Comparing Yourself To Others Only Hurts You

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I came across this image this morning, and it really hit home. This is so true and I’m living proof, as you may have already read in my previous post about my wake up call and what made me finally lose my weight. I did things like compare myself to others, and to be honest it’s hard not to. It’s human nature. We look for a norm. We look for acceptance. But we often look in the wrong places.

Comparing ourselves to others only sets us up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. My original goal was not to lose 62 lbs. My goal was to get below 200. I failed at that. Started over, failed again. It was only when I started setting mini-goals for myself that it worked. I started small. I just wanted to lose 5 lbs…and it was mainly geared toward losing in my tummy area (The South Beach Diet is great for losing belly weight fast). Once I achieved that, I set out for another 5…and so on…and so on.

Before I knew it, I was down 20 lbs. TWENTY POUNDS! If my original goal would have been to lose 20 lbs, I would have never made it…I would have only been discouraged when I hit only 5. But once I hit that 5, it really did motivate me to move forward. To do more. To achieve more. And it worked.

Back to my original point. This image reminded me that when I started down this road, there were times I did compare, but really, there were more times when I stepped on the treadmill I promised myself I was not getting off until I ran 3-4 miles (may not be a lot to most of you, but it is to me). And once I was finished, I felt so accomplished, and all those comparisons of who others are, what they’ve accomplished, or how they looked…no longer mattered to me. I was proud of myself and ready to heed the same challenge the next day.

Have a wonderful day!
~~mommywithpurpose

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Positive Effects of Letting Go of the Mental Clutter

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It is amazing how easy and clear my life became when I decided to remove all of the clutter in my life. One day, one circumstance set me off and it bothered me for a few days, so much so that it’s all I could think about. Then, I woke up one morning and made a decision to no longer sweat the small stuff. To just let go. I decided to remove all of my Mental Clutter. Here’s how:

1. Exude Positivity: Okay, so maybe not exude, but I try really hard to remain positive. I strive to not let people enter my personal space with their negative energy…or if they do, just block it out. This included anything from just trying to wear a smile every day to eliminating negative people from my life. Life is too short, so I chose to no longer put myself in stressful situations or be around people who caused me stress. As a result, it has made me a much happier more positive person.

2. Lower my anger threshold: I let very little bother me to the point that I’m angry any more. There was a time that I would get so upset over someone else’s actions that I’d get to the point of Anger. Now, when I see I start to get upset, I walk away, ignore or deflect the negative action. I have realized that control is elusive, and I refuse to let the actions of others control my response. It’s just not worth it anymore. As a result, it has made me a much happier more positive person.

3. Do more with my hands: I’ve recently picked up sewing and I really do enjoy it. I’ve tried sewing all kinds of different things. Purses, quilts, children’s clothing…I may even try my hand at shoes next, who knows? The point is, I’ve gained an outlet as well as being productive. It’s a win/win!! As a result, it has made me a much happier more positive person.

4. Arguing: I really try hard not to argue with anyone. I’m not always successful, but some things just aren’t worth arguing over. I pick my battles wisely…others, I let pass by. It’s amazing how freeing this can be! As a result, it has made me a much happier more positive person.

I feel like I am rambling today, but my point is my life has been so much more fulfilled when I decided to take action. I get to spend my quality time with my kids, I argue less, and overall my life is just more rewarding. All of this didn’t just happen overnight…it was definitely a learning process. But overall, I’m more productive with my time and a lot less stressed!!

And finally…As a result, it has made me a much happier more positive person. 🙂

Have a great day!
~~mommywithpurpose

My Return on Investment (It isn’t what you think!)

I love a great ROI! Who doesn’t? Everything I learned in college about finances surrounded around this simple concept…the cost of money is giving up something today that you are willing to wait for in the future. This doesn’t always just apply to money…it can apply in many aspects of your life as well. Important to me is the ROI on what my sacrifice is today with respect to my children’s future. Sure I’d love to have more shoes, handbags and overall material things…but NEVER at the cost of my children and their education. FYI: I do still indulge every once in a while, don’t get me wrong.

In the area we live, school systems aren’t great. Education is VERY important to me, so I make sacrifices. Sacrifices to make sure my girls can stay in a private school. It’s not a fancy private school, but the primary school years are so formable. The lesson I hope you get from this article is this: I would really hate to look back one day and say “I wish…” when my kids are struggling. I only have one shot at this, no regrets.

It’s probably because I’m old fashioned, but the way our public schools are teaching kids now-a-days…I just don’t care for it. The kind of content they are able to see (the reading materials in the libraries can be shocking). The taking only God out of the school (never Allah, Buddah, etc…those are acceptable apparently although they are still spiritual religions). Most importantly, the way they are teaching is scary (common core is horrible). These three things separately wouldn’t be such a concern, but the three things combined is a cause for concern for me. And this is why:

1. God has been removed from all public school activities. No organized prayer before football games, etc. Please keep in mind The Ten Commandments aren’t really so bad. Our judicial system was created around thou shalt not kill and/or steal. Ok, great. We can all agree that we like those laws. However, we have slowly let the other commandments go like thou shalt not commit adultery (because after all, humans love the feeling of being cheated on, right?…so why abide by this rule?). Another commandment is to Honour thy father and thy mother. This one seems to have certainly been scrapped.

My point is this…you slowly loosen the reins on each of these things, who’s to say one day killing and stealing won’t be an enforceable offense? I certainly don’t want my country to be that way. Do you? It can be a slippery slope and it’s up to us as parents to help minimize it’s effects.

2. The content in public primary school libraries and textbooks, is appalling. Here is a video explaining some of the content allowed in schools in my area. It will blow your mind!

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY! School’s Common core: Ok, I get it…but still…why? The thought process is dumb. What happens when you get to Algebra? What happens when you haven’t been taught the ones, tens, hundreds places? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. The “Dumbifying of America”. Here is a link to an example problem I saw online. This curriculum also doesn’t teach cursive handwriting anymore (how do you form your signature). I’ll have to remember that for the next mortgage I sign…”I don’t have a signature, sir.” Does that make me not liable? Trust me, that lawsuit is coming if it hasn’t already happened.

I am, in no way, intending that if your children go to public school they will turn out worse off than those in private schools. That is not my intention AT ALL. There are MANY MANY good school systems out there. The only point I am making is that I choose to sacrifice the things I can do for myself, for the good of my children.

You’re probably wondering, “So what is your ROI?” At this point I don’t know yet…but I can tell you this. I’m happy with the results so far.

Have a wonderful Friday!
~~mommywithpurpose

Summed Up: The Importance of Setting Personal Goals

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I was thumbing through several self-help books the other day and couldn’t help but notice that every one of the ‘get well’ plans involved SETTING GOALS. It enticed me to dig even further as I thought to myself, “Hey! There must really be something to this goal setting thing”. I have to admit, I have always lived my life on a whim never really setting goals for myself. I guess the biggest one I had was to graduate college, then graduate from graduate school. Looking back, how I got through those two things?…I have no idea. I found several ‘goal setting’ references in common but one that stuck out to me was if you don’t have PERSONAL goals, it is that much harder to be successful at any others. Remember, your goals should be measurable. “Exercise More” is not a measurable goal. Say, “Exercise 3 times per week for one hour each” instead. Here are a few commonalities among the setting goals literature I found:

1. Personal Development: This is the whole “grow where you are planted” thing. If you are already what you want to be when you “grow up”, what do you need to do to thrive there? If you still have aspirations you haven’t already achieved, what will it take to get you there? Document the steps!

2. Marriage & Family: What do you do to have fun? A happy family spends time together whether it be at the dinner table, or in an RV on a trip, or a lavish trip to Europe. A family will thrive when there is interest among all parties.

3. Financial: Do you have a budget? (Sadly, I don’t…yet!) Do you save money? Do you have a plan for how you will fund your future? This is probably the most difficult of all goal categories for me.

4. Physical: Do you have an exercise plan? Do you plan your meals? I read where you are much more likely to both save money and stick with a healthy diet if you plan your meals. This has helped our household tremendously. I’ve noticed we don’t go out to eat as much. And although I struggle with getting to the gym some days, I try to go at least 3 times per week.

5. Spiritual: What do you believe in? I personally believe in The Bible as I am a Christian. I just can’t accept the scientific fact that the Earth and everything on “just happened”. Everything is too perfectly aligned for survival for that to have happened. Someone, somewhere created it…and I believe that someone was God.

This blog entry has encouraged me to try documenting goals for myself (these are things I’m already working on subconsciously, but never wrote down). I’ve chosen to share some of those with you (as a PG-Personal Goal), but please understand this is a work in progress. I’m not perfect. Many of these goals I am still working toward and sometimes I’m missing the mark. But, I only miss it because I tried to begin. And I will get back up and try again until I get it right.

A SAMPLE OF MY GOALS (in order of importance):

I. PG#1: Continue to grow my relationship with God
a. Read a new testament chapter every quarter
b. Read an old testament chapter every quarter

II. PG#2: Keep a happy husbanda. Go on overnight trips with my husband without our children
b. Cook dinner as much as possible (yes, this is an actual goal as it’s hard with my schedule)

III. PG#3: Have happy active children
a. Enroll the girls in activities they enjoy

IV. PG#4: Exercise and Eat Right
a. Bring my lunch to work most days, limit eating out to once a week
b. Run at least 2 miles, 3-4 times per week

V. PG#5: Have a successful career / challenge myself
a. Study for work certifications
b. Begin blogging, create a .com domain

VI. PG#6: Live debt freea. Sell our house by June 1

Have a great day!
~~mommywithpurpose

Five Lessons of Independence My Children Have Learned

It used to be out of necessity, but has slowly morphed into a great independence lesson for my children. I used to fight to get my girls (ages 5 and 7) dressed, fed, and out the door in the mornings. Some mornings it was easy, others they’d be lucky to get their shoes on. I needed to do something different, as this wasn’t always a great start to my day. I tried something new. Here’s a list of the Five most important things my girls do on their own and the real life lesson it’s teaching them (remember they are 5 and 7, not rocket science, but they are learning everything you and I take for granted):

1. Brush your teeth: Nice teeth are a big deal to me so every morning I was fighting to get their teeth brushed. I decided to hand this task over to them but before I did, we did some internet research with together. Google is amazing!…so we Googled pictures of rotten teeth (I know, sounds gross but bear with me). They were usually pictures of what a dentist obviously took. I would read the captions to each of them explaining what went wrong. The next morning, the sky fell, and they brushed their teeth ON THEIR OWN!…and they have ever since!

2. Pick out your clothes: I gave up on trying to pick out their clothes for them so they’d match or not look like a crazy girl. So I gladly gave up this responsibility to them. Now, this one is a bit easier for us because they go to a Christian school so uniforms are required. However, it only took one time of them not tucking in their shirts or not wearing a belt to get it right (the principal takes notice of those things). On the weekends, I let them wear whatever they choose as well (but I always make sure it’s weather appropriate). It’s just not worth the argument.

3. Put your shoes on: Shoes you have to tie for children who can’t tie yet…I don’t do it anymore. I buy the girls shoes they can put on all their own. When it’s time to grab backpacks and jackets, they automatically put their shoes on now. We did get in the car once without shoes, I noticed them and grabbed them, but on the way to school I let her believe she was going to school without shoes. Guess what? It never happened again.

photo_Independence

4. Pack your lunch: Oh my goodness, this used to be a bigger fight than the tooth brushing debacle. I completely turned this over to them without notice. I was fed up. It’s amazing how fast they can pack their own lunch now. If they put too much in their bag, it’s ok, that extra twenty-five cents was well worth not having the argument. Plus their teachers only allow one snack during snack time. One lesson they learned that used to drive me nuts?…EMPTY BOXES AREN’T LEFT IN THE PANTRY! One morning, the pantry was littered with empty boxes, so you would assume they don’t need snacks when you look in there, right? That day they had very limited choices…nothing prepackaged. This forced my girls to get creative with their snacks and think outside the box. Ultimately taking a break from the rote activity of just throwing something into a bag.

5. Help put the dogs in their beds: Our dogs are crate trained so every morning before we leave we give them a cookie and off they go. The girls help with this and it gives them a sense of accomplishment. A sense of contributing to the family. One day, one of the dogs were left outside on accident. Luckily, my husband was coming home shortly as he works swing shift. Now, they take pride in doing this and they both like to look to “make sure” all dogs are put away (3 little dogs). We put the dogs in their beds and next thing is grab your coat, backpack, and get in the car.

You’re probably thinking, wow that sounds wonderful, but what are you doing all morning? Firstly, I have an out of the home job so I am getting dressed, my lunch packed, and my shoes on as well. But most importantly, just because the above list is how we do things, doesn’t mean I don’t have to tell them “Pack your lunch”, “Put your shoes on”, and “Get dressed” 227 times to get it done! 

In the attached picture I have a list of the items they do in the morning. Putting this on their bathroom counter helps to guide them along. As they finish an item, they each mark it off.

Is this a case of crazy, or have we entitled our children too much?

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Late yesterday afternoon, I started listening to the streaming live coverage of the New Jersey trial where the girl is suing her parents for college tuition. I must admit that I haven’t listened to the background of this case but at face value it is apparent to me, this is one spoiled, self-centered, egotistical child! When I first heard about this, I dismissed it. I assumed it was something that the media was blowing up and out of proportion. Until yesterday. This is real. While I am overjoyed with the fact that this judge dismissed the case, I still have some questions for little Ms. Canning:

1. Ms. Canning, who do you think you are? Really…you have seemingly been provided a great Catholic School education and suddenly, on your own accord you decide you don’t want to put up with mom and dad’s rules? Do you realize there are children in this world who don’t even have a pair of pants of which to clothe themselves? They are starving, cold, hot, uneducated, raped, mugged, sold to slavery without reason. Fill in the blank…it is happening to kids around this world. Yet, you take for granted what your parents have sacrificed to see that you have a quality education? All I can say is you will one day have to answer to a higher being, larger than what you have faced now. You think you have it rough now? Wait until you meet your maker…He won’t be thrilled.

2. Ms. Canning, do you honestly believe this is about money to your parents? Do you know how it feels to feel like you have failed a child? Of course, you don’t. You shouldn’t. But let me tell you what a mother’s love is like. It’s getting up for 3AM feedings when you can’t even see straight for lack of sleep. It’s more than willingly sacrificing things you want, for the things you want for your child. It’s lying awake all night wondering if your child is ok or if they are lying on the side of the road because some crazed lunatic has taken advantage of you. It’s touting all of your child’s accomplishments to your friends. Most importantly, a mother’s love is patient and forgiving. Maybe one day you will feel this kind of love…and it will be only then that you will realize how much pain and unrest you have caused your family.

As parents, we should all ponder this case as we all hope that this fiasco never happens to us. Until then, we can consider the following:

Enabling and Entitlement: We see it more and more. This generation is entitled. “I’m entitled to a cell phone.” “I’m entitled to name brand clothing.” “I’m entitled to a car.” And what do we as parents do? Enable them. It’s hard, very hard to not give our children the things we didn’t have growing up. But maybe, just maybe there is a tipping point. One day a wise old man told me, if you never say NO to your children, they will never learn how to cope with the word NO. This has always stuck in my head and I try to remember that every time we go to the grocery store and my children ask for candy in the checkout aisle. Every once in a while I will say yes, but know that every time I tell them NO, they are learning a small lesson.

Have a blessed day!

What siblings will do to their advantage

As I was driving to school this morning, there sat two beautiful perfectly behaved children in the backseat.  Sitting with their fingers laced and legs crossed…wait, I’m lying.  On the way to school this morning amongst the crumbs from crackers and strewn about skittles were two girls who can’t seem to ever get along…sometimes they do, but mornings hardly ever.  “Mine, mommy Addison has my brush”, “But I had it first.”  It’s always something.  I have a tendency to always blame Addison but today, I’ve thought long and hard about my response to their arguing and need a better way to approach it.  It made me think about how I was raised and how my parents treated times like these only to be reminded that I don’t have siblings that are close in age to me.  So I thought about friends and family who do have siblings close in age and their relationships.  I am no psychiatrist, but I think this is food for thought:

1.       There is always a sibling with a stronger personality.  By strong I mean, strong-willed…more verbal…not afraid to tell you how they see it.  Just because they are strong, doesn’t make them wrong.  Sometimes parents, even parents to adult children, get the two confused.  This made me think of my Addison.  Her older sister, Brylee has always been the quiet, sweet, anything goes child.  So, by proxy that makes my Addison strong-willed, right?  Well, it shouldn’t be that way and I will be more aware of how I handle this in the future.  I think we all should.

 2.       Beware of the stirring quiet sibling.  They often believe that because you are so focused on how the strong-willed child will react, they will use that to their advantage.  It’s hard for me to catch it, but sometimes I do.  I see Brylee taunting, or aggravating her sister almost driving her into defense mode.  This too, happens with adult siblings.  Take heart.  Always get both sides of the story before assuming the quiet child is right. 

 3.       Then there’s the third child:  I don’t have a third, but if you do, they are probably the “I don’t take sides, whatever happens, happens” type.  I can’t write much about these except to say that I have 3 siblings and in our adult lives, these three apply. 

 Although you may love all of your children, your actions often can tell them a different story.