It’s So Easy…To Say Yes!

Last week we talked about how sometimes the plethora of opportunities that present themselves in our lives gets in the way of the quality. This week we will touch on why we love saying “yes”, why we don’t like saying “no”, and how we can find the quality of life we are yearning for.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were asked by a really great person to do something, attend something, make food for something, or volunteer for something? Even though you know your schedule is crazy busy, the word “yes” slips right on out. After all, this is a really great person asking me and it is a good cause. It feels good at that moment to say “yes!” You suddenly can’t ignore the unsettled feeling deep down in your soul though. You know you will need to figure out how to fit this in amongst all of the other opportunities that you and your loved ones have said “yes” to. But for now, it feels good to have said “yes”.

You are right! It has been shown that saying “yes” brings a good feeling to our bodies, much like the good feeling eating sweets, drinking caffeine, or filling our tummies with our favorite food. It literally feels good to say “yes”. We instantly feel approval. We instantly get a smile of appreciation. It instantly feels good.

Verses…

The disappointment that we perceive when we say “no” to others. We generally don’t get a smile in return. We certainly don’t feel approved of. If there is any feeling that can be associated with saying “no” it would be the feeling of cold, not cozy. Then the guilt sets in. The person we just said “no” to is such a great person, they work so hard, we feel like we owe them. I just finished reading a book by Andy Stanley called Enemies of the Heart, where he talk about guilt. He explains that when we feel guilty, we feel like we owe someone something. I have found that to be true in my life.

No wonder the word “yes” flies off of our tongue so quickly!

Reality then sets in. How are we going to fit it all in? I guess the morning jog that I long for can wait another day. The kids are fine running around with me at night and the sit down dinner around our home table that I long for will just have to wait. I will have my significant other run to pick up the food for the next night’s event and we will eventually see each other when we all get home  at night just to start in all over again the next morning.

I’m worn out just writing that paragraph, and I know there were probably a number of things I missed in that description. I do know something that was missing in the descriptions… many things that you hold dear to you as most important.

That just made my heart hurt a little. It feels so good to say “yes” until reality sets in. Reality does not feel good at all.

I do have a solution and a way for you to still get the good feeling by saying “yes”.

Take time to define what is most important to you, even define the pace of life you desire to live. Start saying “yes” to those things. Fill your calendar with those things. When the really great person comes up to you and asks you if you can add something to your calendar, here is what you do:

  • You think about what you have defined as “most important” to you and ask yourself if this fits into those categories.
  • You think about the pace of life you want to live and you ask yourself if this will help you live at that pace.
  • You tell them you will take a look at your calendar and get back with them.
  • You look at your calendar, which is starting to fill up with “most important” things and you make a decision…then you get back with that really great person with an answer.
  • There is nothing wrong with telling someone you already have plans for that night, even if those plans are to cuddle up with a book on your couch to rejuvenate your soul.

It feels great to say “yes” to the best things, and you actually feel good deep down, even when you have to tell someone else “no”. You know you are living the life you want to be living by doing the things that are most important to you.


Actions steps:

  1. Start adding a few things on your calendar that are things that are most important to you.
  2. Make one of those things “taking time to define what is most important to me, and the pace of life I want to be living.”
  3. Gradually transition the things on your calendar to the things that are most important to you and away from the “yeses” that are driven by the guilt of letting others down.
  4. Keep moving forward in this fashion, one step at a time!

Say “yes” to the best things! You got this!

 

Lovingly Say Yes To…

I intentionally did not include what you are to say “yes” to in the title because I wanted you to open my post. There is one thing that very productive, busy women have a really hard time saying “yes” to. It is essential for you to lovingly say “yes” to YOU! Taking care of yourself, first and foremost, is a difference maker. This is very serious and BIG STUFF!

I have shared with woman after woman, in my years of Life Coaching, the importance of prioritizing oneself. Much to my sadness, most do not feel it is possible for them. They feel as though there is no possible way. I am here to tell you it is possible. It will not happen overnight, but it is possible and I beg you to start on that journey today.

Let’s look at where to start. Read the following “starting points” and pay attention to which one resonates with you the most.

  • What can you start to do to prioritize your physical health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your mental health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your spiritual health?
  • What can you start to do to prioritize your emotional health?

I do not feel these need any additional explanation. Which one caused you to pause and shake your head “yes”. That is your starting point.

What one small thing can you add for the next month to start prioritizing this area of your life?

No more excuses, get started!

  • Prioritizing yourself will be a difference maker in your life. You will start to really feel like you are living again, and as you feel better, those around you will be impacted in a positive way as well.

I make it happen each day, other women are on the journey with us. You can lovingly say “yes” to yourself as well. Join me!

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving those around us, and being a difference maker!

 


Action Steps:

  • Decide on your starting point.
  • Decide on the one small way you are going to move forward this month to lovingly say “yes” to you.
  • Get started!

 

Lovingly Saying No To…”I Should”

How often in your day do you think “I should be doing…”? How many times, when you take a moment to sit down, do you feel guilty and think of all of the things you “should” be doing? How often do you think back on your day and feel like you “should have done something, but didn’t”? When we pay attention, our lives are filled with “I shoulds”. They can torment and bring us down. It’s time to lovingly (or maybe even a little forcefully) put the “I shoulds” in their place.

When you find yourself unsettled in life, what “I shoulds” are responsible?

  • There are many unhealthy “I shoulds”.
  • There are some “I shoulds” that do need to get your attention because they are the right things for your life.

How do you know the difference?

It all comes down to what is most important to you. Defining what is most important to you at this stage in your life will help you differentiate between the things that you hold dear and all of the other clutter that tries to intrude into your life. Defining what is most important to you is one of the greatest exercises and investments of time you can partake in. It will shape your life into exactly what you want it to be.

I have a simple resource that is designed to help you do exactly that! I have used it in my Life Planning Classes, and I just recently had one of my former students pull his out to share with his co-workers. He shared how this tool was life changing for him and how it has shaped his life into what he wants it to be.

Click here for your free resource: Live the Life You Desire – Define What Is Most Important To You

Once you have defined what is most important to you, you can compare your “I shoulds” to your list of “most important things”.

  • If your “I should” is on your list of most important things, it should get your attention. You should find a way to prioritize it in your life.
  • If your “I should” is not on your list of most important things, you can lovingly say “no” to it, knowing that spending time on it would pull you away from what is most important.

No longer allow the “I shoulds” to torment you or bring you down. Say “YES” to what is most important to you, and lovingly say “NO” to the rest.

Here’s to leaving guilt behind, knowing we are living the life we desire!


Action Steps:

  • Ask yourself: When you find yourself unsettled in life, what “I shoulds” are responsible?
  • Download: Live the Life You Desire – Define What Is Most Important To You and start to work on your list of most important things.
  • Improve the lives of others: If you have someone in your life who could benefit from the free resource, please pass it on to them! We are all in this together!

 

How to Have a Great Year!

Regardless of How it Started

How did you ring in the New Year? With happiness and celebration? With concern and apprehension? With joyous anticipation? With sadness and heartbreak? These are real life emotions, and every single one of them is okay. My question for you to ponder is, no matter how your new year began, what do you want the rest of the year to look like?

My year started with sadness. My dad peacefully passed away in his sleep after an amazing life of 88 years. My new year was filled with family and friends, of many years, coming together to celebrate an amazing life, yet mourn the empty spot we now have in our lives. My new year started out a little rough, but I have many things to look forward to and work towards in the year ahead.

How did your new year begin? What do you want for the year ahead? You want the best, right? The best for ourselves and for our loved ones. I believe, with everything in me, that you can work towards a great year regardless of how it started. Here are a few things to remember in the days, weeks and year to come.

  • Know that you have it within your control to have a great year. Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed, to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it. As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life. Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living. When we fill our minds with the right stuff, we automatically start to gravitate towards those right things. You have a ton of control! Use that control to live many great days this year.
  • Know that your intentionality this year will positively affect the people around you. Our lives are filled with amazing people, and even though we do not always see how our actions affect others, they truly do. This is especially true the closer someone is to you. The positive direction you make in your life makes their lives more positive too.
  • Know that your example this year will show others that making positive changes in their lives is possible too. Living intentionally is rare. The more you live an intentional life, the more you will stand out from the crowd. There are many people who don’t yet know that taking control of their life and living intentionally is possible. Your example will show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the life they desire is possible.

No matter what state your life was in as you stepped into the new year, decide what you want for yourself and your loved ones and work towards that a little bit each day this year. You can make 2018 exactly what you want it to be.

Here’s to embracing where we are today, dreaming of what we want for tomorrow, and taking one step at a time to move towards a great year!


Summary of Simple Actions Steps:

  • Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it.
  • As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life.
  • Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living.
  • Notice how your positive changes and intentionality affect those around you.

 

Let’s Decide Now!

Happy November! Halloween is over and the weather has become colder. We can’t help but think about the upcoming holidays. I sat down with my calendar in hand this morning and realized that it was time for me to decide. Time to decide what my holiday season was going to look like this year.

As you reflect back on past holidays, what are the things that you want to prioritize? What are the things that are of less importance to you? These are great questions to ask now, before our already busy schedules shift into an even higher gear. Just like the other areas of our lives, we have control during the holidays and we have to be intentional in order for them to be the best they can be. Take a few minutes to think about these two questions:

What do you want the overall theme of your holidays to be this year? High energy? Exciting? Fun? Filled with people and events? Slow paced? Relaxing? Filled with one-on-one people time? A little bit of all of the above? Deciding this ahead of time will help us make better decisions as the plethora of invitations come our way over the next few weeks.

I am going to interject one important theme here that we can tend to take for granted, it is staying healthy over the holidays. Yes, there are flu bugs that we may catch that are out of our control, but there is a lot we have that is within our control when it comes to our health over the holidays. Let’s prioritize rest for us and our loved ones. When we are run ragged, it affects our immune system and makes us more susceptible to getting sick. We are also bombarded with special food over the holiday. When we can, let’s add in some nutritious stuff that will give our bodies a boost. I have already started to eat an orange a day to increase my vitamin C. Lastly, if you or your loved ones are sick, and this is purely my opinion, stay home, rest, get better and don’t share the bug with others. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t miss out on an event and this decision can be very hard, but let’s remember that our decisions will affect others in a negative way, in this instance. [end of soapbox]

What are the essentials of your Holiday? Let’s decide now what our essentials are and get them on the calendar. I do not know if you have ever seen the big rocks illustrations. Imagine you have a one gallon clear bucket. You have sand, small rocks, medium-sized rocks and large rocks that all need to fit into this bucket. The bucket represents our life, the sand represents the non-essential busy work that we feel is expected of us, the small rocks are a little bit more important aspects of our lives, mediums rocks are pretty important, but the big rocks are those most important things that are very important to us. Many times, especially during the holidays, we can get wrapped up in all of the little stuff that everyone else expects us to do. This is placing the sand in our clear bucket first. The same goes for those small rocks, filling our time with non-essential things. The heart breaking aspect of this illustration and what can easily happen over the holidays, is that we fill our bucket with the less important stuff. When it’s time to place our most important BIG ROCKS into our lives, there is no room to fit them in. If we take a different approach and place the BIG ROCKS in first, the most essential things, them some medium rocks, them a few small rocks fit in and we can even fit some of the sand in too. What’s so important is that we first and foremost, fit in the most important things. Whatever is most important to you for the holidays, your BIG ROCKS, let’s get them on the calendar now, then fit the other items in after.

We all go into the holiday season with a very special picture in our mind of what we want it to be. Let’s do all we can to make this holiday season the best it can be for ourselves and our loved ones.

If we do not decide what our holidays will look like now, everyone else will decide for us. Let’s take control, be intentional and have a great holiday season living our absolute BEST!

You Mean There Is No Finish Line?

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. wrote in her book Mindset, “once a problem improves, people often stop doing what caused it to improve.Once you feel better, you stop taking your medicine.” She continues, “But change doesn’t work that way. When you’ve lost weight, the issue doesn’t go away.” “These changes have to be supported or they can go away faster than they appeared.”I AM DOING EXACTLY WHAT DR. DWECK DESCRIBED!!!…and I have done it so many times before. Wow this one is challenging!

My real life example right now is exercise. As many of you know, I have been training hard for the past year. It was challenging, but, it felt so good to be strong and vibrant. In my mind, I was determined to keep up that same level of exercise after I crossed the finish line at a recent event, but the past two weeks have not played out that way at all.

After achieving a goal, I have faced a big challenge and I wonder if you have dealt with this as well?

It has been my desire to stay “fit” after I cross the finish line, but I also want to move forward on other plans as well. Suddenly though, I realize I do not have the time or energy for both, so the fitness level I had just reached has started to slip. Another example is losing weight. Losing weight is tough stuff, but as the pounds come off, we feel better and better. Losing weight requires a tremendous amount of energy and focus. It is easy once we reach our goal to think we can move on to other things and not give our eating the same amount of attention. Unfortunately, when it does not get our focus, the scale starts creeping back up again. Yes, I think we can get into some level of “maintenance mode” with our goals, but I am having to face the fact that they will still require a lot of my energy.

This makes me sad, I’m not going to lie. Because I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and I want them all to happen NOW! But reality reminds me that I only have so much time in a day, and I only have so much energy I can put forth. Therefore, I am grappling with a truth that I do not like. If I want to put forth time and energy to stay healthy, and reach other goals in life:

  • First I have to choose which areas are most important.
  • Second, I have to limit the number of them that I pursue at one time.

It’s giving the most of my energy to a few big, important things, instead of spreading myself out trying to do a lot of little things. I still plan on accomplishing my goals, but it might just take a little bit longer to accomplish all of them. I guess it’s the bucket list concept.

Wow, the paring back continues. In the past I have talked about removing non-essentials, but I never imagined I would need to cut back this much. I will have to be honest with you, this process of paring back also brings me hope, hope that I can accomplish some things that are big and important to me. Trying to move forward on so many things at once in the past has drained some of the hope out of me. I do have a lot of great things to look forward to in life, they will simply take time and focus.

Please share with me your thoughts on this cutting back stuff. Feel free to comment below or send me an email. It is not easy stuff, and I am still trying to figure it out too. I would love to hear your thoughts, even if you do not agree. There is so much I can learn from each of you!

Here’s to a great week ahead trying to figure out this BEST life stuff!

The Experiment

This past week I had decided to take on the challenge of trying to fill my time with the essentials and remove the nonessentials from each day. I learned three important things from my experimental week.

woodland-road-falling-leaf-natural-38537

  1. An essential does not always need to be work. I can find myself thinking that essentials always have to involve me doing something productive or making progress in an area of my life. This week, I was reminded that this is not always the case. Fun, play and rest are all essential at times, and it felt great to prioritize those things this past week. Have you been able to fit some fun into your life this week?
  2. I found one particular area that distracts me and tended to pull me away from my essentials. That one area for me, is projects around my house. I LOVE TO HAVE A CLEAN AND TIDY HOME! Did you catch the emphasis there? The challenge with this is that housework is never done. It kills me when I just finish cleaning the floors and I look down to admire my work and find something I had missed. Because my housework is never done, I could spend all of my time on it and never get to anything else. I do love to have a clean house, but there is so much more that I want to fill my life with. This week I had to label some of my housework as a nonessential for now so that I could spend time on other important things. Do you have one area that pulls you away from your essentials?
  3. It was nice and important to spend my time on my essentials, but it did not feel earth shattering. I think I was expecting my life to feel AMAZING when I focused on my essentials, but it did not feel all that much different. You are probably asking “Jen, what’s the point then?” Don’t get me wrong, I was able to move forward on some important things this past week. I guess what I realized is that moving forward on my essential things was still hard work, and there was no applause from the crowd for that hard work. It was the right thing, but felt pretty ordinary, and that is okay. 

My experimental week was good. In my heart, I know it was the right thing for me to do in order to focus on areas that I want to move forward on in the future. This week was just the start of a lifetime of trying to fill my time with essential things and eliminate the non-essentials. I acknowledge now that it is not always going to be easy and filled with applause, but, in the long run, I will get to where I want to go because I stayed focused and eliminated distractions. I wish the same for you!

Here’s to living our BEST, one day at a time!

Give It Your Best!

Whatever you decide to do, whatever you consider to be essential, whatever makes the cut, give it your best!

healthy-person-woman-sport

A friend of mine is a part of an organization that means a lot to him. Just recently, there was discussion about how important it is for their participants to volunteer to make the organization strong so that they can impact lives and make a difference in the world. Even though I do not have the same conviction about this particular organization as he has, he made me think. Whatever we decide to do, whatever we decide to put our heart into, let’s do it well.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about eliminating the non-essentials in our lives. Once we do that, we are left with a bunch of wonderful things. Things that are very important to us. Once we have defined our essentials and refined our lives to remove the non-essentials, then it is time to give our all to what we have defined to be our most important things.

How can we make the shift from filling our time with non-essentials to living our best life focused on what we have defined as most important? I am writing this blog post the Friday night before going into the long Labor Day weekend. There are a bunch of things that I have thought about doing this weekend, but even I am asking myself, “What is most important?” “What should get most of my time and attention this weekend?” As I sit here writing, I am changing my plans for the weekend. I want to fill it with my essentials.

This is an interesting process to go through. If you can take a short moment of time out of your busy schedule, try to think about your day a little differently. Think about what is most important to you and start to fill your time with those things. I have always heard the best way to get rid of a bad habit is to start a good habit. Well maybe the same is true here as well. Maybe the best way to stop spending time on non-essentials is to start spending more time on what is most important.

Life is an experiment right? I think I have my experiment for the next week. I am going to try to fill my time, as best I can, for the next week with what I consider to be essentials. I am going to journal as I move through my experiment and come back next week with my report. I would love for you to join me and let me know how it goes. As a subscribers, you have my email address. Send me an email with your thoughts and experiences.

Well, I can say I have started right now, because writing this blog post is one of my essentials. It warms my heart to share my heart with you. Next I am going to bed at my normal time and getting a good night’s rest so that I have a ton of energy for tomorrow. Stay tuned until next week to read the exciting saga of Jen Regan’s life of essentials!

Here’s to doing what is most important and giving life our BEST!

Three Main Ingredients for a Great Life!

What are the ingredients for a great life? I have been asking myself this very question for a number of weeks because I do not feel like I am living my “Best Life” right now. I have started a new job, and with that comes a period of adjustment, a period of time where my old “normal”  is gone and I need to find a new, wonderful “normal” again.

ingredients

I think we can all agree that one of the ingredients to living our best life is prioritizing the “most important” people and things. I have been doing pretty well at this the past few weeks with some tweaks here and there, but I have realized it is not enough. I have come to see our “most important” things as the foundation to living our best life. It is essential to build the rest of our life on, but it is not everything.

Next we have the ingredient of what “needs” to get done. This is not always a fun ingredient in life, but the reality is that it exists. John’s and my life were filled will annoyances this past week that “needed” to be dealt with. We received an unexpected medical bill that required some phone calls as well as unplanned check writing. I had a delivery of some liquid laundry soap that decided to break in transit. Is it bad when the box is in a trash bag on your front porch and the bottom feels mushy when you pick it up? In addition to these annoyances, the laundry still needs to get done. We needed to get to the grocery store. Things “need” to get done in our lives, and that is never going to change. What we can do is: recognize it is a part of life, stop fighting the annoyances because they usually win, deal with them as we need to, and try to keep a decent attitude during them. Things will always “need” to be done.

The last ingredient, what I consider the sweet spot, it is when we take time for the things we “want” to do. This is the area I have been lacking in since I have started my new job. I have filled my time with the most important people and things. Check! I have been dealing with what “needs” to be dealt with. Check! But I have not been taking time to do the things that bring added joy to my day. These are the things we feel are selfish because many times they are all about us. Well I am hear to tell you, this is the areas that bring some spice into our lives and is not selfish. I am writing this post on my birthday and even though I have a lot of things that “need” to be done today, I decided to sleep in this morning just because I wanted to. I am going to treat myself to a pedicure here shortly and do a few other things just because I want to. Prioritizing the things we “want” to do is so very important!

We all know that we cannot distill life down to three ingredients, but if we can get these three right with the right attitude, we will be well on our way to living our best life.

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving others and approaching everything else that comes our way with the best attitude we can muster up!

P.S. Below is the link to this month’s “Something To Look Forward To” Calendar! It’s time to start planning some fun stuff for the months to come!

June 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

You Did Great Today!

I spend a lot of time writing about the things we can do to live our best life. Today, I want to remind you, and myself, that we do so much on a daily basis that is great! But sometimes these things are so routine that we forget how important and impactful they are.

wash dishes
I have started to write in a journal every morning. In this particular journal, I write down what I am thankful for. This practice has allowed me to start my day with the attitude of gratitude. In the evening, as I lay in bed and try to settle my mind for a good night’s rest, I think about all that I did during the day, all that I had accomplished. I try to work through my day mentally from start to finish and list out all of the activities including eating breakfast, reading, going to work, eating dinner, washing the dishes, relaxing with my husband, doing my back exercises, getting ready for the next day, and oh yah, I fed my dog a few times in there. My list is generally not all that exciting, but what I have realized is that it is all important stuff, it is all good stuff.

I’m sure your day is filled with similar things. Here are some reminders of why these “normal things” are so important and how they make a difference in our world.

  • It is important for homes to be a sanctuary, a place where we, and those we love, enjoy spending time. Tasks such as doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming the floors can all feel meaningless, but they are all a part of making our homes a wonderful place to be. All that we do around our homes contribute to the lives of those who inhabit it. We want to feel “at home” and all the work we do around the house makes that a reality.
  • We all need energy. The food that we provide for ourselves and those we love contributes to their health and the energy they have to live a great life. This is an area I struggle with because I do not like to cook, but it is vitally important. When I have a day that I feel particularly sluggish, I can usually look at the food I ate, or lack thereof, and understand why I feel the way I do. Feeding ourselves and others can feel tedious at times, but know that all that you do contributes to the health and energy for others to live their best.
  • We need each other. The time we spend driving around from stop to stop is important. The time we spend at our child’s soccer practice is important. The time we spend talking to a dear friend fills our lives with great things. John, Pebbles and I spend at least an hour each night just hanging out watching TV. It is what we do, and it can seem pretty uneventful, but it is important. All of the big and little moments in our lives with those people who are important to us contributes to our best life.
  • You know my blogs are not complete until I remind you how important rest is. The time you and your loved ones take to rest, gives us all a fresh start to a new day. When we get a good nap or good night’s rest we, and our loved ones, have a better capability to handle what comes our way. Our rest gives us more motivation. Rest is a very normal part of our life, but so very important.

If you have taken care of something in your home today, fed yourself or those you care about, spent time with others and went to bed and got some rest, you have accomplished a great deal today. We all need these simple things to live our best life, and you have made them happen! You are needed, valued, significant, appreciated and admired!
Here’s to washing one more dish and knowing it does makes a difference!