Monday, October 20, 2014

Avoid Falling Into A Funk During Rough Times. Think About The Best Days Of Your Life.

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I have been having a really rough few weeks.  My mom who has an ongoing illness has been in and out of the hospital a lot and just feeling really crappy even while at home.  It's so hard to watch someone you love go through difficulties.  

It would be so easy for me to fall into a funk right now but I really want to ward that off. So I am going to focus on the phrase this too shall pass, remembering all of the times God has come through for me, and sharing a few of the best days of my life.

In no particular order:
  • Going to see Oprah's Life You Want Tour.  What an amazing experience it left me smiling for days.  Read about it here.  
  • Driving home on my 1st car (that im still driving) 9 years ago. I'd researched it, picked it out and financed it all by myself.   My dad went with me and he was just as excited and proud of me as I was. 
  • The day my ex surprised me with roses at work and latter told me he had put money on an engagement ring.  Things did not work out with us but it was such a great feeling to feel loved and confident in having a partner to go through life with.   I look forward to experiencing that again when I find my Mr. Joy Chaser.
  • My college graduation from Temple University.  I felt so proud of myself and excited about my future.
  • My high school senior proms.  These were the first times I got a glimpse of myself as an attractice and maybe even sexy woman. 
 There were many other joyful days in my life. These are a few of the best.  Despite being worried about my mom I am smilong as I type this.  During tough times remembering our best days can help us stay hopeful and positive.

What are some of the best days of your life?



Friday, October 17, 2014

Increase Blog Traffic on #FlashbackFriday: Renovation My Temple

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It's Friday Joy Chasers!  That means it is time to increase your blog traffic by linking up for #FlashbackFriday!  Don't have a blog?  That's Ok.  Use the #FlashbackFriday linky to find some some new blogs to read.

Here are the details. Every Friday on Chasing Joy we flash back to some of our older posts to give them a moment in the spotlight.  Pick any older post you like and add it below.  Link ups are fun and a great way to increase your blog traffic and find new blogs to read!!!  You can also increase blog traffic by sharing your post on the Chasing Joy Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #FlashbackFriday.  Also, I will Pin your post to the new #FlashbackFirday Pinterest Board.  

** Please Note** Linkys only work when everyone plays fair.  Be sure to visit at least two other blogs from the link up and leave  a comment.  Pick any two you like or keep it simple and visit the two blogs linked up before yours.  If you link up early be sure to come back and visit a blogs that linked up after you.

My favorite posts from last week's link up are:
Yulunda's post on how to build up others and be supportive.
Shameika's post on the rapper Common, Cheerleading, and Greatness is just that, Greatness. 
This week I am linking up Renovating My Temple which discusses some behavior modifications that I thought would help me be healthier and lose weight.  I need to revisit this list.

What are you linking up?  Tell us in the comments.  Then add your blog post to the linky below. Don't forget to grab the #FlashbackFriday button from the sidebar above.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

4 Things That You Can Control When Life is Out of Control

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There are times when life is really hard and out of control.  You may have a sick relative, trouble at work, difficulties with your spouse, bill collectors that won't stop calling, feel lonely, or any other sad circumstance in your life.   During these times we may feel helpless and out of control, like life is happening to us.  This is the feeling I hate the most.  I felt a lot like this the other week when my mom was sick.  I felt helpless and like I could not control anything.  However, at some point I did have an epiphany.  I realized that no matter what was going on in my life there are a few things that I have complete control of.

Focusing on what you can control when life is putting you through the ringer will help you keep it together until more joyful times return.  Here are 4 things that are within your control even when life is kicking your tail. 
  1. What goes in your mouth.  Emotional eating is a real thing.  In general it is not a good thing and can lead to weight gain and an unhealthy relationship with food.  However, when things around you are making you feel like you have no say in anything in your life.  Deciding to have that favorite treat can help.  Or an even better option would be remembering that you can have complete control of the quality of the food you eat and choosing something that will not only make you feel good but be good for you.
  2. Your spiritual practice. There are no circumstances or situations in life that you cannot pray about.  It does not cost you any money and very little time.  You can multi-task even.  I have prayed while walking, driving, eating, showering, etc...  You can even ask other to pray with or for you.  Prayer can give you a calming feeling and having other's pray for you can help you remember that you are not alone.  I find prayers thanking God for all of the good things that are happening helps me remember that not everything is bad because.  For example when my mom was in the hospital I routinely thanked God for allowing me to be able to be there with her, that I lived so close to the hospital, and that my car was working to take me back and forth.  Those gratitude remanded me that God was still working even during the difficult time.  
  3. Your thoughts.  This can be a hard one.  I struggle to control my thoughts and keep them joyful.  It is a struggle but it is possible and I am getting better at it.  One method I use is when I have worrisome thoughts is to tell myself that it is not time to think about that yet and focus on something else.  I may have to do it multiple times though but practice makes perfect.  Another method I use is distraction. For me this comes in the form of Netflix, YouTube, candy crush, Sudoku,  reading blogs, and doing anything that will take my mind off of stressful things.
  4. How you look.  When thing are not going well it may feel silly or even shallow to focus on your appearance.  But making sure your clothes and hair are neat and clean can go along way towards making you feel better.  Add a little blush or putting on your favorite color can give you a bigger boost.  It may sound shallow but there are times when being able to say at least I look cute may be the thing that keeps you going.
I hope you don't find yourself in a situation where you feel life is just happening to you any time soon.  However if you do focus on the few things that you can control and make the best of those choices.  What are some things you focus on when life gets super stressful?  What things do yo feel are always within your control regardless of what else is going on in your life?  

Monday, October 13, 2014

4 Goals To Bring More Joy. 8 Week Update: It Aint Good But It's Honest!

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Time flies so I hope you are having fun.  I am referring to how fast the last eight weeks have come and gone. Eight weeks ago I set four life changing goals that will bring me more joy.  Now it's time to assess my progress.

The best thing about my goals is that they are long term goals. I have not made as much progress on them as I'd like so its good that my time is not up.  However,  over the last 8 weeks I did do some really important work in creating a foundation for my goals.  I turned 4 general goals into SMART Goals.  That is, I made them Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time Sensitive.  I also made sure I was avoiding the common mistakes people typically make when setting goals.

Now that I have set the foundation it is time to go to work and actually accomplish my goals.  Checking in regularly will help me stay on track and accountable with you all.  Here goes.

1. Lose weight.  My specific goal is to lose  80 pounds and wear a size 14. The timeline is set for this goal includes meeting the 1st milestone of losing 20 pounds by the end of the year.  As of right now I am off track.  I have actually gained 9lbs in the last 8 weeks.  I was doing pretty good initially but have really fallen off in the last three weeks.  I have not been sticking to the action plan.  The good thing about doing these updates, which will now happen every 4 week, is that I can use them to refocus and adjust the action plan if needed.

My action plan for this goal was Eat 3 servings of vegetables and 1 fruit on work days and 2 vegetables and 1 fruit on non work days.  Work my way up to 1 gallon of water per day, with help of the water app. Limit my carbs. Work out at least 3 days a week. Be in bed before midnight on work nights and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night on non-work nights.

This week I cooked chicken and vegetable soup to help with my  veggie intake.  I will be having it for breakfast.  I know it sounds weird but that will be one serving out of the way bright and early.  I did download the water app and have been making improvements there.  I do think I need get more specific with one thing on my action plan.  I need to avoid sugar.  I have let carbs that I had avoided most of the summer sneak back in when I added in fruit.  I need to keep the fruit but cut, cut, cut the sugar and fake sweeteners.

As of today there are about 11 weeks until the end of the year.  With my initial timeline I need to lose 29 (20 + the 9 I gained).  That comes to 2.6lbs a week. I still feel this is a realistic goal.  But I will have to work harder.  The key I know is following the action plan.

2. Go from single to in a relationship. To be clear this goal is for a happy healthy committed relationship with someone who is just as excited about me as I am about him.  One of my two sub goals to get me on the love track were to go on 15 dates in 6 months.  I have gone on 1 in the last 8 weeks.  It was a nice date.  A follow up was planned and then canceled by the guy.  We have still be in communication but I'm not sure it's going anywhere. The good thing is I have been more honest with this guy than I ever have about my feelings.  It has been interesting in a good way.   The other sub goal was to get clear about what I was looking for in a mate by writing out a list.  I have not done this yet.  My time line is Halloween so I need to get on it.

I am making one change to my action plan for this goal.  Part of the plan was to be active at least once a week on free dating sites. I am going to go for quality over quantity.  I have signed up for Match.com this weekend. I am thinking that a guy who is willing to pay for a site may be a bit more serious about dating than the guys on the free sites.  I am not completely abandoning the free sites.  However I do plan to deactivate them and sign back up with a new profile that is more reflective of my current state of mind.

3. Have more fun. This goal can be quite abstract so I specified it to do at least one fun activity every week.  Of the four goals I have been the most successful with this one.  Other than the 1 week when my mom was in the hospital I have been having fun.  Here is a sampling of the good times I've had in the last 8 weeks.  I went to the Oprah #LifeYouWantTour, attended #WGSPhilly (Women Get Social Philly) bloggers conference, Took my mom on a mini vacation to Atlantic City, went on a date, had diner and caught up with a friend, went to brunch with a group of girlfriends, went to see the Equalizer at Movie Tavern (its really cool they sever you dinner during the movie),  went out to dinner two other friends  for Center City Philadelphia Restaurant Week and went to a mixer for urban professionals. This is really good.  Just reading the list of fun times makes me feel pretty good about my life.  And for the record, I even had a happy hour and a girls night in on my calendar for the week my mom was sick.

The action plan of having something fun planned on the calendar by Wednesday every week is working so I will keep it up.

4. Write 1st Draft of Chasing Joy Book. This goal includes writing the introduction, all paragraphs, title, and layout.  The action plan for this goal was to write for 10 minutes each day using my phone's timer. I have done this exactly 2 times.  I have much more work to do on this goal.  I am revising the action plan to at least 5 minutes a day.  I can do this in the bathroom on my phone's notepad if need be.

So there you have it, my update.  It is not good but I have been honest.  Checking in with you guys more regularly will help me to stay on track and be more motivated.  Last week I wrote about Asking, Believing, and Receiving as part of the process to accomplishing these goals. Between that and regularly checking in with the SMART goals process I know these life changing goals will be accomplished.  You guys supporting me is the icing on the cake, or should I say the cherry on top of my fruit salad instead.

How often do you check in on where you are with your long term goals?  Do you think monthly check-ins are enough?  How do you get back on track when you realized you have veered of course?  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Increase Blog Traffic on #FlashbackFriday: Inspire To Thrive On Make It Happen Monday

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Friday! Friday! Friday!  You know what that means.  It's time to increase our blog traffic by linking up for t #FlashbackFriday!  Don't have a blog?  Then its time to find some some new blogs to read.

Every Friday on Chasing Joy we flash back to some of our older posts to give them a moment in the spotlight.  Pick any older post you like and add it below.  Link ups are fun and a great way to increase your blog traffic and find new blogs to read!!!  You can also increase blog traffic by sharing your post on the Chasing Joy Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #FlashbackFriday.  Also, I will Pin your post to the new #FlashbackFirday Pinterest Board.  

Linkys only work when everyone plays fair.  Be sure to visit at least two other blogs from the link up and leave  a comment.  Pick any two you like or keep it simple and visit the two blogs linked up before yours.  If you link up early be sure to come back and visit a blogs that linked up after you

My favorite posts from last week's link up are:
Purses, Keys, and Babies which has really cute pictures :-)
Con Delight - Michal has really nice pictures of California and of a squirrel that looks way bigger than the ones we have in PA.
This week I am linking up Inspire to Thrive on Make it Happen Monday.  This post invites you all to join in the goal setting fun every Monday using the #MakeitHappenMonday hashtag.  The post also invites you to check out a guest post I wrote on Inspire to Thrive.


What are you linking up?  Tell us in the comments.  Then add your blog post to the linky below.  

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