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as a highly routine person i’ve been thinking about some of my less than excellent habits, the ones i want to kick this year.  i was telling a few friends that over the month between thanksgiving and christmas i ate three tins of william’s sonoma peppermint bark.  THREE!!  and now you see that my muffin top reference was no joke.  no joke at all.  i got into the habit of an afternoon latte with just a bite of peppermint bark…which turned into the equivalent of a bar of chocolate by the end of my latte.  there were days i didn’t even want it, but i ate it anyway because it had become a habit.  it was my afternoon routine.  it was comforting.  and don’t let this kid you, there are other habits too.  ones far less trivial than chocolate.

but sometimes we don’t know where to begin to live the life we desire.  how can we break old habits?  what if we’ve been living this way for as long as we can remember?  what if we’re afraid we’ll fail?  afraid we’ll come up short and look like a loser?  what if we’re afraid our friends won’t like the new us?  we live in a constant state of measuring up.  worry.  we compare our lives to others and sometimes feel defeated before we begin.  we’re afraid to shine too brightly for fear that others will judge us harshly.  but what is that?  that’s not brave.  that’s not living well.  we were made for more.  for greatness.

i tell myself over and over again.  stop.  just stop!  isn’t it exhausting?!  stop comparing yourself to someone else.  stop rationalizing that your life is harder or complain how another didn’t have your set of circumstances.  we all have weaknesses.  we all have trials.  we have all faced pain and heartache, failure and misstep.  but we work.  we unite.  we find strength in the ones who love us through adversity.  and we move forward.  we trust that there is a reason for the threads of pain and hardship that make up the tapestry of our lives.  we have faith that they will carve our character.  that in the end we will be complete.  not lacking anything.  but we’ve got to work with them.  we have to use them to push us forward.  out.  free.  these habits, hinders, pasts, hurts, angers, experiences, our very lives, can trap us…or they can empower us.  without them, we dare to live unhindered.  we step into the arena and defy our critic’s blistering judgment.  we unhitch the beaten down dusty trailer and leave it on the side of the road.  its grime, piled up trash, scraps, and shattered dreams.  and we drive on.

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so if you’re like me and have a few habits you’d like to kick…some trash you’d like to leave at the side of the road…here are a few ways i’m working toward leaving them behind:

1.  name them.  out loud.  naming our weaknesses or temptations has power just by itself.  it means that your mind is aware of the subconscious movement of your body and that you are taking back control and responsibility for your actions.  once you name it, out loud, you cannot feign ignorance or rest comfortably in denial any longer.

2.  tell another person.  if you have someone you can trust, an accountability partner is huge.  having a friend or partner who can speak honestly into your life, whom you know will love you unconditionally, is a recipe for success.  if you don’t feel you can trust your habit with another person, then write it down in a journal.  pen to paper can be really powerful too.

3.  visualize.  i’m a hugely visual person.  as my subtitle {boldly designing an unhindered life} indicates, i strongly believe we design our lives.  of course i believe there is a higher power, but i also believe we have a lot of control with what we do with our lives, our choices.  who we are.  who we become.  what path we take.  if we will choose to follow our conscience, our moral code, and stay in line with God’s best, or if we will falter and settle for something less.  so i practice visualization a lot.  i see myself living the way i desire.  i place that image in the forefront of my mind.  i see it.  over and over again.  i get to know how it feels.  and then i work to become it.

4.  begin.  sometimes the hardest part is starting!  we think we need to have a plan, get it all figured out, organized, and then we’ll do it.  and so we don’t even start because we don’t get our plan together.  today can be the day.  tomorrow.  just decide and begin.  it won’t be perfect.  it never would be even if you had a plan.  move.  if you want to get somewhere, you’ve gotta move.

5.  reward.  the best part!!  {aside from living free of the habit, of course!}  set up a reward for yourself at the end of this journey.  maybe even a few along the way.  something you can really look forward to, or have been wanting for a long time.  celebrate your success.  celebrate YOU.  you deserve a reward for all your hard work.  remember it takes time to break a habit and there will be setbacks.  show yourself grace.  the point is to not let them derail you.  this life is not about our stumbles, but about courageously getting back up, and trying again.  from a place of greater strength.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~Maryann Williamson

don’t be afraid of greatness.  don’t be afraid to dream new dreams.  have the courage to change.  your life can be as beautiful as you dare to imagine.  bad habits.  failures.  pitfalls.  unrealized dreams.  we’ve all got them.  some of us talk about them, some of us don’t.  some of us let them control us, and some of us get tired enough to take control of them.  dig in, and get tough.  fight for it!  you’ve got to be a bit of a scrapper to make it in this life so here’s to getting scrappy, a little more excellent, and bravely unhindered from some of the things that tie us down.  unhitch that trailer.  no looking back.

{to being unhitched, and beautifully unhindered!!}



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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Rychelle January 24, 2013, 12:18 am

    “we find strength in the ones who love us through adversity. and we move forward. we trust that there is a reason for the threads of pain and hardship that make up the tapestry of our lives. we have faith that they will carve our character. that in the end we will be complete. not lacking anything.” …. word so rich and edifying to my soul. Thank you for courageously writing and doing so with such rhythm and beauty. Your words are captivating and enlivening to my bones. <3

    • Tammy January 24, 2013, 2:57 am

      mmmmm….love you sweet soul. xoxo

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