4 Reasons to Work on YOU!

4 reasonsPersonal development is an absolute necessity to live an extraordinary life. My first real experience with this type of learning (besides life events) was in 2007 when I attended a weekend, experiential, personal growth and development seminar. Since then I have attended many more seminars and trainings. I have also read and listened to books to enhance my personal growth and learning.

The method of gaining knowledge is not as important as the consistency of learning and the application of the knowledge. I attend seminars, submit myself to one-on-one coaching, and read/listen to books that force me to see where I currently am and challenge me to live out more of my potential.

There are many benefits of taking the time and spending the money to learn more in this area of personal development. Remember that the benefits will only be experienced by taking action, making changes, and being held accountable to help the changes stick long-term.

Encouragement
Discouragement comes in life. Shocking, right? I am amazed at how many times my area of frustration in business or parenting is addressed in the books I am reading. It is encouraging to find a solution and to discover that I’m not the only one who has experienced the same struggle. Personal development is a great way to combat discouragement.

Challenge
The books I read, coaching I receive, seminars I attend are not just fluffy, feel-good, rah-rah times of encouragement. I am challenged – challenged to look honestly at MY behavior and choices. (Remember this is personal development.) If you are not being challenged then you may want to change what you are reading or listening to.

Growth
This is where the learning meets real life. Am I going to take the challenge I received and do something about it? It is in the process of living out our awareness (challenges) that I experience real growth. I change! Change is difficult and this is where accountability comes in. Not many people have the sheer will-power to make big changes stick. I am thankful for my husband, coach, and others who hold my feet to the fire so I can grow, change, and live a truly extraordinary life.

Impact
This, to me, is the exciting and rewarding part of personal development. During and after difficult periods of growth and change, I have the opportunity to take what I have learned and impact others. Many talk about wanting to change the world but don’t know how. I think the best way to change to the world is to first change ourselves – one lesson, one habit, one challenge at a time.

The cost of living an extraordinary life is often high, but always worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

Whenever a commitment is made to remove something from our lives, it is important to find a positive alternative. I made the decision to remove sweets, treats, candy, and soda from my life beginning back on February 20, 2014. The cravings for candy bars, soda, and sugary treats are lessening for which I am very grateful! As part of this health journey, it is fun to find healthy treats that fit within the boundaries of my commitment.

I do not know the origination of the “No Bake Energy Bite” recipe. (If you do, please send me the info). The recipe was passed along through a friend on Facebook. Many good recipes have made their appearance on social media platforms. I hope you will enjoy this one and pass it along so others can enjoy it too!

Dry Ingredients - Oats and Flax

Dry Ingredients – Oats and Flax

A delicious combo - honey and peanut butter

A delicious combo – honey and peanut butter

Recipe:
1 cup slow cooked oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

No need to bake. Simply refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy. It may be helpful to store them in an air-tight container so they don’t disappear too quickly!

Replacing old habits to keep us in line with our commitments is an important step to success on this extraordinary journey called life.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen Recipes:
Green Smoothies
Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites
Nut Butter Muffins

Farewell Moomers, Paper Piles, and Candy Crush (Part II)

After many years playing yo-yo, I am finally saying “ENOUGH!” I want the goals – the life of my dreams – more than I want to stay in my yo-yo comfort zone. (Read about my “yo-yo” here.)

The first step in crushing the yo-yo is to determine what is holding you back.
As I shared in part I, the top three things currently holding me back the most are sugar, paper piles, and iPad games. My commitment to these three is keeping my goals and dreams at arm’s length month after month and year after year. Acknowledging what holds me back makes me responsible. From this point on, I choose. I either choose to address this beast or ignore it, but either way I choose. I am choosing to engage these top three in battle — and I will win.

Yes, I say with confidence, “I will win!” How do I know I will win? Because I am burning the boats like Hernan Cortes in 1519. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the commander scuttled his ships so that his men would have to conquer or die. There was literally no going back. In the same way, I am not giving myself an out or a return pass to my former life. I am creating my future by making a decision, creating boundaries, and setting up strong accountability. Come back to my next blog post where I will discuss the hard-core accountability necessary to ensure success.

The Three Boats I Am Burning:

ice cream mmm#1 Sugar
I am breaking up with sugar for good. It does not serve me – mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I have toyed with this breakup many times, but enough is finally enough.

“What does this mean?” you ask.
No sweets, desserts, soda, candy or sugary treats.

“When will you eat these delicious treats again?” you ask.
I won’t. Yes, I have considered the plethora of sugary opportunities that will come my way. No, this was not a light or easy decision.

#2 Paper Piles
I am done making excuses about the mounds of paper on my desk, the kitchen counter, bookshelf, and any other flat surface in the house. I am done watching my stress increase with the increasing mounds.

“How will you eliminate all of this paper?” you ask.
I will set a timer for fifteen minutes and work on these piles every day I am home.

“How will you keep these paper piles from returning?” you ask.
Fifteen minutes a day. This is my new habit for life. Yes, for life.

candy crush#3 iPad Games
I went 100 days without iPad games last fall and was amazed at how much I did not miss them. I will enjoy using this newly acquired time blogging, reading, crocheting, playing a game, connecting with my family, and working on my business to build our future and our fortune.

What is holding you back from living the life of your dreams? What are you willing to say “farewell” to for good?

Seriously pursuing the life of your dreams is not easy, but it is worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

Tis the Season to Be . . Stressed Out!!

stressThe causes and experiences of stress are different for everyone. I tend to hold my stress inside, often without realizing it. I feel fine and everything seems ok . . then that ‘one thing’ causes all my stress and frustration to be expressed with great force. At that moment I feel the anger, disappointment, sadness, and exhaustion of days or weeks of underlying stress. I had one of those moments yesterday that turned into an evening of questioning so many things about life, family, and my ability to see circumstances with clarity.

I realize I am being a bit vague here, but I hope you grasp the idea. I have let little bits of stress – physical, emotional, mental, financial – go unchecked and it caught up with me. When I feel this kind of stress I make poor choices in how I take care of my physical self. By doing this I actually create even more stress in my body.

In thinking about stress and my response to it, I was reminded of some great tips from Sanoviv Medical Institute about managing stress. Sanoviv says the following about stress:

“Stress is an adaptation response in your body when there is a perceived challenge or danger. In this response, your body readies itself to either fight this challenge off or flee from it. Chronic stress is a pervasive stress response in the body that can have serious health repercussions as this does not allow your body to rest and heal itself effectively. Chronic stress can trigger or exacerbate most of the major health conditions that we face today.”

Here are just a few simple daily habits that can help lessen the stress in your  life.

Fruit-and-Vegetables1) Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

2) Increase your intake of healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and cold water fish while decreasing your intake of damaged fats and oils (hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods).

3) Stress can deplete B-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. Take a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplement. See my recommendation here.

4) Engage in regular, moderate exercise.

5) Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less processed foods. (This can be a challenge through the holidays, but is possible and worth it!)

6) Identify the source of your stress and deal with it effectively. When there is an elephant in the room it causes a lot of stress!

I am incorporating these tips in my plan for a healthy 2014. If you would like help, encouragement, and resources in creating a healthy game plan for 2014 please contact me by clicking here. It will take work, but the results will definitely be worth it!

Be Extraordinary!

AJ’s No Candy No Soda Challenge part 2

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AJ received a candy care package from his friend Isaac the day after he completed the challenge.

Picking up where we left off in the last blog, I wanted to take the time to interview AJ and get his direct perspective on his No Candy No Pop Challenge. For starters he informed me that he would rather I call it “soda” than “pop” and therefore the name change on this blog. 🙂

Traci: What was the challenge from your perspective?

AJ: To go a full year without candy or soda.

Traci: Define candy.

AJ: Anything you would get on Halloween.

Traci: What was your first thought when you were presented with the challenge?

AJ: I thought it was impossible.

Traci: It took you two days to make the decision . . what made you change your mind about it being impossible?

AJ: Another person did it meaning it must be possible, so I decided to give it a try.

Traci: Why did you take this challenge on?

AJ: 1) The reward. ($365, all or nothing)
2) To show myself that I could do it. It’s not impossible.

Traci: How were you able to accomplish this challenge?

AJ: 1) I kept repeating the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
2) Support from family and friends.
3) Saying “I am choosing” instead of “I have to”. It was my choice. I could end it whenever I wanted.

Traci: What challenges did you face along the way?

AJ: 1) We moved to Michigan, on a camp, where they have pop and candy. It was tempting especially during my week of camp.
2) Right before it ended – I really wanted to be done.
3) Friends and family would forget and offer candy and soda. It felt like they were doing it on purpose to taunt me.

Traci: How did you handle these challenges?

AJ: I knew I wasn’t going to back out anytime during the challenge so I just kind of stepped through them.

Traci: Would you do this challenge again? Why?

AJ: (A moment of pause). Yes. Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn’t be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.

AJ is a pretty wise 12-year-old.
What challenge or challenges have you been putting off? What new challenge are you willing to step into that will move you in the direction of your dreams and goals?
1) Choose your challenge.
2) Clearly define the parameters.
3) Enroll family and friends as your support team.
4) Give yourself a reason or set a reward that will motivate you along the way.

Will it be worth it? According to AJ it is worth it.

Be Extraordinary!

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AJ’s No Candy No Pop Challenge

IMG_0998My 12-year-old son, AJ, is a stud! 🙂 He is smart, athletic, witty, focused and a generally good kid. I love spending time with him – watching football, playing cards, or seeing him show-off some of his own sweet athletic moves.

I love many things about who AJ is, but one really stands out to me: determination. When AJ decides to do something or to save money for something it is an opportunity to witness amazing determination. One time he was saving money for an iPad and in that situation every penny counted. In the summer all the kids decided they wanted to get smoothies. I told them I was happy to take them to the smoothie shop, but I wasn’t going to pay – they were on their own. The girls got their money, but AJ told us to go ahead without him. When we returned he was having a smoothie. He had made his own with things we had in the house so he didn’t have to use his money. Creative determination.

August of 2012 I threw out a challenge to AJ: no candy and no pop for one full year. This may seem an easy task for some of you, but believe me it was a challenge for AJ. This came about after a fellow USANA associate shared at International Convention how his daughter, AJ’s same age, had gone one year without candy or pop. There was a monetary reward for this girl and I put a $365 reward out there for AJ, all or nothing. If he had candy or pop even one time in 365 days then his reward would be $0.

It took AJ two days to make his decision. He was in – all in! Consider, as AJ did, some of what this would mean . . .

Halloween – no candy, school (yes, they still have candy at school), friends and siblings (they do love to torture), Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthdays (his own and others), going out for burgers or pizza – no pop. Then to top things off, we moved to a camp with pop machines in the dining hall and candy in the Red Canoe (store). AJ was so determined that he wouldn’t even eat a cookie that had M n’ M’s inside. He eliminated every possibility of missing his goal.

P1020040WOW! It is so convicting to consider what was accomplished. I have goals (desires) that I want with my health, family, income, business, etc. and yet I often find myself saying, “It’s too hard!” Sometimes, as I’ve written before, these goals are only 30 or 90 days long. What could I accomplish in 365 days with the determination and focus of my son, AJ?

To be continued . . . because I want AJ to share with you how he was able to accomplish this great challenge. I think there will be lessons for all of us in what he has to share.

Be Extraordinary!

Change Your Language. Change Your Life.

Life is rough! I had to wake up long before daylight this morning. In fact, I had to set my alarm for 5:40am so I could get a shower before having to drag the kids out of bed for school. I was so hungry that I had to eat an early breakfast, but the only thing I could find was PB&J. Then I had to make a sandwich for my son’s lunch. When everyone was finally ready I had to drive the kids to a school 25 minutes away from our home!

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? My life and circumstances are tough! Sadly, this reads like a lot of people’s Facebook feeds and quite honestly, I feel kind of down about my own situation after reading the above scenario. My circumstances seem worse and the hope of life looking different does not seem possible. How did my life become so bleak? One simple word: choice.

thEveryone has a choice for every circumstance in their life. Yes, everyone for every circumstance. In some instances we may not actually choose the specific circumstance, but we still have a choice in how we respond to the given circumstance. My husband, Joe, delves even deeper with this idea in his book, Project Joseph, where he unpacks the life of Joseph from the Bible. Joseph is a supreme example of someone who had every right to be a victim to his circumstances, but he recognized that he had a choice.

We choose. And when we can acknowledge the fact that we choose, then we have the power to make change in the future. One simple way we can begin to take back our power is by choosing our language around our choices. Let me illustrate be restating the first paragraph from a place of choice.

I chose to wake up early this morning, in time to to enjoy the peace of the quiet house. In fact, I chose to set my alarm for 5:40am so I could take a nice hot shower before waking my amazing kids up for school. I chose to eat breakfast and although it wasn’t great, I chose the food I ate. I chose to help my son by making a sandwich for his lunch. I chose to talk with the kids while I drove them to school. (And I chose to enroll the kids in an excellent school, where I am their transportation.)

I chose my morning and if I want the actual activities or the attitudes of my day to change, then I must control my choices and the language around my choices. This tiny change of language has radically changed my life and it can change yours too! Kind of like Clean Sinks, Floss, and Sit-Ups – little changes of habit can create greater results than we could ever imagine.

Be Extraordinary!