The Secret to Fitting More In

As we move forward in our baby steps in 2017, what happens when those steps lead us to a big change in our lives that we didn’t expect?  We already have a full and packed life, how is it possible to add more? How is it possible to adjust? How is it possible to make this new, important change a reality in our lives?

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I am asking myself the same question at this very moment in my life. I have shared with all of you that I was not sure where my baby steps are going to lead me this year and, I have found that to be an understatement. As I have taken one step at a time, I have come to the realization that in addition to my Life Coaching and writing, it is time for me to step back out into working full-time outside of my home. I have made this decision for many amazing reasons, and I wish I could share them all with you, but in order to keep this post to a manageable length, I am going to stay focus on the topic at hand. How in the world am I going to do it all? How am I going to fit this new amazing thing into an already full life?

Over the past few weeks since I made the decision to work outside of my home again, I have been asking myself that very question and have started the process of making some adjustments. I hope you will find these beneficial to you if your baby steps have led to what may feel like a new larger than life adventure in your life. Here are some things I have been trying out and working through.

  • I have reconnected with the things that are most important in my life and recommitted myself to those things. There are many “good” things that we can fill our lives with. But what are the BEST things? We only have 24 hours in a day and we need to rest at some point, right? How are we going to spend our time? Above everything else, I want to give my best to those people and things that are most important to me. I want to be intentional about giving them my best and not just my left overs.

An added note; make sure that the new addition or change that you are making in your life falls in line with what is most important to you. When I decided to go back to work full-time outside of my home, I had a number of close friends and accountability partners ask me some really hard questions to make sure I was going back to work for the right reasons. Make sure it lines up with what is most important to you.

  • I have cut out the non-essential things, at least for now. I can always add them back in later. Remember those “good” things I mentioned above? This is the category for them. They are wonderful things, but in order to keep my most important things a priority, I have to cut some of the “good” things. An example of this for me is my formal training for a triathlon. I mentioned in a previous post that I am not going to reach my initial goal for participating in a triathlon, but I still aspire to complete one. I love to bike, I love to swim, and I am trying to learn to love to run, but I cannot prioritize a formal training program at this time. It’s a good thing but not essential right now.
  • I have started to create systems that will help me as more duties are added to my plate. As I get busier and busier, I do not want to allow important things to fall to the wayside. One simple example is I want to make sure that I continue to take my nutrition supplements and not allow that to slip. What I have done, therefore, is utilize a different system/pill organizer so that I can easily bring my supplements with me wherever I go during my busy day. This is one small example, but I have been asking myself what simple systems can I put in place that will help me perform those tasks that are important to me.
  • I am finding ways that I can be more efficient. HUGE CAUTION! Today I am going to share something with you that I have not shared with you before. Articles and books on efficiency and productivity anger me! There! I got that off my chest! Now let me explain. The reason I do not like the subject of being more efficient or more productive is because the goal of most of them is for you to create more “space” in your day so that you can fill it with more stuff/work. Do more, get more done, produce more, go, go, go, never stop! My goal in life, and reason for becoming more efficient, is to add more space in my live for what is most important, for the BEST things. Not for the sake of cramming more in.

With that focus in mind, there are many great resources out there that can help us make simple changes to be more efficient. One little one that I have reinstituted this week is the “one touch” method. The concept is that when we “touch” things multiple times it takes more time. The one area I implement this concept is with snail mail. I used to bring it in the house and lay it down, later I would sort out the junk and put it in the recycle bin, make a pile for things that needed to be shredded and another pile for important mail. Then later I would shred that pile. Then later I would bring the important papers back to my office. Then even later, I would deal with those papers. With the “one touch” method I bring the mail in from the box, immediately throw the junk in the recycle bin, open and shred what needs to be shredded and I walk the important stuff back to my office. It took me a few minutes more, but it is done and I no longer have the looming pile of mail on the counter. These small areas of efficiency will add up and bring more space in our lives for more important things.

  • I have learned to continue to take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and given myself some grace. This past week I have found myself all ramped up trying to do all of the above. I realized I need to chill, do what I can, but at the end of the day realize that my “To Do” list will be there tomorrow and that’s ok. Let’s give ourselves some love and grace knowing we are doing great and amazing things. Tomorrow is another day to live our best again!

I would love to hear how your baby steps are going and where they are taking you this year. Feel free to reply below, we all would love to hear from you!
Here’s to tackling the big changes in our lives with love, grace and yes, even some efficiency!

Life is Like the Hokey Pokey

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in, and you shake it all about! Just writing that reminded me of all the family weddings and roller skating parties I went to in my life where we boogied to the Hokey Pokey. But you are probably wondering, where in the world are you going with this post Jen? That’s a good question…

Sea Ocean Sand Beach Vacation Coast Chill Bare Concept

One of the areas that I wanted to change in 2017 was to enjoy life more. 2016 was great, but it was hard. It was filled with great things, but many times, at the end of the day, I felt very “Meh!” The question was, how could I change that this year? I spent a lot of time out of my comfort zone last year. One things I wanted to try this year was to keep one foot out of my comfort zone and one foot in my comfort zone. That sounds great theoretically, but the implementation of it looks a lot more like the Hokey Pokey.

This past week I have been nudged out of my comfort zone and it is a good thing, but uncomfortable. The question is, how can I keep that one foot in my comfort zone? How can I still enjoy this time even though it is uncomfortable? How can you too?

The first thing I had to do was identify the things that I enjoy. These can be big things or little things. I believe it is important to fill our lives with both. I took time to think about this and wrote some things down. I know many of you simply don’t have the time to do that, but I think we all instinctively know some of the things we enjoy. Here are some of my simple daily enjoyments.

    • I love to get outside, to be in the sunshine most of all.
    • I love to rest my mind and body, which for me means sitting, relaxing and not looking at my smart phone.
    • I also love being physically active, like taking a short walk.
    • I love doing things for others, small simple gestures.
    • I love being at home.
    • I love feeling productive and organized. A 15 minute house pick-up does me good.
    • I love a hot cup of coffee!

What are some small things that bring you enjoyment? If they don’t instantly come to mind, keep it at the forefront of your mind this week and notice the small things that bring you joy.

Secondly, try to fit a few of them into your day. This is important every day, but essential when we are living outside of our comfort zone. When we are outside of our comfort zone, these small things will bring life to our day, a spring to our step, enjoyment instead of “meh!”

All of us are pursuing our best life, and I am very proud of you as you continue to push forward in your life. Let’s not forget to enjoy it, too. You deserve the simple pleasures of life.
Here’s to dancing the Hokey Pokey, stepping one foot forward while having a blast!

Have I Failed?

I am not going to be able to accomplish one of my first goals of 2017. Because of this, my week had been filled with feelings of disappointment, denial, frustration, but, ultimately acceptance. The big question I have had to answer for myself is “Have I Failed?”

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Many of my goals are unclear this year, but the one that I felt was crystal clear and where I felt I had a clear plan, is the one goal where I have been stopped in my tracks. I am registered for my first triathlon in April. I started training on December first which gave me plenty of time to be ready for the big event. Even though my plan is in place, and I know in my mind that I can do it, my body has decided not to cooperate. I will spare you of the detailed descriptions of my aches and pains, but because of them I have fallen behind on my training to the point where I will not be ready in time. The one goal I was ready to tackle this spring is now out of my reach. I ask myself, what did I do wrong? I am the one writing a blog to encourage us all to live our best. Did I ignore my own advice? What happened?

In order to answer that last question I went back and read all of my blogs from the beginning of the year. What did I fail to do? What did I do wrong? Here is what I found.

  • I have been taking one small baby step at a time.
  • I have taken care of myself and stayed rested.
  • I have been disciplined.
  • I have hushed the fears that crop up in my mind.
  • I have stayed connected to people.
  • I have pushed through the pain and “just did it” even when I did not feel like it.
  • I have said “I don’t wanna” but did it anyway.
  • I have visualized what the accomplishment of the goal would look like.
  • I have had something to look forward to.
  • I have believed “I CAN!”

But after doing all of these things right, I am still not able to accomplish my goal.

I am here to tell you today that I am not a failure and if you are struggling with one of your goals, you are not a failure either. These are just bumps in the road and are just a part of the amazing long-term journey we have ahead of us.

Interestingly enough, I am reading a book about the fear of failure right now. I know in my mind that failure is a part of the growth process as long as we learn something to help us in the future.  But there are companies and individuals who believe that failure is essential. Here are a few quotes from Robert Kelsey’s book What’s Stopping You?

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe,” wrote Sumner Redstone, majority owner of MTV, CBS, Dreamworks, Paramount Pictures.

Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company said: “Success is 99% failure.”

I do not know where you are today in the process of moving forward on your desired changes, but let’s keep going! I have not given up on my dream of participating in a triathlon. I do not know the exact timing, but I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other to move towards my goals and dreams. I hope you will do the same.

Here’s to failing, learning and continuing to move forward!

I Want To But…It Just Too Hard!

There are days when I simply can’t handle one more “hard” thing. Life is stressful and busy and I don’t feel like I have the energy to keep pushing forward in the areas I wanted to improve on in 2017. I’m tired and I want to throw in the towel. If you are feeling the same way, let’s stop for a second and ask ourselves a few questions.

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Do I need to adjust my goal? Sometimes in the beginning of year excitement, I set really lofty plans. I feel really motivated and I am ready to conquer the world! It is about a month into the process when I start to realize I may have bitten off more than I can chew. If you have found that you have done the same thing, take a deep breath, grab a cup of something refreshing and take a few minutes to think. What has worked so far, what has not, and adjust your plans accordingly. It’s ok!

Did I take too big of a bite of that HUGE plate of spaghetti? After evaluation, you may be fine with your overall goal, but you may realize that instead of taking the first few baby steps, you tried to jump the Grand Canyon. The cool part about all of this is that it is a learning process and we can make adjustments. Take a few minutes again, and think about how you can make your next step a little smaller and more realistic for your life. Remember, we are in this for the long haul. A bunch of small baby steps are going to bring us to amazing places.

Do I need some rest? I do not know how many of you do all that you do in a 24 hour period. I do know many times it is sleep and rest that gets the short end of the stick. Rest is an essential part of good health for you and your loved ones. As you try to fill your life with amazing things, remember that the gift of rest will do everyone some good. It is amazing what a good night’s rest can do. When we get one, we are ready to start fresh in the morning, but when we don’t, well, you know the rest of that story.

I do have some uncomfortable news for you. When we tackle the BIG, MOST IMPORTANT areas of our lives, it is not going to be easy, but we can make them manageable. I appreciate all of the hard work you are putting in to live your best! Hang in there! Keep going one little step at a time and you will move to where you want to go!

Here’s to swinging the towel over our shoulders and taking the next small step forward!


Free Resources: It’s time for our next month’s “Something To Look Forward To Planning Calendar! Spring is right around the corner, so let’s plan some fun stuff for ourselves and those we care about! (Click on the image below)

March 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

Life Can Be Blurry

Do you have any areas in your life that you simply don’t know where they are headed? One of the exercises I go through when I am trying to set a goal is to think about what I want that area of my life to look like in the future. It’s very helpful to have a picture or a vision of my future. But sometimes that picture is not clear. Sometimes we have to make one move, assess our situation, then make another move. Sometimes the roadmap of the future is not clear.

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My life is in a state of “weird” right now. I am someone who usually knows exactly where I want to go and has a 10 page plan on how to get there. That is not the case for me so far this year. I knew there were a few areas of uncertainty, but one area that I felt like I had a set goal and a plan is not working out that way. Every area that I want to move forward in this year is blurry and down right weird for me. So here is my plan, since I don’t have a plan! Hee Hee, that even made me giggle!

Take one step. Assess. Take another step. Assess. Take another step. Assess. Take another step….

At the beginning of the year I provided some resources to help us move forward one baby step at a time. Holy Cow! I never imagined the level I was going to have to depend on that philosophy. Quite frankly though, if it were not for the concept of baby steps, I would be stopped in my tracks at this point.

Here are a few things that I have to do to find success in this weird, new and unorganized stage of life.

  • I have to be more disciplined than ever before. It is really easy to get up in the morning and do nothing to move forward. I continually have to ask myself what do I feel the next step should be? I then have to be disciplined to do it, and that’s not easy.
  • I have to hush the fears that crop up in my mind. The fear of failure is ever-present when the future is uncertain.
  • I have to take care of myself. Moving forward into uncharted territory takes a lot of mental, emotional and physical energy. I have to do all I can to feel good and stay sharp.
  • I need to stay connected to people. It is very easy to pull in and isolate myself. I’ll be honest with you, it is hard to talk to my friends right now.  I don’t even know what to talk about, but spending time with those most important to me is vital.
  • I need to push through the pain and never stop asking “what can I do to move forward?” All change has it’s challenges. I have to push through those challenges and keep moving forward.

If the future is not clear for you right now, hang in there and keep moving forward. You have so much to offer this world, even when the road is a little bit blurry. Keep taking one small step at a time. I’m right here alongside of you!

Here’s to moving forward, no matter what!

I Don’t Wanna!

The day that I am writing this post is January 18th. I have made it 18 days into the New Year. 18 days after my “fresh start” and I am unmotivated, tired, and lazy and I simply DON’T WANNA! I don’t want to exercise, I don’t want to work, I don’t want to learn; I don’t want to do anything! I hope, for your sake, you are not feeling the same way I am, but if you are, we have to find a way to keep moving forward.

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I have signed up for my first ever triathlon. I have to be ready to swim, bike and run by the end of April. I have three months to come up to speed and this forty-four year old body is going to need every second of that time to get ready. After a week of travel and a week of being sick, yesterday was my day to get back to the Rec Center to train. I felt like I had a split personality because I had two voices competing inside of my head. One was one of the “parent” trying to convince myself that going to work out was the right thing to do, and the other voice was the “two-year-old” screaming “I don’t wanna!” After the battle continued for some time, thankfully the “parent” won the battle and I got to the Rec Center to swim and ride on the stationary bike.

You see, I am training and running in this triathlon for myself. I do not have a boss, I am not getting paid, I will not get reprimanded and no one will know any difference if I don’t train, work hard and complete this race. That is where the challenge lies when it comes to so many of the things we want to accomplish for ourselves. No one is there to push us, but we know we want to make it a reality. No one will know if we don’t succeed, but we desperately want to make things happen in our life and taste victory.

If you have followed my blog for long, you will know it is my heart’s desire to encourage you and help you live your absolute best. I tell you today that overcoming the “I don’t wannas” is not easy, but you can do it and you will! Here are a few things I did to help me keep moving forward.

  • I thought about the future. I thought about the day of my triathlon. I thought about getting out of the swim pool with that leg of the race behind me. I thought about the bike ride and how much I will enjoy it. Then I thought about crossing the finish line after the run and feeling the amazing feeling of accomplishment. When we are feeling unmotivated, let’s think about what it will be like when we accomplish our desired change or goal. It gives us a little boost to keep going.
  • I had to stop my mind from giving me reasons not to go. A few times that morning my mind reminded me of how cold it was to swim during the winter. How cold it was going to be getting out of the pool and walking into the locker rooms. My mind wanted to remind me of all of the negative, uncomfortable things involved in my training. We have to stop those thoughts right when they start. If we let them float around in our minds too long, they will convince us that it is ok to skip out just this one time.
  • I had to tell myself to “just do it!” I don’t use the words “shut-up” very often, but I had to tell myself to “shut-up and just do it!” I had to be frank with myself by telling myself to “quick complaining and go!” Folks, I can be a big baby at times. I love things to be easy, but that is not how life works, especially if you are working towards amazing things. We know what we need to do, so let’s just do it!

That was my story from yesterday. Today I have a day where I need to get some work done, and lo and behold I started in on the “I don’t wannas” again. We are going to have days when we feel like this, but we must keep moving forward, making good choices, one small step at a time.

Oh, by the way, when I was done swimming and biking yesterday, I felt amazing! And today, when I finish the work that I need to get done, I will be thankful that I pushed through the “I don’t wannas!” You will feel great too; just keep taking small steps forward! You got this!

Here’s to throwing our “I don’t wanna” tantrums and moving forward anyway!

Are you Prepared to Profit from the Insightful Words of Others?

Have you ever had an individual say just the right thing at just the right time? Their simple words can bring instant clarity, direction, and excitement. They feel great! How can we recognize the significance of these moments and put our new-found insights into action?

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Just recently I went in to see my Chiropractor, Dr. Matt, followed by rehab with Dr. John. I have had back problems for years and these two guys have been dedicated to helping me find the problem and solution. Over the past year that they have been seeing me, we have slowly built a level of trust to the point where we can be pretty candid with each other. During my appointments, we talk a lot about my back stuff, but we chat about life stuff too. Dr. Matt and I were talking about goal setting, something that I have a good amount of experience with, and I was explaining to him that I wanted to find a way to have one foot out of my comfort zone and one foot in my comfort zone. Out of curiosity, he asked me the simple questions “What does your comfort zone look like?” and I could not answer his question. I did not know. His simple question inspired me. I wanted to dig deeper and find the answer.

The story is not over yet. As I left his office, I walked back to the training room to meet with John to work on some new exercises to build strength in the areas that I am weak. I get a little gung-ho when it comes to exercise, so he has learned that he has to reign me in a little bit at times. John has been telling me since day one that it is not about how many reps I can do and how much weight I can lift, but it’s about being aware and doing things right. As we were finishing up this particular day, he looked me in the eyes and said “Jen, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality!” I don’t know if I was just in an insightful mood that day, but the light bulb finally went on in my head. How important quality is over quantity finally clicked and now I see the same principle repeated in all areas of my life.

These are examples of two moments where the right words were spoken at the right time and they have the potential to propel me in a great direction. The question is, what happens now? Do I do something with these insights, or do I let them drift away? I think all of us would agree that doing something with the amazing insights that come our way is the answer. Here are some things to help us do just that.

  • Recognize the insight as something special. We have all seen the light bulb go on in others. It happens with our children, our co-workers, and our friends. I have been across the table many times when I saw a thought strike a chord with a friend. The insights strike a chord for a reason. Recognize them as special, first and foremost.
  • Document them. If we are not careful, the busyness of life will swoop in and steal that insight from us. We need to do whatever it takes to remember it. I have a friend who carries a small notepad with her, mostly for things she needs to remember throughout her day. A notebook or note on our phones would work. Write a note on a napkin. I have even had someone call and leave themselves a voicemail. Do whatever it takes to remember that great insight.
  • Figure out how to put it into action. Most insights don’t mean anything if they are not acted upon. I can think all day about how quality is more important than quantity, but it means nothing until I apply it. Ask yourself how you can apply your newfound wisdom, and do it!
  • I’ll say it again, “DO IT!” These special insights are gifts. Let’s unwrap them, enjoy them and make our lives better because of them!

I admire your tenacity in life. You are determined to Live Your Best, and I commend you for it! Let’s fill our lives with amazing people who will encourage us with life changing insights!

Here’s to embracing insights and make our lives even better!

Here’s a Quick Way to Add Pizzazz to Your Life!

We sit here in January with an entire year in front of us. We are also coming off one of the most event filled times of the year. I don’t know about you, but I am asking myself “What is next?” Life is filled to the brim with work, family, friends, school activities, maybe church functions, and keeping up with household chores. You know I love routine, but we can easily fall into a rut of busyness and life can begin to lose it’s Pizzazz.  One remedy that brings some life back into our busy world is to always have something on your calendar to look forward to.

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I have a dear friend who modeled this for me in past years. Early in the year she started to plan, and she made sure her and her family had something on the calendar to look forward to. In the middle of one summer, her work schedule became crazy busy, but she did not falter on her plans to get away and have fun. At one point, we discussed how she was better able to deal with the stress of life and work because she always had something to look forward to on her calendar. Her and her family would get home from one activity and keep an eye on their next planned adventure.

Having something to look forward to provides three things.

  • It provides a reward to work towards. We all love a reward. Having something planned and on our calendar is like being a child having a big yummy lollipop to look forward to. We can keep an eye on it and know that it is just a matter of time before we get to enjoy it!
  • It provides a life-preserver when life get’s really stressful. We have all been under loads of stress. When we have something on our calendar to look forward to, we see that relief is in sight.
  • It provides much needed fun and joy. When the planned activity arrives, it adds an immense amount of fun and joy to our lives and the lives of those we care about.

Each month, I am going to include a Bonus Resource for you. It is a “Something To Look Forward To” Planning Calendar. I will include it with the blog post that is closest to the middle of the month allowing us to make sure we plan some fun stuff for the next month. There are many activities that we will need to plan further ahead than this, but it will be a good reminder for all of us to make sure we have some fun stuff planned.

On the “Something To Look Forward To” Planning Calendar, I encourage you to, at a minimum, add something for:

  • You and your loved ones.
  • You and your co-workers.
  • Something just for you.

Click below for your “Something To Look Forward To” February Planning Calendar

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Here’s to a year of fun times with those we care about!

Are You Ever Stopped Before You Get Started?

Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Do you believe that the power of your thoughts dictates your actions, and therefore the outcome? Do you believe that if you think you can, then you can? And do you believe that if you have the mindset that you can’t, then that mindset will sabotage your success and you will not succeed?

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This is a deep concept to grasp, at least it was for me. I have Mr. Ford’s quote in my office and I had to chew on that quote for quite some time. It took me a while to buy into his words, but I now understand them to be very true. When I believe I can, I start to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. When I think, deep down in my soul, that there is no way I can accomplish something, it stops me in my tracks. Action is key in this. If we believe we can, we start to move forward. When we believe something is impossible, we stay put in our current reality.  

It was a process for me to get to the point of believing I could succeed, specifically with my writing. I have struggled with grammar, vocabulary, spelling and writing all my life. I have felt like a failure many times. I have been told that my writing was not good and that my thoughts did not flow well. But I know I can do this and I know that I want to help you live your best life, so I keep going.

Remember, I am walking through this journey with you in real-time. I write about things that I have learned through the years, but I also continue to work through these concepts myself, literally,  as you read about them. Just this morning I was reading a book that was originally published in 1959 called The Magic Of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. He was talking about his experiences with individuals who found success when they believed that “they could.” I instantly asked myself, “do I believe that I can do what it takes to make my desired changes a reality in 2017?”  I really had to chew on that for a while and I got fearful that I don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Do you feel that way sometimes when it comes to the area of change you want to make in your life? Fears start to crop up and memories of past failures rear their head. It is a normal feeling, but we have to put those fears in their place, stand tall and believe with everything we can muster, that WE CAN! Once we are in the mindset of “we can!” we start to put one foot in front of the other and move forward towards success!

I believe that I can make the desired changes that I want to make in 2017! Do you believe you can? Let’s do it together, one step at a time!

 

The Secret to Bringing Order, Clarity and Calm to Your Life

We are just a few days away from the New Year! With the new year comes the feeling of a fresh start as well as one of my favorite things, getting back into a routine! The Holidays are so much fun, but for me, there is nothing routine about them.

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I love routine and I live my best life when I can work within a routine. Here is what routine provides for me.

  • Routine bring order to my mind and life. When my routine is established, I try to keep the same things on the same days, at the same times, each week. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rules, but the more I can establish this, the more order it brings to my mind and life. You know, I do not even recognize that the feeling of order is there, until I have a week where my routine is completely thrown off. It is then that I realize how clear minded I was with my routine and then I work hard to re-establish it.
  • Routine brings clarity to my mind and life. When I am running around with my head cut off with no routine in sight, it takes all of my mental power to juggle all the balls and try not to drop them. When I am working within my routine, my mind is freed up to think about other important things. It is freed up to give that word of encouragement to someone who needs it. It is freed up to touch base with family and friends that come to my mind. Routine frees my mind up to dream a little and think about great possibilities.
  • Routine brings calm and peace to my mind and life. Think about the past few weeks. Think about the moment that was the most chaotic and had the least amount of routine for you and your loved ones. If you had to rate your level of calm and peace at that moment anywhere from a 1 to 10, how would you rate it? Can I answer .5? Establishing a routine brings a certain calm and peace that we all desire in our lives.

There is one question with regards to routine that I would love to get your feedback on. How do you establish a routine while still being spontaneous in your life? Spontaneity is not a strength of mine, so I would love to hear your thoughts and I know my other reader would too. Just reply below this blog post so everyone can join in.

Routine is a great thing in our lives, and quite frankly, we are the ones to make it happen. Do you realize that you hold the power to establish a routine for you and your loved ones, providing them with much-needed order, clarity and calm?  That is pretty amazing!
Here’s to order, clarity, calm and a fresh start!