A Renewed Perspective

“What’s my motivation?” – that Sprite commercial from the 90’s with the diva actor as basketball player. Remember?

We are enjoying a weekend getaway in beautiful, crisp northern Arizona in celebration of my husband’s birthday. We are loving the adorable cabin we get to stay in, and the cool evening air!

Something about birthdays (apparently not just my own) makes me feel the need to reflect on my life and where it is going.  continue…

Half Birthdays & Weekends

Today is my half birthday! I’m 34.5.

For the past several years, July 15th has caught my attention because it signifies the halfway point between the vision I had for myself at my last birthday and my designated deadline for said goals.

July 15th still gives me the luxurious cushion of six more months to go to translate my dream vision into my reality. continue…

The Real Meaning of the Word Intend

I haven’t looked this up. I’m not sure if this has been said before. But the other day I was driving and thinking about what I am intending to bring in to my life, and it hit me what the word “intend” really means.

I am majorly into feeling as if things in my life are already happening the way I want them to. I completely believe in the power of our emotions, even more so than the power of our thoughts (which are also intensely strong – it’s just that without emotions to back up those thoughts, their power is significantly diminished).

The Power of Words

Ever since I read How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield 10 years ago, I have struggled with getting the words to introduce my goals just right. I am slightly paranoid that if I say in my head “I want to go to Hawaii” I will forever be stuck in the state of wanting to go to Hawaii.

I learned from this book the power of stating things we are wanting in the present tense, as if they are already happening. So I could say “I am going to Hawaii” or, even better, “I am in Hawaii.”

Just because I’m sitting at my kitchen table in Arizona, who says I can’t feel as if I’m sitting at a table in a villa in Hawaii, or lounging on the beach sipping a frozen beverage?

I can be in Hawaii in my mind anytime I want. No one can take that away from me.

Since I am so particular about the tense (i.e., past, present, or future) of my affirmations, goals, dreams, etc., the idea of “intentions” has always slightly tripped me up. I wonder, if I am intending something, doesn’t that mean I’m acknowledging that it doesn’t already exist in my present reality? Wouldn’t it be better to forget the word intention altogether and focus on the emotional reality that it already exists? continue…

Why Being Lazy Is Good for You

All our lives, “lazy” has been mostly a negative term. Sometimes we can get away with a lazy day here and there, but in general it has a derogatory connotation. But what if that were different? continue…

Can’t Life Be Easy?

One of my five personal core values is inner & outer peace. Every morning when I meditate, I run through these five areas of my life. When I get to number three, I say this affirmation in my mind:

“Everything in our lives is taken care of with effortless ease.”

(Especially since I got married, I have been affirming for two. I figure it can’t hurt!)

The concept of effortless ease stems from the teachings of Louise Hay. It totally goes against everything we have been taught – that life is hard, nothing comes easy, be realistic, you have to work really hard and even then you might not get what you want…at least that is the prevailing vibe I have picked up on from our society in general.

When I started listening to Louise Hay’s books, I too had the resistance of wait a minute, life isn’t easy. What is she talking about?

But what if life is easy? And we just don’t realize it or tap into it.

Is an easy life a lazy life?

Sometimes I don’t really feel things, but I throw them into my meditation affirmation mix anyway with the hope that by some mystical force of the universe they will one day be true for me. I also feel very strongly that this cannot hurt anything.

So I envision my ideal day first thing in the morning, and then I go about my day as I normally would. Ideal or not so ideal.

This past week I was sick and totally exhausted. I slept in until 10:30 Saturday morning, after getting 12 hours of sleep, and it was glorious. Then I slept in until 9:30 on Sunday morning. Also glorious.

Since I was so tired all week, I was “lazy” and stayed in bed until the last possible second and took naps when I felt like it. And I didn’t feel bad about the extra sleep. I just acknowledged that that was what my body needed and enjoyed the extra rest.

Yesterday while driving, I was thinking about how I usually get up early to get a jump start on the day, and how I usually power through the afternoon tired feeling and skip naps that I would love. And then I thought about all the extra sleep last week and how my life was still okay and on track despite the supposed lost hours of productivity.

Effortless Productivity Just Might Exist

And then, I remembered my effortless ease affirmation. And realized how true it is for me. Even now. Even when my to-do list is no where near empty and my ideal day of productivity remains just out of reach.

I have complete faith that one day my to-do list will be a beautiful blank page, and that I will reach 2 p.m. knowing that everything that needed to get done that day has been taken care of.

And on the path to those and other goals, there will be naps. There will be breaks. There will be weekends of sleeping in ridiculously late just because. There will be days of missed yoga and meditation. There will be movies watched without other tasks getting done simultaneously.

Just because we are working towards greater things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be great, and feel great, right now. Wayne Dyer said on numerous occasions that we aren’t the ones doing the doing, but that we are being done. At a time when I had a work to-do list with 80 or more tasks at any given time and a sense that there was no light at the end of the tunnel, I couldn’t fathom what this man could possibly mean by not doing the doing.

But I am kind of starting to get it. Yes, I have plenty to do and I get my work done and still have more things to do, but I am realizing that it doesn’t have to be that hard. It can be effortless. It can be easy. If we let it.

So I continue to choose effortless ease as my primary filter through which I view my life and its many activities. Choosing to believe things are difficult doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Why not expect things to be effortless and easy? It doesn’t take any extra effort, after all.

Do you think life can be effortlessly easy? Please share your thoughts!

Tackling the Freezer Organization

“Kitchen, you are my nourishment center, I appreciate you!”

— Louise Hay in Loving Yourself to Great Health

I have been “meaning to” clean out the freezer ever since we moved into our house and got our new refrigerator, about a year and a half ago. I have never really felt like I had an organized freezer in all the places I have lived over the years.

I’ve cleaned out my freezers, but I have never thought about the freezer as being a place that can be organized into different areas like a drawer with dividers or a filing cabinet.

I cannot remember a time when I felt truly satisfied with the organization of my freezer. The freezer has always been more of an ice cold junk drawer than a place that brings me joy.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of joy as it relates to the items in my life. I decided that the contents of the freezer are as much items as socks and books.

They are different because they are more temporary. Or are they? Who doesn’t have a piece of mystery meat in the freezer that has been waiting to be eaten for longer than anyone can remember? continue…

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

For YEARS my to-do list has been my Everest. I just cannot let it go.

I have read productivity books like Getting Things Done by David Allen and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, and experimented with all different kinds of planners from Franklin Covey to The Hipster.

So far, I have come very close to my vision of getting this thing cleared off by the end of the day, or at the latest, the end of the week. I know it is possible, no matter what anyone says. Which is always some version of that doesn’t sound very realistic whenever I tell people about my dream of a beautiful, emptied to-do list on a regular basis.

I know there will always be things to do. That isn’t my problem. My point is having a list that doesn’t contain things that were due yesterday, or from 2 months ago.

I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that I will have the time I need to do all the things I want to do that day, AND get done whatever else needs to get done. Not working until 7 p.m., not skipping out on my walk because I’m too busy. Not sleeping less than 7 hours (I realize whenever I have a baby that last one might be negotiable, but you get the point).

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

It dawned on my yesterday that my to-do list of unfinished, overdue tasks is creating clutter in my life. Not only is having this list of unfinished stuff like having junk piles all over my house, but by taking up time that I could spend dealing with physical clutter, it is literally contributing to the clutter in my life and my days. continue…

Travel Yoga: Flagstaff and Las Vegas

 “Remember: You are your own fire keeper.”

– Rachel at The Yoga Experience, Flagstaff, AZ

A year or so ago I set a goal to start going to a new yoga studio each time I traveled. Sadly, I only sporadically kept this promise to myself and hadn’t been living up to my full travel yoga potential until recently.

There are so many great things about going to a yoga studio while traveling. Depending on the style of yoga, you will get at least some level of exercise. Whether it’s a strenuous class or a class meant for relaxation, there are physical benefits that are certainly welcome with the change in routine that comes with travel.

Every time I have gone to a yoga studio while traveling, I have been so glad I did. There is a serene ambiance at a yoga studio that you don’t exactly get at the airport or the gas station.

When I think back to the times I have gone to yoga studios while out of town, I can remember how the studios looked and, more importantly, how they made me feel. Each studio is fresh in my mind no matter how much time has passed.

While I have missed out on travel yoga opportunities over the past year, I am happy to report that I got to attend yoga class in both Flagstaff, AZ and Las Vegas over the past few weeks during weekend getaways. continue…

The Life-Changing Magic of a Tidy Home

Having a completely organized life is one of my big dreams that has seemed just out of reach for years. I actually thought I was pretty organized when it came to physical items, and most people who visit my home would probably say that I am.

After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, I finally get it. Being organized isn’t about organizing. It’s about learning to let go of the things that no longer bring us joy. The rest falls into place.

Marie Kondo refers to this process as tidying. This book is different from other books about organizing because it asks us to make decisions about the stuff in our homes based on one simple question: does it bring me joy? continue…

4 Free Apps That Will Motivate You to Be Healthier

It’s exciting that there are so many ways for us to choose to be healthy, and probably just as many corresponding apps to track everything. Everyone has their own personal health and wellness goals. Having a plan is what makes those goals attainable.

My personal health and wellness plan rests on the foundation of daily yoga, meditation, and drinking lots of water. I continue to work at incorporating daily walking into my routine. Whether you have already developed your chosen healthy habits or are looking to step up your game, it’s probably a safe bet that a free app already exists to both motivate you and help track your progress.

Today I share my favorite health and wellness apps and a few more that might be interesting to try. continue…

How to Choose a Mentor for Your Dream

Who is the one person in the world you are absolutely fascinated by? You look at their accomplishments with awe, and think that if you could only achieve a fraction of their success, you would be ecstatic.

When I set out to lose about ten pounds almost ten years ago, I chose Oprah. I have never met Oprah or corresponded with her on any personal level, but that didn’t stop me from mentally channeling her positive energy and sound advice in every single moment that I was tempted to eat a cookie or sleep in and skip the treadmill.

I read everything on the internet that she had written about weight loss, soaked up her whole philosophy about the emotional component of weight gain and weight loss, and followed her trainer’s (Bob Greene’s) weight loss plan, which they freely shared online, to the letter. I heard her voice in my mind every day as I battled all the messages from the world to buy a candy bar or eat yet another a piece of birthday cake at the office.

At the time, I didn’t think of her as a “mentor.” I always thought a mentor was a person who physically met with their mentee at regular intervals, providing advice, going out to lunch on occasion, maybe attending an awards ceremony of some sort. At least someone who provides direct correspondence via Skype, phone, or email. Right?

A Different Kind of Mentor

This morning I was noticing thoughts coming into my mind that I didn’t want, but I was struggling batting them away and thought about how nice it would be to have a person in my mind with advice that I could choose to focus on instead.

I decided it was worth a shot, and I made a list of the people who I currently admire as I work on my writing dream. Here is the list I came up with: continue…

To-Do Lists & Dreams: Is There Enough Time for Everything?

I am obsessed with getting my to-do list to zero. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I totally understand that I am not going to get my to-do list to zero and it is just going to stay like that forever. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to clear out my to-do list on a regular basis, keeping it clear to allow space for new things to come into my life without the weight of old tasks from like three months ago. Or even three weeks ago.

Reading through Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks has helped me more clearly shape my perspective on clearing my to-do list while allowing ideas of new things to do to come into my life.

What My To-Do List Means To Me

My to-do list used to be a thing of complete dread, shackling me from enjoying life because I felt so behind all the time. I couldn’t see getting out from under the pile of stuff, no matter what I did. Not a good thing.

Today I am still working at chipping away at a few remaining tasks from several months ago, but I can see that my dream of having a regularly cleared to-do list is within reach. I am so excited about that every day!

I see my various to-do lists as simply a system of reminding myself what to do next, so I don’t have to store all that information in my brain. To-do lists are meant to liberate us from the constant cycle of remembering and forgetting things that still need to be done.

My goal for my to-do list is for it to eventually hold only items to do that I feel purposefully passionate about. I want my life to transform so that everything I do feels on purpose and exciting. I get all tingly just thinking about that! continue…

7 Tips to Stay Motivated

“And so mature adults realize that motivation is not an accident, not so much a feeling as it is a conscious commitment to a motive, a choice toward something, a deeply held reason to act. It is an energy that results from thought. We feel motivated because we choose to, not because the sun happens to shine on our side of the street.” – The Motivation Manifestoby Brendon Burchard

Motivation is tricky. It appears to be a fickle friend at best, coming and going as it pleases on whims that we haven’t quite figured out yet.

What if motivation weren’t something that magically woke us up at 3 a.m. one morning, an aha moment slapping us in the face, but something that could be earned by anyone who chose it, at any moment?

After reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, I have gained a renewed sense of what motivation is and what it isn’t. Here are seven tips for staying motivated in the pursuit of any dream, even when motivation doesn’t feel like your BFF: continue…

Every Day Starts a New Year

The name Awaken & Begin came about to encompass the idea that we can, at any moment, choose to live the lives we want. Each day is a new opportunity to lay another brick, building the lives we dream about.

We might not do it every day, and that’s okay. It isn’t about being perfect. It is about constantly getting back on the path, no matter how many times we may deviate from our plans to do things perfectly. It doesn’t take perfection; it takes starting again more times than giving up.

This time of year is buzzed with the excitement that it is a new year. There is nothing wrong with the buzz. It’s a great thing! But it doesn’t have to just be exciting to start and try new things now. What about March 16th or June 3rd? Unless one of these dates is your birthday (I always feel a similar New Years-y feeling around mine), they are likely just like all the others, and could possibly be less than sparkly and exciting, especially if they contain mundane and tearfully boring or stressful tasks. Ugh. Those kinds of days.

Every day is a new chance to start anew, to pick up where you left off yesterday, or three days ago, or last week. Every day is the start of a new day, week, month, year. There is time. Time is on your side, whether you are saving money, losing weight, or building a business.

Tiny actions are better than no action, and I am continually surprised (although you would think I would have learned by now), that when I commit to doing one little thing, like write for 20 minutes, I am almost always led to another tiny action, and before I know it, things I once thought were impossible are happening more quickly than I could have imagined.

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, although it is enticing. I have very specific goals that I focus on, and my current goals are carried over from months before the new year turned. Still, I am riding the high of the new year’s buzz, and enjoying the sense that this is the year for great things. Because, why not? This year, and the next five. All perfect timing for great things to happen.

And great things will happen because we will be sure to see that they do. We have more power than we think. So here’s to being powerful in the new year, and increasingly so in the years that follow! Namaste!

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image credit: Michelle Verbeeck

Five Quotes to Remind You That You Can Do It!

We all have dreams. Things we want to do in life. For ourselves, for others, for the world. But sometimes it feels impossible. Everything we have to do can seem overwhelming, and fool us into thinking that we don’t have time.

But good news. We have something better than time. And it’s called a choice. I recently started watching Alex Beadon’s videos on You Tube, and the other day she said something that I have never heard before:

“Remember that this is your life, and that you are 100% in control of it, and that you don’t have to let it overwhelm you.”

As a person who has felt overwhelmed for years, this little gem came as quite a relief! I never thought of feeling overwhelmed as a choice before. I have felt victimized by the many demands on my time, preventing me from living the life I dream could one day be for me. continue…

What does zero have to do with achieving your dreams?

As kids, we all learned how to spell “good” and “God.” Wayne Dyer often likes to ask his live audiences: “What is the difference between good and God?” He then proceeds to hold up his hand, making a “zero” with his thumb and fingers.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but something that gets all mixed up in beliefs of how things should be. Speaking of how people think things should be, today’s post will be about one of my favorite topics: feeling the physical feelings of having already achieved whatever goal or dream you are working towards, as opposed to feeling down for not being further along. continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

What I Want for You

I have been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend all summer. Last year, around Labor Day, I decided to start reviewing my goals more frequently than once a year at New Year’s. I decided to start a seasonal review process, in which I would review, refresh, and revamp my goals and aspirations in the core areas of my life four times a year at the start of each season.

Time for a Plan & a Change

I am a planner, and I thoroughly enjoy the seasonal review process. Probably even more than I enjoy actually doing the things I say I am going to do! This summer has been okay, but I haven’t felt like I have been functioning optimally and doing the things that I really want to do.

I feel like I have been eating unhealthily, sleeping in late, and generally worrying and not feeling like the best version of myself. I had been looking forward to Labor Day Weekend as a time to really focus on getting back on track with my goals.

Yesterday, I got up early and set out to do the seasonal review. I knew deep down that there was no way I would accomplish the task of planning out the next three months in a few hours, or even in one day. I decided to be okay with that. continue…

Decide to Not Feel Bad & Fiction Friday

I have felt kind of bad all week for not writing. I have been a person who feels bad for not doing the things I say I am going to do, rather than either a) just doing them, or b) acknowledging that I have a lot going on and cutting myself some slack.

I have also been a person who desperately wants to write a book, and who has talked about writing a book for years now, but somehow, still, no book. When I woke up this morning, I decided I have a choice: I can either choose to feel bad about not writing, or just write and move myself, slowly but surely, into the category of people who actually write books rather than those who just talk about writing them (while feeling bad).

Feeling bad about not writing does no good. It doesn’t enhance my word count or my chances of success. All it does is bring about more bad stuff that I have no interest in. I get down on myself because I think I don’t have enough time to write. I just have to accept that I have whatever time is available to me and work with it. John Grisham managed to find time to write while he was still working as a lawyer, didn’t he? continue…

Blogust Schedule at a Glance

Since I have committed myself to 30 more consecutive days of posting, I figured today would be a good time to plan out my posts for the month. I have been wanting to do this ever since I started blogging but never got a grip on the organization of my thoughts more than a few days in advance.

Themed Days

I have always liked the idea of posting based on specific themes on certain days of the week. This is how I came up with the idea for Meditation Mondays. Here is the general idea for my posting schedule during Blogust: continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

Is It Selfish to Pursue a Dream?

Sometimes I look around at the good others are doing in the world and I think I am not doing enough. At least this is one of my derailing thoughts when I am focusing on pursuing a goal.

There I am, happily affirming that which I dream to see in my life, and suddenly I feel selfish. I get the idea in my mind that it is frivolous and almost irresponsible to be chasing lofty dreams when there are people who are already helping kids and other people who need help now.

I then have to remind myself that the simple act of mentally focusing on what I hope to one day create doesn’t harm or detract from anyone. Perhaps someday I will be able to write a book that will change someone’s life. What if all (or even one of) the authors who have inspired us gave up before organizing and sharing their ideas?

Rearranging Thoughts & Transformation

We can completely transform our lives by choosing different thoughts. First, we have to become aware of the recurring thoughts, and understand their flaws.

The reason I know this is because I have tried it on for personal use on several occasions. The most tangible result was a 10 pound weight loss about eight years ago. continue…

The Most Powerful Way to Realize a Dream

When it comes to pursuing our dreams, there is a certain without a doubt knowing that must take hold. This supersedes all of the logical reasons it won’t work out, which well-meaning others may intentionally or inadvertently pass along to us.

It doesn’t matter if someone else has an opinion that you are not qualified, or that it is just not likely. And how, exactly, are they so well-versed in fortune-telling? I would like to know.

The opinions of others cannot hold us back. They might be a convenient scapegoat, along with other excuses of not enough time or money (all excuses I have used). But the real doubter, the only doubter who even has a say in the matter, is ourselves. continue…

How I Set Goals for Summer: Seasonal Review

The summer seasonal review will round out my first year of doing seasonal reviews. I have really enjoyed the process of reviewing my goals roughly every three months, corresponding with the changing seasons. I feel much more in touch with my goals than I did with the concept of New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by a too frequent review such as weekly or monthly.

As with each of my seasonal reviews, I will be reviewing my affirmations by my core value categories. If you are interested in establishing your own core values (highly recommended!) I would suggest Tina Su’s Discover You Now ebook. There is an exercise in this book that led me to establishing my own core values. This was the first step in defining what my goals are, because I had to figure out my major life categories before determining specific goals.

I only write affirmations at this point. I write about 3 to 5 in each core value category, and I read through them immediately when I wake up in the morning most days. I quickly scroll through them on the Evernote app on my phone. Any actionable steps related to achieving something in one of my core value categories go on my reminders or rituals lists. If you want to read more about my use of affirmations, click here.

Of note, my life has gone through a few dramatic (good) changes over the past few weeks and months, with a recent household move and engagement! These are all exciting changes, but have also caused my many lists to explode and call for the creation of a few new lists. I am still working on catching up to everything, as I have fallen out of some of my routines while we figure out where to put everything in the house and now where to have a wedding. I hope to stay on track with my personal goals while remaining flexible with the many upcoming changes.  continue…

Daring Greatly: How To Overcome Not Enough Time

In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about the theme of scarcity in our culture. The aspect of scarcity that I (and I suspect many others) identify with most is scarcity of time.

Not enough time to write, not enough time to read, not enough time to sleep. Not enough time is often the go-to excuse for just about whatever isn’t getting done: exercise, eating right, following our dreams.

I use the not enough time excuse anytime I am feeling sorry for myself for not being as awesome as I aspire to be. As aware as I am of the fact that this is nothing more than an excuse, and that I have the ability to overcome this perceived scarcity, it’s just too easy to fall back on.

Antidotes to Time Scarcity

One of my affirmations in my core value category of abundance is “I am enjoying an abundance of time each day.”  I am getting better on my journey towards this eventual reality. I am starting to realize that just because I don’t find the time one day to work on one of my projects doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. I am learning to take advantage of pockets of time in the day as they present themselves, and to let go of the time when other activities inevitably come up.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown mentions that she believes it’s not that we need an abundance of time, but enough time. I do believe she is on to something with the whole “enough” philosophy, although I don’t see anything wrong with my affirmation for an abundance of time. It may just be a matter of semantics. In my mind, enough time is as good as an abundance of time.

Here are a few ideas (inspired by Daring Greatly) for overcoming the issue of scarcity of time: continue…

Seasonal Review: Mid-Season Check-in

It’s not quite time for my summer seasonal review, but I have been thinking a lot about where I am in my goals for spring and thought it might be a good time to do a mid-season review. Spring is a great time for changes and there are certainly many good changes in my life this time around.

Shortly after I moved to Arizona I developed the daily ritual of starting to read my affirmations as soon as I get out of bed in the mornings. By the time I’m doing mouthwash, I’m wrapping them up. It takes less than three minutes to read through these 15 or 20 items, but before I hadn’t been referring to them on a daily basis. I am happy to have finally found a method that works for me. It makes sense to start the day with positive thoughts and reminders about what my goals are, and to review these before practicing yoga and meditation in the mornings.

Based on my core values, here is a brief look at where I am in my personal goals so far for spring: continue…

Mondays vs. Fridays: Which Day of the Week is the Best One?

There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I often wonder: how do other people do it all? I didn’t used to. I used to think everyone else had it all together and I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get everything done, but now I know better.

The Friday Curse

Pretty much every Friday I enter into the weekend with the hopes that this weekend will be the one that I finally get it all together. The one where I finally have a breakthrough and make actual progress towards my goals. This mentality is dangerous and has caused me to not enjoy a lot of weekend activities in the past, because I always wanted to be getting something done.

I have definitely gotten better about it, but I still hold onto a modicum of hope that This Weekend will be The Weekend. The one to beat all the others out, because it is the one where I finally figure out how to manage my life while pursuing my personal goals.

And then Sunday happens. I have gotten much better about Sundays, but there was a time when all I wanted to do was cry on Sunday around 5 p.m., because it meant Monday morning was right around the corner. And I still hadn’t figured out what to do with my life. continue…

Spring Seasonal Review: How I Planned Out My Goals for Spring

I am so excited that my long-awaited spring seasonal review is finally here! The seasonal review is my new system of goal-setting and reviewing that I came up with this year, in which I review the goals I set for the previous season, and look forward to changes I would like to make in the upcoming three months. This is my alternative to setting annual New Year’s resolutions. If you would like to read more about my thought process behind my seasonal review, click here. continue…

Anyone Can Learn Anything

I have been hearing the advice for years to read everything you can get your hands on if you want to be a writer. I have been a casual reader, but didn’t really grasp the intention behind this advice until recently.

Setting out to accomplish any large project is usually majorly overwhelming, and the largeness of a project can be what sinks us before we even start. I am a person who wants to write a book, but how do you write a whole book? I still have no idea. There is plenty of logical advice out there, but when it comes down to it, every time I have tried to start I have gotten overwhelmed by the thought of writing a book and quit before giving it a fighting chance.

I get excited that maybe I will read three books in my genre and then I will have a grip on what it is to write a young adult series book. Ya, right. Just to finish one book typically takes me at least a week. I also get discouraged that I want to have written a book like last year already. Why bother starting again if I couldn’t get it done before now?

These are the questions that trap me into thinking I’m better off not bothering. continue…

A Day To Celebrate Love Begins Within

“I learned that life must be lived fearlessly. When you don’t love yourself, you live in fear.” – Anita Moorjani at I Can Do It! 2013, San Jose

What if Valentine’s Day weren’t just a day to celebrate romantic love, but a day to celebrate loving ourselves? Our world could use a whole lot more emphasis on self-love.

More Emphasis on Self-Love

Our culture doesn’t exactly focus on the importance loving ourselves. We learn to conform to the acceptance of others, and many of us become experts in people pleasing. It makes others happy on the surface, after all, so what’s so bad about staying in line?

I would have to argue: everything! How can we learn anything new or get inspired if everyone is just the same as everyone else? If every time someone else complains, judges, or is negative, we just silently bob our heads in unison? Or when someone’s opinion makes absolutely no logical sense, to stay mute?

I bring up these points primarily because this is how I have lived my life for far too long. Silently appearing to agree with every negative external force, screaming on the inside that something is terribly wrong here. How can there be so much anger? continue…

How To Choose What To Do Next

“Don’t force it.” – one of my friends

In any given moment, we are faced with countless choices: what to wear, what to eat, what to drink, what to say, what to think, what to do… and on and on. Having a regular schedule and goals are great, but if something on the menu of choices doesn’t excite and energize, then it is time to find new options.

Do What Energizes You

I have recently been experimenting with choosing my next task based on what I am most excited in the moment to work on. For example, if my choices are to work on my blog, read a book, and wash the dog, I am trying to stop and think about which one I am most excited about working on/completing in the moment. Some days the idea of having a clean dog is the one that makes me feel most energized, while others it might be the idea of completing a blog post.

This is a much more fun way to live than in the “I have to” state of mind, as in, “I have to wash the dog” even though I want to lay down and read a book. Even better is when I can find some kind of creative compromise between the thing I have to do and the thing I want to do. Some days the idea of washing the dog while listening to an audio book sounds like the perfect plan. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” – Wayne Dyer

When I am trying to focus during meditation, I think of the word “in” as I breathe in, and “out” as I breathe out. This helps control my thoughts. Beyond the in/out mantra, I have experimented with other simple words to focus on to overcome the monkey mind during meditation. Today, I have a new one. continue…

Awaken, Begin, and Continue: The ABCs of Getting Things Done

Right now I have a drawer next to me filled with mail to go through, scans to process, and projects to complete, not to mention a to-do list with multiple tasks and projects I am dying to complete. I get distracted sometimes during the afternoons though, and the piles and lists seem to sit there untouched, day after day.

The Significance of Continue

The “continue” is silent in Awaken & Begin. As challenging as it is to get out of bed in the morning excited to start a new day, or to get up the motivation to work on something new or old, it is even more challenging to persist in our efforts towards our dreams or the completion of a project. continue…

Why I Will Not Be Setting New Year’s Resolutions This Year

“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late, and never to sick to start from the scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury

It’s New Year’s Eve, the day of celebrating, wearing party hats, and sharing New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s is a time of hope for the future. Unfortunately, that hope is often short-lived and quickly forgotten about midway through January.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Tend to Fail

Lately, I have not been very fond of the concept of setting New Year’s resolutions. A year can be an overwhelming period of time for pursuing any one goal. More than that, the concept of New Year’s resolutions is hardly personalized. It is something we do because it is conventional, not necessarily because it works. New Year’s resolutions probably do work for some, but I know from personal experience that it is easy to set goals on New Year’s Eve that don’t even have a fighting chance come February.

There is so much to do in our lives. There is so much that is left undone from year to year. We are busy, and we have so many obligations and expectations we feel the need to fulfill. Our long term goals might get relegated to the back burner as time moves forward, leaving our hopes and dreams in the dust. continue…

Hipster Series: Affirmations

I find writing affirmations to be easier than writing goals. I first learned about writing affirmations from the same book that introduced me to writing goals, Jack Canfield’s How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Not only does it seem easier to me to write affirmations, but it also seems easier to go through them. The reason affirmations make me feel so warm and fuzzy is because they use the concept of “acting as if”. While I generally start my goals with the statement “I intend to…” I start my affirmations with “I am…”, implying that I have already achieved whatever great dream I am thinking about in the moment. No matter how unrealistic the dream, affirming it with a statement that it is already happening automatically makes it feel not so impossible. continue…

Hipster Series: Turning Goals into Dreams into Reality

“All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

I have read a lot of books that talk about how to write and achieve goals. I have kept goals on 3 x 5 index cards and on 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper in a 3-ring binder. Once again, one of the biggest limiting factors for me has been having a portable list of goals.

A 3-ring binder is just not practical for me to carry around everywhere I go. A small stack of 3 x 5 index cards can be handy, but what if you have 15 goals and then an additional 15 affirmations to carry around? I always liked the idea of giving each goal its own 3 x 5 card or notebook-sized sheet of paper. I liked the space that giving a goal its own sheet of paper creates. I didn’t want to just cram all my goals onto one or a few sheets of paper. I wanted them to be able to breathe. continue…

Monthly Review: September

At the beginning of September, I posted about my fall seasonal review. The seasonal review is a time to reflect on how the previous season went with respect to personal goals, and to then look forward to plans for the upcoming season.

Getting into the habit of having a weekly review was one of my New Year’s resolutions this year. I tried to get into the routine of a weekly review during the first part of this year, but for a variety of reasons it just didn’t seem to work out. Instead, I came up with the idea of thinking of my life in seasons, hence the seasonal review.

Today I am in the mood to do a monthly review and check in with my fall season plans that I made in the beginning of September. I know I haven’t done everything I said I would from the beginning of the fall, but I do feel like I have developed some good habits, which I attribute to the fall seasonal review. continue…

Fall Seasonal Review

The fall is my favorite season. Just thinking about my plans for this fall makes me happy. Pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbucks, red and yellow leaves, sweater weather, Christmas decorations at the stores…what’s not to like?

As I have mentioned before, I have decided to get my life more organized by breaking down my recurring to-do items by frequency as appropriate, such as daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, and yearly. I have read so many books about productivity, but never really felt like I could truly be the productive, organized person I wanted to be. It all just seemed to be too much to tackle.

Although I have spent years trying to develop just the right systems that work for me, I have recently started reflecting on how to develop my own systems as the person I want to be, rather than who I think other people want me to be. This has freed up a lot of time and energy that I used to spend worrying about what other people think that I can now put towards my own goals and dreams. continue…

Planning Projects – Part 2

After thinking about how I would like to manage the projects in my life, I have come to the conclusion that the managing and actual getting things done will stem from actually planning out what my approach to the project will be.

Following the model I have created for my reminders and rituals, I have decided that I will add new, incoming tasks to my reminders lists, but as soon as I establish that it will become a recurring task, it can be moved over to my rituals list.

In the past, I have said yes to requests on my time without really giving much attention to how I would complete whatever project I just agreed to. I was afraid to say no, because I was afraid the person making the request on my time would be disappointed in me if I did not agree to do whatever it was. This bad habit has caused me more distress over the long term than any other. I did not respect my own time enough to say no, or to ask for time to think about how I would even accomplish said project. Even if I did ask for a day or two to think it over, I wouldn’t really think about the consequences of saying yes, because I couldn’t fathom disappointing someone by saying no. continue…

The First Steps in Making Goals Real

We can probably all find some contrast between where we are and where we want to be. These hopes and dreams are what fuels ordinary people to do extraordinary things. But why does it sometimes seem like we have allowed weeks, months, or even years to go by without achieving them? The first step is effective goal-setting.

There are a ton of self-help books out there geared towards improving personal productivity. Each gives a different perspective on setting and achieving goals. Advice varies from limiting yourself to a single goal to maintaining multiple goals in a variety of areas.  With so much confusion among “experts”, what is the average person supposed to do?  Well, all of that inconsistency found in advice should tell you one thing, people are different.  No single strategy is the best and we each need to determine what is right for our own personal lives and unique situations.

I am a bit addicted to structure. I have always enjoyed organizing my to-do list and restructuring and renaming the various aspects of my life. Because of this, historically, I have had a bad habit of over-complicating solutions in my life. The problem with this is that complicated solutions are hard to maintain through time.  They become a burden and lose their luster in a few weeks.  I have learned that simple solutions (even if they are imperfect) have much more potential to change your life.  With that in mind, whatever I decided to do, it needed to be simple. continue…

Spark a Change

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  – Anais Nin

What does it take to ignite the spark to make a change? I wish I knew the magical formula. I have been trying to figure it out for years. Some days I have tried so hard to get inspired to try something new, almost forcibly so, only to be overcome by my doubts and fears.

I think there must be some kind of breaking point that, if we are lucky, we can reach eventually – where enough is enough, and we know that we are at a crossroads: we can either keep doing the same things, or pivot our direction. continue…

Gaining Momentum Towards a Goal

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” – fortune cookie

Today is day 2 of me posting to this blog…hooray!

I have posted and deleted my posts more times than I can count – so I have decided to just move forward and continue to write until it is actually good enough to share. But I am not worried about not being good enough. Well, the worrying thoughts do come to my mind, but I am taking back my control over them. continue…