Your 2018 Big Finish!

How is your summer going? Have you done all of the things you wanted to do this summer? Projects, vacations, time with friends and family, back-to-school prep? I always loved the start of the new school year. It’s a time for fresh starts…kind of like the first of the year. Speaking of the first of the year, how are you doing with your 2018 Intentions? Are you on track? This is a perfect time of the year to get refocused and decide how you are going to finish out the year. Do you want to end 2018 strong? Or have you decided to sit back and let the year wrap up and maybe start over again in January? This is kind of like a bigger version of the overused “I’ll start on Monday?’ No way–this is definitely not you! What do you want to focus on for your 2018 Big Finish?

Is your 2018 Big Finish going to require something to change? More than likely, right??? Every new beginning starts with an ending. That may sound a little weird. Think about the last time you were going to start something new, on Monday, of course (diet, exercise plan, organizing your closet, watching less TV) it always meant that you were going to have to let something go (Cold Stone Creamery, sleeping in, your mess, your latest binge watch.)  Some of these things are hard to give up (this is part of the reason why we believe change can be difficult!) Your desire for what you want has to outweigh what you are ending or letting go. What do you want to let go of in your life in order make room for something you really, really want?

Another way to look at this is to start with the end in mind. Can you picture your 2018 Big Finish?  Imagine what you will be doing. Who will you be with? Where will you be? How will you feel when you get what you want?  This could be your dream job, finding your love, retirement, a balanced life, a healthy, fit body—whatever you are looking for!  Create a crystal clear picture of exactly WHAT it is that you want.  Then write your vision down in as much detail as you can and read it as often as you can to remind yourself of your WHAT.  You don’t have to be too concerned about HOW you will make this happen—you just need to be crystal clear about WHAT it is you want.  If you stay focused on your WHAT, you will likely start to notice different opportunities that pop up (thanks God!) for HOW to make this happen.  Take action as the opportunities pop up and keep taking action that moves you to your 2018 Big Finish.

Last week on Your Next Chapter Radio I interviewed Mary Foley ( who knows a lot about change. She has an inspiring story telling how her $8 an hour customer service rep position at AOL (back when AOL was leading the market in this type of technology!) evolved into leading the training and professional development of the entire company, all while her personal life fell apart as she was going through a divorce. She had change coming at her in every area of her life. Through that experience, she learned to not just deal with change, but to thrive on it! She shares some really great tips to help us also learn how we can thrive on change. Listen to the full interview.

If you want a 2018 Big Finish and could use some help getting focused, schedule a 30 minute complimentary strategy session with me and we can talk it through!
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Warmest regards,


What’s Your Eclipse?

Did you get a chance to catch the solar eclipse on Monday? I was not all that interested, to be honest, until a friend told me that if you write down everything you want in your life and then view the eclipse it gives you a way to start with a clean slate!!! OK…that was a little airy fairy even for me…but guess what? I did it. Why not, right???

I looked up the definition of eclipse in and saw the obvious definition:

  1. Obscuration of the light of the sun by the intervention of the moon between it and a
    point on the ear (solar eclipse.)

There were two other definitions as well…

  1. Any obscuration of light.
  2. A reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation, etc.

What’s blocking your light??? Are you shining as brightly as you know you can? Or as
brightly as maybe you once did? Are you sharing your splendor?

Do we have to wait another 38 years to start with a clean slate??? I certainly hope not! We can start with a clean slate every morning we get out of bed. Each day the sun rises is a chance to start with a clean slate—an opportunity to brighten your light. Do you have a morning ritual that starts your day off well? Or are you hitting the snooze alarm and calculating how many more times you can hit it and still make it to work on time???!!! I challenge you to use the second eight minutes of your snooze ( ) to think about the good things you want to have happen today. Give thanks for receiving everything in advance and see what happens. Start your day off bright! Don’t let any eclipse dim your light and mute your splendor!

If you have something blocking your light and want to shine brighter, contact me to set up a complimentary strategy session and we will light you up again! I’d love to connect. Here’s my calendar link to make finding time easy.

Shelly Ryan
Your Next Chapter

Happy Valentine’s Day


Happy Valentines Day!!! We all have different feelings about this day. You are either…

  • All-in! Red roses, candy, cards, romantic dinner, your one-and-only love by your side.
  • A bit cynical and jaded about the ‘holiday.’
  • Or trying to avoid it all together!

Whatever your particular feeling is towards Valentines Day, the one thing that all of the images have in common is the invitation to be happy. When someone wishes you happy birthday or happy valentines day or happy new year, do you accept their invitation to be happy? I’ve been having conversations with a number of my clients about happiness and whether it is a choice or not. I would argue that it is a choice.

I don’t know a lot of people who wake up and say, “I wish I could shake off some of this happiness today.” Or, “I feel way too happy today.” We seem to typically be in pursuit of more happiness. So, if happiness is a choice, why wouldn’t more of us choose it and more often?

I was invited to speak on The Science of Happiness: Positive Psychology Research and Tools at the Women Economic Forum (WEF) in British Columbia, Canada this past year. Researching this topic has opened up a whole new interest for me regarding happiness and positive psychology.

As a psychology major in the early 80’s, the emphasis during that time (and the previous 100+ years) was on what was wrong with people. It was looking for cures and treatments for psychic ailments. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that Dr. Martin Seligman introduced positive psychology and used it as the theme during his term as President of the American Psychological Association. His work looks at what makes people feel happy and fulfilled with a focus on strengths. Since his introduction to this new theory, there has been a tremendous amount of work done on happiness and positive emotions.

So…back to my question…can we choose to be happy? First, can we agree on the premise that happiness is an emotion? If we agree, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor notes in her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds. The sensations— adrenalin, heat in the face, tightness in the throat, rapid heartbeat—arise, peak and dissipate on their own. She calls this the 90 Second Emotion Rule. After the emotion has flushed through, we can decide if we want to continue in the circuitry of the emotion.

So…when was the last time you had a 90 second emotion??? I can’t remember either!!!

Why does it feel like our emotions last longer than 90 seconds? It’s because of the stories we tell ourselves about the emotions. Those stories can go way back and typically have many twists and turns. For example, let’s say you have a loved one who tends to be late. The moment you see a call coming in from him when it is around the time you are supposed to meet, you instantly get upset. In addition to the stories, we also work hard to find evidence to make our stories true. Using our example, you think to yourself,

‘Oh, here he goes again…he is never on time. He did this to me last Tuesday. He doesn’t respect me enough to show up on time. Now we are going to be late…we are always late…I hate being late. Why does he always do this to me? He knows I can’t stand being late.’ And you answer the phone with an angry, “WHAT?”

I’m guessing that sets a certain tone for the conversation! All of that story is not emotion, but rather thoughts about the emotions. The initial physiological feeling was gone in 90 seconds. Sometimes an emotion brings up an old story from when you were a kid…a story that you’ve told yourself over and over and over. You’ve told the story so many times that it has now become a belief that you have about yourself, whether you know it or not. Maybe your long-time story is that you’re not getting the respect you deserve and the belief that goes along with it is you don’t deserve respect. This may be a story you’ve believed for many years and is it even true?

What if I told you that you can create a new story? Do you believe you can change those beliefs you have about yourself? THIS is the point where I believe happiness can be a choice…if the story you’ve told yourself over and over is a negative story, you can change that story to something that is more positive. You can choose to focus on something that makes you happier. For instance, suppose you got the call from your loved one right before you were supposed to meet him and maybe he is going to be a little bit late…what if you focus on the fact that you now have ten extra minutes to respond to an email you’ve been trying to finish AND you will still be on time. Would that be a happier conversation?

When things look bad or dark, it may not feel like this is even possible. I ask my clients to look for the good in their situations. Even though things look dark, can you can find something good about it and focus on that rather than the negative or dark aspect. It doesn’t make the dark part go away, it just focuses your mind on something different. And when you can focus on something that is positive, it moves your thought frequency in an upward spiral vs. a downward spiral.

What can you do to start to create a new, more positive story? Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. They synthesized their happiness research into “Ten Keys to Happier Living” using an acronym, GREAT DREAM. You may find these tools help you to choose a different story.

  • Giving – do things for others
  • Relating – connect with people
  • Exercising – taking care of your body
  • Appreciating – awareness of what you do and the world around you
  • Trying Out – doing new things
  • Direction – doing things towards a goal
  • Resilience – bouncing back after something negative
  • Emotion – being positive about what you do
  • Acceptance – that we all have faults and that things go wrong
  • Meaning – being part of something bigger

So if someone wishes you a Happy Valentines Day, take them up on their offer and be happy!!!

Do you have an old story you are ready to change? If so, email or call me to schedule a complimentary strategy session to create a new story! 602-617-8351

Happiness Boosting


3 Easy Strategies to Boost Your

We all want to be happy. Happiness brings with it better health, more satisfying relationships, it makes us more creative, and attracts happy people into our lives. But being happy can sometimes be a challenge. It seems like it is a whole lot easier to focus on the bad things going on in our life while often times ignoring the good.

Here are three proven habits to help shift the spotlight back onto the good things and create more happiness in your life:

1. Practice gratitude. People who express gratitude on a consistent basis are more optimistic, less materialistic, and more forgiving. Here’s one method of grabbing onto the positive power of gratitude:

❖ On a piece of paper rank your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being ‘never’ and 10 being ‘all the time.’ Seal your answer in an envelope and set it aside. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. It can be ordinary (waking up in a warm, comfy bed) or uplifting (watching your child or a friend graduate from college). After two weeks, rank your happiness again and compare it with your original score. Chances are you are significantly happier.

2. Perform acts of kindness. Giving not only benefits the receiver, it contributes to the givers’ health, happiness, and sense of social connection. Try this simple exercise to get

❖ Choose one day this week and perform 5 acts of kindness. They can be big or small, random or planned, for a stranger or someone you know. Buying the person behind you in line a coffee or chai tea at Starbucks, donating blood, or, at work try cleaning the communal kitchen area, or pitching in on a colleague’s project. At the end of the day write down what you did, how the person responded, and notice the difference you feel.

3. Offer forgiveness. Keeping grudges means holding onto anger, resentment, and hurt. Practicing forgiveness releases the pain and allows us to move on.

❖ Think of a grudge you’re holding. Acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, and
sensations around the experience and then ask yourself:

o What areas in my life is this grudge negatively affecting?
o How is it impacting those around me?
o What positive change would occur if I let it go and moved on?

Forgiveness isn’t about minimizing feelings or condoning bad behavior.
It’s about letting go and setting yourself free.

We all experience ups and downs in life. By implementing these habits into your daily life you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenge life throws at you and experience more happiness. You deserve a happy life!

Do you want more happiness in your life? If so, email or call me to schedule a complimentary strategy session to boost your happiness!