Life Coach: Get Your Life in Shape! (cont.)

Member: So I need to use fear to my advantage? Use it as a motivator?

LaMotte: Not use it as a motivator. But learn to put fear in perspective. If you accept it as part of the human spirit rather than reject it as an inhibitor in your life, your perspective changes. Once your perspective changes, the role fear plays in your life changes.

Moderator: So it's more like a door than a wall, to be philosophical about it?

LaMotte: I'll have to think about that. (-:

Member: What is your opinion on "journaling" (there's a message board recently created about that topic)? What would be your suggestion to people who do this to put these "life thoughts" into a constructive use for their lives?

LaMotte: I think journaling is a powerful instrument. I think we so quickly forget our feelings at any given moment that journaling helps us remember. For example, when a person is upset over being overweight, journaling can help that person write not only that they are upset, but "I have this knot in my stomach. I have nausea in my throat every time I look in the mirror." And when you can write those feelings down and then read them later, it just reinforces what it is you want to change, so that you have something to compare to when you begin to lose weight and journal again to say "I look in the mirror today and smile." Again, by re-reading your journal you can re-live those emotions in a powerful way that is highly motivating. And so while some regard journaling as a pain in life, the results of it are extremely positive.

I have also suggested to people that they strap to their bodies a mini voice-activated tape recorder that they can purchase for $30. And as they walk through the day, simply say what they are feeling and RECORD it. It makes it easier than even writing something. At the end of the day, they listen to their own voices they recorded. That, too, is very powerful.

Moderator: Larry, on your message board you have four areas for people to look at as parts of their lives they can seek to change: Environment, relationships, your body, yourself, and money. That just about covers all the stress points in my life! Should we tackle all of these areas at once? I hope not!

LaMotte: LOL! No, I don't recommend it. Everyone is different in how they are motivated and how they are successful when trying to make a change. First understand how you are best motivated. You know better than anyone. Generally speaking, mini steps within one category would be my recommendation. For example, I have people list five tolerations within each category you mention. I suggest they pick one of those five to begin. Don't try all five at once. Then take down information about that particular toleration before they even go into action. It's a little slower process that way, but understand how easily we fall off the wagon. Usually our eyes are bigger than our stomachs (so to speak).

A toleration is simply something that we don't like but we allow it anyway. Example: Every night you open your closet door and you see something akin to a tornado. And you say, "It's so messy in there. I must clean it. It's driving me crazy." But the phone rings, life calls, and it's left for another day. You open it up again, and the same irritation races across your body. But life calls, and it's left for another day. That's a simple example of a toleration. It could also apply to "My foot hurts. I need to go to the doctor." Life calls. "I will do it tomorrow." "I have not written my mother in two months." "Life calls. I'll do it tomorrow." These tolerations sap our energies, because they are always hanging over our head. They are always reminding us of something left undone, reinforcing an image of a failure. When we begin to close these tolerations, there is a feeling of euphoria. And by self-awareness we begin to realize how much stronger we are becoming.

Member: Larry, can you give me an idea to get my family to work with me?

LaMotte: You know your family better than I. Can you give me an idea of what you have tried in order to get their cooperation?

Member: Talking to them and explaining my situation.

LaMotte: Think about this: How do you talk to them? What tone of voice? What forms of motivation do you try?

"Even in the interview portion of a job application there is nothing wrong with interviewing the interviewer!"

Let me do what coaches don't normally do and that's to offer opinion on that subject of family and chores. I think the day is over when the woman is automatically viewed as the person who cleans up everyone in a house. We are in an era now with working parents and there is no reason that a woman is selected to do all the dirty work around a house. It's a family affair. And to me, everyone in that family should be held accountable for the environment in the household. The day is over when a woman should feel guilty if the house is not as organized as it should be, because everyone should be accountable.

So to me, someone may have to take the leadership by saying, "Here is what has to be done. And I want you to this each day. And you to do that each day." But otherwise, it's a family affair." That's my editorial comment. I'll get off of my pulpit and back down to coaching now.

Member: My environment is the toughest thing for me to deal with. I'm a total slob, but I love the feeling I get after a spring cleaning or a closet dump. I just can't keep up with my own "drop stuff anywhere" daily life. Any tips for getting ahead of the mess and staying there?

LaMotte: Try writing down your feelings when you see the mess. Write down your feelings after the clean up. Then decide which feeling you prefer. And keep that feeling in mind every time you are tempted to toss your underwear and socks on the floor. I think the key is AWARENESS. We often simply go through the day on automatic pilot. Awareness changes that and the intense feelings that we really experience are allowed to surface. That's when change occurs.

Moderator: Could you explain what an energy drain is?

LaMotte: We have just a certain amount of energy; though at different stages in our life, we think it will never run dry. And things we do such as exercise, good diet, positive thinking -- keep re-supplying our energy. Things we do that irritate us, sadden us, anger us -- create holes in our psyche that allow our energy to drain, run out, escape. So to get more energy we not only exercise and eat right, we also close the holes in our lives. My contention is that when we say there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we want, what we are really saying is, "I don't have enough energy every day to accomplish all that I want." So by closing these holes in our lives from which energy drains, we are giving ourselves additional energy to live a fuller, more productive life.

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