4 Ways to Get Into the Right Mindset For Exercise

Fill it to the brim!

Fill it to the brim!

When you create the right mindset around working out, you can quite literally change your life!

There is so much more that goes into exercise than simply pulling on a pair of yoga pants, lacing up your shoes and tying back your hair. Lord knows there is so much more! There is the internal struggle, the ‘should I stay or should I go’ conversation, the good intentions only to ever so easily waver at the first sign of trouble…

What? I don’t have any clean socks? I can’t go out with dirty socks, that’s gross. Let me do a quick load and theeeeeen I’ll head out.

I’m hungry. Do I have to wait at least 30 minutes before exercising after eating? Or is that only with swimming? Well, either way, I don’t want to be all crampy and uncomfortable. I’ll eat now and try going later.

Ugh, I really need a pedicure. It’s been weeks and I only have time for one or the other… ugh, I can’t stand looking at my toes in the shower, pedicure it is!

You feel me right?

We can pretty much justify any reason whatsoever to avoid the pain of actually having to muster up the mental fortitude to work out. It’s mental warfare. It’s so easy to simply avoid it altogether. And many of us do just that. Avoid. Ignore. Put off for another day.

How do we stop the cycle??

Well, it’s actually not as difficult, or mind-bending as you would think. In fact, it’s as simple as changing the conversation you have with yourself and implementing a few strategies that will have you saying YES, it’s time for my workout, and NO to anything else!

1. Get clear on why you exercise.

Why do you do it? Why do you feel the need? Why do you think it’s good for you? Because it’s not all for naught. Nuh-uh. The release of feel-good hormones is reason enough for me to lace up and get my butt out the door. I know for sure I’m a much nicer person after working out. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, or a little depressed, or I’m struggling in some facet of my life, I make sure to get moving that day, (most especially on days like that!), because it gets me back to neutral.

Understand your why and make sure it fills a need.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Talk about taking the wind right out of your sails. Do you really think it’s effective, or empowering to put yourself up against some random skinny chick you happen to come across on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you hang out? Do you find yourself saying, “Man, I’d love to have her body.” And you realize you’re saying that with a deflated tone as if your inner child were speaking to you. You’re not filled with joy and enthusiasm when thinking that. That voice reeks of disdain and disappointment in yourself and makes you feel plain old lousy. Not the inspiration you need.

Leave the comparing where it belongs… in the trash. And then get your big girl pants on. Talk to yourself like you love yourself. Fill your mind with positivity. Stop comparing. When you feel yourself starting to do it, replace it with a simple, “I love myself” (even if it makes you cringe at first. Do it enough and it will get easier, I promise!) 

3. Feel your vision and then set your plan into motion.

Vision boards are a great source of inspiration. They take what you’re thinking, all that stuff that’s firing away at lightspeed in your brain, and lays it all out before you so you can actually make sense of what you want and what you will achieve. People do this all the time when they want to move or change careers or fall in love. Why not do it then to achieve the health and wellness you want and deserve? 

But don’t fill your board with skinny models and unrealistic interpretations of what you think you want… like I said before, don’t use a pin-up model as someone to compare yourself with. 

Instead, think of the emotions you want to feel, like happy, joyful, content, excited, satisfied, or accomplished. You can want the flat tummy, firm arms, or a bootylicious bum, but I want you to focus on how that is going to make you feel in your body. Imagine yourself feeling happy with how you look. 

Better yet, imagine trying something new you’ve always wanted to try but fear managed to constantly get in the way. Maybe you’ve always wanted to attempt a triathlon, or rock climbing, or hiking the Grand Canyon, but you thought it impossible for you to accomplish. Take away the barriers and limiting beliefs you have about your abilities and feel how it would be to attempt those things. How does it make you feel? Really feel it. Let it get you excited. Focus on those feelings that are lifting you up and igniting a fire within. That’s what you want to put on your vision board! 

From there, you then create the action plan to achieve it because the plain truth is, you’re stronger than you think and you can accomplish more than you can imagine. Get out of your head and into your body!

4. Create your cue

This is probably the most important step for you to take.

Once you’ve got all the other steps lined up and are raring to get started, you need a cue.

Your cue is your trigger which sets your new routine in motion. Because without a new routine, all the excitement, good intentions and determination will fade away, leaving you feeling defeated and frustrated. As it has in the past.

But we’re done with that. This time will be different because you. are. prepared!

It took me a long time to figure this whole “cue” thing out, and once I realized that a simple cue could get me in the right mindset, without any internal banter back and forth of should I or shouldn’t I, everything changed.

I use my workout clothes as my cue. Pretty darn simple. All I have to do is put them on. That’s it. Every day, same time, same cue. Works wonders!

If you can eliminate the conversation in your head and let the cue be your guide, you will save yourself so much time and energy. Cue leads to routine leads to reward. It’s the habit loop and to create any change in your life, it needs to become a habit.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. - George Washington Carver

Stop entertaining the internal conversations that create the excuses. Use your cue, everyday!


Freebie “Fun”sheet!

If you implement these four mindset changes today and begin to take massive action toward achieving your goal, I’m gonna tell you right now you’ll be met with such motivation that working out will never be a dull and burdensome task again.

And to help you get started, I have a funsheet for you to fill out. Do yourself a huge service by printing this out, and take the time to fill in the answers. This little exercise will help to strengthen your follow through muscle!

Download you funsheet here!

And if you do try these three changes, let me know! I always love to listen and learn from you so please leave a comment below. The more I know about you, the more I can help!

Tips To Control Your Eating (When You Can't Control Yourself!)

Learn how to tame the inner food beast and eat happily

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Hangry: bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

When hangry comes to my house, it’s best to just hand over the potato chips and step aside. Grabbing at absolutely anything is the name of the game and attempting to intervene will only make you vulnerable to my hangry’s wrath. 

I’m a beast when I’m hangry. No one, including myself, enjoys or wants to participate in the behavior, but I’m not the driving force here. I try to ignore it and continue on with my work, as if the beast could be ignored.

Calming the beast

Sometimes when things get to this point, you've swayed too far into the darkness and relinquishing your power will require brute strength and a rock solid Deepak Chopra mindset. 

Tip: Preparedness can help you when you do reach that level. It will ensure that when you do go Incredible Hulk on your pantry, you have in there a few healthy choices that are easy to smash and grab. Prepare for the beast and you shall conquer it. 

When it comes to dieting, ease up on the dieting

Even the mere mention of the word diet sends me into panic mode. I was never a dieter, I never wanted to diet because I hated the thought of having to say no to myself… I simply always wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. 

Considering the world is not perfect, my flawed thinking about dieting clearly needed to be altered. 

So go a’changing is what I did, but I did it in the most nondramatic way I could think of, and this is what you need to hear if you’ve hung with me thus far. 

The 80/20 Rule

There is an 80/20 rule out there that pertains to life and it claims that if you follow this rule, it can change your life for the better. 

I’m certain you‘ve heard of this rule, yet I ask you to think again about adopting this method into your life. It makes sense and is a practical tool to have in your weight-loss arsenal.

Takes the thinking out of dieting

Eat clean 80% of the time, and go hog wild the remaining 20%. You’re not counting calories, or eliminating an entire category of foods. You’re not freaking out, engaging in tearful good-byes to chocolate, or pouring out every last bottle of wine. 

Let’s break this down and look at its benefits.

Let’s say you’re eating about five small meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two small snacks in between), that’s 35 times you’re making a conscious effort to put a decent amount of food into your mouth per week. 

80% of that is 28. So 28 times you’re going to choose from the healthy menu. You’re going to do your veggies, and your lean protein or plant protein, and maybe perhaps a grain. Berries and seeds and nuts are your go-to snacking buddies (who will help calm the hangry). 

You’re going to decide to save the cheese and crackers for your 20%, which equates to seven. Seven times you get to put whatever the hell you want to put into your belly. 

That’s not so bad when it comes to thinking about dieting. Because dieting sucks and it shouldn’t be a thing. Living well and eating right (your 80%) while enjoying the moderate amount of junk (your 20%) sounds like something I can sign up for and not dread the weigh-in. 

Having a little wiggle-room in your diet helps you mentally when faced with the challenges of losing weight and eating right. 

No one wants to deprive themselves, and if you do you can be pretty certain that you’re going to cave to the crave sooner or later and getting back up on that diet horse will be even more difficult. 

Tip: Giving yourself some wiggle-room still lets you enjoy the things you crave without having to go on a junk food bender that leaves you horrified at how much crap you can eat, guilt-ridden and feeling like a failure. 

This is how to make a lifestyle change that you can adhere to. It gives you control because really you only have to “control” yourself 80% of the time. The rest, well that’s up to you!


5 Tips on How To Begin and Commit To a Workout Routine... That Sticks

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One of the most difficult things about working out is committing and staying motivated. You start off strong, filled with excitement and motivation and visions of grand accomplishments. You’ve purchased the new clothes, joined the gym, and you’re into it… for about a week.

Then the excuses come. And they come. Easier and easier, day after day, they begin to slowly take over. Your enthusiasm dies a slow death and you find yourself saying you’ll get to it, just not right now. Tomorrow. Or later in the week. Maybe.

Slowly your commitment fades further and further into the darkness, unlikely to resurface anytime soon.

This very common phenomenon can be remedied, it is possible to get into the flow of a routine, you simply have to be willing to ask yourself a few simple questions:

  1. How willing am I to change up my routines?

  2. How confident am I in my abilities?

  3. What activities do I enjoy?

If you’re not open to new activities, new ways of doing things or beginning a new routine, how do you plan to implement your new goal of losing 20 pounds?

If you lack the confidence in your abilities to follow through and be successful, how are you going to rise above the mental challenges that you will inevitably face?

If you think you should join a gym but the thought makes you cringe, how do you plan to muster up the mental fortitude to show up there every day? If you don’t enjoy the activity, there is no way you can summon up the excitement to follow through.

These are questions you need to ask yourself if you’re serious about creating change. And to lose weight, a change in your routine is a must!

How to commit and stick with a fitness routine

Motivation is helpful and it will generally get you to up your fitness game, but it’s tricky. It too is like a workout. You need to show up every day and be your own cheerleader.

Motivation wanes quickly so you need to be strategic about how you find and reinforce your motivation on a daily basis.

This, in turn, is what will help to make the commitment part a little more easy and consistent.

How do you get yourself to be excited about the motivation side as well as the working out?

These are some things I’ve implemented in my life that have helped me in the past to work hard and keep reaching toward achieving my goals.

Tip #1: Photos don’t lie folks! I know many people cringe when they hear this but taking a “before” photo can really be a motivational force. It lays out before you what you’re dealing with but also provides sound measurement when you begin losing weight. You can see the changes! Anytime I feel like I’ve eased up on my fitness routine, I grab my phone, get down to my sports bra and take a pic. It’s the only way I can really see my progress over a long period of time.

Tip #2: Find something you truly enjoy. A while back I started taking cardio kickboxing and I loved it because it made working out super fun. That turned me on to spinning classes, which got me to purchase a Peloton bike which I love! Once you begin doing something you truly enjoy, it can open up all sorts of pathways to fitness. My husband and I also began playing squash together. It’s definitely a difficult game but we have a great time playing with each other, so much so that it doesn’t even feel like working out.

Tip #3: Sign yourself up for an event. Like running a 5k or 10k. Having an event to train for is a fabulous motivator and will make excuses harder to swallow. Especially if you tell your friends and family what you are doing, they will be there to support you… and you don’t want to let them down. There are all sorts of fun runs, trail runs, cycling events, tri- and biathlons that you can find around your city. The key is to keep it fun, and you may wind up addicted!

Tip #4: Train with a friend. This one is a massive motivator that makes working out all the more fun! When I belonged to a gym, I had a friend I’d meet once a week and it made getting through the workouts so much more enjoyable. We were there to push each other, come up with creative workouts, and laugh.

This also works with a class. Once you find an instructor you like, they’ll keep you moving and motivated because they love doing that for their class! You simply can’t lose with the buddy system.

Tip #5: Reward yourself! This is a fabulous idea. Rewards are little motivators that can help you work through any excuse that pops up. I use the star reward system on myself (it’s not just for kids!) Every day I work toward my goal, I give myself an emoji thumbs up on my calendar. That little, teeny, tiny “reward” makes me feel so good when I can look over the past month and see all those thumbs up looking back at me! It makes me feel proud and gives me the motivation to keep moving forward so as to not “break the chain.” (And even if I do break the chain, I pick right back up the following day — I don’t let my inactivity linger because to me that means something isn’t right and it needs my attention quickly.)

These are just a few tips that have worked extremely well for me in the past. I know they are effective and can help you when you feel you’re lacking the commitment and motivation.

There are so many more ways to motivate yourself, you just have to figure out what works for you and will help you to be successful. You’ve taken the first step in starting a program, now it’s all about the follow-through. You can do it if you set your mind to it and keep the motivation flowing!

What strategies have helped you in the past when you’re feeling stuck?

Thanks for reading :)

How To Stay In Shape While Traveling: The 3 Best (and Easily Packable) Pieces of Fitness Equipment You Need to Take With You

Who the hell wants to work out while on vacation? This is a terrible idea for an article because I am right there with the naysayers. Vacation is my time! I am off from all the responsibilities of life, of motherhood, of the business of being in shape and helping others get into shape. I want to be off! From it all.

But who am I kidding… we can never be off. We’re moms. We’re dads. We’re responsible adults who no longer vacation at the stud-studded Jersey Shore, or it’s cross-country equivalent (which would be??? Is there anything that can compare to the cheese of the Jersey Shore?)

We’re not in our 20’s anymore — at least I’m far from it and I no longer bounce back the way I used to after a vacation of over-indulgence.

So even though I like to break out of the routine every now and then, I also know that when I do, getting back into it is really, really difficult. Thus, there is no point. I travel, I take fitness equipment that can travel with me. (Also because I tell my clients to do that, and no one wants to be a hypocrite… right?)

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How To Workout In Your Hotel Room

Or Airbnb, or in-laws, or wherever it is you’re traveling to. These pieces of fitness equipment work the same no matter where you are.

We’re heading up to Canada for our break, and snow, along with sub-zero temperatures, I am not a fan of! It’s been years since I’ve strapped on a pair of skis… I don’t even think helmets were a requirement last time I went. But our kids have to learn (because why? I don’t know, that’s just what we think we need to be doing along with all the over-scheduling of sports, play dates, and therapy).

I’m kidding. We actually don’t over-schedule our kids, send them on play dates (have you seen how they behave in public?) or have them in therapy.

However we may want to reconsider therapy, but then again I grew up in the latchkey era and I turned out just fine… watching General Hospital and eating Fluffer-nutter sandwiches on Wonder Bread every day after school… by myself. I’m totally fine. No resentment. No anger. Just totally fine…

Anyway, back to Canada. We’ll be there while many of you will be in a tropical paradise and I would simply like to state that while in such warm weather, take a moment and send some warm vibes the way of Canada, where foolish people put metal planks on their feet and slide down big hills in freezing temperatures.

Thanks.

Back to the fitness and getting it done while on vacation. Here’s what you’re going to need…

  1. Hip & Booty Bands. Yes! The booty bands are a thing and they’re amazing at making it even more difficult to do a squat. (Not a good selling point I realize but we all want firmer booties right?) They are so light and easy to pack you may forget that they’re in your suitcase. These little booty bands work to make your bodyweight exercises that much more challenging. Step into a band and perform a squat, lunge, side skater, side step or isometric plank hold with your legs pulling away from center and you’ll understand in a flash how you just increased the intensity. Perfect for travel, and for booty firming! (And if you don’t know what these are, just go right on over to Amazon and type in “Booty bands”. You’ll be overwhelmed with options.)

  2. Jump rope What a great way to fit cardio in with your resistance training, and they take up practically no room in your suitcase. Do two resistance moves (with your booty bands) and then throw in 90 seconds of jumping rope to increase your caloric burn for one circuit. Repeat until you have done at least three circuits and you’ve got yourself a great workout that will make that sunset margarita feel all the less guilty.

  3. Running shoes. I know this one is totally obvious and somewhat of a cop-out but there really is no getting around it. Run, walk, climb the stairs… none of these can be done in flip-flops or snow boots, so you really need to pack your sneaks. Think of it as a great way to get out there and mingle with the locals!

With all the planning and preparations that go into getting ready for a vacation, it’s important to remember to pack items that will help you to keep up your fitness routine. This way, when you get back you’re not overwhelmed or feeling guilty for the time you spent away from working out. These three small and easy-to-travel pieces of fitness equipment can keep you in shape and on track. Even if the last thing you wanted to do was exercise while on vacation. (We all have to do things we don’t want to do! Mom-ism #143)


What is your exercise routine when traveling around this great big world? Or do you not have one? What’s the motivation for you to keep up with your fitness? I’d love to hear your tactics if you have any!

How To Realistically Achieve Your Goals

This Method Had Changed My Life!

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I finally figured it out. It took me about 20 years, but by gosh by golly, I have finally figured out how to set and achieve my goals.

Turns out, it’s not my kid's fault. It’s not my high school teacher’s fault. I can’t even (really) blame my parents. I can only look at myself and think “A-ha!” It’s me.

I’m the one who keeps getting in my way. I’m the one who keeps telling myself that I can’t do this, or I can’t do that, because of one excuse or another.

Turns out, I have let excuses run my life. And these excuses have become habitual without me even realizing it.

Habits Create Your Future Experiences

What we do on a consistent basis creates our experiences in life. These habits we’ve formed over time are our unconscious building blocks. Habits can be found in the way you go about your day, and in the way you face adversity, and even in the way you talk to yourself. I’ve managed to build my life around, on and inside my habits, and they’ve kept me from growing, experiencing more, and excelling.

Three areas in my life I can now see have been built on these habitual building blocks and it’s no wonder I’ve been struggling in these areas for years… it’s hard to change hardwired habits!

The first area I struggle with is creating a consistent workout ethic. (And I’m an in-home personal trainer! Shhhhh… don’t tell. I have the hardest time creating my own routine that I can show up for every day.)

Growing my business is another area in which I struggle mightily. Showing up there every day and being consistent is my downfall. I feel like an utter failure month after month when I veer off the “consistency” path. And when there are excuses at the ready (which I have a bunch of), I can point the finger away from me and towards everything else.

Not a good strategy.

The last area I can mark with a big fat “F” is my finances. I suck at saving money. My credit card debt has been my biggest nemesis since college when I got into $12,000 of debt. (And I can quite honestly say I have zero to show for that $12,000 — not even a decent handbag or memories of some lavish meal at a ridiculously overpriced NYC restaurant. What the hell was I spending my money is what I want to know.)

Debt, big or small, has always had me in its grip and I thought well hell, some people are just good with money, and some aren’t. I, clearly, am terrible at it.

Just another excuse.

When I look at these three areas together, it’s kind of painful! I’m in my 40’s and I shouldn’t be where I am. I don’t want to be where I am. I want to be over there… on the other side. Successful. Confident. Content.

But how?

How I Began to Achieve My Goals

It all began with a simple statement.

Framed for me to see every day at my desk!

Framed for me to see every day at my desk!


Today I will commit to doing 1% more.

Now that doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?

There is nothing alarming there. It’s a pretty straight forward action step.

Here’s the most important thing I discovered with that little statement.

I can do it.

I can give 1% more every single day.

And I am. I’m showing up. And I’m accomplishing more than I have in years. By simply giving 1% more effort each and every day.

It’s happening because I’m not over thinking things. I’m simply showing up and doing a little more. I’ve stopped the habitual practice of allowing my excuses to reign supreme when I’m trying to be consistent with something by asking myself this one question each day:

“How can I show up a little more today?”

If I can simply not overthink about what it is I intend to do (i.e. workout at home, write daily, save money) and instead just do it by giving my 1% effort, then it gets done. There is no thinking. It’s just doing. It’s not intimidating or creating resistance because the effort is small and doable.

1% more can mean a 15-minute workout. It can mean writing 500 words. It can mean socking away 10% from my paycheck. It can mean sitting with my kids a little longer to read another book. It can be me stopping what I’m doing to send a text to my husband that says I love you.

These are all things I can (and have) talked myself out of doing for one lame excuse or another. Life is hectic. I’m too tired. The house is a mess. Work is too stressful. So many easy excuses.

Excuses that became habitual. The reward these habits allowed was not having to deal with the fear of failure. After all, you can’t fail if you don’t really try, right? You can lament about how you wish things were different, but that is far removed from failure.

This non-intimidating idea of giving a 1% increase in effort has stopped my excuses in their tracks. It was as if a light went on and the mouse fell off the wheel.

Case in point: I finally paid off my credit card bill this month!! This is HUGE for me. As of this moment, I have a zero balance and guys let me tell you, that hasn’t happened in over five years.

In addition, I decided to keep track of how many nights I sat down in front of my computer to write by giving myself a little “thumbs up” emoji on my calendar (a quick and easy reward), and there are 19 little thumbs up looking at me from the month of January. Going from zero to 19 is an impressive step in the right direction.

And lastly, workouts from home are another 19 days out of 31. (Again, going from zero to 19 is something I will take.)

All because of a 1% increase in effort each day.

It stands to reason then that the less we think about creating positive changes in our lives, and the quicker we act before old habits kick in, then the more likely we will be successful.

Think less + Do 1% more every day = Achieving goals


I hope this was helpful to you and can give you the confidence to try just 1% more each day! Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re biggest challenges are when it comes to following through on your goals.

Thank you for reading!

How to Reduce Stress Naturally: 3 Strategies to Improve Your Health

Understanding how to reduce stress and anxiety can help you perform better in all areas in your life!

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Stress can pop up in a mere instant yet linger for years. And the effects it can have on your body are real and undeniable. Learning ways to manage and reduce stress can literally give you back your life.

Case in point, about a year and a half ago, my husband and I moved our little family out of our three bedroom apartment and into our first home. This was one of the most stressful times in my life because the apartment we were leaving was one I had lived in for almost 17 years! Guys, this was my happy place! It started out as my bachelorette pad that slowly morphed into our newlywed palace, and then into our cramped and crowded family abode.

After baby #2 we quickly realized these two boys needed a backyard (and we needed a sliver of our sanity back!)

Here’s the thing. While I thought I was prepared to leave my apartment, my body was not as convinced. From the moment, I mean the MOMENT we found the house we wanted to buy, my body revolted! I have never once experienced the pain, the ugly and the itching that eczema can produce on one’s body, but there it was, all over my legs. When this house popped up on the market and we knew we were going for it, my legs quickly reminded me that I do NOT do well with change! The nastiness that my body put on display was impressive. From my knees to my ankles, on both legs, were these red boils that itched like a mother!

I’ve never seen my legs so crusty, blotchy, and downright horrendous looking. The stress was literally taking over my body and it itched incessantly. I refused to go get pedicures until I could get it under control because it was so embarrassingly out of control.

I clearly was not ready to move (because change freaks me out!!)

I knew stress had come to visit me and it planned on staying awhile. That’s why I set out on discovering natural ways I could reduce stress and anxiety (because those two are BBF’s! If one comes to visit, the other is right there holding its hand, refusing to be dismissed). I had quickly realized that I needed to deal with this head-on, otherwise, it would simply take over, one limb, and one organ at a time! Facts were facts, we were moving and I had to figure out how to best handle the situation.

Here is what I came up with that proved to be the best ways to reducing stress for me. When you have a few strategies up your sleeve even that can provide you with some relief, especially when you just want to crawl under your covers for days. (And scratch the living daylights out of your legs!)

My hopes are that these three strategies can help you, even if it’s only for a moment… but then again, life is all about the moments, so you may as well try your best to make them as enjoyable as possible!

3 Ways to Reduce Stress

1. Lose yourself in music

This one is my favorite! I absolutely love putting on my headphones and tuning out the world around me. Sometimes it’s the best medicine. You get that guilty pleasure playlist going and something internal shifts. Your hormones start bopping to the beats and next thing you know you’re dancing around like Ellen not giving a sh*t. Happy tunes have the ability to turn it all around and I believe there is magic in music.

I’ve found that when I’m totally stressed out and incessantly focusing on all the crap that’s creating massive anxiety, I grab my headphones without even giving anything else another thought. I get into my Spotify and next thing I know Bonnie Tyler is “Holding out for a Hero”, and I know I’m gonna be ok.

It helps to create the space between stressed out and more stressed out. It’s that little window that you can stick your head out from and breathe in all the fresh air that’s there for the taking. Because when we’re in the midst of a stress attack, it’s as if you can’t breathe. And then you realize you’re struggling to breathe and it becomes this whole game of wanting to breathe more, but not being able to because you’re all seized up on the inside.

Take a music break. Create a little space. Save yourself.

2. Eat foods that naturally boost your mood

In times of stress it’s almost an automatic response to grab the most unhealthy kinds of food there is (Potato chips. Jelly beans. French fries. Ice cream. Pinot Grigio.). “ I’m stressed!!!!!!” is the universal excuse that no one questions. Everyone simply backs away, nodding their head in agreement.

If you haven’t done this yourself, then you’re simply not human. However, we know it’s a super short-term fix that is not doing you or your waistline any good. What you need to be doing is instead, is to go for a little fat.

Yes, have a little fat with your stress!

Omega-3’s have been shown in studies to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood. Your brain loves fat and it needs it to perform and function. So give it what it needs, not what it wants! (Yes, that whole carton of ice cream does sound amazing and it is filled with fat, but that’s the wrong kind, sugar!)

You’re better off going for the healthier options of salmon or avocado toast with an egg on top. You want to fill your belly with good foods that your body can use in times of stress. This will go a long way in keeping you healthy even when it feels like everything else is falling apart.

If we want to get into the nitty-gritty, eating foods that are high in tryptophan are your best bet when stress comes a knockin’! Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed for general growth and development, producing niacin, and creating serotonin in the body. (Yes serotonin! That’s the happy, feel-good hormone you need at times like these!)

A few foods you can stock up on are nuts and seeds, meats (all grass-fed and finished), chicken/turkey (organic), fish (wild-caught), eggs, beans, and lentils. Basically, you want to eat a healthy diet especially during times of high-stress. Resist the urge to dive into a bag of chips by acknowledging that that bag will only result in you feeling worse, about yourself! Stay healthy, stay hydrated, and stay guilt-free!

3. A little exercise every day

Number one stress reducer! I saved the best for last. (You knew this one was coming, right?)

What better way is there to get your happy hormones pulsating throughout your body than moving your body with purpose? (And playing your favorite music while doing it? OMG, killing it!) Get your body moving because exercise is the magic pill that you can’t get over the counter.

Did you know that exercise produces endorphins, which are nature’s natural painkillers? And it doesn’t cost you anything to access these endorphins. They’re FREE! You can go outside for a run. Walk up and down the stairs for five minutes. Have a dance party in your kitchen.

Release the tension and stress that is consuming you and you will find that you’ll feel lighter and more energized. Do it every day and soon the fog will clear and you’ll be dealing with life and its challenges with a stronger mindset.

That was how I dealt with getting through our big move, and I’m happy to report, my horrendous eczema completely receded back from whence it came about two months later, never to be heard from again.

Make time to take care of yourself, even if that means just sitting down and reading a book for a half an hour. Life will always present a challenge. It’s how you handle the challenge that helps you grow and learn.

As always, I’d love to hear from you! If you’re struggling with something, let me know how you’re handling it. What tactics do you employ when stress creeps in and begins to take hold?

3 Strategies to Get Mindful

My mantra mug!

My mantra mug!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this is some fluff piece about how we would all be better off if we took the time to meditate, journal, reflect, drink green juices and do yoga all live long day. Then we would all be happy beings with big emoji hearts in our eyes, without a care in the world.

And maybe you'd be right, maybe this post is exactly about that.

But does it really sound all that bad?

No, of course, it doesn’t. The bad part is it doesn’t exist. Or it can’t because this is the new tech world where no one has the time anymore to be self-indulgent. 

There are bosses that have us by the smartphones. There are kids activities that have infiltrated weekends, leaving family time that space between soccer, LAX, and baseball (it's called carpooling). And forget about home cooked meals... are you for real??

We’re all living in this madness and we’re all losing our sh*t because of it. Parenting is the new reality nightmare because of social media, and job security is being handed over to artificial intelligence as we speak. In order to make it, we either have to be scrappy and hustle our way through life, or we become one bad-ass renegade and reclaim what is rightfully ours.

Like living a more peaceful life with less stress. That’s all most of us want. And to be a little more happy doing it. 

There is simply too much info out there influencing our society, our environment, our thoughts, our behaviors, our moods and even our daily habits. (Check Instagram much?) 

In the wise words of Ice Cube, come on and chickity check yo self before you wreck yo self. 

Slowing things down so you can appreciate and enjoy life a little more doesn’t have to be this super self-indulgent practice where you lock yourself away for days, digging into your emotions and journaling your way through a lifetime of past experiences to unearth your meaning and purpose in this world. Banish such indulgences!

What we can do, starting today is something less intensive while still being effective and insightful.

It can take up to as little as 10 minutes a day. That's it. And the benefits are ten-fold that! For reals my dear, for reals.

We're all busy, but we can all find 10 minutes to slow it down. If not for ourselves then for our kids. Just think of the positive influence you'll have on your children when you do this. Their worlds are sooooooo much different than ours were way back when. It would benefit them tremendously to learn how to sit down and quiet the mind. If they can learn coping strategies from you, just think of how better off they will be in 20 years when technology is so advanced we'll be walking around with computer chips inserted into our brains, and no one ages! 

There is something tremendously useful to getting your kids in on the action, or just letting them see you do it. I get my 7-year-old to sit with me once a week for three minutes (well I sit, he flips and flops, looks this way and that - but he's quiet! And he's learning... because once in a blue moon he sits, palms placed on his knees with his eyes closed... for about 10 seconds. That's a BIG WIN where I come from!) I do this so I can teach my very anxious son how he can help himself when he begins to feel overwhelmed. 

So why not help ourselves to a practice that is free, takes minimal effort (sitting and closing your eyes) and can transform our perceptions, moods, and reality? It’s worked for millions of people for thousands of years and I truly believe that if you feel overwhelmed with life, this one little practice can help you appreciate, slow down and enjoy more of what life has to offer you. 

It may sound crazy but when you get into the habit of doing this, things seem to happen, or align, or balance out. I’m not sure how to describe it. But there is an energy behind it and once you get into the flow, the flow extends outward and things that seem coincidental are actually more serendipitous. It’s as if you created it. (Am I getting too far out there? I could be… but it’s truuuuuue!)

So let’s cover the strategies that are going to easily set you up so you can have your own practice that will allow you to become mindful, aware, and present in the moments as they arise in life. We need to know how to implement the action to really make a difference, so I'm giving you three strategies you can use today to get you sitting down and letting that sh*t go.

Step 1: Create your space.

This is a fun one! I love having a little space, and a little ritual, when I go to sit down. And trust me, I don't have a lot of space. I'm crunched between my bed and my closet and I sit on my bed pillow. But to make it feel a little bit more special, I light a candle that I keep by my bedside. It makes me feel like this is something more than plopping down on the floor and closing my eyes. You can decorate your space with anything that makes you happy. Maybe you have a favorite little knick-knack that you got on a fabulous trip somewhere that's just collecting dust up on a shelf. Pull it down and place it in front of you. Incense is also a fun thing and can really make you feel zen. I also play calming meditation music which helps me focus, and if I can't focus, then I just sit and listen to it. Any way you decorate your space it will be perfect and suited to you so have fun with it and make it feel special!

Step 2: Know your mantra.

I ain't gonna lie, thoughts are going to be zipping through your brain like wildfire! You're not going to be able to shut your brain down and you'll meander your way through your to-do list for the day, what needs to be made for dinner, what time do the kids need to be picked up and isn't it time for their dentist check-ups? Oh shit, I need to turn my brain off.

Here is where your mantra comes into play. Go back to it. Repeat it in your mind, and breathe. In and out. In and out. And don't stress over your mantra either. Keep it simple. Say "I'm grateful for all that I have" and repeat that. 

Step 3: Remind yourself it's a practice.

You're not going to be perfect at it from the get-go and you may not even feel the utmost benefit from it right away. You may walk away from the experience feeling a little underwhelmed. If you need a solid reason why you just "wasted" 10 minutes of your life then realize there are things going on "under the hood" that you're not totally aware of. Like how you just calmed down your sympathetic nervous system (which triggers anxiety, depression, tension, and fatigue), and geared up your parasympathetic nervous system that helps regulate your breathing, slows down heart rate, and decrease your blood pressure. You're also flooding your cells with life-giving oxygen.

There is always more going on beneath the surface than we realize so even though you may not have swept away your worries or anxieties, relish in the fact that your body is appreciative and relaxed. That's worth more than the running around and list making you could have done with those 10 minutes. 

Using these steps to create a practice that can change the way you see your world is a worthwhile cause, and a necessary one as this world is only going to get more crazed, more busy, and more overwhelming. It’s best to have a trick or two up your sleeve to help keep it all in check! And you can do it pretty much anywhere, even if you're sitting in your car in the pick-up line you can practice stillness and breathing.

Becoming mindful will provide benefits, you just need to be accepting and patient, and they will come.

Now I would love to hear from you! Do you have a daily practice? Or are you trying to stat one and you haven’t been successful? Leave a comment below and let me hear what’s working, or not working, for you. I’d love to help, and sometimes sharing can bring about a little clarity! 

How To Believe in Yourself: 3 Strategies to Rid Yourself of Negativity

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The saying goes, If you don’t believe in yourself then who will?

You know the old Louie Armstrong song, Noooooobuuuuudy knows the trouble I've seen. Noooooobuuuuudy knows my soooorrroooww. Ringing a bell? (Spaceballs anyone?!)

Ok, age aside (I'm feeling old) that song is a classic and at one point (or many) I'm sure we've all thrown a fab pity party centered around that exact theme. We're feeling low, knee deep in troubled waters, feeling under-appreciated and overwhelmed (hallooooooo motherhood, I'm talking to you!), and it's easy to let those feelings take over, which in turn cues that little voice in our heads that if left to their own devices can easily turn into a booming death metal song you can't get out of head! (WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU, DUN DUN DUN, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, DUN DUN DUN, YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH, DUN DUN DUN.... or something like that. Heh.)

Whatever the tune that plays in your mind, you do realize that those thoughts are there to undermine you, right? And you do realize that it's only your brain doing the job it was intended to do, right? When things get to be a bit too much, or we're feeling down and out about our situations, the human brain is designed to focus on what's going wrong in our lives and to basically freak out about it. It's been working that way for millions of years (so as to avoid death by lion feasting!), and although it would be a welcome change if it could slightly evolve so that we're all filled with joy and rapture all the time instead of shifting toward the negative, it did at one point serve a purpose. Now, however, these thoughts we have are actually helping to create depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and so much more. 

That's why it's so important to have a strategy when you're feeling low because it's so easy to stay there and wallow in it. But honey, life keeps moving and if you spend too much time wallowing in your "comfort zone", (because let's be honest, even though it doesn't make you feel good, there is some sort of pleasure you get from remaining there... if it didn't, you'd get out of there ASAP!), you're gonna miss a whole big part of life. For example, all the good parts!

Let's get strategizing then so we can get to the good parts of living!

Here's what I've started doing when I'm feeling low and so far it's been helping me get out of some major funks. But it's a work in progress and just when you think you have it all figured out, you fall prey. So be diligent and practice these steps often so they become second nature to you.

1. Recognize your strengths. Because baby you've got them! You have a gift that only you have and you need to know what that gift is. And it could be many! Think of what you're good at and write it down. Make a list. Write it out and place it where you'll see it always! You're special and you have something that no one else in this whole wide world has, and you need to know it, celebrate it, and cultivate it.

Are you good at sorting stuff? Talking to strangers? Creating time-saving short-cuts? Whatever it is, no matter how small you think it is, it's something unique to you and you need to understand it and own it.

Even better, ask your close friends and family what they think your strengths are, I bet you'll be surprised (happily!) at what they have to say. 

2. Understand your triggers. What thought, or action sets in motion the feelings of inadequacy, failure, or anxiety? What causes you not to believe in yourself? Is it a person, an activity, a recurring thought? How can you change your circumstances so you can avoid or lessen the strength of that trigger?

For me, it's my lack to plan out my days, which inevitably leave me feeling like I've accomplished nothing with the time I had for the day. Something simple like that has the ability to knock the wind right out of my sails. Once I realized that, it became simple to come up with a solution. Now I spend 15 - 20 minutes every morning after the kids have been dropped focusing on what I want to accomplish along with what needs I have to fulfill (like going to the grocery store, planning play dates and returning library books - things that easily fall by the wayside.)

Once I learned that this little practice turned around those feelings of not being able to get it all done, I actually felt accomplished at the end of the day... so much better than feeling defeated!

3. Always be kind to yourself. Ditch the negative talk! It serves absolutely no purpose but to bring you down. And the more you do it, the more your brain and body begin to fall into line and believe it even more. I tell my son when he says something negative about himself or even his little brother, that what he says will go up to the stars who hear him and send the message back down to him even stronger so that everyone around him will begin to believe it. (That's the best way I can describe the energy of the Universe to him, and he gets it and stops the pattern right then and there. Usually!)

If you keep telling yourself that you're not worthy, that you don't believe in your abilities or that things can't get better, what do you think is going to happen? Joy isn't going to come along unexpectedly and smother you. No way. Joy sees your dark cloud and understands there is no room for it there.

When you notice the negativity starting to come in, stop it in its tracks by saying one nice thing about yourself. And then put a big fat smile on your face even if it's killing you inside to do it! It will change the moment and then you can change the thought.

3a. Get Inspired! (This was a last minute add-on but I was feeling it so strongly I had to share!) Having something to work towards, something that gets your juices flowing will get you out of your funk fo' sure!

Get selfish and take time to pursue your passions, even if it's for 10 minutes a day. What would you want to do if you could do ANYTHING in the world? Be a savvy day-trader? Know three languages? Learn how to make a mean Soupe à L'oignon? Whatever it is, becoming inspired creates a fire inside that just won't die. It keeps you young, and motivated, and can open up new worlds. Challenge yourself to get inspired and you'll soon forget you're in a funk!

I believe in these steps so much so that I created a pretty little worksheet for you to print out so you can practice these methods for yourself to see how they really do work. You can download the worksheet here, and please give yourself a good 10 - 15 minutes to fill it out. The power of your own written words is pretty incredible so take advantage and keep this close at hand when completed. Refer to it as often as you need!

If you have any methods that you employ that help you to get out of your funk and start believing in yourself, you must share! I'd love to hear what you do, so comment below and I'll let you know if that's something I'll begin to do as well! (Sharing is caring!) 

Mindfulness Can Breed Positivity!

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It's time to get mindful.

Like really, really mindful. I'm talking like put on your big girl pants and don't be afraid to take a real hard look inside your brain to see what's going in. Chances are it's a little bit messy in there because of all those fears, irrational thoughts, and anxieties that are rolling around in there... they are the epitome of messy, and the antidote to all that is get mindful. 

Just like closets, your brain holds so much junk that it's almost bursting at the seams with all that information and chatter. Endless chatter. I must think the same thoughts over and over and over so many times in a day it should literally drive me over the edge. And some days it does. 

Think about this... what do you focus on each day? Is it your finances, or your lackluster office job? Is it all about food and what you're going to eat to help get you out of a bad mood? A challenging relationship? Your full to-do list with not one thing checked off? Are you always running around like a chicken without a head, zipping from one place to the next, never having a moment to yourself? Are you annoyed at others for the current state of affairs in your life? 
 
Slow your roll and take stock.

That's all you have to do when starting out on a massive cleaning project. Take a look at what you're working with, and see how it's affecting/creating your life experiences. I've begun to do this because I'm a big, old, fat worry-wort and prone to anxiety, so I decided to try and figure out why I always feel overwhelmed, unfocused and lacking the energy to accomplish the things I want to do.

Ah, the age old question of WHY?! To be honest, I haven't an answer yet... but, on the flip side, I'm learning SO MUCH about myself. Like, I need to stop feeling like I'm not good enough (because no one has ever said to me, Hey Anne Marie, you really stink at being good enough!) Why am I saying it to myself?! Why do I feel the social pressure to be the perfect mom? Why can't I take it easy on myself?

Beware though, it's a bit of a mindf*ck when you start asking yourself questions about why you do and think certain things. You sometimes find there are no valid reasons. (And you've been wasting your time. And energy. For nothing!) That's actually a really cool side effect because it enables you to then free up that space for all the other good stuff, like taking care of yourself!

So this is why I'm asking you to start asking "why?". Why are you thinking about a certain thing, and how is that directly affecting how you encounter and interact with the people and circumstances around you? Get that notebook out (you know that one that's so cute you just had to have it! It was going to change the way you did things, it was going to help you to become more organized, thoughtful, and mindful. We all have that cute notebook so dust it off girl, it's time to start using it!), and jot down a few things that are trolling around in your brain. Start asking why, what supports that thought, and how can you change it to begin to help you feel empowered, instead of downright defeated. 

I bet you will be surprised at some of your answers.

Asking empowering questions are the key to changing and altering your conscious train of thought. Take control, start paying super close attention to where your thoughts take you, and turn them around if it's getting to be a little too dark in there. Empower yourself, love yourself, be kind, and smile. You are better than good enough and it's time you started to understand that!

I'd love to hear from you about what you discover! Leave a comment below and let's get the conversation started. We grow when we share and I would LOVE to grow my tribe with your help!

So answer me this: Ask yourself what do you love MOST about yourself. See what pops up. (i.e. Is it positive thoughts, or is it something more like, "Hmmmm... I don't know, I never thought of asking myself that, I don't have an immediate answer"?) 

3 Mindless Eating Habits You Can Stop Today!

Trust me, there are more than three, but I'm all about sizable chunks when it comes to processing/trying new things... and anything in three's is pretty doable so let's get to it lassy, weight loss isn't coming anytime soon unless we start getting busy!

1. Curb your nibbling!

A little tiny bite here, a small taste there, a small sweet treat because you deserve it... are all really bad ideas! Like really, really bad. I know it's not something you want to hear but you don't have to let it get your knickers in a wad. I'm nit-picking here because whatever you're doing, it ain't working sister. So I'm getting down to the nitty-gritty and I'm really pulling the rug out from underneath because I want you to make the small changes that are going to make the BIG changes!!!!

You mindlessly eat and it's a habit you don't even realize you have. (I do it too! And when I need to reign things in, this is where I begin. Why? Because it's simple.) All you have to do is... stop. Pay attention. Pay attention as if your kids are playing on the street. Be that vigilant. That aware. You can hear a car turn the corner three blocks away when your kids are playing in the street. You're up and already waving your hands for them to move aside, leering down the road watching the car come closer and closer. I want you to be THAT vigilant.

You know when you're looking for something to nibble on. You can see it coming a mile away. You're already thinking about it, sitting there in your cupboards, waiting to be snatched up. You're gonna totally going for it because it's little. It's harmless. It doesn't count. (Roaches are little too... but if you saw one of those bad boys you'd probably freak the eff out!) 

No matter how small, stop the mindless eating. If you're serious about losing weight, and I think you are, quit the snacking, plain and simple.

2. Don't ever wing it.

EVER. You need a plan and that plan will set you free (from your belly!) If you take a good, solid 15 minutes on whatever day works best for you, (I don't care if it's morning, noon or midnight!) create a solid meal plan. It doesn't have to be for the whole week, it can simply be for the next two days. Write out what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first day and then eat repurposed leftovers for the next day. Boom. Two days planned so you're never caught with a grumbling belly and no plan. Because that's when it's a free for all my friend. That's when the damage happens. Too many episodes like that and you're not feeling fab in your bathing suit. 'Nuff said. 

Take the time to meal prep... it will actually save you calories!

Take the time to meal prep... it will actually save you calories!

3. Quit it with the grains.

Just stop. Don't believe the hype. You don't need a grain for dinner anymore. It's like we've turned into grain-bots and automatically make a grain each night to accompany our protein and veg. Why does dinner need to be a protein, a carb, and a grain?? Veggies are carbs! Aaaaaaaaannnd here's the kicker... a carb that is a veggie has more fiber than a grain. Why is that important to know? Because not nearly enough of us get enough fiber in our diets and if you want to lose weight, well then you best up your fiber intake my dear. Fiber up! For dinner, make yourself a slew of veggies, I'm talking leafy greens, roots, sweet, sour, colorful, you name it and you should eat it! Who got fat from eating veggies?! NO ONE! (It's all the other crap that got them fat!) 

Test it out.

Try to set aside a week and test out these three simple ways to stop mindless eating. It doesn't have to be hard, you just have to put the time in (see #2 for that!) If you begin with the small things, the bigger things become more doable and you will really begin to start seeing results. 

But take a week, commit, and notice the difference.

And please don't be offended by my tough love! It really is love, and it's all really worth experimenting with, I promise! If after a week you don't feel like it worked for you, then try something new. Share with me what's working and what's not. I guarantee we can come up with a plan (with a side of tough love) that can work for you ;)

Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear if you've noticed any mindless habits that you do and if you have been successful in turning them around.

Meditation for Temper Tantrums

 I meditate so that my mind cannot complicate my life ~ Sri Chimnoy (BINGO! This guy nailed it!)

I KNOW you've all had a morning like the one I've had. I'm not special, I know that. I'm just like every other mom out there who, at certain times, actually tip-toes around their children so as to not set off that completely irrational, totally out of left field, Defcon-5, temper tantrum.

I swear, the more you avoid it, fear it and tip-toe around it, the more they sense it and immediately explooooooooood into alien beings. They become a whirlwind of legs and hands flailing all over in rapid motion. It's a sight to behold. 

Did I really give birth to an alien? Who in their right mind would sign up for this? No one told me that children could turn into something out of the Exorcist and that some (most) of my days would start off with me standing in a pool of my child's tears! (Completly irrational ones to boot.)

Except for this morning, the tears were all mine. Huge, fat, snotty tears.

And here I am, reeling from the latest mega temper tantrum, trying to figure out how I can survive motherhood. (Seriously, for unsuspecting mom's to be, we really should rethink the phrase 'Terrible Two's' and replace it with something totally more accurate, like "Armageddon Two's, Three's, Four's and beyond!" If you can survive it and come out on the other side as one, mentally capable, socially functioning, happy human being, then baby, you're gonna be A-OK!)

If your mornings sound in any way shape or form like mine, then God bless sister, I'm happy you're here! And if I may impart some wisdom, I've been experimenting and I may be able to help.

All this mediation and mindfulness is not for nothin'!

Pardon my French, but this sh*t works! If you're not on the meditation bandwagon yet, then you need to pony up my friend because this literally could save your sanity. (And tears. Lots and lots of tears!) I've become addicted to it and I swear, if you give it the good old college try, really tune in to what's going on inside your head (and outside - because there is a big old world out there - way bigger than the one we usually reside in), you will get space. And space is essential. We all covet our personal space and when we feel encroachment coming on, our 2 million-year-old brain is thinking Can I fight this? Can I outrun this? Or should I freeze right here and hope they don't see me anymore?! 

Before your caveman brain can enter into the equation, meditation allows for that space before your reaction hits the ground running and there's no turning back! Given space, one can actually react calmly, rationally, and in a totally acceptable adult manner. It's astounding!

The benefits of meditation far outweigh any sideways glances you might get at your next playdate, or PTA meeting when chatting up other moms. (This is actually a great way to weed out any Negative Nellies out there - keep them and their half empty glass at arms length.) And the way to incorporate it into your day is simple. Let me show you the way!

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  1. Find a little spot. It doesn't have to be big, it can be super small, small enough to fit you and ONLY you! It's a kid-free, hubby-free, pet-free zone. This spot is somewhere where you can be alone, and space out. 
     
  2.  Once you find a little nook, sit down. I use a little pillow as a prop to help open up my hips if I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor (criss-cross applesauce!) Hands are on my knees, palms face up and I'm as upright as I comfortably can be. 
     
  3. Close your eyes and breathe. I usually begin with the 4-7-8 breath, very common and very helpful to relax into your seat. I do 4 breathing rounds of that and then do regular, conscious breathing.
     
  4. Now this step may be weird but it totally helps put things into perspective for me, making sure I feel super insignificant - but in a good way!

    Once you're pretty relaxed (and beginning to get all into your to-do list - it will happen, just politely tell yourself to quit it), begin to envision that you're up in space - no space costume required or big astronaut helmet. You're happily sitting up in space in your comfy yoga pants and you're looking down on earth. There, rolling around before you is all of North America, South America, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, even a few parts of Europe, your view is expansive and wide.

    Then think about all that living that is going on at that moment in all those far away places. There is TONS of life going on, people coming and going, shopping, eating, sleeping, working, endlessly moving.

    SIt with that for a little bit. 

    Next, try to find where you are in all of that. Notice how much you have to zoom in to even find your state, then your city, then your neighborhood, then your house, and then you in the house. That's a long journey! Sit with that.

How many temper tantrums did you pass on your way to zooming in? Probably a million! 

This whole visualization (done while performing some good belly breaths) can take you as little as 7 minutes, and it's a game-changer, I swear! And this is just one small simple way to experience it. Other times I work on cultivating massive amounts of self-love since I lack it. Or I work on creating laser-focus on what I want to see in my life.

When I want to feel less fear, I head to the floor. I want to feel as though I'm above it all and working at a higher frequency, I head to the floor. It's not an ego thing, it's actually the opposite. By sitting and breathing, I'm kicking the ego to the curb for those moments. 

Think of it literally as a grounding experience and a way for you to actively and consciously elevate your current state of mind, because the truth is, if you can elevate your mind, which in turn elevates your emotions, your perceptions, and your reactions, then you've hit rockstar status and ain't no temper tantrum going bring you down! In fact, you can waltz right through it without even realizing it's going on. Spiritual sanity! 

So bring on the Armageddon Two's (and three's, four's, five's and six's!) 

Now I'd love to hear from you and if this is a practice you already use, or if it's a new thing and you're not really sure if it will work for you? What's holding you back from making it a practice? Comment in the section below, I would love to hear from you!

How To Get Out of Your Own Way: 3 Ways to Stop Self Sabotaging Yourself

Every now and then it gets me. The funk. The self-sabotaging. The completely wrong way to go about my day. 

Some days I have no answer for why I feel so blah, or why can't I get it together, or why I just lost my sh*t with my kids/spouse/co-worker/unsuspecting victim who happened to be in my vicinity. It just happens. And I feel cruddy. And what sucks, even more, is that it's easier to remain in this funkified state rather than challenging it or attempting to do the work that needs to be done in order to get out of it. (Sounding familiar??)

We all crash into our funks sooner or later and when those moments arise, we have a choice to make. We can either willingly wallow in it and all its messiness, or we can take a deep breath, put on our big girls pants and make the decision to go from funkified to glorified. (The latter being the more annoying yet proper, big girl approach even though sometimes all you really, really, really want to do is be mad at the world, and the people, and the circumstances! I feel you. But that's really a lot of wasted energy - and we all know it is. Wah!!!!)

Once you've given yourself permission to say Ok, this sucks, I'm in a funk and I hate everyone! you can begin to turn it around. There are a few simple things you can do to help tackle the problem, get yourself motivated, and begin to make the move from funk, to motivated and gettin' sh*t done! 

First, it would help if you didn't:

1. Take on the whole kit and kaboodle. Whether it's losing 30 pounds, deciding on what you want to do with your life, or how you go about fixing a relationship gone haywire, the tactics are the same. You need to GET CLEAR on your goals. Like super-duper, crystaly-clear on what you want to accomplish without taking on everything at once. Us girls tend to feel like we need to tackle everything head-on, without taking a moment to breathe, think or react. It's simply go, go, go all the time, and at the end of the day, we're 1/2 bottle in, Instagramming, texting, ignoring the immediate world around us because we've got nothing left at that point. We're spent and bitter! And then we get up the next day and hit "repeat".

That's why we need to get clear.

Grab a pen and just start dishing girl. Write it all down, each and every last thing you want to accomplish, or how you would like to feel. Emotions run our lives, so it's best to get clear on them! It can be for today, for next week, a year from now, five years from now... just write it all out.

And then go back. Read it. Study it. Get to know it. Dance with it for a little bit. Get comfy and cozy in it. And then start picking at it. In fact, pick three accomplishments (or emotions) for starters. Just three because it's time to prioritize. From those three, go down to two. Again, dance with them for a little, try them on, see how they feel, how they look. Once you've done that, I want you to then pick one. JUST ONE.

Clarity alleviates anxiety and fear.

It creates laser-focus. If you're laser-focused on your goals and you know the first, simple step that you have to take, it's so much easier than wading into the murky waters of your sub-conscious where all sorts of uncertainty, misguided beliefs, and general ickiness resides. 

Decide what is it you're looking to accomplish, or how you want to feel (ie, loved, confident, successful). Limit your to-do list to one thing and let that become your focus. 

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Next, you're going to have to:

2. Take action as soon as it's humanly possible. There is NO WAY sitting down, contemplating, rehashing, shaming, excuse-making will help you AT ALL at this point. The only thing you can do once you decide to do something is to take action. I know I said clarity alleviates anxiety and fear, and while it does, action alleviates anxiety and fear even more! 

You may fear the first step but once you take that leap, your fears stay behind. They have no faith, they have no wings, and they have no use for you when you decide to abandon them. So figure out your first actionable step and for the love of bunnies and rainbows, take that first step. Just do it. Don't even give yourself time to talk yourself out of it. Go, jump, fly!

And if you fall flat on your face...

Don't get discouraged. Simply change the story you're telling yourself in your head. Just change it. You're not pathetic, you're not destined to be where you are, you're not a loser who can't follow through with anything... whatever the conversation you're having, whatever the disappointment may be, the way it's making you feel isn't helping.

3. Change your language.

And again, start small and simple. Go from I don't have the willpower to keep this up to something more helpful like, This is a simple case of mind over matter, and I will not let my own thoughts be a stumbling block for me!

When you practice this over and over again, I promise it will get easier to follow and you'll notice you're in less and less of a funk.

I've been practicing these tactics throughout the past year as our family transitioned through a move, (which left me ignoring my business and focusing all my time and energy on our kids—making sure they felt safe, comfortable and happy in their new surroundings, not to mention dealing with my own moving issues!), and they have helped me tremendously. I decided to get clear on my goals and change the stories I tell myself, which has allowed the energy around me to shift in all sorts of positive ways.

Remember to keep your goal at the forefront. That means writing it down so you can see it often. We assume we won't forget and the inspiration and motivation we feel at the goal-setting moment won't diminish or fade because it feels so freaking good to be so centered and focused. But we all know, it fades, it diminishes, and it sometimes simply crashes and burns all on its own like a little shooting star. So sad. So write it down and look at it every day. Every. Freaking. Day. Got it? Good.

My dear, there is nothing you can't accomplish with that beautiful mind of yours! 

Now I'd love to hear from you! What's your personal way of dealing with the self-sabotaging funk? Do you find yourself wallowing in it for days? Or are you able to turn things around quickly? I'd love to hear your tactics!

I Hate Exercising... How Can I Make It More Enjoyable?!

I hear this question a lot. Like a lotta lot. It could be argued that it's a common theme among the entire human race. There are those few outliers I've come across however, and even I look at them a little-cockeyed thinking they can't be for reals. Like c'mooooooon, nobody likes exercise that much. But there is something to be said for them... they make it look easy. They make it look... enjoyable! So how do they do it?

I won't even go into the obvi reasons why exercise can be enjoyable (i.e., increased metabolism, muscle repair and growth, endorphins flowing through your body delivering happy cells to the brain), everyone knows it, and they don't want to hear it. Fair enough.  

So let's do a little digging and find the right motivation that can enjoyably get your butt into gear.

1. Stop having the back and forth conversation.

Should I go? Should I stay? Should I skip today and go tomorrow? Should I go to the grocery store instead?

These kinds of conversations need to stop. They're energy suckers and time wasters, neither of which you have an excess amount to spare! Get yourself in order by planning out your week so you no longer have to invest in these types of unmotivating conversations. Decide how you want your week to look (i.e., I want to workout three times this week), plan it, and commit. It's that simple. 

Don't overthink it. Simply state it and do it. This saves you from the endless chatter that will ultimately exhaust you and make the process all that more unenjoyable. It simply takes up a whole lotta time that you just don't have sista. 

2. Ditch the excuses.

This goes right along with number 1 but I think it deserves its own mentioning. This is another conversation you should not be having with yourself. How easy is it to go into your excuse bin and talk yourself out of going? It's too easy! I'm so tired, I don't have the energy today, I'm too stressed and stretched thin for time, blah blah blah. 

Don't cheat yourself. When you decide to go, and commit to going, there is no room for excuses. Ditch 'em. Pack them up and toss them in storage!

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3. Get your sneaks on. Just put them on. I don't care if you're in your pajamas. Put. Them. On. (You can take your pajamas off over the shoes.) What this simple action does is set your plan in motion. It's a small action that sends a big message to your lazy brain. It says these feet are ready to go, so get up, get dressed and let's get moving! 

4. Try something new. Go check out that class you've been telling your friends you've been wanting to try out (for mooooooonths) but haven't yet. Now that you have your shoes on and your excuses have been stowed away, you can get on your merry way. So go and don't look back. Nobody needs you here. We need you there. GO!

And if that class isn't much to your liking, then go and try a new one. There are new classes, new fitness hot spots, new trends popping up all over, all the time. Trying new things is also the best way to train your body while keeping it guessing (so no fear of plateauing!) You'll be doing leg and core work in a spin class, and stretching, and abs in a reformer class, and flowing through moves in yoga while getting your zen fired up. Try them all! I bet you'll meet some pretty cool chicks along the way too that are just like you.. women looking for a little connection, a little space to be social, and a cool spot to get in shape. 

You could even be a fitness renegade by staring your own fitness group. Host a gaggle of your girls and hire a trainer to come to your house. I did this with a group once and I have to tell you, it was the most fun I've ever had! They socialized the whole time while I whipped them into shape. We all left feeling uplifted, energized and were positively glowing.

If you take these few steps, invest a bit of time researching, and commit, you can most definitely find a way to exercise and even crack a smile while doing it. You have nothing to lose!

Now I'd love to hear from you! Post a comment in the section below and let me know if this speaks to you! Or do you already do something you thoroughly enjoy and want to share? My community can only grow with your help so please help spread the love (because we definitely need more of it in this world!)

 

5 Ways to Get Back On Track with Weight Loss

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Getting back into the weight loss groove doesn't have to be difficult!

I recently had one of those moments when I realized it was all going downhill. This realization came to me as I was downing a bag of jelly beans like no one's business. I knew it was wrong on so many levels (as I was totally hiding it from my kids. We've all done that right?!) As I'm chomping away on these sugar nuggets I think back over the past week and all the crap that I ate: bread slathered with butter, sea salt chocolate covered caramels, homemade pizza, and glasses upon glasses of wine and oh lord how the list was quickly filling up! How did this happen? How did I stray so far from center that my diet was leaning all the way towards sugar and crap, and so far away from veggies and protein?

So I put the jellies away (in my belly, let's be honest), and swore to get back on track.

But how? I felt so far gone, so sluggish, and so large. I was so unhappy with what I was feeling that I knew getting to the root of the problem was my first step. If you’re feeling my struggle then tune in, we've got some work to do! 

1. We need to face the hard reality.

We’re in this situation completely and utterly because of ourselves. It’s us, not anyone else. Now I know that seems pretty harsh and hard to swallow but girl, if we're not looking at ourselves when it comes to finding the culprit, then we’re never going to get very far. We're in this situation because we've placed ourselves smack dab right where we are. Smack. Dab. (Those jelly beans didn't magically appear in my bag now did they?)

The way we think about life and the way we respond to our circumstances and environment are all up to us. Nobody else tells us HOW to react or HOW to respond. That's all on us. So when we feel miserable and tell ourselves the only pleasure we can feel now will come from this __________ (fill in the blank: could be jelly beans, chips, soda, wine, chocolate, cake, bowl of pasta, bread, candy. cupcakes, or anything sinfully awesome), then we’re reacting in a way that will not empower us or lighten our load, literally! We're only adding to it. And we know it. That's the worst part. WE KNOW IT! And yet we still do it.

So the first way to get ourselves back on track is to say, I own my situation and I'm finally willing to do something about it that empowers me, makes me feel good, and can make me healthier than I ever imagined possible! (Damn straight sister!)

2. Don't ever use the word willpower again!

We need to strike that word from our vocabulary and never utter it again. Willpower will not save us, make us skinny, stronger or help us to achieve our goals because its power is small, limited, and quite honestly useless. It's not what's going to make us finally succeed so we need to dispose of it and stop wasting our energies on believing in it. It lures us into thinking that If we can blame willpower, we don't have to blame ourselves.

Skip the willpower conversation and instead create a plan. A workable plan that is not filled with eliminating a million foods, that’s not sustainable. Doing too much at once, like eliminating pasta, bread, dairy, sugar, wheat, and alcohol, will not create a lifestyle change but instead create a lifestyle yo-yo dieting. And we hate yo-yo dieting yo! Don't rely on your willpower or use it as a crutch. Instead, rely on your sensibilities and don't take on too much right out the gate. 

We need to start small and build from there. If you notice that you’re snacking too much (I’m totally guilty of that!), begin by limiting what you allow in your pantry. If heading to Starbucks is your morning ritual and you basically drink sugar with a hint of coffee, change up your order in some way so you’re consuming less crap first thing in the morning. Start there. Change doesn’t happen overnight, the same way our bad habits didn’t all of a sudden strike down from the heavens and blindside us. 

3. Know the triggers.

I’m a big Tony Robbins fan. Like I drink the Kool-aid and he is my jam. One of the things I've learned from him is the Pleasure/Pain relationship and how that shapes our life experiences.

Think of it like this: If something is too painful, we tend to avoid it by opting to do something more pleasurable. So, I’ve had a long day and I’m pretty grumpy, my kids are annoying me and I haven’t a clue as to what I’m making for dinner, it’s almost 5:00 and I’m about to lose it so give me that fkn chocolate bar because I need it, I deserve it, it’s going to make me happy and everything will be ok once I finish eating it. (Pleasure!)

But if I don't eat this chocolate bar, I'll be even more upset because it tastes so good and I really, really, really want it. If I don't have it, how else am I going to treat myself? There is no other treat that I want. I don't want a bowl of broccoli, or an unsweetened iced tea, or some lemon water. WTF will that do? It’s more painful right now if I don’t have it, even though I want to be healthier, and more fit, I don’t care right now because this chocolate is going to fulfill a want right now! So, chocolate bar it is. Now I'll be happy.

What happens after that chocolate gets consumed in mere nanoseconds?
 
Rainbows appear and cute little bunnies come to my door? My children ask if they can clean their rooms, do the dishes, and serve me dinner?

F*ck no.

All I did was believe that the pleasure of having that chocolate would override the pain of not having that chocolate. Short term satisfaction vs long-term success. You always lose when you’re looking short-term. 
 
What sucks, even more, is that this kind of thinking is usually all done in a millisecond because it's habitual. We don't even realize that conversation is happening, the only thing we see is our fingers feverishly unwrapping that chocolate bar and we instantly feel our brains starting to light up! (Literally.)

Once you begin to notice your pleasure/pain points, or your triggers (long day, didn’t plan dinner, kids are hungry, I’m hangry), you can begin to override old, unhealthy habits with new ones that are more suited to creating a healthier lifestyle. (I need to plan ahead so when dinner comes, I’m cool and in control!)

4. Use the power of imagination. 

Why is the power of imagination only used by our little ones? Why, as adults, can we not play with that power? We use the power of cynicism waaaaay more than we do imagination and that just ain't right my dear.

I love creating the idea of what I want my life to look like, and how I want to feel. But it’s a practice. After having baby number 2 (that’s not his name by the way), I was NOT into exercise (and that’s super hard for a trainer to admit!) It was not on my radar as I was so consumed with being a mom with little ones, I fell right into the trap of saying to everyone I had no time. (I had a nanny. I had time.) I didn’t see it though. All I felt was overwhelm, uncertainty, and chaos. I was focusing on the wrong things. I chose to see one side and not the other. 

Once I changed the filter, or how I looked at things, then it all began to change. I began to see what was possible, and I let myself create the image of what I wanted to see and feel. I used my powerful imagination to create an imaginary me that was having fun, laughing, exercising and feeling good about herself. 

Damn how I wanted that!

What do you want? Imagine what your happy, healthy self looks like. Get your kids crayons out and draw a picture of the new you. Put it up with your kid's drawings on the fridge. Laugh at it, have fun with it, enjoy the process. And works towards making her real. 

I love thinking of how amazing I can feel in a strong body. Creating the imagery and imagining the feelings they would bring go a long way in keeping us motivated and striving to reach our goals. I highly recommend harnessing this power to create an image of yourself and how you want to be in order to create the massive momentum toward the change you want to see in yourself. It's truly powerful stuff! (And just ask your kid how fun it is!)

5. Become laser-focused.

We all tend to perform better when we keep our attention focused on one thing, and then working toward that one thing only. And it doesn't have to be major, it's better if it's little. For example, you want to lose 20 pounds. A pretty common goal, and plenty of tools you can use to accomplish that goal. Get a gym membership, hire a personal trainer, join weight watchers, etc. There are a plethora of options from which you can choose from. The tricky thing is, once you decide your path, what are you going to focus on. Because when you narrow down your goals and become so super specific, you have a waaaaaay better chance of succeeding than simply saying "I'm going to join the gym and lose 20 pounds". I suggest taking a big goal like that and breaking it out into 3 steps. And write down those 3 steps so you can see them and begin to get laser-focused on accomplishing those steps. 

So, with your 20 pounds, you can break it down like this. I'm going to join the gym and my 3 steps are this:

  1. I will take a fitness class offered at the gym at least twice a week. (This way you'll be getting in a fun workout without having to do any of the thinking, and you will meet plenty of like-minded people!)
  2. I will ask at the front desk if they have a nutritionist or health coach on board who I can sit with and discuss my eating habits, and maybe get an idea of an area I can work on to lose weight.
  3. I’m going to measure my waist circumference on day 1, and after following through with this plan for at least one month, I will remeasure my waist, and see how I'm progressing and how I'm feeling. If I can add onto it, I most certainly will, and if I haven't followed through as much as I intended, I will write down why I think that is and create another plan. 

Simple. That's just how I like it, especially when you're just starting, starting over, or getting back on track. These 5 ways give us all a starting point from which to leap from. I for one am going to pay much more attention to my snacking by keeping it in check. No more quickly grabbing a bag of chips as I cruise down the snack aisle. And I will leave leftovers on my kid's plates! 

Now if you stayed with me through this long post, (thank you for that!), it shows that you're ready to commit and ready to make some changes! I think one of the most important things you can do right now is to plan it out and take action, right now! If you’re ready to get started, let me know in the comments below what action step you can implement right now because once you put it out there and share, because when you share, when you talk about it, you begin to give it life and the more positive energy you create around it! So share, I'd love to hear from you!

Change Your Words, Change Your Life!

The words you use can transform your life!

Are you ready for this? This is powerful stuff I'm about to lay down so make sure you got the kids occupied elsewhere and they're not creating all sorts of distractions with snotty noses, art projects, and endless food demands. This is serious stuff and it's going to change how you talk to yourself, for-ev-vah!  

I want you, going forward, to be as real as you can with yourself. When the time comes to get something done, to make a change and to follow through, I want you to listen very closely to how you speak. When you totally decide to give it your all—and you know those moments, you're inspired, you're pumped, you're totally enthusiastic and you can take on the world—I want you to pay attention to what you say. Not right away, but about a week, maybe two weeks later. Notice what's happening. Maybe your enthusiasm is waning a bit. You're no longer as pumped or psyched to get on with crushing your goals. A little word starts creeping in and taking over. All of a sudden you start saying "I can’t". You're beginning to "I can't" everything for one reason or another. You feel me?

I can’t exercise today, I can’t make the time.

I can’t make dinner so let’s just order out.

I can’t plan my meals ahead of time, it’s proving to be too difficult.

The overwhelm of following through is beginning to take hold. It’s beginning to become too much. You’re starting to crack.

Ok, deep breaths, In and out. Don’t let the overwhelm paralyze you. Don’t let it pull you back down. Now is the time to dig your heels further into the ground, and re-commit to your goals. This is the point you begin to change your speak. 

What I mean is, I want you, from this point on, to rephrase your sentences. Instead of starting out by saying “I can’t…” which is defeatist, and undermining, I want you to replace that with “I won’t…” 

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So now instead of saying, "I can't work out today, I simply can't make the time", you say, "I won't work out today, I simply won't make the time."

That one word change puts the onus exactly where it needs to be, right on YOU!

Now I'm not trying to be mean (and you may have not seen that word swap coming, I’m thinking you were more like oh I know where she’s going, I need to be less critical of myself, I need to start saying I Love Me more! Ha! Not today girl!). I'm trying to get real and allow you to own your sh*t so you can realize that maybe the true reason why things aren't happening the way you wanted or expected them to is because of the words you're using. 

I try to eat healthy but I just can't resist all those goodies on the buffet table. 

Now say: 

I try to eat healthy but I just won't resist all those goodies on the buffet table. 

Pretty powerful stuff if you ask me. I've done this with a few things in my life and it really helps change my perspective and my approach to accomplishing goals.

Now I know what you're thinking... you're thinking Really? This is going to change my world? 

All I can say is, fkn-A it is! Try it for yourself and see. Words are power. Remember that. They can lift you up or they can literally knock you off your feet. When you begin to take ownership for what’s going on in your world and stop making excuses, then you can begin to really make the changes that you want to see happen. 

Now I have to admit, this idea didn't come from me, I scooped up this little nugget of wisdom from someone you may all know, Marie Forleo. She is one smart chickedy and I respect her and her philosophy so much that I highly recommend you all going to check out her TV show, Marie TV. She is one savvy girl!

So tell me, will you try this out? Will you find out if it's helpful for you? If so, please let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!