New Year’s Resolution . . in February!

new day resolutionWhat resolutions have you made for this new year? Is your response like mine? You answer “no” along with a little head shake because you KNOW that resolutions don’t work! Maybe you did set a resolution and it has already been broken. So often resolutions are broken and it seems that many are set with the idea that they will be broken. Due to the lack of accomplishment I have resisted setting New Years resolutions. I have set goals and talked of dreams for the new year . . . and broken those too so really the wording doesn’t matter.

I do know people who have had success with resolutions. Like AJ who went one year without candy or soda, I went a year without fast food or soda which was a huge accomplishment at the time. A friend went a year without French fries. Resolve is necessary to accomplish these goals and the personal discipline required is huge.

By means of accountability, and to set the stage for many of my blogs this year, here are my 2014 resolutions:
I resolve to create freedom in three areas of my life.
I resolve to be healthy by releasing weight.
I resolve to be wealthy by releasing debt.
I resolve to be peaceful by releasing stress.

** NOTE: I originally wrote this blog towards the end of January. It is still very fitting and lines up perfectly with some posts to come in the near future.

This is just the beginning. I cannot create freedom, health, wealth and peace by simply making these statements or reading them daily. I have a detailed action plan for each one. I have several levels of accountability in place in each area. These statements, however, give me an easy filter for all of my choices. When facing a food decision I can ask myself, “Does this move me toward health?” When choosing how involved to be in an activity I can ask myself, “Will this promote peace?” Arriving at my goals and accomplishing my resolutions is ultimately a matter of choice. Every choice matters – big choices and, especially, small choices.

Have you resolved to make this year different than the previous year, or the previous 5 years? Today – right now – is the best time to get started!
What are your resolutions? Is it time to put some on paper?
What choices will you make today to move you in the direction of your dreams and goals?

It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

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Oh Man!

I love my family!

I love my family!

That unsettling moment when . . . you realize the problem one of your children is having actually stems from your poor choices and not just theirs! I just had one of those gut-wrenching realizations during a discussion with one of my kids. My child is fully owning and processing that poor choice and now so am I.

My personal lack of discipline directly impacted my kid. Would he/she have made the same choice even if I was fully living the disciplined life I desire? Perhaps, but I am taking this nudge in my spirit as a real wake-up call to get some things in order and under control in my personal life. My personal disciplines have been lax at best.

The reality is that every choice, to do or not do something that I know I should or should not do, is critical and impacts not only my life and dreams, but those around me as well. I am not alone in the consequences of my choices.

This comes on the heels of my aha around the extra effort it takes to make a life extraordinary. If I wasn’t sure which area needed a little extra attention, it is crystal clear now. I can’t simply hope things get better. It is time to make a plan, set it in motion, and install accountability. There is much at stake.

Be Extraordinary!

Just a Little Bit More

If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that my desire and passion is to live an extraordinary life. An extraordinary life is not simply made up of extraordinary events – although that is part of it – but is a life lived out in daily obedience. My obedience is a response to the voice, promptings, and intuitions of God. This means obedience to crazy-big decisions (i.e. donating a kidney!) AND also to the small things (i.e. taking that extra moment to look my child in the eyes!)

In light of this desire, I have been challenged this week by my business and life coach, Tony, and through the book by Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect. I realize that my “extraordinary” life has become safe and complacent. I have been giving the bare minimum. A truly extraordinary life requires something extra, something more, than the average person is willing to give.

Just a little bit moreImagine what would happen if in each task we take on today we did just a little bit more.

Business: Instead of making ten calls, make eleven.

Finance: Instead of putting $50 in the savings account, put $55.

Parenting: Instead of the 30 second “close your eyes and go to sleep” speech, give five intentional snuggling and listening moments at bedtime.

Marriage: Instead of greeting spouses with a quick kiss and “how was your day?”, greet with a full seven second kiss followed by an embrace.

Health: Instead of the regular 30 minutes on the treadmill, push an extra two minutes at the fastest pace.

These ideas may seem small, but what would happen if we embraced just a little bit more over time? This is what Darren Hardy calls “the compound effect.” Our choices compound over time, whether negative or positive. And extraordinary does not come about because of a one-time decision; it comes about through the compounded results of little choices each day.

Where can you step up to live extraordinary in your life? What little choices will you make that over time will make all the difference? This is the crazy thing about extraordinary living: making one extra sales call or spending two extra minutes on the treadmill don’t seem that extraordinary, but the results of those actions and that mindset creates an extraordinary life.

It is not always easy, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Green Smoothie

Smoothie #1

Smoothie #1

I love green. It’s my favorite color. I love to wear green and I love to see green in the grass and trees in the summer. There are so many beautiful shades of green. I even like to eat green foods – celery, cucumbers, broccoli and spinach. In spite of all of this love for green I have never wanted to drink a green smoothie. Actually, I may have wanted to but couldn’t get past the thought of it tasting like wheat grass. I know some of you love that, but I have a limit in eating things that taste too much like the earth. Personal problem, I know.

Smoothie #2

Smoothie #2

I decided to get over my fear and brave the green smoothie. I was very pleasantly surprised, in fact, a little shocked. Since my first green smoothie adventure I have tried a few varieties of the beautiful green drink. If you have not yet ventured into the world of green this is a great (and pretty tame) way to do it. If you are a green smoothie expert, please share your recipes below, on my Facebook page, or on my Pinterest Smoothie board.

I have included several “Traci Tested” recipes to get you started.

Smoothie #3

Smoothie #3

Very Green Smoothie #1 (this was the first recipe I tried)
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– Half an avocado
– One cup frozen strawberries
– Half a banana
– 1 cup water

Super Berry Green Smoothie #2
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– One scoop Vanilla Nutrimeal
– Two scoops Orange Cream Nutrimeal
– Half cup Bolthouse Farms Berries + carrot
– Half cup water
– Five ice cubes

Smoothie #4

Smoothie #4

Apple Blueberry Green Smoothie #3 (made by my sister-in-law, Naomi)
– Large handful baby spinach
– One cup blueberries
– Half an apple
– Ice
– Water

Chocolate Green Smoothie #4
– 3 scoops USANA Chocolate Nutrimeal
– Large handful spinach
– Ice
– Water

The green smoothie world is a great, healthy adventure!

Be Extraordinary!

Eat Problems for Breakfast

problems for breakfastProblems. Conflict. Issues.

What do you do with these? I have had a variety of responses to problems throughout my life. I have avoided conflict completely, attempted to make peace at all costs, and everything in between.

What is your first thought when you discover a problem or conflict in your office, between your children, with your spouse, parents, or a neighbor? Avoid? Make peace? Call a friend and tell them? Stress? Panic? Anger? Eye roll and a long sigh? Annoyed? ______?

Now that you have that answer and feeling in your mind, I have another question before you continue: Do you want to live an extraordinary life? If the answer is no that’s fine, but you don’t need to finish reading this post. If the answer is yes, then consider with me a new (or renewed) view of the problems in your life and business.

First, if you are living an extraordinary life, there better be problems.

No Problems No ProgressNo problems . . . No progress!

I’ve heard this phrase said a number of different ways, but my favorite is by Brian Klemmer, “Great leaders eat problems for breakfast!” What does that mean? It means that extraordinary people (aka leaders) go after problems. The extraordinary move towards problems. The extraordinary wake up ready to tackle the problems and challenges of the day. The extraordinary are willing to develop and practice the skills to solve big problems. The more extraordinary, the better the skills, and the bigger the problems. Problems grow us and when we take them head on we become the people better able to handle the bigger problems in the future.

Avoidance of problems = Avoidance of progress

If you think that your business is good or your relationships are good because there are no problems, I encourage you to look again. This is not about creating problems, but facing conflict as it comes up. I have had this opportunity with one of my kids. This child and I went through a season of “peace”. This peace was really an avoidance of conflict. It seemed easier to avoid than to go through the mess of getting to the source of the problem. Who wants to hear their child say how they are not measuring up as a parent? I didn’t want to hear it and the false peace was better to this child than having to say it.  We had no “problems” and we made no progress in our relationship until I was willing to go after and move toward the problem. Through the process I developed more skills to help me better handle more problems.

It actually takes more energy to avoid problems than it does to solve them. I can find an answer to most problems I face if I simply take fifteen quiet minutes to brainstorm the solution. Sometimes this requires the counsel of my husband, coach, or mastermind team, but the point is that I have the energy for the solution if I don’t waste that energy trying to avoid the problem.

What about you? Are you eating problems for breakfast? Is there a work problem that you need to eat for breakfast? Do you need to snack on a solution for a conflict in your family? Would it serve you to seek council and find a solution for a long-term, unresolved issue?

Know problems . . . Know progress!

It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.

Be Extraordinary!