what you focus on you create more of
Whenever I feel like I am in a slump, I try to find a book that will help inspire and motivate me to get back on track. It’s a little bibliotherapy, which I have recently learned is a real thing!
I am a big fan of Jen Sincero, author of You are a Bada$$ and other motivating books. This is just an example of the things she teaches:
“It is just as easy to believe we are awesome as it is to believe that we are giant sucking things.” She goes on to say that it takes up as much energy either way, so why do we always gravitate toward the negative? What if we became our own biggest cheerleaders? What if we operated from the same thoughts that our greatest fan has? What would that look like? How would that make us feel? How would it change our behavior?
As I was pondering this idea, I thought of the notion of leaving a review. What if we wrote a review of ourselves from the perspective of our biggest fan? What would that sound like? We all have a fan—maybe it’s a child, a best friend, a parent, a special auntie or grandparent. We all have that one person who thinks the world of us.
I thought of that fan, and I wrote a 5-star review of myself from the perspective of that person. I wrote and wrote until my hand hurt. When I finished writing, I read it over and it brought tears to my eyes. All the things I wrote from the perspective of the other person were things that I knew to be true about myself. I felt really proud and empowered by the words on the page. All the things that I wrote about were things that I have done for myself yet hadn’t given myself credit for. Yes! I deserve that 5-star review!
I don’t know about you, but somewhere along the way I learned that it is better to make myself small and invisible so that others are more comfortable. I am learning, slowly but surely, that I am allowed to take up as much space in this world as I need or want. I am allowed to think good thoughts about myself. It doesn’t mean that I am bragging or that I think that I am all that. It just means that I know my worth. Operating from that place of power is going to help me get to the next level—the next best version of myself.
I challenge you to write a 5 star review of yourself right now! If you can’t think of your biggest fan right off the top of your head, just make one up. Go find your journal, set your timer for 10 minutes, and get to writing. When you are done, read over it. Then read over it again. Let the words sink in. How do they make you feel? Bookmark that page and come back to it whenever you need a little pick-me-up. Read them until you completely believe them about yourself.
You are way more amazing than you give yourself credit for. Own it, and notice the way it changes your life. 💙
Linchpin: a person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization
As we get closer to the holidays, I am feeling a little more overwhelmed than usual. How about you? There are a lot more unknowns this year, and we need to be careful about how we are handling all of the added stress.
In times of change, transition, or turmoil, it is particularly difficult to stick with our good habits. Our primal brain senses fear and all it wants us to do is to be safe from it. This means seeking comfort. This could look a lot of different ways, but it usually looks like resorting to previously well-worn pathways in our brain- our former bad habits, aka our coping mechanisms.
It makes sense doesn't it? It takes effort to stay on the straight and narrow and stick to our good habits, right? Eat vegetables, drink water, write in our journal, exercise, sleep enough, be kind, be grateful, stay away from too much processed foods, have a growth mindset, be still, meditate, moderate in food and drink, etc, etc, etc.... So exhausting on top of everything else! If it takes too much willpower, the primal brain will take over.
So what can we do about it?
The first step is to notice that you are slipping back into habits that don't serve you. This takes some mindfulness. Once you notice, then you can do something about it.
This is where your linchpin habits come in. A linchpin habit is a powerful habit that is vital to your well-being. Everyone has their own set of linchpin habits. To figure out what yours are, just think about the top three things that make you feel the absolute best when you do them consistently. These are the habits that will keep you healthy, vibrant, and energetic through the holiday season. Mine are drinking plenty of water (half my body weight in ounces), sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and getting outside every day.
Here is the magic: Forget the rest. Let them go for now. Give yourself permission to simply concentrate on your chosen linchpin habits. This way there is less overwhelm, but you are still taking steps in the direction of your health goals.
Choose your linchpin habits today. Write them down on post its, put them on your calendar, do whatever you need to do. Then commit to keeping up with them to keep yourself happy and healthy through the holiday stress. 🧡
Every once in a while we need a little shot of confidence. We tend to lose confidence when we feel overwhelmed by life, relationships, or the pursuit of our goals. Whatever the case may be, we often get lost in the day to day grind and we forget just how powerful we are.
To get back into our power, sometimes it is helpful to remember the difficult things we have already accomplished in our lives, and to celebrate them as personal victories. Thinking about these personal victories helps us to remember that we have gone through difficult things and have made it to the other side successfully. It gets us back in touch with our inner bad-a$$.
I encourage you not only to think about these things, but to write them down. Make a list. Add to it over the course of several days. Aim for 100 of them. Add to it as you celebrate new ones. Think on it. Be proud of it. Feel good about what you have already accomplished in life, and gradually your confidence will be bolstered and you will be able to take the next right step in your journey.
I challenged myself to think of 25 personal victories to give you a jumping off point. It's hard to come up with them at first, but once you begin, it gets easier.
1. I successfully complete high school.
2. I successfully completed college.
3. I successfully completed grad school while teaching and having my first child.
4. I have been married almost 29 years.
5. I moved away from home and thrived on my own after college.
6. I moved farther away from home and thrived in a new state with my new little family.
7. I gave birth to 2 pretty cool kids.
8. I taught elementary school for 20 years.
9. I began a second career as a personal trainer and wellness coach.
10. I am learning to keep houseplants alive.
11. I am thriving with chronic illness.
12. I started my own company.
13. I have competed in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, 1 marathon, mud races, and sprint triathlons.
14. I have built muscles.
15. I have learned to cook.
16. I have learned to make my own kombucha.
17. I learned (and forgot) how to knit and crochet. (I have to relearn!)
18. I have taken solo road and plane trips.
19. I have made it through several biopsies-- some scarier than others.
20. I have learned to meditate.
Begin your list today, add to it each day, and remember that you are already powerful and brave.
Peanut butter, banana, chocolate... they go together so well! I tried coming up with a granola that would be fit to give for the holidays-- something healthy, but not quite as healthy as my usual granola. 😂 It's meant to be for snacking as opposed to eating it with milk. I would give it 👍👍-- it's perfect if you are looking for something a little different than the average holiday cookie to gift at the holidays.
2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1 large over-ripe banana (The riper, the better! )
1-2 T pure maple syrup
3 T melted coconut oil, divided
4 T peanut butter (The runnier, the better. I use Smucker's Natural PB)
3 T dark chocolate chips
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon, if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 325° and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment, just use a little coconut oil on the cookie sheet.)
2. In a medium bowl, mash banana with a fork.
3. Add 1-2 T pure maple syrup to the banana. (If you have a sweet, ripe banana, you can use less maple syrup.)
4. Add 2 T coconut oil and 2 T peanut butter to the banana mixture.
5. If using, add in vanilla and cinnamon.
5. Stir in oats.
6. Dump the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Use hands to spread the mixture out into a thin layer.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Add half of the leftover coconut oil to the chocolate chips and melt in microwave-- 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each time. Take your time with this. You don't want the chocolate to seize up.
9. Mix the other half of the coconut oil with the remaining 2 T peanut butter in the same manner. You want it loose enough to pour over the granola.
10. After 15 minutes of baking, pour the peanut butter/oil combo over the granola. Then pour the peanut butter mixture over the granola.
11. Bake another 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
Let cool completely before you dig in! The peanut butter and chocolate will harden back up as it cools. The waiting is the hardest part!
Optional add-ins: I think cranberries would be delicious if you wanted to bulk it up and add a little color to it. Almonds might be nice as well. If you are add in cranberries or another dried fruit, you can add it after the granola is baked and cooled. If you are adding almonds or other nuts or seeds, you can add it in before baking.
About the Author
Kim is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and group fitness instructor. She is a mom of two grown kiddos, and a former elementary school teacher. Most days, she can be found training clients, prepping food, thinking about food, or writing about food. She is also obsessed with mindset and habits. She is a 9w1 on the enneagram.