Everyday Resolution: How to Rub Your Genie the Right Way

The Genie of the Lamp can grant your everyday resolutions

As a life coach , I believe in new-year resolutions and having targets for the new year. People often create resolutions on their birthday or on New Year’s Eve. The difference between that and being a life coach is that I believe every day is an opportunity to set new year’s resolutions. Every day is a new opportunity to want more, to ask more, to be more, to have more, to love more and enjoy life more, to tune ourselves for more happiness and joy. Happiness is never ending. Every day, when we get up in the morning, we can start fresh. Every day can be the start of a new year. That’s why it’s better to create “everyday resolutions”.

Many of my clients ask me how come some people’s New Year resolutions seem to fall flat, while others seem to be very successful at making their resolutions come true. This question always makes me think of the genie who grants wishes. Some people know how to rub the lamp the right way and other don’t.

Golden lamp with vapour escaping from the spoutI didn’t always know how to rub the lamp right. I remember myself on my birthday, every year, making lists of what I wanted the next year to be like. For many years, nothing happened. At the age of 16, I learned that I had been rubbing the lamp the wrong way and that my genie wanted to be rubbed differently. From that point on, I suddenly felt kind of lucky. Things seemed to flow. I felt happy, successful and protected, as if my genie would take care of me, as long as I took care of him, the right way.

Everyone has a genie that sits in their subconscious and waits for instructions. If you speak his language, he will lead you to where you want go. If not, he will steer you in the opposite direction to your dreams.

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Teen Sex: Not Allowed!

Let's talk sex

Recently, I saw a client who was very concerned about her teen daughter getting closer to a boy she was spending time with. She suspected they were having sex. She was completely panicked about it and started preventing her daughter from seeing her boyfriend. Her daughter was 16 years old and had been seeing this boy for over a year. I asked my client why she was worried and she didn’t really know how to answer. In her mind, teen sex was out of the question. Teens should not have sex and that’s it.

My client had many issues with sex that she never had a chance to discuss with anyone in her life, not even her husband. It was one of those things she never believed she would ever discuss with anyone. It was private, done behind closed doors, quietly, so no one would hear or know. Especially not the kids.

I told her about a story I wrote. It was about a group of teens discussing the topic of parents having sex. One of them discovered, by accident, that his parents were having sex and the story is about how they deal with this “discovery” as a group. I wrote this book (to be published yet) after listening to my then 15 year old daughter and her friends having this same discussion: do parents have sex? I was very proud of my daughter, who was the one saying, “of course they do”. Most of the other kids felt sick just imagining it.

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How to Be Happy in Life: The Happy To Do List

Happy to do list

Happiness is a choice! This is my motto in my life and in my work. I coach many people on how to make this choice and find their own happiness.

One of the strategies in bringing happiness into our lives is to get into good habits that make us pay more attention to the good things we already have. It makes us feel happy about what we have in life and attract more of it through our focus.

Together, my clients and I come up with a simple “happy to do list” – a list of things they can do to change their happiness level within 3 weeks. This list follows the rule that it only takes 21 days to make a habit.

This Happy To Do list is written in past tense. It’s more of a list of accomplishments to tick once they are achieved. When you go over it, instead of seeing things you still need to do, your focus is on your successes.

I promise that if you do this every day, then after three weeks, you will feel happier.

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Helping Kids Build Healthy and Powerful Character Traits

Paper sunflowers

Many parents talk to me about their kids’ character traits and behavior. “He is a stubborn kid. He was always stubborn” or “She is a nag. She nagged from the first day she came home”. I wonder how much of what these parents are describing is real character (permanent and unchangeable) and how much of it we can change.

All kids are born with their unique character, a personality. This becomes really obvious when you have your second child. You realize that some of how they behave is just something they are born with. You notice that they have a certain character from the very first day you spend with them.

Unfortunately, not all character traits are wonderful and great. How they develop later on in life depends mainly on how we view these traits and how we react to them. For example, many parents treat their kids’ behavior as a result of a character trait. Since character is solid and fixed, they thing this behavior cannot be changed.

This post is part 1 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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From the Life Coaching Deck: If-then Parenting Style

Here's to the things left unsaid and the thoughts unexpressed

Ashley was a very successful woman. She was brilliant and smart. She had been in a very solid and stable relationship with her husband of 12 years before they decided to have their daughter Mira.

When Mira was born, Ashley was 39, with a booming and successful business that took her away from home 2-3 days a week. Her husband Daryl decided he would take over the responsibilities of caring for Mira. He changed jobs and started working from home. Ashley continued to travel 2-3 days a week.

This seemed like a good arrangement in the beginning but the gap between Ashley and Daryl increased and they often had arguments about the best parenting style for Mira.

I met them both when Mira was 1 year old. At first, I thought they wanted to do the parenting program with me. After a while, I realized each of them was trying to convince me that their parenting style was the better one and that I should tell their partner this.

This post is part 1 of 11 in the series From the Life Coaching Deck

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From the Life Coaching Deck: Learning to Want

Couple holding hands under the table

A while ago, I told the story of Magda and learning about the “wanting muscle” and choice. She learned that she was allowed to want things for herself. That she had to live by her own expectations.

Two weeks later, I saw Magda for the second time. She looked so much more alive and beautiful. Her skin was shiny and she was smiling and happy. She behaved like a giggling teen when she told me the list of her wants was getting bigger every day. Funnily enough, her daughter was the one who helped her with this homework task. Which was good news for Magda, because she had managed to teach her daughter that it was OK to want.

“I saw my mom 4 days ago and I am going again after work tomorrow. I have decided to take 4 days off in between. It is bliss. She still complains but no more than she did when I was there every day”. She was grinning from ear to ear.

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The Stress Pill: Seeing Shadows of Lions

Pill with a smiley face on it

I have written a lot about happiness over the years. I think happiness (in all its variations) is what everyone wants in life. For example, researchers found that parents name happiness as the ultimate goal of their parenting role. Happy parents = happy parenting = happy kids.

Happiness is not only the goal of parenting, it is also a most basic human goal. We are here to be happy, to find happiness and to enjoy it. We want to be happy with our relationships, with our families, at work, with our health, with money. We want to be happy with our friends and hobbies, with our achievements, with our homes. We want to be happy with what we have and we also want to be happy about some things we don’t have. For example, if I don’t have sick kids, that makes me externally happy.

One small thing that gets taken away from us helps us feel happy about what we have in our lives. For example, it’s only when you get a muscle cramp from lifting too much that you learn to appreciate the simple ability to raise your hand to the steering wheel or to take off your shirt. That is basic human nature, to define happiness by comparing it to unhappy times.

The most common obstacle to happiness is stress. In reality, stress is fear. It is fear that manifests in tensions that drive us into primal behavior (fight or flight). In the old days, it was what made us freeze in the face of a lion. While in the past, it was very obvious that lions, snakes and other scary animals were the enemy, today, the enemy is inside of us. We get anxious and stressed just thinking about a possible scary future.

This post is part 1 of 4 in the series The Stress Pill

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Save Your Marriage: Have Good Sex

Two hands clasped on a sheet

Sex is one of the top three reasons why couples divorce. That means that it is highly important to work on improving your sex life. Of course, good sex goes hand in hand with good communication, trust, respect and working on keeping the relationship alive.

Attitude to sex is something many couples need to work on. In our growing life, there is not enough education about the importance of sex for health and wellbeing. It is a very sensitive topic that most people are left to learn from experience, friends or even the World Wide Web through porn movies (which unfortunately present a very unhealthy picture of the importance of sex and how to enjoy it).

Many of the clients I see who are separated or considering divorce report that sex was a major issue in their relationship. Not enough, not satisfying or enjoyable, too much, too little, too fast, too slow, only when drunk, feels like a chore, they feel their partner does not deserve it, no romance, not sexy. Every one of these is sad and painful for both parties.

This post is part 27 of 28 in the series Save Your Marriage

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From the Life Coaching Deck: The Want Muscle

Sometimes being yourself is scary until you stop and remember everybody in the whole wide world is scared about the exact same thing

Magda came to see me after 16 years of heartache and pain. She was referred by a client of mine. She had seen psychologists and psychiatrists before, but felt very criticized and had never gone for a second session with any of them.

When I finally got to meet her, I was a bit surprised. She was in her early fifties and looked amazing – almost like a doll. She was tiny and very well presented with beautiful skin.

Yet, during the first 10 minutes of introductions, she managed to say only bad things about herself. The gist of them was that she was not good enough, unworthy and helpless. She said 27 bad things about herself in those 10 minutes. I counted!

This made me very curious about her because at that point we had just met and I knew nothing about her.

Coaching is very much like solving a puzzle. I tried to gather information that would allow me to help Magda in a way that the other therapist could not. As it turns out, Magda was an only child, born to very old parents. Her dad died when she was very young and her mom never had another man in her life.

This post is part 10 of 11 in the series From the Life Coaching Deck

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From The Life Coaching Deck: Abusive Parenting Cycle

Cow in a meadow

Recently, I wrote a post about parents who justify their bad parenting style by claiming they are better than their own parents. Parenting like this creates a cycle: bad parenting, leads to difficult children, who become bad parents, who raise difficult children, etc. Over the last 28 years, I have dedicated my work to breaking this cycle. To helping kids through helping their parents.

Last week, this topic came up again when I met a 16-year-old girl who came for teen coaching. I sat in front of her for almost 2 hours and was shocked at how mature and aware she was. She was sitting in the same balcony in which I have seen many grownups who did not understand half of the things she did. Last year, I started writing a fictional story about a girl with parent problems and anorexia. In front of me was this most beautiful, good looking girl with a similar story. It amazed me to discover that the story is so much worse when you see it in real life.

She was a 16 year old, living with abusive parents, who believed they were better than their own parents, because unlike them, they did not use physical violence. It surprised me that they sent her for life coaching though. It seemed very contradictory to what a controlling and abusive parent would do. Never-the-less, I asked about her grandparents to get a better picture. Things became crystal clear: they had been abusive parents, who raised abusive kids, who become abusive parents. This cycle would go on and on unless this troubled, 16 year old teen could stop the cycle with her awareness (if she survived the emotional abuse).

This post is part 11 of 11 in the series From the Life Coaching Deck

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