Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unable to Make a Decision? Improve Your Decision-making Skills

Making decisions can be one of the most painful things you have to do. Not all decisions are the same of course and some decisions are easier than others. There may be those few decisions however, the just keep you sitting on the fence and most importantly keep you feeling stressed and crazy. They stop you from moving forward!

Decision making is important for a flourishing life. It improves the quality of your life and it is important for your physical and mental health. The longer you put off making a decision, the longer it festers in your mind and body. The less peace of mind you have. The less you enjoy life. The less you’ll want to deal with it. The more you’ll feel like a victim.

You may catch yourself thinking you would have no problem making this decision if you could only predict the outcome of your choices. Ha! That would be too easy! The crux of the matter is that you can’t always predict which choice is best. That's just life! It doesn’t mean, however, that you should keep sitting on that fence until you can predict something. The longer you sit there the more physically uncomfortable you’ll be and the more likely you’ll miss an opportunity you would have otherwise enjoyed.

So, what to do?

Things to think about:

1.If you’re undecided, become aware of what your indecision is doing to your mind and body. Do you want to continue living like this?

2.Figure out your choices. There is always more than one choice available. Does one feel better than another?

3.Do some research. Just because it is impossible to predict an outcome doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an informed decision. Find out as much as you can from objective and subjective sources.

4.What would make you happy? It always comes down to your happiness. This means making the right choice for you, not choosing based on what the important people in your life think you should do. When you’re undecided about what to do in your life, all of a sudden it feels like others are experts and their advice starts to sound very wise. Remember, you are the expert of you!

5.Make a decision no matter what. The longer you sit on the fence the less happier, more grouchy and uncomfortable you’ll be. Even choosing imperfectly will give you relief. It will give you the opportunity to fix the mistake if you did not choose right the first time around.

Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto

Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Help Your Teen Overcome Self Image Issues

Your self-image is your mental picture of who you are and who you are not, what you can and can’t do, what you should and shouldn’t do, how you should and shouldn’t behave, how you should and shouldn’t dress, etc. We all have a self-image and if we are not aware of how we think about or see ourselves it can hold us back from being as happy or productive as we would like to be.

Youth particularly start noticing their self-image in early adolescence and it becomes very important to them. Developing their self-image is often based on external influences including, friends, fashion, trends, etc. They use these outer points of reference to discern how they should look, feel, and act, and the attitude with which they should approach life. Because teens just want to fit in they will often feel self-conscious about who they are if they perceive their real self is deviating from the norm.

It is important to encourage teens and young adults, to ‘be yourself’ and to feel comfortable with the self. Everyone, including teens, are often under the impression that there is one correct way of being. This correct way of being is a reason why nobody feels they fit in and a reason everybody feels bad about themselves. To help our teens out of this trap, we need to teach them to celebrate their individuality and to be proud of who they are.

Here are some tips to help your child overcome self-image issues.

1. Appreciate who you are: We are all different with unique talents and gifts. It can do our self-image wonders if we just accept ourselves as we are. Parents can model to their children to appreciate and accept themselves so that children see an example of self-appreciation. It’s a ‘lead by example’ point. “Do as I say, not as I do” rarely works.

2. What are your strengths: Focus on strengths. We all have weaknesses but life is not about identifying with those. By focusing on and using strengths in daily activities, teens will use these experiences as a measure of who they are.

3. Value system: A value system is a behavioural guide. Being cognizant of this system helps teens make better choices. Discuss with your teen your family value system and ask him/her which personal values s/he has that can be added to the list. This gives your teen a sense of connectedness as well as a sense of individuality. Both are necessary for a positive self-image. Note. Don’t pick this personal value for your teen and praise the one s/he picks.

4. Dealing with failure: There really is no such thing as failure unless one gives up. One who does not give up is considered a committed and determined person. Teach your teen to see temporary setbacks as learning experiences but not something to be identified with. Teach him/her to choose to stick to it until it is accomplished. We are not what we do, we are how we choose to be.

5. Be the person that makes you happy. Promote to your teen to be the person that makes him naturally happy and free. When we try to be the person others want us to be we are often afraid of being exposed as a fraud. Feeling like a fraud and believing oneself to be a fraud will not nurture a healthy self-image.

Ivana Pejakovic, Life Coach in Toronto