Simple and Effective Tips for Meeting Your Goals

DIY home projects have always been intimidating to me. I have donated so many great pieces of furniture and home decor items to Good Will over the years that I could probably own my own resale shop. Looking back, these items could have been used, if only I had the confidence to add some paint color here or a hint of fabric there.

Thanks to some guidance from my creative and crafty mom, I am in the middle of painting over a dresser set. I have had this furniture since I was little and want my little girl to use them in her room now, so it’s important for me to break out of my crafty shell and get these dressers presentable again. What I am finding along the way is that after every coat of paint and every newly painted drawer, I feel more and more confident in my ability to get this project done. It may have some mistakes, but hey, it’s done with lot of love for my little one!

What Do I Mean By Goal? My example here is about a home project, but these tips can include personal goals of stopping a habit, organizing a space, or even starting a small business! A goal is a goal, no matter how big or small.

  • Find Support. First, everyone needs their own “creative and crafty mom.” In other words, find a mentor, support person, or teacher for projects that intimidate you. Allow yourself permission to call this person anytime you need them.
  • Set Small, Achievable Goals. Not only am I painting the dresser set, but I am also updating the knobs and adding stenciling (big time I know). If I think about this entire project at once, my non-crafty mind gets nervous and I want to forget the whole thing. However, if I concentrate on one piece at a time… “Get the smalled dresser painted first”…then I feel more confident, and even some relief. It’s a small, achievable goal! Also, it may be more appropriate for you to set time goals, such as not smoking for 5 days, then 10, and so on.
  • Use Positive Self Talk. It’s easy to beat yourself up when attempting something that is difficult for you. Negative self talk can sound like “I stink at doing this,” or “I always screw up.” Stick with the positive self talk, which sounds more like “I’m actually doing this!” and “I’m impressed with how well I did, only one mistake today!”
  • Reward Yourself. Go ahead and reward your efforts in working towards your goal! I suggest smaller rewards at the end of each small/short-term goal and a great, big reward for full completion of your goal.

I hope these are helpful for you. If you have another tip that has worked in your life, please share!

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Is There A “Right” Way To Parent?

A mother once told me how she was upset with herself for not using a parenting style discussed in a book she was currently reading. This is someone I highly respect- adoptive parent, thoughtful, caring, and highly involved in her son’s therapy. I was surprised to hear how quick she put herself down because of this author’s idea of the “right way” to parent. Thinking about how you may have done things differently is one thing, but beating yourself up over it is another!

There are definitely some wonderful approaches to parenting out there… Positive Parenting, Love and Logic, Attachment Parenting, etc. but I don’t believe there is ONE RIGHT way to parent that works for everybody. There is not one right way to potty train. There is not one right way for your baby to sleep. There is not one right decision to make on whether to let your child have diluted juice or not. In reality, if one parenting book tells you to do one thing, I guarentee there is another book out there that will have a variation, or even a contradiction. So, please, don’t be so hard on yourself! And don’t be so hard on your fellow mommies out there!

Are there some general guidelines out there? Are there general standards, for moral and health reasons, that all parents should follow? Absolutely! Some are even recommended by the American Pediatric Association. These are not what I am referring to now. What I am talking about are the “styles” and “techniques” that are offered to us each and every day as parents and all the little things that we criticize ourselves and others so much for.

Every child, every parent, every family, and every circumstance is different. We all have values, priorities, obligations, and a bunch of other “stuff” that affects how we choose to raise our children. Read all the books, magazines, and blogs you want, but at the end of the day, you have to make a decision to do what fits best with your child.

No matter the age of your kids, when you have a choice to make, gather all the information you can, reflect on your own goals and values, and make the best decision you know how with the information you have available. If you learn later of a better way you could have handled that stage of your child’s life, or that a certain food is not so good after all, you can rest assured that you did the best you knew how at that time.

As a therapist, it’s important to me that parents of my child and adolescent clients feel a sense of confidence in themself and their abilities. Judgment from me, other parents, or family members is not helpful.

In summary, there are several parenting philosophies that I think are fantastic. I tend to pull a little bit from each and apply what works with my own philosophy and values. So, is there a right way to parent? There is for me! But it may be different for you! What do you think?

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Our Times of Struggle

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful”

-Sigmund Freud

I love this quote and wanted to share. I believe this is true because it is often these time of struggle when life is real, life is challenging, and we learn genuine truths about ourselves and others around us. I’m sure we all have at least one experiences that we wish never happened; but consider the difficult experiences you have had as a whole. Consider those experiences that required you to persevere, sweat, concentrate, and maybe even wince a little (literally or figuratively speaking). Would you take those moments away? Are they significant to your life? My answer is “No, I wouldn’t take them away,” and “Yes, they made me who I am today.” I am going to think about this the next time I experience a challenge in life, as well as when my kids experience challenges in their lives.

What about you? Will you grumble through the hard times, or will you take a deep breath and re-frame your experience?

Parenting Quick Tip: Mention the Good Stuff Too!

If you are visiting with your child’s therapist, teacher, or any other professional about your concerns, be sure to mention the positive aspects about them too (especially when they are in hearing distance). Often times we only focus on the negative reasons for our visit and the children just end up hearing what is wrong with them. It will feel great for your child to hear you talk about some areas in which you are proud of them. This positive feedback is a great motivator for making positive changes too!

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting golden delicious.”

Bill Meyer  

Quick Tip for Attention Seeking Behaviors

* Stop * Reassure * Finish * Play

If you are trying to get chores or cooking done, but your little one is constantly under your feet, pulling your clothes, or acting out nearby, they may be desparately trying to get your attention. Try this example: stop for a moment, bend down at eye level with your child and say “I can see you want mommy’s attention right now. I will be done in ten minutes and then we can play together.” Follw this up with a warm hug and accepting smile. Your child feels reassured by your attention and will hopefully calm down a bit while they excitedly wait for their special time with you.

Remember, you are someone’s world so be sure to keep that promise!! 

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Self Care Quick Tip (with a little comic relief!)

I know this feeling well! If you have read my posts, you know how I feel about taking care of yourself. I encourage you to find time for that “Me Time” you so deserve. Not only is it good for you, but because you are a model for your family.

Ask yourself if you want your daughter to grow up and sacrifice her health for the laundry, or your son to work weekends instead of spending it with his family. Remember, they learn by what we do, not necessarily by what we say!


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