What are you doing for yourself…yes, I’m talking to YOU!

One thing I hear more and more as I am in contact with amazing people is the lack of time we are able to hold aside just for ourselves. I hear feelings of guilt when we even consider “me time” because it would take away from what we can do for our kids, significant other, our home, work, projects, etc.

We all get significant value from contributing to something outside of ourselves, and because of this, we want to give more and more. Is it right to prioritize myself above all of this? Is it possible?

put up feet

The concept of setting aside and enjoying quality time for myself has been a process for me. I used to feel very guilty for taking a nap, for spending time on a hobby I enjoy, or for going out with friends. But once I started prioritizing “me” on a regular basis, I have seen the benefits it brings to me, to my work and to my relationships. I am simply a much more enjoyable person to be around when I get some “me” time.

You may ask, Jen, where do I start? The answer is going to be different for each person, but here are a few ideas to get you going.

Gather a group or join a group to have fun with. I have a group that started to play sand volleyball together a few years back. We have a great time together and it became very natural for us to share activities outside of volleyball. Someone suggested taking a belly dancing class, and because we knew we would all have fun together, we gave it a try. Since them we have gone zip lining, rock climbing, tried out boxing classes and our next adventure is to head to the shooting range. Participating with a group to have fun and pull you out of the house is a very helpful thing.

Read the research on the importance of “me” or “down” time. There are many studies and articles, released lately, that talk about the importance of rest. I am not just talking about sleep, I am talking about down time as well, rest for not only your body but for your mind too. We all want to be healthy! Research is telling us more and more to slow down! Here are a few links to check out.  Create Space Article  Mental Down Time Article

Muscles strengthen when we use them, right? Start strengthening your guilt free muscle when it comes to time for yourself. Practice makes perfect and we all need to start practicing taking a nap without guilt. When you are resting, force yourself to stop thinking of all the things “you should be doing”. Try to think about how much better you are going to feel, how much better you are going to be able to treat the people around you because of your rest time. One day you will suddenly be able to rest without guilt, but it takes practice.

Learning the importance of saying “no” is a big challenge for many of us, so I think I will set aside an entire blog post for the subject in weeks to come, so stay tuned!

When did you last take time for yourself? Who are some people in your life you could start having fun with?

Let those that are friends, family and co-workers know that you will be a better “you” when scheduling some down time, and DO IT!

“Good Things Come To Those Who Wait!” or is that a thing of the past?

I do not enjoy waiting! And in the world we live in today, we don’t have to wait for much. One of the ladies in my Life Planning Class commented that “everyday is Christmas” and it’s true. So many of us get what we want, when we want it… I know I do. Waiting is really quite bad, right? What is the garbage about “good things come to those who wait”?

I have had some really bad experiences with waiting. There have been some things that I have wanted in my life and have waited, and waited, and waited, and they never came to pass. These experiences have made me very bitter about the whole concept of waiting. My experience certainly has not shown me that good comes out of waiting. Pain, sorrow and frustration come from waiting, right?

jens bass

I just bought something that I have waited for for about a year and a half… an upright bass! I love bluegrass music and I decided at the age of 40 that I was going to learn how to play the upright bass! Why not! But I decided this right about the same time my husband and I put together a financial plan to get out of debt and save some money in savings. Those two desires did not work together. The purchase of my bass simply had to be put on the back burner until we could pay off some of our current debt. For the first time in a long time, I have had to wait for something, and what do you know, a lot of good came from it! Who would have guessed?

Waiting…Allowed me to take control and not allow my emotions to control my decision. Sometimes when I first have an idea for something my emotions and desire for it are really high, but as time goes by, the feeling of excitement lessens and lessens. When we put off buying things, we can really make sure we want it and that it is not just part of a fleeting emotion.

Waiting…Gave me an opportunity to learn a lot. I had a lot of time as I waited, so I used it constructively. I enjoyed listening to music and recognizing the bass line in the song. I enjoyed learning and researching. I enjoyed looking at pictures as well as talking to people about the bass. It was a great time for learning.

Waiting…Changed things. As I waited, it became less about the item itself and more about the people I have met and am going to meet along the way. The experience has become so much richer.

Waiting…Allowed the day I bought the bass to really feel like Christmas again, the way it felt as a child. As I grew up, I looked forward to a new Christmas dress my mom made for me every year and I looked forward to one main gift that I really wanted. We got clothes and the necessities throughout the year, but Christmas was set aside for something special. I have missed that feeling of excitement and anticipation, but I enjoyed it once again the day I bought my bass!

Waiting…Allowed me to keep my priorities and work towards a great goal. So today I can say, I have my cake and eat it too! I have my bass and we are farther out of debt.
Is there something in your life you are waiting for? Is there something you should put off and wait for? The time of waiting can be great if we allow it to be. Good things can come to those who wait!

It’s Crazy and Outlandish!

Just recently my husband John threw out a quote I actually use frequently in the college courses I teach, but when he said it, it stuck, and now I can’t get it out of my mind.

The quote is by hockey player Wayne Gretzky. “Statistically, 100 percent of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” Isn’t that a nice quote? When we think of hockey he is right on. Very nice.

But I’ve also discovered a connection that has interesting and exciting implications.

Flip flop in sand

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I believe strongly in life planning, and setting goals in life. One thing that I believe to be important in creating goals is for the goal to be realistic. Makes sense! But I have been challenged to take the concept of “realistic” to a whole different level. I have been challenged to dream BIG! Bigger then I have ever dreamt before, and a very interesting thing has happened.

I wake up every morning, have some coffee or tea with a little breakfast. I check the weather, my email, my calendar, sometimes Facebook, but the last thing I have been doing is reviewing my crazy big dreams. I ask myself, is there anything that I can do today to move forward on any of these goals, and I add those things to my todo list for the day.

Here’s the crazy part. My mindset had shifted! I am actually starting to think as though I can, and will accomplish these goals. Outlandish! And I am actually taking steps daily, that I never would have before, to make these dreams a reality!

So back to Wayne’s quote. If I don’t try something, if I don’t take the shot, I have no chance of making things happen in my life. But on the contrary, if I try, if I give it a shot, if I think about it every day, and take smalls steps in the right direction, IT MIGHT JUST HAPPEN! I at least have a better shot then if I don’t try at all. CRAZY!

So, what would your BIG dreams be?

By the way, I am not going to share my Big dreams with you right now, sorry. But I will share them with you as I accomplish them. And I will also share them if I don’t reach them. But I am at least going to take the shot…and who knows!

If this “sticks” with you, Dream Big and let’s make it happen!

Change Is Hard

Whether you believe in New Years Resolutions or not, the start of a new year brings with it the feeling of a fresh start and gives us the desire to make changes in our lives. After all we have eaten over the past few weeks, eating better, losing weight and starting an exercise program seem to be at the top of the list. But if you are like me, I have lived through 41 New Years days and I still have not made some needed changes.

catapiller We had a great party this week celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday. Most of my family were in town for the occasion so we had some great times together as we prepared for the big party. During lunch my brother and I were talking about Coaching and the Social Work field he is in, and the subject of change came up. From across the room, my sister said what we all feel like saying “but change is HARD!” She hit the nail on the head!

I for one have simply had things too easy for me. I think one of my problems is that I have become so accustomed to fast results and easy fixes that I am somehow addicted to that. When something is not going to be checked off the todo list quickly, I don’t even want to tackle it.

The reality is, THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE TAKE TIME, AND EFFORT, AND ARE THE MOST AMAZING WHEN THEY ARE ACHIEVED!

  • Relationships, friendships, trust and love all take time, but are worth it!
  • Financial security takes investment then a lot of time.
  • A healthy body is about making right choices every day for the rest of our lives, not just for 6 months.

I am encouraging myself and want to encourage you as well, don’t put off those important goals in life because they are hard.

  • Know that many people before us have made the change and succeeded.
  • Know that you can make the change too.
  • Know that it might look messy, and that’s ok. Real life does not look like the commercials we see on TV.
  • Recognize that it will be hard and require effort and planning.
  • But move forward anyway!

What hard thing have you been putting off? Is it time to start moving forward on those goals? You can do it!

Resources:

* I love planning, and I think tackling those hard things in our lives require a little bit more planning than the simpler things. I am reading PUSH by Chalene Johnson. It does have a fitness focus, but whether that is your focus or not, her goal setting process is really good and she acts as a cheerleader to keep me motivated.

* If you have started the process of making some hard changes in your life, and you need a boost, some accountability and some new perspectives, those are just a few of the things I provide as a Certified Coaching Leader. It is my job to help you continue to move forward towards success on those hard goals. Let’s spend a year together and see what amazing things we can accomplish together.

* I also provide Life Planning Home Groups or Classes. You can host one of my Life Planning Home Groups by gathering 6-10 friends at a location of your choice, and I will come to you and walk you through the Life Planning Process. Please note that I do need to cover travel costs, so if you live in Hawaii, I am more then happy to come to you, but it may cost a little bit more!

* I am also starting another round of Life Planning Classes at St. Charles Community College if you prefer a more academic environment. We start back on Tuesday, January 21st. Click to register.