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Katy Foley, MA

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Finding your North

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Tips for a Happy Life.

Posted on April 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

4/12/16:  

Simple Tips for a Happy, Fullfilled Life:

"Somebody shoud tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.   Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.  'Do it!' I say.  Whatever you want to do, do it now!  There are only so many tomorrows."  ....Michael Landon

Follow even half of these suggestions and you will feel happier, lest stressed, more positive even when stress happens.

1.  Exercise, daily.  It does not have to be anything complicated.  You will feel less tired and your mind will be more clear.

2.  Smile, even when you don't feel it at first.  The very act of smiling can reduce risk of stroke and can lift your mood.

3.  Get some quiet time.  Lock yourself in a room if you have to. (Leave the cell phone outside that room).

4.  Laugh!

5.  Meditate and\or pray daily.  It will ground you and let your mind open up to new solutions.

6.  Try to make at least 3 people smile every day.

7.  Life is about learning.  Problems appear and fade away, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime.

8.  Make pease with the past so it won't ruin your present.

9.  Do not waste your time hating anyone.  It hurts you, not them.

10.  Clear clutter from you house, car, and desk.  Your mind will fel less cluttered when you do this.

11.  Don't waste energy on negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  It will ony keep you stuck.

12.  Don't compare yourself to others.  You have no idea what their journey is and they do not know yours.

13.  Remind yourself:  No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

14.  Also remind yourself:  You are not in charge of any one else's happiness.

15.  Each not before bed say, "I am thankful for...."

16.  Forgive others. If you don't know how ask for help with it.

17.  Forgive yourself.

18.  What other people think of you is none of your business so stop worrying so much about it.

19.  Be honest and then you don't have to remember what you said.

20.  Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

21.  Remember that happiness is a journey and not a destination.


goal setting

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

1/24/16:  Dreams and goals matter.

So we’re a month or so into the New Year. The holiday things are put away. New Year’s celebrations are but a memory. Do you remember the resolutions you made, the plans, goals, and promises you set for yourself? What do you suppose causes us to set those goals aside so quickly? What leads us to give up on our goals and dreams? I think a lot about goal setting for myself and I help others set goals so that they can achieve some form of balance and happiness in their work and home lives. As I was running on the beach last summer I was prompted to thing about goal setting because I was having a very difficult time achieving what should have not been a difficult goal. Or so I believed. The day was a typical hot, muggy South Carolina summer day. The sun felt scorching even though it was not yet 8:00 a.m. I was struggling to complete a distance I had run without much difficulty about a zillion times before. I kept telling myself that it was not that far to my destination, but I found myself wanting to give up. I told myself that I was not going to make it back to the “stack a shacks” (my starting and ending point). It was just….tooo….far. (I think I would have started to whine at this point if there had been anyone around to listen other than gulls and pelican). That was when and why I started thinking about goal setting. My goal for the day was to start the day with an invigorating run that would then (hopefully) set a good tone for the rest of the day. It seemed like a simple enough task. I did not care how fast I ran, only that I completed what I set out to do. Well it was not so simple after all. Goals are like that, they seem simple enough on the surface and then so many obstacles can get in our way. My simple plan had become overwhelming and unrealistic. So I decided the original goal was too big, and perhaps it would help to break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. I thought, “ok, I can make it to the first life guard station”. That was actually two goals in one: I was setting a smaller goal for the run and I was heading to someone who could help when I collapsed from heat stroke. But that goal was still overwhelming. Which led to more thoughts of giving up altogether. I found myself breaking the run down into small increments and I felt success if I made it to the next boardwalk, and then the next, and then the next, and so on. Sometimes we set goals or make promises, plans, or “should” that are very worthy and do-able in the long term, but we give up because we fail to make a realistic plan to get there. The goal seems great when we are first dreaming it, but we become overwhelmed by obstacles that life throws at us and we become discouraged and set our plans and dreams aside. Setting smaller goals that can lead to the achievement of a larger goal or dream is helpful for a number of reasons, including: Breaking a larger goal into smaller tasks seems less overwhelming and motivates us to get started; achieving smaller goals is rewarding and gives us incentives to keep moving forward; we can continues to work toward completing the mini goals even life throws us curve balls or we get knocked off track. It is important to remember that dreams matter. Goals are important to making your dreams a reality. Learning how to set realistic goals and expectations, and being able to break larger goals into more manageable chunks will help you to keep moving forward and minimize discouragement and defeat. And in the words of my mother, words that I heard infuriatingly often when I was growing up, “remember, the impossible only takes a little longer”. Thanks Mom. I think you were on to something.

Helpful hints from a Life Coach: You can do it all....

Posted on September 14, 2015 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

9/14/15: "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you're a man, because I'm a woman". Does anyone remember that commercial for Enjoli perfume? If you do you may be "of a certain age". It not here is a very brief history of what was going on at the time: the sexual revolution was in full swing, women were joining the work-outside-the home force in increasing numbers, Billie Jean King had beaten Bobbie Riggs in a tennis match that was both historic and silly (historic because it drew attention to the women's equality movement, silly because, let's be honest, it was a young woman in her prime playing an old guy long past his), and women's lib was all the rage.

 

So I am going to ask a possibly conflict producing question. Did we win any liberation at all? What have we gained? We seem to have little leisure time, and when we try to do things for ourselves we tend to feel guilty about it because we are taking time away from children or jobs. If we spend too much time at work we feel like we are not a good enough parent, if we spend too much time at home we feel like we are not good enough at our job. I have read studies that sugget that the lion's share of child care and household chore responsibilites continue to fall on the female, even when both partners are working outside the home. On top of that we are bombarded with images of physical perfection and ubersexuality. Women are lauded when they lose weight quickly after having a baby, and criticised for gaining weight ever. Bottom line, we are expected to bring home the bacon, cook it, and do it all while constanly validating our partners.

 

So where do these expectations come from? Well, our beliefs come from many places... our family of origin, our peer groups, school, television, or social media. The key to identifying beliefs and expectations is asking yourself what your "shoulds" are. If you say "I should have a clean house", then that is your belief or at least what you think your belief is supposed to be. How you act on your "shoulds" depends on other beliefs. For example: If you say, "My house should be clean", how you make that happen is dependent on your other "shoulds". You may let it get messy all week and then clean on weekends, or you may clean as you go all week long. The belief that your house should be clean was likely formed by how your parents did things when you were growing up, and also may be influenced by what you have seen in the world around you, including on tv, or at the homes of family and friends. We can tell a person's beliefs by their actions. If I go to work everyday then it is a fair assumption that I believe that work in important in some way and that I "should" be working. Expectations are very much like beliefs in that we have expecations for ourselves, for others, for situations, for jobs, for kids, for partners; and those expectations drive our actions and influence the choices we make.

 

So back to that Enjoli commercial. Can you see the expectations inherent in that jingle? Can you see how the beliefs and expectations are infuenced by the world around us? Many saw our mothers try to live up to the unrealistic expectation. Many of us continue to try to do it all. And what has been the result? If the reality is not living up the expectations then the result can be unhappiness, depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt, frustration, anger, feelings of being not good enough. It throws off our balance and our ability to achieve that balance between work, family, and leisure.

 

The worst part about this for me has been the realization that we women are putting the unrealistic expectations on ourselves and we women are often the harshest critics of eachother. We question and second guess our own choices and then we either openly or passive/aggressively challenge the choices of other women. For xample: I stayed at home with my children when they were young. I would go to work or social functions with my husband. Invariably the conversation would turn to "what do you do?" When I stated that I was a stay-at-home-mom the women would typically make a comment such as, "I wish I could stay home all day", and then they would walk away. The men typically, (at least in my experience), stayed and asked questions about my day. I can tell you, from my experience, that I have worked full time without children, I have stayed at home with the children full time, and I have worked outside the home while having children, and it's all hard work folks. And it is made much harder if we live by the expectation that we have to be good at everything all the time.

 

I want to end this on a positive note because I was given a gift by my mother. It is a gift that I did not appreciate when it was presented to me as a teen. The gift was a simple recipe for achieving balance and it came in the form of these words: "You can do it all, but not all at the same time". It was radical, it was life changing, it was liberating, and it flew in the face of the message that society was giving me as a young woman in the making. Why was it so important? My mother was giving me permission to make my own choices, to be free to not have to do it all, to set priorities how I wanted to, and to have realistic expectations for myself. You see the belief that we can do it all and do it all well sets up up for failure. IT sets us up for unhappiness. The belief that we can do it all, just not all at the same time increased my chances of being able to set a course for happiness and balance.

Helpful Hints from a Life Coach? Finding your North

Posted on July 24, 2015 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

7/23/15:  I've been thiking a lot about direction lately and how we lose our way sometimes.  My husband, Jeff, has told me stories about a professor he had in college who was always challenging his students to "Find your north, find your north".  Whenever we are hiking, running, sailing, engaging in any outdoor activity Jeff gives me the oft repeated directive, "Come on Katy, find your north".  All too often my response to him is , "why?".  Well I have been thinking a lot about the "why" recently, due in part to a client who has lost her way, and herself, somewhere, somehow, along the way.  She has been trying to find her "true north".

Now it has always been a curiosity to me that Jeff, who is ridiculously good at finding his north and his way out in the wild, always manages to get completely twisted around and lost when in a city.  I have been trying to figure out why this is, which led me to think about why my client has lost her north, which led me to think about why any of us loses our way.  And the answer that keeps appearing before me is "noise".  It seems that noise, all kinds of noise, distracts us and pushes us off course.  We are bombarded with physical noise that hits our ears and our brains.  We have all too little quiet time in our busy, noisy worlds.  We are constantly flooded with data from news, emails, facebook, twitter, snapchate, instragram.  We hear politicians fighting, talking heads disagreeing, media telling us how to think, feel and believe.  We are so often on overload.  In the city Jeff hears, sees, smells, and feels too much all at once.  It causes him to become disoriented and lose his way.  In life we have so many responsibilities and so much coming at us that we also lose touch with ourselves, with who we are, with where we are going and where we want to be.  In the city Jeff sees nothing but tall buildings, signs, pavement.  Nothing that looks familiar to his sense of direction.  He cannot always see the sun, the moon the stars, the things that he uses to orient himself.  When life gets busy we may also lose our familiar guideposts; we may lose touch with the friends and family that keep us grounded; we may forget to give ourselves some quiet time; we may forget that our beliefs, values, needs, and opinions matter; we may stay in unhealthy relationships or in jobs that are too stressful; we may let others violate our boundaries; we forgot who we are and where we are going. There is so much to do and so little time and so we try to do it all, and in doing so we may get lost.

So now what?  We know that we lose our way sometimes.  What can we do about it?  Life is busy and we are just trying to keep up, right?  I will do it later when I have more time....  Is it really important to find our north?  I believe the answer is yes, if the goal for life is to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled.  The way to start to find your north is by identifying your own beliefs, not the beliefs of the person next to you.  Start by asking yourself' "what are my shoulds?"  As in what should I do, what should he not do?  Our "shoulds" are the keys to our beliefs.  When we know our beliefs we know ourselves better.  The next step is to then determine whether our actions are in line with our beliefs.  When we are doing things that go against our core beliefs the result will be worry, guilt, anxiety and depression.  Violating our core beliefs will push us off course and lead us to lose our way.  The next step is to give yourself quiet time to think, learn to be still, and learn to be comfortable alone.  And learn to stay in this moment and not worry ahead.  This will help keep us grounded and will give us the time we need to assess where we are and where we want to be.  If we just took a few moments each day to do this systems check on ourselves we would then be able to identify issues before we go completely off course.  And as part of that systems check don't forget to be grateful and to remember that you have strengths and assets you can use when the seas are rough and when the course is not clear.

Hopeful hints from a life coach.

Posted on June 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)
June 25, 2015 Forgiveness. We hear that word a lot. We are told things like, "you need to forgive so you can move on", or the old standard, "forgive and forget". Forgiveness has been a theme for seekers and promoters of peace throughout history. Mahatma Gandhi said this about forgiveness, "The weak never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Martin Luther King, Jr. said this: " We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies." From Marianne Williamson, "Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness." "When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future", Bernard Meltzer. "It'a one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody", Maya Angelou. "Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die". I'm not sure to whom I should give credit for this quote, but I've uttered it hundreds of times in counseling sessions and groups over the years. So what does forgiveness mean to us? How do we forgive? What does forgiveness really have to do with peace anyway? What happens if we don't forgive? Forgiveness. noun. The action or process of forgiving. Forgive. verb. To stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong). To stop blaming. To stop feeling anger....Not always easy I know. Especially when the anger is "justified". Let's start by talking about the feelings of anger, hurt, resentment, frustration, hate, and many others that arise when we are hurt by someone (including ourselves). Those feelings are ours. We own them. We are responsible for them. We are responsible for how we act on them. That's a key point, one that is important in the act of forgiving. Since our feelings are within us, and we are the person who is feeling them, it is up to to us to decide whether or not those feelings are helping us or hurting us; whether they are worth holding onto or perpetuating, or whether we would be healthier if we let them go. Ultimately those feelings will hurt only us, not the person who hurt us in the first place. In other words the original offense may have been done TO us; the ongoing damage is being done BY us to us.This is where forgives comes in. Forgiveness is a pathway toward empowerment, healing, happiness and peace. By holding onto to all the negative feelings, we are allowing the person who wronged us to maintain some measure of control of our life. We are allowing them to continue to rob us of happiness and peace. By holding on to anger and resentment we are staying tethered to the past. So you see, forgiveness has very little to do with the other person. It is really all about you and your health and hsppiness. We see acts of evil all around us. The media seems to bombard us with stories of the horrible things that people do to each other and to themselves. And we look at people like the Boston Marathon bombers, stories of police brutality, stories if neighbor hurting neighbor, and we ask "how can we possibly forgive?" I'm am not saying it is easy. In fact it may seem impossible, or nearly so. But then I always remember what my mother said to me when I was faced with a seemingly impossible task. She would say, "Katy, the impossible only takes a little longer". And the end result of forgiveness is a healthier, happier you who is able to lay aside negative feelings that are hurting no one but you. I hope this helps. Katy Foley, Life Coach

Helpful hints from a life coach.

Posted on June 3, 2015 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)
A graduation speech made my Jim Carrey has been making the rounds on facebook. He expressed many words of wisdom and gave some good solid advice. Many things he said stood out, but one part has been rattling around in my head pretty hard. He said that his father took the "safe" path and worked as an accountant, but lost that job. In other words while his father may have wanted to do other things with his life he chose to do that which he thought was safe and at which he might not fail. The lesson in that story is this: we can fail at that which we don't want anyway. In other words, we may have hopes, dreams, and passions. We may want to be an actor or musician, or travel, or start a business, or live a life very different from the one we are living or have lived. But we choose to stay put or take the safer, seemingly more secure path. Why do we do this? Fear of failure. Or perhaps fear of success. We don't follow our dreams because we fear we may not reach our goals, we may not succeed, we may fall flat on our faces, we may not be good at whatever it is we wanted to do, or perhaps we will even be laughed at. Well here is the reality: we may fail anyway. We may take the safe path, make the safe choices, do what others want or expect us to do and then fail anyway. So if we may fail at that which we did not want to do anyway, why not follow your dream and either succeed or fail doing what it is you love? Then again, is failure synonymous with not trying? Can we define success by what we tried and what we learned along the way? And how does fear of success keep us from following our dreams? If you succeed and reach your goals and you are still not happy, then what? What would that say about you? Where would you go from there? If you achieve your goals, what is your purpose in life then? If you achieve your goals, will the expectations placed on you be greater then? These are questions that may be in the back of your mind that could keep us from moving forward. Fear of success, fear of failure, just fear in general can and should be dealt with. Fear keeps us stuck in unhealthy relationships, unhappy jobs, unfulfilling lives. Let's work on our fears and achieve our dreams and goals. Live a life of balance, happiness, and fullfillment. Katy Foley, Life Coach

life coach hacks

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)
Life isn't about waiting for the rain to pass...It's learning to dance in the rain. Or perhaps you've heard this one: Nobody ever had a rainbow without first having the rain. SI Similar sentiments but what does that mean for you? We, as humans, are very good at coming up with sayings and words of wisdom to try and help others that are going through similar trials, tribulations, and stesses. Sometimes when we are under extreme stress and someone utters a seemingly trite saying, our first response may be to rip their heads off. Hopefully your second response is one of understanding and appreciation for the help being offered. You see, many of us have similar experience of stress, loss, fear, hurt, sadness. And the point that people are tying to make is that they can relate and perhaps even help, if you let them. The reality is that life can be difficult and it can be stessful; it can be full of rain. But what is equally true is that most of the time we do cope with the stress, hurt, and difficulties that life hands us. And another truth is that our attitude greatly affects our ability to cope and carry on. If we recognize the rain that falls also produces our ability to see rainbows, and if we are able to dance within the difficulties, then we are actually much better able to cope with whatever comes out way. We are also more likely to attract and accept help from others during the most difficult of times. So the next time someone utters a worn out saying in the phase of your distress perhaps try to listen to the truth of the words. The phrases have stuck around for a reason. Katy Foley, Life coach

Life hack

Posted on January 4, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

1/4/15:  Welcome to the new year?  Have you given up on your resolutions yet?  Do you tend to make resolutions that you don't keep?  Why do you suppose that is?  Perhaps the goals that you set are too big.  It might be useful so set smaller goals that will lead you to the bigger goal in the end, but the smaller goals feel less overwhelming.  Also, why limit making resolutions to a time of year when you may already be feeling tired, stressed, fat, guilty?  Let's face in the Rochester, NY, Monroe County, Finger Lakes area is limited sun, plenty of Seasonal Affective Disorder this time of year.  So why not wait until your're feeling stronger, mroe energetice, just plain better, and then set some goals that you will then be more likely to follow through because you will be making them with a sound spirit and mind, and for all the right reasons.

Setting realistic goals for 2015.

Posted on December 31, 2014 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

     Setting goals for the new year can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when we remember all the years past when we did not achieve those goals.  Often times we make New Year's resolutions with the best of intentions, but they are forgotten or abandoned by February.  If you want to more succes achieving your goals in 2015 start by setting goals that are more realistic.  Another good tip is to tell another person what it is that you want to work on and achieve.  You are more likely to follow  through if the are seen as actually dable and if someone else knows and can hold you accountable.   Life coach can help to clarify goals and to help you achieve them.  Somtimes it helps to have an outside perspective.

Katy


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