Saturday, June 23, 2012

Before you Marry, Talk About This


I’m often perplexed by the kinds of things each member of a couple does not know about the other. Or did not know until they decided to talk to me about their relationship crisis.
You must talk about each of the following issues making certain you’re actually communicating, i.e., listening, understanding and clarifying what your partner actually thinks and feels. When asked if you’ve talked about your relationship needs , your clear and resounding answer should be a “YES.” The following should all be included:

·         How will you manage your career, dual careers, moving for careers, how much money you need to make, and so forth?
·         What are your sexual, intimacy and affection needs and desires? Do you connect well physically and emotionally? Are you in agreement about the boundaries of your relationship and level of faithfulness expected?
·         How do you both feel about children? How many and how will they be raised, when you will have them and who will be responsible for what, are some of the things you should be clear about.
·         Where are you at with religion, values and spirituality? How do you want to raise your kids, if any, with respect to these?
·         What role do you see for family and friends? How much time will you spend with one another and others?
·         What do you want out of life? What are your passions and dreams? Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10, 25?
·         Is there full disclosure about finances, drug and alcohol use and history, relationship history (any Fatal Attractions waiting in the wings?), legal and medical issues? Is there any history of physical aggression or abuse (toward others or as a survivor?).
·         Is there complete trust? Do you believe in your partner fully?

Can you communicate about all the above matters in a calm, clear way with respect and trust? It’s okay if you’re not completely on the same page about everything. Can you talk about compromises without undue anger? Do you feel listened to?
Save yourself unnecessary pain later. Work these things out with your partner. If you can’t work them out, talk to a coach, a therapist or spiritual advisor. Don’t leave it to chance. Take charge of your relationship.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Top 7 Steps to Wellness

These are my top wellness steps borrowed from what the books say and what I’ve learned from my clients. If you want to improve your wellness, you may have to eat differently, change your exercise program, or develop a new sleep plan.  You have to be focused. There may be other behaviors you have to look at, like how much time you work, relax and spend with friends.  You can use these steps with any goal you’re working on.
1. Keep a journal of the behaviors you’re working on. For example, note what you eat and what type of exercise you’re doing. Writing things down help shine a light on the good, the bad and the ugly, and keeps you focused on same.
2. Set clear goals for target behaviors. Ask “what,” “when,” and “how much,” for your goals. Keep them SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, time-limited). This makes it easier to track your progress.
3. Review your goals every 90 days or so. Once you get going with a program, what’s working and what’s not become clearer. Revise your goals as needed. Nothing is written in stone. You’re looking for strategies that move you forward.
4. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t want to diet so you lose weight quickly. Everyone knows that you’ll put it back on because it’s not sustainable. Sensible, healthy strategies will result in slower progress, but you’ll be able to go the distance.
5. Enjoy the journey, e.g., find foods you like to eat and activities you enjoy. Select things that feel authentically yours. Change it up if you do better with variety. Again, you’re looking for things that are sustainable, not an activity you dislike and will not continue for the long haul. Make it fun.
6. Routine, routine, routine. Routines reduce opportunities for mistakes. If you know what you’re eating and when you’re meditating, there are fewer bad choices. You can view routines as boring, or you can see them as good practice. The latter is more useful if not always exciting.
7. Celebrate success. Note it in your journal, share it with friends and do something for yourself when you meet goals. Even small successes deserve rewards. Bigger successes warrant larger rewards.
It’s not that difficult if you keep it simple and use the steps. Wellness is an ongoing process in which you want to be fully engaged. You are always working on your wellness plan, tweaking it and changing it up to push yourself to the next level. And the next.  And the next.
For inspiration:  Beyonce’s Move Your Body