As we wind down the first month of this year, it's a good time to check in and evaluate where you are with your goals and intentions for this year. If you have found that you have had a backslide, this is your opportunity to turn things around with a new month. Don't feel discouraged! Look at messages you are sending to yourself, what do you see every day? Is it positive or negative? Does it uplift you or make you feel anxious? If you regularly consume news or social media feeds, consider taking the month off from these activities. Replace time spent there with reading an uplifting, motivating book or listening to a podcast that moves your forward with your intentions for this year. Take a moment each day to write out your goals and keep positive messages up all around you. I was introduced to an app called Momentum. When I open a new tab on my computer, it is the home screen and shows a beautiful photo with an uplifting message and inspiriting quote. The quote that is currently up is, "Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." That message inspired this post. You never know where a message or lesson will take you in your day. Keep yourself in a positive mental space and see what you can do with that energy in February.
When you are working on your goals, you may bump into some serious discomfort! If you aren't, you may not have set a big enough goal. When you feel that anxiety, discomfort, fear - stand firm, breathe and embrace it. This is your opportunity to break through this block. This is the thing that has been holding you back and now is the time to knock it down and keep charging forward! Go for a walk or run, share your fears with a trusted ally (who will encourage you to continue, not quit), breathe deeply, play mantra or music that inspires you, listen to that author or podcast with someone who has what you want. Don't quit, keep up. You've got this.
I am a bit behind in setting my running goals for this year. I was debating about running 2 marathons, but as I considered the time commitment to that goal I realized that this isn't the year. It was a tough decision that included tears and frustration! I'm working on some goals with my business and am feeling like I need to focus on that for the first half of my year and then turn to the longer runs and marathon training. Prioritizing can be a challenge, especially when your heart is set on something. But I know I have a tendency to over book and schedule myself and I want to set myself up for success in all that I do while staying healthy and avoiding injury. I have landed on a half marathon in May which gives me time to start ramping up my running and begin training. I have had a few months off from intense running focusing more on 3 mile runs and long walks and stretching. Now that I have selected a race, I can map out my training plan and will be sure that includes strength training! I found strength training to be very helpful last year in my marathon training and I want to ramp it up a bit as I begin my new training plan. I've wanted to run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis for years. It ends with a run around the race track which I have heard can be extremely hot, but also a cool and fun experience. It falls on a Saturday and the timing looks pretty perfect. I'll keep you posted on my training along the way. It feels good to have my mind set on this race!
“Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern and then you go on into some action.”
- Malcom X
When you set a goal or intention and you are serious about it, you may find you are suddenly faced with an obstacle or challenge. Don't let this sabotage you! For example, let's say you set a goal to generate an additional $1000/month. You do what you are supposed to do, write it down, create mantra around it, visualize it and have a plan for how you will generate that money. But then, your refrigerator stops working! The good news is, you don't need a new one, but you will have to pay $600 for the repair. Ouch. Then you go get your mail and there is a ticket in the mail for speeding, caught on a red light camera (we have those here in Chicago). Eesh! What's going on? I used to take these as signs that the universe is testing how bad do I want this goal? Will I just give up now because of these challenges? Another perspective may be that you are realizing where you are not paying attention. Now you are focusing on your money, but the places where you haven't been paying attention are coming up to the surface so you can be aware and pay more attention. Kind of like when you start a skin care routine and experience a break out. The gunk is coming up to the surface. If you had paid attention to the fridge, and vacuumed out the coils occasionally, you likely wouldn't have had the repair. If you had watched the speed limit - no ticket!
Have gratitude for these lessons. You have to clear the gunk and create space for the abundance that is coming. Be grateful and move forward. Stay focused on your goal. You've got this.
Just before sitting down to write today, I learned of the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter. My heart breaks for their family, especially his wife and daughters, and for all who knew him and followed his incredible basketball career. It is hard to wrap my mind around the tragedy of death, especially of child and father/husband, together.
Today I look to Rumi who wrote:
Don’t run away from grief, o soul,
Look for the remedy inside the pain,
because the rose came from the thorn
and the ruby came from a stone.
Rest in power.
One of my mentors says, "excuses are self abuses."
When I find myself repeating behaviors that I want to change, I have to look at my self talk and ask myself, am I making excuses for this behavior? For example, if I'm consistently late to a class that I attend regularly, and I feel frustrated and embarrassed about walking in late time and time again - what am I telling myself? My dog took too long on his walk, the traffic was snarky as the kids were getting out of school, I tried to fit one more task in before I left. The reality is, I just didn't leave early enough! Period. I didn't give myself enough time to arrive early ensuring that I would be on time for class. Making excuses won't help me shift my behavior and won't help me shift the narrative about myself. Instead, I can say "I give myself plenty of time to arrive for class, I prefer to arrive early and give myself time to settle in before class begins." And I can get up 5 or 10 minutes earlier to give me the additional space I need to arrive on time. This way I can arrive unhurried and relaxed, ready to enjoy my class.
Don't make excuses for your behavior. You are worth more than that.
What do you find repeating over and over in your head through out the day? How do those affirmations make you feel? If you are in a negative space, feeling anxious, angry, depressed, hopeless, lost - take a moment to consider what you are telling yourself, what thoughts are spinning around in your mind. Once you have identified the thoughts, know that you CAN change them.
Start with one - let's say you hate the cold weather. All day long from the moment you get up you find yourself dreading the cold, the wet, the snow. You wake up dreading leaving your house and feeling cold waiting for the bus or for your car to warm up. Perhaps you find that you are cold all day and find that as soon as you get to work you are already steeling yourself for the cold when it's time to go home. What's an alternative? Perhaps think about the seasons and how having the cold allows us to appreciate the warmth. On a sunny day, feel appreciation and gratitude for the sun. On a gloomy day, feel appreciation and gratitude for the clouds - hey, you don't need to wear your sunnies today! As you dress, wear layers, feel gratitude for your clothing, your favorite sweater, that you have a warm coat, gloves, hat and scarf. As you find your mind shifting to thoughts about the cold, STOP IT. And find something to be grateful for, it can be the smallest thing. Now your mantra is "I'm grateful" "I'm appreciative" "I embrace the cold and the change of seasons." Make the effort every day to shift your thoughts to your mantra. With practice it becomes easier and you can make it a game to apply this in any area in your life.
This year, I am actively working to shift my mindset around money. As with any new habit, it takes daily action, but with mindset shift, it also takes sharply attuning my mind to notice old thoughts/habits/responses that I am leaving behind so I can replace them with the new thoughts and what I desire to attract into my life. It's like a game - catching old though and punting it away, grabbing new thought and taking off with it straight into the end zone (I can't help the football reference, I live in a football household). As I was reflecting on this in my morning meditation I thought of the quote by Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can, or think you can't - you're right."
If you are creating new habits this year, just keep at it, be diligent, remain curious, have fun and make it a game, it will create loads of positive feelings which will only magnify.
As I have been working on my communication in earnest over the last several months, I'm finding having an open conversation with someone close to me is never as scary as I make it out to be in my mind. In fact, what I'm finding is having those conversations opens me up to new possibilities that I hadn't conceived of in my own little internal world. While I could feel ashamed or disappointed with myself that I wasn't more open earlier - the opportunities I have missed out on! - instead I feel grateful of where I am today. That I can share and have an open heart as I listen. That I have a whole new appreciation for deep communication. That I can be vulnerable. That I can share. I can ask for, and receive help. These are qualities I bow to, feel grateful for and embrace whole heartedly.
I am an animal loving-Vegan runner, I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and I love to cook and eat flavorful plant-based food.