Tag Archives: choices

How To Be in Relationship Without Enabling

Relationships can get dirty, especially when you take on others emotional dirt and debris. When you absorb others problems that you have no authority to change, you will get frustrated quickly.

You may feel sorry for your friend or family member, so you rescue them from having to face the natural consequences of their actions. Or maybe you try to solve their problem for them, except the problem keeps continuing.

These are all ways to describe enabling others problem behavior by trying to solve their problem or relieve their consequences. The more an enabler helps, the more irresponsible the other person may become. In this way, some helping can actually let the other person off the hook so much that it hinders their own problem solving. And I know you don’t want to be a part of the problem you are trying to solve!

If you are tired of feeling responsible for others problems and absorbing others emotional dirt, then get ready to establish some boundaries. Allow others to clean up their own emotional and behavioral messes by better defining your choices. In doing so, you value yourself as much as you value others.

What is a boundary?

Most people are very confused about setting boundaries, and they think it is a way to get others to comply with their expectations. Well this is my thought on what a boundary is and is not in relationships:

  • A boundary is NOT getting others to do what we want.
  • A boundary IS defining what we are/are not willing to do.

In this way, setting boundaries may mean you don’t do something even if the other person doesn’t do it either. Deep breath, let’s explore it further.

Boundary Making Steps That Liberate the Enabler:

If you are wanting to stay in a relationship with the person you have been enabling, then make steps towards respecting yourself as much as them.

1. Know Your Choices

You may not realize that you have a choice. How many parents want their kids to be happy, even if it costs them? Or, how many spouses will give in to make their spouse happy? If you step into others choices, you will collect some dirt. I know I have!

Your choices are questions that only you can answer. For instance, a mother pays for her adult son’s rent. She feels sorry for him, and says “he just can’t seem to manage his own money.” This mother has a choice.

2. Define Your Position

Is this mother okay with continuing to support her adult son financially? She is afraid to let her son experience consequences. Yet, she is tired of paying for two rent payments each month. She doesn’t want to let him move in with her, and she doesn’t want to keep paying his rent.

This mother sees her choices and is becoming clearer on her position. That is, what she is willing and not willing to do. Now how does she tell her son?

3. Communicate Your Boundary

Here’s where it gets hard. This mother will come face to face with her fears. Will he still talk to her? Will he argue with her? Will he still need her?

She takes a deep breath, and tells her son, “December is the last month I will pay your rent.” She makes a decision to stop avoiding this difficult topic. She is clear and direct.

This mom doesn’t try to convince him to be more responsible or give him more suggestions on managing his money. These would all communicate that he can’t possible make it without her. She is ready to let him grow up even if he stumbles.

4. Follow Through With Actions

Our actions often speak louder than our words. When you communicate your position, you will need to follow through with your actions.

Your loved one may try to avoid getting dirty, by convincing you he doesn’t know what to do with the “dirt.” He may try to pull you back into being responsible for him or his problem. Be ready to hold onto your new boundary even under pressure from others to cave.

5. Respect Other to Solve Own Problem

When you refuse to fix, rescue, or shape up your friend or family member due it out of respect for them to find their own answers. You are respecting them enough to find their own way, even if that includes experiencing some consequences along the way.

And sometimes when you don’t take responsibility for someone else’s irresponsibility, they just might surprise you by finding a way to manage the problem on their own. Even if it’s not the way you would do it, you are now carrying less of others dirt!

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How to Stop Emotional Eating Habits

Have you ever had a stressful day and reached for a bag of chips or chocolate bar without thinking?

Food is comforting, satisfying, and calming to the brain. So it is almost automatic to turn to food when you are anxious, tired, or angry. It is among many quick fixes that are proven to help reduce that stressed out feeling.

Of course it’s hard to maintain a healthy weight when food is your only comfort for stress. So many people are looking for ways to stop their emotional eating, especially when it becomes a mindless habit.

To explore the topic of conquering emotional eating, I have invited Lauren Chitwood, Health Coach for Take Shape for Life, to share her empowering story.

Marci: Many people struggle to set new goals for their health because they feel helpless about change. What helped you begin to shift how you thought about changing your habits?

Lauren: I knew I had to make a change in my life when I noticed my medical bills increasing. I was gaining weight each month and nothing I tried was working. I realized that I had an unhealthy relationship with food, and I wanted to stop being on yo-yo diets.

My feet hurt from carrying extra weight, and I was concerned about preventing diabetes. I knew my health was declining, and decided I could no longer put off making a permanent change in my eating habits. It was getting hard to enjoy being active with my family.

Marci: Many people turn to food for comfort during stressful or lonely times. Was this true for you?

Lauren: I was a stress eater. It was very easy for me to turn to food for comfort. One of my unhealthy habits was stopping at Quick Trip on my way home from work. I was stressed about my day and anxious about keeping up with my family’s evening activities.

I convinced myself that I deserved to grab a snack on my way home to have “me” time. I would eat a combination of candy, chocolate, salty foods, and diet pop. By the time I arrived home, I had eaten everything and felt guilty about my binge.

Marci: How did you stop turning to food for emotional reasons?

Lauren: I haven’t eliminated all stress or chaos, but I have found a new way to comfort myself. When I feel the urge to turn to comfort food, I stop myself by performing the following “Stop-Challenge-Choose” exercise:

  • Do Self-Inventory: “Why am I desiring junk food? Am I feeling anxious, bored, or stressed?”
  • Think about Long-Term Goals: “If I eat this candy/food will I sabotage my progress and possibly put myself off course?”
  • Replace Food: Find another way to calm myself that isn’t food.

Marci: What helps you stay motivated to keep working on your health goals?

Lauren: I read some books by Dr. Wayne Anderson explaining how motivation effects your results. Developing “outcome oriented motivation” instead of “conflict driven motivation” is what’s led me to maintaining my health and weight loss goals.

“Conflict driven motivation” is when an emotional conflict leads you to take action. Once you take action, you start to feel better. Yet your motivation to follow through on your goal decreases when you feel better. I realized this was the classic yo-yo dieting pattern I had tried with no lasting results.

“Outcome oriented motivation” focuses on what you want, not what you don’t want.  It focuses on a desired state that you want to create. I envision what optimal health means to me:

  • I want to stabilize my blood sugar, have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • I want to run a 5K with my family.
  • I want to wear a tank top and shorts and be full of energy.
  • I want to be active even when I am a grandmother.

Shifting my motivation toward these goals helps me get through holiday parties and buffet lines. Focusing on the outcome I want helps me keep the weight off that I have  lost.

Marci: If your progress slows or you take a step backward, how do you get yourself back on track?

Lauren: Life still gets bumpy, but I keep my forward thinking goals in front of me and keep on moving toward my goals. When my weight loss slows down, I also take a deep breath and remember how far I have traveled on my journey. I look at the fact that I’ve made significant progress in a short amount of time. I hold onto knowing that I have found the last weight loss program I would ever need.

Marci: What unexpected benefits have you encountered along your journey?

Lauren: Losing weight and regaining my health has changed my life in ways I never expected. I had become socially reclusive, stopped reaching out to new relationships, and ignored my old friendships. I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained, so I avoided people and social events. Emotionally I felt like a failure when I let food have control over me.

As I began losing weight, I almost immediately felt like I was back in control. That was one of the most empowering moments of my life. If I could conquer my food addiction, I could conquer anything!

As I continued losing weight, my social, friendly, and caring personality started to return. I began forming new relationships and reconnecting with old ones. I have a new level of confidence and sureness that I never embraced before now.

Marci: I want to thank Lauren for joining us today and sharing her struggles with food as well as her triumphs. Having only known Lauren after her health transformation, it’s hard to imagine her ever feeling insecure and unsure. She truly has transformed not only the outside but the inside too!

Anyone else have a question for Lauren about her health transformation or the program she coaches?

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Lauren guest

Lauren Chitwood is a Certified Health Coach with Take Shape for Life. Lauren has a passion for coaching others who are struggling with their weight and health goals. Watch this video to learn more about the Take Shape for Life Program, inluding free health coaching. 

Find More Enjoyment in Your To Do List

happy-cleaning

Do you have a task you do weekly but dread it? For me, it’s grocery shopping. I would rather do anything other than go grocery shopping, even scrub toilets! On my grocery shopping day, I procrastinate getting this item done on my to do list.

I don’t want to dread this task anymore. I am choosing to find a new way to think about even the most mundane tasks.  If we change our thinking, we can find more enjoyment in our everyday to do lists.

6 Ways to Find Enjoyment in Mundane Tasks

Want to join me in this liberating exercise? First, identify a necessary task you want to enjoy more. Here are my ideas on liberating daily dread:

1. Make a list of likes/dislikes - Life is a mixed bag of positives and negatives, so work on seeing both sides even in mundane tasks. Uncover choices in how you think about your to do list by understanding why you do the task as well as why it bugs you.

2. Get real with yourself – The biggest thing I don’t like about my dreaded weekly chore is the time it takes. But when I am real with myself, I realize grocery shopping on a budget and making healthy food takes some planning. And planning means I invest time in the task.

3. Remember your values - Knowing the why behind why I dedicate the time to do the mundane chore helps me get aligned with my values. So gather positive energy for task completion by identifying what you value in your task.

4. Reward yourself – Children aren’t the only ones that like rewards. Give yourself something to look forward to. What could you give yourself after you get your to do list done?

5. Mix mundane with new - Try to do your dreaded task in a new way. Or add something new while doing the task. For instance, learn something new, listen to new music, or travel a new way.

6. Rethink mundane - Be grateful for routines so we don’t have to rethink how to accomplish the necessary tasks each week.

I know our to do lists aren’t the highlight of our week, but I think choosing how we think about even the mundane can have an impact on our overall outlook. It can also impact how available and open we are to our loved ones. And if we are happier, we are more fun to be around.

I would love to hear from my readers. What do you not like to do? Get it out and gripe about it. Then share how you do it even though you don’t want to. Or how you make your dreaded to do list more enjoyable.

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Interested in working with Marci? You can now hire Marci as your life and/or relationship coach from the comfort of your own home. Click here for coaching details.

Photo Credit: “Cleaning” by S.P. Case