Hello 2018: Setting New Intentions

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! You may have already set your goals or resolutions for 2018, regardless I encourage you to read on anyway for some food for thought.

Top New Year’s Resolutions

These may sound familiar: to lose weight, save money, enjoy life, spend more time with family and friends, get organized, break a bad habit, eat better, sleep more, travel more, etc. Sometimes we even make the same New Year’s statements year after year after year. What is stopping us from achieving our goals? When we make these stand up announcements, we believe that they will just happen magically without anything else changing. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

I am fairly certain Sammy’s New Year’s Resolutions are always to play with toys and sleep!

The Question Waterfall

Let’s take a closer look. We make some grandiose statement that usually answers the main following question:

What do I want to accomplish?

Then we leave it at that. We boldly claim this as our goal and off we go. In actuality there is a waterfall of underlying questions that also need to be considered if we want to find success.

How would you go about doing that?

How much time would that take?

Where are you willing to take that time that you need from?

How much will it cost, this could be financial or otherwise?

What are you willing to decrease spending on or change to pay for this?

 Common Resolution Example

I want to lose weight! Well, I guess that would mean I need to eat better or eat less and probably exercise more. Wow, that seems like a daily life adjustment when you really think about it. Does this mean no more weekly happy hour drinks and appetizers with my friends? What about Friday Donut Day at work? The list goes on.

Truth be told, you may not have to completely give up your habits and buy a costly gym membership to accomplish this goal, however, it will take some serious consideration and planning on your part. And that my friends is where we tend to go wrong. The follow through. You can still go to happy hour but maybe you change your typical order. To avoid donut Friday at work you could go to the gym at that time. Even small changes like parking further away and using the stairs instead of the elevator will add up over time. No matter what though, there needs to be a plan!

All Hope is Not Lost

I am not saying that you cannot achieve your goals, I just want to outline why I feel that we make these grandiose statements that quickly fade into the night. Clearly the resolution that you came up with is something you care about and would like to happen in your life, but you did not consider the ripple effect it would cause in your life. After careful consideration you may decide the tradeoff is not worth it or that it is SO WORTH IT! The decision is yours alone.

How to Find Freedom

In my life delving deeper and deeper into minimalism, frugality, and mindfulness a lot of space has opened up and it becomes easier and easier to move towards my real goals. That being said, it can still be a difficult transition to peel away all of the excess. Not all of what gets removed is inherently bad. However, it may not be worth it overall in the grand scheme of what you want to really accomplish to keep certain things in your life.

Here are some other ways that I suggest approaching the blank slate of the New Year:

Daily journaling may be a helpful and insightful way to sort through your life and feelings. This alone is a big commitment, yet I have found it to be an indispensable tool in sorting through where I am now and where I would like to be.

Getting rid of the old instead of piling on more new. Schedules tend to be jam packed to the point of exhaustion with no room to breathe, let alone think. Instead of giving yourself more things to accomplish, try getting rid of some of the things in your life that are weighing you down. These could be commitments or tangible things or spending habits.

Choose a word or mantra to live by for the year. Let that be your guide in the New Year. Some that come to mind are: “Health” “Calm” “Well-Being” Self-Care” etc. Everyday use that word or mantra to aid in all of your decisions. For example if you word is health, maybe you order water instead of a sugar beverage for a change.

Frame the year in a different light: What do I want to look back on and have accomplished in 2018? Imagine yourself snuggled up in December 2018 and going through the questions in last week’s post but only answering them about the previous year. What do you want it to look like?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! What intentions are you setting for 2018?

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Hello Friend: Give the World a Smile

Smiles, contain so much power. They can light up a room, they can make us feel all warm and cozy inside. When I say smile, I mean real ones, the kind that lights you up from your eyes and your heart. I mean a whole hearted smile, the kinds that lights up your eyes and permeates through your whole body. Smiles can begin friendships and make others feel welcome.

Smile at Yourself

Every time you see your reflection, give yourself a big and bright smile. Let’s face it, we see our reflection a lot throughout the day. Most commonly in mirrors but also in windows and other types of reflective surfaces. What I am recommending is that anytime you see yourself in any reflection, mirror or otherwise, give yourself a big warming smile. This approach is sure to brighten a bad day and overtime bring you to a higher state of self-love.

Smile at Others

Smile at strangers on the street! If you are feeling particularly welcoming say ‘hello.’ Don’t be attached to the outcome, you won’t always get a hello in response. Sometimes it may be more of a puzzled and bewildered look than anything else. At some point in our culture we have slowly begun to drift apart and be so disconnected that we don’t even give others the simplest of salutations, hi, hello, hey there! Maybe the simplest warm gesture of a smile will make a huge positive change that person’s day.

Be Wise Beyond your Age

I once passed a group of adults and on one of the man’s shoulders sat a young girl. When I smiled and said hello to the group the only response I received was from the little girl who gave me a wonderful hello. As the distance grew between us as we passed I don’t know what the group said to the small girl, maybe who I was or how we knew one another. The only thing I could hear was the girl saying loudly “She’s my neighbor.” The whole group broke out in laughter at how adorable and childish her response was. But for me it brought an even bigger smile to my face and a warmth in my heart.

That little girl was so right! Aren’t we all neighbors, all inhabitants of this wonderful world and shouldn’t we treat each other as such? We don’t have to be best friends with everyone but we can treat each other with a common curtesy and general kindness of a smile and maybe even a Hello!

There are more than enough to go around

Think abundance mentality here people! Another great thing about a smile or a simple “hello” is that both of these things are entirely free! Talk about budget friendly here people. I am not even asking you to give up a ton of your time either, this hardly takes any time at all!

Do I think this is going to solve all the world’s problems? Unfortunately no, but once I started doing this for myself I noticed I am far less judgmental of seeing my reflection. I am not worrying about a hair being out of place or this or that being wrong about my face, I just smile and take it all in. This life is too short to do anything but smile at ourselves. We can’t always control how other people treat us but we can 100% be in charge of how we treat ourselves.

Who wouldn’t smile after finding a giant rooster?

As a society I do not feel that we smile enough so SMILE a lot and often, the world needs more of them! What small changes like smiling more have made the biggest impacts in your life?

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Burnout: A Chance for Growth

I love to push myself and I love a good challenge. I often find myself wanting to do a lot of new things all at once. It may come as a surprise though that I am not actually a very competitive person. My drive comes from wanting to learn and know more. It also comes from my desire to help others. Honestly, both of those are the main reasons I wanted to start this blog. I am not a very tech savvy person to begin with but I wanted to learn. I also believe that my experiences and stories may resonate with others and help them along their journeys as well. Another motivation factor was reading articles spouting statistics about how most new blogs “fail” within the first year. Challenge accepted.

I have had this type of approach for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it is totally fine, I just love to learn! However, sometimes this drive pushes me too far, too fast. I am talking about burnout. This also goes hand in hand with my giver personality. When I am paired with a taker I give and give and give until I go past the point of no return.

Sparks Fly: Burnout, its real and overwhelming my friends.

In some cases in my life, burnout has been the only thing that has stopped me. There is nothing like the brick wall that burnout builds for you to run into to bring you to a screeching halt! Every time it has happened, I was given the precious opportunity to take a good look at my life and decide if what I was doing was right for me.

Ways to Grow after a Burnout:

As a side note these are all also ways to prevent burnout in the first place but sometimes it is hard to evaluate when you are already running at full speed. No judgement here.

Set Boundaries Use the knowledge you gain from your burnout to set boundaries in your life. Look back and think about what limits could have prevented this from happening and then put them into action in your life. Some examples include not working past 6pm on a weekday or not working on weekends. Have clear cut rules for saying “yes” or “no” when a new opportunity comes your way.

Maintain Space When I am fed up and done I throw EVERYTHING aside. Now is the perfect time to really make sure that you only let back in the things that YOU truly care about. Often the things on our plates that do not need to be there were placed there by someone else or our fear of someone else. Schedule time for yourself first and do not give that space away.

Create Self Care Habits The space that opens up after a burnout is great for putting into place new, beneficial habits. Great options include exercise, journaling, or reading. This can even be meal prep for the week so you do not find yourself wasting money eating out or eating unhealthy. This may be out of the norm for you and it is okay to feel like this is selfish, at first, but trust me you need to take care of you first.

Watch Out! Red Flags When you start to notice that you are giving in “just this once” on a firm boundary that you have set or your calendar is filling up but you aren’t feeling fulfilled or your daily/weekly self-care habits have slowly faded out of the picture, STOP. These are huge red flags that you are once again on the fast track to burnout. Give yourself permission to reconsider everything that you have taken on and if it needs to be there. If it doesn’t, LET IT GO!

If you have experienced burnout in your life, know that you are not alone. Do not take this time to be hard on yourself, I promise you are NOT a failure. Instead, take this time to grow and discover. This is the universe’s way of getting you to stop and put you back on track. We are all here and fabulously unique for a reason!

How have you personally grown after a burnout? Please share your experiences and tips with us below!

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A New Perspective: Starting the Journey to Self-Discovery

How often do we find ourselves being critical of well, ourselves? Often the biggest critic in our lives is us. Today, I want to start a conversation about self-discovery. I know well that we also like to compare our bodies, homes, belongings, etc. to others but to begin let’s limit this heart to heart with our battle with self-comparison.

Our amazing bodies are not mirror images side to side of themselves. We tend to notice things like “my left thigh is thinner” or “my right hip is tighter than my left” or “my left arm is weaker” or “my right foot is wider” or we have a “favorite” side, this list goes on and on. This self-running narrative about our perceived limitations needs to STOP!

Self-discovery is understanding and acceptance of our unique selves. 

How we long to be perfect mirror images of ourselves, but the differences and nuances side to side are not something to put yourself down about. These are the things that make you wonderfully, beautifully, uniquely YOU!

When it comes to my yoga practice and perhaps in yours too, you really begin to notice these fantastic things about your body. If you do not have a practice, I cordially invite you on a magical journey of self-discovery. It is unfortunately so easy to be hard on ourselves when we note the differences in our bodies, pigeon comes to mind for me, but that perspective is wrong. It is a journey of love and understanding. We are explorers on the most important expedition of all, SELF-DISCOVERY. I challenge you to get to know your body, become the world’s expert on every single little thing about it! Be Excited! We have this one most precious gift, so do not waste it!

Through true and deep self-love and understanding we can then begin to fully love one another. In this self-expedition we will discover we are more similar than different, that we are all connected, and above all else, we are ONE.

What have you discovered about yourself that makes you grateful to be you?

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My Personal Uphill Battle: Self-Care

I am by nature a “giver.” When someone asks me to do something I always say yes. Sometimes I end up regretting saying yes, not because it’s something I do not want to do, but because I have said yes to so many other things. If I could do all of the things I would. This instinctual reaction to respond with “yes” is not helped by my extremely extroverted nature that unfortunately does not let me stop and think before blurting out YES! I also am a believer in the fact that if I tell someone I am going to do something then I will do it. All the while this means that everything I wanted to do for myself ends up on the back burner … sound familiar anyone? It’s easy to get swept up in wanting to help others and it is very hard to tell our loved ones and causes we firmly care about “no.” What I am talking about today may not be easy to do but I assure you it is necessary for your physical and mental well-being.

I am on a wonderful journey that is my life. Part of that path has been discovering things like essentialism and minimalism. By working toward getting rid of the excess it has allowed me to have more time to wonder and learn. I intentionally want to be less busy. I want to get things “off of my plate” but that usually means I just stack new and sometimes more things back on. I want to create more space and more time. This change started a few years ago in various ways yet continues to develop. It has been difficult at times but is nothing that could even compare to the rewards it has brought and continues to bring.

As a society we pride ourselves on being busy, as if it is a competition. We showcase our laundry lists of tasks in an effort to “out busy” one another. As if in the end we are awarded with some large medal for all of our hard work. Yet I do not think I will look back on my life and think thank goodness I did not take care of myself and my body. I am grateful I ran myself into the ground, bending over backwards for everyone else, said myself never.

I do not know about how you feel but I want this nonsense to stop. I want us to brag about how many books we read or snuggles we shared or walks we enjoyed instead of listing our daily duties as a badge of honor. There are tasks we have to complete for day to day life, I agree, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything in your life presented to you and do it to perfectionist standards to succeed.

Samson practicing self-care: snoozin’ on the back of the couch with his favorite ball.

I am here to tell you that it is okay to say NO. Sit down and think about what you really care about. I am currently working on setting limits in my life. The smallest limits count! Even something as simple as: I will not teach yoga on the weekends my husband is off because that is our time together. This sounds so easy but I assure you it is very hard to keep. Set aside time for you, your hobbies, your family, YOUR VALUES. This time is sacred. It will be hard at first but I promise will get easier with time.

Saying “no” is a form of self-care and self-love, especially if your natural setting is to always say “yes.” Where do you need to set firm limits in your life? Do you feel overwhelmed and overworked at the expense of yourself? Please share your experiences in the comments below! Let us change and grow together!

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