How to Renew Your Mind & Change Your Life

Just 30 minutes a day. That’s all it takes. Influencers like Jim Rohn & Tony Robbins will tell you the same thing.

So, 30 minutes of what?

How to Renew Your Mind ... and Change Your Life | Life, Unleashed

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

Growing up, I was extremely insecure and timid. I felt unliked and unimportant, and had a very “glass half-empty” outlook on life.

Everything in life seemed to be against me. I was always waiting for that other shoe to drop, so-to-speak.

And yet…

My mom had always encouraged my siblings and I to read. She took us to the bookstore & bought us books. And, we often saw her, Dad –and even Grandma– reading.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was unable to work, due to an injury, so I spent a lot of time reading. And, over the next ten years, as a stay-at-home-mom, I ended up reading more and more, as a way to pass the time.

In 2005, however, things started to shift. Instead of constantly reading fiction, I was now seeking out more and more nonfiction — at that time, mainly health & fitness books. Next, I was reading more Christian Living. Then, books on business, and success, and entrepreneurship, and personal development. Until, one day, I realized that I hardly read fiction at all, any more!

A SHIFT…

Ever since I began reading more nonfiction, there has been a shift in my life. I am no longer negative and seeing life as “out to get me”. I don’t blame others, or circumstances, for how my life is turning out but, instead, I accept responsibility for the choices I’ve made that have lead me to this point.

I’ve begun to submerge myself in positive messages, and to surround myself with people and words that lift me up and give me hope.

I now look at life very optimistically (despite less-than-ideal circumstances), and have an “anything is possible!” mindset.

What changed?

THE KEY

I honestly have to credit the books I read, plus the YouTube videos, and various pages I follow on Facebook that keep me constantly immersed in positive messages. And, obviously, I can’t go without giving credit to God, because I also prayed and asked Him to renew my mindset. He is faithful. ♥

In Network Marketing, we are encouraged to do at least thirty minutes of personal development each day.

Personal Development: the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge, and improving personal skills.

I believe this is for several reasons:

IT CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Like I’ve mentioned, I went from being very negative and woe-is-me, to having a completely shifted view, or outlook, on life. I am now an optimist!

IT SHOWS YOU WHAT IS POSSIBLE

Before I started to read about others’ lives, and how they went from difficult starts to raving success, I had only my own circumstances (and that of those around me) to look to for an example of what might be possible. Since no one in my circle was all that influential, my expectations were pretty limited.

However, in reading these others’ success stories, I began to see how “small” I’d been thinking, and my ideas for what I could achieve began to expand.

Marianne Williamson quoteIT FORCES YOU TO LEVEL UP

When you surround yourself with those who are optimistic, positive, and driven — even if it’s only by following these people via social media, and/or reading their books, or watching their videos — you can’t help but be inspired to think differently. And, when you think differently, you then act differently.

You can continue to “play small”, but it won’t feel right. You will have an inner restlessness, drawing you towards becoming more, because you’ve now seen that more is possible!

IT CHANGES WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH

When you begin to shift your mindset away from the negative, towards a more optimistic view, you’ll find it really hard to continue to spend any great amount of time with those who are still stuck in that negative thinking. As such, you will begin to seek out, and spend time with (again, perhaps only virtually), others who think positively, and are actively working on themselves and their lives.

IT PUSHES YOU TO PURSUE A BETTER LIFE

When you know better, you can do better. When you know more, you want more.

No longer will you be content to settle for what’s ordinary or expected. Instead, you will believe there’s so much more that is possible, and you will actively pursue that for your life.

And, not only will you want more for yourself, but you will also want to pass it on… to tell others, “Hey! You’ve got to try this!” (just like I’m doing with this post!)

When you’ve experienced something that changes your life in such a big way, you can’t help but tell others about it!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Let me strongly encourage you to give this a try. Like I said, all it takes is just thirty minutes a day, and you will start to notice a shift in your life. If you’re not big on reading, try listening to audio books (my friend, Sarah, never liked to read… but, after she got into network marketing, she decided to listen to books on CD… and from there, she started buying & actually reading physical books!).

You can also watch videos on YouTube, listen to podcasts, watch webinars… there are a lot of options.

And, if you don’t feel you can fit in 30 minutes all at once, try starting with just 10 minutes per day. Then, work your way up to 20 minutes… and, again, work your way up, from there, to 30 minutes. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

The key is to ignore your excuses, and just start. Find what works for you.

Need some ideas of who to follow? Check out the list I’ve created just for you on my Library page!

Personal Development | Life, Unleashed

Called To Be A Writer

Have you ever tried to ignore something, but just couldn’t seem to escape it? I most definitely have. Let me tell you a story…

Called To Be a Writer | Life, Unleashed

For my 10th birthday, an older friend gave me my very first diary. I still have that book today. It’s got a mint-green cover, and the pages are heavily perfumed. It has its own lock and key.

I remember, as a young girl, weaving stories in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night. Often times they included living in a mansion, and/or horseback riding through the woods on my grandparents’ property.

Sometimes I would even speak my stories into my brown Fisher Price tape recorder.

In grade school, one of my favorite things was when the teacher would fill all three chalkboards with notes for us to copy into our notebooks… then erase it all, and fill all three boards again. I loved taking notes! And I still take notes from every nonfiction book I read, actually!

I completed NaNoWriMo in 2006. I wrote 50,911 words in 28 days. My novel still sits on my shelf, unfinished.

To this day, I keep a journal. I don’t write in it daily, any more — only when I desperately need an outlet for my emotions, and/or I need to sort through the tangled messes of my thoughts. Writing things out almost always brings clarity.

I oftentimes “pray” on paper, as well, seeking God’s take on the issues I’m dealing with. I’ll write out what I feel He’s saying to my spirit, in response, also. This practice has truly helped to deepen my faith, and draw me closer in relationship with my Lord.

Also, I’ve been a blogger since 2005. It started as a way to record the books I was reading, then morphed into a community of others who loved the book-related memes I posted each week, and then evolved over time into a place where I now teach others the things that I’ve learned, thus far… and what I am still in the process of learning.

pencils

You would think, on reading all of the above, that I’d classify myself as a Writer. Yet, for the longest time, I’ve fought that title. I’ve even told God that I don’t want to be a Writer. And yet, the thread of writing has been woven throughout the tapestry that is my life, and it seems that I, like Jonah, must surrender to the call.

I realized something, this past week, that has truly helped me to start the process of accepting this: that I don’t actually hate to write. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that, yes, I even like writing. As I said earlier, writing is how I sort through my thoughts; it’s always been how I am best able to express myself.

The “aha!” came when I saw that what I don’t like is writing for others… and, in asking myself why that is, it all came down to one thing:

PERFECTIONISM (aka: Fear)

…I don’t like writing out posts for my blog because I feel like my writing has to be “perfect” and “polished”, or else I won’t be seen as the professional that I’m aiming to be.

Yet, every professional was once a beginner. And God even tells us to not “despise the days of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

I guess I need to learn to give myself more grace — to accept my “beginner” status when it comes to writing, and to not mentally kick myself for being so inconsistent.

After all, I teach others that practice makes progress… and I think progress is as close to “perfection” as we’re going to get, this side of heaven. So, if I want to feel more confident in this role as a Writer, I just need to keep practicing. The more I do it — the more I write — the better I’ll get.

::

I’m curious… is there some title or calling that you’ve been trying to run away from? Share in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not alone in this!

 

Bullet Journaling: An Updated Look

A while back, I shared a post about Bullet Journaling, and why I chose that method for planning out my time. Today, I wanted to give you an updated look at how I’ve come to use my journal.

Bullet Journal updated

Note: If you haven’t tried Bullet Journaling, just yet, feel free to visit my previous post to learn more about the system.

So, in the beginning of using my journal, I had to try several different layouts. I wanted to be able to track my health, as well as my business activities, and then my personal items, as well. After a while, I decided that I liked this layout best:

bullet journal | a life unleashed

On the left-hand page, I have just the days of the week listed Monday through Sunday. This gives me lots of room to note what I have going on. Then, on the right-hand page, I have the “week of…”, a large “Notes” section (where I jot down what went well, or what didn’t, and that sort of thing — anything important I want to remember), and below that, a section for 3 things I’m grateful for that week, and my weight-loss progress.

bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed  bullet journal update | Life, Unleashed

(^^ a couple of closer-up views)

I also have a color code that I use when making notes (though, all you see in the pictures above are the “Gym” reminders).

And, that’s it! That’s how I’ve chosen to do my Bullet Journal system, for now. Everything else (the monthly pages, brain dump area, etc) is all the same.

I’m still using the same book from 2016, as I stopped tracking for a while, and only recently picked it back up. So there’s still plenty of room. Once again, this is why I love the bullet journal — for its flexibility!

Want to see more about Bullet Journaling? Check out a few of my favorite posts done by others!

Tiny Ray of Sunshine’s “Thorough Guide to Bullet Journaling

(as well asThe 8 Stages of Bullet Journaling Addiction“, on that same blog^)

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s “My 3 Favorite Tips & Tricks After 3 Months with the Bullet Journal

 

REVIEW: Moving Forward by John Siebeling

Moving Forward: Overcoming the Habits, Hangups, and Mishaps That Hold You Back” by John Siebeling

 

In Moving Forward, John Siebeling talks about the habits and mindsets that hold us back from living the abundant life that God has promised to us (John 10:10), and from moving forward.

He touches on topics like our emotions, and how we are responsible for how our lives turn out (how we react to life’s ups and downs is up to us). He talks about mindset and choices, too, which I love, as it aligns with what I teach, here on my blog!

Lastly, John also talks about dreaming big, and about our financial habits. There’s even a budget guide included in the back of the book!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and found it to be a quick, easy read with lots of practical information. Definitely recommended.


A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review by the Baker Books Blogger program.

ROUND-UP: The Scientific Benefits of Journaling

There have been a lot of studies done on the benefits of journaling. It’s great not just for your mental and emotional health, but also for your physical health!


“I never travel without my diary. One should always
have something sensational to read on the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde


RoundUp: The Scientific Benefits of Keeping a Journal | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up post, I’m sharing links to articles that will give you more information on the benefits you can glean from journaling:

 

Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you. {The Health Benefits of Journaling, PsychCentral | read more…}

 

“…[Journaling is] a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined.

“…Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.” {…How Writing in a Journal Can Actual Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Collective Evolution | read more…}

 

“…The benefits of journaling are long-term. Not only will journaling help you recover from an experience in the moment, but it will also prepare you to face future similar scenarios.” {Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Journal, Connections.mic | read more…}

 

“Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread…” {10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal, Huffington Post | read more…}

 

“As my tasks started to align with my goals, I felt more organized—more focused—on what I was doing and why I was doing it.”

“…Journalling has actually been studied intensely over the years. Psychologists have looked at everything from daily creative writing exercises to a structured, standardized question-and-answer format to expressive writing as a means of therapy.” {The Science of Journaling: Why Writing Things Down Makes You More Productive, Shopify blog | read more…}

 

“…there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.” {Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY, LifeHack | read more…}

 

“The importance of committing our desires to paper cannot be overstated. It is a simple process, but it pays great dividends.”

“… we are forced to think through our process on a deeper level. The discipline forces us to answer the difficult questions of “why,” “how,” or “why not?” The answers to these questions are not just helpful as we move forward to repeat successes and avoid mistakes, they can be therapeutic as well.” {8 Reasons Keeping a Journal Can Help You Reach Your Goals, BecomingMinimalist | read more…}


“…unless it is committed to paper, you can lose an idea forever.” – Will Self


 

REVIEW: “Without Rival” by Lisa Bevere

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison” by Lisa Bevere

 

Lisa has a way of writing & teaching that really sparks a fire within me. She writes to empower other women to live boldly for the Kingdom of God.

In “Without Rival“, Lisa tackles the issue of our identity, and ushers a wake up call for us to remember who (and Whose) we are … and what that means for us, as we live out our daily lives.

Other topics that are touched on include: comparison, insecurity, responding to others’ judgment or insecurities, genders as equal in God’s economy, fearless living, God’s unrivaled nature and His unique love for each one of us, as well as our legacy, and the promise we have that all will be restored.

I loved this book, and underlined quite a bit. I will probably need to re-read it at some point, in order to gather even more… there’s a lot of great stuff here.

 


Note: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Also, this post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer page for more information.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from December 13, 2016:

…It’s not like I don’t have any ideas on what to write — I have TONS of ideas!!! It’s just this dang fear… fear of my writing being “not good enough”, and fear of doing all the work and not getting anything from it (eg. comments). I guess part of that is impatience, too, as the longer my content is ‘out there’, the more likely it is to be found.

God says that I should be writing, anyway, because I at least have an “audience of One” — “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It’s all for Him, in the first place (or, it should be).

And — AHA! — this is a TRUST issue, too! By worrying about my writing not being seen, not being good enough, or not getting comments, I’m in essence saying that I don’t trust God to take my writing and accomplish His purposes for it! Not to mention, I’m being selfish by wanting my writing to give me something in return for my efforts (that’s entitlement), and prideful in expecting it to all be so good that people can’t help but comment.

I’m people-pleasing… seeking my readers’ approval, rather than God’s. Yet, God’s approval is the only thing truly necessary or important (or, it should be).

Thanks for all of these insights, Lord. Please renew my mind so that I write for You… give me the desire to do so, please. And help me to trust You to do with my writing what You please — to use it for Your purposes. Help me to see & remember that my job is solely to faithfully write and be obedient, and to leave the outcomes to You.

(FYI… other than omitting the first part, which was too personal to share, this is exactly what had been written in my journal.)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

In order to give you guys an idea of what journaling can do for you, I’ve decided to be really candid, and let you peek inside my journal, once in a while. I’d like to show you how my journals help me get clarity, and how God speaks to me through the pages.

Sneak Peek: A Snippet from my Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from November 17, 2016:

I’m back to the same old sticking point — the “quicksand” that stops me every time I try to move forward…the fear of writing content that others will read.

And, as I just wrote that last sentence, God whispered, “Why don’t you give Me that fear, just like you gave Me your fear of flying?” He reminds me that I’ve never offered Him this fear, yet.

So yes — here you go, Lord — I am handing over my fear of writing to You. Please take it from me and don’t let me try to grab it back! I’d really love to move forward, and this fear needs to go! It needs to get out of my way!!! (Get behind me, Satan! In Jesus’ name!).

After all, God does NOT give me a spirit of fear & timidity (that’s Satan’s work). Instead, God gives me self-discipline, along with His power & love. So I am ABLE to write what others need to hear from me (through Jesus at work through me).

Please, Jesus, take this spirit of fear from me. Help me to be BOLD like the lioness that You are calling me to become! I want others to see the transformation in me, so that they will have the courage to pursue it for themselves!

(FYI: nothing was edited… this is what I’d written in my journal)

ROUND-UP: How to Start Journaling

One of the things I’ve been told I do well is curating (gathering) information. Because I am constantly reading and researching, I tend to come across a lot of helpful information. But it’s not the most helpful if I keep it all to myself! So, I’d like to share what I’ve found by providing the occasional round-up posts where I link to others’ content.

Round-Up: How to Start Journaling | Life, Unleashed

For today’s round-up, I’m sharing others’ posts on HOW TO START JOURNALING:

 

journalingroutine-belletriste  journalistajournalingmythspin   journaling-tips-pinterest-1

 

And two (2) more, with one that’s more specifically about writing for healing:

How to Get Started Journaling (Elsie Road Magazine)

4 Ways to Write for Healing (Darcy Leech)