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Spring cleaning is for more than just closets

May 19th, 2009 by Dr. Elia | 0

At the start of every New Year, we make our resolutions — we are encouraged by the freshness of it all.

What lies ahead are the endless possibilities for a new start. We are determined that this is the year we will lose that extra 10 pounds or get in shape. This is the year we’re finally going to visit our favorite aunt and uncle. This is the year we’re going to spend more time playing with the kids or grandkids, or that we are going as a family to finally see the Grand Canyon or some other historical site that we’ve always wanted to see.

All these self-made promises are well-meaning and I believe totally sincere.  So why is it that by February most of us have given up on the daily exercise goal or have already stopped dreaming about making our resolutions come true? I think part of it is lack of accountability. Human nature does not like to hold itself accountable very often. Unless you fall in the rare category of the well-disciplined individual, the chances are you’re like the rest of us, well-intended but lacking focus and discipline.

So how and by whom can we be held accountable? I propose that we find an individual who has our best interest in mind but does not try to control our behavior. It can be a spouse, a best friend or trusted adviser. In a professional setting, it can be a partner, an executive coach, a boss or even a direct report. In a spiritual setting, it can be a bishop or another adviser. Rest assured that if the willingness for change is sincere, the people and resources already exist.

The other half of the equation is the fact that we don’t let go of “old stuff” or old dysfunctional patterns. Let me illustrate: if you decided to get a new dining room set for your home, what would you have to do? Well, first you’d go shopping; you’d pick the one you like and then have it delivered to your home. Imagine the delivery folks ringing your doorbell and asking you where you’d like the new set to go. The answer is, “Just crowd it in there with the old dining room set!” Now of course that’s ridiculous-sounding, isn’t it? Don’t we usually sell the old set or give it away, before the delivery of the new one takes place?

This makes perfect sense when it comes to physical things such as the example above. We would make room for the new by getting rid of the old. How about old patterns and habits that are weighing us down? I look forward to every spring because there’s that sense of renewal! Everything is turning green, people seem happier as they begin to work outside on their flowers and water their lawns. They plant seeds in their vegetable gardens and hope to taste the delicious “fruits of their labor” in the summer.

Well, what do we need to make room for in our lives, and why should we wait until next New Year’s Day to make another resolution for change? Now is the very best time to eliminate one dysfunctional thought pattern or behavior and replace it with seeds of happiness and health. What will it be for you?

As for me and my house, it is to live more in the here and now! Worry less about what the future will bring. Just thinking about the future causes such stress to mind and soul. And who knows what it’s doing to the body? My goal is to enjoy every moment. The kids are getting older and our time with them will be short-lived. I need to be in the present mentally, physically and emotionally. Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!

Mark Twain once said that he had a lot of troubles in his life, but most of them never happened. In other words, most of them are in our heads as we worry and stress about the future. So that’s my new “spring resolution,” and I hope that you’ll all keep me accountable!

Now it’s your turn: what thought or behavior will you give up and what will you replace it with? More importantly, who will help you by holding you accountable? It’s not too late! I know making even one change for the positive — and sustaining it — will make 2009 a memorable year!


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

The incredible story of Susan Boyle

Apr 28th, 2009 by Dr. Elia | 0

The incredible story of Susan Boyle!

By now most people with access to the internet have heard of the amazing story of Susan Boyle. Astoundingly, more than 46 million hits on YouTube have made her an overnight sensation! The background is as follows: on the hit TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” (the British version of “American Idol”) in front of three judges, including cynical Simon Cowell, comes the very ordinary Susan Boyle.

She’s a frumpy looking middle-age woman. She is the exact opposite of most contestants on these shows. No glamor, no fashion, odd looking by TV standards. She’s Britain’s Cinderella in real life. She’s the youngest of nine children with a learning disability who was made fun of as a child. She’s unemployed and lives alone in a poor, rough part of Blackburn, Scotland, in a small cottage. She’s never even been kissed, sings in her local church choir, and has single-handedly taken care of her sick mother for the past several years until her mother recently died. But Susan has always had a dream: to showcase her “talent.”

Out she steps into the footlights and squints as she introduces herself. As the cameras pan the faces of the studio audience, we see them silently jeer her every awkward word, anticipating that she’ll humiliate herself in front of millions. Cowell, playing along with the joke, asks Susan who she would like to be like. Her naive answer is to be like the incredible stage diva Elaine Page (the original “Evita”). As you would expect, more snickering from the audience and funny looks from the judges ensue. When asked why now at her age (47) she’s decided to “share” her talent with the world, her answer is filled with innocence: “I’ve never had the opportunity!”

How many of us have felt the same way in life? We know we have something special and wish that just once in our lifetime we had a chance — one chance to show the world what we’re made of! Susan tells the audience that she will sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables”! It’s a famous and incredibly difficult song to sing, so more eye-rolling from the audience is unleashed upon the unaware Susan. But as it turned out, she couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song, because when the music started, something remarkable took place!

Out of this quite ordinary, frumpy, “backward” woman, came an extraordinary voice! It was like watching the ugly duckling become a beautiful swan before our unbelieving eyes and ears! As her performance unfolded, we witnessed the audience’s jeers change to looks of disbelief. Some smiles began to appear, and by the time Susan’s voice had reached some incredibly beautiful notes halfway through the song, the audience was moved, en mass, to cheers — many even to tears! As members of the audience unilaterally rose to their feet and applauded, the three judges looked at each other in utter disbelief at the angelic voice coming out of this woman. An unprecedented explosion of emotions had been unleashed upon one person at a time, based on her immaculate performance!

I have to admit that the first time I saw her performance, I cried out of pure joy for her … and I’m a guy! It was the kind of spiritual experience you feel deep down inside your soul. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” could not have been better exemplified than with Susan and her singing. It was a not-so-subtle reminder that we are not to judge anyone by looks or appearances.

For those of you who have not had the chance to experience Susan’s remarkable talent, here’s your chance. For those who have seen it before, take another look and enjoy a God-given talent of a sweet, humble and adorable, everyday woman!  Watch it for yourself and see if you don’t get chills. If there’s anything that Susan teaches us, it is to never, ever give up on our dreams.


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.