THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
Picture by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.
It's been a while now since I started on my own journey towards a better life. It wasn't bad to begin with, either, but I came to a point where I didn't feel good about where I was and what I was doing, and I knew I couldn't go on in the same way any longer. There had to be a change. I felt that I was running around in circles, trying to be the best possible mom, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, employee, friend (the list goes on!) - in short: I felt that I was trying so hard to be the best version of me that I could possibly be, but somehow that was never enough. What I was really doing was that I was trying so hard to meet the expectations I thought everybody else had of me, and I felt like a complete failure in all areas.
So after many years this way, I felt exhausted. I knew I couldn't go on living that way. But what could I do to change it?
I knew I had to get clarity around my situation, so I started doing what had always helped me before: I started writing things down. All the things that I felt wasn't working for me in my life, and also the things that did. I made a list of what I actually wanted, and I started thinking about how I could make them happen. What would I need to do? How could I live the life I truly wanted and be true to who I am? How could I live The Good Life?
I won't bore you with the details, but the result of my writing and the clarity I gained, meant making some tough decisions, which I'm happy to say that I managed to make eventually. And although it's been challenging at times, it's been worth it.
Long story short: I'm now living my life at a slow pace. I'm living what I feel is The Good Life for me. I'm taking time to do the things I love and really savor each moment. Because life is happening here and now and not somewhere in the future.
Happiness isn't something that will suddenly occur once you get that thing that you're hoping for, whether it's a new house, a more fulfilling job, that special someone to share your life with, or a whole lot of money. When you reach one goal, you'll probably set another, and that's how life is. But if you're not happy with where you're at right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get clarity around what it is that you really want, and then start doing something about that. Step by step.
I also believe that the key to getting all those things that you want, is to start appreciating what you already have.
Wanting more is natural, and having goals is a good thing. Just don't allow yourself to feel miserable because you don't have everything you want yet. You have so much going for you, and you're totally capable of getting all those things. It just might take some time, and you probably need to start focusing a bit more on what you really want, instead of constantly thinking about what you don't want or don't yet have.
Because that's what we often do, isn't it? We spend a lot of time thinking about the lack of things, and we worry too much about worst case scenarios. What might happen if we can't pay that bill, or what if we try this thing that we want to do, and then we fail... What if other people laugh at us for dreaming too big, or disrespect us for not seeing things through when we said we were going to do something ...?
And just like I did, you might also be running around in circles, trying to meet some expectations that you think other people have from you. And it makes you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and maybe even like a failure.
But you know what? F#"& all that! Because here's what I've experienced:
The more you focus on worrying and thinking about the things you don't want, the more you're actually drawing those things to you.
What you think is what you get.
It's really as simple as that.
And the more you put everyone else first and neglect your own needs, the less you have to give in the end.
Now you may think that this is just bullshit.
You might say: "But Else, you don't understand. I have such a lot of problems in my life, and it's not that easy. I have a lot of obligations. I can't just forget all about it and pretend they're not there."
Well, maybe not. And then again: Why not?
Because it takes the exact same amount of energy to focus on the good things as it does for you to focus on the bad.
Chew on that for a moment.
And those expectations that you think others have, might just be in your own head. In fact, they probably are! Most people have more than enough with keeping their own shit together, and don't think about you or what you should or should not do at all! Not because they don't care about you, but they don't EXPECT anything from you. Just think about it for a moment: Do YOU think a lot about other people and what they should or should not do? Do YOU have expectations from the people close to you? Probably not. You're probably too busy trying to meet the expectations you think THEY have!
So why not decide to focus all your energy on the things that are good in your life and on what you really, really want, instead of losing your happiness over stuff you can't really do anything about and that you're worrying about, and which in most cases (more than 80 %, actually) won't ever happen anyway?
All your worrying does for you, is take away the joy you should have today.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying you should be unrealistic. Some things in your life may need you to step up your game and take responsibility in order to change your situation. This could be a money situation or health issues that you need to address.
But - as Marie Forleo puts it: "Everything is figureoutable."
And when you start looking into things and decide to figure them out,
I'm 100 % certain that you will find a solution.
In fact, I'm going to suggest one thing for you now that can help you start figuring things out sooner than you would imagine possible, actually in as little as 5 days! Step by step, you'll find the clarity you need to start turning your life around for the better, and you'll be able to decide what you need to do next in order to get the life that you truly want. What YOU think is The Good Life.
So do something today that the future you will thank you for. Don't keep it off any longer! Decide that today is the day when you will start prioritizing yourself and your own happiness, and that you will start living NOW, and not in some distant future. Because if you don't take care of yourself first, you will not have anything to give to the people you love, either. But when you make sure you have a good life, your cup will flow over and everyone around you will benefit from it, too. I promise you!
And here's what you can do right now: Sign up for my 5 day-email course "Kick-start your new life in 5 days" and get started today! You won't regret it! And I'll be there to support you, every step of the way, so you're not alone. See you inside the course!
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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.
Picture by Elle Hughes on Pexels
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I am all for counting blessings instead of just taking things for granted. In this blog post I simply want to share with you some of life's blessings that I enjoy, and which all start with the letter P.
I hereby challenge you to come up with your own. It will be an exercise in finding things to be grateful for.
Pleasure # 1) PEONIES
I just love peonies! It was one of the flowers in our garden when I grew up, and it brings back good memories from a happy and carefree childhood in a small town on the west coast of Norway.
Peonies come in several variations, from the pure white via soft pink to a dark red. The buds have a beautiful round shape, and when the flower is in full bloom, it's bold and lush with big petals, and it smells good.
I just had to grow peonies when I married and got a house and garden of my own. If there's anything I miss right now, it's having a garden, but I will have one again soon, for sure, and then I'll plant peonies again - lots of them! I'll have white, pink and red ones.
For now, I'll just have to settle for the occasional bouquet from the florist's, like the one in the picture above. But that's nice, too. They're only in season for a few weeks every summer, from June and onward, but I make sure I enjoy them whenever I can.
Pleasure # 2) PEUGEOT
This is the car I drive at the moment.
I changed from Mercedes to Peugeot not very long ago, and I'm very pleased with it! The Mercedes-Benz that I had was a very elegant car, but after having driven it for a while, I found it "heavy", too noisy and not a very good car for winter conditions (which I absolutely need here in Norway).
Peugeot has always been one of my favorite car brands, ever since I got my driving lisence. Just after I got my lisence, I worked as a secretary for the bosses at a ship-yard and had to go on many errands into town for them. Since I didn't have my own car at the time, I got to use whatever car was available, and after having driven one of my bosses' Peugeot 505, it immediately became my absolute favorite. If that car was available, there was no doubt: That would be the one I used.
No wonder, then, that when I finally got around to buying a car of my own, Peugeot was my choice. I got myself a Peugeot 305, and it served me well for quite a few years. I probably wouldn't have swapped it in for another car until it was absolutely no chance of driving it anymore, had it not been for the fact that I got married and expected my first child, and a bigger "family car" was needed. But I've always loved Peugeot ever since that first car. Not only because I'm a Francophile and Peugeot is a French brand, but I think it's a really good brand.
Pleasure # 3) PHOTOGRAPHY
Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels
I've always enjoyed photography and filming.
I'm constantly trying to improve my technique and shoot good pictures.
I always try to compose a picture in the best possible way on the spot, rather than editing it afterwards, and I enjoy shooting close-ups of beautiful flowers and other nature elements, as you can see from the pictures in my Picfair shop.
I also love to travel the world and shoot pictures of what I see there,
whether it's landscapes, culture related pictures, buildings,
animals, nature or people.
I decided a while back to make my photography into something more than just a hobby. That's why I started uploading some of my photos to Twenty20, which is a stock photo website, and I hope you'll take a look at my profile there and perhaps "like" some of my photos. I would really appreciate that!
I'll be building more categories on Twenty20 soon,
but my main focus from now on when it comes to photography, will be on my Picfair photo business, so that's where you'll find my best photos from now on.
I would love it if you would take a look through my store there, and of course I'll be thrilled if you find that you like one or several of my photos well enough to buy from me!
Some of my pictures are taken as souvenirs and in a hurry, and are therefor not planned or "composed". Most of them never find the way to my online photo store, but are for private use only. Others are taken with a purpose and therefor more "staged".
No matter what: I shoot pictures because it gives me great pleasure. I can only hope that you take some pleasure in them, too. Please feel free to give me your feedback. Constructive critisism or advise on how I can become a better photographer will be appreciated and taken very seriously.
A lot of photos have been taken on my travels, and can be seen on my travel blog,The Passionate Globetrotter.
Many of my pictures are from my own country, Norway.
To see more pictures from my travels and read more about
my journeys, you can also visit my travel blog The Passionate Globetrotter.
Now, let's move on to
Pleasure #4) PARIS
L'Arc de Triomphe on a cloudy day in July 2010
Sous les ciels de Paris ...
I fell in love with Paris even before I had ever visited the city. In fact, I fell in love with everything French as far back as in my early childhood, when I first heard the language (probably on TV) and watched French movies and travel documentaries about France. It was an instant crush.
For the record: I have always had a passion for languages, - even different accents of my own language have always fascinated me, - and foreign languages are like music to my ears. The French language more than any other.
I first visited Paris in 1984, and it was everything I had dreamed of, and more. Le Tour Eiffel... L'Arc de Triomphe... Les Champs-Elysées...Pont Alexandre...Le Louvre... Montmartre... all the famous places, of course.
But most of all it was the sounds, the smell of fresh baguettes from the bakery, the restaurants, the elegance of the French women, in all its simplicity... the green areas ... Jardin des Tuileries... La Seine... les bateaux mouche... Notre Dame... le Sacre Caeur... le Quartier Latin...
And I was lucky enough to be visiting my French friend, who lived with her newly wed husband in a Paris apartment close to La Place d'Etoile, and thus I was able to experience first-hand what it was like to live in one of those wonderful old buildings. The solid wooden door... the concierge downstairs... the spiral staircase... the high ceilings of the apartment and the large windows, opened up to let the summer breeze play with the light curtains...
And the kitchen, facing the backyard, with a large window where the sounds from the neighbours came in and tickled my ears, with their laughing, the sounds of their pots and pans as they were making their dinner in the neighbouring flat.. the smell of food... a dog barking... all familiar sounds, but yet so different there... Because the backdrop was different from what I was used to.
And I loved the Paris shops, all the specialized shops: boulangerie, pattisserie, charcutterie ... even going to the local supermarket and buy food was an adventure! What a selection! The Bon Maman jams ... the cheese... the sausages... the wine ... oh-la-la!
But even going to the big malls, like Galerie Lafayette and Printemps, was a more pleasant experience than visiting many other malls I've been to. And the Paris life ... starting the day with a bowl of café au lait and some croissants with confiture de laframboise... perhaps not the healthiest alternative in the long run, but my God, what a joy!
Lunching out at a restaurant, watching the people walking by and having a nice conversation with friends ... flaner sur les quais... listening to someone playing the accordion in the French way ... the sound of Edith Piaf on the radio, or some more modern music on Radio Énergie ... In 1984 they played "Red, red wine" with UB40 and "Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons.." - and my friend recorded the radio-program for me and I played it again and again when I came back home, and longed back to Paris.
I will always long back to Paris. I've been there twice since that first time, but hardly often enough. As much as I love the rest of the world and want to see it all... Paris will always have a special place in my heart.
Paris, je t'aime.
Pleasure #5) PROVENCE
Aix-en-Provence, August 2014
Provence is a place I've always dreamed of, and in August 2014 my dream came true: I went on a road-trip in Provence, all by myself. I'd been to France before, but never to Provence, so it was with great anticipation that I finally went there.
The Norwegian Airline took me to Nice, which was really the ideal starting point for me. I rented a car there, and started exploring the area. At the time, I hadn't started a blog and therefor focused on living the dream there and then without writing about it. But I have written an article (divided in 2 parts) about How I accidentally fell in love with Cavaillon and 8 reasons why you might, too over at my travel blog, The Passionate Globetrotter.com. I have also written a few articles here on this blog that you're reading now, about authors from Provence, which I hope you'll find interesting.
There will be more articles about Provence from my hand, for sure, both on this blog and on The Passionate Globetrotter blog, because I don't think I'll ever get enough of this lovely part of France. My desire is to buy a house there, and one day I will, but until the current pandemic situation is over and the world is back to normal, that plan will have to be on the back-burner. For now, I keep dreaming about Provence and doing research for my next trip there.
Pleasure #6) PIZZA
Picture from Pixabay
I just LOVE pizza! I don't think I'll ever get tired of it! I especially love Italian pizza, but the American type is also good.
So what kind of topping do I prefer? Honestly: There are such a lot of delicious variations to pizza that I won't even begin to mention any favorites. What I can say, though, is that I tend to not like variations with seafood on them (schrimps, tuna, etc.). Apart from that, I'm open to most suggestions! Do YOU like pizza? Feel free to leave a comment about it!
Pleasure #7) PAGNOL
By Studio Harcourt - RMN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76212655
Marcel Pagnol (28 February 1895 – 18 April 1974) was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. Regarded as an auteur, in 1946, he became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française. I love his books, and the film adaptions of them are pure delight! I highly reccommend that you check them out!
Pleasure #8) PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels
I simply LOVE "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, and in particular the 1995 TV-series version of it, starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy! If you haven't watched it already (something that would be absolutely unbelievable if you're a lover of British period dramas...) - you really should! I won't give away the story, because that would ruin the experience for you. Just take my word for it: It's totally watch-worthy! :) And of course reading the book is a pleasure, too, if you like to read.
Pleasure # 9) POLDARK
Another British period drama that I love and adore! I'm waiting for the last season - season #5 - to be broadcasted on Norwegian television, and I definitly must buy it on DVD so I can complete my collection of all the seasons. Again: Highly reccommendable, especially if you love period dramas.
Poldark season 5 - Screenshot of Ross and Demelza: "You have no idea how glad I am to be home"
Well, these were 9 of my "guilty pleasures" starting with the letter "P". I hope you've enjoyed this article and have found something that has inspired you to come up with your own list of pleasures. I would love to know what those are, or if you share any of mine!
Please feel free to leave a comment, and also share this article with someone you think might find it enjoyable!
Photo by La Miko from Pexels
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.
Do you feel stuck in your past? Is it sort of "haunting" you and keeping you from doing the things you really want to do? Maybe you're not even aware of how much your past is affecting your decisions. You just feel that things are never going your way, or that you're constantly struggling with certain issues or situations that keep occurring in your life again and again, no matter what you do.
I don't know what your past looks like. Maybe you've experienced neglect or abuse. Maybe you've struggled with poor health or severe illness all your life. Maybe you've always been poor. Maybe you never did well in school and nobody ever believed that you could ever accomplish anything, and maybe they even said it to your face so you lost confidence in yourself and it became a belief deep within you.
Or maybe you did have everything going for you: A good upbringing and a happy childhood with lots of opportunities. Maybe you did well in school and got a good education. Maybe you found a great job and has had a certain amount of success in your life.
And still, you're not happy. You feel that there must be something more, but you feel stuck with what you have and can't really put your finger on what's wrong, either. And you feel bad because you can't make yourself love the way things are, even though everything's "perfect" and other people kind of envy you and think that you've really made a good life for yourself. Complaining isn't your thing, and it wouldn't be proper, because hey, you have a good life, don't you...? Don't you!? So what more do you want!?
Either way, - a past full of struggle or a past full of opportunities: You feel stuck. You feel that your past is the foundation that determines how the rest of your life will look like. Your path has been laid. Your past experiences and conditions have made you into who you are, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's just the way things are. This is what life has given you, and you just have to deal with it and do the best that you can with it.
Well, I'm telling you that's not how it has to be.
You're not your past
Whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or not: You're not your past. Because what you experienced in your past was a result of the programming you were exposed to by your peers: your parents and extended family, your teachers, your religious leaders, the society you were brought up in. They've all programmed you with their own beliefs about life and how things should be, and eventually these beliefs became your own. You've learned rules to follow, you've been told that you should act in this or that way to make sure you fit in with the rest of your community and not upset or provoke anyone by being different. And maybe you've been told that you should be grateful for what you have (no matter how little or how much that is) and not strive for more, because it wouldn't be appropriate. Or maybe they've even told you that you're not worthy of more. Who are you to think that you deserve anything more?
You are worthy and you can have it all
But guess what: You ARE worthy of more! In fact, you're worthy of all good things! And the best of all is that you can have it! You can have it all! It's totally achievable!
I don't know if you believe in God or the Universe or a source energy that's in all of us, - or whatever it is that you believe. And it doesn't really matter. What I want you to know is that whatever you believe, whether you're religious or spiritual or an agnostic: YOU have the power to create your life the way you want it. You and only you.
How is that?
Your mind is like a cannon acting like a boomerang
What you experience in your life is a direct result of what you think about day in and day out. Your thoughts become your reality. You get what you focus on, whether it's positive or negative. Your mind is like a cannon, loaded with thoughts, only it works like a boomerang and sends back to you whatever it is you're projecting out into the universe. So if you want only good things to come to you, you must stop sending out all those negative thoughts and start projecting only positive, happy and prosperous thoughts instead.
I'm telling you: If you really understood the effect your thoughts have on your reality, you'd never want to think a negative thought again!
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
I'm sure you've heard this quote from Henry Ford. And it really is as simple as that. If you keep thinking that you're not good enough or wise enough or not worthy ... or that you're not good with money or that you're not educated enough to get a better paid job, or that your health is preventing you from living the life you want, or that other circumstances like your family, your kids or society - or whatever it is that you're thinking - are preventing you from fulfilling your dreams ... then that's how it will continue to be. For sure.
Because you simply can't think a negative thought and expect a positive result.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
If you think something's holding you back or keeping you from doing what you want ... well, I'm telling you: It's all in your mind. It's not real.
You can choose what to think
So my advise to you today is this: Start thinking positive thoughts from this moment forward.
And when you do, I promise you that you'll soon start noticing a positive effect in your life. And you're in total control here! Because you can choose to think positive thoughts, no matter what life throws at you. Nobody else can decide what you should think. Only if you let them. And whatever your past has been: It doesn't have to be your tomorrow. It doesn't have to be your TODAY. And today is really all we've got. So make the decision today that you'll start thinking positive thoughts and only focus on what you DO want, and not on what you don't want. I promise you: Your future self will thank you for it!
If you want to hear more about this topic, I suggest you watch the episode I broadcasted on my YouTube channel a while back. You can watch it below.
If you liked this blog post and / or the video, please feel free to leave a comment below or follow my blog.
I’m a time traveler.
I bet you didn’t know that about me… that I’m capable of travelling in time and space and taking on several personalities. In one week I can be in ancient Egypt on Monday, then on Tuesday I can travel on to 1943 to live the life of a resistance agent in the south of France … and on Wednesday I can find myself in 1994 and be a Detective of the New York Police Departement…. and suddenly, on Thursday, I’m back in 2019 and living as a self-made millionaire with my own TV-/public speaker-/author business …
You might think that this must be a rather exhausting way of living, but I assure you: It’s not. It’s invigorating, inspiring, fascinating and wonderful!
I’m so grateful for the day when I discovered that I could do this! It’s been such a journey, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing this!
Anyone can do it
So how do I do this? It’s really quite simple. Anyone can do it. You see: I’m a reader. I read books, articles, blogs…. and I watch films… and I listen to music … and they draw me into their worlds and I identify with the characters of the stories… I smell what they smell, sense what they sense, hear the sounds that they describe or create … I see the landscapes, the houses, the interiors, the colors, the people … It’s amazing!
One of my biggest dreams have always been to be able to create such experiences for others, by writing books and making films … by acting and singing … Because the writers, the filmmakers, the singers and the musicians open up new worlds to us all … and I feel richer with every book, every film, every piece of music that I experience.
I bless the day I discovered this wonderful possibility of traveling in time and space. Thank God for the diversity, the creativity, the inventions that have made it possible to access these treasures, through the printed word, the books, the libraries, the cameras, the radios, the microphones, the LP’s, the cassettes, the DVDs, the concert halls, the screens, the movie theaters, the TV, the computer, the Internet …
I wonder where I’ll go tomorrow …. I’m already looking forward to the journey!
(This was first published on my blog "Leylas Journal" over at leylasjournal.tumblr.com)
I'm making new rules for my life.
I have lived so many years according to other people's rules, and quite frankly: They haven't served me all that well. I have always felt it deep inside, that something was wrong, and that living within the frames that either my family, the Christian community, teachers, or society in general set for me (and for everybody else), wasn't always right for me.
But it took me almost 5 decades to realize it: That living by other people's rules was not what I came here to do, and that I can actually make my own rules. What a relief!
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that we shouldn't have rules at all. Some rules, like traffic regulations and rules that help us keep "law and order" in our society and avoid complete chaos, - some general rules for human behavior, like not stealing from others, etc. - are, of course, necessary.
All we have is here and now
I'm referring more to those other rules... the unwritten ones, if you see what I mean, rules that say we "can't live like this or that", or that we must get an education, find a job, get married, buy a house, have children, not strive to get rich....
And the general belief that we must work hard most of our lives to earn money. Then we can retire when we're in our 60's and do all the things that we really want to do.
What a lot of rubbish!
I say: Live your life while you can! You have no guarantees about tomorrow. All you have is the here and now. So make sure you make the most of it! Don't put off until tomorrow or some time in the distant future the things you really love doing.
You came here to live your life the way only you can, and you should follow your gut instinct and not just what other people think you should be doing. They don't know you like you do. Only you know what's best for YOU.
So go for it! What are you waiting for?
Make a plan and start moving
I know, I know... There are challenges... obstacles .... other people to consider ... I've been there, too... But at least do yourself the favor of making a plan and start moving in the direction of what you really want. One small step at a time, if necessary. You don't have to make quantum leaps, - at least not to begin with.
And I know: It's hard to make changes. Especially if you have to do it all alone and don't have anyone to support you or guide you in the process.
But we are many who are on the same journey, and who would be happy to get to know you and walk that road together with you.
I'm one of them. I hereby invite you to get in touch. Let's do this together! It's definitely more fun that way!
Please feel free to follow my blog, or even better: Join my tribe!
"Whatever you do, be YOU and not a copy of someone else."
This hit me right now as I was thinking and re-thinking about what it is that I want to do with my online presence. In fact: not only with my online presence, but with my LIFE.
Yes, I want to inspire, motivate and empower women to live their life un-apologetically on their own terms. But not only women, - ALL people! I want to show them that being who they are is enough. I want them to be proud of who they are and feel confident in their own skin. I want them to really understand it and feel it with all their heart and in their bones. That they are valuable. Unique. Wonderful!
The big question I'm asking myself over and over again is "HOW can I do that?" And the answer came to me, pure and simple: "Whatever you do, be YOU and not a copy of someone else."
I have tried and tested... changed my words with the hope that I would reach more people by doing so ...
I have spent hours, days, weeks and months trying to learn from others who have succeeded in building an audience online...
I've invested time and money in it.
I've had plans.
I've been persistent.
I've followed other people's advice about what I should do to get through to "my specific audience"....
But deep inside, I feel that all this... all my efforts... they're not showing the whole picture of who I really am.
Because I'm not a strategist (even though I'm good at making plans). And if a task takes too long before I see any results, I get impatient. I get bored!
I'm a creative person. I don't have ONE passion. I have many! I find it hard to focus on just ONE thing that I should share with others.
I'm a social, outgoing person who loves to interact with people. And at the same time I'm a person who really appreciates some alone-time and don't have any problem with spending hours on my own...
But most of all I want to be with people and talk, interact, laugh, engage in good conversations, share a good meal, inspire, motivate and help others, and also learn from them and grow, spiritually and as a person.
And my passion really is in the creative field, but I've been hiding that side of me for so many years that it scares me stiff to even think that I should "go for it"... that I should "come out of the closet" and show my true self ... the XXXXX in me ...
Damn! I can't even say the word...! Because I'm afraid it will back-fire on me.... that people will throw that word back in my face and say: "Ha! An XXXXXX!? Who does she think she is!?"
So I'm going to spend a few more days in my "closet" now, thinking about what to do about it... How to be true to myself, - how to REALLY show myself and others that I live what I preach: That being me is enough, and that I will stand tall and not be afraid to show it ....
So that they can really get my message and understand that they are enough, too.
YOU are enough.
Because it's really the only way to truly live: "Whatever you do, be YOU and not a copy of someone else."
If this resonates with you, feel free to leave a comment below or follow my blog. Or even better: Join my tribe and let's get to know each other better!
Every morning when I wake up, I try to start with a positive thought. Sometimes I feel very tired and don’t want to leave my bed, but then I quickly try to turn my thoughts in a more positive direction, and I give thanks. I say: “Thank you for this new day and new opportunity. I am grateful that I’m in good health, and that this will be a good day.”
I believe that if I start my day with the intention that it will be good and that I will make the best of it, I have a much better chance of actually having a good day.
I’ve done my share of worrying and thinking negatively in my life, and it has never done me any good. So I choose to pursue happiness.
Every day I try to do things that make me happy, and I try to live in the moment and not worry too much about what might come next. It has been revolutionary to my life.
I’m not saying that I never have worries. But if I do start worrying about something, I quickly correct myself and remind myself of the fact that 80 % of what I worry about, never happens.
Worrying only takes away today's joy
The only thing worrying does for you, is take away today’s joy. It doesn’t change yesterday, and it doesn’t help much for tomorrow.
I’m not saying that you should walk around with your head in the clouds or think that everything will solve itself if only you think positive thoughts. You need to take positive actions to make sure you can support yourself. You need to take care of your health and look out for yourself, and try to be wise about your money.
But there is much to gain by a positive attitude. We tend to get what we think about, so make sure you concentrate on thinking about the things you want, and not the ones you don’t want. It really makes all the difference.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it out.
Ask yourself 3 questions
If you have a shitty life right now and feel an urge for a change, start out by asking yourself these 3 questions:
# 1) What do I want?
# 2) WHY do I want it / Why is it important to me?
# 3) What do I need to do to achieve it?
Take your time and think it over properly.
Write down your answers.
Then write down 3 small, measurable actions that you can do right now or by this time tomorrow, to get you started.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure the steps or actions you take are doable. Like if you want to start singing, decide that you will sit for 10 minutes and write down songs you want to sing. That’s all. 10 minutes.
Then perhaps your next action could be that you will spend 10 minutes the next day to rehearse the lyrics of one of those songs.
And so on. Baby steps. That’s what you need to make if you’re going to get started at all.
Because if you decide to make too many changes or too big a step, you will not see it through.
To change your life, or to change your habits, you need time. At least 3 months before you do your new routines automatically. But start NOW. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.
Pursue happiness. Start doing more of the things that bring you joy. I intend to do the same.