As you know, living our best does not just happen. It requires thinking, planning and implementation. But we so often take a leap right over the “taking time to think” part and jump right into the planning. It is when we dig in and put some real thought into our lives that we discover some amazing insights. I know life is busy, and having time alone to think is scarce, but it will make a huge difference in your life if you prioritize it.
It is not a coincidence that I am writing about this subject right now. The Holidays are right around the corner and I know we all want them to be wonderful. Because that is my heart as well, I have created some Free Resources that I am very excited about! They come out next week with the express purpose of helping all of us focus on the most important things this Holiday Season. But these resources will do us no good if we don’t take the time out of our busy day to focus on them and ultimately the most important people and areas of our lives. This is going to require determination on your part and a “Can Do” attitude. But I know you want to live your best and you are willing to do what it takes to make that happen!
I have grown to love my “time to think” and you will come to cherish it as well. Here are a few things to help you make it happen.
- Make arrangements. If you have young children at home, make arrangements so that you can get away. This may require you to talk to a friend and have them take the kids one day and you take their kids another day, allowing you both to have some free time. If you have a significant other, talk to them about taking care of the kids. Even if they do not completely understand why you need the time away, help them understand that it is important to you. If it comes down to it, hire a babysitter. There are some areas in our lives that deserve investment. This is one of them. Your family will benefit immensely from the time you spend away thinking.
- Schedule it. Don’t just talk about it, make it happen. We can say “we should do that” all day long. Go ahead and schedule it, get it on the calendar and make it happen. There is a chance that life will throw you a curve ball, like it so often does, but make “thinking time” a non-negotiable. Today was my day to take some time to think. I planned to take that time at home while my husband was at work, but because of a curve ball, I am up at the laundromat washing bedding. I will let you imagination come up with the scenario that brought me to a laundromat, but I did not allow this detour in my day keep me from having my quiet time. If fact, I am forced to sit here for forty-one minutes while my bedding washes. I could have thrown in the towel, but it ended up being a great time and place to think.
- Keep it simple. The goal of taking time to think is to quiet yourself and think about the most important things in your life. In the resources I have for you next week, I will actually have questions for you to think through and space to write down your thoughts, but keep it simple. Find a place that is distraction free for you, grab a pencil or a pen and relax. I love to start off by taking a long walk by myself and them sometimes I go to my local library. I find a quiet spot and get to work.
I want the absolute best for you and taking time to think has been life changing for me. I am confident you will find the same results. You can make it happen!
I am SO EXCITED to get my Holiday Resources into your hands next week! The Series is called Keys to a Wonderful Holiday Season for those Dedicated to Live Their Best. For the next three months I will send all of my subscribers a Monthly Virtual Goody Bag of free resources to help you have a great Holiday Season! The first one will be delivered to your email inbox this coming Wednesday, November 2nd! If you have not subscribed yet, go to the right hand column of my website, and you can subscribe there. You won’t want to miss it!
It is my heart’s desire for you to have an amazing Holiday! Schedule some “time to think” now and be ready to put your most important people and areas in your life first, right where they belong!
Here’s to living our best this Holiday Season!
Every day we wake up, work, eat, and go back to bed. I know that is an oversimplification of what our days look like, but it can be pretty regimented at times. What is it that brings spice to our life? I believe it’s people. Even more specifically, the real spice comes from the people in our life that are closest to us, those most important people. I don’t know about you, but it is easy to fall into a day-to-day rut and start to take our most important people for granted. They enrich our lives and we enrich theirs. How can we spice up life and show them how much they mean to us?
My life is filled with many amazing people. I could not even begin to list them all because, in my absent-mindedness, I would surely leave someone out. Each person in my life holds a very special place in my heart. I am truly thankful for each of them. Just yesterday as I was driving to visit family, I spent some time mentally listing out all of the people that I am thankful for and why. I immediately felt peace and joy in my heart. We are so fortunate to have special people in our lives.
How can we tap back into our most important relationships? How can we show how much we care? Here are a few ideas:
- Our thoughts become our actions. Spend some time when you are driving or waiting for an appointment to think about all of the people in your life. Think about how special they are to you, how they contribute to your happiness, and how your life would not be the same without them. These wonderful thoughts will bring joy into your day and it prompts us to take action. I know when I take time to think about how lucky I am to have John, my husband, in my life, I can’t help but want to spend time with him, send him an encouraging text or give him a hug. Take some time today to think about and be grateful for the people in your life.
- Make it personal. Have you ever come across the perfect gift for someone? Or came up with an idea to surprise someone special to you? Remember the feeling of excitement it built in you? You were so excited to see the joy on their face when they received it. Ask yourself “what is one small thing I can do today to bring a smile to someone I care for?” It might be as simple as buying and giving them their favorite candy bar. It could be sending them a text message telling them how much they mean to you. It could be surprising your child by picking them up from school in person or bringing lunch to your significant other at work. Whatever it is, doing something special for those we care about reminds us of what is most important.
- Allow for fun. Every relationship looks differently; therefore this looks different for each of the individuals you care for. John and I enjoy spending time together, but many of our hobbies are independent from each other. It is important to enjoy time together, but I also enjoy giving John the freedom to go off and enjoy his hobbies without me. Figure out what that looks like for you, but prioritize fun for those most important to you. Life is too short not to enjoy it!
- Keep life simple. When I am running around with my head cut off, I do not have time or energy to do any of the above. We all have limits to our time, energy and focus. We can either give those we care for some of our focused time, or we can give them the leftovers. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, I don’t have much leftover. My creativity is used up, my energy is gone and fun is the last thing on my mind. The simpler we keep our lives and schedules, the more energy we have for those most important to us.
Who is most important to you? What would you like to do in the next 24 hours for them? Write yourself a reminder and make it happen. This small act will bring joy to you and those you care about!
Here’s to prioritizing those who are most important in our lives!
As you work towards living your best life, do you suddenly experience fears that seem to come out of nowhere? Fear is something we all face to one degree or another. Some of us fear disappointing others, some fear looking foolish, and some fear financial uncertainty. The list of fears goes on and on. No one is immune to fear, the difference is how we deal with it. It can be the difference between moving forward or staying still.
Staying still is not an option for me. I always have to be doing something or working towards a goal. It is who I am. Because of this, I continue to travel roads that I have never traveled before, embarking on new territory. I wonder at times if I can really reach my goals. I wonder if I have it in me to keep going. I look into the future and wonder how I’m going to climb the mountains that are ahead. But I also see the sunrise over that mountain and I know there are great things for me on the other side. So how do I keep going? How do I persevere not knowing what lies ahead?
Here are some things I am trying to focus on. I hope they help you on your life’s adventures and goals as well.
- I’m finding individuals who have found success and I am learning as much I can from them. I have no desire to reinvent the wheel. Most people who have gone before us would love to know that their hard work is helping someone else succeed. We live in a day and age where the information we have access to seems endless. There are YouTube videos for every possible project you can think of. I am reading a ton, watching tutorial videos and spending time with people who have experience that I do not. An added bonus is these people bring much needed encouragement as well!
- I’m talking to myself, A LOT! I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of unsolicited thoughts that enter my mind that are negative. These uninvited thoughts tell me that I am silly to think I could accomplish such big goals. These thoughts try to coax me to stay inside my comfort zone. These thoughts tell me that I cannot make a difference in the world. These thoughts are WRONG, and I need to constantly remind them of it. So I tell myself, sometimes in my mind, sometimes out loud, that I can accomplish big things! Other have persevered before me, and so can I. I read myself a quote by Neale Donald Walsch that I have on my refrigerator that says “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It is true! I remind myself that I am making a difference in the world. The negative thought will never stop invading my mind, but I am going to do all I can to stop them and refute them as quickly as possible.
- I’m creating a plan. This is challenging when we don’t know exactly what lies ahead, but I at least know what needs to happen in the foreseeable future. I take what I know, I create a plan, then I work my plan. As I move forward and crest the next hill, I suddenly see what the road ahead looks like. I add to my plan and keep moving forward one step at a time.
- I’m doing it afraid. This is no lie. I see things coming up in my near future that I need to tackle that are out of my comfort zone. But doing it afraid is the greatest way to move past my fears. I have done it before, I can do it again!
- I’m trying to remember to celebrate the victories, big and small. If I look back, I can see that I have come so far, and so have you! Isn’t it easy to jump right back on the road and keep moving forward? I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the view. Look back and enjoy the view of the road I have already conquered. I have to celebrate how far I have come!
I want you to know that I am pushing forward in my dreams and goals right alongside of you. You are not alone. Moving forward can be hard at times, but don’t give up. We got this!
Here’s to putting fear in it’s place and conquering new territory!
Many of the improvements we are trying to make in our lives are life-long improvements. When we decide to eat better, exercise, or lose weight, these are things we want to continue persevering at for the rest of our lives. But life-long goals can be very challenging because we can get bored, fall into ruts, and lose our motivation over time. When we begin to feel this way, it is time to review what our original goal was, and make revisions to help us gain much needed motivation and momentum to reach them.
I enjoy exercise, and my flavor palette is not real broad, so I’m fine with eating a pretty simple diet. Because of this, staying active and sticking to my eating plan is not extremely difficult for me. But learning how to play a musical instrument is an entirely different story. Three years ago I started to learn how to play Bluegrass Music on an upright bass. At the beginning, I felt like I picked it up pretty quickly and was able to play some basic stuff. I felt pretty good about it. But as I continued to take classes and lessons in the pursuit of playing better, it has become REALLY HARD, and very hard to stay motivated. I wrote in my blog a few months back that I felt like I had hit a wall this year with my bass. I can tell you that I am still trying to scale that wall, and I’m still working hard to move forward.
One simple tool has been key in helping me continue to move forward. I have created and utilized a goal picture. It is an exciting picture of what I want my goal to look like in the future. Here are a few more details:
- Why create a goal picture? When I started playing my bass, the picture of my end goal was of a group of friends and our significant others sitting around enjoying each other, eating, chatting and playing music. My goal was to learn to play my bass, to learn to play Bluegrass with others and enjoy my time with them. This picture of my future brought excitement and therefore motivation to continue. The pictures you envision in your mind will help you stay excited about your goal and motivated as well.
- How to create a goal picture. Take time to think and dream about what you want your goal to look like in the future, 5,10, even 20 years, and create in your mind an exciting picture of what that looks like. The picture you create in your mind must be realistic, but it’s important to stretch yourself and dream big. Take some time to write down your goal and your picture of the future. When I am tired and unmotivated, I go back to this written down “picture” to re-ignite my dream and motivation. You can also print a literal picture of your dream. If your goal is to save up money for your dream vacation, find a picture of your dream vacation and display it in a place that will keep you excited and motivated to continue to move towards that dream.
- When is it time to make changes to your goal picture? If you find your goal picture no longer motivates you, it is time to reevaluate your goals and change your goal picture. As I was driving to my bass lesson recently, I spent some time thinking about why I feel unmotivated, why I really wanted to put my bass in storage and forget about if for a while. There are times when our dreams need to be adjusted and our goal picture as well. With my bass, it was because I reached my initial goal and wanted to take my dream farther than what I originally thought. The next day, I took some time to write out my new goal and what that would look like in the future. There are many reasons why our goal picture may become out dated. Whatever the cause, don’t hesitate to adjust it.
Have you created a picture of your desired future? If not, it is worth the investment of time to do so. A picture brings life to our dreams and desires!
Here’s to dreaming big and moving forward towards a great picture of the future!