Last week, a young woman I know who didn’t take care of herself died of a stroke. She was 25 years old. Another woman, dear friend of a friend, died of a heart attack. She was 53 years old.
I also know another lady who says there’s nothing in her life, no love, no fun, nothing. Only her grandchildren are that keep her going.
She is only 46.
It makes me so sad… I know how this lady feels, because there were times in my life, too, when only my children gave me reason to get up in the morning.
Then I realized: What am I waiting for? What are WE waiting for?
We’re not promised tomorrow, ladies. Tomorrow might never come.
Do you have joy in your life?
Something that makes you instantly happy when you wake up in the morning?
Something that makes you forget about time?
Something that allows you be YOU, not a mother, not a wife, not a daughter, just YOU, having a blast?
You know, I’m talking about being in the flow, doing what you love, and feeling energized at the end… 🙂
Is joy missing from your life?
We are grown women, responsible, dutiful. We have so much on our plates, we’re stressed and drained 24/7.
I agree that we should appreciate everyday happiness, the first rays of the warm spring sun, our family, our home. And I am grateful for those, every single day.
But I also know that without the bursts of utter bliss, life is dry like a day-old cake without filling.
And it is gone just as fast as a cake.
If you only listen to one thing that I write in this rant today, let it be this:
Bring joy into your life!
Look for it. Make room for it. Allow yourself to soak in it.
Even if just an hour a week, that moment of joy will carry you through the hard times.
That moment of joy will charge your energy and motivation.
That moment of joy will do wonders for your well-being.
I hear you asking: Really? What has joy to do with health and fitness and energy?
Let me tell you: A lot. It has a lot to do with our wellness.
Scientists spent decades researching this topic, and the conclusion is:
The happier you are, the healthier you will be and the longer you will live. Period.
Email me for references if you doubt it. 🙂
So, back to my question, do you have JOY in your life?
Hugs to you all,
Your spring-lovin’ health and wellness coach in Calgary.
PS: My joy is dancing. Three hours every second week. Utter bliss.
This time of year, most of us seem to be somewhat sluggish. Crazy busy, of course, with work and family and pets, rush-rush-rush, then at night we can’t wait to drop down to the couch and just zone out.
And all our plans to exercise more, eat healthier or lose weight are abandoned, mostly. With the nagging sense of failure.
I hate it when it happens. I’d like to give you some tips to manage your energy level and positive attitude and keep working towards your new year’s plan.
Choose your friends carefully
In 2010, the United States Air Force Academy decided to figure out why some of their cadets increased their fitness levels during their training, and some don’t, although they all went through the same training.
Well, the difference they found was in the attitude of the least fit person in their training group.
If the least fit cadet in the group was motivated and eager to improve, his enthusiasm spread to the others as well, and their fitness level increased over the years.
If the least fit cadet, on the other hand, was indifferent or negative, he dragged the whole group down.
Conclusion: choose your friends wisely! Listening to a negative coworker who complains all the time about being chubby but never does anything… It is not only annoying but it can diminish your motivation and slow down your own progress as well.
Conversely, if we look for the company of people who are enthusiastic about their health and work for some similar goals than us, we have a lot better chance to succeed. 😊
Simplify your life
Did you know, that decision-making and self-control uses up tons of mental energy and willpower?
Even if it is just mundane grocery shopping, or deciding what to eat, or resisting those chocolate chips cookies. Those little things waste our energy, and there’s none left for the big stuff that really matters.
Streamline your wardrobe. Girls can do that, too, even though the examples are more difficult to find!
Use a weekly menu. Plan it, shop it, cook it once a week, done, no more decisions on what to eat.
Have a daily schedule. Do the same activities around the same time of the day. For example, exercise always at the same time. No decisions plus creates a nice, easy habit. Two birds with one stone.
Focus on one area of your life. For example, if you are going through a tough time at work with tons of projects and hard decisions, don’t change your diet. Just skip eating pure sh*t for now, and revise your diet when you can give it your full attention.
Cut back on social activities and volunteering if they not related to your BIG GOAL.
Stop being a perfectionist about secondary stuff. Let it go. Who cares.
Work with your energy levels
Not only decision-making can deplete our energy. There are night owls and larks, extroverts and introverts, low and high cortisol stress types. It is important to be aware of our natural ups and downs, and deal with them. It will help to stick to our diet, go to the gym, make better choices through-out the day.
Schedule your exercise in sync with your energy level.
Give yourself a break from people if you are an introvert, or find a way to connect with someone if you are an extrovert.
Find the right snack, low in sugar, high in protein, to give you energy when you need it.
Low cortisol types, eat breakfast and move a little! These will start your engine better than living on coffee until lunch.
Just do it
Well, this one is dead simple. Show up.
To quote writer James Clear from the book, “The single greatest skill in any endeavor is doing the work. Not doing the work that is easy for you. Not doing the work that makes you look good. Not doing the work when you feel inspired. Just doing the work.”
And dependably, the fun will come. I will start enjoying my laps although I didn’t feel like getting in the cold pool on a freezing winter day… And I will start enjoying my run, although I was dragging my feet out of the house first, purely out of habit.
You don’t have to be super-women all the time. Sometimes just doing the bare minimum is all we can manage.
As long as you move 15 minutes, you did enough for today, girl.
So don’t wait for the best mood. Just go and do the workout. You’ll be so proud and happily tired when you are done. 😊
Don’t beat yourself up
I was listening to my health coaching teacher the other day. She talked about how we feel we should do this, should do that, but sometimes we cannot. We are dead tired, totally drained after the days’ work, and kids and all that. And then we beat ourselves up for not having enough will-power, not being strong, not being good enough.
Sounds familiar? I know that every single woman I know tells this to herself.
If you are hard on yourself like this, too, I want you to stop it. Now.
You are doing your best. You have a lot on your plate. Give yourself credit for the work you did already today.
And for tomorrow, you can pick an idea from this post and try it.
Maybe it saves you enough energy to take a baby step toward your goal.
An easy, three-steps method to tackle procrastination on a specific project.
I realized that I was procrastinating big time about writing a blog post when I started to detail-clean our budgies’ water container with dozens of cotton swabs.
Your trick maybe organizing your closet or your inbox that was messy for years but now cannot wait another day.
Or maybe re-watching all the episodes of your favorite show …
Or keeping yourself so busy with urgent stuff that you literally don’t have a minute to spare.
But procrastination probably has some bad effects on you…
Tons of stress
Damaged professional reputation
Disappointing your boss and others
Feeling bad about yourself
And some projects just need to be done. Now.
In this post I’d like to give you quick 3 steps to help you with that. Get that job done.
Step 1: Find your motives
Find your reasons for procrastination
Think about your project and start writing down your feelings and problems about it. Check what makes you resistant. It can be a lot of different stuff. Some examples to get you started:
It would take long time to finish.
You are worried about the end results… maybe your work will not be good enough.
You want to make it perfect so you want to do some more research.
There are tons of options to choose from.
You feel overwhelmed by other things in your life.
This is new territory for you, it requires a lot of learning.
This project is boring.
This whole thing is irrelevant to you personally, it was just pushed on you.
There are others involved and teamwork is not going smoothly.
Be as specific as possible, okay? Then highlight the top 3 reasons that have prevented you taking action this week.
Find your reasons for acting now
Okay, here comes the other side. I want you to imagine that you have finished your project yesterday and all went well. Hooray! You are done, you can move on, that heavy weight is off your back.
How do you feel? What are the benefits you got because you have finished your project? Write them down.
Some examples could be:
Feeling less stressed or rushed.
Feeling proud because you worked through the challenging parts.
Getting appreciation from people close to you.
Maybe you saved money or time.
You can clean up the mess after the project and enjoy your space again, either real or virtual.
You can enjoy the end results of the project.
Now highlight the 3 most important benefits and keep them in mind.
Step 2: Write a contract with yourself
Write a goal for this project
I want you to write a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic, motivating and has a deadline. You can use this goal formula or create your own:
I will [ do this] that is/has [these features and quality] by [deadline] because I want [these benefits].
Add your action steps
Now go back to step 1 and revise your obstacles. See if any other came to your mind and write those down, too. Number your obstacles.
Now for every single obstacle, write down what you will do about them. Action steps, baby.
For example, if your obstacle was that you have no clue how to do a specific task in your project, figure out how to learn it. Who can help? YouTube, a coworker, a book, your teenager? Your action step is that you set a date when you get access to your helper and do the learning.
Obstacle 1: I don’t know how to…
Action step: I will google it tomorrow after work and try it a few times. Also, I will ask X the day after to check if I’m doing it right so I won’t be worried about it.
You need to keep writing action steps until you are confident that you dealt with all your obstacles and ready to start working. You can do it!
Side note on certain obstacles
Sometimes our obstacles are actually not in real world, only in our heads. It happens to all of us I think.
Doubts if we can do it at all,
worries that the results are not going to be good enough,
that we cannot find the perfect solution,
we only have one option and we hate that so why bother,
feeling that it is not worth trying because it will all turn out badly anyway,
and even if we finish on time no one will ever appreciate our work.
If it sounds familiar to you, I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is, these obstacles are the hardest to fight. They are our hardwired reactions we learnt ages ago. Perfectionism, self-doubt, negativity… Again, most of us have them to some extent.
The good news is, we can still change them. It is doable.
Sure it’s not going to happen in a week. But if you can get help from a therapist or life coach, you can definitely decrease their affect on your life. So don’t give up! You don’t have to listen to these depressing voices in your head for the rest of your days.
Step 3: Be accountable
The last step is to pair up with someone.
Get hold of a good friend, family member, supportive co-worker or a life coach.
Let him/her know about your goal and action steps.
Come to an agreement that you will keep them posted on your progress.
Be specific! Decide together how often and what way you will report to them, i.e. by email, on every Friday until the project is done.
And this is it. A three steps method to take control of your procrastination.
Give it a try on a project that seems difficult but manageable, and can be finished in a week or two.
Step 1: Find your motives
Look at what is holding you back and what will motivate you to start working.
Step 2: Write a contract with yourself
Write a specific goal with a deadline and add your action steps.
I will [ do this] that is/has [these features and quality] by [deadline] because I want [these benefits].
Step 3: Be accountable
Find someone who will help you stay on track by expecting you to send progress reports to them.
Summer is short. Use my tips to make the most of it, every day.
Water, sunshine, summer breeze. And work.
Good match? Not really.
But I got into a new habit this month:
I take my kids to the outdoor pool, have a good swim then I lay down on the grass and catch up on my business reading or write a blog post. (Disclaimer: My kids are older than eight and very good, level 4 and 5 swimmers.)
I take turns relaxing and working a bit, and generally I’m having a good time, almost as much when my parents took us to the pool as kids.
So my advice to all of you: Don’t wait for your vacation week, enjoy summer every day!
Three tips for a great long summer
Get out of the house every single day
Summer is short. It may feels never ending with the kids out of school but in a few short weeks it will be cold and dark again. So throw the remote away, leave your phone on charger and go outside. Suppose you are at home by six, you have at least three beautiful summer evening hours to enjoy outside.
Live more healthy
Don’t tell me none of those were your goals! I won’t believe you. 🙂
Ten quick, easy and cheap things to do outside on weeknights
Walk in the park or in a nice neighborhood.
Invite a friend for a jog.
Eat breakfast/dinner out on the deck.
Play Frisbee in front of your house.
Take the neighbor’s dogs for a walk.
Go for a lazy bike ride.
Go for a quick dip. Outdoor pools are open till 8:00 pm. (Keep essentials packed in a big bag all summer. That’s what I do, and I just add fresh beach towels, swimsuits and water bottles quickly.)
Set up a reading spot outside (chair, cushion, coffee table) and do your reading there.
Sit at a coffee shop with a terrace.
Go down to the beach/bay/riverside if you are lucky and have one!
Who wants to steam in the kitchen or wait for an order at a crowded eatery when you can relax outside?
Time-saving tips for summer
Eat Mediterranean. Little pan-roasted chicken or fish and salads with avocado and leftover rice.
Marinade one bigger batch of meat and you can prepare them in ten minutes when you need to.
Same with rice.
Mix and match salads: keep some greens, toppings and dressings at hand, that way you will easily put some crunchy health bowl together in five minutes.
Shawarmas, tortillas, tacos and the like. Quick and easy, and always different.
Try stir-fries. Nina Simonds in Simple Asian Meals have a handy one-page cheat sheet for healthy stir fries.
Fruits. Fruits and nuts.
Forget 80 percent of your To Do List
I mean it. Just look at your to do list. If it is in your head, write it down. I wait for you.
Now pick the top one or two that makes the most impact on your life. Think matter of life and death.
(If you have ten on your list, pick two. Fifteen, pick three. More than fifteen? Get some help, girl!)
Do them first thing in the morning.
Okay, you can have your coffee or tea then go and finish them off.
Delegate or postpone the rest.
They can wait until the rain and cold comes in November. It will come and you will have nothing better to do. Stupid chores don’t go anywhere.
Laser focus on priorities
That’s it. This is my advice for you folks. Enjoy your life in the sunshine, the warm weather, no snow pants… Go Californian for a bit, for goodness sake! Winter will catch up on us way too soon!
What is your favorite trick to carve out more summer fr yourself? Share it with us in the comments below! 🙂
Three benefits you will immediately get when you are coached, even just for a few times:
coaching clarifies your situation,
it moves you forward,
it boosts your confidence.
How coaching works in real life?
Let me give you an example.
About a week ago I totally freaked out. ‘I will never make this business work! How could I? I’m an immigrant stay-at-home mom with nothing but a long-expired university degree from abroad!’
My trigger was a nice chat with a lovely other beginner coach lady, who happen to have
tons of work experience in other fields,
lots of connections with well-off people and
great ol’ self-confidence, heaps of it.
And I have none of these. 🙁
So I called my coach friend and asked for an appointment. We worked for a good hour. By the end, I realized what my block was, I knew what to do next, and most of all, I felt confident that I can absolutely do it.
So I started working again and in a week I finished three important jobs necessary to grow my business. Yay! 🙂
Lesson I learnt: we see the world through our lenses. And sometimes we get stuck not as a result of real blocks… But because of our false views… created by our distorting lenses.
If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas.
Edward de Bono
So what a coach can do for you?
Coaching helps to clarify your situation
What’s on this picture?
An everyday thing, but hard to tell at first on a close-up photo, right?
Same with our lives. We look at it from so close, we can miss parts of the picture. We can’t see the forest from the trees.
What is blocking me?
Why am I stuck?
What preconceptions, prejudices I have that narrow down my view of the situation?
Coaches can give us a new perspective as they paraphrase, ask great open questions or describe our position with big pic metaphors. Expect to have big ‘AHA!’ moments! A whole new array of possibilities can open up when the fog clears in front of us.
Coaching moves you forward
Have you ever noticed that you are running around in circles, very busy but you are not making any progress? (That’s me and my marketing efforts, hahaha!)
Great coaches can help you to stop, breath, and
focus on your goals,
decide on your priorities,
brainstorm for ideas,
choose what is the next step to do right now and
The result: as you go back to work, you will not waste your time and efforts on peripheral things, instead, you make progress where it matters the most. So you get more bang for your buck. 🙂
Coaching gives you confidence
During our coaching session, my coach helped me to realize, that
I had a successful small business before so I have business experience I can apply now,
I already have coaching skills
I do have a network of people, maybe not a very big network but it exists.
So when you work with a coach, they will help you to see:
what are your strengths you can use here and now,
what experiences you have related to this,
what kind of similar problems you solved before.
Coaching can make a difference in a few sessions
There are situations when talking to a coach just a few times can give you instant results, saving time, headaches, and probably some money, too. Take a look at the examples in the chart below:
Assistance from life coach
You are ready to lose weight, quit a bad habit, or finish a never ending project,
but you tried and gave up before a few times.
A coach can help you to use your experiences from the past attempts to finally conquer the beast this time.
Plus every benefit I mention in this post before. 🙂
You have a goal close to your heart
but it is several obstacles away, that might need a detailed long-term plan to reach.
Your life coach will know the best goal setting methods for your situation.
Also can help to brainstorm new ways to tackle the obstacles.
You need to make a major decision,
and it has a deadline
and affects other people. like family members.
A life coach can help you think it out loud, check your priorities, consider pros and cons.
Plus teaches you professional decision making tools most people never even heard of.
Working with a coach for even a few sessions can give you these immediate benefits:
You will see your situation clearer.
You will know what to do next.
You will have confidence doing it.
Ready, set, go! 🙂
PS: What are your goals to work for? Let me know in the comments below!
I was riding my bike by the Bow river the other day, and stopped to watch a gosling with a big dilemma.
It was standing on the big rocks by the swirling water that was fast and high from the melting snow, and heard her Mamma call “Come on! We’re going!”.
The family was leaving, swimming upstream. And there was this tiny few weeks old gosling, unsure and hesitating: should I jump towards Mommy on the rocks or should I swim after her?
Well, we’re not few weeks old anymore, but we can probably relate to this, eh? When neither of our choices seem easy and we need some support. And quick!
Okay, here comes what Papa Goose taught me that day on how to be a better coach.
Coaches let clients do the work
Papa Goose didn’t solve the problem for his gosling. Yep. The little one had to swim and walk and jump all the way through.
Same goes with coaching. You, the client, have to sweat and think and struggle. (And dust yourself off and keep going after a bad move, with bleeding knees. I know.)
Coaches have faith in their clients
Did, at any time, Papa Goose pick up his baby to save her? Nope.
He watched closely and had faith in her that she will be able to do it eventually.
It might take a while. This is not an easy situation, swimming upstream, climbing rocks… But she can do it.
And so can you guys. If you set your mind to reach a goal, prepare carefully and keep doing your baby steps, I’m hundred percent positive you will get there. I have faith in you.
(How come? We haven’t even met! Because I believe that everybody can learn, change, and grow. If they want to. 🙂 )
Coaches listen carefully
At some point, baby gosling got totally carried away by the river… It looked like she is not going to stop ’til the ocean! So she started to make loud, fast ‘sheeep-sheeep-sheeep!’ sounds to signal Daddy that she is in trouble.
So when I’m having a coaching conversation, I’m listening closely. I pay attention to words, pauses, gestures, facial expressions… even the tension and energy coming from the client. People rarely make cute baby goose sounds, and rarely say explicitly what their biggest fears are… But us, coaches, have to be able to notice if something is wrong, if you guys are blocked, confused or afraid. So we could help you work your way through the mess.
Coaches are present… talking is overrated
Do you want to know what happened, when the river swept away the baby? Did Papa Goose give advice to his youngster? Told her what to do next? Warned her to be careful? No. Not a word. Not even a question.
He just stopped, swam right back to her and stayed with her.
Sometimes that’s all we can do. When the situation is just terribly bad, and my friend just cannot humanly do anything about it, I just stay with her. A little compassionate listening can go a long way to help us feel heard. And solutions will come later.
Coaches stay in touch and cheer
I noticed that while the baby found her solution, and jumped on rocks then swam a bit on quieter water then got out and jumped on rocks a bit again, Daddy made some gentle sounds from time to time. It was like ‘You’re getting there! Keep it up!’
His presence and his voice was enough for the gosling to calm down and keep paddling.
Coaches are the same for clients. You can count on us to be there when you are panicking, overwhelmed or ready to give up. Can we solve the problem for you? No.
But we can point out your strengths and cheer your efforts, as you are paddling like crazy and jumping on rocks. Way to go, baby goose!
In the end, the baby got a learning experience, some confidence boost and reached her goal. I work for about the same for all my clients, too. 🙂
If you have any questions, write a comment below or contact me through my contact page for a complimentary 30 minutes phone coaching session. Take care!
Finding a way to exercise can be difficult with our busy lifes. There’s so much to do! Work, family, meals, house chores… These eat up every minute in the day!
But we really should work up a sweat regularly… But I’m so tired! And my favorite show is starting any minute!… And…
I hear you, girl.
You are exhausted and brain-fogged and stressed. It is an awful feeling, and you don’t need me nagging you right now to get off your butt. 🙂 Just one question: did you manage to walk to the freezer to get some ice cream?
Then I bet you can do…
My favorite exercise
What is my favorite? Glad you asked. It’s walking.
What??? You heard me. Walking.
Why? Because it is simple, moderate intensity and low-cost.
Okay, now give me your excuses, missy!
I don’t have time to work out
Busted! To go for a walk, you only need 20 minutes at a time, including putting on shoes. 15 minutes a day, five times a week and you will get all the health benefits.
Your schedule is totally jam-packed? Think about
delegating work to others
saying no to some volunteering or
cutting back a time-consuming habit maybe
You can figure it out, I’m sure!
I don’t have good running shoes
Popped! You probably have a pair of runners at home already, gathering dust. For walking, they will do just fine. Find them in the bottom of the closet and head out.
I don’t have workout clothes
BS! When was the last time you picked up the kids naked? Just put on anything and go! (No, you don’t need the perfect sports bra for walking. For jogging, yes, but for walking, your regular bra is okay.)
It is raining/snowing/freezing/too hot to go outside
Do I hear whining? Go on YouTube and find a nice at home walking exercise video. (Or try beginner Zumba! They’re fun!)
I haven’t exercised in years
But you are reading this because you want to change this situation, right? And I’m happy for you! Walking is perfect if you want to get back in shape.
Start at a moderate level. It means you walk at a speed that allows you have a conversation.
In a couple of weeks, start walking faster, like you can still talk but have to take a breath mid-sentence.
Few more weeks later you can increase your speed a bit more.
Congratulations, you’re doing it!
I have arthritis and my knees hurt
Okay, it is a very valid excuse. Arthritis is horrible and makes every movement painful when you have a flair-up. But research shows that regular exercise do improve the quality of life for people with arthritis and helps to stay active and independent.
Tips you can try:
walking in water or swimming
anti-inflammatory diet to help you space out the flair-up
It’s okay, you don’t have to kill yourself! If done regularly, moderate exercise will help you to manage your weight, your stress level, your eating habits and give you the cardiovascular health boost you need. Just take it easy! If you are worried about your joints, try walking in water, swimming or biking, these are all easy on them.
I’m not as young as I used to be
Me neither. It’s too bad, isn’t it? But if you still can walk, even if with a walker, you can do it. Just start really slow and have someone with you if you can. A friend or neighbor maybe? And if you feel dizzy or short of breath, or anything hurts, stop and rest.
No more excuses!
See? Walking is an easy and effective workout you can start doing today. And keep doing it again and again to keep you healthy and fit.
How to start walking for a workout?
Equipment: One pair of comfortable shoes
Time commitment: 75-90 minutes weekly
Intensity: low to moderate to high
Scheduling: Find three or four 20-30 minutes time chunks in your week. Put the walking session in your calendar and treat it as priority.
Optional motivational coach: a medium-sized dog. He’ll get you walking all right! 🙂