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Tip # 2: Make Decisions as a Team

The other day, I admit that I was rolling my eyes as a read a military friend’s post on Facebook: “I still get butterflies when I wake up next to my husband, my best friend, soul mate…Happy anniversary!” It just felt so corny and over the top at the time!

Looking back, however, I can admit that maybe I was a little jealous because I wasn’t really feeling any of those sentiments toward my husband at the moment.

I was actually in the middle of a “discussion” with my husband of eighteen years at the time. While I know that arguing is perfectly normal for all married couples, this particular disagreement reminded me the importance of tip #2 in this series: in a military marriage, it’s important to make important decisions as a team.

See Both Sides

Recently, I was super excited to tell my husband of my idea to host an exchange student from Spain. Then we could reciprocate by sending our high school daughter to visit our guest’s country in return. I was so focused on the positive aspects of this homestay—imagining our four kids learning so much and making a friend—that I initially had trouble understanding his hesitance.

I felt that he just had lots of pessimistic questions in response to my enthusiasm. His first question was, “Will I have to drive her to her classes?” He was imagining feeding and caring for a “fifth kid”—all of the responsibility this homestay would require—while I was focusing on the benefits. And, initially at least, this difference really irritated me!

The trouble, however, was that neither of us was trying to see things from the other’s perspective.

Find a Compromise

At first, I wanted to dig my feet in and say, “Well, she is coming! I’ll drive her everywhere and feed her and save the money for our daughter to go to Spain myself!”

But, instead, I decided that it was a lot healthier to find a compromise between our two positions.

I let our daughter know that, while I think it’s a great idea to participate in a Spanish exchange program, we need to find a version that fits the needs of every family member. This meant not accepting an exchange student into our homes when we already have four kids to care for, while asking my daughter to wait until college, when she is more mature, before encouraging her to study abroad.

I’ve found that making decisions from a “we” space is always much better than when I make choices from a “me” space without hearing my spouse’s concerns. After all, opposites attract, so while I often look at the positives of a given situation, my husband can be more realistic about noting the responsibilities involved.

Making Space for Both of You

Think of your military marriage as two hula-hoops filled with your own ideas and dreams within them. In the middle of the two hoops is the “we” space where your personalities overlap. Sure, sometimes they may clash, but with balance, you can both find the space you need together.

Ask yourself:
• How many decisions do I make on my own, and how many are made in the space that overlaps?
• Is my goal to move the two hoops to overlap more? If so, how far?
• What feels right to both of us?

Think about your hoops now versus how you might see them in an ideal marriage. Share your ideas and comments below.

Tip #3: Fight Fair

It’s easier to make decisions together when we learn to fight fair and focus on the issues at hand rather than waging personal attacks. Some of us, particularly in military marriages, are especially sensitive to certain phrases or actions, so it’s important to remain loving even when we’re angry with one another.

For example, consider my disagreement with my husband from tip #2. When my husband wasn’t on board with hosting a foreign exchange student in our home and I was irritated about it, I could have attacked him with below-the-belt words. I might have said, “Well, I always make dinner anyway!” or “You never want to do anything fun!”

However, rather than attacking the person, it’s best to stick to unpacking the issues themselves. Ask questions when you don’t understand, such as “Are you worried about our daughter staying with a family that we don’t know?”

It can be easy to get angry and lose our focus on the issues at hand, but remember that our military spouses are used to fighting fair, and they really need us to do the same in our arguments.

Focus On the Issues

It’s easier to avoid throwing accusations at your partner by focusing on the topic being discussed. In every military marriage, there are going to be times when you just don’t see things eye to eye. You may want your spouse to share more openly and they aren’t ready.

While we can’t avoid these hiccups, we can try and separate what is happening from our overall picture of our partners. By conflating a single argument or behavior with an overall relationship, we may inadvertently harm our spouses.

For example, one of my clients was abandoned by her father when she was a young girl. So, when her husband storms off in the middle of a fight, she becomes extremely upset and worried.

However, once she realized that her husband is only unintentionally picking at an old wound that he did not cause, she began to calm down. She began to understand that taking some time to cool down can be healthy, and that it isn’t fair to lump her loving spouse in the same category as her father.

Tell Them What You Need

Just realizing these connections can open the door to communication and create space for compromise.

The client from the above scenario eventually told her spouse about her deeper feelings connected with him leaving in the middle of a fight. She also explained to him what she needed in order to feel secure. “It’s fine to go get some air,” she told him, “but can you at least text me and let me know you’re okay and when you plan to come back?”

Her husband agreed that he didn’t want to scare her, emphasizing that he would never abandon their relationship over a simple argument. Once they communicated their own rationales, needs, and stories, they were able to remain close despite the occasional fight without picking at old wounds.

Discuss Your Arguments

Think about how you and your spouse typically argue. At a time when you aren’t fighting, discuss what works and doesn’t work for each of you. Have this talk when you’re feeling connected so that, during your next fight, you’ll both understand each other and avoid unintentionally fighting dirty.

Make sure to leave your own stories in the comment section below. And remember to check back soon for Tip #4.

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Military life is often filled to the brim with stressors, and a military marriage is no easier. This includes anxiety associated with finances, moving, deployment, and even reintegration into civilian life. And, to put it lightly, none of these factors make a marriage any simpler!

However, some military couples combat these life stressors with surefire strategies that allow them to not only survive, but actually thrive in their relationships. From their stories, I’ve created a list of the things that happy couples have told me are key ingredients in their fulfilling partnerships.

As with any goal, we need to define what we want in our marriage. Only then can we focus on the things that are going well. What we focus on grows, so if we can stop focusing on being competitive and instead try to create more intimacy, laughter, and compromise, we’ll begin moving in the right direction.

Envisioning the Military Marriage We Want

In the next five blog posts, I’ll begin guiding you toward envisioning the relationship you desire with your partner. I hear so many military spouse clients tell me, “I don’t like X about him” or “I am so frustrated with this marriage because of Y.” In response, I say, “Okay, we agree on what you don’t like, but what DO you want your marriage to look and feel like?”

This often causes them to look at me with blank stares.

We then work to focus on what is going well in their marriages, as well as what they want to build on. Just as I have career coaching clients make vision boards for their ideal jobs and lifestyles, I ask military spouse clients to make vision boards for the kind of marriages they want.

Just looking at photos of couples kissing and kayaking can motivate you to take small action steps that help you feel connected. Even clients who initially laugh at the assignment find it so helpful for creating positive spaces and helping them reconsider what they want in their love lives.

Tip #1: Prioritize Intimacy When Your Spouse Is Home

Intimacy is important in all marriages, but it’s especially essential in military marriages because it can be more difficult to feel connected. When you’re miles apart or your spouse is dealing with physical and emotional challenges that extend beyond the norm, coping can be incredibly difficult.

Sometimes spouses share that they were very intimate in the beginning of their marriages before that excitement began to fade. They just want to create a new normal versus constantly feeling bad that the intimacy isn’t as steamy as when they first connected.

Spouses are always surprised when I say, “you are not alone” after sharing various struggles—and I think it helps to share our difficulties. Sometimes, just talking it out and defining our ideal visions of what connection looks like can help tremendously. We’ll be discussing this topic at my monthly webinar, so check it out if you have time.

Finding That Flow Again

Most military spouses both want to continue to be intimate with each other, whatever intimacy looks like for them. However, between deployments, frequent moves, and other stressors, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things once the pattern has been disrupted.

Many of my coaching clients have also admitted that intimacy ebbs and flows in a military marriage (just like any other), even when both partners are living under the same roof. Intimacy can mean different things for different couples, including everything from handholding to sharing stories to love making. One person may want a more sexual relationship than the other, but remember that intimacy comes in many forms, many of which build upon and complement one another.

Even when a couple isn’t as intimate as they would like to be, they can still admit that it’s an important part of their lives. And a simple comment can have a huge effect here. Statements like, “Honey, I know I’ve been working late all week and this recruiting job is making me exhausted. But I want you to know that I’m so psyched about hanging out with you this weekend…” can go a long way to show your partner that you do prioritize your time with them, even when that time is limited.

Creating Intimacy During Deployment

Even when physical intimacy isn’t possible, you can still maintain that closeness and romance that brought you together in the first place. Consider writing each other love letters and making plans for when you do reconnect. Be creative!

One of my clients said that her spouse was thrilled that she redecorated their bedroom with red pillows and candles for a romantic evening to share when he eventually returned. Another military spouse decided to have my friend, photographer Janine Fazzina Boudo of Bella Blue Photography do a boudoir photo shoot of her for her deployed husband.

Anything that can help you feel connected despite the miles will go a long way in bridging the divide. Plus, it will build excitement for when you finally do reunite!

Stay Connected

Whatever keeps you connected and thinking of each other will help create intimacy in your military marriage. One client and her husband started playing a phone Scrabble game during the day. Another client started sending her husband fun and sexy emojis even when she was busy.

What can you do today to feel more romantically connected to your spouse? How might you spice up your love life when your partner is in town, and how can you bridge the distance when he’s away?

As always, share your tips in the comments below, and check out my webinar on this topic later in the month.

Check Back for Tip #2

I definitely don’t have all the answers when it comes to what makes a happy military marriage. However, I can say that so many of my clients struggle with the same things. It can feel super validating and optimistic when we realize that we’re all in this together. Share your tips below and stay tuned for more suggestions from my coaching clients and the broader spouse community.

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Oftentimes, I work with clients who are all jazzed about a new work-from-home gig. However, a few months later, they realize that they’re struggling in other areas of their lives. They may be having trouble maintaining friendships, feeling unfulfilled in their marriages, or even letting their health goals lapse.

For many of us, it can end up feeling like whenever we take two steps forward with our careers, we then take one step back in another area of our lives.

This is natural! Whenever our career roles change, even for the better, it’s common for some chaos to follow. That’s when it’s time to take a deep breath and realize that you are far from alone. When taking on a new career goal, task, or entirely new job, take some time to share with your spouse, friends, and other loved ones that you could use their support as you advance your profession while learning how to rebalance your happy relationships.

I know first-hand that working, raising a family, and being a supportive spouse are hard to do all at once! That’s why we’ll be looking at tips for balancing your wealth goals along with those for love and health as we dive into 2018. Plus, for more support, join me at my free monthly telecast.

A Dream Job That Fits Your Needs

When I review career assessment results with spouses, I go through the list of “suggested careers.” While some may be a good fit in terms of skill and interest, I often think, “Well, that won’t work with military life,” or “Sure, I could see this client starting their own online business. But what if their husband comes back from deployment and feels like he was left out of this big decision?”

There is a LOT more to finding a perfect career fit when it comes to military families—we simply have to do much more balancing than the average job seekers. To help guide this journey, I suggest spouses seeking new careers read both Do What You Are by Paul Tieger and colleagues and the authors’ other book, Just Your Type: Create the Relationships You’ve Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type. Our health, work, and relationships are all so interconnected that I’ve started calling myself a military life coach instead of a military spouse career coach; it’s all the same process of taking baby steps from where we are to where we ideally want to be.

So, when searching for a dream job that meets your interests, desired pay, skills, and logistics, remember to also take these other areas of your life into consideration. After all, working 60 hours a week in a high-pressure firm may excite you and pay quite well, but the time away from your family (and the gym) will also take a toll!

Self-Care Beyond Career Coaching

I work with my own life coach named Amy. Usually I plan to use my coaching hour to talk about growing my business, encouraging more military spouses to sign up for my mailing list, or balancing work with being a mom. However, I’ve also been known to spend my whole hour rehashing an argument I had with my husband of eighteen years.

While I know that getting into arguments is typical for any marriage, I love having her ear and reassurance that arguing from time to time is perfectly normal. She often assigns me extra research to dig into after I hang up. After all, just as we network, keep up with the latest news, listen to podcasts, and read books about our jobs, we can also get encouragement and tips for our relationships from these sources.

Following her advice, here are a few suggestions I’ve picked up for debriefing after an argument with one’s spouse:

  • Talk to a life coach or friend that you fully trust about the issue—chances are, they’ve been through the same thing. Even if they don’t have any tips for moving forward, just being reassured that your experience is totally normal can be so important for self-care.
  • Write out and read over crucial conversations or arguments you’ve had. Try to see things from your spouse’s perspective. For example, my first impulse upon tripping over the slippers my husband left at the bottom of the stairs (yet again!) is to yell at him for being irresponsible. However, if I try to think about how tired he must have been slipping them off at the end of a long day, I can feel a bit kinder when talking to him about the issue.
  • If, like me, you’re sometimes too angry to attempt the first few exercises, try going to the library and checking out books like the Five Love Languages instead. While your irritated self may initially feel full of judgement (“this author sounds so 1950s!”), after you calm down, you’ll likely find a useful nugget or at least some empathy. I find that every book and suggestion makes me realize that my arguments with my spouse are totally normal. I also feel validated that there are so many resources out there on the topic of marriage—more than a few of us can clearly use guidance!
Working Around the Military

I know I’m not alone when it comes to using a whole coaching hour to vent about my husband and his career. After all, as important as our work on the home front is, shaping our careers around our spouses’ makes our non-spouse jobs extra hard. So, it can really help to process relationship struggles aloud in a trusted space.

I have so many military spouse clients who come to me for career counseling but clearly have a lot more on their minds. As we discuss their careers, I often hear a lot of resentment in their voices towards the military—as proud as we are to serve our country, it makes sense that a lot of us get exhausted from the constant maneuvering and sacrifice it requires. Spouses oftentimes end up settling for underemployment and then, years later, wish that they had earned enough to set aside money for their retirement.

While I help spouses position themselves as best they can while providing support and accountability when it comes to finding work, there truly is no magic wand. Simply put, handling multiple moves and deployments is hard. And, for some clients, adding traditional work on top of everything puts too much additional stress on the marriage and the home life. It may not be a full-time, office-based, high-stress job that serves you best—finding the career path that fits your various needs, including those that support your relationships and self-care, requires some in-depth communication. Between you and your coach, you and your family, and, perhaps most importantly, you and yourself.

Learn More at This Month’s Free Webinar

This month I’m offering a free teleclass on how to create a vision for your marriage and other relationships. I really hope that you’ll join me as we walk through the process and learn how a relationship vision board is different from a regular vision board. We’ll also discuss why it’s so powerful to create one!

This vision board isn’t just about the law of attraction—it’s also about setting your mind to focus on the aspects of your relationship that you want to see grow or improve while focusing less on the small things you don’t like.

Relationships aren’t easy, but taking this course will equip you with the tools you need to move from where things are now to where you want them to be. This is a content-rich seminar that isn’t aimed at selling you expensive coaching programs—it’s truly an invitation to share struggles and resources with other military spouses.

To learn more and sign up, visit the announcement post. Hope to see you there!

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This month’s free Community Coaching webinar is all about how to to create a vision for your marriage and other relationships. I really hope that you will join me on this free webinar.

I am going to walk you through why having a relationship vision board is different than having a regular vision board and why it is so powerful to create one.

This vision board isn’t just about the law of attraction; it’s about setting your mind to focus on the aspects of your relationship that you want to see grow and improve and stop focusing on what you don’t like. It’s about having something to work towards and strive for just like you do with other goals in your life. Its about gaining clarity regarding your priorities and defining what an ideal marriage, home life, and friendships look like.

We’ll talk about:

  • how to create the level of intimacy you desire,
  • the type of communication you want to have,
  • find time to date again,
  • how to use humor appropriately,
  • how much to share with others regarding your relationships, and
  • learn when to take a stance and when to let things go.

Relationships aren’t easy but this webinar will equip you with the tools you need to move from where things are now to where you want them to be, even with only one of you attending the seminar.

I am so excited to invite you into my community and connect with you on this live call. This is a content rich seminar that isn’t just aimed at selling you expensive coaching programs, its truly an invitation to jump on one of my life coaching calls if you haven’t before and share struggles, and resources with other military spouses.

You can create a marriage vision board when your spouse is deployed to feel more connected, you can create a vision board right before or right after a move, because it’s not about the particulars, it’s about how your vision is going to make you feel.

During the webinar we will talk about why you need a relationship vision board, exactly how to make one that won’t cost much at all, and how to use the board once you make it.

Monday, February 26, 2018
12:00 pm EST

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Financial guru Ellie Kay has been a long-time mentor of mine—so, I was SUPER excited when she asked me to be a guest on her new podcast, The Money Millhouse (thus the name of this post!). Ellie and her podcast partner, Bethany, invited me to their virtual kitchen to chat about money. I had so much fun connecting with them!

Not only do I love that Ellie Kay is a hardworking entrepreneur who turned her passion into a business—but I’m amazed that she did all of this while raising five children, being a fabulous grandmother, publishing dozens of books, becoming the top expert on financial literacy, excelling as a motivational speaker, and working with the most amazing millennial ever, Bethany Bayless! Plus, she manages it all with grace, making her such a mentor to me as well as a genuine leader in the military spouse community.

I hope that you will take a minute to download our show. I will share a couple of quick highlights, but you really need to give the full episode a listen when you get a chance.

The Business Pre-Nup

During my meeting with Ellie and Bethany, they asked me if it was ever a good idea to go into business with a friend. I loved this question because I’m a big fan of collaboration and I’ve had two businesses with friends. So, I could definitely answer from my own experience!

For me, working with a friend requires a kind of “prenuptial agreement,” the opening of two separate businesses rather than one together such that you file taxes on your own rather than jointly. Creating two partnered businesses rather than establishing a single organization costs slightly more but, in my opinion, is totally worth it. After all, this practice may ease tension for your loved ones while ensuring that both parties have equal skin in the game.

Ellie added that the business prenup also allows both parties to feel like they’re true entrepreneurs. After all, starting a business is a lot of work, so why not enjoy feeling like the one in charge?

The Benefits of Healthy Friendships

We also talked about the benefits of healthy friendships—emphasizing the word “healthy”! Healthy friendships are linked to so many positive things, such as better marriages, improved physical health, and even more fulfilling lives.

In the podcast episode, we discuss a longitudinal study that was done at Harvard where a large group of people was followed for almost 80 years. Researchers found a considerable amount of data that linked physical and mental health to positive friendships.

So, no more feeling guilty when you take a girls’ night out!

I hope military spouses who tune into Ellie’s podcast will let go of self-consciousness surrounding “me time” and realize that a date with the girlfriends is good not only for you but your family as well. After all, these important relationships are linked to healthier marriages, improved health, and the lifting of spirits. In short, healthy friendships are good for you and your loved ones.

Letting Go of Toxic Friendships

Healthy friendships are ones that allow you to just be yourself and both give and take (not just get taken from or take!). They may even allow you to experience “flow”—that happy feeling when time just seems to fly by.

Toxic “friendships,” on the other hand, are draining. They may leave you feeling as if you can’t be your authentic self, that you’re walking on egg shells, and even depleted following the end of an encounter. These negative relationships lead to poor health and more conflict in our marriages, so get rid of people who drain your energy without adding anything positive to your life! Sometimes it’s better to spend time alone than with negative people.

In the podcast, the ladies and I offer a few tips for how to gracefully exit these toxic relationships. However, the first step is just identifying that a relationship isn’t serving you and journaling/meditating on what or who you want in your life instead. Once you set an intention, the rest will come naturally—just knowing that healthy friendships lead to a healthy life is key.

The Power of Perseverance

We wrapped up our discussion with a great takeaway: the concept that relationships (in this case, friendships) require perseverance. Maintaining friendships can take a lot of work, like other relationships in our lives, so they require love. This can be both a combination of loving friends while also loving how you spend your time with them. Doing activities that put you in flow and leave you feeling energized will make maintaining friendships more effortless than spending the same time doing activities that just leave you feeling blah.

If you want to improve your friendships, start by taking my free assessment, judging, on a scale of 1-10, how your friendships meet or fail to meet certain characteristics. Then, think about what a perfect 10 in this area of your life would look like.

Just defining what you want in friendships can help you begin taking baby steps toward healthy relationships. Plus, little actions such as setting better boundaries with people that drain you, reaching out to healthy acquaintances, or putting a movie date down in your calendar can lead to positive outcomes.

Think about motivational speaker and entrepreneur Jim Rohn’s quote, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” A little bit each day truly goes a long way in our relationships!

Listen to the Full Podcast

Ellie and Bethany’s podcast was a lot of fun! I had no idea what they were going to ask, so I was a bit nervous. These awesome ladies, however, made me feel right at home by pouring me a cup of coffee and naturally guiding our chatter toward money and friendship.

To learn more about our group insights, or just to take part in our fun coffee date, check out The Money Millhouse.

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New Year’s often helps us clarify our life visions. We’re naturally energized to clean our closets, declutter our kitchens, and create routines that serve us.

We may use this energy to put a word or phrase of self-support on a sticky note posted on our mirrors. We may finally feel ready to commit to getting up 15 minutes earlier and journaling or having a coffee with our spouses before the kids get up.

We may finally be able to pat ourselves on the back and appreciate all we do as military spouses—possibly the hardest task for many of us!

As you embark on creating new seasonal goals, setting intentions for the months to come, and planning for a fabulous new year, remember to offer yourself some TLC. Just as important as it is to find out what drives you, it’s important to determine your why.

Follow Your Why

Rather than writing down what you want to do—lose weight, spend less money, listen to more podcasts—it can be more positive, helpful, and motivating to come up with why you want to do these things.

For example, when I try to lose weight, I’ll write a sticky note that says “to be strong for my kids.” When I think of a why for my business, I may include my passion for empowering other military spouses or knowing that working for myself lets me spend more time with my kids.

Oftentimes, my why is a work in progress but I find that coming up with little reasons for my goals helps me get into action. If I’m procrastinating, I try to let go of the to do list and work on journaling about the why until I feel motivated or come up with a different goal that better meets my needs.

For example, I like podcasting but still haven’t quite gotten around to setting up a spot in my house to podcast from. It was on my 2017 goal list but simply collected dust all year long. I wanted to produce more shows, but I let work and kids take priority.

Be Patient With Yourself

If I was coaching myself as a client, I would ask powerful questions, tell myself to draw my ideal sacred space, or have myself imagine reading a positive review in my home podcast studio.

It’s so much easier to coach others than to coach ourselves, but I want to let you know that sometimes goals need a little tender loving care—if we haven’t accomplished something, remember that we all move at our own paces and simply aren’t there yet.

So, I can’t say that I have created this home office/podcast studio yet, but I will say that I’m committed to journaling about how creating this space will serve me (and hopefully you) in 2018. And that’s an important first success.

Our Goalsetting Practice

I wanted to remind you that I’m on this goal-setting journey as a participant, not an expert, and I’m as motivated by my military spouse clients as I hope you are by me.

Please share a goal that you’re struggling with and some ideas you have on how to fall back in love with your commitment in the comments below. I love hearing where we all get stuck and learning more ways to tweak our processes to be more successful in 2018.

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I love this time of year and the rejuvenating energy that’s in the air. I often have my military spouse clients create vision boards in January and set some new intentions, thinking about all the things they want to attract into their lives over the next year. I especially enjoy completing the life wheel as a free tool for considering what I would like to accomplish in each area for the year to come.

The difference between this year and years past is that I am NOT going to bully myself into taking action steps in each area. I am going to focus on 1% change instead—baby steps toward success. Small 1% changes in each area of our lives can feel much more doable, and I think this is even more important for busy military spouses.

The Baby Steps Approach to Success –
Perfect for Military Spouses!

Between deployments, relocations, and maintaining the home front, military spouses already have a lot on our plates. We have so many important responsibilities supporting our heroes, a harder time finding jobs, cultivating friendships, and feeling close to our loved ones. It’s a lot to handle, and you definitely deserve a big hug for all you’re already doing!

So, many of us ask, why add goal setting to the to do list and make it even longer? Initially, it seems like a chore for many of us.

That’s why, instead, I like thinking about goals as fun and doable seasonal intentions. I try to be gentle when it comes to planning my to do lists.

To help with this enjoyable and hopefully pain-free task, I’m offering a free coaching call at the end of January. We’ll be discussing how to gracefully seek change and plan out our year, seasons, months, and weeks in a way that works with our busy military spouse schedules.

I really hope you’ll join me for this free call where we can brainstorm and share strategies for making life easier. Sign up at www.militaryspousecoach.com/events.

Ditch Negative Resolutions

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions that often just make us feel bad about ourselves. Military life is already stressful, so I don’t like anything that adds a feeling of overwhelm. This year I let go of the need to put “lose weight” or “save money” at the top of my to do list and decided that I would, instead, add little things that I’ve been putting off as a gift to myself.

These are small things that I know will help my stress level but I put off for whatever reason. For example, every time I get a new in-person coaching client, I send a similar email explaining the directions to my office, parking information, etc. And, for years I’ve thought about how simple it would be to just create an attachment with all of the information in one place. For whatever reason, I don’t do it, so this joyful time saver is going to the very top of my 2018 to do list!

Create a Joyful Action Plan

I’ve decided that, instead of making huge resolutions, I’ll just focus on doing little things that make life easier. I believe that adding simple items to my to do list like “Make directions attachment,” “Drink a bottle of water on the way to work,” or “Taco Tuesdays” make life better without adding stress or negative thoughts.

Think of your life and where you can plant a small seed. What systems will serve your lifestyle and make things go more smoothly in the year to come? Share your little systems in the comments below so that other military spouses can gracefully steal them.

And, for more support, check out my free call at the end of the month. We’ll be chatting about goal-setting for the year to come in a painless and even fun way. Sign up at www.militaryspousecoach.com/events. I hope to see you there!

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I feel blessed to have been able to spend the holidays with my family—every day, I prayed for all of the military families who were apart this time of year.

I know military life is hard. Sometimes, when I’m writing about life and career coaching topics, I feel like I underemphasize what a HUGE accomplishment being a military spouse is. So, take a moment to remind yourself how awesome you are for continuing to support your spouse, family, and country.

I feel that a big part of being successful in the new year comes from these moments of appreciating what’s going well in our lives already. So, being a military spouse should be at the top of your list of “what went well in 2017”! You’re already so successful—we’re merely working to build on that foundation of excellence in the year to come.

Reflect on Your Blessings as a Military Spouse

When I meet with life coaching clients in January, I always start the session by asking them, “What went well in 2017?” My clients and I always laugh because we have such a hard time answering, and we often just want to talk about what we didn’t do well. As military spouses, we can be incredibly hard on ourselves! Sometimes, I literally have to stand up and make a “time out” symbol for them with my hands.

We laugh some more and work together to come up with a list of things that went well—how they were and continue to be successful in many ways. I then explain the benefits of celebrating even smaller successes and embracing changes that we have made. Often, these achievements come in the form of unplanned changes that weren’t on the New Year’s resolution or seasonal goal lists.

They’re often little things that yield positive and surprisingly meaningful results.

Whether it was finally decluttering your closet, avoiding office gossip, or even listening to podcasts on the way to work, any change that you’ve made to better your life is extremely significant. After all, it shows that you didn’t just plan but actually instituted changes in your life.

Change Your Lens

This kind of work to find what went well in the past year requires an external lens—we often do a great job noticing and acknowledging the good work our friends and loved ones do but forget to offer the same loving eye to ourselves. I call this concept working on your life versus living in your life.

We hear about this concept in business, but it can easily be applied to our military lives as well. Look at all you have accomplished like you were an outsider giving yourself full credit for cooking all those dinners, wrapping all those gifts, and holding it together before, during, and after deployment.

Military spouses rock and need to stop worrying about cleaning the closet and getting the perfect new job. This time of year, take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for all the little things you do every day—they seriously do add up to a lot of hard work and silent service.

Mantras for the New Year

I have given up resolutions and decided to focus more on words to symbolize the things I want to bring into my life for the new year. It’s easier for me to wake up and say or think my mantra, “I am a trailblazer,” than to come up with a million action steps.

Coming up with a mantra or positive action phrase is almost like setting an intention for what I want and then choosing activities I love doing each day that bring me closer to those long-term goals. By following my intention, I can trust that I’m moving toward the life vision I want.

Happy 2018, everyone! Remember, you’re already doing great, and you have all the tools you need to continue being successful in the year to come.

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Mark your calendars now for my free January “Plan Your Year in a Day” goal setting webinar. In this workshop, we’ll talk about how to fill out a coaching wheel and use it each week as you schedule steps to success in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships.

I really hope you join me for this call or reach out to me to get the recording if you can’t make it.

Please share this event with other military spouses you know so that I can add them to my invite list to take advantage of this and other helpful tools.

Monday, January 29, 2018
12:00 pm EST

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Happy New Year!

For those of you that have followed my blog, you know that I can’t help talking about goal setting and the New Year brings goal setting to the forefront BUT this year I am about sitting back and smelling to roses and not pushing ourselves too hard.

The holidays were fun, but also a bit exhausting, so I am all about self-care this January. While I love waking up and journaling 2018 goals, this year I am more about praising where we are at while we move forward and thinking of a favorite word helps me.

I know lots of people that come up with motivating words too and I love sharing and steeling each others words too. One of the ways that help me to think up my “word of the year” is to think about how I want to feel in 2018 and then think of words. My 2018 word is going to be trailblazer and I chose this word because I feel like my clients are all unrecognized trailblazers.

Military life is like a curving road and we don’t always know where life is taking us. In the blink of an eye, things can change and we have to be able to adapt. It’s not what happens to you in life, but how you handle it and I find that military spouses handle life’s challenges so well. I also don’t think they give themselves enough credit, so I hope that you will choose a word that is strong and speaks to your heart.

Spouses often tell me that they have “no work experience,” and then list off a million transferable skills they have had as a volunteer. Or they say “I am just a blogging mom,” as they secretly inspire their readers daily. I just want to shake them and say, “Girl, are you kidding me? You rock!” and give them permission to embrace success in their own way. So I chose the word trailblazer, blazing a path towards success effortlessly.

I really hope that some of you reading this will steal my word if it speaks to you. I love my 2018 word so much that I am making t-shirts that say “Be A Trailblazer” that I can sell on my website soon as a way to support my Military Spouse Show podcast. As you reflect on 2018, I would love for you to share a word that you are using to inspire yourself in 2018. Please share your word in the comments below or share this blog with other military spouses that need to be reminded that they are a trailblazer too!

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