good in your hand and makes you feel the kind of energy you need most, whether it's peace, contentment, fire, self-love, or confidence.

A practice that I like is to hold the stone in my hand every morning and intend my wish for that day.  Then, right before bedtime, I hold the stone in my hand and release everything that happened, both good and bad, into my stone for safekeeping so I can sleep peacefully.

6. Get a Pinterest account to make a virtual vision board of where you want your life to be . . . next week, next month, next year.  This is so much fun!  You can make your board visible or private, as you choose.  This is the *perfect* tool for women who have worked themselves to the bone for so long, and sacrificed so much for others that they no longer even know what they like, what they desire, or who they are.  Just visit Pinterest and start clicking.

I also think it's nice to print out some key images that really motivate you, buy a 4 x 6 purse-sized photo album (I use this one, for under $5, where one of your vision-board images can be visible on the cover) and keep your little album with you to motivate you during the day.  There's something about having images you can touch!

5. A natural, grounding scent that helps you to feel calm, positive, powerful, and relaxed.  

I love the Relax synergy blend from Plant Therapy, containing lavender, marjoram, patchouli, mandarin, geranium, and chamomile -- starts at just $8.95 US for a 10ml bottle. This scent is both relaxing and energizing at the same time, and works great in a diffuser so that your home or workplace can be filled with this gentle, but recovery-supporting scent.  Works great at bedtime!

 

4. Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay.  I have such a love of this card deck that I can't even tell you.  Through all my darkest hours, it just wouldn't leave me alone.  I bought this deck during the early days when I had just separated from my husband after finding out about his secret life with another woman.  I really didn't know whether I was living or dead.  Since then, it seems that every time I forget about this wonderful, adorable set of cards, someone gives me another of the same deck!  So, seven years later, I now have three of them : ) .

This is a must-have set of 64 whimsical, brightly colored cards that reorient your thoughts toward the positive and the possible.  I use them as an oracle:  I ask a question and get clarity and a plan of action by drawing one card.  Always uplifting.  Do this rather than cast your fate to tarot cards, which can leave you feeling more depressed than when you started.  Less than $13, ladies.

3. Kundalini yoga DVDs by Ana Brett and Ravi Singh.  You don't even have to leave home for the gym, and most of Brett's DVDs allow you to create your own workout (even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes) from among the various segments on each DVD by using their matrix feature.   This is more than just exercise.  Flows are created to cause specific effects (stress relief, increase in energy, relaxation) and there's even a Kundalini Yoga Quick Fixes DVD that treats a host of different issues, with a series of poses/flows that each take only a few minutes.  Total lifesaver, and you feel great after just a brief practice.

2.  An uplifting (yet not preachy or saccharine) weekly podcast.  Here's my favorite that I've listened to for years -- with a unique take on manifesting.  It's called Flowdreaming, and you can access ten of creator Summer McStravick's top podcasts here.  You can also subscribe via iTunes.

1. A go-to blog (like this one) that you can count on for a weekly infusion of attitude adjustment.  And, it really helps if the person behind the blog is available to coach you one-on-one through some of those rock-and-a-hard-place spots.  If you're interested in one-to-one work with me (you can be anywhere on Earth as long as we have English as a common language), you'll find more about that here.