what you focus on you create more of
1/14/2021 0 Comments
One of my little joys lately has been to check in on my plants each day. I have noticed that there has been new growth, in spite of the season. It is so exciting to think about and watch, and it is a good reminder that even when things feel cold, dark, and stagnant, growth can still happen.
I like to think of this on a personal level-- even when we are going through rough seasons, growth is possible. There are a few prerequisites, though. Just as plants need light, soil, and water, we need to have the right elements. We need to believe that life happens for us, not to us, and that there is something to be learned from every single situation we come up against. With that belief as our foundation, we give ourselves permission to thrive and grow.
Side note: I am obsessed with how fast the avocado plant is growing. Literally. I measure it every day, and it is growing an average of .25 inches a day! Isn't that wild? Something else of note: it used to be in a very shallow bowl. I wondered if it would grow better if given more space. The root grew like wildfire as soon as I moved it, and that's when the stem appeared! It was like it sensed it had the room/permission to do its thing. We need to give ourselves that kind of permission as well.
Grow on! 🌱🌿
12/1/2020 0 Comments
act as if
What are your health/fitness/wellness goals?
When we have a goal, whether it's health related or not, we are working towards it because we believe it will make us a feel a certain way. We think attainment of the goal is going to make us happier, more content, or more satisfied.
Good news! We do not have to wait until we reach our goals to start feeling the way we want to feel.
If we think about the identity we want to embody by the time we achieve our goal, and begin to make decisions like our future selves, we will begin to feel the way we want to feel before we reach the goal. This gives us forward momentum. It motivates us, and lays the foundation for future wins. It also helps to build the needed habits to become the person we want to be.
There is also a school of thought that says that every feeling has a vibration-- happier, joyful feelings have higher vibrations. Your vibrations attract like vibrations. It follows that if you are happy already, then you will attract more reasons in your life to be happy. That may seem too woo-woo for you, and that's okay. There is also science behind it. 👇
The reticular activating system in our brains filters for what we find important and what we are focused on. If we are focused on acting as if we are already happy in our skin and proud of ourselves, the brain takes note. It then filters for more ways to be healthy and happy. All of the sudden it feels like everything is falling into place. The solutions are all already there, it is just a matter of noticing them. So cool.
If we act as if we have already achieved our desired outcome, we will reach it more quickly, and also find happiness and contentment along the way. It's a win-win!
Try it out today. Have a good one!
11/17/2020 0 Comments
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.
9/18/2020 0 Comments
I am the absolute worst at "shoulding" all over myself.
I should write her a thank you note.
I should write a new blog post today.
I should use this time wisely and get ahead on my work.
I should get to bed earlier.
I should call my mom.
I should talk to my boss.
I should make that phone call.
I should have that conversation today.
Our intentions can be the purest of pure, but if we don't take action on them, they are worthless. They are just a bunch of nice words hanging around in your head or on a post-it or on a pretty quote card.
We must have a bias toward action regarding our intentions and in all we do. We cannot simply think ourselves happier, healthier, wealthier, into a better relationship or better job.
I challenge you to join me in turning our shoulds into musts.
Why do we should ourselves to death and neglect to follow through? I think it is because we are afraid. We are afraid for so many reasons. We are afraid to succeed, and we are afraid to fail. We are afraid of what “they” will say about us. We are afraid to be vulnerable. We are afraid we aren’t good enough. We are afraid we won't know the next right step.
What if we turned the feeling of fear inside out and really looked at it? What does it feel like in your body when you are afraid? What is the actual sensation? Where do you feel it? Try to put it into words.
I feel fear in the pit of my stomach. It is hard to explain but it is kind of like the feeling when you are on an amusement ride and your stomach kind of drops—kind of like the bottom has fallen away under my feet. Sometimes I get butterflies when I am scared, and sometimes my ears ring a little. I even get a little twitch in my eye on occasion.
We all get similar feelings from time to time. Here is something to think about: What if that feeling isn’t fear at all? What if we could redefine it as excitement, encouragement, fuel, fire, or motivation? What if we took it as a sign that we are alive and that we are headed in the right direction?
Think about it. Things that don’t give us that feeling are not the things we are going to be recollecting when we are old ladies. No. We are going to remember the things that made us feel—the things that woke us up and reminded us we are alive. We are going to remember the times when we were scared and did things anyway. Those are the stories that we are going to look back and be proud about.
Take bold action. Take risks. Turn your shoulds to musts. Turn your fear into energy to propel you forward. Turn it into excitement. Use it as a sign that you are headed in the right direction.
Let me know how it goes.
9/10/2020 0 Comments
We all know we need to exercise to stay fit and healthy. Exercise helps us fight disease, it boosts our immunity, energizes us, and it makes us happy. It gives us confidence, helps us keep our weight in check, and helps us to age gracefully.
But there is a point of diminishing returns at which we don't get the benefits of the exercise. This can happen in a variety of situations. It may happen if you are forcing yourself to engage in a physical activity even though you don't enjoy it. It may happen if you are overriding your body's need for a rest or a different type of exercise. These situations can cause more harm than good. They cause mental and physical stress, which usually results in injury or non-compliance.
To figure out if our exercise routines are healthy for us, here a few questions we can ask ourselves:
1. Do I look forward to exercising?
2. Am I exercising as a punishment for the food that I ate?
3. Does this exercise bring me joy?
4. Do I feel like doing this particular exercise today?
5. What exercise do I need today?
6. How do I feel after I exercise?
7. WHY am I exercising?
It takes a paradigm shift, but if we find movement that we enjoy, and if we can do it as a celebration rather than a punishment, we will be more likely to continue with our exercise routine and we will reap the benefits.
I am noticing this in real time with my own exercise habits.
For the first time in the last 6 years, I am not teaching group fitness classes. I have always loved being a group fitness instructor-- I love the energy and the sense of community I got from working in the company of others. But things have changed, and my workouts look different lately.
I now work out with my husband in our garage at 5:45 four mornings a week. We work out with heavier weights for a shorter amount of time, we sweat a ton, and don't really speak to each other very much. 😂 I absolutely love it. I love how my muscles are reacting, and I love how strong I feel. On the weekends, we may ride our mountain bikes on the trails, or we may take a hike, we may simply take a leisurely walk, or we may not do anything. It depends on how we feel.
Last weekend, the weather was cooler and I felt like running. So I did. It was great! I loved how I felt afterwards. I was sore the next day, so I took a rest day. I stretched because that's what I needed.
Do you notice a pattern? I am in the habit of lifting 4 days a week. I very rarely opt out. I may go lighter or take more rest breaks, but I created this habit and I don't have to think about it. This leaves lots of time for other kinds of movement, if I so desire. I like to mix things up, so I decide what I need when it is time. This makes things more interesting and enjoyable and I am more inclined to move 6 days a week because of it. I am listening to my intuition and the feedback my body is giving me.
If you are in an exercise rut, or if you are just trying to build an exercise habit, consider asking yourself the questions above and figuring out what movement is going to bring you joy and give you something to look forward to.
If you need some guidance, drop a comment!
8/28/2020 0 Comments
a step in the right direction
, forI just finished cutting the grass. I really didn't feel like it. Rain is rolling in tomorrow, however, so I knew I should get it done sooner rather than later. So I made a deal with myself. I told myself I only had to do the front parts because they are the longest and they are more visible to the neighbors. 👀
After I finished the front portions, it seemed like a no-brainer to keep going. Habit had kicked in. So I continued, telling myself I could stop whenever I got tired.
We have a patch between our yard and the neighbor's yard, and I have always hated mowing it. It's all uphill, and there are trees and bushes in the way. I had an "aha" moment when I was mowing that today. I don't dread it so much anymore. I tried to figure out why.
It dawned on me that I mentally break it into sections, giving myself full permission to skip any section I want. The grass doesn't grow as thick there, so if I skip parts once in a while, it is barely noticeable. I break it into small chunks, and I take it once chunk at a time. I hadn't even realized I was doing that! In addition, I realized that the chunks aren't really as annoying as they used to feel. I pondered that for a minute and realized the difference.
We got new sod a few years ago. Before that, there were a lot of bare patches and a lot of dust would be kicked up when I mowed that section. Since I don't get a dust bath every time, I enjoy it more. Now that I have had that realization, I can change my thinking about that part of my mowing duties.
Is there something in your life that you don't feel like doing? You know you should, but the idea overwhelms you? Try making a deal with yourself. "I only have to walk to the end of the driveway." or "I will drink one extra glass of water today." or "I will eat one new vegetable this week." Maybe you will take that first step and allow yourself to be propelled forward by your momentum.
And while you are at it, challenge your old way of thinking. Maybe you are only thinking a certain way because it's a habit and you haven't really questioned it. Maybe you think you are the kind of person who hates vegetables, for example. When was the last time you tried a new one? It's worth figuring out if you still feel the same way or if there is one small step you can take in the right direction. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself, and what new habits you begin to create.
I think there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that put off doing boring or scary things, and those that do them right away to get them over with. I am actively working on being the latter.
I have been reflecting a lot about my procrastination, as well as researching some reasons why I do it. I have even worked on it in therapy. Here are some of my "AHA moments" thus far.
I think the best way to start to kick the procrastination habit (Yep-- it's a habit!) is to first decide WHY we do it. There are lots of reasons, but I think they can be put into a few categories.
These reasons are really specific to situation. You may be able to buckle down and get things done at work when you are so busy you don't even have time to sit down, but when it comes time to fold that laundry at night, you decide you can do it tomorrow. (or the day after, or the day after that..) Think about a particular area in which you are good at procrastinating, and then see which reason sounds familiar.
Once you figure out why you are procrastinating, here are some strategies to try:
If all of this sounds overwhelming, don't worry. You can think about it later. 😂🤣😁
What you focus on grows.
You create what you focus on.
You become what you focus on.
What you focus on expands.
Where the attention goes the energy flows.
These are all ways to say the same thing. It may sound a little "woo-woo," but it is scientific and "true-true." 😂🤣
There is a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) and it is a filter. Without it, they say we wouldn't be able to handle all of the stimuli around us at any given point in time. The RAS filters for what we find important. How does it know what we find important? Our brain knows what's important to us because of what we focus on.
Have you ever been in the market for a new car and all of a sudden the kind of car you are looking for appears over and over on the road?
Have you ever learned a new word and then read it or heard it the next day?
These are examples of your RAS at work. The cars and words were there all along, but your brain didn't filter for them until you focused on them. It's why you can hear your name mentioned in a crowd of chatting people, or why an eye doctor notices people who are wearing glasses or squinting. Here is a quick video if you want to learn more!
Take a minute to think about the beliefs you have and the inner dialogue that plays on a loop in your head. Those thoughts, whether they are are serving you or not, send signals to your brain. The brain then searches for proof that your thought or belief is true. How wild is that? If you believe you are never going to lose weight, for instance, your brain searches for proof of that, and your belief becomes stronger.
But there is good news! You can change your thoughts! Once you begin to focus on what you DO want to feel and think, then your brain searches for proof, which feeds the now positive belief. Whattt?!
It may sound weird, but give it a chance. Pick something positive to focus on and watch your world shift. 🌎
You're welcome. 💗
Who's got a sweet tooth? I love a little something sweet, but I have all but given up processed sugar. (Have you seen That Sugar Film?) To get my fix, I search for healthier versions of my favorites. This snack hits the spot in all the right ways. I sliced it, cut the slices in thirds, and froze them.
I have been trying a technique from Jill Coleman that involves strategic snacking-- she recommends taking a bite or two of your treat and then walking away. (We all know that the first bite is the best anyway, right?) The idea is that it will there if we want more, and that eating a few bites here and there will prevent over-indulging later on. (Read more about her eating philosophy here.) So if I want something sweet, I take a third of a piece from the freezer and eat it mindfully. Sometimes I put PB on it and it is even more delicious. I may even go back and get a second piece if I feel like it. Very rarely do I go get the last third of a piece in one sitting, but I know if I still want it, it is there.
I have been practicing this kind of snacking for a couple of months now. It has been so interesting! When I first started, I took advantage of my new-found food freedom. I had something sweet after every meal--including breakfast. But as I practiced, the need for the sweet taste seemed to wane a bit. Now, I don't even have a sweet snack every day. Just knowing it's there if I want it makes it somehow less appealing and/or powerful.
In conjunction with mindfulness, this strategic snacking strategy is a game-changer! Let me know if you have tried it or if you want to learn more about it!
6/29/2020 0 Comments
Enough money. Enough success. Enough time, praise, and love. There is enough for me, you, and everyone else. Enough is a mindset. In fact, there is something even better-- an abundance mindset. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effect People, first coined the phrase as well as the opposite mindset, which is a scarcity mindset.
An abundance mindset, which is directly related to a growth mindset, is the attitude that there is enough to go around. The success of someone else doesn't mean that you lose. It means that you are willing to share the glory and give credit where it's due. It means that you know if you give something away, it will come back to you in spades. As Covey said, "it flows out of a deeper inner sense of personal worth and security." If you are coming from a place of love, you most likely have an abundance mindset.
A scarcity mindset, on the other hand, is the attitude that I lose when someone else wins. Someone with a scarcity mindset is reluctant to share the credit, power, or profit. They hold tight to their resources. This is directly related to a fixed mindset, and it comes from a place of fear and insecurity.
Which way sounds like more fun to you?
Here are some ways to grow and nurture an abundance mindset:
Become aware of your thoughts. That's the first step to almost anything, really. What is your attitude towards money? How about success? You can even think about this in terms of food. As a personal trainer, some folks are held back by the fact that they feel like they have to eat the whole bag of chips or cookies. Sometimes, subconsciously, they may have a scarcity mindset which makes them feel like there won't be enough when they come back to it. Notice your thoughts and decide if there is a pattern.
If you notice a pattern, you can address it. Your thoughts create your feelings, and your feelings drive your actions. If you notice a thought like, "I'm not smart enough," you can change it to "I am fully capable of figuring this out." OR "I don't have enough money, " replace it with "I can always make more money." It takes practice, and it might sound weird at first, but it works!
I know you hear this everywhere, but that's because it works: practice gratitude. Write at least 5 things for which you are grateful each day. When you begin to notice the little things throughout your world that bring you joy, that joy becomes amplified. Your brain seeks out the simple pleasures, and gradually that becomes enough. And then, guess what happens? It starts to feel like more than enough! It begins to feel abundant! Do it. I promise it works.
Open your heart and your mind to all possibilities. A lot of times, when we are so focused on one thing, we don't see all the other options that are right in front of us. If you are so focused on not being good enough, for example, you may very well miss all the resources that actually present themselves to you to help you learn and grow. Look up and look around! You will be amazed at what you find. It will feel almost like magic-- the right person or the book or website will fall into your lap. You won't notice it, though, if you aren't intentionally looking for it.
Build your confidence! Scarcity comes from a place of fear and a lack of confidence. You have to figure out how to build your confidence. One of the best ways I know how to do that is to begin making small promises to yourself, and then KEEP them. Start super small, like promising yourself that you will make your bed in the morning. Or promise that you will call your mom, do a load of wash and actually put the clothes away when they are clean. When you keep a promise to yourself, you build trust in yourself and that leads to confidence.
Once you begin to feel abundance in one part of your life, it becomes easier to feel it in other parts of your life. Pick a small section of your life and begin to experiment with changing your attitude. Notice how it affects other areas of your life!
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.
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