Category Archives: Motivational

Review of My New Book – check it out! www.theweightlossmindset.com.au


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Merry Christmas From Lifestyle Design With Monica. New Book and New Website!!


Well, Hello to all the special people/ blog readers of Lifestyle Design With Monica!! Long time, no talk, huh??!! 

I can hardly believe how long it’s been since I’ve written a post here, but as you will see, there have been may reasons I haven’t, not one of them being that I’ve stopped writing. At all!! In fact…..

I am just about to release my book, The Weight Loss Mindset!! Promotions and marketing are running high here in the real world and lots of exciting things are happening, which is why I decided it’s about time I returned to my blogging roots and to thank ALL you wonderful people who have read and subscribed to my blog some time ago. So, THANK YOU!!! Without the support of people like you who took the time to read, comment and encourage my writing I may have come as far a I have (so to speak!!).

If you would like to continue to follow my journey (and I would sincerely LOVE you to!!), please drop by my new site, www.theweightlossmindset.com.au to find out more.

My new site will soon have a blog on it too, but even now you can sign up and I will stay in touch via my bulk email service. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about my book and also the newly associated products and services that will eventually be available on my site.

Because YOU are one of my early blog readers, YOU’LL BE THE FIRST TO HEAR!!

In the meantime, I would also like to wish you and your family a beautiful, safe and happy Christmas and New Year. There is so much untapped potential in us all and I wish for YOU, this festive seasons, your own feeling of abundance, success, joy and awakening possiblities in the NEW YEAR.  It truly can be a great one for all of us, if we choose to make it so, no matter what else happens in our lives.

With Much Love, Peace and Happiness,

Monica xxoo

PS To reply to this post, please just leave a comment. I WOUL LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO, AS WELL. Any successes or recent triumphs you have experienced with you blog or life?  PLEASE SHARE!!

How To Find Out What’s Driving Your Chosen Endeavour, Plus Easy Ways To Make Purpose and Meaning Your Answer


Have you ever stopped to ponder why you do what you do? Why you are working toward a particular project? Why you follow a particular hobby or passion? Why you do a particular job or parent your kids the way you do?

If it is because you feel excited and purposeful in doing them and that these experiences are creating real meaning and opportunities for you, then my head is nodding and my hands are clapping, ‘cos I love your answers!!!

If, per chance, your response is any of the following, then perhaps there is a  discussion to be explored here.

1) I do what I do, because of the money.

2) I do what I do, because that's what or how my parents did it.

3) I do what I do, because it's what I've done for a long time.
It makes me feel comfortable. Safe. Bored.

4) I do what I do, because that's what most people my age or
 in my peer/social group are doing.

5) I do what I do, because I'm afraid if I made a change,
it might be hard. Or not work out. Or. Something.

My intention in putting these ideas to you is simply to ask you to think. Or maybe to stop thinking in the way you may have been and ask yourself some different questions. Questions like:-

1) What really makes me happy, excited, inspired, gives me energy and purpose? Could I do that instead? Or at least try it?

2) Is what was right for my parents, right for me?

3) Is doing what I’ve always done really working for me? Is it providing a truly fulfilling and purposeful life for me?

4) Are there other people, in my age and peer group, who are doing something great with their lives? Something I admire them for and would like to emulate?

5) Is refusing or choosing not to change or not to stretch myself to learn and experience something outside of my comfort zone really working for me? Perhaps there is some value to had in trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone.  

Life is short. It is also full of possibilities. Established careers, jobs and ‘traditional’ roles don’t have to dictate who you are or what you do. If you’re not satisfied with the way yours is, why not create a new one for yourself using the above questions as a starting point? Maybe you already have?

Maybe you have already explored those questions and moved on, beyond the ‘expected’ role or label society has stamped you with. Or maybe you’d like to.

I love exploring these type of topics and certainly do not profess to have all the answers. Maybe I’ve got it wrong. Maybe there is more I need to know or discover.

What do you think?

Are you purpose driven in your endeavours?

Does what you do or are striving to do really excite and inspire you?

Is wanting to help improve the lives of others or just reaching out and connecting something you think is a purposeful goal?

What other ways can we inject purpose and meaning into everything we do?

Goal Setting Skills In Action, A Little Revision or The Surprising Power Of Mini Goals


This past week I have been using my time to work toward my BIG goal of getting my book into print. This is no small task and without some sort of plan, realised, I would not find it easy to mobilise myself into action.

So, I set about creating one and now have, what I believe to be, a blueprint for making this book a physical reality.

Along the way however I realised I needed to do a bit of revision in the goal setting area. How had I achieved things in the past, I began to ask? What stratergies had I used when I was losing weight or writing my first ebook?

Since I had actually written extensively about this subject in my ebook, I thought that taking another look at what I had already written about goal setting (in relation to losing weight) might be helpful.

I then thought I might also share this revision with you, so below is a brief extract (edited and reshaped) from Reframe Weight Loss. It is from Chapter 6, Gaining Your Goal Setting Skills. NB The emphasis in the extract is on weight loss goals, but you can substitute your own goals for the weight loss ones and I hope still find some relevance for you.

Start of Extract

Prelude: After discussing my own strategy and then emphasizing the importance  of a goal achieving strategy, I then continue with the following:-

 Chiefly, these strategies were and should be for you:

1. State and express your goal in a positive way. 

2. Be exact!! State exactly when, using a specific date and time that you want to achieve your goal by. A good adage to keep in mind with this strategy is:

3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TIME YOUR PLAN, BUT ALSO TO PLAN YOUR TIME!

4. Next, write all your goals down on a piece of paper.

5. Place them somewhere where you will see (and review them) often!!

Bite-sized Tasks 

 Okay, so that’s a simple approach to the BIG GOAL. Now, to the real ‘magic’ of goal setting – breaking it down.

It is my belief that no one has ever gotten anything done by sitting and looking only at the BIG PICTURE. That’s not the thing to focus on.

Although it is always important to have that vision alive and vibrant in your mind, it is actually in achieving the many mini goals along the way that is going to get you there. Similar to the BIG GOAL, your mini goals should also have a ‘to be completed by’ date and time. Once again, be precise and be specific.

For  example, your first mini goal may be ‘to lose two kg by the first day of the next month this year. (As I don’t know the exact date that you’re reading this, I’ll let you fill in the more specific month names and year!) After you have a list of all your mini goals, it’s now time to set some even smaller mini goals.

Staying with our mini goal of losing two kg by the first day of the next month, let’s break it down even further. First, two kg in one month is approximately 0.5kg a week.

Great, a much more achievable outcome and one you can ‘see’ clearly and work toward!

From here, the next step is to define the actions and steps you are going to take daily that will get you to that 0.5kg. If you’ve read the preceding chapters of this book, then I think you already know how to do that.

Now however, is the time to get specific. You may end up with about 10 mini tasks that you are going to perform this week, or perhaps a daily ‘to do list’.

Achieving and crossing off these daily tasks will get you to that weekly goal of 0.5kg weight loss.

A review of some of the work we have done so far may assist you in writing these mini tasks. I can set out an example for you of what the first five might look like (they may be familiar to you, as we’ve already touched on them earlier), but it will be up to you to write your own personal and relevant ones. Okay, so maybe something like this:

1. This week, I will continue the exercises I have begun in ‘The Seven-day Plan.’ If I have joined a gym, I will attend three times this week!!

2. For this week, I will only home cook. No takeaway food (this includes snacks and meals).

3.My home cooking will be from my own low-fat recipe book or from my own personal eating plan.

 4. I will replace all my between-meal snacks with fruit, low-fat yoghurt or a low-fat protein smoothie.

 5. I will stay within my calculated ‘calories for weight loss’ and keep an accurate record of everything I eat and drink.

 Important: stay mindful of your mini tasks and remind yourself of them frequently throughout the week.

Setting weekly mini goals is the way to continue, and if at any point even these seem too hard, then take a step back, be realistic and reset some smaller goals; ones that you KNOW without a doubt that you wil.l achieve.

 Gently Raising The Bar

I would like to quickly share with you a simple short story about ‘raising the bar’ that may help clarify for you the effectiveness of ‘mini goals’. It is about a method used in Japan to train children into ‘Ninja Warriors’, and is similar to one that many high jumpers also use to gradually improve their performance. 

For each Ninja child in training a bamboo shoot is planted, and from the very first day that child must jump over it. As it grows and gets higher, the children continue to jump over it on a daily basis. At first, when the bamboo shoot is very low, the task is simple. Then as the canes get a fraction higher each day, the children have to stretch themselves and jump a little higher to succeed. The result however is that they all end up jumping over quite tall canes with surprising ease.

The metaphor for us is clear. Doing just a little bit more, pushing ourselves just a little bit further each day, can amount to huge achievements in our lives, achievements that may not have been possible to attain without a commitment to some smaller daily improvements.

From little things, big things grow!!

I would also just like to add that I have faith that you can find the inspiration (indeed I hope you already have, in this book!!) to achieve each new behaviour, each new habit and each new way to be that you set your mind to. Just like the little Ninja Warriors.”

End Of Extract

That is the extract that I re-read this week and it has helped me to make some progress toward the mini tasks required to achieve my BIG task of publishing my book in print. Just like when I was working toward reaching my weight loss goal (which was a big number of kilos to lose) I am trying not to get overwhelmed with the BIG PICTURE, but rather to focus on the bite sized tasks that are easy and achievable for me on a daily basis.
 But what do you think?
Is this a good way to go about achieving BIG goals?
 
What goal achieving strategies have you employed?
 
Are they effective and do they  make the project (what ever it is) more manageable and achievable for you?
 
Are you working toward some BIG GOAL in your life?
Are there any tips or strategies of your own you can teach us about or add to my list of goal setting strategies?

Blog Posts and Teachers That Changed My Life (So Far) or How To Recognise A Dare To Be Great Enabler


 

The only difference between where you are today, and where you’ll be a year from today, are the books you read and the people you meet. – Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones

For the relevance of this post, please substitute the word ”books” for “posts, comments and emails” in the above quote!

 

Dare To Be Great

During my final year of primary school, I was lucky enough to be taught by the only catholic nun in Australia, who didn’t hit kids in the 70’s. But that’s not all she did right.

Sister Mary Therese was also a great encourager. She had a passion for writing and instead of the textbook poetry and essays that the educational curriculum dictated she use, Sr Therese instead, shared her own writing. Powerful  and original stories and poetry about nature, colour, God, love and whatever other subjects that 12-year-old catholic children needed to expand their horizons in, Sr Therese wrote about it.

Her creations were glued into our workbooks alongside our own poetry and essays – note: they were pasted alongside our creations.

This is where this wonderful person’s teaching became great. 

As you may have surmised, my grade 7 class admired and looked up to Sr Therese (me, in particular for her writing) and when her praise or encouragement was given via a comment on our work (pasted alongside her own) the impact was so uplifting that not only did our grades improve, we were also happier more positive students. Personally, Sr Therese was the catalyst for my first writing submission to (and subsequent publishing in) one of our cities major newspapers.

I was a published author (so to speak!) at 12 – all because of the love and encouragement given by a person whom I admired and looked up to. 

Sr Therese therefore, is always first on my (self-created) list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

Blog Posts and Bloggers

Many years later (after 2 kids, a career in nursing and a stint of tertiary education) I am still meeting Dare To Be Great enablers. These people have not only garnered my loyalty but also encouraged me to keep writing, through their praise and positive feedback and sometimes, just through their own willingness to share their valuable time, energy and wisdom.

Doing some of these things was possibly, to them, like leaving a drop in the ocean, but the impact they had on me, was much greater.

There are many I could mention that I have discovered just recently, but if I was to go start with one significant person, it would be Craig Harper (at www.craigharper.com.au) .

 I was lucky enough to discover Craig’s blog way back in its early stages (before his 45,000 subscribers came along!) and it was then that Craig offered (in response to a comment I wrote) to read some of the articles that I was then preparing for magazine submissions.

His email reply a day or two later left me ecstatic, because yep, he praised and encouraged me. He wrote the words – “Your writing is good. Really good. You’ve got to get published”. I couldn’t believe it. Someone whom I truly admired and looked up to had (again) encouraged me!

Craig was the catalyst for the work I then did in writing and publishing my first e-book (something I’m not sure I would not have ventured into had it not been for his encouragement).

Craig is next on my personal list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

So why am I giving these two teachers of mine such a poetic title when perhaps just ‘nice people’ would do? Because some people rise to  a different level in their willingness to help and support others. Some people do more than just be nice. Some people understand (and practice) the simple power of words, spoken or written, with a positive attitude and given freely for the benefit of others.

These people, in my mind, are Dare To Be Great enablers.

One More Surprising Teacher

I was reflecting yesterday upon these people and the way they have so positively impacted on my life, when something else happened to one of my kids, that I know will have a long and lasting (and very positive) impact on her.

In a way, I view this little episode in her young life, as the universe’s way of poking its tongue at me, her mother, and going “Na, na, na, na – nah!”, but I digress… here’s the short version of her greatest (so far) moment.

My daughter has a You Tube channel which is solely dedicated to her admiration for one popular young artist called…(I have been so sick of hearing this name) Justin Bieber. Like many young girls she talks, sings, dreams and (so I found out) writes and shares comments with her growing number of friends on the channel about her idol. She also frequently visits his channel.

Now to a mother all this can at times, be a little tiring, somewhat concerning and at other times, down right annoying!! Should I have her de-progammed or something? Should I make her close her You Tube account (oh and by the way, this interest has not and is not affecting her focus on school and/or other accomplishments/she is a great student). Yes, all these questions plague me at times, but lately I have weighed it all up and decided to accept and not fight this passing (I hope) stage.

And then yesterday my daughter had one of her uplifting and memorable moments when the young artist himself dropped by her You Tube channel and personally wrote several, very nice lines, full of positive, kind words offering her encouragement and inspiration.

Of course, she cried!

Now whether the person who posted that comment was in fact her idol or whether it was a publicist or another Bieber employee, isn’t relevant.

What is relevant is the wonderful impact it had on her. She felt (and I understand that feeling) so positive after reading it, that I dare say she’ll be dancing and smiling for the rest of the year! Her very first Dare To Great enabler (from a very unexpected source) has paid her a visit and changed her outlook for the better.

So my question to you today is this – Have you yourself ever given praise or encouragement that has changed someone’s life (or day) for the better?

Do you think it is possible that we can all be Dare To Be Great enablers, if we choose to?

Who has impacted upon your life or business in a memorable and encouraging way?

I would also like to encourage you yourself (and I’m going to do this too) to offer some praise today – to your kids, your spouse, a work colleague or friend.

See what impact you have.

Even if we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
(adapted from Mother Theresa)

Could Having A Multi Niche Blog Expand Your Cyber Growth and Development?


Building a blog, I have come to believe, is similar in some ways to building your own home. First you find a vacant piece of land (a few Kilobytes),  a builder (wordpress.com for me) and then, perhaps a draftsman to draw up your plans (a website designer).

Ultimately though the true architect of your blog is you.

You, The Creator

Just as designing and planning your home gives you the opportunity to leave your own personal imprint on the world, so too does your blog. It is your creation, your energy, your time, your viewpoint and your slant on whatever subject your passionate about.

It is YOU in a cyber package.

Which brings me to this point – YOU are also a multidimensional being.

You have a heart as well as a mind and experiences as well as thoughts. Likewise you have infinite possibilities for what and how much you share in the blogosphere.

So why limit yourself ?

Single Vs Multi Niche

Of course maybe you have a very good reason for limiting what you write  about – maybe what you are really doing is zooming in your focus and narrowing down your subject area – all with good intent and outcome. If so, good on you!!

But can and should we all be doing the same?

I don’t profess to actually have the answer to that question, by the way. Rather, I would like to open up the subject for discussion with you and see if there is some consensus or preference amongst other bloggers.

Some questions I have in relation to this area:-

Do you think it is necessary to blog in a niche?

Is a multi niche blog something you already have or would considered creating?

Do you agree or disagree that we (unintentionally) limit our options by narrowing our focus in one particular area?

Inspiration

Recently I read a post by the gifted Marcus Sheridan, who was guest posting over at The Blogging Bookshelf.  Marcus was (for want of a better term) playing the devil’s advocate, by suggesting that many blogs, now alive and well in the blogosphere, will soon disappear and die, sadly even before their first birthday.

It was a very thought-provoking post and if you and your blog have not yet blown the number 1 candle out on your blogging birthday cake, then I would highly recommend reading it.

It was in fact a post that gave me the impetus to write this one, as I paused to reflect on his observations and the meaning they had for me.

What kept coming up for me (in my thoughts) were the ideas that are now in this post.

Embracing The New

In my first few months of blogging I focussed on providing thought-provoking and motivational tales about weight loss. After writing a whole book on the subject however, I eventually found that I had nothing further to say on the matter; 28,ooo words in an e-book had just about covered what I wanted to share.

I did (and still do) however have a strong interest in personal development which in many ways is tied to the journey of weight loss and better health.

So, I began to expand my content.

Now, 7 or 8 months later and there are many more areas that I now regularly read, research and learn about. Self publishing, writing as a craft, blogging and personal branding are some of the areas I am now studying.

Apart from the personal benefits I gain from this, I also now have heaps more to blog about! A double bonus!

So what are your thoughts?

Is multi niching for you?

What has been your experience and history in the blogosphere?

Has your focus shifted over time?

Seven Surprising Reasons You Should Keep Blogging or How To Get A Positive Blogging Mindset


“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” (Michael Arrington)

Do you still love to blog? Yes, yes?? Ahhh, good, then you need read no further.

If however, you are amongst the many who (after a certain time frame) start thinking about quitting their blog or maybe trying something else, then this post is for you!

Reasons You Should Keep Going

1. You're good at it and you have learnt so much!!

Aside from what others may tell you from time to time or maybe what they don’t tell you (not enough of us share our positive thoughts sometimes) if you’ve been working hard and learning lots about your niche, then you probably know what you’re talking about it!!  The very fact that you are a unique individual means that you also have a totally unique ‘take’ on your subject matter. This means you have something very valuable to share!

2. Every blogger is a teacher, too.

 I like to think along the lines that every blogging connection and cyberfriend I make along my blogging journey is someone sent to teach me something. Not only do you gain skills as a writer by blogging, you also gain knowledge by reading what others have to share with you.

3. Blogging itself teaches you to be resilient.

My young children are learning this skill at school. They are taught to interpret their experiences in such a way as to ensure that they always bounce back and are often reminded of Rule Number 6, which simply states “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

I think these are great thoughts to keep in mind, if you ever feel let down or disheartened in your blogging or marketing endeavours. Just keep on going, you’ll get there!!

4. Everyone is listening.

 Despite that at times we don’t get 100% feedback, I think bloggers have to keep the fact in mind that other people are listening. I have spoken (in the real world) to people who have read blogs (and loved them!) for years and never ever left a comment (personally I couldn’t do that as I love to talk/comment!!).

5. By starting and maintaining a blog, you are leaving a legacy.

Think about this for a minute:- everything you have ever said in cyberspace stays there forever!!

6. Not everyone can do it!!

Despite the fact that there are millions of blogs in the world, not everyone on the planet will write one. For many people even the very idea of writing and being out in a public arena is way too scary. Some could never do it, so appreciate the fact that you can and keep on doing it!! Nurture your own awesomeness!!

7. You're discovering new things about yourself.

At least I think you are. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree about that one! Whilst I have spoken to many who say they have grown, learnt and changed as people all through blogging and still others who have cherished blogging friendships, I would love to hear what blogging has taught you!

Can you add a number 8 or 9 to this list?

Apart from your own marketing or business success with blogging, what have you gained through blogging from a personal perspective?

Do you see yourself as a teacher or mentor to others?

If so, does this motivate you to keep on blogging?