Time for a Fresh Start

I love the changes of the seasons, both in nature and in our lives. The beginning of summer is exciting when the kids end the school year with the anticipation of summer vacations. It is equally exciting when the school year starts back up with the plans of a new year, new classrooms, and re-establishing a routine. Even without children, I love the feeling that the beginning of a new school year brings. It is a great time for a fresh start.

red-school-blur-factory croppedI loved shopping for school supplies as a child. I would bring everything home and get it  organized. I would write the name of each subject on my notebooks,  fill my new case with pencils, pens and markers. It was all new, organized and ready for whatever was to come. I loved it!

What areas do you want to feel new, organized and ready for the great things to come? Here are 3 questions to help us move towards a fresh start as the new school year begins and the beauty of fall approaches.

Is it best for me and my family? As we begin new things in our lives there are always expectations that we need to consider. Schools, church, family, friends, and work all have expectations of what we should do and how we should be involved. These are all potentially wonderful things, but also realize that it is ok to say “no” to them if it is not right for you and your family. We love to be involved, contribute and help others, but, at the end of the day, we have to make sure it is right for us and our loved ones.

What is most important? Take a moment to think about and even write down what is most important to you. Maybe prioritizing a family meal together is important. Maybe physical activity is a priority. Having fun and scheduling something fun together would be great. These things do not tend to happen by themselves. Many times life gets hectic and what we have decided is most important gets pushed to the side. Determine what is most important to you, put it on your calendar, and make it happen.

What can I remove? Take a look around and ask yourself if there is anything that you should removed from your life. This could be physical possessions, items on your calendar, bad habits, time wasters or even unhealthy relationships. Our lives become cluttered with “stuff” before our very eyes. Taking time to de-clutter and simplify can feel so good! It frees up time and energy for the important things, and allows me to give some of my possessions to people who are in desperate need of them.

Are you ready for a fresh start? What do you feel you can do to start fresh in the next few weeks?

Here’s to new and fresh starts!

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Is it Perfect for You?

Is there an area in your life you would like to improve? Maybe get a good night’s rest on a regular basis? Figure out some new recipes to make? Get out for that early morning or late night jog? We all have something on our “I want to” list.  As we move forward to make the improvements in our lives, realize that there is no “one size fits all” program to success. We have to figure out what works best for us and then stick with it.
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When it was time for me to lose 20 pounds I decided to start calorie counting. At the time, I loved it because I could decide how I “used” my calories for that day. I could eat a banana or I could eat powdered donuts. Granted, my approach was not the healthiest at times, but it worked for me. It worked so well, that to this day, I track my calories religiously. Because calorie counting worked well for me, I felt like it was the solution for everyone. I shared my enthusiasm with anyone who would listen, but I soon found that my answer to losing weight was not the answer for everyone. Since this discovery, I have seen this played out in many areas of my life. I love to ride my bike, but it’s not for everyone. I eat a special diet that helps me feel great, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. I love to play a certain type of music, but it’s not for everyone. What works for me may not work for you and that is okay!
How do we figure out our “program for success?” Here are four things that have worked for me.
 
  1. Listen and learn from others, but in the end decide for yourself. One of the greatest sources of information is to talk to someone who has succeeded in what you are trying to accomplish. It is fascinating to hear their stories, what worked for them, and what did not. If you can, talk to more than one person to gather different perspectives. Gathering their thoughts and experience can be helpful as you figure out what works for you.
  2. Experiment. As you do your research and listen to others, you will quickly see that there are many different ways to accomplish the same goal. If you are not 100% sure which way is best for you, start one and look at it as an experiment. Move forward on your experiment. As you move forward, learn what works for you, and learn what does not.
  3. Recognize discomfort and make adjustments. When something is not working best for you, you will feel discomfort and maybe even frustration. Sometimes you may not see the results you want to see. Sometimes you find that it does not work into your current schedule. Whatever it is, take some time to analyze your discomfort then make the needed adjustments to move forward. On a side not, realize that accomplishing big goals in your life is not always going to be easy. There may be times where you just have to buckle down and do it, even if you are uncomfortable.
  4. In the end, be true to yourself. We are all unique and amazing individuals. Love yourself and be proud of your way of doing things. Yes, there are times I make compromises, but I compromise because there are people in my life that I love, I respect their uniqueness and I want to spend time with them. When it comes to what I want to accomplish, I will succeed when I am true to myself.
What is an area you want to improve in your life? Have you tried any of the above? Let me and my other reader know how it’s going.
We all accomplish amazing things every day! Don’t forget to celebrate those things! Here’s to loving ourselves and living our best!

Three Easy Ways to Brighten a Day

Every day I get wrapped up in my own world and my own problems. We all have plenty to deal with on a daily basis. With so much on my mind, I put my head down and get to work. But at some point I lift up my head and realize that the people around me are struggling too. I am reminded that we all could use a positive boost.

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Recently I had a rough day. It was one of those days that I could have used some positive mojo. I felt like I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. My mind was filled with negative thoughts and I was incredibly tired. That same day I was scheduled to bring my car in for service. My service center has always done a great job for me, but they are frequently suggesting additional “routine maintenance.” This particular day, I was not in the mood. Seriously, all I wanted was a simple oil change and tire rotation! I pulled up to the service bay and the place was packed. The gentleman who has helped me in the past jumped into the car in front of me to move it forward, making room for my car. As I saw him get out and head over to his desk I felt bad for this guy. He looked overwhelmed and exhausted, it broke my heart. My mood changed and I immediately wanted to find a way to give this guy a positive boost to brighten his day.

Here are three simple ways we can brighten someone’s day.

  • Send a message. It does not matter what kind of message you send; text, email, Facebook or snail mail. It will bring a smile and encouragement. It only takes a few minutes.
  • Give a compliment. It can be as simple as “you look very nice today” or “I am proud of you and how you handled that project!” It’s simple, impactful, and it will only take seconds.
  • Show appreciation. There are many people who work hard every day and are rarely appreciated. This could be anyone; the checker at the grocery store, the attendant at the gas station, the clerk in the drive thru, the nurse at the doctor’s office. You will bring a smile to their face in no time flat.

In what simple way can your brighten someone’s day today? Let me know how it goes! I love to hear your stories!

Here’s to bright sunshiny days!

 

What Gets Us Through The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon & Life

I don’t know about you, but I have a new appreciation for marathon runners. Life is hard enough, why put yourself through that torture? I say that, but I still love a good challenge!

There is one more insight I want to pull from the article I came a crossed “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ . Here is what he writes.

“When I was struggling the most I came upon a young guy who made me feel like I was doing okay. He was really struggling. He was walking (well really hobbling) and as I passed him I gave him a little slap on the shoulders and told him that he could do it and that we were getting close. He mumbled something back that I couldn’t understand but then he started to jog with me. As we talked I started to tell him that he was looking good, that we were getting closer, and that he would never be the same after finishing that marathon (It was his first). The thing that I noticed is the more I tried to help him and get his spirits up the better I felt about myself. In talking someone else through the rough spots I am talking myself through.”

little boy

When we are down and out, the last thing we want to think about is helping others. It takes all of our gumption to get ourselves out of bed in the morning much less the effort to help someone else. But what Mr. Haag says in the article is so true. If we take just one ounce of energy and put it toward encouraging someone else, we find that we suddenly have more. More energy, more peace, more joy, more. I can’t explain it, but I think we all know deep down it is true. If you have never tried it, today is the day. I know this is a great reminder for me. I want to be an encourager of others and I love how I feel in return.

“Now in every race that I run I seek out those who look like they could use a little help or inspiration and try to offer some words of encouragement. I think life is the same, if we will try to find opportunities to help and give then usually we are the ones who receive the most.”

Whether you feel like it today or not, experiment and encourage someone around you. Genuinely care about them, and see what comes back your direction. It might just be the key to get us through the last 6.2 mile challenge we have in front of us.

Part 2: The Last 6.2 Miles of a Marathon

If you are just tuning in, I found a great article recently that is helping me walk step by step through my marathon of life. On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how we have to run the race of life.

Friday we looked at the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. This is important, because the marathon is somewhat “easy” towards the beginning, but as it continues, it gets harder and harder to the point where you can only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

PERSEVERANCE!

Marathon runners

Today’s subject is very similar because I don’t think we can take the subject of perseverance too lightly and only mention it and move on. As I continued to read Ryan Haag’s article he started describing a number of his last 6.2 miles experiences.

He shares “It was not long after this (seeing the 21 mile marker) that I experienced what has been my nemesis in the final miles of all but one of my marathons, which is cramping in my hamstrings.”

And his marathon a year later, “the hamstring cramps that I had felt the year earlier returned with a vengeance. I was trying to run straight legged and hobble the best I could but my pace started to slow. I found myself gritting my teeth and kind of growling to try to persevere through the pain.”

I do not want to make light of Mr. Haag’s pain and suffering, but I started to laugh as I read about him running straight legged and hobbling. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a laugh because I thought it was funny, it was a laugh because I feel right now, today, that I am hobbling and just trying to make it. I envisioned myself as the one doing all I could to keep going even if it meant running straight legged and hobbling.

One of the goals I have been working in this year, among others, is the physical goal of getting into better shape and strengthening my back (a cause of pain for me for years). I have made great progress with the help of my personal trainer. We have discovered and improved one area of my back, but with that improvement, my hip which has had to compensate for my bad back all of these years is now screaming. I know I am making progress. I know I am getting stronger. But I feel like I am having to run straight legged and hobbling. And yes, I have growled too!

Your struggle may be physical, it may be mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial.. Whatever it is, it can be hard!

The article continues “with about 2 miles to go someone was passing out ice cold wash clothes which I used to wipe my hot, salt crusted head and body with and then just laid it on my bald head while I ran. It was possibly the most refreshing thing I have ever felt.”

Each day we are blessed with “cold wash clothes” but sometimes in the middle of the mess and pain we don’t see how much of a blessing they are. There is no doubt that Mr. Haag had to focus all of his being on putting one foot in front of the other, but he was able to feel the refreshment that came his way that day. It may come from another person, it may come from nature, where ever it comes from, grab it, hold onto it and allow it to help encourage us in our race.

Stop for just a second and think about a “cold wash cloth” experience you have had recently. Take time to enjoy it! Then keep hobbling FORWARD!

The Last 6.2 Miles Of A Marathon

This morning I googled “what is the hardest mile of a marathon?” because that is where I feel like I am in life right now. I always teach that life is more of a marathon compared to a sprint. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Well, I am doing that and I suspect you are too, but doesn’t it get to the point at times when you feel fatigued, like your life is getting “cramped up”, like the finish line is too far away?

That is how I feel today and have been feeling for a few weeks now. I am pushing forward in a number of areas of my life, but I’ve lost my excitement, I’m struggling to stay confident, and I question whether I’m running the right race.

marathon water

My Google search brought me to a blog called Run Through Life: Tips and Experiences on Running & Other Important Things In Life. http://www.runningthroughlife.com

On March 29th 2012 Ryan Haag posted “My Experiences With The Last 6.2 Miles Of The Marathon” http://www.runningthroughlife.com/2012/03/29/my-experiences-with-the-last-6-2-miles-of-the-marathon/ and he touched on some pretty amazing correlations between his last 6.2 miles and how I feel in life right now. I want to fill this blog post with all of his insights, but I am going to take one at a time. I need to chew on each of them and figure out what each of them mean to me and how I can apply them to make the “stretch of life” less cumbersome.

Today’s insight is: “When I start a race I am usually thinking in five mile increments and then the farther I get into the race my goals shorten to water stops and then to 1 mile at a time and during the final few miles it goes to one step at a time.”

As I reflect on my life and current goals, I can see this same thing. I am probably to the point where I am looking for water stops. But this does not encourage me because it means that it is going to get harder. It means that I am going to get to the point where I can barely lift one foot to put it in front of the other.

Does it help to know that this phase of my goals is around the bend? Maybe a little. I guess I know when I am there that it is a “normal” part of the race. That others have come before me and persevered through this part to cross the finish line.

But I think what motivates me more is to know that many before me have stopped just short of the finish line and I don’t want to be that person. I do want to persevere!

“It is during that last 6.2 miles where you really have to reach down into yourself both physically and mentally and find strength that you previously didn’t know you had. The last 6.2 miles is what makes you better, stronger, more confident, yet humble person following the marathon. That 6.2 miles stretch gives you the confidence that there is nothing that can stop you from attaining your dreams but also makes you so grateful for all of the gifts that you have been given.”

Where are you on your current race of life? Are you feeling good watching the miles pass with ease? Are you starting to feel the fatigue? Or are you just trying to put one foot in front of the other?

Hang in there! Keep going! Don’t stop! Others have persevered and you can too!

More to come…

Whose definition of success are you living by?

Have you been influenced by other people’s definition of success? Has that influence been good, bad or both?

As many of you know, I am in the process of writing a book. This adventure is bringing me in a lot of different directions, all in the hopes of helping each of us to live the BEST life we can possibly live. Today I am reflecting on and writing about what success looks like and I am curious how you feel on the subject and the experiences you have had.

 

def of success

  • When you transitioned from your high school years into your “adult” life, were there very clear expectations placed on you by your elders on how to move forward in life?
  • Did they have a clear definition of success they wanted you to pursue?
  • Was their view of success one of order or adventure?
  • Did you follow through with their definition of success? If so, are you still on the same path? Or have you veered off?
  • Why?
  • Have you discovered your own definition of success in life? What is it?
  • If you are a parent, what definition of success are you passing on to your child? Why is it important for you to communicate this to your child?

In my personal life and in my career as a Life Coach, I have met many amazing individuals that have all had a unique combination of answers to the above questions. Some are moving forward in life, some are stuck. I am interested in seeing how the definition of success of influential people in our lives have shaped our lives.

I would love your input! Please feel free to set up a simple account and comment right here in the blog, comment on Facebook or send me an email. 

A Difference Maker – One Thing That Will Move You Forward Faster!

I love results! Who doesn’t! It’s a great feeling when you have lost a few pounds, learned something you never knew, accomplished a task you have been working towards, or finally running in that 5k or half marathon that you have always wanted to run. Getting results give us a great feeling, a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of moving forward, a feeling of making a positive change in our lives.

I had a moment of inspiration this morning about this exact subject. While we love the feeling of accomplishment, and making things happen in our lives, many times we are not willing to invest in “the one thing” that will provide the greatest amount of growth – GETTING HELP.

Classroom Desk (Mobile)

I have experienced this first hand in my life. I knew in order to get a job, I needed an education so I went to school. I knew when I wanted to become a Life Coach that I needed training, so I did what it took to get my certification. Education seems to be a no brainer when we need to receive that diploma or certificate. But what about our health? What about our interests? What about the direction of our life as a whole? If you are like me, I’ve tried to do it myself, and have just muddled through.

Most of us have heard the common definition of insanity. Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different result.” We all have done this at one time or the other.

In order to break the insanity cycle, the key is this: If something thing is not working, try something else.

In 2014 I tried something else. I got help.

I have been working for quite a few years now to get into better physical “shape”. I will be turning 42 in the next few weeks and I want to continue to be active and vibrant as I go through my 40’s, 50’s and into my 80’s and 90’s. I knew the only way for me to be vibrant throughout my life is to work on being strong and less fragile now. I have tried many programs and have found some success, but it has been minimal. For me, I continued to hit a wall and could not get over it.

IT ALL CHANGED THIS YEAR by making one simple change, I am getting help from a professional in the field of physical fitness. As of yesterday, I have been working out with a personal trainer for 3 short months and I have advanced more than I have in ALL of the years that I have been trying to do it myself.

Did you get that? In three short months, I have advance more than I have in all of the years prior to that!

By making one change, getting professional help.

The same is true for my life as a whole. Since I hired a Life Coach, I have made more changes in my life for the better. Again, I tried to do it by myself, but the last three years of being coached have created MAJOR CHANGE for the better in my life. All because I got help from a professional.

Today, if you want to see real change, faster results, and the feeling of moving forward in your life, invest in obtaining professional help:

  • If you want to lose weight, there are people and companies that specialize in weight loss!
  • If you want to get into shape, there are personal trainers that will help you reach your personal goals.
  • If you want to be more financially secure, there are people and organizations out there to help you put a plan into place for financial success.
  • If you want to dream of a great future for yourself, your significant other, your family, and put a plan together to make it happen, hire a Life Coach and you will move forward in those dreams!

You name the area you want to move forward in, there is a person or company out there ready to help you move forward.

But Jen….all of that costs a lot of money. You are absolutely right, but I am going to say it like it is. THAT’S A BIG OLD EXCUSE! You are spending your money somewhere. Take a look at where your money is going.

If you want to move forward in your life, you can and will make it happen. Period!

I can be the queen of excuses (trust me), but there is ALWAYS a way to move forward.

Henry Ford said it best: Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!

What is different about my life? I “think I can” and am making change happen by getting HELP!

An Amazing 46 Days!

This image sums up the last 46 days! It is great to have said goodbye to 46 items and as I look back I don’t regret parting with even one of them. It fact, there is more space in my life because of the removal of these items.

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It has been a fun 46 days. It has been a ton of fun having conversations with friends and family as they have tried to part with items in their life. This adventure has sparked conversations around camp fires, dinner tables and many phone calls. It has been a great experience for me, and I hope for you too!

Getting rid of “stuff” is different for every person, as it should be. We are all amazing and unique individuals. I guess the message I would like to part with is – Always strive to live your BEST LIFE and do not let any possession hold you back from it! Find freedom in your day, in your home and in your life.

Thanks for sticking with me over the past 46 days! Here is a mini collage of all of the “stuff” I parted with. It was fun to recap!

Preview of “40 days collage”Let’s see what adventure we can get into next! Have a great week!

The end is in sight and the good-bye pile is growing!

This week flowed pretty well. I was actually in the mood to get rid of things and clear more space. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to search for things to get rid of, but once I looked in the far corners of my home, I realized that I had more stuff that I do not use or have duplicates of.

I was also reminded that getting rid of things is a process. I have had many items in my sites for some time, but I was not ready to part with them. My house is filled with things that I am not ready to part with. But over time, I realize that a lot of it is in the way and taking up space. In most cases I do not love the items, or not even use them. It takes time to part with them, but I feel great when I do.

Because it is a process, it is important for me to keep reduction at the forefront of my mind. To take time out monthly or quarterly to go through things and ask myself if it is time to part with certain items. That would be a great thing to add to my monthly todo list.

I also want to set up a system to think before I buy new items. I am trying something new this week. I set up an incentive program for myself. There are a few clothing items that I would like to acquire, but instead of just running out to get them, I have decided that I have to earn them. I set up a goal for myself this week to move forward on one important area of my life and if I succeed all week, I can go purchase one of those items. What this also does is prolong the buying process which gives me time to really think about whether I need this item or not. It take the “impulse” out of the buying process.

Here are the items I said goodbye to this week! Possessions #36 – #42

Autumn flag

#36 With the weather growing warmer, I went out into the garage to do some spring clean up. While I was there, I found this autumn flag that I have not flown for at least 10 years. I decided the American flag was all I needed and said goodbye to this one.

lantern

#37 Again, while working in the garage, I came across this propane lantern. My husband LOVES flashlights, so in the case of an emergency, I think we are covered and would probably not use this lantern…at least we have not in quite a few years.

swim suit

#38 I love swimming and this is one of my favorite suits that I seen may laps around the pool. I have another one that fits me a little better and I really don’t need two. Goodbye my old friend!

white board

#39 This white board has been used for many things through the years. As you might notice, if you look closely, we were using it as our workout board for a while. But our smart phones have taken over for the white board and we have not used it for quite some time, goodbye!

cds

#40 Here are a few CD’s that just did not make the cut. I hope someone else enjoys them!

over eating book

#41 This book was a great recommendation from a friend and pointed me in my current direction of eating healthy and removing much of the processed foods out of my diet. Goodbye processed foods and goodbye book.

boxing bag

#42 I was not quite ready to get rid of my boxing gloves and wraps, but it was time to part with my boxing bag. I don’t need it!

Great lessons have been learned so far, but I’m not done yet. A few more items to go! See you next week for the grand finale!