Cheri Augustine Flake (ACSW,LCSW)
Cheri Augustine Flake is Atlanta’s “Stress Therapist.” She believes that creating healthy habits is the key to stress reduction and happy living and has made this the focus of her private practice. Cheri teaches her clients and workshop attendees how to work on establishing long-term change and healthy habits without without stress, procrastination or excuses. Cheri works with clients not only to generate motivation but to sustain motivation for the long-term.
“Once you have mastered staying motivated, and have a good understanding about how your brain works to help you meet your goals, you can begin the fun, rewarding work of making the tasks toward your goals habitual. When something has become a habit, you don’t think about it or ruminate about it anymore. It’s just a part of who you are. This means that you are working on whatever you want to change and however you want to grow every single day, while honoring your true self.”
Cheri is currently working on her forthcoming book entitled,
If I Know What I Should Be Doing Then Why Won’t I Just Do It?:
How To Make The Goals in Your Life The Habits of Every Day Living.
The Reason I Became A Helping Professional
I haven’t always been so passionate about creating and using healthy habits. The techniques for harnessing habits grew right out of my own experience. I had a long history of taking on work, hobbies and interests full speed ahead as they appealed to me…with no plan at all. Running a business, working full-time, opening another business, trying to keep up with daily life, trying to stay healthy, still having a social life, spending time with my family…it became impossible! Misdirected energy, lost ideas, loads of unfinished business, incessant worry about getting things done, all mixed in with dreams and goals…and with no more room in my life, I knew I had some work to do.
I believe the reason why we have those occasional pondering thoughts, desires and yearnings to learn something new, is because our true self is trying to speak to us. Who you really are…organized, thoughtful, healthy, creative, reliable, learned, bright…is trying to come out of you…trying to shine. Your current habits and thoughts may be shooing that part of you away and eventually will weigh you down so heavily shutting down any new desires altogether and have you feeling pretty down.
I just couldn’t ignore my mind anymore. I needed a way to take the energy and little motivation that I had...and get it focused…keep it going. I was lucky enough to be able to “hear” my true self tell me some idea of who I needed to be, so how could I ignore it? I even got better at listening to myself! Even the most trivial, “I would like to get up earlier in the morning,” seemed as if it needed attention for some reason. I couldn’t imagine having regret in my life, but it seemed inevitable. I wanted my life to be filled with it all…how could I possibly fit it all in?
People close to me noticed my unwavering motivation and wanted me to help them get and stay motivated too. Where did it come from? How did I keep it with me all the time? I watched how people that I interacted with would respond to my motivation in life and want it to rub off on them. It was certainly teachable, and as I talked to others and tried to explain, systematically, where the “go power” came from, I noticed some challenges of my own.
For example, even though I liked how lack of focus fed my creativity, I couldn’t stand that it simultaneously battled my productivity. Furthermore, although I felt motivated, it seemed it was taking more energy and more time for me to accomplish things. Plus, my motivation wasn’t always consistent. Why was that? How could I get all of my good ideas and energy more focused and redirected so they would work for me and not just spin me in circles? Detours and unfinished ideas left me feeling like a top. I didn’t want to live like that….I was ready to try anything.
It seems that getting motivated comes relatively easy for most of us: it might come from a documentary, an excited friend, a budding flower…Inspiration can come from anywhere….but it’s staying motivated that is so difficult.
I finally sought out a bit of help and things started to make some sense. I was staying motivated based on a key insight, one that a part of me knew all along: motivation always comes after action. This realization opened up a world of opportunity. But the persistent question was how to stay motivated and keep focused.
The simple answer to getting the most out of motivation, staying focused and being productive: habits. I learned to perpetuate what I wanted in my life with the development of habits. See, we don’t have to focus so much on our habitual behaviors. They just come…they just are.
I began to teach my clients all about what I was learning about motivation. You can hold onto motivation, and then carry it with you wherever you go and in whatever you want to accomplish – simply by creating new habits. I was doing it myself…but it took a real eye opener to realize that I was going to have to create even more new habits…habits to keep me healthy and ultimately, alive.
Motivation, like any powerful force, needs the right kind of management. While I kept on busy, busy, busy, my family and friends regularly expressed their worry and concern that stress would take its toll. I just didn’t get it. I kept on and on. I had a horrible time letting colleagues and business partners help me. I was sick so much more often, but still didn’t see it. I just thought I was a bit sickly at times, that’s all. I still had no idea it was because I didn’t know how to manage stress. And I was a therapist!
I finally came down with an illness that was 100% attributable to stress. I was doing everything I ever wanted, but I was just beating my body up over it. I was forced to consider stress reduction practice as a part of my life – or it was sure to be short-lived. At first, I couldn’t imagine myself as one of those people. All I could think about was…breathing exercises, calmness, yoga, meditation…Um, have you met me??? I’m on the go, working it out, and on top of the world…that’s not me. I didn’t realize that this was my gift of a lifetime. I was about to be so much more; without having to do more, but strangely, by doing less!
Again, healthy habits were my savior. Think about it. You don’t stress over or ruminate about your habits. They just are a part of who you are, just something that you do regularly…what wonderful news for me and you! Stress reduction can be habit forming!
Many of us know exactly what we need to do to make ourselves healthier or happier. The problem is that we simply can’t find the motivation, time or the stamina to keep it up. I hear it all the time: “I want to exercise more,” “I want to eat right,” “I want to write a book,” “I want a new job,” “I want to try yoga”… The list is endless. Some of us have no idea…for some reason, we just feel unfulfilled. Making things worse, because we assume implementing change or newness in our lives will cause us too much stress (or will just be too hard), we give up the whole idea of change. Yes, change can be stressful…but it can be wonderful…I can show you the simple, life changing difference.
I think the combination of breeding motivation, stress reduction work, and creating healthy habits is the magical formula to making your dreams come true, no matter what they are. You can work on all of your goals, big or small, without sacrificing your health and well-being. It’s a matter of learning the process of habit development while nurturing your true self. When you are working on exactly what you want to achieve, life is so much easier and pleasurable. You are an amazing power when you are living at the level of your utmost performance; healthy, productive, and bringing your dreams to life. You deserve this! It’s so much more fun to “work,” to play, and to live, without having life take a toll on your body. I can show you how. I’ve been there…
Now, let's pick up some new habits,
Cheri Augustine Flake
Cheri Augustine Flake
Over $120 per session