The real meaning of Christmas does not increase stress. The Christmas season is a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus and the gift of grace, which is freeing.
Yesterday morning I emailed a list of gift ideas for business owners and shared a few of our family traditions. As I was typing the list, it made me realize how much focus we, as a society, have on gift-giving, pleasing others, and focusing on things that don’t represent the true meaning of Christmas. It made me re-think the real meaning of the season, to prepare our hearts for Jesus.
Why should we prepare our hearts for Jesus?
Oftentimes, especially for business owners and entrepreneurs, December is a time of reflection on what goals we met, what goals we didn’t meet, how much money we made, and/or how many clients we had. All of this, in addition to purchasing gifts, pleasing others, and even wanting more for ourselves.
Christmas is more than all of those things. December is a good month to reflect on more than goals, revenue, and gifts. It’s a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus and receive His grace, the true meaning of the season.
When we prepare our hearts for Jesus, we are a good example for our children, clients, communities, friends, and family members.
Evaluate before you celebrate
I always encourage my clients to evaluate what they do. What worked, what didn’t work, what went well, what could be done differently to be better next time.
Preparing our hearts for Jesus is similar, but way more powerful. And it emphasizes the real meaning of Christmas.
Throughout the year we make many decisions, some good, some not so good. Because we are human, we sin and do things that may have hurt someone else, or ourselves. It’s easy to hold onto guilt and shame when we focus on what went wrong instead of what went right. But 1 John 1:9 reminds us that if we confess our sins, we are forgiven. We don’t have to hold on to the past, or the shame and guilt of past decisions, experiences, or mistakes.
Christmas is a beautiful time to not only reflect on what’s been good or bad but to prepare our hearts to receive the gift of Jesus. Imagine the sacrifice God made to send Jesus to earth in human form. And he did it all for us.
I love the Christmas song, Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix. The first few verses bring tears to my eyes. You can listen to the song on Spotify or wherever you listen to music, but the lyrics by Pentatonix I’m referring to are below.
Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy Has come to make you new? This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will give sight to a blind man? Mary, did you know that your baby boy Will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy Has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little baby You kiss the face of God
As a mom, I can’t imagine the gravity of Mary’s emotions knowing she had the savior for all mankind in her arms.
If you want to prepare your heart for Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you toward recognizing what you need to confess to approach Christmas with a clean heart, a heart ready to receive Jesus.
The forgiveness we receive in Jesus is described beautifully in Isaiah 1:18, ” Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
I wonder, what Mary knew. Don’t you?
Focus on what matters most
Instead of letting stress abound regarding your end-of-year goals and buying the best gifts, focus on preparing your heart to receive the best gift ever, Jesus. Let your focus be on Him who focuses on you 24/7/365. Who loves you so much, he sacrificed the comfort of His heavenly home to suffer under the hands of sinners and die for you and me. His birth, life on earth, death, and resurrection are so incredibly powerful for us.
Romans 8:38-39 reads “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This friend, is the power of Christmas.
There is no shame or guilt with Christmas. Christmas is love, joy, and peace because that is what Jesus gives us. It’s the reason He was sent to walk this earth, to give us grace, our source of hope.
The beauty of releasing shame and guilt
Once you confess your sins, repent of them, and accept the unfathomable gift of grace from Jesus, you can release what you’ve been holding on to. If you do this evaluation of your heart every day between now and Christmas, think of the joy you will experience when the day arrives. You’ll be able to receive the gift of Jesus in a new way.
God’s kindness, generosity, and patience lead us to repentance, which brings us closer to Jesus. Which is the real meaning of Christmas.
Shame is from Satan
He’s on a mission to distract us. To convince us that sin is okay or that we are bad and there is no hope. He loves it when we feel shame and guilt. Satan wants our focus on the material aspects and hustle and bustle of the season, not on Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection.
But Jesus overcame Satan. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that we are made new in Christ. What a jubilant celebration Christmas is when you think of the gravity of Christ’s birth and what it means for us.
Friend, you are free. Let’s prepare our hearts for Jesus and enjoy the Christmas season.
Want the gift list?
If you’d like to see the Christmas list I referred to above, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll send it to you.
Self-doubt, which results in overthinking, comes from how we were brought up. Our upbringing continues to be part of us, we carry it with us. In addition, self-doubt comes from how we’ve been culturally conditioned in society. But not to fear, you can eliminate self-doubt if you take action to change your mindset.
We are constantly underestimating ourselves. Comparison and imposter syndrome play a significant part in self-doubt. Women often underestimate themselves internally and sometimes misrepresent themselves externally.
The power of your voice to improve self-confidence
They may be exceptional leaders and experts but misrepresent themselves, for example, in their voice, they don’t project their voice, they don’t speak with conviction. Another example is upspeak, which is when you end a statement with a question mark. Doing so makes you appear less credible.
Punctuation will also make a difference in how confident and credible you seem. For example, when you introduce yourself, say your name and pause before going on to add more details.
To use your voice to improve self-confidence, record yourself or have a friend or coach evaluate with you.
Speak with conviction, smile, and keep your voice light as well as projected. In addition, have vocal variety, change your volume, pitch, and pace so that you come across with more interest. Another important factor for credibility is the power of the pause. When you don’t pause, you can seem nervous and out of control to the audience. This is important because people don’t listen well to people who seem out of control. So pause occasionally.
Your voice can make you more interesting.
Using your voice also helps build an emotional connection and trust with your community and audience.
Strategies to eliminate self-doubt and gain more self-confidence
The Broadway Musical Technique
Many women think they aren’t good enough, not worthy. When you realize you are in a place of self-doubt, say the thought out loud. Then, sing it out loud, like someone in a Broadway musical. You will think it’s pretty funny. It’s important to note, that there is neuroscience behind this. When you change how you say the negative phrase, it changes the neuropathways in your brain. This will help take the power away from and eliminate self-doubt or negative thoughts.
Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished and collect testimonials about you from others.
Five in Five
Ask five people that you know and trust for 5 positive qualities and/or characteristics about you.
The brain is so miraculous that God created it so that we can change the neuropathways from negative to positive. But the key is action. You can’t make changes in your mindset if you don’t take action. No one would ever say to us the things we say to ourselves. Nor would we say them to someone else.
Robyn mentioned the 5 Cs journaling method. Catch the negative thoughts, challenge them, and change them to have more control over your thoughts and become more self-confident.
Words not to use when you want to improve self-confidence
The two most common words we should avoid are just and little. For example, “I have just a little tip I want to share with you” versus “I have a tip I want to share with you”. Just and little are modifiers that take away from the strength of our language.
The third word or phrase to avoid is saying “I’m sorry” unless you’ve legitimately wronged someone. Instead of saying I’m sorry, say excuse me, or thank you for your patience, or thank you for understanding. When you say I’m sorry, it can infer that you don’t want to take up space or you don’t want to bother someone.
Practice helps improve self-confidence
It takes practice to be a better, more confident communicator. Record yourself or practice with someone else and then debrief after. Review what you’ve done and evaluate yourself. Get feedback because practice without feedback isn’t useful.
Secondly, affirmations can be powerful. For example, people love to hear what I have to say. Choose one affirmation to focus on at a time. Your brain needs repetition to absorb the work and for it to become a habit. Memorizing and reciting scripture is also a great way to practice and improve your mindset.
Remember, God wants to know what’s on your heart, what you want. He knows what He wants for you, but He also wants to hear from you and learn what you want. You could even ask him to help you eliminate self-doubt.
Karen shared that her faith informs every decision she makes in her personal life and her business. She also emphasized that we can ask God for what we want, but we must know what we want. An exercise she encouraged us to do is to put our hands on our hearts and ask God to speak life over us and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
When asked to define confidence, Karen explains that it is a firm foundational trust in yourself, but as believers, it’s a firm foundational trust in God working in us. She also emphasized that we need to own the gifts that God has given us. When someone compliments you on your gifts, for example, your voice, say thank you.
About Karen Laos
Karen Laos, Communication Expert and Confidence Cultivator is on a mission to eradicate self-doubt in 10 million women by giving them simple strategies to ask for what they want in the boardroom and beyond.
Coached by her father, Karen first recognized the power of confident communication when she successfully negotiated her first flea market purchase at six years old. She now guides women to transform self-doubt into self-confidence resulting in more clients, job promotions, and negotiation wins. With 25 years serving as a C-Suite advisor and commanding coveted stages such as Google, Starbucks, and NASA, Karen leads the frontline of best practices for creating results through confident communication. She guides corporations and individuals with a proven model and is known for her actionable tips and ability to build trust quickly. During her corporate career, she led a team of facilitators while traveling the globe consulting industry leaders on the seemingly soft skills that impact the bottom line.
Karen is the author of Trust Your Own Voice: Growing Your Influence Through Confident Communication, as well as the host of her highly-ranked podcast, Ignite Your Confidence, equipping women to stop holding back and start taking their seats at the table. Following her lifelong dream to live in Manhattan, she rented an apartment there for the month of her 50th Birthday.
You’ve heard that you need gratitude to succeed and you’ve heard there are benefits to gratitude, but you don’t know how to start a gratitude practice.
Do you need gratitude to succeed? There are many benefits of gratitude. Maybe a gratitude practice won’t make or break your business, but when you start a gratitude practice you will achieve more because you will be happier.
When you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough, or haven’t reached your goals, make a list of what you are grateful for – it could be what you’ve already accomplished, the other people involved with your work, the tools you have to work with, the canceled meeting that gave you an extra hour of focus time, etc.
The brain is miraculous
Gratitude helps stimulate positive neuropathways in the brain. God created the brain so intricately and He gives us the authority to transform our minds. The more you stimulate the positive neuropathways, the more automatic positive thinking will become. More positive thinking, more happiness. The higher your happiness levels are, the more productive you are, which leads to more success.
In Romans 12:2 Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Imagine when you were a kid, and you rode your bike through the woods to the creek. At first, it was hard because the grasses were high, there was brush on the path, and you had to get off and move debris out of the way. But eventually, after you rode the path enough times, you had a clear path that you could ride on with ease.
Gratitude is like clearing that path. The more you practice it, the more likely you are to see the positive, and therefore, experience more peace and happiness.
How to start a gratitude practice, because there are many benefits of gratitude and you need gratitude to succeed
To start your gratitude practice, at the end of each day write 3 things that you are grateful for. You’ll reframe your thoughts about your day and rest better through the night.
Do this practice for 30 days and see if you feel a difference. There may be days when you’re so tired or so frustrated you might think you have nothing to be grateful for, but when you let your mind wander back across the day, there will be things to be grateful for – they might be small, like a sharp pencil, I love a sharp pencil, but you will be able to identify 3 things.
Do you really need gratitude to succeed?
What you think about and focus on is what you create.
Have you ever woken up in the morning – as we say – on the wrong side of the bed? Feeling grumpy. Your thoughts are heavy, you’re dreading the day ahead, and then – everything that can go wrong goes wrong.
The coffee pot didn’t automatically brew your beloved morning coffee, the dog came to the door covered in mud. You get stuck in traffic, have to slam on the breaks and your handbag falls to the floor with its contents spewing everywhere, your kids is upset b/c now they’re going to be late for school – never mind that you’re going to be late for your meeting – and to top it off, you take a sip of the coffee you desperately need and it spills down your top.
One of those days. And if you let it, the entire day can be sabotaged.
But you have a choice.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity and annoyance, you can find blessings. You can find things to be grateful for.
For example, you were running late and avoided the accident that caused the traffic to slow down. You were able to spend 5 extra minutes with your child in the car, those moments are fleeting. And maybe best of all, the top you spilled coffee on was black and not white so no one will even notice there’s coffee on it.
And just like that you reframed your thoughts from It’s an awful day to I’m blessed and content.
If you want to be truly happy, you must refocus your thoughts. Practicing gratitude is the first step. You need gratitude to succeed because it refocuses your thoughts on the positive, which makes you happy. Happiness improves productivity which helps create success. Therefore, gratitude is a component of success.
Viewing your life as filled with blessings, big and small, is another one of the benefits of gratitude.
How Does This Work? How can you change your outcomes and experience more happiness?
By taking charge of your mind. Gratitude helps you see things from God’s perspective. It also helps you increase your belief in what’s possible for you through your faith. When you start a gratitude practice you also increase your confidence. Confidence in yourself and in what God will provide. As you continue to look for small blessings, you’ll begin to see even bigger blessings and see them more often. Your brain won’t have time to focus on negative experiences but will look for the positive in every situation.
This is not a one-and-done process. When you start a gratitude practice, be patient. There may be days that you feel are so bad that there is nothing to be grateful for. But there is always something to be grateful for. That is why you start your daily gratitude practice by listing only three things. You may only be able to think of one thing at first, but you’ll quickly realize, a plethora of things, for example, the water you had to drink, the water you had to shower, the food you had to eat, the journal in your hand, the pen to write with, your family (even though they may be driving your crazy). The list can go on and on.
But the bottom line is the more gratitude you have, the more positive you will be and the more you will positively influence and bless others.
Pray with gratitude
When you pray, pray with gratitude. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This gives us another perspective on how we need gratitude to succeed. We need God’s help to succeed. But are to come to him with thanksgiving, gratitude. He wants us to recognize all He’s already given us before we seek more. Of course, when we seek, He answers, but showing Him we are grateful pleases Him.
Think about it. As a parent when your child asks for something you are happy to help them or give them what they need (not always what they request), but you are much more likely to continue to give to them when they have expressed gratitude for what you’ve already done for them. As our heavenly father, God feels the same.
Another reason to start a gratitude practice? Reduce anxiety. The more your brain sees the blessings you have and how well cared for you are, the less anxiety you will experience.
Yet another one of the benefits of gratitude is it increases your prayer time and brings you closer to God.
Even when things don’t go right, practice gratitude
We learn from all experiences, good and not-so-good. The key to handling negative experiences better is gratitude. James1:2-4 reminds us: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
God uses all experiences for His good, for His glory. We get to choose how we respond to circumstances and whether we glorify Him or not. Gratitude is a simple practice that glorifies Him.
Similarly, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul reminds us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” And, in 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” It’s so amazing to me how God uses us even though we may not see how our challenges could ever be used for good. There is hope in Him.
Additional Bible verses about gratitude
When you start your gratitude practice focus on Scripture. Let the Holy Spirit remind you of all you have to be grateful for.
Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;his love endures forever.”
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Ephesians 5:20 “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When God is speaking to you, you follow His call. Being unashamed about sharing Jesus.
Have you ever wondered if God is speaking to you? Some believe that that only happened in the Bible. But in reality, God still speaks to us, but we have to listen to hear Him.
How is God speaking to you?
The first step in hearing God speak to you is to read Scripture. Reading Scripture will help you recognize how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. And you can ask the Holy Spirit to make you sensitive to His voice and to help you hear Him.
The Holy Spirit speaks to us through our intuition. Or, you may have a strong feeling about something.
Oftentimes, things you’ve been praying about will come up in conversation. Someone will bring up the topic to you out of the blue. Let your ears be open to hear the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit may speak to you in dreams, song lyrics, or maybe a picture that pops into your head. In addition, you may experience a change in your circumstances, like opportunities dry up. This is what happened to Laureen Alexa with her acting career. The roles she was willing to play quit coming up. In addition, the roles offered to her were not aligned with her morals.
When you feel a shift like this in your life, ask God if he wants you to lean in and keep pressing because He’s training you in perseverance, or does He want you to pivot? Or, ask Him if this is a new opportunity and ask him to redirect your steps.
Similarly, if it’s a perseverance thing, He’s going to strengthen you and you will receive confirmation or release that gives you a new insight or direction.
In addition, ask God to give you sensitivity to hear His voice and to know the counterfeits from His. Also, ask Him to make you in tune to Him because you want to obey Him. This is the prayer Laureen prays.
Discernment is critical
The most important thing about communicating with God is discernment. It’s imperative to discern and differentiate between what we think God is saying versus what the world or Satan may be saying.
How to let go of perfectionism and control
Perfectionism is a perversion of excellence. Satan, the enemy, cannot create, he can only pervert. When we aim for perfectionism, it is like trying to be God or move above God. Jesus is the ONLY one who has ever walked that earth and is perfect.
God calls us to excellence because we are His light in the world and we are called to His standards. We get to exhibit the light and love of Christ. When we show up in life, we are exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the essence of God.
If we show up every day and do our best, show up with excellence, then God rewards that. When we aim for perfection, we have skewed thinking that it is dependent on us instead of relying on God, instead of the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. Ultimately, when we do this, we rob ourselves of the joy and satisfaction of watching God show up. Because, we think that if it isn’t perfect, it’s not good enough.
God wants a relationship with you. He doesn’t expect perfection. Therefore you can let go of control and let God take the wheel.
Failable and Frail
As humans, we are failable and frail. When our level of achievement or the titles other humans give us are attacked, for example, you are a machine, all of a sudden you feel like a failure and don’t see your value. This perverts our view of what excellence is.
Instead of trying to be perfect, show up every day imperfect, with excellence. And, say, Lord, how do you want me to show up today, you have the authority and space to do with me what you wish with my day. Sometimes, He completely derails the plans we have for ourselves, but we learn to have patience and live by the fruits of the Spirit.
Perfectionism is an identity thief. Instead, strive for excellence. If your identity is wrapped up in what you do and how well you do it, instead of focused on being a child of God, you will forever be stuck in a cycle of striving. Don’t try to outwork God’s grace, receive it, and let Him work in you.
Let go of control and listen because God is speaking to you – He will guide you
Control is based on fear of the unknown and our wanting to have it all put together. We want to know that everything is covered and handled. This robs us of surrender. There is full trust and dependency when we are children of God. He can accomplish this in one day by working in and through us than we can accomplish in 10 weeks or more. This is the grace factor that God gives us.
If you are struggling with control, what are you afraid of, and how can you bring that to the Lord as a surrender and sacrifice to Him so that he can uproot whatever the fear is? There is always a deeper root, and usually fear-based, as to why you need to be in control.
Scripture reminds us that there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). God doesn’t have a giving problem, we have a receiving problem. If we are incapable of accepting His love, our default is going to be fear, which leads to control, which leads to striving, which leads to thinking we have to be perfect for God to approve of us.
God doesn’t let bad things happen to us but he uses bad things for our good
So many people in Scripture went through challenging, difficult times. But every single time, Jesus, in the New Testament, met them with love and compassion, right where they were at. God’s vision was never the pain and sorrow we experience in this world. This happens because of sin, at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve. God did promise that there would be hardship, but He also promised He would be with us. His plan has always been love, care, and concern. He overcame the world through Jesus’ death on the cross.
If God’s plan was to harm us, He would have never sent Jesus. Because He is sovereign, God can take everything the enemy is planning for evil, everything that is bad, sad, or hurtful, and mold us refine us, and reshape us. On the other side of this process, there will be a story of victory that will help bring other people along so that they can experience healing and transformation.
As you go through hard things, ask God to walk in your pain with you, ask Him to show you His love in the moment. This will help you see His good, where He’s working, and how He’s there for you. God doesn’t despise the broken-hearted. We learn this in Psalm 51:17 which reads, “My sacrifice, O God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Bad things will happen but . . .
When bad or hard things happen, God isn’t punishing you, He’s walking you through it, and transforming you. If you listen, you will hear that God is speaking to you and holding your hand as you walk through difficult times.
You are not what has happened to you, your circumstances do not define you. No, you are who God says you are and the victory is being able to claim that loud and proud. And, we get to watch God show up and change other people’s lives on the other side of that.
Even when bad or challenging things happen, God is speaking to you.
God wants you to be in a relationship with Him
Laureen used the example of David. David was a murderer and an adulterer and God said, that David was after His own heart. If your heart posture is that you want a relationship with God and you want Him in your life, you can have the relationship like David did. He laid his heart bare to God, talked through his sins and needs, and waited to hear from God. Just like God spoke to David, God is speaking to you today. And, just like he had a relationship with David, God wants a relationship with you.
If you are willing to be repentant and let God lead you and guide you, it is completely different than continuing to live in sin, repetitively doing the same sin over and over. But you can ask God to help you navigate the situation or sin. Ask Him to forgive you and show you how to walk in the light of His ways. God doesn’t reproach us with guilt and condemnation. His lovingkindness is meant to lead us to repentance.
We can go to God with all of our mass and He will transform us. When we bring our mess to Him, he will mold and change our hearts. As your internal changes, your external will change but it all starts with the dialogue with God.
But remember the Biblical principle, what you sow is what you reap, and you will suffer the consequences of bad decisions. The pain of consequences is meant to lead you back to wisdom, the fruit of the Spirit. God wants us to be on His path for us, the path to peace and prosperity, love, grace, and mercy. What’s so beautiful, is that you can ask Him, “Lord, am I stepping out of line, or is this what you have for me, I want to follow you, I want to be after your heart, I desire a relationship with you, He will always bring you back to that place of wisdom.
About Laureen Alexa
Laureen grew up in a small town in New Mexico and moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue acting. She fell in love with the city, entertainment, people, diversity, and coffee. Laureen has encountered God in new and fresh ways by watching Him faithfully show up in all of her needs. He’s shown up for her in stressful circumstances, and she discovered an overwhelming passion for helping others pursue Jesus and encounter His love. Her Instagram show and new brand is called Strength and Glory, growing community for women and helping them grow in mind, body, and spirit.
If you want to succeed in life and business, you need mindset, strategy, action – and self-discipline.
We face many things in life, and if we want positive outcomes, we need self-discipline. It enhances our lives. We achieve more and are ultimately happier. The happier we are, the more success we have.
What does the Bible say about self-discipline?
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
There we have it. God gave us self-discipline. And if he gave it to us, we are to use it. We may find it hard to be self-disciplined, but God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us. It is like a muscle. We have it, but if we don’t use it, it won’t get stronger. We build on our ability, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be self-disciplined.
What are the benefits of self-discipline?
Many! Let’s take a look at a few of the areas of our lives influenced by self-discipline.
Health – physical and mental
As you know, health is paramount. We have these incredible miraculous bodies and minds but we have to care for them. You must have a level of self-discipline if you are going to maintain a healthy mind and body. Eating healthy and exercising takes energy and many days it’s easier to skip the workout and eat on the go instead of practicing healthy habits. Instead of thinking of either as a punishment, think of them as habits that you’ve created to nourish your mind and body.
Reframe your thoughts about the benefits of eating healthy and exercising. Then, create and implement a strategy to visualize what your habits will look like, and what you know you can adhere to. Take action consistently. You need self-discipline for all three, mindset, strategy, and action. If you aren’t disciplined and don’t adhere to the strategy and action, you won’t succeed and ultimately, put yourself at risk.
If it’s too hard to adopt healthy eating and start exercising at the same time, choose one, and then add the other. But exercise is equally important to your mental health as it is to your physical health. The same with eating healthy whole foods. When you have self-discipline, you choose to take positive action and do the mindset work to reframe your thoughts, you create a strategy and implement it, and you take action consistently. The food you eat influences how you think and feel so self-discipline to eat healthy is of utmost importance.
It may feel like a sacrifice
In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Sometimes, we must do the hard thing and not conform to what society is influencing us to do or think.
Maybe you want to give something up or change a behavior that isn’t healthy. It will feel like you’re sacrificing the fun stuff and it will be hard. Again, this is where self-discipline (self-control) is critical. We can’t change if we don’t adhere to a strategy, that may feel strict and hard. But if you want to be healthy and/or achieve success, sacrifice and dedication are necessary. When you struggle with making a sacrifice in the name of self-discipline, think of how Jesus suffered so that you could have the Holy Spirit in you to guide you and support you.
Another example is a journaling practice. You know that journaling is beneficial to your mental health and overall wellbeing but you try it for a day and then stop. Self-discipline is key to creating a consistent journaling practice. When you employ self-discipline, you will be consistent and see results faster.
But remember, if you slip up a day or two, it’s okay. When you practice self-discipline, you will be able to quickly get back into the routine you are striving for.
Self-discipline can influence relationships in several ways. How easy is it to get annoyed at someone? With self-discipline to do mindset work you can transform your mind to think more positively so that the small annoyances, and big ones too, don’t bother you as much. Self-discipline will also help you prioritize time with loved ones. In addition, as you employ self-discipline to improve or maintain your health, you will be more present and positive in relationships and be able to do and experience more, with more joy. When you are self-disciplined to take care of yourself by eating healthy and exercising you reduce stress and therefore are happier when with family, friends, and co-workers.
Paul’s letter to Titus provided the expectation for elders of the churches. In chapter 1 verses 7 and 8 he says, “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”
Self-discipline, self-control, and willpower all rolled up into one job description. Paul may have been outlining how elders were expected to live thousands of years ago, but the same applies to us today.
Self-discipline will help you adhere to the strategies you create to achieve your goals. It will help you set reasonable goals and achieve them in a timely manner. Self-discipline is an integral part of taking consistent action. Instead of putting things off, which will increase stress and ultimately negatively impact your relationships and health, self-discipline will allow you to check things off your list and achieve what you need to achieve the way you need to do so.
Level of happiness
When you are healthier you are happier. Likewise, when your relationships are going well, you are happier. The happier you are, the more likely you are to achieve success because happiness improves productivity.
This is pretty straightforward. When you are self-disciplined to put in the time to learn on a consistent basis, you will learn more. The more you learn, the more you can apply to achieve success in all aspects of your life. Knowledge is power. Use self-discipline to start learning more scripture. Dedicate time each day to read the Bible or do devotions. Instead of letting life distract you, use self-discipline to adhere to the strategy to learn more and therefore, grow spiritually, or in the knowledge you need for other areas of your life. Data shows that people who are self-disciplined learn better and perform better.
People often get stuck in a someday phase. To get out of the someday phase you have to learn and do. At first, you’ll spend more time learning and less time doing, but then the time split will flip. You’ll need to spend less time learning and will do more. When you know more you hesitate less and take more action. The more action you take, the better you perform. For example, with public speaking.
The more self-discipline you have, the more you’ll practice. When you practice more, your talk will come off better and resonate more with the audience. This is also true if you are on a sports team or a work team. The more self-disciplined you are to practice, take action, and dedicate necessary time to projects, etc. the better your performance will be. Self-discipline also applies to being more thorough and making fewer mistakes because you take your time to ensure things are done right.
Self-discipline is key to persistence and consistency, both of which help you achieve more. Not only that, but self-discipline helps you navigate and overcome adversity. You stay focused on the positive instead of letting the negative overrule your heart and mind.
Do you feel like you could achieve more? And I don’t mean by working more. If you employ self-discipline, you will use your time better and become more efficient. Maybe it’s staying off of your phone, not scrolling on Instagram, eating healthier, time blocking, or exercising. Whatever it is that you need to do, use your self-discipline and do it. If you believe you can, you will. And the added bonus, if you believe in Jesus as your savior, you have the Holy Spirit in you. He will give you the power of self-discipline when you ask Him to. If you’re struggling, ask.
Struggling to grow your business and need accountability?
If you are struggling to grow your business because you haven’t yet tapped into your self-discipline and need accountability to take intentional effective action, schedule a free consult with me. Let’s see how I can help you.
As parents, business owners, friends, community members, and humans we are called to be an example of Christ.
Are you an example to follow? It’s so hard to follow Jesus’ example, but that’s what we are called to do. Scripture provides the guidance and inspiration we need. When we live by the fruits of the Spirit we are an example of Jesus and we bring Glory to God.
What Scripture says about being an example to follow
In John 14:12, Jesus tells us: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” When Jesus said this, he was commanding the disciples to go out and spread the gospel. We are called to do the same thing today, in all we do.
God doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. In reality, we aren’t capable of doing it on our own. That is why He gave us the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sharing the gospel doesn’t mean that we have to go out and preach it. We can be an example to follow, an example of Jesus, by how we behave, what we say, and the choices we make. For example, to do the next right thing instead of letting temptation overcome us.
For instance, the grocery store clerk drops the grapes you very carefully selected. You have a choice. You can get angry and scold the weary soul that she is, or you can choose to graciously accept her apology, smile, and say no problem, I’ll go grab more. This may be a pain. It may cause you to run late for your next appointment, but you will have been an example of Jesus. And next time she’s in the same situation or the other people in line are, they’ll follow your example.
Not sure how you can be an example of Jesus?
In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul teaches us about the fruit of The Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He goes on to say, “Against such things, there is no law.” In the example of the grocery store clerk, if you chose the next right thing you displayed each fruit of the Spirit. See how easy it can be to be an example to follow, to be an example of Jesus?
The Holy Spirit is on duty 24/7 to guide you and fill you with His gifts. That feeling in your gut that guides you on the next best step to take, is your intuition, the Holy Spirit.
Be an example to follow and don’t take the job lightly
In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf; Be reconciled to God. An ambassador is an official representative on behalf of a country, organization, company, product, or person. But as an ambassador for Christ, we are called to share His word, to live out the example of Jesus. To literally be an example to follow, This is not a job to be taken lightly, but to cherish as a responsibility.
How does this apply to life and business?
Being an example to follow, an example of Jesus applies to our lives and businesses. It doesn’t mean our faith has to be forward-facing in our businesses unless, of course, that is what God is calling us to do. But it does mean that we are called to serve and serve using the fruits of the Spirit.
When we sell, we sell from a place of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Not force, or manipulation, but from a place of service. If we aren’t selling our offer, the solution that someone needs to enhance their life or business, we are doing a disservice to those who need us.
Likewise, if we are impatient with our children, family members, or clients, we aren’t a good example and we aren’t helping them, but could potentially hurt them.
In addition, practicing and exhibiting self-control will help you demonstrate love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness. Self-control comes in all shapes and sizes. This could be related to how we treat our bodies and minds, how we treat others, and the behaviors we choose, especially if prone to addiction. Self-control does not mean being a control freak. Quite the contrary. It means making decisions and exhibiting behaviors from a place of discipline so that we care for ourselves and others and allow the other fruits of the Spirit to shine through us.
Being faithful is also key. God calls us to trust Him. Be faithful in your trust because He will guide you. Faithfulness will help you discern from what secular, new-age, non-Biblical-based coaches tell you that you should do. Dedicate time to read Scripture and watch how God speaks to you and guides you through His word.
One of the most important jobs as a parent
Being an example to follow is hands down the biggest and hardest job we have as parents. We truly need the fruits of the Spirit every single second of every single day. A key is to not affirm non-Biblical behaviors and lifestyles while still showing love, kindness, gentleness, and patience while praying and putting our children in God’s hands. It’s so hard to trust and be patient. Just like us, our children are masterpieces created by God and He has a great plan for them. Remember, His plan is greater than our plan and the path they are on is not our path. However, we are called to be an example for them to follow and raise them in a way that brings Glory to God. There are so many days as parents that we can only say, Holy Spirit activate!
The key to successfully being an example to follow is prayer
The way to consistently be an example to follow, an example of Jesus, is to make your decisions prayerfully. Pause when needed. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bless you with His fruits and guide you to make the next best decision. The pause is critical so as not to jump into a negative reaction.
As with creating success in anything, this takes practice. give yourself the grace to work on this one day at a time. I’m a work in progress and probably always will be. Doing mindset modeling and actively catching negative thoughts and pausing has helped me tremendously.
You can also reflect on the Proverbs 31 Woman, as a mentor and guide. She achieved success but always gave glory to God, and always served others. The fruits of The Spirit were her strength and guide.
If you are looking for a Biblical-based Christian business coach, let’s chat. My Purpose to Results™ Success without Social Coaching program incorporates Scripture and prayers to ensure you stay aligned with your core values as you grow your business and work to attract soulmate clients. I offer a free consultation, a win-win. We get to know each other and you get the next best steps for creating a business growth strategy that feels good and will help you have a positive impact.
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