kansas city

Behavior Basics, part 2.

As you learned in Behavior Basics, part 1, breaking big projects into small chunks and working in 25 minute sessions is a tested way to more easily work through big projects or seemingly difficult life changes.

The next piece of the puzzle for most of us is, where to actually begin. 

  • Where in this room should I start decluttering? 

  • Where do I start my journey to healthy eating?  

  • Where is an easy place to begin a habit of going to the gym?

  • Where to I start this job search?

The answer to all of these questions…start EASY….the best place to begin is where you WILL begin. Let that soak in. The best place to begin is where you will begin. 

Start with your sock drawer, look for healthy recipes, call two gyms to schedule tours, ask a friend to help you update your resume…small, easy steps.

If you still feel too overwhelmed to begin…look for an even easier place to begin…take a step back and wonder, “what’s the smallest, easy step I can take to actually move forward?”

Here's how this strategy has worked for me:

  • I began my PhD by getting clear on the application requirements.

  • I started to downsize from a big house to a small house by gathering cardboard boxes.

  • I started a meditation practice by attending my first group mediation class.

  • I started my own business by dumping my ideas onto poster paper.

These were the first steps that mades sense to me. I bet you have your own examples of times when you made a big change in your life by starting with a small step.  

Step after step moves us through amazing, life changing adventures. 

Behavior Basics, part 1.

If only I could….

How many times have we uttered this phrase?

If only I could ______, then I would ______.

But then….we get overwhelmed by the scope of what’s ahead, don’t know where to begin, worry we won’t stay on track or maintain the change.

Something about February has hit me hard and challenged me to reflect on bones of this business and my mission to help you find more peace and self-compassion. To support you to finally get unstuck.

Let’s look the Basics of Behavior Change so you can create what you want. Over the next few weeks I’ll touch on each of the basic truths about how to change your behavior whether you want to create new healthy habits, deal with the clutter in your home, find a job you love, or learn to speak French. 

The first basic, is to Chunk It

Chunking is a term we use in education. Thirty years years of working with adults to change their behaviors and support kids to do the same, taught me the power of chunking.

When you breakdown the bigger task or project into small, doable steps you can make change. Research tells us that 25 minute sessions are an effective way to deal with these small chunks. 

Whether it’s dealing with your physical clutter, getting your calendar under control or learning to play the guitar… the point is to stay engaged with the activity for 25 minutes at a time with short breaks between sessions. 

This changes the way we see a project…instead of an entire mountain we expect to climb in one big step, we see it's step after step...chunk after chunk.

Working in 25 minute sessions, with the focus on the next, small chunk makes behavior change soooo much easier. Loads of people I’ve worked with have found scheduling their work in 25 minute chunks to be a total game changer! The most common comments:
“When I see the project in small chunks instead of the whole thing, I can get started.”
“I can almost anything for 25 minutes at a time." 

Of course, one 25 minute session won’t likely complete your project, but multiple 25 minute sessions, over time, will. You will get the basement cleaned out. You will complete your taxes. You will feel the benefits of healthy eating.

It’s powerful to realize you can deal with whatever comes your way by breaking it down into small, doable chunks.

You can create the life you want, 25 minutes at a time.

Stay Tuned! 
The next basic of behavior change is figuring out where to actually begin your project...I will talk about this in my next video.

Sometimes we get attached to things.

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The lemons.

I have been carting these lemons around the house. When I go to bed, they sit on my nightstand. When I work in my office, they are near. When we eat a meal, the bowl is on the table. An amulet of sorts to ward off the cold, snowy winds. I picked these two lemons from a tree in Palm Springs last week, and I've become unreasonable attached to them. They remind me of the warm sun, playing in the pool with Sugar Bear and laughing with a dear, old friend. I get that these memories are in my mind, not the lemons. I know even when the bowl is empty, I'll still have the memories of our trip. But for now, I want the lemons nearby. 

Maybe you have a similar relationship with your grandfather's bowling trophies, a tea cup from your aunt or a dining room set from your parents. We look at these memory triggering possessions and feel attached to them, as though they carry the love and connections we miss. 

Just to say, it's okay to keep things that trigger sweet memories as long as you have room for them and they don't add stress to your life. Also note that having more items from your grandmother will not keep you more connected to her, a few lovely things, sitting out where you can appreciate them, will do the trick. 

Everything in your home should make your life a little better in some way. So, enjoy your things that prompt sweet feelings and let go of those that don't.

Create a new groove...in your brain


By using our attention we can support ourselves to create new habits and stick with them more reliably.

We can actually come to enjoy doing the things that are good for us in the long run. Because we enjoy the behavior, we don’t need to rely on inconsistent motivation...did I just hear a collective sigh of relief??

We can use our attention to re-train our brain, and basically, here's how: 

Step 1. Have the experience of what's good. Notice what you enjoy about your experience and you’ll actually retrain your brain to notice the good more frequently. It's not about rose colored glasses, it's about truly noticing what's already good.

Step 2. Enrich the feeling of the good experience. Stick with it, make the feeling even bigger, help it go deeper, help it linger. 

Step 3. Absorb the good feelings of the experience. Imagine you're a sponge. See if you can notice the goodness soaking in your body. Give yourself a little hug for making a choice that supports your higher good and future self. 

Sure, this takes practice and often some support, but I’ve worked through this with many clients and use it myself…I can easily say, it makes behavior change easier! 

Bonus...you just feel better when you're focusing on the good stuff that's true in your life. 

A snippet of Lea's story

When Lea and I began our coaching, she was interested in simplifying her life, letting go of the things in her home that no longer served her. She also wanted to create habits such as dealing with the mail, keeping her kitchen tidy and completing one task before moving to a new task. 

As she practiced noticing what was already goodenriching these feelings and absorbing them, it became easier for her to appreciate herself for the efforts she was making. Over time, the behaviors that felt so difficult in the beginning, became easier and even enjoyable

You can do this too. Reach out if you want to learn more about how.

Time together, not material gifts deepen connections.

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We know our connections with each other are more important than stuff, but this time of year many of us give material gifts as a way to show love.

But come to find out, giving material gifts isn't the best way to deepen our connections with each other. 

This is worth repeating....in a 2017 Harris Poll survey found nearly 7 in 10 Americans said they would skip exchanging gifts this holiday season if their friends and family agreed to it. 

AND 60% said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about gifts.

Our brains are wired to value experiences with others, especially if they are emotionally powerful. Fun and interesting time together like seeing a concert or a day at the zoo are actually better than material gifts at deepening our connections. 

Experiences with a lot of emotion are more easily stored in our long term memory. This means we can recall them and enjoy the experience again and again…the gift that keeps giving. 

Research supports that experiential gifts are more effective than material gifts at improving relationships from the recipient's perspective. If you want to deepen your connection with someone, consider a gift of doing something together.

FYI- Friday morning around 9:00 I'll be having this very conversation with the friendly anchors at Kansas City's Fox 4.

Another Kind of Gift.

Client: "Do you know what I want from my husband for Christmas?"

Me: Ummm, no.

Client: "Our time together has been so helpful that I want my husband to give me your 6-Month Laser Coaching Package so we can continue our work together."

Well, that's about the sweetest thing I've ever heard...for a girl who's whole purpose for being alive is to be helpful, this feels like a big, warm affirmation hug! A true, true gift for me.

I am gathering my watercolors to create a magical little gift card especially for this woman...I might even get out the glitter. 

Trimming $100 off the 6-Month Laser Coaching package (Reg. $897) until Dec. 24th to make it easier to say YES to yourself this season! (If you want a hand made gift card, let me know by the 19th so it will arrive in time.)

If you're looking for the gift of creating an expansive life focused on doing more of what you want and letting go of what you don't, click here and send me a message.

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Let Peace On Earth Begin with You

2017 Harris Poll survey

2017 Harris Poll survey

For most of us, the holidays are a sweet time to revisit traditions that connect us to our home, families, friends and spiritual practices.

At a deep level we know these connections can increase our sense of well-being

But often, we also experience the stress that comes with weeks of shopping for perfect gifts and brace ourselves for the influx of stuff into our already full house.

The research is clear, although our consumption of material goods has doubled in the past 50 years, our happiness levels have flatlined.
 

Here’s an interesting bit of info…in a 2017 Harris Poll survey found nearly 7 in 10 Americans said they would skip exchanging gifts this holiday season if their friends and family agreed to it. 

Did you catch that? Of the 10 sitting around the holiday table, 7 of us would have been all too happy to skip spending time and money on buying gifts.

AND 60% said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about gifts.

Spending more time with family and friends…a solid alternative to lonely, late night online shopping and crowded malls.

So instead, here are ideas to help you spend time together:

1. Togetherness. Together, research and choose one of the micro loaning non-profits such as kiva.org to support small businesses throughout the world.  
 

2. Find a Good Cause. For those who have everything, check CharityNavigator.org to find a highly rated charity that supports a cause this person is passionate about. Check out local shelters for those who are homeless or offer food to those who are food insecure.

In Kansas City? Don’t forget about our local harvesters.org a community food network; they are happy to have monetary donations and hands-on help.


3. Plan Family Nights. Gather around the kitchen table and create a monthly family night for the year. Maybe a movie night, visit a new restaurant, library event, live theater, local and regional state parks, bike ride to breakfast, streetcar ride or city tour, museum visit, volunteer work, art class, or a family cooking class. Most cities are full of amazing opportunities.

Start a conversation NOW to explore how to create new traditions focused on using your energy to create experiences together.

This new way of living through the holidays may be just the connection and relief and you are looking for. This year, peace on earth can begin with you.
 

Happy Holidays! 

Nikki

Easy Listening...Radiate Peace


Earlier this fall I joined Christi Clemons Hoffman, owner of Radiate Wellness for a chat about how letting go of clutter helps us radiate peace.

Show notes:
11:44: You can actually choose which thoughts to believe.

14:45: Feeling overwhelmed?

15:00: Stress hormones and clutter.

17:14: Why we get attached to things. 

19:13: The confidence and bravery that comes from facing what you're afraid to face.

28:45: Fearful thoughts can't actually stop you from doing anything.

34:42: We're all holding on to something

I would love to hear your thoughts about the podcast...what was helpful, what would you like me to explore further

Bats, Boxes and Bits of the Berlin Wall

Four of the six boxes I donated for a client.

Four of the six boxes I donated for a client.

This has been a beautifully busy week.

  • I've been in several homes helping to dig through boxes and choose what to keep, and what to pass on.

  • I've been on Zoom coaching with my people to figure out the next, few easy steps to expand and clarify their lives.

  • We shot the second half of the special segment for channel 5's Better Kansas City which will air sometime in November.

  • I've been happily supporting those signed up for the 14 Day Clutter Cleanse...they're sorting their accessories (hats, bags, scarves, etc.) for the next few days.

This week I got to see bits of the Berlin Wall, a dried up bat, the joy of stuff being hauled away and be present to the sadness as I confirmed a daughter's suspicions of her elderly parents hoarding.

It has been a beautiful rollercoaster

I witnessed tears, deep sadness and hope, renewed confidence and big shifts in perspective.

Being there while life changes for someone else is an honor... sometimes it's raw and sometimes, just good fun.