No Claim No Gain

 CLAIM: To assert and demand the recognition of
(Definition from

When you acknowledge your progress, you feel successful and gain a sense of confidence. But too often, this recognition is fleeting …or was never there in the first place!  Headway is disregarded, minimized or forgotten.

Just as you would claim lottery winnings or make use of your gym membership (hopefully!) – this concept applies to personal progress as well.  Why make the effort if you are going to ignore the results?

Yet that is exactly what people do over and over again.

Consider minimizing comments like: “It was nothing,” “Anyone could have done it,” or, “It’s just a drop in the bucket.”  While these comments may not seem significant, they reflect to the world – and to yourself – that your efforts are trivial.

What sorts of things do people avoid giving themselves credit for?

  • Their time and effort
  • Healthy choices
  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Making conscious shifts in attitude
  • Well thought-out decisions
  • Establishing new habits
  • Taking action
  • Kindness
  • Adhering to personal values

By focusing on your progress instead of your struggles, you invite further progress. Claiming the changes you make – whether they’re shifts in attitude, fresh perspectives, new habits or tangible actions – helps you take ownership and reinforce the changes.

CLAIM YOUR GAINS! Look for them, declare them, post them, practice them and make them you own!

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If you want more ideas on HOW TO Claim your Gains, read on….

Identify the changes you’re working towards. Having clear intentions moves the process along.   It can be hard to notice changes if you’re uncertain what you’re shooting for.

Pick a time to reflect. Be sure to notice all the small or significant headway you make every day. To get in that habit, pick a regular time, such as the minute you get into bed, or in the morning as you first sit down at your desk.

Track your progress by writing it down. Make this quick and simple. Decide where to record your list (perhaps a smartphone, word document or designated notebook.) Be sure to include efforts as well as end results.

Catch your tendency to minimize your accomplishments. Replace these belittling thoughts with inspiring statements such as, “I’m becoming who I want to be with each small step.”

Talk about it! One of the best ways to upgrade your self-concept is to share your success with others. Describing the changes you’ve made helps to clarify and reinforce them.

Lastly, review your list of successes on the first day of every month. This practice helps to remind you of all your accomplishments and might remind you of a past effort you want to resume.


Do Your Best!

dreamstime_xs_9406625The phrase, “do your best” is one that we hear repeatedly but rarely define.  Is best all about effort and perseverance?  Or does it include consideration and planning as well?  And how do we determine whether we have cut ourselves too much slack or have truly done our best?

Why it Matters
If we extend only minimal effort or give up too readily, we risk guilt or regret.  Doing a sloppy job at the dishes might not matter much, but when it comes to the meaningful parts of life like parenting or relationships, knowing we have done our best brings an enormous sense of peace.

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Stop the Insanity and Ask, “What Will Be Different This Time?”

I’ve been noticing how often people refer to the quote, ”Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”.  It resonates with all of us, even if we’ve heard it a million times.  We may laugh, but deep down we feel like we’re hitting our heads against a wall.

So why do we keep repeating actions that we know don’t work?  Easy explanations include habit, lack of time or energy, and not knowing what else to do.  Sometimes it’s a case of being endlessly optimistic.  We believe this time will be different because we’ll try harder or work faster.  Sure, it could be true, but it might also be magical thinking.[�] Continue Reading

Learning to be Visible

To feel joyful and at peace, we need to be who we are in the world. This means being comfortable in our own skin rather than constantly changing to fit in. For a whole host of reasons, we share only a fraction of who we are.  Many of us conceal our full selves to avoid anticipated conflict, judgement or confrontation. Or sometimes we simply downplay our strengths as we’re not at ease being in the spotlight.  For many introverts, remaining private is more comfortable as we need the time to sort out where we stand or how we want to respond.

If it’s easier to remain under the radar, then what’s the problem?  For some, there is no problem; they are at peace revealing themselves to a chosen few and do not feel invisible. But too often, we develop an automatic, unconscious response to others. These personas, such as  –  being accommodating, non-controversial or agreeable –  become defense mechanisms that limit our lives.  Others can’t get to know us when we hide or are non-committal. People sense a lack of authenticity and steer away, causing us to miss opportunities for true connections. Even worse, you can start to feel truly invisible and unimportant!

To work towards more authenticity, consider how often you fall into your personal version of ‘going on automatic’ in social situations, and what your ‘go to’ response generally is.  I’ve seem people who tend to nod agreeably and are always ‘pleasant,’ and others who are more inclined to act indifferent or shut down. Look at the impact of your style of interaction, and determine how you would like to relate with others while remaining comfortable.

An excellent way to start is to watch people with similar temperaments who are able to hold their own. From body language to facial expressions, observe what they do and see if it fits for you. With the goal of being true to yourself, I hope you can learn to relax the reigns a bit and trust that you can handle – and enjoy – the new attention and visibility you’ll receive.

What changes do you seek?

One of the chief reasons we struggle with change is that we often don’t know the best approach to take. With so much information available on the Internet and in the media, it can be overwhelming. To make it even harder, many of us have a history of failure and understandably lack trust that another attempt will yield better results.

The truth is that no two people evolve in the same way. Most change is full of twists and turns and everyone needs to figure out the pathway that works best for them. A perfectly planned course is not possible or even necessary. What is required is a strong desire for change and a willingness to risk a few disappointments along the way. Give yourself credit when you fail at something. At least you tried something new and you probably learned a few tips that will help you in the future. If you broaden your definition of success to include your efforts and increased wisdom, you have more control and will likely feel a lot happier.

In thinking about the changes you seek, consider what you really want. As we all know, one of the first steps towards getting somewhere is to know the direction in which you are heading. Having a specific target is helpful as long as you remain open to other options that present themselves. Set aside some time, and ask yourself:

• What do I most want to be different in my life a year from now?
• What is keeping me from achieving it? (Make a list of 20 possible reasons)
• Which of these obstacles feels most important to address?
• Am I willing to devote some time and attention to it?
• What is a first step that feels easy and do-able?

Yes – we can change our lives! We are not powerless or broken – perhaps just a little skeptical! Know that you can come up with many actions that will lead you to the changes you want. It is said that if you are having a hard time getting started, the very first step you planned is just too big. Think easy and do-able, especially at first. Choose to spend time around others who share this belief and create a mindset that will keep you on track. So often we give up right before reaching our goals because we fall into the all or nothing, or always or never way of thinking. Catch yourself when you go there and remember that your failings are an indication that you are doing something!

As you get underway, think of yourself as you actually are – fully capable of change. Remember that new habits can be established in as little as 30 days, that new neuropathways form in our brains to support our efforts and that each step gets us closer to our destination. Think yes; think courage vs. fear; and think of always moving towards what feels right for you.



Persistence Pays

On a radio talk show the other day, I heard a speaker say that it takes multiple attempts to quit smoking – sometimes as many as 17! Imagine quitting for the 16th time and trying to muster up enough motivation, outside support or the belief that this time will be different. It sounds impossible! I felt like the listening audience would be discouraged by such an astounding number and wasn’t sure the speaker was doing them any service.

But then I realized that for those who had tried many times, this news would offer incredible hope! It indicated that change doesn’t always happen on the first attempt, but is possible with persistence. It supported the view that change is gradual and builds upon itself. Each attempt is not a failure, but instead provides a valuable a piece of the puzzle – knowledge about what works, what sets you back and what it takes to support your efforts. Consider the Robert Orben quote, ‘Don’t think of it as failure.  Think of it as time-released success.’

We each have our own answers as to how we can bring about change. But we share that a key part of any forward movement is learning to cope with failure along the way. When that happens, will we think our efforts are futile, or believe that each attempt is a step towards our goal? While I have never had to quit smoking, there are many areas in my life that I’d like to improve and I am choosing to see the 17 attempts as a call for optimism, not as a sign of doom.