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10 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself – 52 Checklists Project Week 13

March 30, 2016

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10 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself

For this week’s Checklist Project, I’m sharing 10 Powerful Questions that I Ask Myself.

I believe the most powerful thing you can do to transform your life for the better is to ask yourself powerful questions.  Most people either ask no questions (generally because they think they know everything already, have no curiosity, or are afraid) or they ask very bad questions.  When you ask no questions, you will stay stuck and doing the same thing.  Ever hear the quote – “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting”.  If you’re never asking questions like “how can I change or improve what I’m doing to get better results?,” you’re going to stay in the exact same place.  So instead of thinking things like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” ask “it ain’t broke, but how can I improve it?”

Almost worst than asking no questions at all is asking yourself bad disempowering questions. For example, which of these questions are you most likely to ask of yourself – “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get better?” or “What’s right with me?  How can I hone it?”  Ask yourself those sets of questions and see how they make you feel.  The former tends to shut you down and discourage, while the latter opens you up and inspires.

Successful people ask great questions and/or have people around them who ask them great questions.  That’s one of the things that I most love about coaching.  As a coach my main job is to ask powerful questions of our clients.  When a really powerful question lands the client lights up and says “that’s a great question!”  The question opens up a whole new avenue for them that they never considered and solutions show up.  I want to leave you with ten powerful questions today to open you up.  Sit with them and see what comes up.  Also share the questions with others.  You’ll be thrilled with the transformation that results when you shift the questions you ask yourselves.

Here are my ten powerful questions for my checklist:#52checklistsproject week 13

  1. If happiness were the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
  2. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?  What would it take for you to do it?  
  3. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?  What could you do to truly live more? 
  4. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
  5. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  6. What is wanting to be born through you?
  7. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  8. What could you do to double your income in the next 12 months?
  9. What are you most grateful for?
  10. What’s next? What’s your next best step? 

Ask yourself these questions and watch how they make you fly!  I invite you to share your answers and/or your favorite questions in the comments below.  Make your own checklist of questions and share it here, on twitter or on Facebook with the tag #52checklistsproject.

what are your most powerful questions

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Top 5 Tips to Help You Balance Your Life As a Mom

March 15, 2016

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5 Life Hacks to Help You Balance Your Life as a MomFinding life balance is one of the hardest tricks to accomplish as a mom – especially when you’re also juggling a career.  I know as a working mom of 3, finding balance is a definite challenge.  Here are our top 5 hacks to help you balance your life as a mom.

1. Keep a Realistic Schedule

The main word is “realistic.” When I first became a mom I thought I could do 1000 things at once. Though to be honest, I tried to do that even before motherhood.
day-planner-828611_1920
Then, I realized that it wasn’t about doing 1000 things at once, it was about accomplishing specific tasks throughout the day. It’s not doing things it’s about making things happen.  And making the RIGHT things happen.

The more you’re trying to juggle, the more important it is to make a good schedule and keep to it. Block out times where you need to sleep, exercise, and not be bothered. Set specific times where you assign yourself to work, housework, cooking, errands, and even “treating yourself outside of work commitments.”

If you don’t plan a realistic schedule that makes sense then you won’t go anywhere. Remember! Don’t forget to schedule your breaks! Moms definitely need stay healthy and to treat themselves once in a while (;

2. Learn to say “No.”

NO is a very powerful word that I don’t like to say often! If you’re like me, you don’t like to refuse favors because you’re too nice and you don’t want to miss out on something. Do your best to really consider saying the word “no” to plans that can hurt your realistic schedule. You need rest. You have a ton of things to do!

When there is a ton of things on your plate – it’s okay…actually, it’s necessary to say no!  You’re saying YES to balance and peace of mind.

3. Group Your Work Together!

This is a fun one! All you need to do is group tasks that are similar and do them together. You’ll get things done faster because your mind will be only on one thing, which will be easy to forget once done! For example, it’s good to group all your bills together and just focus on it for a block of time on one day (nothing else). Another example, is to wait till all the dishes are together (and no one is eating) before you clean the kitchen.

This also goes for working moms as well (like me!). For example, block time for e-mails (e.g., 10:00 – 11:00), rather than responding to them as they come in.  And then turn off notifications, ringers, and other distractions to help you stick to your time blocks and schedules – it’s very easy for ringing phones, e-mail or Facebook notifications, kids who want to play, etc. to throw you off.

4. Keep it Organized

This goes without saying that keeping it organized is pretty crucial. Besides using the Checklist Mom app. Here are some cool tips:

  • woman-hand-smartphone-deskHave as little out as possible: Keep your surfaces as clean as possible – meaning knick knacks, decorating items. A cluttered surface can lead to a cluttered mind.  My desk has nothing except my computer, a pad to write on, and a phone. This maybe boring, but I get things done. The other bonus is that when there is little out, there is less cleaning and less dusting. When you’ve got kids and they’ve got SO MUCH STUFF (why do the littlest ones have the most stuff??), it can be challenging, but try to keep things put away as much as possible.

  • Give away what you don’t use “regularly” or doesn’t “spark joy”: As I’ve been writing about, I’ve been doing the KonMari De-cluttering method, and I’ve been loving giving away things that don’t spark joy in my life.  I feel lighter when I give things away, and giving it to someone with a bigger need makes me feel less guilty for getting rid of good items.


  • Going paperless:
    my office is almost entirely paperless. I scan and digitally file what is necessary and then toss the rest.  Need I say more? There’s no getting up looking for files, misfiling, paper waste, toner waste, buying folders, buying paper. Oh, and being able to fax and email documents in seconds saves so much time.

5. Keep Your Attitude Positive

Last but not least… your attitude is everything! No matter how organized you are, no matter how many times you say no, and no matter how many times you schedule your schedule… if you’re not keeping a positive attitude than everything will be lost. You got this! Just tell yourself you’re amazing and you deserve to have a balanced life because you are and you do!

Yes, You’re amazing!!! 😀

Do you have any other cool hacks and tips? Share in the comments and let me know!snappa-1458067147

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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Will Watching Unhappy Stories Help Turn Your Kids Into Happy Adults?

February 29, 2016

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will watching unhappy stories help turn your kids into happy adults?Last summer I spent a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark with my family.  There was something about the city and the Danish that I couldn’t put my finger on at first.  Later I realized what it was – everyone just seemed so happy!

My happy kids in Copenhagen

My happy kids in Copenhagen

For those of you who don’t know, for almost 40 years Denmark has been rated as the world’s happiest country by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).  I definitely felt it when we were there.

I’ve long been a student of happiness and a student of parenting, so when I heard of the book The Danish Way of Parenting – A Guide to Raising the Happiest Children in the World, by Jessica Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl, I knew I had to get it.  It’s one of my books on the 10 Books To Read in 2016 Checklist.

The premise of the book is that the reason Danes are so happy is due to their upbringing. There are certain things that Danish parents do that lead to their children being such happy adults.

I’m currently in the middle of the book, which talks about 6 major things that Danish parents do that leads to happier kids. One thing in particular really struck me – Danish parents don’t just tell their kids stories with happy endings.  In fact, many Danish stories are tragedies.

Here in the United States we are somewhat maniacal about needing our kids’ stories to have happy endings. I remember an uproar on Facebook when Big Hero 6 came out. One person was calling for an end to kids movies where there is a death. “Why do kids need to be reminded about death?!?” she asked. It’s viewed as terrible to make kids experience sad or tragic stories.

Statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Avda-berlin.

Statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Avda-berlin.

Hans Christian Anderson, the fairy-tale writer, is one of Denmark’s most famous writers.  Many of his stories had dark endings.  For example, unlike Disney’s Little Mermaid, in the original Little Mermaid, the little mermaid does not end up happily married to the prince.  Rather, the prince marries someone else and she turns into sea foam from sadness.  The Little Mermaid is definitely not the only fairy tale that’s been sanitized for kids: here are some other fairy tales that Disney made into happy endings that are really not very happy at all.

In the United States we feel that children should be spared these darker aspects of life.

According to the book’s authors, “Danes believe that tragedies and upsetting events are things we should talk about too.  We learn more about character from our sufferings than our successes and therefore it’s important to examine all part of life.

According to the authors and to researchers, watching or hearing sad or tragic stories leads to more happiness than watching movies with happy endings because it teaches kids (and adults) to be empathetic and have a deeper respect for humanity.  It makes them appreciate the positive aspects in their own life more.  It helps them to feel more grateful for the simple things in life – things that we could take for granted if we focused too much on the fairy-tale life.

I don’t know if the question I posed in the title is the correct question – “will watching unhappy stories turn my child into a happy adult?”  Maybe the questions are more: “Do I help my child by shielding her from harsh stories?” “What would happen if I allowed my child to watch something sad and tragic and afterwards we discussed how that felt and what she could learn from it?” “What if we could look at a story that’s sad or tragic and find something good or positive from it?”  That’s the Danish Way.  They seem to be doing something right.  Are you willing to try this?

If so, here’s another Hans Christian Anderson story that you can watch with your kids — the Little Match Girl.  Please remember that this story does not have a happy ending.  I watched it with my 7-year old and we had a good talk afterwards.  I’d love to know how it goes for you.

Monick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom, and has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, yoga teacher and practitioner, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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The Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes and Motherhood

January 24, 2016

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Year of Yes. Photo by Monick HalmThe first entry on my “10 Books to Read in 2016” Checklist is Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.  I just finished the book.  Check. [Goodness, is there a nicer feeling than checking off an item on a checklist?  You know, other than the obvious good feeling thing that helped make us mothers?]

So I knew the basics of this book before I picked it up – it’s about what happens to Shonda Rhimes  when she decides to say YES to everything that scared her.  Rhimes is famous for being the creator of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade you probably know who she is and that she now owns Thursday night television.

What I didn’t know or expect is that Shonda Rhimes talks a lot about motherhood in this book.  She’s the single mother of 3 and as part of her Year of Yes, she decided to get very real and very honest about this process.  She writes:

“I don’t know about you, but the mistakes and missteps I have made since becoming a mother … before kids, my confidence could not be dented.  Now it’s shattered on a daily basis.   I don’t know what I’m doing.  There is no manual.  There’s no checklist.  There was no one to give lessons.”

Shonda Rhimes. Photo courtesy of Disney | ABC Television Group

Shonda Rhimes. Photo courtesy of Disney | ABC Television Group

She writes how in EVERY INTERVIEW she’s done, she gets asked about being a working mother.  The interviewer invariable asks “How do you manage work and home?”   She says that though no one wants to admit it, but powerful working women have help at home.

“We’ve all been taught to shame and be ashamed.  And why wouldn’t we feel ashamed?  How could we not feel ashamed?

We’re not supposed to have any help.  We’re supposed to do it all ourselves.  Even if we are working.  So if you have kids and you get help to care for them?”  [You get shamed.]

Rhimes advocates for shame-free mothering – for an end to the Mom Wars.  As moms, we must stop shaming each other for how we take care of their kids.  We have to stop shaming moms who work.  We have to stop shaming moms who stay at home to care for their kids – or moms who stay home and ALSO have help.

I agree with Ms. Shonda.  Can’t we stop judging one another already?  Mothering is hard enough without the added burden of other mothers telling you, implicitly or explicitly, that you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve learned that it definitely takes a village to raise a child.  I don’t have a nanny but I have the blessing of being able to work from home and having a helpful husband who also works from home. Also I have great parents who live 5 minutes away and love to help care for their grandchildren.

I’m not sure how to survive as a mom without delegating some of the responsibilities.  That’s why teaching moms how to easily and effectively delegate is such a big part of the Peace of Mind On the Checklist Training that we are offering to help moms find 3+ extra hours of guilt-free, stress-free, drama-free time for themselves and their families.

How do you manage with child care and/or having help at home?  Let me know in the comments.  You’ll get no judgment or shame here.

FYI: The link above for Year of Yes is NOT an affiliate link.

 

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5 Simple Ways for Busy Moms to Find Time to Exercise & Get a Headstart on 2016’s #1 New Year’s Resolution

December 30, 2015

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ResolutionsAccording to the 7th annual New Year’s Resolution Survey* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®), the top resolution for Americans in 2016 is health and wellness (44%).  In a similar New Year’s Resolution study from GoBankingRates.com, 41.1% want to “live a healthier lifestyle” and  39.6% want to “lose weight.”

A lot of living a healthier lifestyle is about exercising more.  If you’re a busy mom who has “exercising more” on the top of your New Year’s Resolution list, how can you find the time when you’re so busy?  Here are 5 simple ways to find time to exercise when you’re busy.

Attribution: "Mike" Michael L. Baird [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Attribution: “Mike” Michael L. Baird [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

  1.  file0001940583173Wake up a bit earlier – one of the best ways to make sure that you get your exercise in is to do it first thing in the morning.  Set up your workout clothes and sneakers the night before and set the alarm clock a bit earlier.  Wake up before the rest of your household and head out for a run, to the gym, or do a DVD or online workout.  This is definitely worth getting to bed earlier for.
  2. Do a short workout – a good workout need not be a long hour+ long slog at the gym or running on the road.  There’s a growing body of evidence that you can get as good a workout or better in 15 or less minutes!  There are workouts as short as 3 minutes that have proven to be effective.  Check out this New York Times article about minimalist workouts.    The best thing is that there are tons of great free short workouts on youtube.  I found a great short workout video (7 minutes) for busy moms here: 
  3. Biking to workUse your commute for exercise – If you have a work commute you can use it to find time to exercise.  If you’re close enough you can bike or run to work.  If that’s not feasible, try getting off one or two stops bus or subway stops before and walking (if you use public transportation) or parking a few blocks from work and walking the rest of thew ay.  Lastly, don’t forget to take the stairs.file0001655679138
  4. Combine friend and/or family time with exercise- Instead of heading out with your friends for a meal or happy hour, go for a hike or run instead.  You can also have “date time” with your husband be a running date (instead of going out to eat or drink).  Lastly, your kids will love to come running, walking or biking with you.  If they’re too little, use a jogging stroller or carrier.
  5. Sneak in a lunch break workout – Use your lunch break to get in a workout.  Either head to the gym or do some quick exercises right at your desk.  See #2 about those short workouts.

OK, I share 5 quick and simple ways to find more time for exercise.  What are your ways of finding time for exercise?  Please share in the comments below.

 

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Do You Want to Be a Supermom?

September 23, 2015

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do you want to be a supermom?

I just read this great blog post on Modern Mom blog called “Killing Off Supermom.”

In this article Lisa Quinn talks about the Myth of the Supermom – the mom who “needs to do it all (and do it perfectly.)”

My definition of Supermom is the mom with the perfect house (clean and well decorated), perfect kids (clean and well behaved), perfect marriage (loving and endlessly passionate), perfect job (she brings home the bacon… lots of it), and is perfectly involved (soccer mom and PTA president). Oh, and she also has time to train for the marathon (winning her age group, of course).

Lisa Quinn writes “I’m calling B.S. Show me a woman who can do it all, and I’ll show you a woman who has hired help (and something to prove).”

I’m not sure who can do it all. We have some hired help and Supermom is as much of a fantasy in our house as Superman or Batman.

I have to confess that my house is very far from clean and pristine – and I even have the luxury of having a cleaning lady come in once a week. I am SOOO not a domestic goddess, so that’s one luxury we make sure to budget for. Nevertheless, it seems like mere minutes after our cleaning lady is gone (or at least minutes after the kids get home from school), it looks like our cleaning lady was never there.

I try to be as super as I can, but I have to pick my battles. Sometimes (ok often) the house is messy. Sometimes dinner is made in the microwave. Sometimes the kids have way too much screen time. There’s no big S on my shirt, that’s for sure.

Lisa Quinn wants to celebrate the Half-Assed or

imperfect mom – the renegade who can make an impromptu gift bag out of a Happy Meal box on the way to the party. The mom who believes if somebody made it, then it’s homemade. Need a cave-man costume for school – TODAY? Our gal’s got a pair of scissors, a sharpie, and paper grocery bag at the ready.

While many of us wish we could be Supermom (as if that was even possible), imperfect mom is who we are. And that’s ok. As Lisa Quinn writes:

It’s time to redefine what being a good wife, mom, hostess, and human being means. I don’t want my kids growing up with memories of how clean the house always was. I want them to remember the fun and the love. Who cares what anybody else thinks? You want to make memories in your home. And sometimes when you’re making memories, you’re making a mess. Embrace the chaos.

At Checklist Mom we are working hard to help you have more time to make memories, and maybe with a little less chaos and mess. We put together a great new program to help moms be able to use the Checklist Mom app to gain 3+ hours per week of extra stress-free, guilt-free, drama-free “do as YOU want” time.

photo courtesy of Rubbermaid Products

photo courtesy of Rubbermaid Products

You will be able to invest about 10 minutes every 2 to 3 days for just 3 weeks and find yourself an extra 150 hours of time for the year. With this program and your extra time gained, you should feel a little less chaotic, a little less half-assed, and a lot more super. Sound good? Best of all? For a limited time, this program is free. Sign up in the side bar where it says “Free Training and App.”

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