Mar 19

OBLIGATION, IMPULSE and SECURITY

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Week Two! It’s getting very interesting! I have made it through 14 days of giving away one possession a day and I can see how this is going to continue to get more challenging as I go along.

My words for the week are OBLIGATION, SECURITY and IMPULSE. This week, I discovered that I have purchased things out of obligation, and at times, very impulsively. I have also found that I have held on to much of it for its sense of security.

I’ve made a conscious decision, saying goodbye to obligations, impulse and security. I have found great peace as I have placed items on my goodbye pile! Here is what I was able to part with this week.

 

dress
Day #1: My friend Monica inspired me to get rid of a dress that has been collecting dust in my closet. I bought this dress a few years ago and only wore it once. I don’t even know if it fits me any more, but there was a sense of security I felt with having it in my closet. Once I took the step to remove it and add it to my goodbye pile, I felt a freeing feeling. It’s gone!

trivets

Day #2: I love having clear walls. Some may think that my walls are bare when they come to my house, but I just like them clean and clear. I find it refreshing. With that in mind, I took down three trivets (small plates that sit on the table or countertop on which you place hot serving dishes) that I bought at a home party years back, but never used other than for wall art. I do love home shows, but I have also found that I buy things out of obligation, not out of want or need. I say goodbye to the trivets and I think I have to say goodbye to home shows too. Goodbye!

wooden book

Day #3: Another book! This book is great and very inspiring. Why not pass it on so someone else can get inspired!

detergents

Day #4: In my continued pursuit to remove chemical cleaners from my home, I parted with a bag of different detergents now that I have found healthier alternatives.

love lang book

Day#5: A great book that is very useful for everyone. This is going to a good friend who is interested in serving her husband better and wants to find out what Love Language he has!

church book

Day#6: This book is going to the same friend as day #5. She is an amazing woman always serving others with a glad heart!

shoes
Day #7: Impulse buy! Last year I wanted a pair of comfortable sandals. I knew I did not LOVE these shoes, but I got them anyway. They are not cute and they are not comfortable. They are gone! I have felt guilty for buying these, so I held on to them. It was a mistake, and now it’s time to move on. Ahhhhh! (deep sigh)
Giving away one item a day does take a lot of work, but it is worth every moment.

Have you bought things or kept things out of Obligation? Security? or Impulse? We all do, but don’t let those mistakes continue to tie you down. Break the ties to those possessions and gain some freedom!

Until next week! Keep living your BEST!!!

Mar 12

Week #1 of my “saying goodbye to 40 possessions in 40 days”

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Week number one of my “saying goodbye to 40 possessions in 40 days” was a great success! Getting rid of seven items was not too hard. Here is what it looked like for me this week.

Vietnam Vet donation

Wednesday was the start of this great journey, and in order to start out on the right foot I gathered up all of the items I had already set aside to donate, called the Vietnam Veterans of America, and had them pick up two bags of goodies. Now I felt like I could start fresh.

 

Red sweater

Day #1: Wednesday I pulled a sweater out of my closet that I had not worn all winter. It’s one of those garments that had to be paired with just the right thing and it was way to high maintenance for me – it goes in the donation pile!

 

southern living 1
Day #2: Thursday I gave away some home decor and found a friend in need of it. And just like that day #2 was done.

 

southern lving 2
Day #3: After finding out the need my friend had for home door, I decided that day # 3 was going to be a second piece of home decor that she might like. I texted her a picture and sure enough, she loved it. Day #3 done.

 

nail polish

Day #4: This requires some back story – I recently made a huge shift in what I eat. I have all but eliminated dairy, grains, refined sugars and preservatives from my diet. I had been feeling poorly and these changes have made an amazing difference in my health! Along with that, I have decided to start eliminating the chemicals that I come in contact with on a daily basis.

Here’s where we pick up on Day #4: I decided to give up all of my toe nail polish and remover. My hubby, a Senior Environmental Consultant, has mentioned for years how bad the chemicals in the polish remover are. After much thought, I said good-bye to my pretty toes and my toe nail polish and remover.

 

church book

Day #5: Sunday I prepared for a Monday morning breakfast meeting with a friend by setting aside a book that I thought my friend’s husband might like. I delivered it Monday morning!

A side note on books. I used to have a beautiful bookcase for my book collection. I loved adding another book to the shelves. I remember the day when I was first challenged with the questions, “What are you storing in your home today that would benefit someone else if you gave it to them?” and my books were the first thing that came to my mind. I started small by giving a few books away, but I found that my friends appreciated the books, and they enjoyed the information they contained that I could not stop.

These days I have a small set of books that I keep for my future use and reference, but now as I read a new book, I find myself thinking about who might benefit from the book. When I am finished, the book is on it’s way to it’s new home. Even though we have a Kindle, I still buy paper books just for the joy of giving books away.

 

black skirt
Day #6: Monday I attend a belly dancing class with another great friend and felt like it was time to get rid of a few belly dancing accessories. This week I put this black skirt in my donation pile and next week I hope to give a sequins scarf to one of the ladies at belly dancing who liked it. More on that next week.

 

capris
And finally day #7, I donated a pair of capris and threw in a few T-shirts for good measure.

 

That was not too painful! Now that you have seen my list, do you think you can part with 7 items and pass them on to someone else who could use them? It really is easier than you think, it just takes some intentional thought!

Every item I part with clears space, and that is refreshing to me. My closets are getting to the point where they are not crammed full and there is actually a place for everything, which also keep my house and life cleared of clutter. I love the feeling!

I am confident it is going to get harder as the days and weeks go along, but I am confident that I have 40 items in my home that I can part with.

Until next week! Take some time to think about clearing a little clutter and adding open space to your home and life!

Mar 04

Saying Goodbye to 40 Possessions in 40 Days

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

I love my stuff! I love the things that I have purchased. They either have a wonderful usefulness to them or I simply love them and they fit my personality and style perfectly. I love my home and being surrounded by the things I love.

But I also love simplicity. I was raised with minimal possessions, even though we had plenty. But to this day, I still thrive when I have less stuff.

I am stuck between two worlds again! This seems to be a theme of mine lately. (I may want to pay attention to that!)

little boy

Starting Wednesday, March 5th, the Roman Catholic Church goes into a time of 40 days of preparation for Easter, and these 40 days are called Lent. I was raised Catholic and consider many of their rituals to be absolutely beautiful. One ritual that I was raised with was giving something up for those 40 days. As a child it was some sort of candy or sweets, but now that I am older, I ask myself each year if there is something I should give up during this time.

Catholic or not, I think that the idea of giving something up for a period of time has huge benefits. It certainly helps us to appreciate what we have in life a lot more.

A wonderful friend of mine mentioned a time that she heard a Benedictine Monk speak. Even though monks own a lot less than the average person, he shared the idea of giving away 40 possessions during the time of Lent. He said the first 20 days were pretty easy, but the last 20 days became very challenging. That is when true sacrifice had to be made.

My friend and I shook hands on it this past week. We have decided to give away 40 possession in the 40 days before Easter.

There are many reasons for doing this, but most important are:

  • I want to bless others during this time. I want to find items that others might love and pass it on to them.
  • I want to enjoy the wonderful side effect of clearing more clutter from my home.
  • I want to sacrifice. This is not something I have to do very often, but I believe it to be very healthy. As I get closer to Easter and the end of my 40 days, I want to be to the point where I am giving up things that I really love, so that I can pass them on to people who will love them as well.

If you want to follow my journey, I will keep you up to date on saying goodbye to 40 possessions in 40 days through this blog as well as share other fun stuff too.

Do you have 40 items you could and should part with? Join me and my friend! Let me know that you have made the commitment and keep me up to date on how it is going!

 

Feb 07

Stuck Between Two Places

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

Go faster, slow down, be more productive, take time for family. It seems like the messages I hear these days conflict with one another. Articles and books suggest setting a bunch of BIG HAIRY GOALS, some say set a few simple goals, and some have given up on setting goals all together. How about the ones that say LOVE YOUR JOB, work in your dream job, but the reality is that the bills still need to be paid and food put on our tables. All of these messages can be confusing and quite frankly frustrating at times. Which track should I get on?

Tracks

My life right now is stuck in the middle of two tracks of thinking. I have big, crazy, outrageous goals set for this year that are stretching me and making me get out of my comfort zone. But I absolutely LOVE simplicity in my day to day life. I am enjoying the book PUSH by Chalene Johnson that is very motivating, encouraging and PUSHING me to be my best. I also love the blog becomingminimalist.com  which challenges me every day to keep things simple, and how less “stuff” (mental & physical) means more freedom.

Is it possible to join these two worlds? Is it possible for you to unite the areas of your life that are most important to you, even when they seem too far apart to merge?

Yes, and here are two filters I have put in place that bring clarity to opposing viewpoints:

  • Identify what is most important to YOU. I have found that a list of priorities, what is MOST important to me, helps me sort through the rubble. For me, my relationship with God is at the top of my priority list. My health (physical, mental, emotional) is number two, and my relationship with my husband John is a close third. As information comes my way, it immediately goes through the filter of those three things, and if it does not promote them, it should not be considered. I want everything in my life to improve those first three values or priorities in my life, and if it does not, it is immediately discarded. Do you have a top three priority list?

 

  • The second filter is realizing that just because something works for one person, does not mean it will work for me. We all have amazingly different personalities, experiences, and love languages (another great book I am reading). On top of that, we are all at different places in our lives. My view on life and people changed drastically when I embraced the fact that each person is on their own journey and each journey is amazing! I am at the place in life where I need to set goals to make things happen. If you have tried that and it does not work for you, that’s ok, just find what works for you. That is the key in this area, don’t stop seeking after and finding what works for you.

I am on my own personal track that is unique to me. It’s where I need to be, doing what I need to be doing. As you read my blog, and other Facebook and Twitter posts, books, articles, etc., allow them to challenge you. Take what will help you in life right now, use the filters of what is most important to you and know you are on an amazing journey of your own. Embrace it!

Have you created a “top three” most important list?
Are you taking time to read or listen to topics that will help to grow and challenge you?

I heard once, “if you are not growing, you are dying”. I want life to be it’s BEST for you! Keep prioritizing, growing and living your BEST!

Jan 23

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

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

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!

Jan 20

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

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

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!

Jan 09

It’s Crazy and Outlandish!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

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!

Jan 03

Change Is Hard

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

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.

Dec 19

Dream of an Amazing Future!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 20 even 30 years?

What you do today will determine the outcome.

If we treat our bodies well, there is a better chance they will treat us better as the years pass. If we stimulate our minds now, it is known to improve our cognitive ability in years to come. If we invest in the important relationships in our lives now, those relationships will thrive and bring happiness down the road.

Blank Sky
I am taller than the average woman, so all of my life I have slumped down while not even realizing it. Because of this, I have fought with back pain. When I was creating my life plan, I envisioned my life in my 70’s and 80’s and I wrote that I wanted to be dancing and enjoying life with great mobility and strength. The thought of this was great, but it brought into focus my lack of mobility and health now. How do I expect to be that vibrant at 80 year old if I am in pain now?

I realized that there were a number of areas that this same concept applied. I had great visions of what I wanted my future to look like, but did I think it was going to just happen? Did I think that it was going to come easy? That’s exactly what I had in my mind!

We have a new year approaching. It’s filled with great potential, but like many, I have started years past with a blast, just to fizzle out a few weeks or months later. I can say that the past few years have been different because of a few adjustments I have made:

  • I schedule time on my calendar to get physically away from my day to day life to really think about what I wanted my life and future to look like.
  • I created a plan to start making things happen. Life Planning can sound big and cumbersome, but it’s actually simple and freeing.
  • Instead of planning out my whole year, I asked myself “What small things can I do today to move me forward to live the life I really want?”
  • I take one baby step, and than another, than another…
  • I also called in the assistance of a Coach for accountability. I knew myself. I knew I was going to need a push, a shove, a kick in the behind to keep me going.

Don’t be afraid to dream of an amazing future! It is within your grasp! Plan it out and start moving step by step today!

It is my heart to see you succeed, and I have a great new option for you and a group of your friends to do just that in 2014! I would love to help you and each of your friends create a life plan and start making it happen! We can set you up to host a Life Planning Class (with great perks as the host) in a location of your choosing. I would love to talk to you more about it and grab a coffee if you are in the St. Louis area.

If you prefer a more academic setting, join me in my Life Planning Class at St. Charles Community College starting January 21st, 2014!  Register here for the SCCC Class!

These are two great resources that can help you move forward towards your BEST life!

 

Dec 12

I want it back!

By Jen Regan | Uncategorized

If you were to write down a list of what is most important to you in life, what would your list look like?

If I were to ask you to take a look at your calendar, and the things that fill your time day after day, what do you spend most of your time doing?

Are you giving your time and attention to those areas you listed as most important?

One of the worst feelings is to look back over a week, month, year or a life time and have regrets. Regret not spending time with someone special. Regret spending too much time on the wrong things. Regret the busy pace we allowed into our lives.

regrets

A few years back I lived at a pace that was too fast. I remember calling a trusted friend during that time because I was frustrated with my husband. He was complaining that I was too busy for him, that everyone else came before him. Why did he not understand that I was under a tremendous amount of pressure at work and needed him to cut me some slack? I will never forget what my friend said because it was not what I wanted to hear. She told me that if I am too busy to prioritize my husband, then I am way too busy. She told me that John deserves both more time and more attention. What the heck! It was that splash of cold water in my face that I needed. She was right!

  • I had to change my mindset: I received my value from my work. We all want to contribute to something in life, and work is an easy place to find value. But I realized that my greatest value came from the relationships in my life, my husband being the first and foremost, but including family and friends. I had to change my mindset to stop relying on my work to give me value, and see that the greatest contribution I can make in life is to invest in the most important people around me.
  • I had to learn how to prioritize: I love to help other people, but there are more people in my life that need help than I have hours in the day. I asked myself, “Who are the people in my life that are the most important to me?” “What did they need help with in life?” They had to come first! When others asked me for help, I had to make sure I was taking care of the “most important” people and areas in my life before I could take on more. I had to say “No”.

When we get to the end of our lives it is too late. When time has passed, we do not get it back. Look over your past week or month. Are you spending quality time on the most important things in life?

If not, please know that change is possible! Start by making some small changes TODAY!

If you are having a hard time creating your list of “most important” things or not sure how to start to make those needed changes in your life, those are topics I cover in both my Life Planning Classes and Personal Coaching Sessions. I would love to be a part of helping you move forward so that you can live your BEST life possible! There is information on this site as well as leadthruexample.com to help you move forward!

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