Category Archives: Self Discovery

How do I DO when I don’t know WHAT to do?

I had a lovely conversation recently with a musician who feels stuck.  He doesn’t quite know what the next step is and therefore doesn’t know what to do or where to begin. It is this conversation that inspired me to address this question: 
How do I DO when I don’t know WHAT to do?

Many of us have a fantasy-like idea that we will find the perfect life or the perfect career, and we will just know it when we see it.  Unfortunately this idea is most often not reality.  But when we look at people who are far into their careers, or have lifestyles that suit them, sometimes it might look like they ARE living our fantasy.  It is easy to think “they had it so easy”, or “they really have it all together”, when in actuality their life was not built overnight, but rather is the result of many little decisions along the way as well as much focused time spent.

Everything is built one piece, one step at a time.  I have been fortunate in life to have been raised building tangible things.  I built a deck with my Dad when I was 8 years old… yes, I really did help my dad build.  I was his right hand man.  I saw the project from plans to building materials, to effort and time put forward, to the finished product; a deck that is , 28 years later, still in great working order.  This was a wonderful education.  The catch phrase in my house was “make a plan, work the plan”.  It was simple, straight forward advice.

But what I did not learn or get much practice in was the process of deciding what to do. I was not always able to apply this sound family advice simply because I didn’t know what I wanted to build.

How do we decide what project (or goal) is worth planning and executing? 

We all have different challenges.  My challenge has often been my desire to build too many things, finding the multitude of choices overwhelming… and then most of the time not bothering to start.  Some others may have the challenge of wanting to build a skyscraper before learning to build a shack?  Others may be trying to build something for the wrong reasons; something that is not right for them?

We must begin by asking: How do I decide what to do? Once you answer this question, then (and only then) will you be able to “make a plan and work the plan”.

Step One:  Discover your motivation.

What do I have to do?  This can be “I have to in a metaphoric sense- like this is really important / exciting / meaningful – OR – “I have to in the practical sense- like I need to get a job that pays me $2000 per month.  Either way, what we decide to build needs to feel necessary. This is a BIG question. It may come with many answers.  It is possible to have several motivations and even to work toward several things at one time.  But quite often one or two motivations will feel most necessary now.  This does not mean you abandon the others, you simply decide to focus on one or two motivations for now.

Step Two:  Prioritize your time & schedule it.

Hold that which is necessary in your mind and decide how much time you can devote to it.  Assess if there is enough time, and if there isn’t make necessary adjustments.  The more you hold that which is necessary in your mind the less you will feel tempted to waste your time in social media or TV.  Rome wasn’t built by people who sat in front of an entertainment screen all day.  You know what is necessary, so it’s best to not make excuses or distractions to keep you from putting in the time and energy.

Step Three: Evaluate Expectations.

Realistically assess what you can accomplish in what amount of time.  If you feel you are not good at this, ask someone to help you. If you set your expectations too high, it will become easy to be discouraged.  For example if you decide that it is necessary to make $5000 per month but you don’t want to work full time, and haven’t developed the highest level of skills yet, you may be consuming too much stuff right now.  This does not mean that you won’t accomplish this someday, but for now you may need to reassess your expenses so that the necessary becomes attainable.  Another example has to do with the time needed.  Find someone who has what you want and ask them how long it took to get there.  This will help you create realistic expectations.

Step Four:  Get your head in the right place.

If you find yourself thinking of all the reasons why this is too hard, or you cannot do it, then this step will have the most impact on you. When you find yourself digressing into this pointless, whiny, defeated state of mind, do something.  Anything.  Anything other than thinking.  Negative, pointless, whiny, defeated thinking is simply a bad habit that only serves to perpetuate procrastination and misery.  Stop thinking and making excuses, instead just do.  For example write down a list of things and choose to do something on the list right now.  Yes, there is always an element of truth to our negative, pointless, whiny, defeated thinking, however, ruminating on that negative stuff is NOT AT ALL helpful, nor is it interesting to us or anyone else.

Step Five: Make a plan.

Sometimes we need help with this too!  But excitingly, once we KNOW what we want to build, all of a sudden as we begin to share it with others we find that there are people and situations all around us that seem to be conspiring to help us succeed.  It is the passion and clarity of purpose that inspires others to help us.  Until we know what we want to build, it seems impossible to find mentors and help.  Once we know, they show up on every corner!

Step Six: Work the plan.

Keep a written account of this process (steps 1-6) with you at all times.  Read it whenever you feel off track or during moments of doubt.  Seek outside inspiration to help you continue on this plan. Be willing to ask for help and advice from those who believe in you and can help you… BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, keep working the plan.

Step Seven: Congratulations, you’ve built it, now you can enjoy it. 

But guess what, it’s going to need continued maintenance…and hopefully you’ll find that you enjoy the maintenance too.

So what do you think you’ll need to build next?
Do you need a some guidance in a life transition?  Contact me to schedule a consultation.

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Integrative Nutrition

Integrative Nutrition Ambassador – Friend referral scholarship available!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’m writing to tell you about the most remarkable educational institution in the world:  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I attended this groundbreaking school in 2010 from where I earned my Certification as a Health Coach.  This institution expanded my life and world view and most importantly guided me to become a more healthful joyful human being.

If you are looking to get healthier or if you are already in a great place and want to share your knowledge and passion with others in a meaningful career of your making, then this is the experience you need!  All types of people with all types of focuses attend this school.  But I have noticed that this community is united in our will to impact change, our creativity, altruism, and open minded approach to life and learning.  I have met amazing people in this program who have inspired me and given me hope in our future.

As a graduate of IIN, I signed up to be an ambassador for the school because I believe so strongly in its mission and method.  If you would like to learn more about the year-long program please do not hesitate to ask me about my experience.  You can also visit the website integrativenutrition.com.

This program is an investment in your entire being.  Some students just attend to become healthier, more contented people, but many enroll to also prepare for a new career.  What I experienced in school in the big picture is an understanding of what is most important to me and how I can share that which is uniquely me with others.  I have been inspired to live more fully and to invest in life like I hadn’t before.

This big picture experience has also been perfectly balanced with real world practical guidance.  I have received every tool necessary to create a lucrative career as a heath coach.  This is the only school I have attended that invests in their student’s career success continually.  Even after graduating, IIN is supporting me in any way necessary as I build my career.  My success is part of their mission and is therefore in their best interest.  I cannot fully explain how amazing it feels to have a school completely celebrate what I can offer the world.  I have never experienced this before!

This is a long distance learning program, so you can do this anywhere in the world at any time that is convenient for you.  You do have time for this life changing experience and you will be delighted by how affordable this program is.

If you decide this school is for you, then please let me know and I will assist you in securing your scholarship.

Get ready to grow at a rapid pace and to love every minute of it!

With Love, Colleen Palmer

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You ARE what you EAT!

Guess What? You really ARE what you EAT!

That’s right, what you eat matters!

Yes, like many of you, I used to not pay much attention to what I ate.  I figured that if I bought organic when I could, I was okay.  But, the crazy truth is that even boxed organic food can be absent of high quality nutrients.  Really, do you think organic microwave macaroni and cheese is healthy?

I know, none of us want to be preached to, so I’m not going to preach.  Instead, I challenge you to eat real food… as it looks in nature… for 30 days and see how you feel.

All of these food business short cuts that are now THE predominant source of our American caloric intake are NOT working.  What we have now is more heart disease and diabetes than ever before.  If we WANT to be in optimal heath, we HAVE to pay attention to what we put into our mouths.  Sorry to deliver the harsh truth, but the truth IT IS.

Agro-business thinks it has found the answers to fix mother nature right.  The seeds mother nature made aren’t quite right, so we’re going to change them… and convince each other that it’s better!  Pests be gone with pesticides!  Small cows, no problem, we’ll pump them with hormones! Yippee!

The truth is, our bodies don’t evolve that quickly.  These new ways of producing foods are NEW!  YET, we still thrive on AND require the foods that existed 200+ years ago (let’s try 1000 years ago).  New foods are making us sick…even if some of our seed scientists SAY that the NEW is better.  Tell that to your body, who is still living in the 1500’s.

Return to indigenous, earth made foods, and guaranteed, you’ll be healthier.

What does this mean?

STEP ONE:
Give yourself an oil change:  Return to natural fats such as Coconut Oil & butter. Avoid all man made trans fats (crisco, margarine & corn oil to name a few).  If you knew how partially hydrogenated fats were made, you would not eat them!    Also, include oils that do not require a machine press (remember, machines were only widely used beginning in the 20th century). For more reading follow this link, you will have to create a log in, it’s worth it.

So, what veggie oils are available to our bodies?

Those that don’t require agro-business machinery:  unrefined olive, peanut, almond, sesame.  Fat is essential to life. Make sure you eat fats that your body will recognize as food.  Olive does not do well under high heat, so do not cook with it.  Instead, the traditional fats such as butter, ghee, lard, tallow can be used for cooking.  Vegtables can be cooked simply with water and then fat such as olive oil or butter can be added at the end of cooking.  Meat is cooked very happily with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.  Try it, you’ll love it.

Avoid: corn, safflower, canola, other polyunsaturated fats.  Your body has no idea what to do with the amount that we eat of these long chain fatty acids, that only exist in small amounts in nature.

Cook with: Virgin Coconut or Palm oil or animal fats such as Lard or Tallow.  Your body will know what these fats are and make good use of this fat (and the vitamins within the fat) as well as the cholesterol.

What about cholesterol and our worries about cholesterol and heart disease?

Unfortunately, we have been misinformed.  The science of nutrition is a fledgling science, meaning, we really don’t know that much.  Therefore, look at all new discoveries with skepticism.  What does your intuition tell you?  While we have been told to avoid saturated fats and instead replace them with vegetable oils, and even partially hydrogenated fats like margarine, or smart balance, our instance of heart disease has increased.  So, it calls us to question if the advice we have been given has been sound advice?

Consider that the information we receive always has economic repercussions.   When you hear *new* information, ask yourself: Whose money is involved in the dissemination of this information?

Before WWII most Americans cooked with saturated animal fat and coconut and palm oils, which were produced in tropical climate countries (one of which was, guess where, Japan!).  Now, considering that there was a war with Japan, could we really have our people relying on an everyday staple that was produced in Japan… such as coconut oil…NO!  So, what to do???  Find that SATURATED FATS are BAD for you!  That’s a good solution… in favor of oils that can be produced in northern climates.  Then take those northern climate oils, produced unnaturally, pressed with heavy machinery, and put them through an unnatural chemical process to make them behave like coconut oil (and other saturated fats), and voila, you have hydrogenated oil:  Highly processed vegetable oil that is artificially loaded with hydrogen and then bleached so that it doesn’t stink.   Then, tout it as “healthier” than, God given, coconut oil.  Meanwhile our bodies are saying as we eat, “what IS this foreign substance?”  AND…What is the result?  Well, it is what we have now:  increases in heart disease, obesity, depression, a.d.d., chronic fatigue, cancer, crooked teeth & cellulite! But, really, what do we expect when we think that we can do better than Mother Nature?

STEP TWO:
Use your intuition.  We know what is natural.  We know what is best for us.  Avoid foods that don’t look like food.  I know, the convenience foods are tempting, but remember, your body is a thousand + years behind.  Respect it.  My favorite check is the grandma/great grandma check:  Would my great grandma think this was food.  Yes?  Enjoy!  No? Avoid.

The most sound advice that we can all understand:  Return to eating foods that look like the way they were grown, and you will be healthier & happier!

Give it a try!  Every day that we put food to mouth is a new day for experiments!   Eat something and see how you feel. Nature gives us what we need throughout the seasons.  Ask nature what it is meant to give you now, and enjoy her abundance!

With love,

Colleen

http://colleenpalmer.net

ps. I would love to help you change your health & your life today!
I offer free 30 minute consultations over the phone.  E-mail me to set up yours!  As my father, Larry says, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”.  Let’s make it happen the way you envision, together!

xoxo -C

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YOUR health is YOUR wealth!

Our health is our wealth – I love this – a simple truth.  When we are healthy we often take it for granted, expecting that it will always be there!  But just like everything that is important to us, our health takes OUR attention and care.

Our medical system is teaching us to compartmentalize our health issues instead of seeing the whole picture.  We are taught that disease must be cured with an expensive pill, that our depression and obesity are unrelated, and that the food we eat has nothing to do with our chronic illness.  In our lifetime, we have witnessed impressive medical advances while simultaneously individual health has declined.  Preventable conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, are not being prevented, and morbid obesity has become a childhood disease.   We are off balance and need to take a new look at how we approach our health.

Our body is infinitely intelligent and how wonderfully blessed we are to have it.  Our body doesn’t forget to breathe, our heart continues to beat, our cells communicate without our awareness, wounds heal, our immune system cleans.  It’s an incredibly intelligent system operating without our thinking mind.  How easily we forget to respect its intelligence.  How easily we allow our thinking mind to dominate this highly tuned super-computer. But this approach is simply the approach that we have been taught.  Since our birth we have been bombarded with mixed messages from the diet industry, the media, from medical associations, the USDA, and more.  We do low-fat then we do high protein. We wonder do we choose sugar or zero-calorie chemical sweetener, butter or margarine, which omega-3, which antioxidant.  We are told that food is bad or it’s good, then we make ourselves nuts with guilt if we “slip” or “over-indulge”.  We obsess… we brood…  we stress… we’ve been thinking so much about food that we’ve forgotten how to listen to our bodies.   It’s time to end this madness, and get back in touch with our common intelligence.

Do you get sick a lot or have trouble sleeping?  Are you feeling stressed out?  Have you been trying to lose weight but find that your weight loss cannot be sustained?  Do you struggle knowing what you should eat?  Do you want to be at peace with yourself, but don’t know where to begin?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, guess what, you are normal!  We all have been pushing ourselves to the breaking point.  We’re confused about our health and we’re exhausted!

But there is no need to lose hope.  You can attain your optimal health.  It is in your grasp.  It is likely that all you need is the proper encouragement, vision and guidance.  Everything you want for yourself is attainable.  But, what you haven’t had in the past, all of those other times you’ve tried, was one person in your corner who believes in you, encourages you and holds you accountable to yourself; who reminds you that you are worth it!  We are not meant to do everything alone.   If you are ready to commit to actively pursue your goal I would love to work with you to make sure that you succeed.  Together we can make your dreams become your realities.

To learn more about what working with me as your health coach will be like please visit my website.  Not in the Boston area?  No worries, I also work with clients over the phone and on skype.

I received my training to practice health counseling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  This program is so comprehensive and exciting.   If what I do sounds interesting to you, feel free ask me about it or visit the Integrative Nutrition website.  We are leading a movement toward a healthier America!

Much Love,

Colleen Palmer

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I love ME!

It’s February.  A lovely, short, symmetrical month.  The holiday weekend commemorating the American presidents breaks the winter monotony as daylight continues to expand reminding us that spring is coming. Punxsutawney Phil lets us know how much more winter we can expect with a squint of his little rodent eyes as he looks for his shadow. 

Although February has many of it’s own virtues, we are all too aware or the domineering holiday which insists on upstaging all of the other lovely 27 days: St. Valentine’s Day. The local pharmacy decks it’s shelves in preparation with chocolates & hearts enticing us to literally BUY into the celebration, even if only to eat more Hershey’s kisses and chalky heart candy.  But for a holiday devoted to celebrating love, it seems to have intentionally excluded the un-matched, leaving many otherwise fabulous singles feeling quite forlorn.  It is as if not having a romantic partner for whom we could buy a sappy card expressing our ardent devotion means that we are less than complete.  We are led to feel that our uncommitted state is a problem or even more than a problem, a pitiable condition. Well, although I am now happily committed to the joys of couple-dom, being empathetic to a fault, I still feel the discomfort that this holiday causes so many of us. 

Well, let’s not dwell in the negative, it’s such an uncomfortable dwelling. I am a woman of action, so this year I offer this simple solution: let’s make Valentine’s Day about the one most important human relationship we will ever have in our entire life, our relationship with our self. When was the last time you did something nice for yourself?  Have you given yourself a compliment, a pat on the back, a pep talk? 

 Love is in the air this February for ALL of us to breathe in.  Our love-dependent cells require it, so please, partake in it. Make this month a month devoted to loving and appreciating yourself.  It’s not something we are all taught to do, but just like practicing our instruments to improve our musicianship, we can also practice loving ourselves to improve our quality of being. There are a multitude of things that are absolutely delightful about you. Get to know them, enjoy them, share them.  You are fabulous, and it’s likely that you don’t even know how fabulous you are yet.  So take the plunge and commit to loving yourself this Valentine’s Day.     

With Love,

Colleen

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CMH: Part 4 – Choosing

Continued from: College, Money & Hope – Part 1 College
Continued from: College, Money & Hope – Part 2 Money
Continued from:
College, Money & Hope – Part 3 Hope

Choosing the Right Path:
When we are at a crossroads in our life, trying to decide what to do next, we can sometimes be overwhelmed by the possibilities.  Keep in mind that  there are no perfect answers to life’s challenges; no perfect paths.  Try out the following exercise to get your creative juices flowing while getting in touch with your core self.  Allow yourself to answer these questions with a light touch.  No answer is wrong or right, just interesting.  Allow your imagination to bounce like a ball and see where it takes you.

These questions are a starting point.  They will help you begin to find your inner compass that will point you in the right direction.  Have fun with this.

  • What do I need to feel more fulfilled?
  • What do I want to improve in myself and my life?
  • What would I do with my time if I had all of the money I need?
  • What is my ideal work day?
  • What do I love?

As you consider your future path observe how you feel while answering questions like these.  Rate your feelings according to warm or cold, light or dark, excited or frustrated.  Keep in mind that sometimes a little feeling of fear or nerves can be a good sign indicating that the thoughts are significant – challenging – potentially rewarding.

Once you have a feeling for what will be your exciting next step, seek out people who have what you want and find out how they got there.  Share your dreams with others, and start doing something small everyday to set you on that path.  Seek career and life advice locally at schools you may be considering attending, or in the industry of your interest.  And lastly, as you move forward, be kind and patient with yourself.

Be courageous!

Much Love,
Colleen

____________________________________________________________
Choosing is part 4 of a series addressing this question:

How many ways can I utilize a degree in music? I am finishing my AA, and desperately want to get a BA in some kind of musical training.  I love to sing and perform but can’t decide if I should go for what I love, or what will “pay”? Please give me some hope!

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CMH: Part 3 – Hope

Continued from: College, Money & Hope – Part 1 College
Continued from: College, Money & Hope – Part 2 Money

HOPE

Hopefulness is a state of being that is cultivated and eventually can become habitual.  We as individual are responsible for seeking the inspiration and tools needed to maintain a state of hopefulness.

The first step is to become aware of our state of being at any given moment of any day.  How am I feeling?  Label it. Why am I feeling this way? Is this feeling helping me or hindering me? What can I do that would be helpful?

The second step is to choose a new state of being if we find the one we are in is not helping us.
For example:

  • How am I feeling? “I’m feeling really discouraged that my life is not what I thought it would be at my age.”
  • Why am I feeling this way? “I had dreams that I thought I would have accomplished, or at least be accomplishing.”
  • Is this feeling helping me? “Well, not really, because although I am realizing that I have not accomplished my dreams, I am not working toward them as I am wallowing in my own self pity.  This self pity makes me feel discouraged and hopeless.
  • What can I think/feel/do that would be helpful? “I can decide to accept where I am at this moment…since I can’t change the past, and spend the next bit of time that I have doing what will set me on a path toward my goal. I can choose not to beat myself up, and instead give myself some encouragement.

Sometimes when we ask ourselves what I can do that would be helpful, we find that the best thing would be to let go of that goal.  Our past goals can weigh us down, and as we honestly reevaluate, we find that they are not our goals anymore.  Getting rid of goals that are past their expiration date… or are simply not appropriate for our lives at this moment can help to create room in our hearts and minds for fresh & current goals.  It’s kind of like cleaning out your fridge.  Getting rid of the expired food makes room for new nourishing food.

I actually used to have an aversion to goals.  I think I was afraid to make them anticipating that I wouldn’t accomplish them.  So, I had to redefine what goals were for me.  My goals grow and change and alter in form constantly.  Also, my goals are often not pertaining to anything particularly productive.  For example right now I am working on cultivating resilience.  I know that becoming more resilient will improve my quality of life and the consistency of my well being.  This is a goal.  It’s what I want for myself and I am conscious of how it will benefit me.  It may not get me a job, or elevate my status or income.  It’s just for me.  For me, this is the best kind of goal.  Just for me!

The point that I really want to drive home is that we are responsible for our state of being.  If we want to feel hopeful, we must seek it, all the while working to direct ourselves away from any thought, situation or person that will hinder us in our search.

  • Goal Statement: My goal is to be more hopeful.
  • Accompanying question: I this or that helping me in my goal to become more hopeful?
  • Accompanying action: I will think/feel/do ___ to support my goal.

A hopeful, positive, resilient attitude can be cultivated.  Focus on that which uplifts you and you will discover that you already have a wealth of inspiration at your fingertips.

Sometimes we find that negativity is overwhelming us, and we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of it.  If this happens to you simply shift your focus to what you are thankful for.

Write it down, say it out loud, think it inside:  I am thankful for _______, ________, & _______!
If you are at a loss, you can borrow these:  I am thankful for…

  • my sense of smell especially when I’m smelling my favorite perfume
  • my sense of touch especially when taking a hot shower after a long cold day
  • sight especially when when looking at my favorite picture
  • sound especially when listening to my favorite song
  • taste especially when eating my favorite dish
  • my legs that walk me around
  • my lungs that take in and release air in an entirely satisfying way
  • …you get the point… it can become a long list!

Continue to list or repeat what you are thankful for until your state of being improves. HOPE will follow!
Tools that will help to set you on the right path continue to CMH – Part 4 Choosing

____________________________________________________________
Hope is part 3 of a 4 part series addressing this question:

How many ways can I utilize a degree in music? I am finishing my AA, and desperately want to get a BA in some kind of musical training.  I love to sing and perform but can’t decide if I should go for what I love, or what will “pay”? Please give me some hope!

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