Busy

Busy. Try to go one day without saying that word. You might be surprised by how often you use it. I confess, I am guilty of using “that word” too often.

To re-frame your relationship with “busy”, think of it as a dirty, bad and inappropriate 4-letter-word.

When someone asks us how we are doing, and we reply “busy”, do we lament the fact that we are busy? Or, do we wear it as a badge of honor? Do we say we are busy because we think  it makes us special? Please tell me we don’t think we are showing off by saying we are busy!

When someone tells me how busy they are, I automatically want to help them be less busy, because I assume they want to be less busy. However, I have found that many most people don’t want to be less busy. Many people feel that busy is the opposite of lazy. Some people actually relish the overwhelm and chaos. Could this be a form of self sabotage?

One thing is for sure, we all have the same 168 hours each week. We get to decide how to spend those precious hours. Laura Vanderkam is a time management ninja. She is phenomenal. From her, I learned that we have enough time to do the things we WANT to do. We had the opportunity to interview her for the entremoms podcast recently.  You should listen! http://entremoms.com/show-12-laura-vanderkam

I am a fanatic of all things productivity and time management related. However, I like to keep it simple. Very simple. Do you want to know the trick to being less busy? Here is my super-secret, profound and brilliant solution (sarcasm):

DO LESS STUFF.

Period. Do you want to know how to do less stuff? When your are asked to do things that you don’t feel you have time for, that overwhelm you, that you will have to show up late for and THEN be late for your next commitment, or you just don’t want to do- just say no!  You are the boss of you. When you say yes- remember you are saying no to other, possibly more important, things.

If your days are filled with meaningful, purpose-driven tasks and commitments… fantastic!  However, this isn’t usually the case. More often than not, people (particularly women) fill their days / non-work hours with commitments simply because they can’t say “no”. Learn to be fiercely protective of your time. Slay the “beast of busy” by saying no to things that don’t align with your personal goals and mission. Ask yourself:

Is (whatever thing you’ve been asked to do) the best way for me to serve others with my time, gifts and talents?

If the answer is no, try this response:

No, but thank you for thinking of me.

That is ALL. No explanation. No apology.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you mastery of this teeny-tiny-2-letter-word can transform your life. I am working on this very thing. I am a work in progress. I can’t say I am in remission, but I am in recovery. Compared to this time last year, I say “no” exponentially more often. It has truly been life changing for me. I am less stressed, more intentional and making time for things I previously thought I was to b@%y for.

If you had an extra hour every day, how would you spend it? Then put it on your calendar! Block out an hour to (whatever you want to do).

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every person under heaven.” Ecclesiates 3:1

Be a blessing today.

 

 

 

Reflect

STOP!!! WAIT!!! Don’t psyche yourself out over your new year’s resolutions just yet! First-take time to reflect on the past year:

Identify your greatest achievement.

Identify your biggest failure.

What healthy habit did you establish?

Which unhealthy habit(s) held you back?

What was your biggest time waster?

Was your prayer life hot, cold or lukewarm?

Did you master your mindset?

Did you tackle and eliminate clutter from your home?

Did you cultivate meaningful relationships? With whom?

Which books inspired you the most?

Did your schedule reflect your values?

Were your morning and bedtime routines effective?

Did you demonstrate generosity in a massive way?

Was gratitude a guiding principle?

Thoughtful reflection is vital to the process of establishing resolutions/goals. It can prevent you from “doing the same old thing and getting the same old result.” Reflection is vastly different from dwelling on mistakes or living in the past. Used correctly, it can be your best shot at serious incremental self-improvement. It can give you a hear start on achieving your goals.

When you write your 2017 resolutions/goals, be realistic, be specific, be mindful of what motivates you and remember to plan ways to celebrate your success along the way.

I like to make resolutions/goals in 6 key areas:

  • personal growth
  • professional growth
  • relationships
  • physical/health
  • faith
  • financial

For a moment, imagine this: it is December 31st of 2017. You have set aside time to reflect on the year and establish your resolutions/goals for 2018. You are overwhelmed with  strong feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment and JOY because you had your best year ever. Your commitment to growth and excellence in each area of life helped you succeed in ways you never imagined.

Start NOW to make this your reality! Check out the entremoms virtual life coach monthly membership at http://www.entremoms.com. My business partner and I have created a way to virtually coach women through each of these areas (plus a bonus 7th area that we call the “secret sauce”) for the entire YEAR! At a price that is less than you would pay for one HOUR of one-on-one coaching. Also, tune into the entremoms podcast to be inspired by amazing women who are moms and entrepreneurs!

It is my prayer that 2017 will be your best year ever. I pray that you will bless others in BIG BOLD ways. I pray that you will be blessed beyond measure and loved beyond your wildest dreams. Happy new year!

 

 

Thankful

Someone please tell me how it can already be November? Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well, hold onto your hats- Thanksgiving is this week, two minutes later it will be Christmas and then it will be 2017 faster than than you can say “what were my 2016 resolutions again?”

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I need everything to slow down so I can enjoy it!

I had the privilege of leading “Kids for Christ” this morning. What a great way to start the day- discussing how important it is to be thankful with a room full of 4th, 5th and 6th graders.

We created a “thankful jar”. Each student received a penny. They closed their eyes, bowed their head, held onto their penny and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving. Before they left, each student placed their penny in a mason jar.

Wouldn’t it be impactful if each of us had a “thankful jar” or a “gratitude jar”? We could add a penny each day or write down what we are thankful/grateful for each day on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. A visual representation of a year’s worth of gratitude would be so powerful!

A gratitude journal is another great way to incorporate thankfulness into every day life. At the very least, you can write down a word, phrase, sentence or paragraph with the writing prompt “today I am thankful for…”.

Recently I read Janice Kaplan’s “Gratitude Diaries- How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life”. Wow! It was so inspiring to discover how focusing on gratitude transformed every aspect of her life. She also went into great detail about the pathophysiological benefits of gratitude. Amazing!

Consider starting your very own “year of gratitude” on Thanksgiving Day! Who says you have to wait until January 1st?

Let’s make a promise to be thankful every day. Even on the bad days. Especially on the bad days.

Enjoy this adorable video. Thank you Kid President!

 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Be a blessing today.

Blank Slate

Thank you for visiting! I need to ask a huge favor. Pretty please with sugar on top!

When I started my blog in October I was totally clueless. I recently discovered (following multiple requests) how to enable readers to follow my blog. See what I mean- I was totally clueless. I probably should have figured that out on day 1. So…here is the huge favor: if you haven’t already,  please scroll down on the right side of this page and click “follow jennmilroydotcom”. It would mean the world to me.

Now- back to our regularly scheduled program:

It’s June. How are those New Year’s resolutions workin’ out for ya? Ha!Ha! I am so sorry. I hope you didn’t throw your phone, iPad, lap top or milkshake across the room when you read that. The great news is this: you can set monthly goals, weekly goals and even daily goals. Each day is a blank slate.

goals

I am an avid goal setter. Do I accomplish every goal I write down? HECK NO!!! But, I accomplish more goals than I would if I  1) didn’t set them 2) didn’t write them down.

In addition to being an avid goal setter. I am also an epic failure. I mean EPIC! Here is a great example. I am not proud to say it, but this is how it has gone down year after year:

January 1 – Cue the fitness goals. Work out, eat healthier blah, blah, blah. No dice.

On or around February 1st –  I am in the check out line at Target with more than my fair share of processed foods in my cart. I spot the fitness mag with the twenty-year-old celebrity “it  girl” du jour on the cover with the headline “now is the time to get bikini ready”.  I  buy it, read it, flip through it and even tear out some pages. No dice.

Fast forward to March 1st- My spring clothes feel a little tight. I’ll fix that. I just read somewhere about this great workout to get in shape for summer over the next 3 months. Fantastic! Just 150 minutes of exercise a week and no junk food. It will be so easy! No dice.

End of April- My legs are so pale. I think if I just got a little sun, I would look a lot better.

May 1st- I am in the check out line at Target (with too many processed foods in my cart) I spot the fitness mag with the 35-year-old supermodel who gave birth to her 5th child last month and is now ripped and chiseled on the cover with the headline “3 weeks to bikini ready”. Fantastic! I haven’t waited too long- I only need 3 weeks!! I buy it, read it, flip through it and even tear out some pages. No dice.

June 1st- Pool day. It would have been a GREAT idea to embrace ANY of the exercises I read about or to skip at least ONE of those drive thru meals. It must be the baby weight. He’s 11-years-old, but he DID weigh almost 10 pounds!

Then something amazing happened.

Lo and behold… within the past few weeks, I have actually set AND ACHIEVED a fitness goal. I discovered that the missing link was a need to change my mindset. In reality, I’m not motivated by seeing skinny models on magazine covers. I AM motivated by the promise of increasing energy and boosting brain power/mental clarity.

thinking and results feedback

 

I am also motivated  by the fact that increased energy, brain power and mental clarity = increased ability to make a greater impact. Just as with money, the more you have, the more you have to GIVE.

My husband and I both set some healthy goals during a recent “date night with a purpose” (I created a self-guided worksheet for couples that I will happily e-mail to you if you contact me).

I committed to  20-30 minutes of walking each morning. As I was writing down specific actions steps, I initially considered walking Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Then it dawned on me… I know myself better than that. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will roll around and I will think of 42 good reasons not to get up and walk. Instead, what works best for me, is to create a daily habit.

Another thing I know about myself, is I need to increase the perceived value of that time spent walking. Presto-during my walks, I listen to my You Version bible app and my favorite podcasts (this is called the strategy of pairing). It’s a modern day MIRACLE! I never in a million years thought I would look forward to my morning walk as much as I look forward to my morning Dr. Pepper! Don’t judge me.

What is the one goal you continue to struggle with?

How might changing your mindset help you achieve it?

What motivates you to achieve it?

How might the strategy of pairing help you establish a new daily habit?

How might achieving it enable you to bless others?

 

Bonus video: Here is Gretchen Rubin, my favorite “habit guru” talking about the strategy of pairing. I use this strategy with my new morning walk habit.

 

Be a blessing today.

Fixer Upper

I know I’m not alone. I know many of you share my infatuation with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper on HGTV. I am hoarding 14 episodes of Fixer Upper on my DVR and DO NOT ask me to delete them! I love seeing a house with untapped potential being transformed into a beautiful family home. I adore Joanna. I didn’t think it was possible to love her more- until I saw the video of her testimony.

It is such an inspiration to hear her speak (so eloquently) about her faith journey. JoJo (when we become besties she will tell me I can call her that) offers powerful encouragement to LISTEN as God speaks into your life.

 

Linger on these words from Ephesians 3:20: “Glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of- infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.”  Read it again and let it sink in.

Do you pray BIG prayers and dream BIG dreams?  Are you living your life’s purpose? Have you decided how you will make the world a better place? Have you established your legacy? I hope your answer is Yes- a million times YES!! If not, what is holding you back? Is it that you haven’t identified your life’s purpose? Or is it something else? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of failure? Or what people might think? Are everyday struggles at home and work interfering with your BIG desires, thoughts and hopes?

Sorry for all of the questions. I don’t want you to feel like you are being interrogated. I get a little excited because I am passionate about unleashing potentential. I am begging you to answer those questions.  Not for me, but for yourself.

You see- I am a “fixer upper” and so are you.  We all have things that need to be touched up, shined up or even broken down and re-built all together. We are all a work in progress, but God’s mighty power is at work within us! I can’t wait to see your untapped potential transformed into something beautiful!

Be a blessing today.

 

Best Year Ever

I sincerely hope that these 16 things will make 2016 your best year ever:

  1. Put God first. In your life, in your marriage, in your parenting, in your career, in your schedule.
  2. Pray. Without ceasing. Your prayer is never too big or too small.
  3. Adopt a “word of the year”. This word will become your theme for 2016. In 2015, my word was “generosity”. It has been life-changing.
  4. Establish evening rituals. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow, plan your schedule for tomorrow, check your calendar, go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  5. Master your morning routine. Wake up early, pray/meditate, be active, journal, drink lemon water, eat a healthy breakfast.
  6. Set SMART goals. Every goal should be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound. Set goals for the day, for the week, for the month, for the quarter, for the year. Not just for yourself, but for your marriage, for your family, for your career, for your health, for your finances. Write them down!!
  7. Write a personal mission statement. I mean it- and I would love to help you create it!
  8. Own your calendar. Does your calendar reflect your personal mission statement? Schedule down time. Just because Thursday night at 7:00 is open on your calendar doesn’t mean you are “free” for another activity, another lesson or another meeting. Instead- eat dinner with your family, play with your kids, put on your pjs and watch your favorite sitcom. You are only as busy as you allow yourself to be.
  9. Simplify. Embrace simplicity in all areas of life.
  10. Purge to splurge. For simplicity’s sake – purge your to do list, your schedule, your possessions, your wardrobe… Identify things that you can get rid of, stop doing or avoid in order to have and do things that matter. Make sure your daily habits and routines reflect your personal mission statement.
  11. Be a quitter. When you “purge” your to-do list, quit anything that isn’t in alignment with your personal mission statement. If it is something that you dread, it is a waste of your time and/or it doesn’t bring you joy- QUIT IT!
  12. Load up on the good stuff. Good food, good books, good music, good people.  Allow time for “good stuff” for yourself every single day.  Leave no room for garbage- literally and figuratively.
  13. Embrace abundance. You can’t simultaneously have your best year ever and a scarcity mentality.
  14. Cultivate meaningful relationships. With friends, family, your spouse, your coworkers.
  15. Live generously. Be a cheerful giver of your time, talents and resources.
  16. Demonstrate acts of love every day. Kindness matters. The simplest gesture can mean so much to so many. Change your life and change the world.

Be a blessing today.