As Good As One, Two, Three!

Be kind to yourself. Be true to yourself. Chart a course for yourself.

These three things are so important!

First, be kind to yourself! You and I can be our own worst critic. We know when we have fallen short. We do not need anyone else to beat us up about a mistake, because we are usually well on top of kicking ourselves when we are down. I am learning though, and I hope, you are learning along with me, that we are never going to be perfect. In order to live the best life that we can, we need to learn to be kind to ourselves. Just like learning any new things, we have to start, keep trying and over time and with practice, we will get better and better at being kind to ourselves. We all extend kindness to others each day, let’s keep a portion of that kindness for ourselves, too. Let’s also remember to treat ourselves every once in a while. It could be grabbing a yummy coffee, scheduling a spa day, or maybe spending some time with a friend. Whatever makes you happy, let’s make sure we get those things added into our schedule.  

Second, be true to yourself. This is one that I have been working through quite a bit lately. It is human nature to try to impress our desires onto someone else. Our desires are so much a part of who we are, it seems natural that others should feel the same way. For example, I have the desire to look at everything with rose-colored glasses. Because this is so important to me, I shared with my husband, John, that he should look at life the exact same way. He was kind and listened to me, but a few days later he explained that he does not see things the same way. It was a good reminder for me to allow John to be true to who he is, and it also reminded me to continue to be true to who I am. The same goes for our dreams for the future. It’s important for each of us to have our own dreams for the future. It is true, when we have a significant other in our lives, that we share our dreams with each other, but I am coming to see that John and I need to have our own individual dreams too. I have dreams of getting on my bike for multiple day trips to see the countryside. John has a dream of having an RV and seeing our country that way. I think we can make those dream mesh together, they are simply going to look a little different for each of us. It can be easy at times to just go along with someone else’s dreams, but I encourage you to have dreams of your own, and be true to them.

Third, chart a course for yourself. You have probably figured out by now that I am a planner. Chances are, if you have continued to read my blog for this long, you are too. The only way to get where we want to go is to decide where we want to go, figure out how we should start moving forward, and start take steps towards our goal. There are times that numbers need to be crunched to make sure we reach a goal. There are times where we have to learn new things to move forward, but regardless of what it is, I believe we need to chart a course for ourselves. John and I were out on a walk this morning talking about our future, and we both acknowledged that there are so many variables that make planning for our future a challenge. We have an end goal in mind, we know the things we already have in place, the things we need to work on, and we keep moving forward. But I also need to set my own individual course as well. Sure, John and I have shared goals, but I need to make sure that I am setting the right course for myself too. I want John to do the same for himself as well. Having a goal and moving forward on a plan gives us something great to work towards and hope for the a great future.

I don’t think you can go wrong if you are kind to yourself, true to yourself and chart a course for yourself. Enjoy your week ahead and live your BEST every single day!

What Does It Look Like For You?

What does living your best life look like? Does it include traveling to far off places, or staying at home and working in your garden? Is it fast paced, or slow paced? Does in include a lot of people, or time by yourself? The more we can clarify what living our best looks like, the better chance we have to live it.

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I am always analyzing life. It’s what I do. As part of that, I have been asking myself, again, what are the components that create a great life for me? As summer has started, I have watched those close to me fill their time with a plethora of different activities. They all look like a ton of fun, but I suddenly find myself saying to myself “I should do that” or “should John and I do that?” As I sat and analyzed these feelings, I reminded myself of what is important to John and I, what we like to do and not do, and where we are at in our lives right now. It helped me to reconnect with what living my best really looks like.

Have you ever taken the time to write down what living your best life looks like? Just like any dream or plan, it will take some time to refine it, but how do we expect to obtain it if we have not yet defined it? Here are some questions to get you started. Write down the answers to start the process of defining your best life.

  • How do you love to spend your time? It’s okay to admit you like cleaning your house…I do!
  • Who do you love to spend your time with?
  • Do you love being at home, away from home, or a little of each?
  • What kind of place would you love to call home? Big? Small? Mobile?
  • Do you enjoy spending time with people, or do you get rejuvenated by being by yourself?
  • Do you like to be active and fill your day with a lot of activity or do you like to keep it simple and enjoy rest?
  • Do you like to travel? Where do you want to go?
  • What hobbies do you like?
  • What is fun for you?
  • What gives you value and allows you to feel like you are contributing to those around you?
  • What kind of work do you like to do?
  • Are you a planner or do you like to go with the flow?

This is a small list of questions to get you started in the right direction. Take some time this summer and start to define what living your best looks like. Remember that this is your life you are living. Live it the way that is best for you. Yes, some compromise must happen when we have a significant other, but the more we live the life that is best for us, the more fulfilled we will be.

Here’s to defining our best life and living it the best we can!

What’s Your Speed Limit?

What is your pace of life? What pace of life stresses you out? What pace of life makes you feel great? I believe we all have a Personal Speed Limit and when we live our lives according to that speed limit we think clearer, are more productive, make fewer mistakes, feel more creative, and can live our best.

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Within the past year, I have been asking myself why I like to take things slow, steady, and methodical. Why is it that I don’t enjoy moving at a fast pace? A somewhat silly example of this is when I purchased my road bicycle this time last year. I was told that I would go so much faster on this bike and that I would love it. It’s true that I have the capability to go much faster, especially in comparison to my very heavy mountain bike, but I quickly realized I have no desire to go faster. I will never forget the first time I was able to get it out on a ride by myself. I thought to myself; I am going to go as fast and hard as I can to experience this new fast pace. What I found out was that even though I had the capability to go faster, I still did not have the desire to ride faster. I thought “this fast stuff is not what it is all cracked up to be.” I then slowed down, found a pace I enjoyed and I felt great. My speed on my bike and in my life is a slower steady speed, and since I have discovered this, my life has changed in some important ways.

  • My pace in life feels right. I have known for a while that I do not like to be rushed in the morning. When I am rushed, my stress rises, and I cannot think straight. I usually end up walking out the door without my coffee, lunch or cell phone. Ever been there? I have learned that if I get up a little earlier, give myself plenty of time for my morning routine, I start my day with much more peace and calm. Now, that is what works for me. The question is, what works for you? What makes you feel good? Do you love to hit the ground running? Do you feel energized by getting out the door quickly and on with your day? My husband gets up and is ready to go, and that’s how he loves it. When you discover your personal speed limit, it will feel right.
  • My pace in life gives me energy and does not drain me. I was just recently working in my yard and I had a good amount of work to do in a relatively short period of time. My tendency was to push myself to go faster, but the moment I did, I started to feel worn out. I decided I was going to work at my personal speed limit, which is slow and steady, and see if I could still get the task completed in the time allowed. What I found was; I got it done, felt great and had energy left over. As you try to discover your personal speed limit, try working both physically and mentally at different speeds and find what gives you energy, what feels great.
  • My pace in life allows my mind to be more creative and make fewer mistakes. I enjoy quilting. Well, certain aspects of quilting. As I was working on my most recent project, I again decided to be intentional about working at my perfect speed. I impressed myself! I felt more creative in how I was going to sew all of the pieces together and I finished it without having to use my seam ripper once. You have to realize that there have been some quilts that I have taken apart more because of my mistakes than I had sewn together. This time I worked at my perfect speed. When we work at our perfect pace, I believe our mind is working at the speed that comes natural. Therefore, we will come up with new creative ways of doing things and make fewer mistakes.
  • I have learned to love myself more, appreciate the fact that I have a Personal Speed Limit and that my pace of life is perfect for me. I used to think that I needed to be like everyone else. Certainly our culture tells us that we need to go faster and faster every day. Well, faster and faster does not work for me, in fact it just stresses me out. I have learned what pace is right for me and I have learned that my pace is what is best for my life. I have more peace, calm, creativity and energy and that is what I want for you as well.

I hope someday I can put together an assessment tool for you to be able to easily identify your Personal Speed Limit, but for now I encourage you to pay attention to the times you feel good and the times you feel stress. Ask yourself if you are moving at the Speed Limit that is best for you. Experiment, learn and start to live at the pace that is perfect for you. Here’s to living our best, going the Speed Limit!

You don’t have to Feel Selfish to Live on your Own Terms

Have you ever set a goal and tried to work on it with a friend or family member? Only to find yourself frustrated, unmotivated and ready to throw in the towel? The way they work towards accomplishing the same goal simply does not work for you. In fact, it feels like the other person’s way of moving forward is foreign and from another planet. This happens when individuals come together with very different personalities, priorities, and different mindsets. Whether we decide to continue to move forward on our goals together or go at it alone, we have to figure out what works best for us and be true to it. In order to find success we need to establish our own terms.

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My husband, John, and I have been working on eating better over the past few years. Through trial and error I have found what works best for me regarding what to eat and when to eat it. It works so great for me, that I thought it would obviously work great for John! As we moved forward, it was obvious that he thought I was the alien from another planet because what works for me DOES NOT WORK FOR HIM! Expecting one way to work for both of us brought stress and frustration. For us to succeed, we had to figure out what worked for each of us individually. Once we did, we each moved forward on our own terms.

Here are five steps that will help you accomplish goals on your own “terms.”

  1. Figure out what your “terms” are. This may take some time and effort, but everything worth doing, usually does. Pay attention to what works well for you, and ask yourself what it is that makes it so enjoyable? Pay attention to times of stress and discomfort, and ask yourself what it is about that situation that brings you stress? Your “terms” may be different depending on what you are working towards; however, you will find that many of your “terms” apply in a number of different situations.
  2. Communicate your “terms” with those closest to you. Once you start to get a grasp on what works best for you, share it with those close to you. It will help them understand you better and enable them to help you however they can.
  3. Apply your “terms” to every possible situation. When you move towards accomplishing something important to you, be sure to remember what you have already learned about yourself and how that will help you pursue your new goals. Do everything you can to be true to yourself.
  4. Serve other people on their “terms.” I love things to be organized. If I know I am working with someone or going into a situation that may lack organization, I acknowledge it and figure out how I can succeed while respecting and serving the other individual in the process. Serving others is a big part of living our best.
  5. Live with less stress. The more we can identify what works best for us, and live according to our “terms,” the greater potential we have to lower our stress level. Today, I know what makes me tick. I know what works best for me and I fill my life with those things. I want the same for you!

As you have moved forward in the areas you want to improve, have you found things that work and things that don’t? Focus on what you have learned and see how it applies as you move forward in all areas of your life.

Here’s to living true to who we are!