It’s not about me

Not about meI recently celebrated my 40th birthday at one of my favorite places- Catalina Island. It was absolutely perfect.

It was during this trip, and a lively conversation, that an important point was made about each of us (that means you too).

What works for your neighbor, or best friend, or the crazed fitness super star on Instagram may not work for you.

Stop.

Read that again please. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Just because I don’t eat meat, or consume oils, or eat gluten and dairy does not mean you shouldn’t.

Just because your neighbor tried the camel tail grapefruit diet and lost 30lbs in 30 days doesn’t mean you should (how many of you are gonna google that?).

Just because you found research that debunks one belief, doesn’t mean I can’t find more that substantiates it. And that can go in a vicious cycle because (and this is important)- unless you read the ACTUAL scientific research article(s)/report(s) WORD FOR WORD, you got nothing, no matter what side you are on. Not what some Doctor, scientist, research organization or group quotes with citations. The article.

Because I can pull snippets from thousands of research articles that ‘support’ my beliefs- even from research, that if read fully, is actually completely against what I believe. It’s called marketing. And yes, even individuals who ‘have nothing to gain’ market. They are marketing their own highly esteemed ego (aka opinion).

Here’s how health works- research (using a live action process) what works for YOU. Yes, there are some obvious things that pretty much everyone agrees on (though I promise I can find research to contradict these and I am sure someone will, and then take the time to send it to me):

  • Consume minimal sugar
  • Eat real foods
  • Get approximately 6-8 hours of sleep a day
  • Exercise
  • Focus on the positive

Within each of these bullets are specific steps and processes – and that’s where it varies by person. This is when you either trial and error it, or get a coach to help.

Because.

What’s the most (like crazy most, more than anything in the world) important thing to you?

Your kids? Spouse? Work? Family?

No. None of that. It’s your health. Because without your health, you won’t be here to enjoy the other things that came to mind.

So, if health is your most, like crazy more than anything in the world, important thing to you, what are you willing to do to make sure you are here, happy & healthy to enjoy life, now?

6 Steps to a Healthy Life

6 Steps to a Healthy Life v2There are plenty of articles and resources on what needs to happen in order to be happy & healthy.  The hard part is figuring out what works for you (not everything works for everyone) and then sticking to the process.  Yes, it is a process to be happy & healthy.  Just like it is a process to not be.

There are not bad or good things in life, there are only bad thoughts and good thoughts about things in life.

In my humble opinion, there are 6 steps to creating a healthy life.  You may find there are more for you- and that is fabulous.  I don’t believe there are less.

  1. Think positive
    1. Start positive by listening to a guided meditation and/or praying
    2. Focus on your blessings
    3. Reframe situations
  2. Love & Relationships
    1. Embrace supportive & loving relationships (focus on the beautiful aspects of your relationships – not on the negative)
    2. Wean out unhealthy relationships (NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE)
    3. Create a power self-love affirmation list to read daily (for example; I am successful, I am beautiful, I am happy, I am healthy…etc)
  3. Gratitude
    1. Verbally give thanks daily (there is such power in this)
    2. Help others
    3. Write in your gratitude journal daily
    4. What you THANK about you BRING about
  4. Eat Clean
    1. Eat brain boosting foods (think vegetables here)
    2. Eat whole REAL food (try to reduce boxes, cans and packages)
    3. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day (think 2-3 liters of water)
    4. Cook more!  Eat less of the chemically driven restaurant foods
  5. Exercise
    1. Do what is FUN to you
    2. Pick a time that works (ideally 5-7 times a week)
    3. Mix it up & have an accountability partner
  6. Sleep
    1. Get 6-8 hours of sleep a night
    2. No distractions 1 hour before bedtime and 1 hour upon waking (no social media, tv, news, etc)

Everyone says they want to be healthy and happy- but it is those that truly DECIDE to be that will be.  That decision will lead to actions in order to transform your belief system. Once your belief system is transformed- you are unstoppable in anything you are set to accomplish including health, wealth & love.

Want -> Decide -> Actions-> Belief -> Success

Have you decided?

Becoming more present

Being-PresentAs I was filming for my coaching program, I spent some time with my clients on being more present and what that means.  Why is it even important?  Being more present is something that I too struggle with.  I am constantly planning.  Planning the next retreat, and the one after and the workshop after and then if it’s not business related, then I am planning our family events.  Planning bring me joy, for sure, but I am constantly living in the future and excited about what is to come.  I forget about what is happening right now.

Believe it or not, we as humans are not great at multi-tasking.  You may be challenging me right now with your mind as you are reading this, ‘listening’ to your kids in the other room, browsing through Facebook, all while you eat dinner.  The truth is, we can do more than one item at a time, sure, but only one is getting the most active part of our brain; the rest is on a version of autopilot and not at all getting the creative, intelligent aspect of our brains.  This is why texting and driving is like driving while under the influence 3 tines the legal limit.  Aside from ‘multi-tasking’,  we are either ruminating about the past or anticipating the future (whether it be a good anticipation or not), rather than focusing on the present moment.  Sadly, what we end up doing is passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the moment altogether.   This is how life passes us by.  We do it to ourselves.

What is the number one regret of almost every single person on their deathbed?  They wished they had been more present.  Played more with their kids.  Spent more time with loved ones.  Took more walks.  Enjoyed nature more.  NO ONE wishes they had done more projects, been better at multi tasking, done more laundry or that they had worked more hours.

Being present means being more connected with yourself, your loved ones and your surroundings.  It means less tension, less stress and more joy, peace and creativity.  It means more living.

Here are three simple ways to be more present:

  1. Focus on your breath.  Yes, your breath.  You have most likely read this somewhere before and thought; ok, whatever, I can tell I am breathing, now what?  Well here is what I want you to do:  Take a slow deep breath in through your nose and hold it for a count of three. Now release it slowly through your nose for a count of five.  Repeat this 5-10 times.  This can be done anytime, anywhere.  While you are doing it, focus on the sounds your body is making, the feeling of your lungs expanding, the air as it leaves your body.  Focus on your senses.
  2. Focus on what you are doing in this moment.  Right now.  Maybe grab a pen and paper (or journal) and journal what is happening.  NO, this is not silly.  It is therapeutic, it is being present.  Write down, “I am listening to the birds”.  “I am listening to my kids fight (yes, that is being present)”. “I am watching my neighbor check the mail in his underwear (scary, but you are present)”.  You can then choose to write down 3-5 things you are grateful for right at that moment.  “I am grateful for the breath that fuels my body”.  “I am grateful for my health”.  “I am grateful for my children”.
  3. Listen to a quick guided meditation.  If you go into YouTube (or use any meditation program you may have) and type “peace meditation”- hundreds will come up.  Pick one with the amount of time you have to give (3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc), with great ratings and close your eyes and listen to it.  Give in to it.

It is easy to not be present.  Kids need taxied around, homework needs to be reviewed, dinner cooked, laundry done, projects reviewed, emails returned, calls returned, reports to write, bills to pay, house chores to do, repairs to do…the list is endless.  The list will still be there in five minutes.  Take at least five minutes and be present.  Then do it again in an hour or so.  And again.  You will find that being present, in the moment, means more to embrace and love- it means dying with less regrets or none, it means allowing love, peace, joy and happiness to lead you versus tension, stress and negative energy.  It means living.

I won the lotto!

I wasn’t going to tell anyone.  But I have to get it out there!

I won the lotto!

I am not a big lotto player.  As a matter of fact, the day I played, and won, was the first time I had ever played.  Why wouldn’t I spend $10 for a chance at BILLIONS?

When I walked into the store to buy the ticket I KNEW I was going to win.  Like, I felt it in ever fiber of my being.  I even made a list of what I was going to do with the winnings on my phone.  All day long, I felt this excitement throughout my entire body.  I went to book club that night as if nothing big was about to happen.  As if I wasn’t about to be the winner of billions of dollars, yet inside, I was shaking I was so excited.  I am serious.  I KNEW.

When I got to my car, after book club, the winning numbers had been posted already, but wouldn’t load on my phone and I thought- that is probably a good thing.  I surely wouldn’t be able to drive home after seeing my winning numbers!  So I drove home and I promise you, I was laughing and grinning and so excited the whole drive home.  I pictured myself walking in the front door crying and screaming that we won the lotto (I hadn’t even told the hubs I played as I wanted to surprise him!).  I played out all kinds of scenarios and I was literally bursting with joy and enthusiasm.  If I would have been pulled over, I would have been the crazy lady that won the lotto and couldn’t drive, talk or think!  And I didn’t even drink at book club because of an agreement the hubs and I made (that is another post), so it wasn’t alcohol infecting me- I was just so damn excited because I KNEW I had won!

I pulled into my driveway, yanked out my phone, sent a thankful prayer up (as I had been doing all day) and loaded the winning numbers!

powerball

The winning numbers!

 

My numbers!

My numbers!

Ok, so I didn’t win the Powerball, or the billions.  But do you know, as I sat in my car searching, comparing numbers and just KNOWING that I had won, I suddenly realized I had won.  Yes, in that cheesy way of knowing that all my winnings were in front of me.  Literally.  As I lifted my head from my phone and stared at my beautiful home that my husband and I worked toward for four years (moving and selling things from Dallas to move to Southern California), and my amazing family that was inside waiting for me, loving me.  My dedicated son, in the Air Force, with his incredibly beautiful and supportive wife that currently only live 6 hours away and doing wonderfully.  All my ‘winnings’ (aka blessings) were here.  Now.  In front of me.  I HAD WON THE LOTTO ALREADY!

It is so easy, for any of us, to yearn for what we don’t have (and please…don’t get me wrong, I would be ECSTATIC if I won billions and already have it spent!), and it is ok to desire more…so long as we realize the beautiful, wonderful, exciting things we currently have.   I am so grateful I had an entire day of being so excited about winning.  I swear, all day long I knew I had won, and it was an incredible day of joy, enthusiasm, explosive interactions and amazing things transpired all throughout the day because of the incredible energy I was carrying with me.  It was powerful (powerball…powerful…hmmmm).  I wonder what would happen if I carried that energy with me everyday?!

Take a few moments today and stop and think about all the ‘winnings’ (blessings) you currently have in your life.  No matter what season you are in.  No matter what is happening in your marriage, your friendships, your job, your family…there are blessings there.  When we focus on those blessings, when we carry that excitement around with us, seriously powerful things happen.  Change happens.  In US…and that is where the magic is.  When change happens in US, change happens all around us.

Here is to the lotto!  And to the many blessings you, me, and we have in our lives!

xoxo

-Shannon

 

I am a flippin’ hot mess

hot-mess-raise-walking-disasterOne of my LIFELONG goals is to have a positive disposition about life.  I have failed miserably at this more than I have succeeded, but I strive each day for a positive outlook, no matter what the situation is.

Especially when I see a young mother of three, who lost both of her hands and feet to a terrible freak infection, show up to my CrossFit gym and kick ass- with a smile.

That is like life throwing a big ass heavy ball at you and saying, “so there, now shut up and get your mind right”.

That being said, I have had quite the challenge to my positive outlook over the last four years.

To start, just over four years ago I was told, after a stomach biopsy, that I couldn’t eat gluten any longer. I remember thinking, “what in the hell is gluten?”.  That was quickly followed up with, “Oh and no more dairy either”.  Ooook.  Got it.  So eat air, water and tree bark.  Wait, does tree bark have gluten in it?  I need to look that up.

Then, a few months ago, after being a hypochondriac and thinking I was dying of throat cancer, I was diagnosed with G.E.R.D..  Seriously.  So now I can only eat air.  I will skip the water and tree bark so it doesn’t come back up in my throat and kill my voice box and damage more tissues (besides I still need to look up if tree bark has gluten in it).  So now- no gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, (or chocolate, citrus, tomatoes..) and no f’ing alcohol.  Right.

Lastly, and hopefully the worst diagnosis I have had in my life;  I found out last week I have LUPUS.  When I first found out, I had a small pity party as some of my favorite things have become so difficult for me and I was hoping it was just a long period of body fatigue (ex: I have slowly lost the ability to lift heavy or do hard work outs without being completely knocked down for days at a time, and traveling has become harder and more taxing for me, and some terrible joint aches that make it more difficult to do things I love…just to name a few).  A teeny, tiny, small part of me was happy to hear the diagnosis.  I have had so many tests over the last year, that started in Dallas and ended here, due to low white blood cell counts and other physical symptoms, that it was at least a relief to have an answer.  It is also not too shocking.  My bio mother has LUPUS as well. I just happen to live a MUCH healthier lifestyle (sorry mom, love you).  So there was another part of me that screamed out “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!”.

But here is the thing- I still have breath to breathe.  I still have my little girls to smile and laugh with, I have my husband to love.  I still have me.

So I eat a Gremlin diet (my husband thought I was a Gremlin before…now I am like the walking dead Gremlin- except I don’t eat meat).  At least I get to eat.

So I adjust my workouts.  At least I get to work out.

So I have to take naps, or vitamin shots or monitor my cell counts and take my blood pressure more than the average person.  So what?  I am still here.  I am still me.

I will have some pity party moments.  Maybe even tonight, actually ,as my husband and I did a weight lifting session in the garage this am.  But, if I get knocked down for a few days, I will do it with a smile.  Because at least I can still lift weight, since I get to choose- and some people don’t even have that choice.  I may cry too, but that is ok.  Oh and I may drink a damn glass of wine.  Too bad G.E.R.D- some things we just cheat on everyday once in a while.

Our journey is all about choices.  No, I didn’t choose Celiac, or to be Lactose intolerant, or to have G.E.R.D, or to have LUPUS- but I do get to choose what to think or how to behave in all things.  I get to choose.  What good will it do to choose to be upset, sad or pissed (I mean..you know…after a short period of adjustment…)?

I GET TO CHOOSE TO BE POSITIVE.

So do you.

It is all a matter of perspective.  My perspective will be to focus on all the great things I can do and eat (like air and grass), rather than what I can’t do.

I am a flippin’ hot mess and I am still so very grateful.

xoxo

PS- thank you Amy for your words that stuck with me;  “Girl, there isn’t anyone who is more prepared than you for something like this”.  True or not, I love you.  Looking forward to that bottle glass of wine with you next month (screw you G.E.R.D.).

 

Make room for error

the-know-it-allA ‘know it all’ will drive us crazy.  I know, because sometimes I act like I am one and I drive MYSELF crazy.  I constantly have to tell my brain- slow that shit down, you could be wrong here.

I think, we all start off as ‘know it all’s’.  Well, at least when we hit the ‘full of shit and vinegar’ teen years (that was my mom’s saying and somehow it stuck).  My son used to make stuff up all the time and when I questioned him, his response was always, “I read it on the internet”, of course when I asked him which site, he always forgot.  The real truth is, it SOUNDED like a real thing so he went with it.  And claimed it to be fact, truth, the real deal.  Many things happen this way, hence why we sometimes run in circles and many times end up frustrated.

An example of this happened during Thanksgiving.  My parents drove up the Central Coast to meet us at my son’s house for Thanksgiving and had my oldest ‘know it all’ teenage daughter with her.  Whom was running the GPS from her phone.  They came to a junction at the 46 and my mom, who was driving, said, “I think we need to turn left here”, to which my daughter said, “no grandma we keep going for another 174 miles”.  “I am certain we need to turn left here”says my mom,.. “NO, I am telling you, we need to keep going”.

So.  They did.  My mom was right to question herself as my daughter had been to my son’s house once already, so perhaps she knew differently.

She didn’t.

Their 5 hour drive ended up taking 10 hours.  10 hours of going off the path, back on the path, turning around, trying another route, backing up…all to turn back down to the 46 and go the way they were supposed to go originally.

The lesson here is, we can be wrong sometimes even if we are so sure we are right.  When my mom felt they needed to turn, my daughter could have said, I am pretty sure we don’t, but let’s call my mom or double check it.  DONE.  They would have turned, and been wine-glass-in-hand within two hours.

Have you done this?  Been so adamant about being right, just to find out you weren’t?  Why are we so determined to be right about every thought or experience we have?  My husband is also a victim of this.  I tease him mercilessly about it every time it happens (love you honey).

LISTEN TO ME:

It is OK to be wrong.  Or unsure.  IT IS OK.  It doesn’t mean you are stupid.  Or inadequate.  Or less than.

A human reaction is to want to be a resource, to know, to be able to provide the knowledge, help, information, and somehow we feel less than if we don’t.

Don’t do that.

You are MORE when you admit you are not sure, or concede you might be wrong.  It is WORSE to be so adamant of your being correct, and then being wrong. Try simply saying,

“I think this to be true, but we may find out differently”.

It’s called humbleness by the way.

I could totally be wrong here though.

xoxo

 

Let’s all fail together, shall we?

Edison holding vintage lightbulb outsideMany of us file the term FAILURE into a state of feeling.  I have heard too many people say, “I am a failure”, or “I seem to fail at everything”, or “I am such a failure, I can’t do anything right”, and the sad truth is, they are right.  At that moment, their entire being is listening to these thoughts, and thus, whalla, you are a ‘failure’. Because you see, when you are telling yourself these things, in your head or out loud, you will no longer see or recognize all the ‘wins’, you will only see and feel the ‘losses’.  You are literally incapable of seeing all the wonderful things happening around you.  You.  Are.  A.  Failure.

The REAL truth is that failing is an action.  Not a state of being or feeling.  Failure is defined as “non-performance of something due, required, or expected” and guess who puts the ‘due, required or expected’ in there?  Us.  We do.  You.

Here is another REAL truth.  If we are not failing, we are not doing. The sure fire way to NOT fail, is to do nothing.  Failure is a lesson.  Failure is action.  Failure is success.

You have heard, I am sure, that Thomas Edison failed so many times to get electricity (the light bulb) he almost gave up.  Almost.  But he kept failing, thus he succeeded. And we all know his famous words, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

What about Stephen King?  Without a doubt a best-selling writer, who’s first work was rejected 30 times. He actually threw it away.  His wife made him dig it out and keep trying.  Now he has over 350 million copies of works sold.  He definitely failed.  And succeeded.

Ever hear of Milton Hershey? He worked at a local candy factory and decided to go out on his own. And failed.  Tried two more times and failed.  He should have given up, many told him, but he didn’t.  Now many of us eat too many of his delicious Hershey Bars.

All of us have heard of Walt Disney.  And maybe even knew that he was fired from a newspaper for not being creative enough.  Did you know originally he was told Mickey Mouse was too scary for women and that The Three Little Pigs was rejected because there were only four characters? He failed.  Again and again. But now I take my girls to Disneyland and cry each time I go because of the incredible creative experience my girls have and the light and joy on their faces.

If I hadn’t failed, time and time again, I would not be doing what I love today.  I tried.  Adjusted.  Tried again.  Adjusted again.  Tried again.  I failed.  Thus I succeeded.   I hope to continue to fail.

What to do?

  • Do not belittle yourself. You may have failed at something. At many things in fact, but that means you are trying.  You are working.  You are improving.  You are learning.  Instead of saying, “I suck, I am such a failure”, say, “I failed at this, but I am so glad to have done it and will do xyz next time”, or “I am so proud of myself for trying, I got this part right, I will do xyz next time”.
  • Always, always, tell yourself all the right things you are doing.  We listen to our thoughts.  They become actions (or inactions).  Look around and remind yourself of all the good you are doing.  You are accomplishing a lot.  Every day.
  • STOP calling yourself a failure.  That is a title, not an action and failing is an action.  You have failed, yes.  I have failed, most definitely yes.  But if we assign a title to it, if we assign it power over our actions, we cannot move past our lesson (failing) to the next steps (success).
  • When feeling at a loss to ‘succeed’ do this one thing: be kind.  Show kindness to the next person you come in contact with.  A stranger.  Your neighbor.  A friend.  Go out of your way to do something nice.  To me, this is the most successful thing we as humans can do.  And you never, ever know just what that act of kindness may have done for that person. THAT is success.
  • Be proud of failing.  You may be the next Thomas Edison.

xoxo

Stop absorbing the bulls%t

sloans-lake-paddleboardThis morning, my neighbor and I went on a two-hour paddle board ride.  It was awesome.  We discussed how we both stay away from many of the ‘mom’ groups because of the caddy negative energy.  It reminded me of one of my biggest focus’; to surround myself with positive, upbeat, driven individuals.  It is no secret that who you spend time with- you become like.  There are some simple, yet difficult ways we can work toward the goal of not surrounding ourselves with assholes and life suckers:

1- Don’t invite everyone into your life. Your mind, your body, your family is your sacred place.  It is not something you want everyone to walk all over.  This is not to say you shut the doors to your world and wallow in it, but you take care and consideration into who you let in to affect your thinking, your behavior or to influence you and your loved ones.

2- You can’t make everyone happy.  I have a hard time with this one sometimes and have to constantly remind myself of this.  When I used to own a couple children’s art studios, I especially found this out the hard way.  I could not make every parent or child happy, no matter what I did.  It was debilitating sometimes until I just let it sink in: I CANNOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY.  Period.  I can only make myself happy, and if I have good, honest intentions in what I am doing, then that is the direction I will head and make peace with that.

3- Don’t feed it.  This morning, on our paddle board trip, I mentioned that at the local dance studio, while in the waiting area, I would listen to moms speak horribly of other women, that probably thought they were friends with.  When one of those moms would turn to me to start a conversation, I literally got up and moved.  Yes, yes I did.  I don’t feed garbage at this point in my life.  I have no intention of giving attention to people who want to speak awful of others.  I only have so many hours of a day, I refuse to spend it talking crap about someone else, or especially, listening to someone else talk shit.  No thanks.  And guess what happens when you don’t feed it?  It goes away.  IT may talk about you now, sure, but do you really care?  They would have either way, now you just won’t know or care.

4- Own it.  One lesson I try to teach all of my kids is this: own your crap.  Own the good, own the bad, but own it.  If I make a mistake, I do my best to own it.  Yesterday my dad called me to tell me he had lied to me about something.  I was so proud of him cause I know how hard it is for all of us to lie and then try to admit it, hoping the other person won’t resent or hate you.  When something bad in your life happens, don’t blame others (do you blame others when something good happens?); own it and move on.  Blame, entitlement, self-righteousness; all of it leads to emptiness. Do your best to not allow others to blame you too.  If they do, see numbers two and three, and probably number one.

5- Find your happy place.  My happy place is outside most of the time.  Usually on a trail.  Sometimes it is in a yoga class.  Sometimes on my meditation cushion.  Sometimes with a book or curled up in bed (and probably with a glass of wine).  Find your happy place and go there when needed and able.  Don’t look for happiness in other people, look for it in yourself first, and then surround yourself with people who are inspiring and up-lifting.

xoxo

Shannon

These three things are ruining your life

A mature couple spending time together on a wine farm

Living a joy filled, peaceful life is within your reach.

Many of us are feeling like a hamster on a wheel spinning round and round trying to find balance, peace and that elusive happiness.  We read articles, educate ourselves, seek answers in diet, exercise, meditation, friendships, love and gratitude.  Sometimes we think we have it figured out.  Sometimes not.  At all.

In our quest, there are many things that will change, cycle out, cycle in and develop.  But for sure, there are three static things that are inhibiting our peace and happiness.

1- We are too connected.  In a recent study, it is proven that when we have unanswered emails, or even social media notifications, it can make it more difficult to focus on a task or to focus period.  Social media especially is a time sucker and can literally change your emotions in a nano second (did you just read on Facebook about the lady who drove her car over a bridge on purpose, and her kids were in the car with her…now how do you feel?).  These emotions that are swirling inside us because of the amount of emails and social media time, can steal joy, peace and happiness.  We have to unplug.

What to do: set aside time each day (at least an hour) to completely unplug. During this time read, listen to music or play with your kids.

Put curfews on your phone: no email or social media after 6pm.  Set a time to check your social media/emails such as: 9am, 1pm and 5pm and nothing in between (unless you are at your office and then only during work hours, and still limit that social media).

And do NOT browse through social media/email while you are socializing with PEOPLE.  Smile.  Talk. Look at their face, not at your phone.

2- Too much busy work. We live in a culture where if you are not busy, there is something wrong with you.  Truth be told- we are killing ourselves with this culture.  Although obesity is attributed to our western diet of processed foods and lot’s of sugar (and this is the main problem), another reason is our high stress levels and lack of sleep.  My father in law has always owned a business.  He told me he used to get up at 2/3am to get to work, and then would get home around 6pm, eat and go to bed to start over.  His words were, “I had to provide for my family, so this is what needed to be done”.  I challenge this though, as his next statement was, “Although I wish I would have spent more time with the family though, maybe then I wouldn’t have gotten a divorce”.  I am not so naive to not know there are tough jobs that are being done out of necessity.  And at times when two jobs are needed even.  But, there are always choices.  Working those extra hours once in a while is admired; working those extra hours on a regular basis is a recipe for disaster (for you and your family). **This is in no way saying that one should not work hard- we should always give our best when tasked with a job, but we should work just as hard on taking care of ourselves and our family- if not more so**

What to do: limit work time to what is necessary (better yet, do a job you LOVE so it also doesn’t feel like work).  This may require some life changes (where you live, what you own, how you spend).  Trust me- they will be worth it despite the short-term struggle.

Don’t over commit.  I am a victim of this; I say yes to too many things.  Learn when to say no (a hint: say no if it takes time away from yourself or your family that you don’t have to spare).

Schedule free time for yourself. Hold it as the most important commitment you have.  Your life and your health depends on it.

3- Lack of purpose.  Do you know that the rate of depression sky rockets after retirement age?  Wouldn’t it seem like it would be the opposite?  Working hard is fine (in moderation- see above), but without goals or something to work towards, we feel as if we are floundering and it can cause anxiety, depression and/or terrible frustration.

What to do: set short and long-term personal and work goals.  Even if you are retired, you can set goals that you want to accomplish. Have an accountability partner to work with these on.  I have a friend that we challenge each other every week on where we are at in our goals.  A life without goals or dreams can feel like an empty life.

Can you look at these three points and determine where you may need to make changes?  By evaluating these areas in your life and identifying ways to adjust, you can take steps to a more peaceful joy filled life.

Who is your a$%hole?

April messageI love sweating.  I love eating healthy.  I love meditating.  I love mentoring others.  And then, there are days, when I need encouragement too.  Just like you.

On those days, I need someone to put a foot up my a$% and remind me of my why.

Why do I get up early on some days in order to get my sweat in.

Why I take time each week to cut up fresh foods and prep for meals.

Why I take the time to meditate daily despite the LONG list of crap that I need to get done.

Why?

Because I care.  About myself and those around me.  And when I don’t do these things, I am not my best.  When I am not my best, I can’t provide the best for those I love.

And because of this, I have an incredible circle of accountability partners that help keep me focused on my why.  When I am in a funk (yes this happens to me sometimes too) I have an accountability partner that will keep me focused.  She will let me bitch for a few, but then will demand that I change my perspective and regroup- as wallowing accomplishes NOTHING.  During those times when I have too many adult beverages, too many days in a row (yes this happens to me sometimes too), I have an accountability partner that will lovingly, but firmly remind me why this is not a good idea.

I am extremely blessed to be surrounded by people who are focused, determined and uplifting.

Recently I showed a friend of mine a text I received from one of my accountability partners that made me laugh.  My friend quickly stated, “yikes she sounds like an a$&hole” and I was immediately taken aback as I had never looked at it that way.  But you know what?  Perhaps we all need a$&holes keeping us on track.  Someone who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear (lovingly of course).  Someone who helps us be the best we can be.

So I ask you…who is your a$&hole?