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The Necessity Of Boundaries

The Necessity Of Boundaries

by Linda-Ann Stewart

In my hypnotherapy practice, when a client would come to see me with self-esteem issues, I’d discuss the topic of “boundaries” with them. Some of my clients had never even heard of the idea of boundaries and I had to explain it to them. “Boundaries are like limits you would set with a child,” I’d say, “telling them not to touch the stove, for their own safety. Or not to hit their sibling.” Most of my clients could relate to that.

However, the idea of telling an adult how to treat them could be a foreign concept. “But they should know how to treat me,” my client might say. This is true, but people have different ideas of how to treat each other. And everyone has their own agenda to make them feel more comfortable. Unless you are direct and clear about what you’ll accept and what you won’t accept, the other person won’t know.

What Are Your Current Boundaries?

Boundaries are an important part of life. Think of the boundaries you have now. You wouldn’t allow someone to reach into your pocket or purse and steal your money without complaining. You’ve drawn the line there. Where are some of your other boundaries? In personal relationships and friendships, what kind of limits have you set? Do you allow friends or loved ones to put you down, beat you, take advantage of you? If so, this is an area in which you need to strengthen your boundaries.

When I was little, my parents taught me that having boundaries was a good thing. But as I got into school and made friends, having boundaries meant that I wouldn’t be liked. When a friend hit me and I complained to her mother, the mom told me that I had to forgive her daughter and continue playing with her. The mom encouraged my feelings of compassion for her daughter so that I wouldn’t reject her. From that, I learned to let people walk all over me. 

Why Boundaries Are Necessary

Without boundaries, we allow the world to treat us as they want to. Not as we expect to be treated, but in ways that are convenient for them. Boundaries are necessary for our safety, and to teach others how we expect to be treated. If we don’t teach people to value us, then we have only ourselves to blame when they take advantage of us. A boundary is the communication of how we choose to be treated, and what the consequences are if we’re not treated that way. Sometimes, you don’t even have to state it as long as you have it firmly planted in your consciousness. Your attitude will communicate it clearly.

When I began setting boundaries and standing up for them, it was scary. The people who didn’t value me began to leave my life. In any relationship, when one person changes, then the relationship itself changes. My “friends” weren’t willing to change with the relationship. But then I started attracting people to me who treated me the way I wanted to be treated. And I didn’t have to tell them how. Since I’d gotten it clear in my mind that I wouldn’t be browbeaten anymore (boundary), and if I was I’d end the relationship no matter how much I cared about the person (consequence), that commitment to my well-being communicated itself.

Boundaries Are Your Right and Responsibility

You have a right to establish the standards by which you choose to be treated. The Universe gave you that right by your having been born. You don’t have to accept treatment that devalues you as a person or as an expression of the Universe. You also have a responsibility to yourself, to the Universe, and to the other person to decide on your boundaries. If you don’t, then you’re allowing other people to choose how you will be treated and you’re at their mercy. By setting and maintaining boundaries, you’re accepting the responsibility for your well being. Boundaries demonstrate that you value yourself and that you value the relationship enough to create a secure environment in which it can grow.

Affirmation:

I have a right and responsibility to myself and the Universe to establish meaningful boundaries. I deserve to be treated well, with respect. If my boundaries are violated, I have the right to act on the consequences that I’ve decided on to keep myself safe and secure. I do this with compassion for the other person, but also with compassion for myself because my well being is more important than someone else’s convenience.

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women entrepreneurs and small business owners to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, wellbeing and prosperity. To achieve your goals with confidence and ease in 4 powerful steps, register for her FREE training video and accompanying action planning guide at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Podcast Interview – Thrive Through Greater Self-Worth

Podcast Interview – Thrive Through Greater Self-Worth

Emmalou Penrod M.A., of Healing Your Families, and I were introduced by a mutual acquaintance. In our initial conversation, we realized we had something in common. We both had been trained to use hypnosis to improve people’s lives! She’s a retired schoolteacher, and now coaches families to have more peaceful homes. She’s a parenting and family strengthening expert, and brings her knowledge of counseling to help heal families.

As we talked, we had such a connection that she invited me to be interviewed on her podcast at WinWinWomen.tv. Although family issues aren’t my professional area of expertise, one topic that affects everyone is self-worth. My specialties as a hypnotherapist were stress management, success programming and self-esteem/self-worth issues. Since Emmalou and I agreed that having better self-worth made better parents, we decided that would be a great topic to cover.

In the interview, we began by talking about how I became a focus coach for women small business owners. I explained that women tend to be scattered because of all their responsibilities. It’s difficult for them to focus for any length of time on any one thing. But focus is necessary to accomplish anything.

Then Emmalou asked about the opposite of focus, “What do you think of multitasking?”

“Multitasking” is a myth,” I answered, and explained why. She said she’d heard it described as “a lie,” which is also true. Multitasking keeps your brain fractured between all the different tasks. It breaks your train of thought, so you can’t build up momentum on any project or task.

This led into discussing the difference between self-esteem and self-worth. Self-esteem can be impacted by outside variables and self-worth is more internal and fundamental. And both are impacted by having a strong inner critic. Emmalou liked my perspective on the inner critic not being a bad guy, but fulfilling a role that a person has outgrown.

Emmalou asked how a person could improve their self-worth. I answered that being kinder to oneself and being mindful helped to support and build self-worth. At the end of the conversation, I shared three simple steps on how to be kinder to yourself.

Because of Emmalou’s background, expertise and knowledge, I loved talking with her about this subject. I could have gone on for hours, but we had to fit into the podcast’s time frame. But I have articles on this topic here and on my website to help you reclaim your worth. And Emmalou has articles on her blog to help you become a better person, and thus, a better parent.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Podcast Interview – StoryVan.tv

Podcast Interview – StoryVan.tv

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Bonnie McDonald Dixon on her StoryVan.tv show. She and her husband, Greg, live in their RV and travel around Canada and the U.S., and get to know all sorts of people. She and Greg interview some of those people on their video podcast.

She and I met through a networking meeting, and hit it off. Years ago, I traveled from Arizona to Texas in an RV a couple of times, and once from Arizona to the East Coast and up to Maine. I enjoyed RVing, and could resonate with Bonnie and Greg’s fascination with it.

Bonnie is a health advocate with decades of experience in the natural health business. She’s warm, humorous, and has a passion to help people. One of the ways she does this is a website for those who live on the road or overseas. She and Greg  have a website with tips and ideas for people who want to live the nomad lifestyle like they do. Their HealthyWealthyCamper.com website includes health and income creation ideas for those who travel.

In our discussion on the show, Bonnie was interested in my hypnotherapy background and how it informed my coaching women who suffer from the shiny object syndrome. We all suffer a bit from the shiny object syndrome. Getting distracted while you’re going through life is natural. The problem comes when you get stuck in that cycle.

On the show, she and I talked about some of the causes of the shiny object syndrome, reasons why it can occur, as well as some of the consequences of it. Stress is one of the problems it creates, and stress shuts down creative thinking. During our conversation, I mentioned a couple of secrets about the subconscious mind and stress that can help people to know.

Bonnie was curious if the shiny object syndrome might impact your self-esteem. I responded that your self-esteem and self-respect can take a dive if you succumb to the shiny object syndrome because you’re not keeping promises to yourself.

I enjoyed our talk and was disappointed when the show ended. Even then, we chatted a bit. She’s truly an amazing person and one I am honored to have met and spent some time with.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Respond to Criticism

How to Respond to Criticism

For many people, criticism brings up bad memories of having someone harass them, call them a name or put them down. Now, when someone critiques them, they react in a way that isn’t helpful. Instead, there’s a way to change your reaction so that you’re more empowered in the situation. Discover a 5 step process to retrain yourself to deal with criticism in a much more positive way.

Transcript:

For many people, criticism brings up bad memories of having someone harass them, call them a name or put them down. Has this happened to you? If so, when someone critiques you in the present, you probably get defensive or go into fight or flight mode. When you’re in that condition, you can’t be objective or even think clearly, right? All you can do is react to the situation as you might have in the past.

I’d like to share what you can do in that situation to change your reaction into one that might be able to help you grow. I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, vision empowerment strategist and I’ve had to deal with my fair share of criticism.

Criticism isn’t always intended to find fault with you. Some criticism is constructive to help you get better at something. This kind of criticism offers a solution or is feedback that you can learn from. But when you’re reacting, it’s hard to determine if there’s anything of use for you in the comment. Like I said, you can’t think clearly when you think you’re attacked.

Here are some steps to take to respond more positively to criticism so you can take back your power.

First and foremost, don’t react. If it’s from someone who wants to manipulate you, you take back control when you don’t react to them. Also, when you stop reacting to a bully’s harassment, they lose interest.

Next, take some deep breaths. Calm yourself so you can think more clearly. Give yourself that time.

Then, consider the source. Is it a bully who loves to humiliate others or is it someone who has your best interests at heart.

Either way, assess to see if there’s any merit to the comment. Is there anything valid in what they said or is it simply their opinion? What, if anything, can you learn from the comment?

Once you’ve learned what you can, decide what to do about it. If there is some improvement you can make, figure out how you want to go about doing that. And then dismiss the comment. It’s served its purpose.  If it’s from a bully, and there’s nothing of value for you, dismiss it. Yeah, I know, easier said than done. But it can be done with practice.

When you start responding to criticism from a more empowered place, your confidence and self-esteem increase. Criticism no longer impacts you as deeply as it did. It takes practice to retrain yourself to take these steps, but it’s well worth the effort.

To be notified of future mindset videos, please like my YouTube channel.

Thank you for watching. Stay Focused.

Read the accompanying article, Is the Fear of Criticism Holding You Back?

Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance

Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance

Would you like higher self-esteem and self-worth? Accept yourself more. Self-acceptance is important for a sense of well being and for you to be able to live up to your potential and achieve your goals. Accepting yourself is easier said than done. Use this short, guided meditation to embrace yourself, so you treat yourself better and are happier.

Transcript:

Thank you for joining me. I’m Linda-Ann Stewart. Wouldn’t you like to accept yourself more? Self-acceptance is one of the components to self-esteem and self-worth. These are important for you to feel comfortable in your own skin, have a sense of well being, and live up to your potential.

Accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t want to improve or make changes. You can recognize your failings and still accept yourself. Self-acceptance just means that you’re acknowledging yourself and that you’re ok in the moment.

The opposite of self-acceptance is self-rejection. This resistance to parts of you generally manifests as self-criticism and self-judgement. Neither of those feel good, do they? And they don’t help they way we think they should. They just make things worse. There’s an old saying, “What you resist, persists,” and it’s true about aspects of yourself you don’t like. The more you resist them, the more they persist. 

Learning how to accept yourself is easier said than done. When you’ve criticized yourself for years, it’s hard to turn it around and not judge or reject yourself. I’d like to lead you through a short meditation that will help you begin to embrace yourself.

If you so choose, close your eyes.

Think of some things you like about yourself. These may be characteristics, talents, skills, traits, how you express yourself and other things. They are things that you appreciate about yourself. They make you a unique individual.

Consider your strengths. You’re better at some things than at others. Recognize what it is that you do well.

You’re not perfect. No one is. Everyone has things they do well, and things that they don’t do as well. Everyone has pieces of themselves that they would rather weren’t there. But the totality of you creates the person you are right now.

You’re a constantly growing, learning individual. You will always become a better person, if you so desire. By accepting yourself, as you are now, with all your flaws, means that you have an easier time becoming that better person. When you accept yourself, you can accept others.

So think of one thing you don’t like about yourself, and say to yourself, “I recognize that it’s a part of me.” “I acknowledge that it’s a part of me.” “I accept that it’s a part of me.” If it’s something that can be changed, and you want to, then you set an intention to do so. If it cannot be changed, accept it.

You are a unique and whole individual. The things you like about yourself, your strengths and your flaws make you into the person you are. Accept yourself as you are, right now. Repeat to yourself, “I accept myself.”

Change the things you want to and can. And recognize that if you can’t change them, it’s better for you to accept them. When you do, you’re happier and have a greater sense of well being. You treat yourself and others with more compassion. How can you show yourself more compassion?

Open your eyes.

When you accept yourself, with compassion, you’re embracing your whole self. It allows you to be more authentic. Self-acceptance gives you the motivation, inner resources and empowerment to change habits and achieve your goals. 

For more articles and tips on mindset, motivation and empowerment, please visit my blog, EmpoweringYourMind.com

Thank you for watching. How can you accept more of yourself today?

Read the accompanying article The Importance of Self-Acceptance.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Loving Others Begins With Yourself

Loving Others Begins With Yourself

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Hearts

On Valentine’s Day, we show our love to the significant others’ in our lives; our husbands, partners, friends and family. But what do you do to show love for yourself? What are you doing to take care of yourself, and of your needs? Many of us have been taught to ignore our needs, that we’re selfish if we think of ourselves first. However, we’ve taken this idea too far and don’t think of ourselves at all. Charity and love begin at home, with you.

A person who does everything for everyone else, and nothing for himself/herself will eventually burn out. Ultimately, their needs will be taken care of some way, generally in a way that isn’t enjoyable. The inner self will cry out for attention, beginning with small warnings, such as a cold, tension, anxiety, or feelings of being overwhelmed. But if the inner self is ignored, it will escalate it’s demands by creating more discomfort. Many people experience some sort of health crisis because their inner self needs some consideration. The health issue could be fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, or even cancer.

Attend to Your Needs

When you first begin to attend to your needs, you may get resistance from the people in your world. Suddenly, you’re not serving them like you’ve done in the past. They’re being forced to take responsibility for themselves. They may even call you “selfish.” Before you agree with them, evaluate whether they have an agenda for this accusation. Do they want you to do things for them, or fulfill their desires (not their needs, but their desires)?  If so, they’re trying to manipulate you to return to your old ways so that they’re more comfortable.

The challenge is to know how to balance self-love with other-love. But self-love must come first. That’s the bottom line. Your needs must be your primary concern, or else you may not be able to do for others. Your loved ones may even have to take care of you. However, once you begin to take care of your needs, you’ll actually have more energy, more life, and more love to give to others because you feel so much better.

Affirmation:

I begin to assess my needs, and know that my needs are more important than someone else’s desires. I take care of my responsibilities, but I also have a responsibility to take care of myself. I give myself permission to attend to my needs, despite any outer resistance. I remember that I’m the most important person in my world. I need to fulfill my needs so that I have more to give to others.

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The Importance of Self-Acceptance

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

by Linda-Ann Stewart

When I was fourteen, I was fitted with braces. At that age, shiny metal covering your teeth  severely impacts your self-image. Friends who’d already been fitted with braces did their best to hide them. They refused to smile and kept their mouths closed so no one would see the silver glint.

However, their attempts to hide the braces brought more attention to the fact that they were cursed with this awful dental appliance. Their self-consciousness opened the door for bullies to call them, “metal mouth.” I decided not to try to cover up the fact that I was wearing braces. After they were attached, I smiled and laughed as I normally did. Because I wasn’t embarrassed about them, bullies didn’t get any reaction teasing me, so they left me alone.

But the best response came in my typing class. Cindy sat in front of me, and at the beginning of each class, she’d turn around to chat for a few moments. Six months after I’d begun wearing the braces, as usual, she turned to say hi. She looked startled, and asked,

“When did you get braces?”

“Six months ago,” I replied.

“No, that’s impossible,” she said. “I talk to you every day, and I would have noticed.”

Except that she hadn’t noticed, because I’d accepted them as normal.

People Take Your Lead

If you don’t pay attention to your imperfections, no one else will. They’ll take your lead concerning your assessment of yourself. When you accept yourself as you are, you’re not concerned about how others perceive you. You’re not afraid of their judgements and are able to be more authentic. Because you don’t pay attention to your limitations, they’re not so apparent to other people.

Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement. I couldn’t wait to get the braces removed and looked forward to that day. Accepting yourself means that you’re not resisting, criticizing or hating a part of yourself, all of which creates a block to improvement. Self-acceptance simply recognizes and acknowledges the reality of what is. From that perspective, you can plan how to make changes, if that’s what’s necessary.

The Opposite of Self-Acceptance

Self-rejection, which is the opposite of self-acceptance, makes you defensive. You’re sensitive about the part of you that you feel is lacking, and concerned that others will attack you over it. Because you expect to be confronted, often that’s what happens, as it did with the bullies and my friends. You might even overcompensate for what you think is a fault, by bringing it to others attention deliberately or accidentally, when it wasn’t necessary.

For instance, you’re interviewing for a job that you have the experience for, but don’t have a degree in the area. You feel insecure about the shortcoming, and your nervousness makes a bad impression on your interviewer. However, if you considered that your experience made up for no degree, your confidence would have influenced the interviewer more positively.

Benefits to Accepting Yourself

There are a lot of personal and subjective benefits for accepting yourself. These would include raising your self-esteem and self-confidence, allowing you to be more authentic in your life, enabling you to feel comfortable with yourself and more.

There are also objective benefits to self-acceptance. All of these benefits are helpful in both your personal and professional life.

You’re more open with others, so you don’t push people away. People are attracted to you and want to get to know you. Your relationships are better and deeper.

You’re able to be more present with other people. Because you’re not concerned about your imperfections, you can listen to the other person and understand what they’re saying. As a result, you have better communication and connection with them.

If others do notice your shortcomings, it doesn’t bother you. Often, they’re just curious and want some background information. And if they’re rude, it’s easier to realize that the issue is with them, not you, so you don’t take it personally.

Practice Self-Acceptance

Everyone has imperfections. Accepting them means you approach situations feeling empowered and have more resources to deal with challenges. Practice self-acceptance and notice how much freer and happier you feel.

I was thrilled to get my braces removed two months earlier than expected. But my main reason to be happy wasn’t because I was rid of the metal. I was ecstatic because I could once again have popcorn, taffy and bubble gum. And you know what? No one mentioned that the braces were gone.

Affirmation:

The Universe accepts me as I am. I now accept myself, with all my imperfections. I feel more comfortable with myself and this communicates to the world around me. With this attitude, I can now change and improve myself. More good flows to me and through me as I open the door to a greater sense of well being.

Watch the accompanying video, Guided Meditation for Self-Acceptance.

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The Power Of Self-Acceptance

The Power Of Self-Acceptance

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Woman with outstretched arms
Woman with Arms in the Air — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

You own a manual within you that contains all the wisdom, understanding and knowledge you need to resolve or heal any undesirable condition in your life. One of the most powerful tools in that manual is self-acceptance. When you accept yourself fully, you begin to release the blocks to your good and your Higher Self. This doesn’t mean that you may not want to choose to change some things about yourself. But you have to acknowledge that something exists, and accept that it is part of you before you can transform it.

I had a client who had been told that no part of her was adequate to anyone in her life. When we began working together, she was afraid I’d be offended by her past and how she’d coped. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. Because I reassured her that she had acted appropriately and understandably for her situation, she began to realize that she wasn’t a terrible person.

The Universe Accepts You

The Universe accepts you as you are. If you feel rejected or abandoned, realize that those feeling come from past experiences. This is how you feel about yourself, not how the Universe feels about you. However, you’ve believed that you deserved it, and continued to reject or abandon yourself in the present.

As the sessions with my client progressed, she was able to validate her emotions of fear, anger, and sadness as being signals to herself that something detrimental was occurring or had occurred in her life. As she accepted herself, and listened to what her feelings told her, she was able to turn her life around.

When you accept yourself, along with everything you think and feel as being proper, you start to reconnect with your Higher Self. For it is only when by cherishing yourself that you can experience the love of the Divine.

Affirmation

I now accept myself fully, knowing that the Universe accepts me as I am right now. I recognize that my perceptions, my feelings, my ideas are just right for me. I validate myself and give myself permission to be who I am. It is safe to be me. I deserve to be here. Every part of my being is loved and cherished by the Universe. Therefore, I also love and cherish myself. 

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Walk to Improve Your Wellbeing

Walk to Improve Your Wellbeing

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Walking down a path

Many years ago, I was devastated when a relationship ended. All I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and escape. I knew that taking a walk would improve my mood, but it was an act of will to get myself prepared. As one sock went on, I thought, “Maybe I’ll just go lie down.” Forcing myself to pull the other sock on, I thought, “Maybe I’ll just go watch TV.” Lacing each shoe brought up other excuses not to go. But I persevered, took a deep breath and pushed myself out the door.

Research on depression has shown that exercise and walking is almost as effective as anti-depressants. Brain chemicals called endorphins release during exercise, and they naturally elevate mood. Studies have also shown that people who exercise have higher self-esteem, a greater sense of competence and internal control over events, and sleep better. It’s been said that if there’s a fountain of youth, it’s exercise.

Half an hour later, I was returning home with a quarter mile to go and decided to check my inner self to determine how I was feeling. Although I was still sad, I was amazed to find that I could now plan ahead. I actually looked forward to getting involved with a project waiting for me at home. My mental outlook had improved by over 80 percent. To me, at the time, that was a miracle.

Even if I feel exhausted after work, walking rejuvenates me. That’s because the tiredness is more mental than physical. Whenever I need to ground myself, clear my head, break through a writer’s block, or ruminate on a problem, I know that taking a walk will help all of those things. I sometimes say affirmations as I stroll. It’s as if the exercise starts stagnated energy moving again. Walking jumpstarts my well being on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. So, anytime you’re feeling sad, angry, blocked, or stuck, try taking a walk. I’ll bet you’ll find that it helps you clear the way for the changes you desire.

Affirmation:

My well being is important to me, and I make attending to it a priority. I know that exercise is beneficial on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. Knowing that, I find the time to exercise in the best way for my body. As I walk, deeper levels of my mind are at work finding solutions to whatever challenge I’m facing. If I’m reluctant to take a walk, I remind myself of all the benefits, take control of my own well being, and get my feet moving.

Develop Your Potential to Reach Your Dream

Develop Your Potential to Reach Your Dream

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Woman with outstretched arms and sun

Success means different things to different people. But success can also mean different outcomes depending on the person’s dream. A business person measures their dream of success by income and number of customers. When a beginner marathon runner finally stumbles across the finish line, whether he’s first or last, that’s a win to him. To the person afraid to speak in public, victory is being able to effectively lead a meeting. To others, it’s wealth and acclaim.

In every case, the person had the potential to succeed at their dream. But they had to cultivate and develop the qualities that would lead them to the result they wanted. It didn’t happen by chance. They had to become a person who could reach their vision. That meant they had to let go of some characteristics, habits and ideas, and acquire others.

So where in your life do you need to change? Who do you need to become to be successful and accomplish your dream? Here are five areas to address.

1. What characteristics do you need to develop within yourself?

The characteristics you need to develop are going to be individualized for you and customized for your dream. You won’t want ones that help you climb the Matterhorn if marketing your business is your goal. So consider your dream. Then take stock and assess what qualities you need to develop.

Once you decide which traits are essential for you to have, establish a way to learn and practice them. Choose one from your list to cultivate and start small, with baby steps. But be consistent. Exercise the attribute as much as you can. In doing so, you make it a habit. Then you can start working on the next one.

2. What do you need to identify with?

Your identity affects what you believe and how you act. If you identify with being a business person, you’re going to act differently than someone who feels they’re a teacher. It molds the way you perceive yourself and what you believe about yourself. In some ways, it forms your self-image.

Your identity isn’t concrete. It’s shifting all the time, depending on your roles and responsibilities. And you can influence it by what you choose to believe about yourself. Someone who wants to learn to draw will begin to connect with the idea of being an artist. They then start acting in a way that supports their new sense of identity by associating with artists, going to art shows and being more creative.

3. What do you need to believe to achieve your dream?

If you believe life is out to get you and that you’re a loser, you’re not going to be able to make your dream a reality. Your attitude of failure will sabotage your efforts and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe inspires and affects your actions, and a belief is simply an opinion. So you can choose to change your belief.

Discover what ideas will support your dream. Imagine that you’ve already reached it. As you explore how it feels to live your dream, what beliefs did you have to have to get there? You’ll identify beliefs about life, yourself and your capabilities that you can begin to change. One way to shift them is through positive self-talk.

4. What skills, knowledge or habits do you need to acquire?

When I wanted to use a computer and get onto the World Wide Web, I had to learn how to navigate the machine’s commands and surf the internet. They were new skills, but essential for me to reach my goal.

Once you recognize the necessary extra information or behaviors you need, figure out how to acquire them. You may need to read specific books, take courses, change your choices or your routine. As you take these steps, others may become apparent to you. Follow them through. Just don’t get stuck in the preparation stage. At some point, you need to actually take the leap into action.

5. What are you willing to do to achieve your dream?

This is probably the most important question. How strongly do you want your dream? Just day dreaming about it won’t bring it into reality. Only by committing to it will you be able to make it yours. For instance, if you want a higher paying job, are you willing to move to a new location, work a different shift or take on more responsibility? If there’s any part of you holding back, it will undermine you.

As you determine what your dream requires of you, do an internal inventory to make sure you’re ready. To accept something new in your life, you’ll have to sacrifice something old. Your life will be different. Are you prepared for it? You’ll also have to put physical, emotional and mental energy forth to bring your dream into reality. If your dream isn’t important enough to you to put in the needed effort, it’s better to know now. Take stock and decide what you’re willing to do.

As Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If what you’re doing now isn’t bringing you the result you want, you need to change.  Only by doing something different will you get results that are closer to what you want. And you can’t just change your actions. You also need to be someone different. Inner change is necessary for you to become the person who can achieve and live your dream.

Affirmation:

If I can conceive of my dream, then I can achieve it. I have all the support of the Universe in my endeavor. I am willing to do whatever I need to so that I create a new life. It’s safe for me to reach for my dream, and to make the changes necessary to accomplish it. As I put forth the inner and outer effort, I am Divinely guided in my quest.

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