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What is your love language? (DW#325)

In a close relationship, have you ever felt that there is so much love between you but that the two of you just don’t "get" each other? That you are trying hard to express your love and the other just doesn’t get it? (and very often the other person feels exactly the same way . . .)

This is a common experience in intimate relationships and according to Dr. Gary Chapman, it is because the both of you are speaking different love languages.

He writes that it is possible for couples to love each other, but to feel unloved because they give and receive love differently, i.e. they don’t share the same primary emotional love language. After 30 years of marriage counselling, Chapman concluded that there are five (and only five) love languages, though there are many "dialects" within these 5 languages.

(In case you are skeptical, his book The Five Love Languages has been on the New York Times Best Seller list since August 2009)

So what are the love languages? They are words...

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Share your understanding of Love (DW#324)

Once you have compared your lists of what love means to you, please don’t stop there.

Use your lists to connect with your loved one.

Share your understanding of love. (Without trying to change the other person, okay?) What do the words mean to you? What significance do they have?

Great follow up questions are: How do you feel loved? What is most important in a relationship? How can I support that?

Questions such as these help you to get to know each other, they deepen the bond between you and they prevent the differences in views from becoming stumbling blocks to connection.

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What's your take on Love? (DW#323)

Did you jot down a few words about what love means to you? (If not, please take 30 seconds to do that right now)

Now, have your spouse or significant other do the same. You can do this exercise with your children, or friends as well.

And then compare your lists.

Are there any words in common when you compare your lists? How many?

If you are like the vast majority of people, your lists will look more different than similar.

Are you surprised?

Most couples are surprised when they do this exercise. And sometimes they begin to think that this means that there is something wrong with their relationship…

But this is far from true. We develop our ideas about love and what it means throughout life with influences from various sources, family, friends, life experiences, media and our own way of thinking.

There is no problem in thinking differently about love. It can only become an issue in our relationships if we believe it is the ONLY way and the only RIGHT way to think about it.

Oh,...

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Let’s talk about Love (DW#322)

It is that time of the year again. The time of the year when Hallmark and Facebook start talking about romantic love and force us to confront the reality of the state of our own unions.

Now, I realize that many of us are annoyed (even allergic!) to "Hallmark holidays" and consider them nothing more than ways for corporations to make money by forcing us to spend money on flowers, gifts and cards and thereby keep the wheels of capitalism turning.

But all the cynicism aside, it is not a bad idea to turn our attention to our relationships once in a while.

And February is as good a time to do this as any other.

So let's talk about love.

To begin the conversation, let’s reflect on what love means to us.
What does love mean to you? Take a moment and write down 5-10 things that come up when you think about the word "love".

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Goal setting cheat sheet (DW#321)

goal setting objective Feb 05, 2018

It is such a pleasure to hear from many of you who shared that you are trying out some of the practices and getting great results.

Here is a recap of what we have discussed:

  1. Intentionally complete last year, choose what you are not going to work at anymore and renew your intentions about goals and resolutions that still matter
  2. Have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Know that people who believe that change and growth are possible are the ones who make it happen
  3. The new year is a good time for a fresh start for many reasons including the energy and support around goal setting at this time of year
  4. Human beings are teleological creatures: setting and striving towards goals give us meaning and purpose in life and enhances our emotional wellbeing.
  5. The most important thing to remember about setting goals is to write them down. This one practice significantly increases the chances of success.
  6. There is a difference between goals and resolutions. Goals are projects that have a...
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Start, then finish (DW#320)

While some of us have a hard time starting things, there are others of us who are "chronic starters". We are high achievers, we aim high and we always have a ton of projects on the go.

Finishing those projects, or completing those goals, however, is another story (again, don’t ask how I know this . . . ). Perfectionism greets us along the way and uses every tactic under the sun to block us from getting to the finish line.

I just finished reading a great book by Jon Acuff: Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. It is full of practical ideas on beating perfectionism and completing projects. And it is SUPER FUNNY (was laughing out aloud throughout J )

Here are the three things that I am working on, inspired by this book, to get to the finish line:

Cut your goals in half
This sounds contrary to what we have been talking about, but it is not. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a given amount of time (in the future, that is, not in the present). We always think we will have...

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Get in motion (DW#319)

Do you remember Newton’s First Law of Motion?

"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by some outside force."

This is also known as the law of inertia or the law of momentum.

How does it apply to us with regards to goal setting?

Well, some of us have a hard time getting started towards our goals. We have a case of ‘paralysis by analysis’. We think and think and think and think without taking any action. We plan and think of obstacles and do ALL of that.

And we get the booby prize for goal setting. The prize for knowing the most theory and having the most knowledge (please do not ask me how I know this)

There is however, no actual change in our lives. Oooops!

Life, in turns out, only rewards actual effort. And movement.

Here’s the good news though. Once we take that first step, we are in action and then Newton’s law kicks in. The moment we take a little bit...

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Dream big – then get real! (DW#318)

It is important to dream big and visualize success when we are setting goals.

There is, however, a potential downfall of such dreaming.

The mind is a strange and powerful thing. When we continue to dream about achieving our goals, we begin to feel good, right? Well, this tricks the brain into believing that we have already achieved the goal!! In essence, feeling good about our progress can make us reduce our effort.

So what should we do instead?

WOOP your goal.

Gabrielle Oettingen is a world-class researcher who has spent her career studying the science of making your dreams come to life.

In her book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she explains that although it’s very important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, it is not enough. In order to keep moving forward, we then need to "rub the vision up against reality."

Here is her WOOP formula:

W is for Wish
O is for Outcome (or benefits—the "why")
O is for Obstacles
P is for Plan

Start with the Wish. What do you want in...

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Get support for your goals (DW#317)

Should you tell others about your goals? Or should you plod along on your own, not telling anyone in case you do not manage to achieve your goals?

There is a good deal of research that social support (encouragement, information or help) that we receive from others is an integral part of reaching our goals.

A 2008 study demonstrated how social support helps when we encounter hurdles. The lead author of the study, Simone Schnall, said "We showed that when a friend was actually present, or when participants merely thought of a supportive significant other, a steep hill looked less steep. This suggests that people rely on close others when considering how difficult tackling a given environment might be."

Wow. It turns out that our loved ones can support us in achieving our goals even when they are not physically present!

We can also access social support for our goals in other ways of course. We could join an in-person support group (such as weight-watchers or toastmasters) or a virtual...

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Between discomfort and delusion (DW#316)

Goals worth achieving are not within our comfort zone. If they were, we would already have achieved them.

However, they cannot be so far outside our comfort zone that they are in the zone of delusion.

If you have never walked a single kilometer, setting a goal to do the Boston Marathon this year might be delusional. Making a daily habit to walk 5 kilometers might be in the discomfort zone but it is doable.

If you have not written a single article, writing a 500-page memoir this year might be in delusional. Starting a blog and committing to publishing an article a week will be a stretch but it is possible with the right planning, scheduling and accountability. It may, of course, lead to a 500-page memoir in the future . . .

If your bank account is at zero (or negative) right now, putting a down payment on a condo this year may be delusional. However, committing to saving 10% of your monthly income will feel uncomfortable but it is achievable if owning your own home has meaning and...

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