I think my “rock bottom” moment was when I lost my home and moved into to a gross rental with nasty carpets. My divorce was devastating enough, but with divorce, it takes two to tango, and at the beginning, I blamed EVERYTHING on him. I was the ultimate victim, not taking any responsibility for my own actions. But foreclosing on my beautiful home that I had just built two year earlier? I knew that was ALL my fault. But I didn’t make much progress on my personal growth in the following five years. I was just in survival mode. I did whatever I needed to do. Worked a lot, dated a little. See a guy, think he’s great, find out he’s not. Meet a great, thing he’s great, get dumped. Then I would take breaks from dating. Try dating again, take a break again. It wasn’t until my friend’s wedding that I said to myself: “That’s IT. I want that.” It was only then that I got serious about personal transformation. I was sick and tired of feeling like I was damaged goods and worthless because I went through a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and lost my car all in one year. Seeing the bride, groom, and all the loving couples around me hit me in the gut. I knew that if it was possible for one of us, it was possible for all of us, even me. And I hope that if you’ve been following along with my story, you’re beginning to believe it’s possible for you, too.
Something I’ve learned along the way is that growth is daily work. There are no shortcuts. I’m still growing and transforming, and will never stop working towards becoming the person I want to become. I’ll never arrive. John Maxwell says, “There is no finish line because if you cross it, you’re finished.” Recently, I had the great honor of being interviewed on a live Q&A with Inner Elegance DC. and I wanted to share some of my top strategies that have helped me on my personal transformation journey to ditch the beliefs that I was a piece of crap and unworthy of the life I truly wanted. The full video will be available soon on my YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe and keep an eye out on your notifications!
Personal transformation involves changing who we are. What did that journey look like for you?
Personal transformation is daily work
First comes the realization that personal transformation is daily work. I used to wish I could just read a book about happiness…and then be happy. Just like I wish I could work out once and fit into my skinny jeans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Reading does give you ah-ha moments, but there is no quick fix. Change is daily work. I’m still not who I want to be.
Remembering that it’s constant, daily work also gives you grace. God is not in a hurry. The Universe, or whatever you believe in, is not in a hurry. There is a timing for things. It takes time for a tree to grow from an acorn into a tree! It’s a process. It’s a long process. We’re in a hurry to change, I know I absolutely am, but now I know that we don’t have power over the timing. So take a step back, remember that it’s daily work, and remember your overall goals: I want to be a good mother. I want to give my kids a good life. I want to be there for them. I want to be close with them. Every mother wants that. But what does that look like? How do you know if you’ve accomplished it if you can’t measure it?
My Boss List
To measure it, I made a list, called it My Boss List, and divided it up into four sections. The first section was health. What could I do to improve my health? I hadn’t gone to the gynecologist or dentist in years. I wasn’t taking care of myself—I was only taking care of my kids or my clients. The next section was all about my finances. What could I do for my finances? What did I really want to spend my money on? At the time, it was taking the kids to Disneyland.
For family goals, I asked myself: What’s most important to me? What’s most important to the kids? And that was how I chose to spend our free time together. Some of my favorite memories of my entire life are laying in my bed, with one child on either side of me, reading. But if it was a crazy night and I didn’t read to them, I felt bad about myself. I ruined the opportunity for us to spend that precious time reading together completely undistracted.
So, to help me make that happen every night, I remembered my “why”. My big goal: I want to have an amazing, close relationship with my kids. When I am on my death bed, I want to know that I did a good job raising my babies. I kept that big-picture goal in my mind. If I want to know I did a good job 50 years, from now, then I need to ask myself, “What do good moms do?” Then I made small, quantifiable goals. I ask myself, “What one small thing can I do today that will help me accomplish what’s really important to me?” We’re all different. Every life is different. Every child is different! My kids are total opposites in every way, except that they’re both total slobs. So every day I would focus on that small quantifiable goal of reading to them every night. And even on a day that was a complete shit show and it seemed as though nothing I was doing was right (kids were fighting and having meltdowns, we ate chic-fila for dinner, and I was late to everything), if I read to my kids, I knew that I did something right. I knew it. I did something that was important. I didn’t screw that one thing up. I can acknowledge that win and focus on that one win, and I can feel good about myself. And, I’ve strengthened my relationship with my kids. This is a huge strategy I’ve applied to every single area of my life. Take one action. Then another. One step closer to the big goal.
“I want to be good in business.” Ok, what do successful business owners do? “I want to be a better negotiator.” What do good negotiators do? “I want to be a good wife.” What do good wives do? Just get clear about what actions I need to take, and get them into the calendar.
If one of your goals is to be a good wife, maybe you’d want to write love notes. I recently started writing John a love note every single day somewhere, usually in his planner when he goes upstairs to take a shower in the morning. He actually started it by writing me a love note on a Post-it and putting it on my mirror in the bathroom, and I love it! I know, I know, you can write a love notes and be a terrible wife, but something so small can make a huge impact on how you feel all day. It’s such a small, little thing, and it’s so easy not to do it because we’re always in a hurry, running around in the mornings. But that’s where habits come in. It’s something you start one day, then again the next, and after a while, you don’t have to think about it. It’s automatic. After a month of doing any small action, it clicks in your brain: “Yes, I am making the promises I made to myself. Yes, I did spend 30 hours reading to my kids this month. Yes, I went to the gym. Yes, I am a good wife.” (hopefully you did more than just write a love note or two). These small actions really add up. Your actions slowly create the belief in yourself from within that you’re accomplishing the things that are important to you.
What habits have helped you stay on track with your goals and keep your relationships strong?
The best way to have healthy relationships is to be healthy yourself. If you want to change your life, change your morning. I am living proof of that!
My “morning routine” for so long (if you could even call it that) was either a kid (it was always Leah the early bird) waking me up, or me jumping out of bed at 5 AM to get as much work done as possible before they woke up and I needed to take them to school. I did not have a designated time where I could sit, write, and be intentional until I realized how important that was.
The first thing I heard about and started to do was writing in a gratitude journal every morning. The thing I like about writing is that slows me down. We think so fast all the time. And when I mean gratitude, I don’t mean mentally spouting off a quick “I’m grateful for the sunshine!” and then running out the door. It’s so powerful to sit down and give yourself that quiet time in the morning, intentionally reflecting on what you have and what is happening in your life right now. (Although, especially in February in Arizona, I’m extremely grateful for the sunshine and super happy I’m not shoveling snow!)
“I am grateful for _____.” And choose something super specific to your life.
John and I sit at the same table at the same time in the same chairs every morning and write down specific things that are grateful for that we have in our lives at that moment. It allows us to exponentially enjoy everything that’s around us! Writing etches it in your brain and helps you practice shifting your focus to gratitude, so when other challenges happen later in the day, you can accept them with more grace and ease because you have set yourself up to focus on everything that is going right. I’ve got my health. My kids are safe. I can pay my rent. I’ve got a roof over my head. I would write down those things every single day when I was single and raising my kids by myself, and even though I stopped for a while, John and I started back up about 3 years ago. We’ve missed a few days here and there, and when we do, it just feels so weird. The day just isn’t the same.
Your “wins” and goals
Writing down my “wins” from yesterday is the second thing I write every morning. I’ve heard that a lot of people do this at night and reflect on that day, but I love doing it first thing in the morning so I have something to think about all day. What are you proud of accomplishing yesterday? John and I do it all at once—gratitude and our “wins.” It’s just another habit that helps you focus on everything that’s going right. Sets your intention for the day. I have enough. I do enough. I am enough. When you look at what you have and what you’ve accomplished on a daily basis, even if it’s just having dinner as a family, you feel good.
We physically write down our goals every single day. All of them. Our financial goals, our family goals, and our health goals. For example, one of my family goals is to play cards together once a week, and therefore, I have to schedule it in the calendar. Now that my kids are teenagers, they’re in and out all the time. We have to schedule it or it doesn’t happen. And it doesn’t happen unless I tell them, “Poker night is Tuesday!” and we write it down and make it a priority. When it doesn’t happen, I feel like crap, and I feel like I didn’t spend enough time with them. When we do have a game night, I feel good. We have more conversations, and I feel good about myself and our relationship with each other. I go to bed with a smile on my face. That’s what it’s all about. Figure out what actions we can take that make us proud of ourselves and help us go to bed with a smile on our faces.
Last week, I had a really long, busy week, and so, duh, come Friday night, I justified having one too many cocktails. That “made me” (obvi there was a gun to my head making me) watch one more episode of that freakin Imposters show. It sucks me in and I can’t turn it off. And naturally, if I’m going to watch one more, I might as well have one more drink! It’s Friday night! Except then Saturday morning when that alarm goes off, I hate everyone. Mostly myself. Why’d I do that? I did NOT want to get up and go. I wanted to sleep in. However, we have a really big hiking goal, and that’s WHY I set that goal. So I would get up and go even when I didn’t feel like it.
Our goal is to hike 600 miles this year. In order to accomplish this, we have to hike every Saturday and Sunday, or 12 miles per weekend. 600 miles seems insane, but 6 miles on a Saturday is no big deal. So when I was kicking myself for staying up late, the goals that were on the front of my mind from writing them down every morning kicked in: “Well, it’s Saturday, so get your hungover lazy ass out of bed!” That’s the power of focusing on what you want to accomplish, and that’s what’s really helped me cultivate that belief that I am enough and I am worthy of love. When I’m not pursuing a goal and not getting out of bed to get my body moving, I don’t feel good. I’ve done that thousands of times. I want to feel good. What I’ve learned is that I can’t DO good unless I FEEL good. There’s no way I can be a good mom or a good wife unless I feel good about myself.
Building confidence and habits go hand in hand—you can’t have one without the other. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned. The power of habits is so strong. It’s just about doing those simple things and feeling good about yourself after. And doing them so many days in a row, you don’t even have to think about it. It’s a habit. After hiking, I feel so good! After hiking, we get breakfast, eat bacon, make a little love (if you must know, ha!), and then John goes to work. That’s the good stuff in life, right? Bacon and s*x! Yes, I was tired in the morning (because of my bad decisions the night before). Yes, I didn’t want to go… but I KNOW how I will feel if I DO GO. I love our Saturday mornings together with just the two of us. I didn’t want to miss out on any of that. That’s how powerful it is when you just get up and go. You can’t get that feeling from anything else. You can only get it from doing what you say you’re going to do.
How did you choose the quotes in your Create Love Today Journal?
I actually had quotes all over my room when I was on my journey as a single mom. When I created my Journal, I was very intentional about the ones I chose. If you are a person seeking a mate, you might be having a hard time believing that it’s possible to find true love. So, I chose quotes that would help anyone who used my journal believe that real love is possible, because I use to believe it wasn’t possible for many many years.
I used to have all kinds of limiting beliefs. One of them was “I’ll just wait until the kids are older to date. Nobody’s going to want this sh*t show that’s happening in my house. Maybe I will date someone after they go to college.” I hear a lot of women out there, mostly single moms because I was one and I attracted a lot of them, say things like “There’s no way I’m getting married again,” “All men are [insert insult of choice: pigs, assholes, liars, cheaters, etc.]” statements. Or, “Marriages don’t last and all marriages end in divorce.” There are so many limiting beliefs that are going to keep you from attracting what you want. You’re keeping yourself from happiness with all of these beliefs you’re holding on to so tightly. You cannot let love in while holding onto the belief that love is not possible and all men suck. I know. I did that for years.
So I was really intentional about which quotes I picked. Each one is supposed to help someone say YES. Real love is possible, and give them another tool for changing their negative beliefs, because every day is a practice. It’s a never-ending journey.
Because everything that helps you feel good about yourself and helps you truly know your worth as a human being helps you get closer and closer to the person you are meant to be with. I believe that God has someone chosen for us and he is preparing us for each other. The timing is in God’s hands, but the single season is for us to get ourselves ready. And the first step is believing that an amazing husband is out there. Getting ready for us. on his way to us. When we stay in our negative beliefs and limiting beliefs about relationships, we get stuck. Negative beliefs about relationships or ourselves are like mud. We can’t move forward toward the life we want. I was there. I know what it’s like to hate men. I know what it’s like to never want to get married again. I know what it’s like to say “marriage sucks, and being single is freedom.” Wrong. Being married to a partner who adores me, cherishes me, supports me, and cheers me on every day is the ultimate freedom. I never would have written a book. I never would have started my own business. I feel supported instead of having to be a lone wolf fighting off dragons every day. He can fight some of them off for me! Multiply life buy the Power of Two, like the lyrics in the Indigo Girls Song. Each time you set a small quantifiable goal and do it, you’re creating that belief in yourself that you are worthy of love and worthy of amazing relationships. That’s when we attract the people into our lives that really enhance our lives. And not just romantic relationships; all relationships.
If you’re in the market for some encouragement and a sneak peek of the quotes that you’ll find in the Create Love Today Journal, visit three of my recent blog posts: “12 Quotes to Inspire You to Create the Life You Want,” “11 Quotes for Hopeless Romantics,” and “15 Quotes for Hope and Healing After Divorce.”
Stay tuned for further installments from the event “How to Attract Relationships that Move Your Forward!” If you’re more of a listener/watcher than a reader, keep an eye out on my Youtube Channel for a full video upload! Subscribe here, and don’t forget to turn on your notifications!
Wishing you lots of love,