Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Resolutions Be Gone!  

Have you been thinking about what you want to change, start or end this January? New Year resolutions are popular, but like diets they don't work. January is a great time for fresh starts, but that is very different than a resolution. Resolution means to resolve to do something "once and for all." What did you resolve to do last year? Is it on your list again? I want to share something different for you this year. Something that is just as fresh, but way more fun! 

I really look forward to this yearly ritual.  Use the steps below to kick start your dreams and goals and then next year and every year moving forward, it will be a tool to keep momentum going, not to resolve, but to reflect, assess, test, reassess and grow

Here I am hunkering down with favorite pen in hand, great music playing, homemade NOG, (do you like my Ball canning jar wine glass?) all of last year's notes and calendars along with new ones, and of course the boys right beside me.  Join me!


1. Get Ready. Create your own comfy space that's inspiring and comfortable for you. Give yourself at least a couple hours of uninterrupted time. Shut off the phone and remove all distractions. This is your time, you deserve it! 

2. Identify Your "Whats" Identify an area(s) of your life that you would like to see change and/or grow for the coming year. Do you want to get serious about your health this year? Do you want to buckle down financially? Maybe you want to focus on a personal development goal.  Write down the area of life you chose and then rate yourself on a 0-10 scale where you are now. For example, 0 is not met at all, and 10 is exactly where you want to be. 

3. Describe Your 10:  You can make it a list or a descriptive paragraph. Be specific and ask yourself:  "How will I know I reached my 10? 
Health 0-10  Current score 5
What's my 10? I will know that I reached my 10 when... I feel more consistent energy throughout the day, experience restful sleep, have lost 10 lbs.  Make your goals reasonable and attainable. You don't want to set yourself up for the impossible and hurt yourself trying to get there. On the other hand, don't limit yourself. Too often people way underestimate what is possible for them. Is that you? Ask yourself: "Do I know of anyone that has started where I am and has accomplished similar results?" If they can do it, so can you! 

4. Identify Your Reasons. Once you have narrowed down a list of things you want to accomplish in the year ahead, WHY do you want that? Motivation works, but it's temporary. That is exactly why resolutions don't work. This is an important step you cannot leave out so read this carefully... 
Having great reasons will continuously pull you forward. Without them you will eventually and slowly walk back to where you started again. 

Ask yourself: What will your life look like when you reach your goal? How will it affect you? How will it benefit you? What will it mean to others in your life? What will it mean for your life? Not just this year, but forever!

Tweet! "For lasting change, know your reasons to get you through the seasons." @PegHaust 

5.  Calendar Time! Get out the calendars. I still like good ol' pen and paper. I like the planners that show the whole month with the days of the month having large squares for lots of writing space. Set a date and affirm your intention: 
By February 15, I will have released five pounds.  By May, I will be at my ideal weight of... AFFIRM: "I easily maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports me and my family."

6. Commit AND Take Action. What do you need to do?  Whose support do you need? Make a list of SIMPLE and SPECIFIC action steps to reach your goal. 

My Personal Example:
  • 20 to 45 minutes of exercise: Sun, Mon, Fri, Sat mornings. 
  • Take a few 1 minute meditation breaks at my desk during work.
  • Hold a 30 second to 2 minute plank (yoga pose) during commercial breaks and periodically at my desk during work.
  • Do a whole food cleanse to learn how to eat healthy and jump start my goal.
  • Drink 1 homemade green smoothie every week day.
  • Dance breaks! Great bursts of fitness while cooking and writing blogs :) 
  • Drink water! Drink full glass of water before a.m. coffee and have a water bottle (with lemons) on my desk throughout the day. 
I tend to be a list maker. It works for me. But, don't get overwhelmed by your list! Chunk it down and give yourself "done by dates" and don't list too many things for one day. Also, I can't emphasis routine enough. Plan a routine and follow it. By 20-30 days you should be in the groove nicely. Anything and everything can become a routine. Make sure your routines are good for you! Repetition is key.  

7. BE FLEXIBLE! You know what they say about the best laid plans... If things go off course, that is okay! This example showed how to get started, but when you do this every year it is also time for reflection. It a time to celebrate every success large and small, and a time to assess and reassess. Look at what worked and look at what didn't. There is no failure, only feedback. Learn from what happened, test and measure and continue on.  

Try these 7 steps for any and all areas of your life: Health, fitness, finances, personal development, relationships, retirement planning, new life transitions, anywhere you want to grow. And make sure you focus on simple, doable and FUN or else you won't do it and you know it! 

Extra tip: Be aware of your stinkin thinkin; self defeating thoughts that make you want to give up (and they will show up!) "Oh, this won't work, I've tried this before, this is too hard!"  You create your experience and emotional state with your thoughts.  Like a basketball, catch those thoughts and shoot them; don't hold the ball!  

Lastly, I'll say it again, remember the why behind your wants and then you will see them come into fruition. It's not about the end result, it's about continued growth. By designing your best life, you are not only enhancing your life, you are positively affecting your loved ones and everyone around you. You are creating progress that is not only good for you, but also inevitably good for all. 

It doesn't get better than that.

Have a wonderful time and please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear about your dreams and goals! 

Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R
Therapist, Coach, Author

Get a free excerpt from my book: Anxiety Breakthrough at my website! PegHaust.com


Monday, December 8, 2014

About That Life Plan...

Last night my husband and I watched The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. It's about an affair between a politician and a ballerina affected by mysterious forces keeping them apart. A romantic "you and me against the world" tale.  Two lovers apparently not meant to be together, it doesn't fit the plan.  A determined team of sharply dressed fedora wearing men, the Adjustment Bureau, attempt to keep the couple apart to assure that they both stay on their chosen path. This proves challenging at best for them. Think about the challenges you have faced to stay on track. Are these challenges coincidences? Not according to this story line.  It's actually the "Adjustment Bureau" hard at work. They will make you late for meetings, miss important calls, delay you at the airport, whatever they have to do. They will even erase your brain if they have to! They allow us to believe we have free will, and they may even give us a chance for a predetermined life, but they are pretty certain that we will manage to screw that up big time!  
The Adjustment Bureau was a fun movie AND it made me think about my past. Just how much has been free will and how much has been Divine Intervention? 
Hmm, I ponder....
Age 12: I KNEW I was supposed to marry John Travolta.  As any typical star obsessed tween, I prayed... Please God, Vinny Barbarino is the only boy for me!  My best friend and I planned our bus trip to Englewood, NJ to introduce ourselves to his mother!  Crazy little girls! But as destiny would have it, not the bus trip, nor the wedding were in the cards.  Okay, a little more seriously, what about my dreams of being a rock star hair stylist?  Surely, that's not too much to ask for! I worked hard, put myself through cosmetology school, but again, was it a coincidence that I could not cut hair to save my life? Another failure, another dream shattered. So it seemed. Animals, that's it! I am determined to work for a shelter or vet. THAT is the chosen path. But, even that didn't last for "some reason." I can easily go into a rant about wasted years, wasted time. Why did I have to waste six years in a painful relationship? Why did I have a public speaking fear that prevented me for YEARS from pursuing my dream of becoming a therapist and a panic disorder that made it so hard to accomplish?  Wasted time and unnecessary pain.  OR, right on time and right on Purpose.  Looking back, I now see that the most painful and most seemingly meaningless events have been the most important to my life.  For instance, when I first saw my future husband on an empty crossroad, both of us stopped at the traffic light. It's 4 am, dark, cold and wintery. I'm driving still in my PJs and feeling really blah.  For a brief second, my state changed as I wondered who he was. Two days later he unexpectedly shows up at a home town pub on what just happened to be my birthday.  Really?  Or, surfing some channels, I just happened to land on an infomercial by some guy talking about how life is absolutely in our hands and the power and possibility in each and every one of us.  Defying my usual "think it through very thoroughly" strategy and instead, taking unflinching inspired action, I ordered my first product by Tony Robbins.  Because of that (fateful decision?), my personal and career development grew. I found wonderful personal and professional connections. 
I wanted to become a therapist in the first place in response to a  painful relationship. The childhood public speaking fear later turned panic disorder lead to my current specialization in anxiety and resulted in the privilege of helping so many others struggling too.
Little things, big things, and all those seemingly "bad" things. Those experiences have tested, challenged and stretched me. But, I realized strength I did not know and have blessings too many to count. 
What about you? I bet you have a few examples yourself! 
As we near the end of 2014, I hope you are creating your goals and dreams for 2015. Do I have a plan?  Me without a plan? Not happening. Yes, I have a plan! A well defined, goal directed, manageable, well controlled course of action. A plan in the grand scheme of things, a direction for my life. I got it all figured out, 2015 here I come!  But, I wonder what the boys of the black fedoras will have to say about it. I will stick to my plan, I will test and measure the progress of those plans. I will refine and sometimes redefine those plans. And, I will also welcome a date with Destiny.  

Shine bright,

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Peg Haust-Arliss, LCSW-R 
Holistic Psychotherapist, Anxiety Specialist and Life Strategist 
Visit my website and grab your free Stress and Anxiety Toolkit!