Friday, May 31, 2013

Take Action: Set Some Goals

Hopefully this month's theme of New You! has inspired you to take some time for yourself and think about what positive changes you would like to make in your life!

We are ending this month's blogs with a list of 10 tips for taking action and setting some what are you waiting for?

1. The first step to goal setting is being specific! Examine your life and figure out what you want to change, then narrow it down to one specific thing you can realistically change in a specific time period.

2. Once you have chosen your goal, write it down and post it where you will see it multiple times a day. A customized screen saver is a great way to keep your goal in front of you; a note on your fridge or taped to your TV remote can work too!

3. Break down your goal into milestones, and mark your calendar with a completion date for each one. If your goal requires daily tracking, make a chart and hang it next to the calendar. That way when you drink your bottle of water, do your yoga workout, or write in your journal, you can mark your progress and see how far you’ve come!

4. Get backup. Tell someone about your goal, and ask for tough love! There will be times you want to give up, and a good hard shove is just what you need. A friend or spouse can help remind you about how great it will be to reach your goal!

5. Reward yourself. Whenever you complete your next step towards your goal, give yourself a small but tangible reward. Light a candle and enjoy the smell; treat yourself to a non-sugar chocolate mint; read a chapter in the book you’ve been saving or just reach around and pat yourself on the back! You deserve it!

6. Mix achievement with affirmation. Positive affirmations can get you psyched about your goal, and reassure you that you have what it takes to last the course. Remind yourself that you are capable, you are strong and most of all you are willing to do whatever it takes to meet your goal.

7. Use every trick at your disposal to reach your goal. If that means getting up while everyone is in bed to study a new language in peace and quiet, that’s what you will do. If you decide you bit off more than you can chew don’t beat yourself up - simply kick the final goal’s deadline a month down the road and instill a midpoint goal to get you ready to face the extra challenge.

8. There’s no shame in asking for help. If you just can’t drag yourself out in the rain for that mandatory jog around the block, ask your friend or spouse to come with! Who knows, it might end up being fun getting soaked together, and you can bond over the slap of jogging shoes on wet pavement with the promise of hot coffee at home.

9. Don’t let your momentum fade after reaching your goal. You won! You did it! Now - set another goal! Goal setting should be an ongoing process, leading to bigger and better things every year you live.

10. Never, never, never give up. Fight for the person you know you can be. Set goals that make you push yourself, but don’t give up if you miscalculate and set the bar a little too high. Readjust and keep going - you can do it. Be your own strongest supporter, and you will find your goals get set higher and higher as your self confidence takes off and you learn to surpass even your own expectations!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Look Good in a Swimsuit

It’s happening—again. Swimsuit season is here. Our favorite stores have been overtaken by spandex, and it seems everyone is talking about scoring a bikini-ready body. It’s hard not to fall victim to the hype and mind-numbing stress that can come with worrying about what we wear and how we look in the less-clothed months of the summer. Instead of falling prey to the season of self-criticism, I am going to look (and be!) fabulous in my swimsuit this year. Before I reveal my secret, let me remind you that beauty is truly found in the eye of the beholder. It is completely subjective… to you and to others.

Consider, for instance, Dove’s new beauty campaign which asserts that only 4 percent of women around the world think they are beautiful! I think we can all agree that more than 4 percent of women out there are beautiful. Problem is, far too few of us think we are one of those beautiful women! For Dove’s social experiment, women described themselves to an FBI-trained sketch artist who then drew portraits based on their self-descriptions. Then, the artist sketched the same women, this time based on someone else’s description of the person. The differences are staggering and show just how differently we see ourselves than the rest of the world does. Contrary to conventional opinion, the world doesn’t judge us near as harshly as we judge ourselves!  Aside from that, if we deem ourselves as beautiful, then we are exactly that!

If we drop our gaze below the neck, our perceptions are even more varied. Just look at this vintage weight gain advertisement! Two beautiful women, dressed in matching bathing suits, and the curvy figure is the one to aspire to. The ad is actually selling a weight-gain supplement to the skinny girl who looks a lot like today’s prepubescent models.

We can all probably agree that everyone has a different opinion as to what is beautiful—and where exactly each of us falls on the pendulum. That said, how can we possibly be beautiful all of the time, no matter who is looking at us, and especially in a swimsuit? I’ll tell you the answer: by being confident with ourselves! The ability to love ourselves as we are is without a doubt the most attractive quality around. It’s magnetic. Everyone is drawn to self-confidence, to people who are comfortable in their own skin and live life like they own it.

Self-confidence is the key to enjoying life, and not letting anything hold us back. No matter our points of criticism, negative self-talk holds us back and squelches our self-empowerment. It might seem insignificant at the time, but covering up with a beach towel while your family hits the waves just deprives yourself of joy. You miss out on experiences, on memories, on the moments that shape who you are. Don’t miss any part of life because you think you aren’t beautiful!

As women in the prime of perimenopause and menopause, we have experienced so much and learned even more about ourselves. Let’s show the next generation how to love themselves and always know they are beautiful inside and out. The most impactful way to teach is, for sure, by example. This summer, when you would normally yield to negative self-talk, realize your self-truth and know you are beautiful!

Reaching out is IN!  Suffering in silence is OUT!

Let’s hang out! The first Monday of every month, Ellen is hosting her Menopause Mondays Google Hangouts: Where the Sisterhood helps the Sisterhood. For June, she is switching things up with a morning event at 8:30am PST/11:30am EST that will include Dr. Josh Trutt, a menopause and healthy aging expert from PhysioAge Medical Group in New York City. Send your questions in here! Then grab a coffee (instead of a cocktail!) and get ready to ask Ellen and Dr. Trutt your menopause questions at this free online event! Sign up here.
Is it hot in here or is it just you? Get discounts on great menopause products, courtesy of Available now: cooling clothes, a sleek and discrete chargeable fan, a “Hot Flash Havoc” documentary, and a natural menopause relief formula. Enter promo code “ellend” to save serious cash!
Click Here to see what Ellen Dolgen is giving away this month.

More important women's health information on

Menopause Mondays: How to Age Gracefully Through Menopause

Menopause Mondays: Fight Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopause Mondays: Women’s Fertility and the Biological Clock

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Self Esteem Through The Way You Dress

Ask any woman, and probably 99% of them will tell you they’re dieting, giving up carbs, or preparing for swimsuit season. It’s apparent that many of us are just not ‘there’ when it comes to accepting our bodies and body image. Wearing the proper sizes and styles for our body types can make a big difference in your self-esteem and self- confidence.

"I know that if I squeeze into my previous size I won't feel confident!"
Take moi, for example. I’ve packed on a few (oh, ok- about 15!) extra pounds within the last year or so, and I unequivocally blame the recently opened Culver’s down the street that offers the ‘mini Concrete Mixer’.  I’m joking, of course…it’s my occasional lack of willpower.  And yet, when I get off the freeway, it’s there…bright blue awnings & twinkly lights adorning the roof-line - beckoning me…consequently, I’ve moved up a size in clothing, and must accept that I can no longer feel comfortable, and look stylish when skirts hike up an additional 2 or 3 inches above my knee due to migrating waistlines that no longer hit where they should. I know that if I squeeze into the previous size (which is what 90% of my clothing pieces are), I won’t feel confident. Rather, I’ll feel that pesky ‘muffin top’ sensation in a pair of jeans, or realize that my upper arms are not yet toned enough to bare in sleeveless dresses or tank tops.   Shapers are a must, but if worn under too small a garment, the benefits are essentially null and void. Can I get an ‘amen’, ladies?!

Working out and eating right are tantamount to achieving the look you want; however, the clothing you choose is also an important consideration. Refrain from ‘showing off’ your newly tanned and buff legs if when you sit down, your skirt hikes up to mid-thigh. You likely won’t feel comfortable (especially on the job), and you’ll be more concerned with pulling and tugging, underscoring any self-esteem you may feel only when you rise from the chair. It may mean buying a few well cut staple pieces in a larger size (think black skirt/slacks/blazer) until you get to your desired weight, and where your clothing fits properly again. Choose fabrics that contain a spandex or polyester material to allow for ‘stretch’. All cotton garments are the better choice overall, however, there is no ‘give’, and clothing will look and feel tight. Darker colors tend to be more forgiving, and offer a slimming effect, and they’re always acceptable in a business environment. Also avoiding short jackets and lower riding slacks is a good idea if you’ve packed on a few extra pounds. That’s a self-esteem buster waiting to happen. I know that I feel best when my clothing fits, no matter if it is a size larger than 
 what I normally wear. 

Knee length skirts
Comfy well fitting slacks

With summer upon us, I have also found a product that enables you to go without hosiery, and I am wearing it often. It’s essentially a leg make-up in a tube that helps to conceal sun spots and small spider veins. Great for when you want the comfort of a dress or skirt, but not the hosiery.
While that product doesn’t give me self-esteem, it does provide me a greater sense of self-confidence.       

It’s important to keep in mind that self-esteem comes from within, and not from feeling great in a particular piece of clothing. Significance and acceptance from others are perceived needs in a human being; however, we already possess these from our Creator. 

Psychoanalyst Karen Horney describes self-esteem as a “Sense of personal worth and ability that is fundamental to an individual's identity”.   People lacking in self-esteem constantly seek the approval and acceptance of others. That could include dressing in a manner that draws attention to oneself.
If the thought of wearing a swimsuit or even a pair of shorts elicits a shudder, become more proactive by committing to healthy lifestyle choices including eating better (more fruits and veggies), and considering an exercise regime. You’ll shed pounds, gain muscle, and while you may not actually gain self-esteem, you’ll have the confidence that you’re looking healthy and making good choices-from a health standpoint, and by the clothing you choose. Most of us cannot afford to purchase a new wardrobe, so make that commitment to improving your body image, wearing properly fitting and flattering clothing, and in turn, that self-esteem you do possess will shine through!

Diane McLelland has been called a ‘fashionista’ from a young age, acquiring her love of a fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in Fashion Merchandising and Business, she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials, and magazine layouts in the Phoenix area, and worked as a flight attendant for over 15 years. Diane considers herself to be a personal shopper as she shops for family and friends whenever possible. She has written for a travel publication and numerous newsletters and currently works as a Career Services Advisor, assisting students find viable work in their chosen fields. She has two grown sons, and along with dog Cooper and ‘his’ two cats, resides in the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix AZ.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's My Thing?

Have you ever asked yourself the question - "What's my thing?"

Sometimes it might feel like everyone around you has a focus, a talent, something they excel at and love....everyone but you that is!

Firstly, you are not alone!  Most people around you who seem content and energized in their career, and happy with their life's focus didn't land there by accident.  Most people experience a time in their lives when they feel unfulfilled and confused as to where their place is in the world.

For a lot of people this feeling connects with their career.  Perhaps when they were younger they had a clear vision of which field they wanted to work in, however when they got there they realized it really wasn't for them.  So now what?

Perhaps one of the most important things to remind yourself of at regular intervals is that it is ok to have many passions and interests in your life - it doesn't mean you are unfocused!

Embrace the process of exploring all your passions and trying new interests, careers, and passions on for size as a positive process - one where you can learn.  So if you aren't already trying it why not join some workshops, volunteer, read books in a whole range of arenas.  You never know where this process will lead you.  Getting out there and trying new things increases your chances of finding your thing!

Good luck!

Dawn Antestenis currently works for Fresh Start Women's Foundation managing their websites and social media. Dawn has a Masters in English Literature and qualifications in Multimedia Technology and Non-Profit Management with experience working for non-profits for over 10 years.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Job, New You? Learn How to Take the Leap without the Stress!

Could the new you be revealed by a change in career?  Are you considering taking the leap to a new and better job?

Today's blog is by Annie Favreu from Inside Jobs, and reposted from The Brazen Careerist - enjoy!

Changing careers could drive anyone out of their mind.
With all the uncertainty, stress and fear that come with the territory, you might be tempted to stay in a less-than-stellar job. But here’s the good news: you can take the leap to a better gig without having your head explode.
Here are 10 tips and tricks to make a successful career change and keep your cool:

1. Facts: get some

When it comes to a career move, ignorance isn’t bliss—it’s anxiety.
Perform due diligence research before committing to a change and you’ll reduce your fear of the unknown to a dull roar. Get online. Talk with people in the field. Try a job shadow. You want to start a new career with your eyes open to the industry realities. Research is your friend.
You will encounter roadblocks and unforeseen sinkholes. But a solid backbone of data and information puts you in a better (and calmer!) place to deal with the unexpected.

2. Question fear

Fear isn’t all bad. It can help you hone your ideas, find flaws in your thinking and prepare you for your next step. Try this exercise to transform anxiety into a productive tool:
  1. Write down any and all fears you have. For instance, you might be worried that changing careers will be too expensive.
  2. Next, turn each fear into a “how” question. For example, “How am I going to pay for my career change?”
This process turns undefined fears into actionable problems that can be broken down into doable chunks.

3. Avoid getting trapped in the passion puzzle

The desire to find your “perfect” career path can be totally paralyzing. But according to Cal Newport, author of Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You, we can all just calm down:
Research shows that the traits that lead people to love their work are general, and can be found in many different career paths. They include things like autonomy, a sense of impact and mastery, creativity, and respect and recognition for your abilities. Once you recognize that these traits have little to do with following a pre-existing passion and can be cultivated in many different fields, you can safely abandon the myth that there’s a single right job waiting for you.

4. Practice persistence (in a smart way)

“Persistence is the number one reason for our success” according to entrepreneur Joe Kraus. Most people wouldn’t disagree, but you don’t want to beat your head against a wall, either.
Reaching for absolutely impossible goals—the ones that no amount of hard work can achieve—will guarantee failure. Develop the savvy to differentiate between a temporary barrier and an immovable wall, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of having a calm career transition.

5. Don’t stick your head in the financial sand

“When you start over in a new career, you need to be in good financial health to help smooth your transition,” says Kerry Hannon, a career change expert. “This allows you to try new things without stressing over the initial salary.”
In other words, don’t ignore the numbers in your bank account! Start by creating a basic budget to get a clear picture of what’s within reach. If you’re going back to school, check out what financial aid offerings and tax breaks might be available to you.

6. Run to the end of the block

Running a 10k doesn’t start with a to-do list that says “#1: Run a 10k.” It doesn’t even start with “#1: Run one mile.” It starts with “#1: Run to the end of the block.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by long-term plans, focus on small projects instead. What are the steps you can take today, tomorrow and the next day to reach your goals? By taking action each day, you can feel more in control and confident.

7. Sweat it out

Working out is usually the last thing you want to do when you’re stressed. But it pays to prioritize a sweat session. Studies have repeatedly proven that upping your heart rate can do miracles for your mood.
No need to become an exercise junkie; even mild exercise (like a 20-minute walk) can boost your endorphin and serotonin levels. This lowers your stress, increases your ability to concentrate and acts as a natural antidepressant. Consider it time well spent.

8. Build relationships

Relationships are at the heart of happiness. “A lot of research shows that higher satisfaction is achieved when there are friendships at work,” Degrees of Transition founder Lea McLeod points out. In fact, many studies have shown that relationships are one of the only external factors that can significantly improve your happiness quotient.
During a career change, your personal support network will become the cheerleaders who keep you going and keep you sane. Your professional network can also become a huge source of energy and advice when the going gets rough.

9. Call a timeout

Career transitions require a lot of hustle. But running yourself into the ground won’t help anyone. Be sure to make time (at least a little bit) to really switch your brain off. Turn your attention to the other aspects of your life—family, fitness, fun—that help you stay happy and healthy.

10. Carve your own yardstick for success

The most traditional measures of success—money, power, fame—are all well and good. But they aren’t the whole picture.
What do you really want? When you picture yourself as a successful person, what do you see? What parts of your life matter most to your version of success?
If you can determine your personal definition of a successful life, you can then design a career change plan that will get you what you really want. It may take longer to get there, but meeting your own standards—rather than somebody else’s—is a formula for lasting satisfaction.
Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a site that helps people discover strong careers and connect with the right education to achieve their goals. Follow her on Twitter at @InsideJobs!
Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!