The world says if you want to be happy you’ll have to lower your standards and your expectations of people and yourself. That is not the path to wellness. If you’ve spent time lowering your expectations and accepting only the minimal from the people around you and you’re still not happy then it’s time to turn it all around. If you raise your expectations people will rise to meet them and you’ll do the same thing.
It’s funny how the world tells you to be happy you need to lower your expectations of other people and of yourself. But when you lower your expectations you’re telling other people that you don’t really matter and they are given license to treat you any way they want to. Plus, when you lower the expectations in your own life you die a little to yourself. If you don’t matter to you, you won’t matter to other people.
How do you raise your expectations?
- Set goals for yourself. Achievable goals. With tasks attached to each goal. If you haven’t set goals in a while, think about what you have accomplished without any goals. Not much, huh? Now think about what you want to accomplish. These goals will help you see what you need to do to reach the next level.
- Get out of your comfort zone. If you have to burn your easy chair or give it to charity. You know what makes you uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups of people? Are you uncomfortable calling people and inviting them to look at your service? Are you uncomfortable being a peacemaker? Are you uncomfortable doing things on your own? When you get out of your comfort zone you raise the bar on your own life, you expand your horizons, and you raise your expectations.
- Challenge yourself to do something different. Greatness is learned by people who challenge themselves to do and be different than the crowd. If the crowd is all running in the same direction, turn around and go the other way. Yes it might feel like you’re going up stream and the people around you might even try to push you backward. But stand firm and move forward. The challenges can be as simple as challenging yourself to smile at least 10 times a day, if you’re not prone to smile. Every time you accomplish the little challenges you set for yourself in the direction of raising your expectations of what you can accomplish in your life.
Raise your expectations for yourself will help you see life from the top of the mountain instead of the foot hills at the bottom.
So you think you have it all figured out. You know what you want in your life, you know where you want your health and wellness to be, and you know just how much money it will take to get the other two. But you don’t have that money right now, your health is not on track and you don’t have the life you want. What do you do now? The answer is both simple and challenging.
A building isn’t constructed without an architect making plans for how it will look, a landscaper doesn’t just come to your home and start digging holes without a sketch. People don’t just decide one day to have a business and next day open the doors and start doing business without having a plan first. Think about all the plans in life: diet plans, fitness plans, educational plans, spending plans, etc. So why do we think we can go through life without a plan in place and think we will accomplish anything worthwhile?
Why am I talking about plans anyways? Because I’ve needed to write three business plans, one for each part time business that I run. Together these businesses bring in some money but not nearly at what I want to see them bring in. After I sat down to write up my three business plans, I thought about writing up a life plan and fill it with everything that I wanted in my life.
This included dates of when I should have different tasks accomplished as well as how I was going to do them. Since I don’t have the money right now to accomplish many of the tasks I want right now, I put deadlines on myself so I can have a target date to work towards. It also includes who can help me attain the goals I have set for myself.
Putting all of this in writing has helped me to focus on what I really want out of life and for my own life to feel successful. Each of us have different terms of success so my life plan will look totally different than your’s. It includes the wants and desires I have for my own life. If you’ve ever been in an interview where the interviewer asks you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and you don’t have a clue at what to say. A life plan is the answer.
Five years from this very day what will your life be like? Where will you be in your health and wellness plan? How will your money situation be? What experiences will you have accomplished? Will you be stuck in a rut or energized by your accomplishments? Will you still be at your same job or will you be self-sufficient? Will you have the capability to see your family and friends more often? Will you be doing what you love to do?
Five years from this very day what will your life be like?
If you’ve been reading my blog then you know I love reading, learning, and teaching. I started a whole new list of books this week, funny thing, 4 of them are from my husband’s bookcase. These are small books in size and page count, but packed with big inspiration.
- The Journey From Success to Significance by John C. Maxwell
- Be All You Can Be by John C Maxwell
- How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton
- Overcoming LIFE’S Disappointments by Harold S. Kushner
- The On-Purpose Person by Kevin W. McCarthy
Each book is filled with information that I tend to need right now at this moment. It’s interesting that these books have been on my husband’s book case for several years but I hadn’t noticed them until this week and once I picked each one up I felt the words jump off the page right into my heart.
“Life is like a mirror; what you show is what you see; what you put in is what you get out. When you encourage others, you’ll find that they will encourage you. Attitudes are contagious. ” ~John C Maxwell from Be All You Can Be. We’re suppose to live fruitful lives (John 15:16). What kind of fruit should we be cultivating? Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Galatians 5: 22-23). These fruits are all positive attributes of leading fruitful lives. When we lead fruitful (positive) lives, positive things happen in and to our lives. Wouldn’t you like to have positive results in your life? Positive relationships? Positive reinforcements? Positive rejoicing? It’s a two-fold process; you can’t have one without the other. Read the book to find out how you can Be All You Can Be.
These books are short reads for me, and while I will probably finish them all within the next couple of weeks, their knowledge will be within my heart, mind, and long after I’ve put them back on my husband’s bookcase. Because when you read a book it becomes a part of you.
I was recently flipping through some really old woman’s magazines that I had saved from the recycling bin when my Mom was moving. The dates are from the 1960’s and 1970’s; my Mom saved magazines because “you just never know when you might need that information again.” As I was flipping through them I noticed that Mom had cut out the coupons, and anything had a free offer on it. In looking at the free offers on each of the pages I began to realize that many of the items we had in our home growing up came from those pages. We had all the book sets, knick-knacks, pictures hanging on the walls, craft kits, yarn, socks, sewing supplies that were all advertised on these pages with the address box cut out. It was nice to know that my freebie shopping and free sample hobby was part of who I am because of my Mom.
Ruth Mazzocco (aka: My Mom)
She instilled in me that if you can’t get something for free at least get it for half-off. I learned how to shop from my Mom; who never paid full price for anything. If we were in the grocery store and bananas were a day past their freshness she would ask to have them for pennies. She would shop with the intent on having money left over in the grocery budget so she could fund one of her obsessions. She had two obsessions material and yarn. While never sewed, she loved the feel of material, the different patterns and colors. But the yarn she used and used well. Mom kept us warm in the winter with her blankets, sweaters, and slippers she made for all of us even the dog.
Leonard & Ruth Mazzocco (my Dad & Mom)
I’m a lot like my mom. I love freebies, I never pay full price for anything, I love material (only I sew), I love yarn, and I love to cook just like my mom did. There’s not a day that goes by that I am not using one of the skills she taught me. Mother’s Day comes and goes each year but it is a daily praise I give my Mom when I share what she has taught me with others in my life. I love and miss you, Mom!
I’ve started reminding myself about all the good things in life instead of focusing on the negative. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff and sometimes difficult to look for the good. But an interesting thing happens to your whole being when you only focus on the positive, it brings light to your life. It’s like there’s a switch that turns on the light and by only looking for the positive things you only see the good. The Power of Positivity has propelled me into a different way of life, and has helped me in dealing with problems in life.
Yesterday I talked about how being positive will actually help you lose weight. When you have a positive outlook on life, you’ll be more apt to stick to your diet and fitness plan. It’s a proven fact that positive people are healthier and more successful than those that walk around clinging to their dark cloud of despair.
Positive people are also more attractive. When I was a teenager I was constantly compared with my aunt Mary, one of my great-aunts used to tell me that I looked just like her. What she meant as a compliment I took as an insult because as an adult my aunt Mary looked like the Wicked Witch of East from Wizard of Oz. But then my great-aunt showed me photos of my aunt Mary when she was teenager, and she was beautiful and, WOW, I did look like her. “So how did she get so ugly?” I asked. My great-aunt told me that as a teenager Mary wasn’t filled hate. She was bubbly and kind, and loved to be with people. It was after she had gotten married that she started to hate her own brothers, and that hate turned her ugly.
As I remember this it is true, that Mary hated her brothers, my father was one of them. She hated many people and it caused her much agony. Hatred is on the opposite end of positivity. This hatred literally ate her beauty and her health from her heart, to her organs, and to her skin.
It easy to fall into that trap of walking around while hanging on to that cloud of despair that you think is the only way to live. That cloud is what’s holding you back from your own life. If your life is not where you thought it would be, and you’ve checked everything outside yourself. Then maybe it’s your outlook on life that is keeping you from where you want to be.
- Surround yourself with positive people because their positivity is contagious and will rub off on you…if you let it.
- When I find myself falling into those old traps of negative thoughts and feelings, I always turn on Zig Ziglar. His positive messages always pull me up and forward, faster than any amount of chocolate chip ice cream ever could.
- I started keeping a positive journal. It’s filled with articles, poems, quotes, bible verses, and my positive happy thoughts I have during the day. Sometimes If I can’t write I just record my happy thought on my phone. Why? Because just like everyone else, we all have down days but these positive, uplifting tidbits from my own life help me to get back on track.
Unleash the power of positivity on your own life and see your life change right before your eyes.
Each day we are faced with the same tasks as we go about our routine in making our life the way we want it to be. Each day we are faced with the same choices as well. From what we want to eat, how we choose our clothing, and the conversations we have; it’s all a choice. We look at the difficult tasks of losing weight and getting healthy as too daunting to do anything. But it is the small changes we do each and every moment that matter the most.
I made a small change this week in my diet; I stopped eating bananas for breakfast and instead I’m eating two organic eggs (cooked anyway I want). This small change has made a big impact in my life, I don’t crave the sweet treats all day long. I am satisfied with the eggs, and my cup of Earl Grey tea. This small change has also affected my snacking throughout the day. I don’t feel the need to snack until mid-afternoon. Then I grab a handful of organic raw almonds, another small change I started. I’m no longer tethered to my cravings for sugar, or carbs.
Another small change that really helps is to stay positive. When we find ourselves in a negative, depressing mood we tend to binge on comfort foods. If we stay positive, it helps us in staying away from the foods that are keeping us from our desired health and wellness goals. You know what your comfort foods and offending foods are, the ones you run to when you’re depressed and mad at the world. If you have to, print out some positive quotes and tape them up around your home.
Every two hours while I work here at home, I set a timer that goes off and I turn on a YouTube 10 minute cardio video. This small change of doing 10 minutes of cardio every two hours helps me to get in 40 minutes of cardio a day. Plus for me it’s great because of my structural issues.
Other small changes that you can make:
- Ordering smaller portions in restaurants: I usually order off the appetizer menu or I’ll ask for a box with my meal so I can take half the portion away.
- Bringing your own healthy snacks to movie theaters: My favorite is chopped apple and almonds
- Scope out different activities that aren’t surrounded by food: have a healthy picnic and bring along a Frisbee, or a football, or go for a walk; Go on a hike, take a ceramics class with friends. Go to a clay-painting shop, a health seminar or a book reading.
- Park in the farthest spot from the door: I saw this yesterday on my walk. The lady looked like she was in her 70’s; she parked her car in the farthest spot away in the outdoor shopping mall I was at. She walked to a couple of stores, brought her bags out to her car and walked to other shops. I noticed she did this about 4 times. Then she got a cup of coffee and sat down at the table next to mine. We talked about her form of exercising. She said she hates shopping so she makes a game of it and tries to get in as much exercise in as she can when she has to shop.
Find some small changes that work for you.
In time these Small changes will add up in a whole new you!
Today was the day I said I would tackle the refrigerator. I wanted to get rid of all the old food, and what once was food but has turned into a chemistry project. Sometimes I have to smell the offending food to know whether it’s gone bad, at other times I just know by the mold I see. I started thinking about how cleaning our refrigerators is in direct relation to cleaning our lives.
We fill the refrigerator with good wholesome food, in my case it’s all organic. Because of a lack of time we don’t clean out that food which has gone bad. When we look at cleaning out our lives we look at ways to fill it with all the good things that life has to offer, filling our minds with good, positive, and Godly thoughts, finding new uplifting friends. But we neglect getting rid of those parts of life that are decaying and causing us to stumble, those negative thoughts and moldy toxic people who have become permanent fixtures in our lives.
The problem with this is that we cannot grow if we cannot let go. We’ve all heard of clean diets, living a clean and sober life, but we don’t talk about how to get from one point to the next. In order to follow a clean diet we need to get rid of all the processed foods, and only choose organic, whole foods. Cleaning our lives is the same way. We can’t expect our lives to move forward if we’re stuck in the same negative thought patterns with the same moldy toxic people that suck the life out of us.
So how do we get unstuck and clean our lives so we can move forward?
- Limit your time and energy spent with these moldy toxic people in your life. You may have to rethink your friendships with them in real time and on social media. Only you know who these people are in your own life. You can go to them and ask them to stop acting a certain way, if they refuse to, then just limit the amount of time you spend with them. If it’s your spouse or significant other, and you love them, pray for them and look for the good in them, focus on the good whenever you are with them.
- Whenever a negative thought comes into your mind, push it out by reciting a positive quote. You may want to keep a list of positive quotes with you at all times.
- Stop putting yourself in situations where these moldy thoughts and moldy people are in control of you. That means that you may have to say “NO” to them. It’s difficult but your own sanity is at stake.
- Surround yourself with people who are uplifting, positive, and loving. People who make you want to be a better person. These are the people who will help you when you need help, and not try to control you or your life.
- Watch your own words because they will either hold you back or stop you in your tracks. Cleaning our lives means we use clean words all the time. Words that uplift, forgive, help, motivate, inspire, and love. Use these words when you speak to other people and when you talk to yourself.
This is only the beginning to cleaning our lives. It’s not a one time event, just live cleaning out our refrigerators isn’t a one time event. It takes time, patience, and love to continually clean our lives. It also take perseverance, and strength.
Cleaning our lives is the only way to move forward in a world bent on standing still.