Uncategorized

Self-help: less talk, more action

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with self-help.

A part of me is a straight-up self-help junkie. I devour all the books, podcasts, and conferences that I can get my hands on. I love the teachings, the inspiration, and I work hard to incorporate the things I learn into my life.

But then there is the other part of me. The part of me that honestly finds all of it to be just a little too much. The buzz words, the psychobabble … I just can’t. Nothing brings out dramatic eyerolls from me quite like phrases such as ‘speaking my truth‘, ‘holding space’, or anything that references ‘leaning in‘ and ‘authenticity‘.

Newsflash, ‘speaking my truth‘ sounds like an overblown way of saying ‘here is my opinion‘. And ‘holding space‘ is basically a fancy version of saying you are ‘being supportive‘.

Perhaps I am just triggered by everyone’s authenticity and need to lean in to the discomfort and get grounded. (insert eyeroll here)

Seriously. It is a little too much sometimes. And don’t even get me started on yoga teachers who tell me to ‘breathe into my side body‘. Like, come on … who comes up with this stuff?!

K, rant over. Promise. (And to my yoga teacher, I’m sorry you had to hear it this way and I really do love you)

The bottomline is, psychobabble aside, a lot of this stuff has changed my life. And like anything, I don’t need to love it all. I can take what I like and leave the rest and that is exactly what I do. Besides, what do I care if someone says ‘holding space‘ or ‘being supportive‘? The intent and message is the same so I try to mind my own business and keep my eyerolls to myself.

Anyway, lately, with all of the covid-19 happenings, along with social isolation, I have found I have been consuming even more self-help material than usual and becoming more aware of what works for me … and what doesn’t. One of the things I have realized is that my frustrations with the self-help world have less to do with annoying buzzwords, and more to do with feeling inundated with information but then not understanding how to effectively use most of it.

When I look back, one of my biggest problems along my quest for self-improvement has been to do with goal-setting. When I really gave it some thought, I realized I was putting a tonne of effort into making goals, but then very little effort into making sure I actually accomplished them.

It is great to write out lists of dreams and cut apart magazines to create brilliant vision boards but if all I am doing to follow that up is sitting on my couch and drinking chardonnay out of a mug … I probably shouldn’t be terribly surprised if my big dreams don’t come to fruition, you know?

I’ve written on the topic of accomplishing goals before but one thing I was missing is how important it is to be aware of the steps we are actually taking to achieve them. We can visualize our dreams, manifest, and ‘speak our truth‘ all day long but unless we are actually following that up with action, we aren’t going to see a lot in the results department.

When I sat down and really looked at my daily habits and routines and asked myself, ‘Are these taking me in the direction I want to go?’ … I found the answer was an overwhelming, ‘not really’.

I mean, sure, I would write … for a few days. But then I would get discouraged. Or distracted. Or busy. And it would fall to the wayside.

I would eat healthy for a couple of weeks. But then friends would visit from out of town. It would be someone’s birthday. Or some sort of holiday. And I would fall off the wagon.

Everything I did was so willy nilly. So half-assed. And I realized that unless my big dreams involved some sort of certification in Netflix-watching, I wasn’t making any consistent moves towards my goals. My actions were not in line with my desired outcome.

That is when I realized the importance of what I have affectionately dubbed ‘goal-stepping‘ – the act of taking concrete, measurable steps every day to ensure I will reach my goals. (I also figured I might as well get on the buzz word bandwagon and invent one. If you can’t beat them, then join them, right?)

I think that one of the places that we get stuck when going after goals, at least where I do, is in the overwhelm. Let’s face it, when approaching a daunting goal such as starting a business, writing a book, or losing 50 lbs, it can be hard to know where to start, let alone maintain the motivation to keep at it. Add in multiple big goals and it gets even worse. We might take a couple of cracks at it but then it gets hard and all of a sudden a mug full chardonnay seems a heck of a lot easier, and pretty darn appealing.

The way I tackle overwhelm, and my #1 goal-stepping technique, is something I have adapted from the numerous self-help champions that I admire such as Rachel Hollis and Mel Robbins. I take 2 minutes every morning and write out my goals (I do my 5 year goals). Then I choose ONE small thing I can do that day that will take me a tiny bit closer. Depending on where I am at and how I am feeling, some days it might be as simple as writing an email to my Publisher, other days I might set the task of writing a chapter. Giving myself one task, rather than overwhelming myself with several, makes me so much more effective and able to accomplish much more overall. Whether the day allows for a small gesture or a giant leap, either way, I am taking one step in the direction I want to go.

The beauty is, oftentimes, that one step leads to another. (#goalstepping)

And here is the deal, it’s not always perfect. Sometimes, I find myself back on the couch, working towards my Netflix certification. We will have bad days, bad weeks, or sadly … sometimes even bad months. And that is okay, cut yourself some slack. But then, dust yourself off and get back at it. After all, you are the only person who is going to get yourself where you want to go.

So, keep your eye on the prize but don’t fall victim to overwhelm. Use all the psychobabble and buzzwords you like, but don’t forget the action! Do one thing everyday that will get you a little bit closer to your goal(s). It doesn’t matter if it is big or small. When we approach things in small measurable tasks, it is amazing what we can accomplish.

You know what they say … How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

So go ahead, take one tiny bite each day. I promise it will be a gamechanger.

And I’ll be here, holding space if you need me 😉

life

Your 30′s – prepare for extra fluff, a deeper appreciation of wine and naps, and Julio.

So, I have recently signed on to co-author a book with a Publishing Group that supports aspiring writers. This is an amazing opportunity and I am so excited about it however, whenever I sit down to write my piece … I get the biggest case of writer’s block ever. I think that I am just feeling a little overwhelmed with the subject matter so, in an effort to keep my creative juices flowing, yet take the pressure off a little bit, I decided to take a break and write about something a little fluffier … being in my 30′s.

Now I suppose one of the first things I have to say about being in my mid-30′s is that it is indeed fluffier. It seems as though I instantly gained 10 lbs the second I hit 35. Now 10 lbs isn’t a huge deal and to be honest, I’m not too bothered by it (another change I’ve noticed in my mid-thirties is I am waaaay more confident now than I was when I was 25 and everything was firmer). I am, however, a little shocked at how sudden the 10 lbs piled on. It is seriously as if my body woke up one morning and said “Well, we’re 35 now, no need for a waist anymore!”  

Like what the heck?! I barely had a waist as it was! That 10 lbs couldn’t have made it’s way to my boobs?!

(Sigh, silly thirties). Now one could say that these extra few pounds might have less to do with age and more to with the fact that I drink a LOT more wine than I ever have before but … I’m not one to worry myself over unimportant details.

But let’s take a moment to talk about wine. I love my vino. I mean, who doesn’t?! But I have noticed that my relationship with this sweet nectar has changed now that I’m rocking my 30′s …

In my 20′s, it was all about finding the sweetest, cheapest bottle of Gewurztraminer in order to get tipsy with my friends. If the Gewurtz was syrupy enough that I could choke it down, cheap enough that I could afford it, but still made me look like a grown up (cause wine is how adults party), then I was a happy camper! Not anymore. Now I love the flavour of full bodied reds, or dry whites. I’m even okay with spending more than $15 on a bottle! I sip and savour and use terms like ‘fruit forward’ and ‘peppery finish’! I’m not 100% sure what these terms mean, just things I’ve picked up while wine-tasting cause that’s another grown up thing I do now! Gone are the days of clubbing with my friends til 4 am, now it’s getting day-drunk at wineries and napping by 4 pm!

But don’t get too excited, although one can still party like a rockstar in their 30′s (assuming the party is over at 9), be prepared that you will need A LOT more recovery time.  I just don’t have the same kind of energy I did 10 years ago, and I certainly don’t recover as well. Gawd forbid if I do stay up a little to late with my girlfriends drinking wine … what used to be a couple hours of recovery is now a couple of days! No joke.

Same goes for injuries, bending the wrong way in yoga takes me right out now. Gone are the days of ‘walking it off’, the 30′s makes you a straight up wimp! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ah, who am I kidding? I’m not straining any muscles exercising, it’s putting on socks that’s the real issue. Or trying to get at those hard to reach places with my razor.

Which brings me to the last tidbit that I will share with you … when approaching your mid 30′s, prepare to block off large amounts of time for personal grooming.

Seriously, the amount of hours I spend on waxing, plucking, and shaving is uncanny! I’m Scottish so I was already a hairy girl but now … yeesh, it’s like I’m turning into a Yeti!

Okay, maybe not that bad but my leg hair is definitely trying to slowly make it’s way up to meet my lady bits and I do have a chin hair that I’ve affectionately named ‘Julio’.

On that note, it’s time for me for to go pour myself a glass of full-bodied red and lock myself in the bathroom for a few hours … dealing with this jungle takes commitment.and a little buzz. giphy