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Have you tried over and over again to create a morning routine, but you just can’t stick with it? Me too! But I’ve figured out how to do it. And so can you!
The key is to make it flexible.
Now, you may think that sounds strange – it’s a routine, shouldn’t it be … not flexible?
Well, the answer to that is yes and no.
It’s also important to make the routine manageable. There’s no point trying to make working out in the morning a routine if you don’t have time for it.
Why flexibility is important
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You may think the point of a routine is to make different actions into habits. And that’s one way to look at it.
Another way to look at it is that a routine helps you have time for the things you want to do more of. It’s also self care in the sense that you take time out of your day to do something for yourself.
That may be reading, it may be to cook a healthy lunch, or working out. It all depends on what YOU want.
But a strict routine doesn’t take into account that not every day is the same. You may oversleep, or you may have slept bad and you don’t have the energy to go through a whole routine.
That’s why having a flexible routine is important.
Create your perfect morning routine
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So, imagine your perfect morning routine. You feel rested and energized and you have enough time.
It’s a good idea to write this down. Because now, we’re going to start messing with it.
The idea of a perfect morning routine is great, but, as I touched upon, not all mornings are perfect. That’s where having a flexible routine is useful – and when I figured this out, it was a revelation.
Some people talk about having a “habit menu”, and there is also a book by Stephen Guise called Elastic Habits.
So how do we take the perfect morning routine and make it flexible?
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The key to making a flexible routine is to make alternatives. I think it’s important that all alternatives involve some of the same elements, because it’s not really a routine if not, is it?
If you just do different things every morning, it’s not a routine. And instead of maybe give you a nice start to the day or help you reach your goals, you’re just doing random stuff.
Lateral and vertical flexibility
The variations of your morning routine should involve some of the same elements, but there needs to be both lateral and vertical flexibility.
What I mean by that, is that you need variations on how much you do, and how intense it is.
An example: If you want to work out in the morning, you can have a small, medium or large goal. But you can also vary the intensity.
So, say you’re pressed for time, but are really energetic, you can work out for 15 minutes with high intensity. If you have more time, but less energy, you may want to do a 30 minute yoga session.
Both of those activities belong in the category of “working out” as part of your routine (if that is something you’ve included).
Examples and inspiration to make your own perfect, but flexible, morning routine
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Earlier, I asked you to imagine your perfect morning routine. But maybe nothing came to mind, you just know that you want to make a routine to get a better start to your day. So, I would suggest taking a few minutes to think of what you want to achieve with your morning routine. Do you want to have a calm, relaxing start to the day, or do you want to feel like you’ve achieved something first thing in the morning, or maybe you just want to make your mornings run more smoothly?
Examples of some alternatives
There are a few things I want to incorporate more of in my life. Working out, reading and learning a new language are some of those goals.
But I also want to be kind to myself. Therefore, my routine(s) have elements of both working on my goals, and having a relaxed morning.
So a low energy morning routine may look like this:
A high energy morning routine may look like this:
And a low on time morning routine may look like this:
As you can see, you can vary the amount of time or energy you spend on an activity, depending on how you feel and what you have time for.
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Right now I don’t have that many items in my morning routine, but If I’m really short of time or am really low on energy, I may completely omit a habit that day.
That’s the great thing about a flexible routine – it allows for you to stick to the same elements, but vary them depending on time and energy.
And that’s how you stick to a morning routine, you have to make the routine work for you.
I hope you found this article valuable! If so, feel free to share it with someone else who might like it, too. And of course I would be very happy if you would follow my blog and subscribe to my newsletter!
See you soon!
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What you do on Sunday can determine the week ahead of you. If you spend your Sunday prepping for the following week, you can set yourself up for success. And it doesn’t need to take more than an hour.
Over the past few years, I have realised that the way I spend my Sunday greatly affects the rest of my week.
“Spend your Sunday wisely, and you’ll set yourself up for success in the upcoming week”.
But what does that mean, and isn’t Sundays for relaxing?
Yes, Sundays are for relaxing. But I find that if I spend all of Sunday relaxing, I feel unprepared for the week when I wake up on Monday.
And so, spending just one, maybe two hours out of the whole day, in order to prepare for the upcoming week is what helps me.
What to do, the breakdown
What you need to do to feel prepared for the week may differ from person to person. But I like to break it down in categories: making the house feel fresh and ready, going through papers and digital clutter, making a game plan, and making myself feel fresh and ready.
Making the house feel fresh and ready
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When preparing for the upcoming week, I like to start with the house. This is usually what is most time consuming and labour intensive, so I like getting it out of the way.
What I do depends on a few factors, but I always make sure to take the rubbish out and clean the kitchen. Which means, I’ll start by emptying and reloading the dishwasher and wash any dishes that needs washing by hand.
I then continue on to scrubbing the sink and wiping down the counters.
The rest depends on what needs doing. I might tidy up things that are out of order or fold and put away clean laundry. Because we all know laundry takes 4-5 days, right? 1 day to wash and dry and then 3-4 business days to get folded and put away, haha!
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By doing these little things, the house feels fresh and ready for the week.
Going through my papers and digital clutter
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Papers and digital clutter have a tendency of sneaking up on us. That’s why I like to spend a little time just going through them to see what I need to do with them.
Papers are easy enough, you know: checking my notes, checking if there is a bill that needs paying, is there any junk mail that I haven’t thrown out yet?
Cleaning up digital clutter may take a little bit longer, depending on how much there is, but I strongly recommend you take 10-15 minutes to go through it.
I like to go through the screenshots on my phone to note down what’s important and delete what’s not.
I also sort and delete e-mails and unsubscribe from newsletters. And I’m quite hard on newsletters, I unsubscribe from both the ones I don’t want, but also the ones I signed up for because I wanted them, but never end up reading.
Making a game plan
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After cleaning, tidying, and going through my papers, I sit down to make a game plan for the upcoming week. And when I do, I ask myself these questions:
- What are the chores I need to get done?
- Do I have any appointments I need to remember?
- What will I be making for dinner?
- Is there any particular workout I want to get done?
I plan these things out, because it takes the decision making out of the day-to-day. When I have written down what needs doing, I can spend my energy on different things.
Usually, I also try to not have any more than 3 items on my day-to-day to-do lists. Any more than that, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I also prioritize the list, so I have one important task every day. The rest are “nice to do” if I have the time. If not, they can be done some other day.
Making myself feel fresh and ready
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As I touched upon earlier, Sundays are for resting. Which is an important part of feeling fresh and ready for the upcoming week.
It depends a bit on my mood, but on Sundays, I actually prefer having a quiet morning and mid-day, before doing the prep-tasks in the afternoon.
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Usually I prefer doing tasks and chores before relaxing, but there is something special about a quiet Sunday morning with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
After completing my prep-tasks in the afternoon, I like having a shower or a bath to relax, and spend the evening reading or watching a movie or a tv-show.
It may seem daunting, but do it anyways
Doing all of this may seem daunting, but it really doesn’t take as long as you think it will. I usually spend less than an hour on tidying, cleaning, sorting papers and planning.
And when everything is done, I get to relax more.
Spending ONE hour on Sunday preparing for the upcoming week, just makes everything run more smoothly.
I hope this article was of value to you! If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and also share the article with someone else who may be interested.
Are you especially stressed out right now because of the upcoming Christmas season? Check out my Christmas planners! They can make it easier for you to plan 1) Advent Calendar Gifts (maybe a bit late, but there's still time!), 2) What you are going to clean, 3) What you are going to bake, and 4) What you are going to give as Christmas presents this year. The planners are totally FREE! Just download and print them from this link, and you're good to go! They're my present for you!
It’s easy to let one bad day ruin the rest of our week. But you know what? We get to start fresh EACH and EVERY day! If you reset your week instead of letting your bad days bring you down, you will see such a difference in your life over time. And this is how to do it.
I know that in the past, if I didn’t meet my goals of a certain week, I would think “I’ll start again on Monday”. But with that mindset, we let one bad day, maybe even just one bad HOUR, dictate the rest of our week.
And we all know that Monday rolls around, and then suddenly it’s “I’ll start next Monday”. But by letting each and every day be a fresh start we can change our lives and see so much more progress on the projects we’re working on.
Why you need a reset
It’s so easy getting stuck in that mindset of not doing enough, not managing or just failing. Because I think a lot of us spiral.
So, when we don’t achieve our first task of the day, it’s easy to drop the ball on the next task too, and the next one, and next one. You see where I’m going with this, right?
Most of us may let a bad morning affect the rest of our day. Because when we fail to do something, we feel it’s useless to continue with the rest of the tasks too.
Don’t let one bad moment or hour ruin the rest of your day and week.
What to do when you’re having a bad day
If you feel like you’re having a bad day and you’re not achieving your goals, take a time-out.
OK, so maybe you didn’t finish that project for work, or you didn’t work out this morning. Whatever it is that you feel you didn’t get done, take a small time-out.
Tell yourself this “I have not ruined my progress just because I didn’t reach my goal today”. Have a cup of tea, go for a short walk. Do something that gets you out of your own head.
By taking a step back and removing ourselves from the situation we can look at it with fresh eyes.
Why resets are helpful
When you complete a mid-week reset, rather than waiting to start again on Monday, you help yourself realise that it’s not all black and white. It’s not all-or-nothing.
“One small detour isn’t going to ruin everything you’ve been working on.”
In the long run, this way of thinking will help you achieve more of the things you want to achieve.
Why the all-or-nothing mindset is unproductive
Let’s use changing your diet as an example (because I think that’s something many of us can relate to):
So, Monday morning rolls around, and you have a goal of what to eat in order to change your diet and make it healthier.
And you may do well for three days, but because you maybe made your new diet plan too restrictive, you then crack. You eat something that’s not in your “plan”. And with an all-or-nothing mindset this will, more often than not, lead to you eating more of those things that are “not in your plan”, and abandon the new way of eating.
Then you think “Oh shit, I’ve ruined it. It’s no point, I’ll start again on Monday”. Maybe you even feel guilty for having abandoned your new eating plan so soon.
This is why we need to reset.
Anyone working with bettering people’s health, will tell you that what matters is what you do 80 % of the time.
So instead of having an all-or-nothing mindset, allow yourself to reset, and just try to make small changes at a time.
How to reset
Do the laundry...
So far I’ve told you why you may need a reset, and why they are helpful. But how do you actually do it? How do you reset when you’re having a bad day?
When I need to reset my week, I start by completing a small task. Usually, I pick something off my to-do list that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet.
My first task of any reset may be running a load of laundry, watering my plants, or planning out dinners for the rest of the week. You know, just something small to get you started.
It’s all about creating momentum. When you are successful at completing one task, it will motivate and inspire you to keep going.
It’s kind of like when people recommend for you to start your day by making your bed. By doing so, you start your day with a small achievement.
Give yourself a fresh start
Make a coffee or tea and take it with you outside... (picture by Keira Burton from Pexels)
I think a mid-week (or even a mid-day) reset is helpful because they give us a fresh start.
And fresh starts mean more motivation and higher spirits.
Just remember that my reset may differ from your reset. Maybe you want to do something completely different from what I’m doing.
If you want, you can even make a reset-routine. Because you might not want to do chores in order to reset. Maybe you just want to take a step back and take a break.
There isn’t one right way to do a reset, you just have to find what works for you, and what helps you getting out of a rut when you’re having a bad day.
For me that might be tackling my to-do list, for you it might be to make a coffee or tea and take it with you outside for 5 minutes.
It doesn’t matter. But I will highly recommend you to implement resets in your life, so you have a way of tackling bad days, and not have those bad days ruin the rest of your week.
If you liked this article, I hope you'll share it with someone else who might like it too, and also follow my blog.
When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods like big meals, take-away, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. I'm sure we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset. This isn’t a good permanent solution, though.
If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.
To ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems, filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:
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Avocado is a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. This nutrient-dense fruit have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to its high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
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Swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
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Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
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Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can have a chocolate bar every time you're stressed out. Chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, which are two hugely important antioxidants that can help combat stress more than many fruit juices.
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Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
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Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but it also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. As it is a complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed.
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If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option thatwill help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. They have a sweet, pleasant flavor, and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. Walnuts are also great for salads, or you can include them in a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
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Pistachios is another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. The rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually also be quite therapeutic. :)
Leafy green vegetables
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Leafy, green vegetables should be an important part of any diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized.
Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
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Last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
Putting together your meal plan
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Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.
Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it, can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. The most important thing is to make sure that for the most part, you're eating a diet that is healthy and balanced.
To stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week. Plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen, so you can make meals and snacks from them when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.
A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu could be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries.
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts.
Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens.
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate.
Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables.
Before bed: Chamomile tea.
This was just an exampel of a menu, to give you a good idea.
Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.
I hope this article was of value to you. I'll be writing more about health and nutrion on a regular basis, so if this is something you're interested in, I hope you'll like and follow my blog. Feel free to share it with someone else who might like it, too.
I just love the film "You've got m@il", starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!
I have lost count of how many times I've watched it over the years, and I continue to watch it on a regular basis, because it just speaks to my heart.
But this isn't going to be a film review. I just want to share a quote from that film here now, and that is what the character Kathleen Kelly says to Joe Fox when he comes to see her after she's had to close down her business, partly because he's opened a huge discount book store in the neighborhood where she had her little book-shop, "The Shop Around The Corner". Joe says to her that "it wasn't personal", upon which she replies that she is sick and tired of everyone saying that, and that she thinks that the only thing that means is that it wasn't personal to him, but it was personal to her and to a lot of people. And then she says (I quote): "And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Because whatever else anything is, at least it should begin with being personal."
Clip from YouTube - scenes from "You've Got M@il"
And you know what? I agree with her.
Let me give you 2 reasons why:
Reason # 1:
If you're building a business, people will buy from you if they know and trust you
For quite a few years now, I have wanted to build an online business, and I've spent a lot of time and money trying to learn what I need to do to succeed with that. Some of it has been very sound advice, and some of it hasn't. I've tried various approaches over the years, but quite a few of them have just left me frustrated and disappointed with the lack of result they have brought me.
And why haven't they brought any results?
Because they haven't been in line with who I really am.
They haven't been personal.
First, I tried to build an online business as a personal coach, even though I've never really liked the idea of being one. I do have experience as a teacher and a personal coach/career-coach, and I've been in charge of quite a few classes and courses over the years. But I've never really liked standing in front of a class, teaching. It just sounded like good advice to build on that experience when I wanted to start something online, so that's what I did. And there was a lot of advice on how to be professional and become the "go to" expert in your field.
Oh my, how I struggled with that! I just couldn't find a way to do it that really had me excited and feeling good about what I was doing. Nothing really resonated with who I am as a person. I felt like a fraud, because "professional" in the sense that I thought it meant, didn't seem like me at all.
I tried to create an online course, and after many different approaches, I did manage to create one that I was happy with and that I felt comfortable launching, but it still wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. I never really wanted to create a course in the first place. I wanted to express myself in a different way, because I've always been more of an artist than a teacher, - if you see what I mean...
So I decided I needed to find a better way, and I sat down and took some time to analyze my life and my online business (or rather: What I wanted to be an online business). What was working, and what wasn't?
When thinking about business, I asked myself what it is that I like about other people or companies that I follow online. Why do I follow them and also often buy their products?
The answer was really very easy:
I like who they are.
What they say and do resonate with me and the person I am or want to be.
And they show up as themselves. They seem honest about their successes and failures, and what they offer bring some real value to my life, the way I see it. I feel that I can trust them.
So the final conclusion to all my analyzing was that I needed to get more personal in my business approach, and that's what I've been trying to do ever since. I decided to build my online business around the things that I have experienced in my own life and that I have found to be valuable and important to me. Sharing all those things with you so you can get the life that YOU want, is something that I find very meaningful and important. And I want to express it through writing, through videos on my YouTube channels, through photographs, and maybe even in a podcast further down the line.
And I'm going to get more personal, because that's how I normally act around people. I just need to be myself. I can't pretend I'm someone else.
So to sum up Reason # 1:
If you want to build a business, whether it's online or a "brick-and-mortar" business:
- Build your brand so that it's in line with who you are and what you find
valuable and important.
- Share more of YOU so that the people you want to reach really get
who you are, get what you stand for, get what your values are.
When who you are and what you say and do resonate with other people, - when they can relate to you as a person and feel that you offer something that they find valuable, - that's how they will become your loyal followers and eventually your loyal customers.
Picture by Amina Filkins on Pexels.
Reason # 2: If you want to be happy and build good relationships with other people, you need to show up as your authentic self
If I'm to pick one important lesson that I've learned in life, it's this: You won't really get anywhere or even be happy if you build your life around what society and maybe your family might seem to expect: That you get a "proper education" and find yourself what is called "a decent job", and then keep your distance to other people, act "professionally" and never share anything personal. And depending on what culture and / or religion you grew up in, there will also be a lot of other expectations and rules that you need to live by.
When we're very young, we're completely open to what our surroundings teach us, whether it's our parents or other family members, teachers in school, a priest in our church, or whatever. We're like open vessels, and everything we see, hear and feel in our early years, is being programmed into our brains. We are strongly influenced by the environment we live in.
If you grew up in Japan, you will most likely speak Japanese and act according to the Japanese culture. If you grew up in Russia, you will probably speak Russian and act in accordance with Russian culture. And so on. If the dominant religion in your society or family is Buddhism, you will most likely be a buddhist yourself. If your family's religion is Islam, you'll probably be a muslim. If you grew up in a Christian family, you'll most likely be a Christian.
You get my point. We are all programmed from our birth by the surroundings we grow up in. This makes it very likely that we continue to act in accordance with what our immediate surroundings expect from us for many, many years, even after we have become adults and able to think for ourselves.
Most people just go on living like that, on autopilot, and never stop to think for themselves or question anything about their upbringing or the rules they have learned from their family and society. Many are quite happy with it, because they dont' know about anything else. Others may find themselves more and more frustrated and unhappy as the years go by because they start feeling that the rules they have been taught to live by are not in alignment with who they truly are.
This has been the case for me. For so many years I lived my life according to other people's rules or expectations of me - or what I thought they expected, and it made me feel very frustrated and unhappy. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to blame anyone. My peers only taught me what they had been taught themselves. But it took me nearly 50 years to get to the point where I managed to break free from that and start living my life in accordance with who I truly am. I had to make some changes in my family life, like getting a divorce, and I have lost contact with some relatives and friends in the wake of it. But at least now I know who I can rely on to love me for who I am and not just because I live by their ideas of what I should or should not do or be.
Showing up as yourself can be tough.
Especially if your honest self, your true self is not what the people close to you want you to be. But dear friend, I'm telling you: You are the only one who can live your life, and if the people close to you can not accept you for who you are, then you're actually better off without them.
I'm no saying that you need to shut some people completely out of your life. That might not even be possible. But if some people make you unhappy and have a negative influence on you or are "telling you off" or trying to make you live a life that is not in alignment with who you are, then at least try to keep your distance to those people and don't necessarily tell them everything you do or think. Just start living your life! And when you meet new people, be yourself from the very first minute. Get personal! Show them who you are. That doesn't mean that you should pour your heart out or tell them your inner thoughts and feelings right away, because that's something you shouldn't do to everybody anyways. That takes a closer relationship built on mutual trust, and will probably take some time. But show up as YOU, and don't try to be someone you're not.
Because people want to know YOU. The reason you connect with someone is probably because you saw something in each other that you instantly liked and felt attracted to. We all have that intuitive feeling when we meet someone. In just a few seconds we have made up our mind whether we like that person or not. That's why you don't want to make a bad first impression. The first impression is so important.
If you feel uncertain and don't know how you should act to make that first impression a good one and in accordance with your inner personality, that is something you can learn. Body language is the first thing we all react to, and a smile can be all it takes. But awareness is key. When you're aware of how you want people to see you, and learn how you can make that come through in your personality, you will feel more relaxed and natural after a little bit of practice. So start thinking about who you are and how you can start showing that.
Because starting to show up as the real you after having tried to act in a certain way for many, many years, - well, it takes a little practice. But you can do it! And when you show up as your true self, you can be sure that the people who connect with you and show you that they want to have you in their life, are the ones who like you for who you truly are. That's the kind of relationships that will make you happy and bring you success on all levels in your life.
And remember: It's just as important to allow other people to be their true selfs, too. Don't try to change them, but show them that you like them just the way they are (if you do!). If someone's personality is completely off in your book, you don't need to keep them in your life.
So to sum up Reason # 2:
If you want to build good and healthy relationships with people in your life, whether in business or on a personal level, you must get personal. Be yourself. Show what your values are. Be true to yourself and don't let others manipulate you into doing or being something you're not.
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I hope you liked this article. If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and maybe share the article with someone else who might like it, too.
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I'm passionate about living with intention, about living simply. I find that having a higher awareness around the way I want to live, has improved my life significantly. A simpler life equals a better life, the way I see it.
Let me rule out one misconception right away:
By simple I don't necessarily mean minimalistic.
Yes, I'm definitly pro decluttering and getting rid of things you don't really need, but I don't mean that you have to strip down your home to a bare minimum to live a simple life. I'm definitly in favor of having things around you that bring you joy and also add to the quality of your life in different ways. This can be things like books, films, plants, board games, beautiful china, soft cushions... whatever brings joy to YOU.
Having more things around you doesn't mean that your home needs to be a mess. There are beautiful ways you can organize your things so that each item has its own place and also gets the attention it deserves. You can do this either by displaying each item in a way that makes it stand out, or by keeping it stored away most of the time and just take it out on special occasions, which will give it a very special value.
When I grew up, we had in my childhood home a beautiful blue glass bowl with gold details on it. This bowl only came out on special occasions, like Christmas or certain anniversaries. It became an item that all of us siblings really cherished (we are 6), and when our parents had died and we were dividing some things between us, this bowl was high up on everybody's "wish list", I think. Of course, only one of us could actually have it, and I was not that one, but it was OK. There were other cherished items, too, so we made sure that we all got one thing that we considered special, - one thing that we wanted to keep in remberance of our parents and of a happy childhood. We all had different memories and different favorites, so that was fine. On that note, I might also add that I myself have always been of the opinion that if anyone is going to envy me something, I'd rather not have it. No matter how dear a thing might be to me, it's definitly not worth falling out over!
Picture from ebay - only meant as illustration. The mentioned bowl didn't look exactly like this.
This was just an example of how one beloved item can really get that extra attention and love that it probably deserves. Things are mostly made for either a practical purpose or for pleasure - and sometimes both - and I believe that the things you surround yourself with should have at least one of those meanings to you. If they don't, you should get rid of them. Don't keep anything just because you got it as a present or don't have the "heart" to dispose of it. Ask yourself: Do I need this? Do I like this thing? Does it give me a good feeling to look at it? If your answer to all these questions is NO, then you know what to do. You don't necessarily need to throw it in the garbage bin, - you can give it away or try to sell it. Some items may be of high value and can bring in some cash, which is always good.
I'll come back to how you can simplify your surroundings in a future article, and I'll tell you especially about how you can successfully do it the French way.
But living a simpler life isn't just about things. It's just as much - if not more - about simplifying your daily tasks. It's about getting more time to do the things you enjoy, and ditching what you don't really want to spend time on.
Very often we end up saying yes to things that other people suggest, even if we'd rather do something else. Why? Well, sometimes it's simply out of politeness or because we're afraid of hurting someone's feelings. Other times it's because we feel obliged to. We also might feel that other people's needs are so much more important than our own, - which is of course total crap! The result is often that we feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted by all the things we feel that we "should" be doing.
If you're a person who keeps letting other people dictate your agenda: Stop doing that! Start practicing the word NO a bit more often! And you don't even have to give any reason why you're saying no. It's your right to decide how you want to spend your own time. It's really nobody's business. If you'd rather spend an evening in your bathtub with a good book instead of going out with your colleagues, then you should do that.
Picture by cottonbro from Pexels.
I suggest that you start right now and think about how you can create a better life for yourself. What can you do right now to take that first step towards simplifying your life and getting rid of stress and overwhelm?
One thing that can help you is to sign up for my FREE 5-day email course, which will really kick-start you in the right direction. Another option is to read some of my previous articles on the subject, like "Why being a people pleaser prevents you from living the good life that you could have" and other articles in the category Intentional Living (see menu of categories on the right).
Whatever you decide: I'll definitly be writing a lot more about this in future articles, and I'm also working on an upcoming book - La Vie Adorable Blueprint - which I'll be giving away 50 FREE copies of when it's finished. If you want to be among the ones who get a FREE copy of the book sent in the mail, you can sign up for it here.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that you'll share it with someone you know who might enjoy it, too.
3 THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU THINK YOU'RE MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS AND NOTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN
Picture by Yan from Pexels.
So you're in this situation where you've been bending backwards to create a new life for yourself. For example: Maybe you've done everything imaginable to start an online business. You've been working really hard to create content, post on social media, be consistent, and you've been positive like hell and really believed in yourself.
You've created lots of opt-ins and free stuff to build your email-list and an audience that would eventually buy your great digital products or physical products or whatever it is that you're going for.
But nothing happens. No response. No list. No audience. Which again means no business.
You just want to say "F*** it all!" and quit.
And I don't blame you.
And now I'll be completely honest with you:
All the things I've described above is my own experience exactly.
I've spent years doing all those things, and for what?
Nothing. Or at least so it seems.
Not a single penny has landed in my bank account for years, except for the few dollars that I myself and my close family have spent on "buying" my own products just to see if things worked as they should with my web-store!
For years I've had no real response from people who has read my blog or listened to my (few and not so consistent) video broadcasts.
So I don't really know if anyone actually reads what I write or listens to what I'm trying to communicate, or is even remotely interested in what I offer.
No wonder I find myself wanting to give up half of the time, don't you agree?
So what keeps me going?
Good question! I've been asking myself the same thing on a regular basis!
It's not all about the money.
It's about living a good life.
And even if the money hasn't yet come pouring in quite the way I'd like it to, I'm still improving my life day by day.
I'm working on myself every day, to learn more, become a better version of myself in every way, upgrade my personal standard, set boundaries, do the things that make me happy, take care of my health and wellbeing, connect with (and surround myself with) people that lift me up and support and love me, and I simply do everything possible to live with intention. I'm intentionally trying every day to make room for what is important and ditch what is not.
So I keep going, no matter what.
Because I believe in my mission.
I live what I preach!
Even if I still haven't earned the money I need to really get to the next level.
But I know I'll get there. Just tag along and you'll see.
Because the principles I teach are simple, and they do work - if you follow them.
And here's my main message for today:
The most important thing is not all the things you're DOING.
It's your MINDSET.
If you really want that independent life where you work with what you love, when you want and from where you want, and make a solid income from it, an income that will make you financially free, - or (business or not) if you want to create a life for yourself that is completely and unapologetically on your own terms, and to live with intention....
Work on your mindset first.
Because here's the thing: No matter if I cannot yet show you incredible wealth and success as a result of my online business (because I'm not quite there yet), I'm here to tell you that what I've just (very honestly) shared with you, is not a proof of failure, either! Because I believe that my life is improving every day, and with great personal success.
The reason I'm not able to "show you the money" quite yet, as a proof of my own professional success, - is because I have actually done a few things wrong in the past when it comes to my online presence, and the most important ones are:
1) I haven't been clear enough on what my message actually is
2) I haven't been clear enough on who my audience is
3) I haven't been consistent enough, not visible enough
4) I've been doubting myself a lot, like whether or not I have something to say that is important to other people...
... and I could probably go on, but I'll just stop there, because this isn't really an article about how to create an online business, and I don't really want to focus on my mistakes, but on what you should do to have personal success. (I might come back to things related to professional success in later articles, though, as I move along with my own business.)
So if you've already done a lot to move in the direction of your dreams, but you haven't gotten any visible results yet:
Hang in there!
Here are 3 steps that can change your situation (and this goes for both personal and professional success):
1) Stop DOING so much! :) Instead: Focus on just a few things every day.
Make them easy and doable. Don't set yourself up for failure.
2) Stop over-thinking and trying to figure out HOW you can best succeed.
Do what feels right for you and makes you happy, and have an open
mind to people around you. Someone might open an unexpeted door for
you with incredible opportunities, or help you with something you've
been wondering how to cope with.
3) Set a POSITIVE INTENTION for every day, and then GO WITH THE
This may seem too simple, but why make it complicated? That's what we very often tend to do, and I believe that might be the reason why you haven't seen any results so far in your struggles to create a new and better life for yourself.
So I suggest you try to follow these 3 steps for the next couple of weeks and see where that leads you. And I'd love to hear from you about that, so feel free to send me a note!
I've written a lot about mindset and how your thoughts create your reality in other articles on my blog, so why not take some time now to read more about that or listen to this episode of "What If....?
If you liked this article and want to learn more about Intentional Living, check out my new course: Kick-start your new life in 5 days!
I also hope you'll follow my blog and / or leave a comment below to let me know what you think of it.
Happy New Year, my friend!
I want to share my intentions for this new year with you, and I hope it will inspire you to make your own declaration for 2021.
These are my intentions for this year:
I will continue to design my life the way I want it and move in the direction of my dreams.
I will think thoughts of prosperity and success and let go of all fear, worries and negativity.
I will savor every moment and keep decluttering my life in every way, which means getting rid of the things/beliefs etc that no longer serve me, and make room for more of what is important to me.
I will make sure to incorporate more activity in my daily routines, in order to get enough exercise on a regular basis and get a leaner and stronger body.
I will eat proper, healthy and nutrituous food and use quality produce to prepare my meals.
I will do more of what makes me happy.
I will manage my money in a good and sensible manner.
I will find more ways to do work that can help others and at the same time enable me to use my creativity and create financial freedom for myself.
I will love fiercly.
I will meet life with full presence and power.
I will reclaim my agenda.
I will defeat my demons.
I will advance with abandon.
I will practice joy and gratitude.
I will amplify love.
I will inspire greatness.
I will slow down and stop stressing.
I hope you liked this post. If it inspired you to make your own declaration for 2021, or if you'd like to have a shorter version of it that I have created for you, you can get a printable version by following the link below.
I've called it
THE FEMALE LIFE DESIGNER'S MANIFESTO
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Every year I hear many people complain about how stressed out they feel before Christmas. Even though most people enjoy the holiday itself, many of us seem to stress around to get everything prepared in time. So, today I want to talk to you about how you can make your December stress free.
1. PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
I know we’re only in November, but time flies, and December is just around the corner. I know there are always lots of things we want to do, and feel like we have to do before Christmas arrives, and I think the best way we can tackle this is by planning.
That’s all well and good, but what should you plan?
I suggest sitting down with a nice hot beverage, and make a list. What is it that you need to get done? I have some suggestions for common things, so let’s look at the categories together:
Picture by Dana Tentis via Pexels
Cleaning your house or apartment
If you live in an apartment you’re kind of lucky – there are fewer spaces for you to clean. But if you have a house, there is more to do. I know my ex mother in law would clean the walls and ceilings for Christmas, but unless you feel it is really necessary to do this, I suggest you skip it!
However, there are a few cleaning tasks you probably want to do: cleaning the windows, vacuuming and washing the floors, washing the bathroom and dusting.
You might feel stressed out about all the cleaning you need to do before Christmas, but realize this: you most likely have a regular schedule for most of these tasks. The only extra activity is cleaning the windows, which you probably do a little less often. And maybe washing the floors, which you might do less frequently than vacuuming.
To make it easy for you to plan your cleaning, get my FREE downloadable list!
Picture by Cottonbro via Pexels
So, sit down and check your calendar: When is Christmas this year? I mean: What day does it fall on? If you have a regular cleaning schedule where you vacuum, do the dusting and wash your bathroom on a Friday and Christmas falls on a Thursday, you simply follow your normal routine up until the week of Christmas. So you’ll do your regular cleaning the Friday before, then again on Wednesday, right before Christmas.
Then you wash your floors on that same Wednesday. As for the windows, I suggest washing them one or two weeks before Christmas.
Plan your baking & cooking
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The next point of planning I want to talk about is baking and cooking. Do you have a habit of making cookies for Christmas? Or do you have any special meals you like to cook? Well, plan it ahead of time.
I've made it easy for you by creating this FREE downloadable and printable Christmas baking plan.
In Norway we have a tradition that says you should bake 7 different sorts of Christmas cookies. And that’s a lot of baking if you’re going to follow tradition. With our modern lives it may be hard to fit this in between everything else that’s going on.
So, before December knocks on our door, I like to plan when I’m going to bake my cookies. Sometimes I like to make several types of cookies in one day, to reduce the number of baking days. But then I always make sure that if one cookie is particularly laborious to make, the other ones are easy to make.
On Christmas we also like to serve traditional food for our lunch and dinners. These meals often take a lot of time to prepare, and there may be several operations happening in the kitchen at the same time. To reduce the amount of stress, I like to see if there is anything I can make ahead of time and just reheat it when the day arrives.
With a lot of dishes, they even taste better when they’re reheated!
Picture by Daria Shevstova via Pexels
One thing that comes to mind is gravy, but many desserts can also be made ahead of time and frozen.
Plan your Gifts
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We all love gifts, don’t we? But at Christmas, you often have so many people you need to think of that it becomes stressful to find a gift for everyone. So, start now, and make a list of everyone you plan to give a gift. This takes away the stress of being afraid you’ve forgotten someone. You're more than welcome to use my FREE downloadable list if you want to.
When you’ve made your list, start looking for gifts. Some people are easy to give gifts to, but if you’re uncertain of what to give, ask people what they want (or need)! And, for people who have everything they need and then some, you can give edible gifts. Some chocolate or a bottle of wine (if they drink alcohol) is always appreciated, as it is a gift they can use.
I know this next idea is a little late to do it this year, but I know people who start buying gifts in January! Talk about being ahead of the game! But I guess it’s because a lot of things are on sale in January, so you could save a lot of money if you buy most of your Christmas presents then. However, I would only do this if I absolutely KNOW that this is a gift that the person will like a year from now.
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If you want ALL my FREE downloadable Christmas planners, you can get them in one bundle here.
2. REDUCE WHAT YOU'RE COMMITTING TO DO
As always with intentional living, I should mention that to make your December stress free, you might want to reduce the amount of things you’re doing.
Don’t overdo the cleaning
For some reason we have this feeling that we have to clean in excessive amounts before Christmas, even though most of us have regular cleaning schedules we follow throughout the year that are more than enough to keep our homes clean and tidy. But for some odd reason a lot of us feel a need to clean in bizarre places before Christmas, like the bottom of the drawers in our dressers... I mean ... come on! It doesn’t hurt if people understand that we actually sit, breathe and live in our houses! There’s no need to exaggerate!
So: If you feel stressed out about cleaning, reduce what you clean. As I mentioned, I don’t see the point in washing my walls and ceiling, so I don’t do that. And no one dies if there’s a little dust in a corner. Really, I promise it will be fine!
Keeping to your normal cleaning routine can help make your December stress free.
Picture by Cottonbro via Pexels
Keep the baking to what you will actually eat
Another thing you can reduce is the amount of cooking and baking you’re doing.
Is there a cookie you make every Christmas that no one really eats? Or is it simply too many cookies to manage eating them all before they go stale?
Well, reduce the amount!
As I mentioned, there is a tradition of baking 7 different types of cookies for Christmas in Norway. But for the most of us, it’ll be too many to consume (and to have time to bake them all).
I know that even though I like baking, some years it’s only achievable to bake maybe 2 or 3 types of Christmas cookies. And that’s fine! Christmas will come anyways. And when I understand that I will only have time to bake a certain amount, I prioritize what I bake. So I only bake our favorites.
If you absolutely want a certain kind of cookie but don’t have the time to bake, there are a few options:
One option is to buy the cookies you want. Most stores sell the classics, so you can get your hands on them without baking.
Another alternative is to arrange a cookie-swap with friends and family. If you only have time to bake 1 type of cookie but have 4 friends or family members who are also baking, you can arrange for everyone to bake something different and swap. So, you’ll have 5 types of cookies from the effort of making 1!
Another tip (as mentioned above) is to reduce the recipe, so you have a more manageable amount to eat.
Gifts and advent calendars
Picture by Torsten Dettlaff via Pexels
As much as we all love gifts, we also appreciate good food and good company. And we could all do well to focus more on that.
Not only do most people have what they need, it’s also better for the environment to reduce the amount of stuff we give each other.
So rather than stressing about finding physical gifts for people, gift them time. This time could be something you do for them (like cleaning, baking or helping them with something) or an activity they can do (or that you can do together).
I also know that a lot of parents (myself included) love making advent calendars for their children. However, a lot of the time these calendars are filled with trinkets that are fun right there and then but are soon forgotten about or broken. It can also be a bit stressful to go around finding 24 (or 25) little gifts and wrap them all.
I prefer filling the advent calendar with a combination of things they need (like socks, notebooks etc), some candy (but not every day!), and then things like face masks, nail polish and other beauty products (for my girl), Christmas decorations for their room, snack bars, small candles, etc.
You're welcome to use this downloadable FREE Advent Calendar Gift Plan if you want to!
Alternative advent calendars:
-A Christmas book: find a book with 24 (or 25) chapters, so that they can read a chapter a day (or you can read to them before bed). This shifts the focus towards spending more time together.
-Reversed advent calendar: with this one, your child gets a packet of 24 (or 25) bows or ribbons at the first day of December. The bows will be used to mark a toy or a piece of clothing they no longer use, and can part with. Mark one item every day. Collect the toys and clothes and donate them so they can go to someone in need.
For younger children you can tell them that the toys are taken to the North pole so Santa can “fix them up” and give them to other children. In return, Santa will bring some new toys for them for Christmas (make sure to not promise that Santa will replace everything they give away, though!)
For older children it’s nice to explain that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. It’s nice for them to learn about the joy of giving, and most children who are old enough to understand will be happy to be able to help someone else.
Picture by Skitterphoto via Pexels
-Activity calendar: instead of getting things in their calendar every day, you can give them an activity each day. This may sound like a lot of effort, but this can be activities you’ve already planned for, and activities that don’t take too long to do. For example: you can wrap a cookie cutter for the day when you’ve planned baking cookies. Another gift can be hot chocolate after dinner, a round of cards or staying up 15 minutes longer to read an extra story at bedtime. Your imagination is the limit!
3. MAKE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS
I find that stress is often caused by things we’ve committed to do, but don’t really want to do. In order to make December stress free, I want to suggest to you that you make your own traditions.
You might think this is counterproductive, adding more things to what you do, but hear me out.
What I mean, is that sometimes we follow traditions simply because they’re traditions and because that’s how we’ve always done things.
I’m here to tell you that if there are traditions that you have, that you are committed to only because they’re traditions, it’s okay to cut them out.
For example: If you don’t enjoy participating in the "Secret Santa" tradition at work because you find it stressful to try and find a gift for a colleague that you might not even know very well, it’s okay to opt out of it.
You can make your own traditions
Instead of following old traditions that don’t suit your lifestyle and don’t mean much to you, create your own. Maybe instead of exchanging gifts with your friends you want to arrange an informal lunch at your house? (You could even order the food!)
Or maybe there are things that you want to add to your routine to slow down? Some activities can release stress even if they’re an addition to what you usually do. Spending time with your loved ones is one of such activities.
Or maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to do before Christmas that you never got around to? Maybe there's a certain Christmas movie you want to watch, or maybe you want to go to the ballet to see the Nutcracker performed.
Or maybe you just want to do something simple to add more “hygge”, like lighting a candle every night while you drink a cup of tea, or get up 15 minutes earlier each morning to take a little extra time with your breakfast.
These are all things you can do to make December stress free for yourself.
Picture by Olya Danilevich via Pexels
I hope this article has inspired you to really think about what you spend your time and money on this December, and hope the things I’ve covered are things that are really meaningful to YOU. If not, it’s okay to cut something out and add something else in order to make YOUR December stress free.
And remember: My FREE downloadable and printable Christmas planners can make it even easier for you, so I suggest you get them right now!
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Taking care of yourself is essential to living the best life possible. And it's not just about the physical body, but also your inner being, or your soul, if you like. How you feel mentally has a huge impact on how you feel physically. And that's not just something I'm saying. It's been scientifically proven.
Stress in all forms and shapes affects our body. That's something I've experienced personally. I've been fighting a silent battle with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) for almost 20 years (you can read all about that in an article I've written). Stress is something I should avoid at all cost, but I haven't always managed to keep it away from my life.
But I've learned a lot over the last decade or so, and I've found techniques that have helped me live a better life in so many ways. Not only with PCS, but I've also gained wisdom that have made me look at life itself in a different way than before.
Like I said at the beginning, health and wellbeing is about more than the physical body, but physical activity does definitly also have an effect on your mental health. They're mutually important. Actually, I don't think you can have one without the other.
One year ago, I often woke up feeling completely exhausted, even after a whole night's sleep. So I tried not to have too many plans for the day, but take things more as they came.
My one determination, though, was to do my Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge routine. I had come across it on the internet, and ordered the program because yoga seemed to be a form of exercise that I would be able to do even though I had some health issues. So I started doing it every second day.
(I wrote an article about this back in May 2019. The article is called Why I Love To Do Yoga As Exercise, Even When I Have Zero Motivation, and is about my experience with The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, a great program created by Zoe Bray-Cotton. Please note that the link to the program is my personal affiliate link, so I may earn a small commission if you sign up for the program through my link, but at no extra cost to you, of course.)
In my first week, I found it invigorating and not too hard to commit to, so I actually believed that this was something I was going to stick with. (Unlike any other work-out or exercise routine that I'd tried in the past.)
The Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge is a 12 weeks' program, and I seriously thought I'd be able to see it through. The benefits were obvious: Better over-all physical condition, better health, better ME!
Hopefully, I'd even lose some weight and get a more toned, lean and strong body, which was very high up on my list of short- (and long-) term goals, and still is.
It was something I definitely considered to be a part of my Freedom Journey, because to me, freedom is also feeling free in my body. Feeling comfortable in my own skin. Even though I know my body is quite satisfactory the way it is, I still have a strong desire to lose some weight and get a leaner and stronger body, like the one I used to have before. Simply because the way I am now, doesn't feel like me.
I was always lean and strong in my younger days, even after 2 child-births, - but then 20 years ago I had an accident. I got a head injury which then caused PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) as I mentioned at the beginning of this article. It set me back physically and got me into a downward spiral with less exercise and gain of weight.
When I slowly started to come back to normal, I decided to try and find some kind of exercise that I could do. It wasn't easy, though.
I tried jogging for a while, and I'd always liked running, so I was very motivated when I soon experienced some positive results. But I did my jogging mainly in the streets, on hard surfaces, and this eventually took a toll on my knees, so I had to stop.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Then I tried following a work-out program with Jillian Michaels, the "30 Day Shred" program, and I really enjoyed that and quickly saw results. To this day, I actually do parts of that program now and then, but not on a consistent basis.
Then I tried the Yoga Burn Total Body Challenge, which I actually followed for quite a long time ... and then I quit that, too. But mind you: That had nothing to do with the program itself, because to this day I truly believe that it's a great program and that anybody who is able to stick with it, will benefit from it!
Problems with following routines
That's just been the story of my life ever since I gained weight. I've had a tendency to fall back into old habits after a few weeks and haven't been able to stick to any program long-term. As much as I enjoy them - and I do, really! - I just can't seem to stick with them.
This has frustrated me immensly and has made me mad at myself more often than I care to think about. Why the heck has it been so hard for me to follow through?
I've been thinking about this a lot, and my conclusion is that I'm just the kind of person who doesn't like to follow routines. I need variation, and I need exercising to not feel like an obligation or some extra task that I have to fit into my schedule. I need it to come naturally.
That's why the solution for me has been to not follow one specific program or routine, but go back to the lifestyle I had when I was in my twenties, which was the French lifestyle.
I've always been a Francophile, and when I was in my teens and early twenties, I was highly influenced by my French friend, whom I met when I was 14 years old. After watching her and her mom and the way they lived, and also visiting France and really get a first-hand experience with the French lifestyle, - I started following the same routines when I came back home. (I've written an article about this before: Why I swear by the French lifestyle.)
Just to recap a little: Back then, I was physically active all the time, without even thinking about it. I had fun with friends. I ate everything I wanted to without putting on weight. I enjoyed food. I walked a lot, played with my young nieces and nephews, played badminton with family and friends in the summer, and I went everywhere on my bike, because I didn't have a car (or even a driving licence) at the time.
I was lean, strong and fit. Life was more or less stress-free. I had no heavy responsibilities in my life. Well, I had my concerns, but they were mostly manageable. I had a good life, most of the time.
But then things started to happen, and everything changed, slowly but surely. I eventually found myself in a situation where keeping up my former lifestyle became more and more difficult. So much so that over the years, I slowly fell into habits that were not at all healthy for me, and it became more and more difficult to turn things around.
I've written at length about that in earlier articles, so I won't repeat any of that here. Let me just say that after a few decades where I've been struggling with PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which lead to less physical activity and resulted in me putting on weight and slowly experiencing more and more health issues because of that, - well, it's fair to say that I've learned a lot about the connection between mental and physical health.
Well, I've known for many years now that I had to reverse this situation, and I've tried so many things in order to do just that, - like some of the activities I've mentioned above. But the results have not been significant enough to really change my life for the better. I mean: The results haven't been visible. At least not as visible as I'd like them to be. Mainly because I haven't been able to stick with the routines.
That's why I've returned to the French lifestyle, and now, very slowly, I'm beginning to see results. I've lost a few pounds and a few inches around my waist, and - best of all: I'm feeling less stressed out.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels
So what have I done?
# 1) I've gone back to incorporating exercise into my daily routines, rather than making it an extra task that I have to do, which (as mentioned above) I've never been able to stick to for more than a few weeks at the most.
# 2) I do follow some of the programs I mentioned now and then, because I really love them, and they're perfect for the kind of variation I need in my life to keep things from getting boring, - but I no longer beat myself up about not being able to stick with one program over many weeks.
# 3) I've started to enjoy my meals more, to sit down and eat and not just grab a bite "on the go".
# 4) I eat smaller portions and stop when I'm full, instead of over-eating.
# 5) I try to get enough sleep.
# 6) I drink more water.
# 7) I make sure that I take time to do things that I enjoy, like reading,
watching a movie, spend quality time with family and friends.
# 8) I listen to motivational podcasts, talk nicely to myself and remind myself that I'm good enough just the way I am.
# 9) I take time to think about the things I'm grateful for in my life.
# 10) I try to savor each moment and not constantly rush to some new thing on my "to do" list.
# 11) In fact, I try not to have a long "to do list"! Just a few things each day that I want to get done.
# 12) I have (more or less) stopped being a people-pleaser and have started
making ME a priority.
# 13) I have started to declutter my life, physically and mentally, and make more room for the things I really want.
Less attachement to things.
Less house-work and constant tidying up, which means less on my "to do" list.
More purpose to my days.
Visible (positive) changes to my body (mostly to myself so far, but I know others will notice them, too, in a little while).
The list goes on.
This has been transformational for me in so many ways.
That's why I'm on a mission to share my experiences with the French lifestyle with as many women as possible.
That's why I want to impress on you the importance of taking care of yourself first, before taking care of everyone else.
Taking care of your health is so important. And your mental health is actually the most important thing, because it will have a direct influence on your physical health as well.
So tell yourself that you are enough.
Tell yourself that you are just as important as anybody else in your life, and that you need to put YOU time on your schedule and not just make everybody else's "needs" a priority.
Tell yourself that your dreams are important.
Tell yourself that there is nothing you can't do, be or have.
Tell yourself that there's nothing you have to do. You have a choice, every single minute of every day. Do what's important to you, right there and then.
And do things that make you happy. Every single day.