Apr 182018
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

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Our lives today are filled with things that keep us busy and distracted. We obsess over our cell phones: talking, texting, tweeting, checking Facebook and surfing the internet. We’re working longer hours and have less time off. When we do take vacations, it’s generally rushing to a location so we can participate in activities that keep us busy.

Our frantic lives have become a habit. We have a need to fill every waking moment with activity. When we don’t have anything to do, we feel anxious, panicked and seek to do anything that will relieve the discomfort. This craving to be productive has spun out of control.

We can actually become addicted to the adrenaline rush that stress provides. Many people become adrenaline junkies, seeking thrills in ever dangerous sports so that they get their hit of this chemical. Once we’ve reached this high level of stress, our ability to think things through, reason, be creative and learn decreases.

We can become addicted to the habit of stress. A habit is formed by doing the same thing over and over until it becomes automatic. Not only do we get a physical jolt of adrenaline from it, but we also receive emotional rewards. And a habit tied to an emotional benefit can become hard to change.

Some of the benefits to chronic stress include:

  • Stress can distract a person from what isn’t working in their life.
  • It gives people the excuse not to deal with a bad relationship, unhealthy eating habits, or family issues because they’re just so busy.
  • People have used it as justification to indulge in destructive lifestyle habits, such as drugs or excessive drinking.
  • Many people think that when they’re frazzled, they look more important or committed.
  • Looking busy and stressed can also keep people from dumping more responsibility on them.
  • People feel sorry for the person who’s stressed, and do what they can to keep from upsetting them.

Chronic stress will eventually lead to a physical, mental and emotional collapse, because sooner or later the adrenaline runs out. This amount of stress also reduces the effectiveness of our immune systems and makes us more susceptible to illness and disease.

Stress caused by our own busyness is a choice. We make decisions every hour of the day that contribute to the pressure we feel. Some of it is caused by trying to control every aspect of our lives. Trying to be perfect also pushes us to feel overwhelmed. Neither of these is realistic or constructive.

Like any habit, it’s uncomfortable when we begin to break it. Some people get panicky when they first start to relax. It feels unfamiliar, unnerving and unsafe.

It takes a change of perspective before the habit can be altered. We have to realize that our mindset and decisions have helped create the stress that we’ve been exhibiting. Then we have to be willing to handle the things we’ve been avoiding.

Here are five steps to break the habit of chronic stress:

1. Become aware of what you’re doing that’s causing you to be so busy and pressured.
2. Learn what the benefit of it is for you, and decide if it’s worth the eventual burnout and exhaustion.
3. Address whatever emotional reason has pushed you to be so busy.
4. Let go of some of the control that you’ve been exerting in your life. Delegate to others and let them run with the project. Accept that everything isn’t going to be perfect. Don’t look at your cell phone more than once an hour. When you’re with someone at a restaurant, if your phone rings, let it go to voicemail.
5. Take time outs. Do deep breathing, learn mindfulness meditation, practice yoga, do relaxation exercises, exercise. These all work by switching on another physical system that naturally reduces stress.

When you begin to practice these steps, you may feel strange and uneasy. That’s normal. But the physical, mental and emotional benefits are well worth the effort. You’ll be able to think clearer and have more resources to deal with the challenges of your life. Feeling centered will become more natural.

Breaking a habit is rarely easy. You have to perform new actions consistently over and over until you’ve created a new behavior. However, once you have them instilled in your life, you’ll find that your life is much happier and healthier.

Affirmation:
I deserve to have time to enjoy my life. Whatever has been promoting stress in my life is out of balance with the Universe. I now make new choices to restore balance and harmony in my life. Divine Order is now taking place in every area of my life, allowing me to be calm and centered. The Universe supports me in my endeavor to establish peace and serenity.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Apr 052018
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Message_Bubbles-2103156Caroline was a massage therapist who worked in a spa. The spa did all the marketing and scheduled her clients for her, and paid her per client. But Caroline thought she could have more freedom and get more clients on her own. She left the spa, and opened her own office.

But she discovered that she hated the administrative chores the spa had done for her, such as scheduling, paying utilities, and marketing. This caused her to be chronically forgetful. She’d forget to take business cards when networking, pay her bills, or write down appointments, which caused her to miss them. Although her clients knew and liked her, they learned not to trust her and they went elsewhere. Because of her refusal to work on the details of her business, she made less than she had at the spa.

Finally, one of her friends confronted her and said that Caroline’s excuses were clues she was leaving herself. Caroline realized that she really just wanted to give massages. She gave up her business and returned to the spa, where she could let others handle the tasks she despised. She needed the structure the spa gave her. Even though she was giving up control, she was gaining the freedom she’d craved.

Do you chronically defend yourself, to yourself or others about why you didn’t do what you had agreed to do? At your core, you just didn’t want to do whatever it was. Something within you was preventing it. You’re giving yourself a message that you haven’t listened to yet.

When you use excuses, you’re giving the Law of Attraction conflicting information. On one side, you’ve agreed to something, and on the other, you are reluctant to follow through. By not being clear, the Law of Attraction won’t know what you really want. You’ll just idle in neutral until you decide which way you really want to go.

There are times when excuses are valid. For example, if you had a flat tire on the way to work. Or an important phone call delayed your leaving for an appointment. Events that are unexpected and unavoidable are legitimate reasons why you weren’t able to fulfill a promise. But the question to ask yourself is, are your explanations reasonable or are they just trying to get you out of trouble?

The stories you tell yourself are hints as to how motivated you are to achieve your goals, dreams and vision. They may be telling you how you feel about your commitment or your direction. Here are some of the possible messages your excuses are communicating:

Fear. You’re afraid of the next step or where it may take you. Or you’re not confident that you know how to accomplish your task, goal or agreement. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Generally, when you bring the fear into your awareness, you realize it has little validity. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to gain that confidence?” It could be something as simple as learning a new skill.

Not the right goal/dream/vision.
You could be going in the wrong direction. Or your task, vision or your motivation to achieve it isn’t strong enough. When you find yourself not taking the actions you need to, ask yourself if you’re ambivalent over your goal. If there’s a part of you holding back, you need to address its concerns. Are you really committed to your dream or vision? If not, choose another one or scale back on your current one.

It’s a “should.” You think you “should” want a particular goal. Others have told you that it’s the right one for you. But it doesn’t really resonate with you, or you felt pressured into doing it. This one is especially true when you’ve agreed to do something you really didn’t want to do, such as participate in a charity event. Is it really your priority, or someone else’s? To simplify your life, decline someone else’s objective for you and focus on what you really want

These are just a few of the excuses we make. The only way you’re going to fulfill your goals is if you transcend your excuses. Listen to the message they’re telling you. When you hear it, and change your responses, you’ll be happier and on track to your dream.

Affirmation:
I now become aware of the excuses I make. I realize that they’re giving me powerful messages about what’s holding me back. Since the Universe only wants the best for me, it must be my beliefs and attitudes that are sabotaging me. By understanding the messages I’m giving myself, I’m able to change my beliefs and thus change my responses to support my dreams.

Watch the accompanying video, Stop Believing Your Excuses.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.
Mar 072018
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

prison-539636-smWhen Miriam was growing up into a teenager, she craved to fit in. She submitted to peer pressure to conform to the norms of the group. Just to have a date, she would go out with guys she didn’t like. Although she loved art, she took home economics in high school because it was expected. When she tried to stand out and show her creativity, she was accused of showing off and faced criticism and derision from her family.

Maturing into adulthood, Miriam brought those painful lessons into her personal and professional life and she complied what others wanted. But her desire for approval, and submitting to be average, didn’t give her the opportunity to thrive or explore her talents. She became more and more unhappy.

It can be less stressful to conform, because you don’t have to make decisions for yourself. You follow along with the herd. When you yield to others ideas, you allow them to set your agenda. You’re accepting their goals and vision as your own and abdicating your potential so that you avoid attention. For many people, this is fine. They’re content to set themselves on autopilot and sleepwalk through life. It frees them to spend their energy on family, hobbies and activities that they enjoy.

But if you’re pursuing a dream, or want to fulfill your potential, conformity breeds mediocrity. You do just enough to get by, and fall back onto what’s worked before, even if the situation is different. Although it’s important to utilize proven methods to make things easier, blindly relying on old ideas stifles innovation and progress.

And conforming to others ideas signals the Law of Attraction that you’re willing to settle for less than the best. So when you want to manifest something better, you already have a stronger instruction that undermines that desire. It will draw to you only what fits into your limited vision of what is acceptable.

Eventually, the discomfort of conforming became too strong for Miriam. She decided to be authentic, follow her own path and take art classes. It wasn’t easy. Although some of her friends encouraged her, loved ones tried to convince her to retreat back into what they wanted her to be. They were uncomfortable with this new person who didn’t accept their authority over her.

It takes courage to break free of conformity. You may face opposition from the environment, colleagues, friends or loved ones, as Miriam did. They know how to relate to the old you. The new person doesn’t fit their ideas of who you are or who they want you to be. They may object and try to pressure or manipulate you to return to what they expect you to be.

As you reject conformity, you may feel the Universe is against you, because difficulties may rise up. But the Universe is on your side and supports you. The problems are caused by your subconscious being concerned for your wellbeing. Old habits and ideas are working their way to the surface to be acknowledged and released. Persist, and the challenges will begin to melt away.

As you leave conformity behind, you reclaim your authenticity. You start to make your own decisions, are accountable for them and follow your own agenda. It’s more important for you to be true to yourself than to accommodate others and make them comfortable. This also means you establish and live by standards that are right for you. For instance, if you resent your brother using your garage for his storage, you give him a time limit to find another facility.

As a result of Miriam turning her back on conforming to what others expected of her, she became a successful artist. Not only did she work in watercolor, but the lessons she’d learned in home economics allowed her to become a fabric artist. In her new life, she was finally able to thrive.

Conforming doesn’t allow you to evolve into the person you want to be or are destined to be. It constricts and restricts you to the prison of other’s expectations. To fully thrive and pursue your dreams, you have to risk becoming more authentic. It means a big shift for you, but you are rewarded by becoming fully and completely your own person.

Affirmation:
I know the Universe wants the best for me. I now expand my ideas to accept the best that Life has to offer. I let go of any need to conform to anyone else’s ideas about me. The Universe has a perfect idea of who I am, and I begin to accept and expand into that greater idea. I allow myself to become the person the Universe destined me to be.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Decide to Choose Clarity

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Feb 222018
 

By Linda-Ann Stewart

Signpost-confused-medBecky lived in an apartment with a couple of roommates, and she wanted a space of her own. Faced with all the options available to her, she kept saying, “I’m so confused.” She was afraid she was going to make the wrong decision, get trapped somewhere she didn’t want to be, or miss out on something better. The confusion left her paralyzed. So she didn’t choose anything different and even when her roommates changed, she stayed where she was.

Clarity is vitally important for you to know what you want. Once you are clear on your goal, you can focus on it and move in that direction. Clarity is necessary for you to have success in any area of your life. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll just drift along and receive the results of the average of your thoughts.

Without clarity, you’re in a perpetual state of confusion. This causes insecurity and stress, which simply creates more turmoil. You run around in circles and don’t get anywhere. You might look at one option after another, and all the possibilities you face produces more chaos for you.

But the only person who is generating your confusion is you. By affirming that you’re in this state, refusing to commit to a path, or allowing yourself to get overwhelmed by choices, you’re contributing to the challenge. You’re giving your subconscious mind the message to keep you scattered. The underlying issue may be that you’re trying to avoid responsibility, afraid you’ll make a mistake, get stuck in a situation, or fail.

Believe it or not, uncertainty is a choice. It’s a decision not to decide. Once you whittle down your choices, and choose a direction, it clears away the mental fog. It may become evident that you don’t want to go that route. That’s fine. You can stay open to other possibilities and change your mind. But don’t change it too much, or you’ll find yourself back in the mists that clouded your mind in the first place.

When you pick a track and determine to continue on it, the haze clears away, and you can see a little way ahead. Take one step, then another. At this point, you don’t need to know where you’re going to end up. It’s enough that you’ve chosen to move in a direction. Because when you’re moving, the Universe can guide you.

Initially, any direction is better than being stalled. So even if you’re not certain about what you want, choose a path. As you’re moving, you’ll discover what you want and don’t want. Write down your goals or intentions. This prompts you to be more specific in what you desire. Then read them every day. Ask yourself, “What can I do today that will move me in their direction?”

Once you’ve made a decision, don’t second guess yourself. If new information comes your way, or circumstances change, then you can reevaluate your choice. But don’t be distracted by a shiny, new idea or opportunity that leads you in a different direction without some reason. The diversion is a mirage and simply an old habit trying to prevent change. If you become uncomfortable, it’s just the old habit of confusion trying to lure you back into its lair. Stay on track, and confusion will fade away.

As you build your commitment to your decisions, you’ll gain confidence that you can make wise ones. The Universe and your inner self will guide you to make ones that take you on your optimal path. Trust yourself, because you do have the knowledge within to make the right choices for your greatest good.

Affirmation:
I am always being guided and directed by the One Life within me. I pick a direction, make a choice and take a step. As I move forward, the next step is made clear to me. My path is made smooth and straight. Each day, I take action to propel myself towards a greater good.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

How Your Beliefs About Stress Affect It

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Feb 012018
 

stress-desserts-yckrqARKi-smWhen I was in school, I had a debilitating fear of tests. Even though I’d studied and knew the material, the stress would cause me to freeze up. It sent me straight into fight-or-flight mode. I viewed the test as a threat and couldn’t remember the answers. Sometimes, if I had time to go over the questions a second time, I would be more relaxed and more answers would surface. Despite this, my grades were decent. But I know they could have been better without the paralyzing fear and stress.

This is one of the things stress does when we feel threatened. Our bodies were developed to deal with physical dangers by having extra energy to fight a danger or flee from it. But in our modern society, having a tense relationship with the boss, a deadline for a project or taking a dreaded test can trigger the exact same response. The mind doesn’t distinguish between a physical danger and a mental threat.

But stress does have a good side. When stress is controlled, then it helps us to learn and grow. To build a muscle, we stress it by lifting weights or going a bit beyond what’s comfortable. When we feel excited, creative, stimulated or challenged, we’re triggering the same pathways as when we have excessive stress, just not to the same degree.

The downside of stress is that it can also make us feel anxious, tense, hypervigilant, drained, depressed and hopeless. We feel like we have no control. There will always be some stress we can’t control. The best we can do is minimize its effects on us. For instance, when we have too many things to do, a toxic boss, or a loved one who is ill, we need to take steps to take care of ourselves.

But there’s research that shows that if you don’t believe that stress is harming you, it doesn’t. Your belief and perception that stress is a challenge reduces the dangers of the same amount of stress that harms other people. I once had a friend who refused to use the word “stress.” He didn’t like the connotation, so he used the word “pressure” instead. Research is showing he had it right.

In an eight year study, researchers found that people under high levels of stress had a 43% increased risk of dying. That’s not unexpected. We all know the dangers of stress and how it can affect our health. Those who had a negative view of stress were most likely to die.

But the study also found that those under high stress, who didn’t believe that stress harmed them, and instead perceived it to be a benefit, were less likely to die. They also had the least negative effects from stress, almost equivalent to people who reported low stress. Their bodies secreted a hormone that counteracted the cortisol that stress creates.

Those who worried about stress and believed it was harming them suffered more consequences. Their belief became a self-fulfilling prophecy for them. In the same way, those who perceived the stress as energy, preparing them for a challenge or excitement minimized the unhealthy effects. Changing your mind about stress changes your body’s response to it.

Belief is powerful. Not everything you believe is factual or real. But you make it so by your attitude towards stress. Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t—you’re right.” You are instructing your subconscious mind and the Universe how you expect stress to affect you. And it complies with your expectation. So how can you shift your attitude and make stress work for you? Reframe your perception of it.

For instance, when I got into college, I decided to change my attitude towards tests from one of fear to thinking of them as a challenge. It allowed me to more easily retrieve the answers from my memory and my grades reflected my improved mindset.

When you reframe your attitude towards stress, you shift your relationship with it. No longer are you helpless in the face of stress. You’re taking control, which is one of the ways you reduce stress.

To downgrade your emotional charge around the idea of stress, use the word “pressure,” like my friend did. Or use some other word to describe it, such as “hassle.” Words matter. When you use a different word, it immediately changes the way you feel about the subject. And the way you feel affects your body, your thoughts, and your responses to the situation.

Like my shift in perception about tests, look at the situation or condition as exciting or a challenge. Instead of resisting the stress, which increases its power, change your attitude so it becomes natural and something that you can handle. By viewing it more positively, it also allows you to think more clearly about what you want to do. You open a clearer channel for your intuition and Divine guidance.

Your beliefs can put you in control of how stress affects you. When you change your beliefs, you you change your life conditions. Once again, the idea that Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Change your thoughts and you change your world,” is confirmed.

Affirmation:

Stress is a normal part of life and I have control over how I believe it affects me. I now choose to change my beliefs about the stress that I experience. It simply primes me for action and keeps me on alert for anything unexpected. By shifting my attitude, I’m able to think more clearly and be more open to my intuition and Divine guidance.

Watch the accompanying video, 6 Simple Ways to Take Control of Stress.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Set Your New Year’s Intention

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Jan 112018
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

List-62160At the beginning of the year, many people will take time to review the past year, what they’ve achieved, what they didn’t accomplish and assess why they didn’t. Then, they’ll establish a long list of New Year’s resolutions in an attempt to create the life they want. They dedicate themselves to tackling everything on their list at the same time. But this overloads the subconscious. One habit is hard to break. Trying to break several of them simultaneously is simply unrealistic. The Law of Attraction doesn’t know what to focus on with so many to choose from.

By the middle of January, reality sets in, stress arises and life overwhelms them. The subconscious and Law of Attraction can’t handle all the changes and life’s challenges, too, so it abandons everything that isn’t of primary importance. And then all those good intentions get forgotten as their subconscious deals with more immediate matters. It’s not that the Universe doesn’t want your life to be better, it’s just that the Law of Attraction is clogged with too many changes.

One way you can be successful with a New Year’s resolution is to prioritize them. Take the most important one and work on it. When you have incorporated it into your life and made it second nature, take the second one and work on it. You may not get your entire list done by the end of the year, but you’ll have some improvements you can be proud of.

But if you’re disenchanted with New Year’s resolutions, or don’t want the pressure of specific goals, what about setting an intention for the year? Instead of being goal oriented, an intention is more a general idea of a quality, attitude or condition that you want to cultivate in your life. This can become your compass, pointing you in the Antique Compassdirection you want to go. It will give your subconscious and the Law of Attraction the guidance to help you fulfill your intentions.

For instance, last year I set my intention to “Be open to more good” in my life. I chose to stop restricting the amount of good I’d allow to come to me (as many people do) and open my heart to it. Instead of bracing for difficulty, I shifted my attitude to expect something beneficial to come out of a situation. And I reminded myself that it was safe to experience more abundance and flow. As a result, I won or was given several gift cards during the year.

As an intention, you could decide that you want to practice a value, such as compassion or empathy. Or you want to be kinder to yourself or exercise self-care. Maybe you want to be more diligent in your goals, be more focused or have more balance in your life. Confidence, self-assurance or assertiveness may resonate with you more. What kind of change do you want in your life in this next year?

Setting your intention is important, but if there isn’t any commitment and action, it remains intangible. So how will you apply it? If you’ve decided to be more compassionate, what attitude do you have to take when someone is rude to you? What will you tell yourself? To be kinder to yourself, what will you do for yourself? What actions will you need to take? Figuring out what you need to support your intention ahead of time will help your subconscious and the Law of Attraction bring them into play when they’re needed.

Once you’ve decided on your mental and physical approaches, put together a plan to reinforce your intention. You could do this by using it as a mantra, turning it into an affirmation or autosuggestion, or visualizing it occurring in your life. For instance, I would imagine good flowing from the Universe into my body, filling me, and then flowing out into my life, and returning to me fulfilled. If there are actions you choose to take, make sure they’re small, manageable and easy to integrate into your life.

Once you’ve created your intention, remind yourself of it daily. Set your intention in the morning and think of it several times during the day. You could use a note, object or picture that would cue you to think of it. I have a small stone I bought that I associate with my intention. It sits in a tray on my desk to inspire me to expand my mind to encompass more good.

If you’re goal oriented, setting an intention can help you reach your goals more readily and easily. And if you prefer to be inspired by a specific purpose, this method will allow you to stay aligned with it and the Universe. Either way, by the end of the year you’ll have experienced greater positive change and improvement in your life.

Affirmation:
The Universe wants the best for me. I now align myself with what the Universe wants. I set an intention for good for this upcoming year. I want to cultivate and further this intention in my life. It guides my thoughts and actions, and I am blessed by the results.

Watch the accompanying video, Meditation to Find Your Intention for the Year.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

How To Make And Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Jan 032018
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

jigsaw_puzzle-Aibr59k8T-smI used to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, such as: lose weight, exercise, organize my desk, eat better, etc., etc., and so forth. However, within a day I’d broken at least half of them. The rest were blown by the end of the week. Since I felt like a failure, I just stopped making them. I figured why should I put myself through the frustration?

It’s too bad, because resolutions are a positive way to improve your life and change old habit patterns. Starting a new year with the intention of establishing a healthier life helps us to wipe the slate clean, to write a better script. We begin with great hopes, only to get sucked back into the familiar rut. Why is it that so many times we fail to attain our list of resolutions?

Think about this. What if your partner brought you a long list of things they wanted you to do immediately? For example, they wanted you to move all the furniture in the house, change the landscaping, paint the house, completely redecorate within a week? You’d groan, crumble and look for the closest hole to hide in. The same is true of your subconscious mind.

Your subconscious mind processes and stores everything you’ve ever seen, done, heard, thought, or experienced. All of this information mixes together to give you the life you now have.

If you resolve to completely recondition yourself within a month, your inner mind falters. “Too much!” it screams, and then proceeds to get you so involved in life that you forget all that silly stuff. An excessive amount of change at any one time overwhelms your subconscious. However, there are some things you can do to maximize your success with New Year’s resolutions.

First, as you might do every year, write down all the things that you want to change in your life. But this time, prioritize them. Decide which are the most important, then select one of these to concentrate on. By focusing on one area at a time, you will be able to improve your chances of success.

Once you’ve chosen which area you want to concentrate on, write down all the steps you need to take to fulfill that goal. For instance, suppose Sam decides he wants to get healthy. To do so, he chooses to quit smoking, eliminate caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, to stop partying, get enough sleep every night, lose weight, start exercising, and eat right. He can’t do all of these at the same time, or his subconscious will rebel. Therefore, he decides which facet he wants to tackle first.

Break your goal down into reasonable steps. Don’t try to change the world in one week. As you accomplish one component, move onto the next one. It may actually take a couple of years to achieve your whole list, but in a couple of years you’ll be so much healthier than you are now.

Once you have your first element chosen, you can now decide on what physical actions to take every day. Taking physical action helps to convince the subconscious that you mean business, and shows commitment to the process.

Visualize yourself acting out your objective. As you imagine yourself living your goal, this gives your subconscious mind the direction it needs. It must follow your envisioning. Mentally rehearse each day, identifying with your new ideal, feeling how good it is to have accomplished your aim.

Write a short positive statement in the present tense that embodies your resolution. Use this affirmation in your visualization to reinforce it. Say the declaration aloud one hundred times a day. Print it on index cards and place them where you see them often. This keeps you focused on your goal and begins to impregnate your subconscious with what it is that you want. Trust that your subconscious is making deep level changes, and knows the best way to help you to transform.

By following these directions, you will be able to successfully make and keep your New Year’s resolutions. You have all the power within you to create a wonderful new life for yourself. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Affirmation:
This year, I set reasonable goals of change for myself. After I write down what areas of my life I wish to change, I narrow them down to focus on one. I decide what steps I need to take to make the goal a reality in my life, and begin with a single small, attainable action. As I’m successful, I add another step. I visualize myself accomplishing my goal, knowing that doing so fully involves my subconscious in helping me to transform. I commit myself to making the changes necessary to improve my life, knowing that I’m worth it.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

7 Ways You Unconsciously Limit Your Vision

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Dec 152017
 

“Aim at heaven and you get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither.” C.S. Lewis
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Are you aiming high enough to achieve your dream or are you keeping your vision little and manageable? A dream is what you’re working towards. Your vision of it should be out of your immediate reach so it inspires and motivates you and pulls you farther than you thought you could go. You may not get as far as your dream, but you’ll soar higher if you have it as your target. The Universe always wants something greater for you.

But too many people keep their vision small and insignificant, so they can stay invisible and play it safe. If you do that, you’ll never be able to reach much further than where you presently are. You’ll just be playing in the same sand box and never climb out of it to explore what else is possible. And you thwart what the Universe wants for you.

By aiming too low, not only do you limit your potential, you also sabotage yourself by holding yourself back. You don’t take the actions that would lead to success, choosing instead to do what is familiar and comfortable. For instance, you don’t follow through on leads, prospects or customers. In so doing, you’re instructing your subconscious / the Law of Attraction to keep you stuck.

There are all sorts of reasons and ways you undermine your dream. Most have to do with the past or fear of the results. Once you recognize how you’re keeping yourself small, you can turn it around and aspire to something greater. Here are 7 ways in which you may be keeping yourself grounded and how you can cut the restraints.

1. Habit.
You’ve created a habit of creating easy goals to achieve, so you have a feeling of accomplishment. But they’re haphazard, don’t take you in any particular direction, and you don’t make any progress.

Choose goals that lead in a specific direction, each one building on the one before. This takes you out of your comfort zone and creates a new habit of success.

2. Past disappointments.
You figure it’s easier to keep your dream reachable, especially when you’ve been disappointed in the past. So you focus on manageable goals, but don’t get very far towards your dream.

Create a vision that’s just out of reach, and set manageable goals that can take you there. As you accomplish them, it will encourage you and build your confidence to aim higher.

3. Doesn’t fit your self-image.
You want to be a leader in your field and make your mark, but you can’t imagine yourself as that person. The person you want to be has qualities you don’t have and are alien to the way you perceive yourself.

Decide what characteristics you need to cultivate so you can become the person you want to be. Take one at a time, and practice incorporating it into your life.

4. Fear your dream will take over your life. You’re concerned about what achieving your vision would change. For instance, you may have to work longer hours and not be able to spend time on other activities you value.

Reaching your vision will change your life. But you always have control over how much time and effort you put forth.

5. Fear you won’t be able to handle success. Reaching towards your vision stretches you and takes you out of what you’re familiar with. So you try to stay in your comfort zone and safe.

You can always develop the new skills, abilities, and characteristics you need. When you do, you will grow and expand to fill your new role and responsibilities.

6. Fear of being criticized.
You’re afraid of people disapproving of the changes you’ll be making. To avoid this, you make sure you stay invisible, under their radar, so you don’t get hit with their condemnation or rejection.

The person you most need acceptance and approval from is yourself. When you’re pursuing your dream, you’re on purpose and fulfilling your highest potential.

7. Guilt about how it will affect others. If you commit to your vision, you may not have as much time for friends or family. Or you’re concerned that you’ll be taking advantage of others if you get ahead.

Ask yourself, “How much more can I offer if I reach my vision?” Playing small doesn’t help you and doesn’t give you the greater opportunity to help others.

These issues need not concern you any longer. You have gained wisdom, maturity and understanding and can now handle the challenges your vision brings. The Universe will always support you on your path. Use your vision as your destination, and establish goals like rungs on a ladder to climb to new heights. You’ll be able to accomplish your goals, while staying on track to your vision.

Affirmation:
The Universe wants something more for me. I now have the wisdom, maturity and understanding to aspire to something greater. Any old issues are now dissolved in the light of peace. With the support of the Universe, I can handle any situation that arises. I am always Divinely guided and directed to make the best decisions.

Watch the accompanying video, Give Yourself Permission to Dream.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Habits Become Your Destiny

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Nov 092017
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

“Watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Over 90% of your thoughts, beliefs and actions are ruled by habits. Those habits were formed from what you focused on, and the actions you took over and over again. They dug a groove in your psyche, and when triggered, you react automatically.

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Some of those habits are beneficial, such as brushing your teeth or sending a thank you card for a referral. But many of them don’t support where you want to go in life. They actually undermine it. Your negative habits developed at a time when they were helpful, but they’ve outlived their usefulness. They’re so automatic that you may not even realize that they’re no longer suitable.

They may be habits that you’ve just fallen into because of laziness or not being aware of the effects they would have on your future. Habits have cumulative effects, either beneficial or detrimental, that don’t show up until later in life. And they will shape your future.

For instance, do you exercise? Over the years, not exercising negatively impacts the quality and quantity of your health. You’ll get weaker as you age, have problems with balance, and not be able to walk very far. But I know people in their 80’s who still hike several miles every week because they’ve stayed in shape. Exercise keeps your heart healthy and reduces the incidence of many diseases. Cultivate this habit for a better, healthier life.

The habitual tendency of pessimism or optimism builds up over time. Either way, it affects the quality of your relationships, as well as your success in life. In my youth, I knew a young man who enjoyed putting others down. He considered it a game. Years later, as a mature adult, he verbally attacked others in cruel and malicious ways. That habit escalated over the years to its present level. It’s cost him jobs, friends and loved ones, but this habit is so ingrained in him that he sees no reason to change.

Do you procrastinate? That habit probably formed early in life. Although it might have been helpful then, it’s not now. For instance, chronically putting off paying your credit card won’t help your pocket book because of late charges. Needing to have the latest phone or gadget won’t benefit your bottom line either. You could have had a nice nest egg if you’d invested that wasted money.

For example, in the stop smoking classes I facilitated, participants were encouraged to save the money they used to spend on cigarettes. They put it into a jar to save for a specific goal. Within 18 months of starting that habit, one couple was able to take the cruise they’d always dreamed of. That money accumulated quickly to bring their dream to reality.

Do you want less stress and anxiety? Become aware of habits that promote those feelings. Small issues can be the worst contributors. For instance, where do you put your keys when you come in the door? Do you put them in one specific place, like on a hook or in a bowl, or do you drop them in random places? How much time do you waste looking for them when you need to leave? Are you ever late for work or an appointment as a result? What kind of impression does your tardiness make on others? That one small habit could mean a lost opportunity or promotion.

It all comes down to your habits. Are your habits supporting your path or sabotaging it? Your habits create your destiny by the thoughts you think and the choices you make on a day to day basis. If you want a different outcome, you’ll have to start making different choices.

Your first step would be to decide on the result you want. Do you want less stress, more joy, to be healthier, or more successful? It must be something you really want and are willing to work towards. Your subconscious doesn’t like change. Your motivation must be stronger than the natural inclination to fall back into the old groove.

Your second step is to decide what habits have to be in place to support your dream. For better health, you’d need to make better food choices and exercise more. To be more productive at work, determine what tasks you need to focus on to reach your goals.

Your third step would be to become aware of the habits that are interfering with your chosen result. They may be small, insignificant ones. Such as always checking your email as soon as you get to work and letting them sidetrack you from your priorities. Or chronically waiting until the last minute to get gas and either running out or running late.

The fourth step is to commit to substituting the new habit for the old one, each and every time. Habits aren’t easy to break. You have to stay aware of what you’re doing whenever you’re in that situation, and make a different choice. It isn’t easy, but it can be done.

When you create habits that support what you want, you’re changing the course of your life. It will take persistence and determination to do so, but your future is worth it. Your habits determine your destiny. Make it a good one.

Affirmation:
I now decide what it is I want in my life. I realize that I deserve to have a better future. The Universe always wants for me what I want for myself. Everything I need to support my choice now appears. As I make the choice to change, all levels of my mind align to strengthen my resolve.

Watch the accompanying video, Better Habits Make for a Better Life.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.

Conquer the Distress of Overwhelm

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Nov 022017
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

I used to create a long to-do list that would have been impossible to finish in three times the allotted period. Not only did I constantly overestimate my capacity to complete my list, I would underestimate the time the tasks would take. In addition, I’d have several creative projects under development at once. I’d dart between them, working on one then the other. None of them got any quality or quantity of my attention. As a result, I always felt like I was falling behind. And I was. I felt stressed and my to-do list consumed my thoughts.

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Do you have this problem? In today’s world, most people take on too much. People try to compensate by multitasking in an attempt to get more done. But multitasking for increased productivity is an illusion. In actuality, less gets done. Research shows it’s an inefficient use of time and mental resources. It failed massively when I tried to work on several projects at once. But because we’re overwhelmed with everything we have to do, we grasp at straws. And those straws won’t keep us afloat.

Being overwhelmed means that you’re stressed all the time. When you’re stressed, you can’t think clearly and your productivity drops. Because you’re distracted by what’s stressing you, your decision making ability is diminished. All your resources are being used to deal with what’s going on right now. You’re in a fight or flight mode, just trying to survive. Haven’t you felt like this? It means you’re reacting to circumstances, rather than being proactive, innovative and creative about how to get things done. Overall, you have less emotional resources to deal with life’s issues. You’re just trying to tread water and progress floats away.

Overwhelm, and the stress it causes, impairs spiritual progress. Think of your mind as a glass that filled to the brim and overflowing. It doesn’t have room to add anything more. Your subconscious is simply handling too much and you can’t address anything else. You can’t focus, because your attention is split into so many different directions. And without focus, the Law of Attraction can’t work effectively. Stress and overwhelm means you’re out of alignment with inner peace.

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the feeling of overwhelm. You’ll have to concentrate on implementing these strategies, because it’s all too easy to get dragged back into the old pattern.

1. Distinguish between what’s immediate and what’s important. The immediate would be a coworker calling you for advice. They have your attention right now, but you could actually call them back later. Something important would be working on the report that’s under a tight deadline. Put off the immediate until after you deal with what’s important.

2. Eliminate what’s not working. What chores or tasks aren’t actually necessary? What’s keeping you from working on what’s truly important? Certain chores may have become a habit, but aren’t helping you anymore. For instance, we all need to check our email periodically. But if you have it open all day, it’ll lure you away from your important projects and to check it frequently. Instead, check it only three times a day.

3. Create a strategy to make sure you don’t get overloaded.
This could be cutting back on your to-do list (like I did). Or you could set a timer to deal with email, easy tasks or a project. Delegate what you can. Don’t micromanage others. These all mean that you have to let go of some control.

4. Focus on one thing at a time.
This is the opposite of multitasking. When I began to focus on one project at a time, I was able to complete it much faster. It doesn’t mean that you have to focus on one project or task and do it to completion. It means that when you’re working on it, you eliminate all distractions and it’s all you pay attention to.

5. Schedule things. For an ongoing project, set aside 60-90 minutes at a time to focus on it. Keep that appointment with yourself. With all other tasks, put them in your calendar and expect them to take twice as long as you expect. That way you have plenty of time to work on them, and if you finish early, you may actually have time to fit in others.

6. Take time for self-care and self-development. When I was overwhelmed, meditation and self-development were the first things I abandoned. Referring back to #1, this item would be something classified as important. Not only will self-care reduce your stress, but it will give you mental and emotional resources to handle your tasks better. Meditation, reading, exercise, taking bubble baths all contribute to your spiritual progress and peace of mind.

Over time, I learned to reduce my to-do list to a few items. I would include a few extra each week, in case I actually had time to work on them. But if I didn’t, I moved them to the following week. I never got everything done. No one ever does. We’re all human beings, not human doings. Reduce your load so you can cultivate more ease, peace and happiness.

Affirmation:

I am Divinely guided to make wise decisions in taking care of myself and my life. I release what doesn’t contribute to my life’s purpose and peace. And I accept things that contribute to my purpose and peace. That means that I take care of what’s important, including myself. When I do, I open the way for more abundance and joy to come into my life.

Watch the accompanying video, Make Yourself a Priority to Reduce Overwhelm.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. If you'd like some help to reach your goals, email her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com with "Complimentary Consultation" in the subject line.