Think Positive Mondays: Celebrate the Small Things

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love having an excuse to celebrate. A reason to break open a bottle of champagne, dig into some cake, gather around with friends, or take a night off from the regular routine. 

In our home, we make it a priority to celebrate the small moments and wins. Those small milestones need their own time to shine just as much as the big life accomplishments. When you think about it, those big accomplishments most likely wouldn’t have happened without the smaller ones. 

Finish a project at work? Receive an A+ from your dentist? Manage to de clutter your home office? Follow your workout regimen to a T? Pass a hard text at school? Go on an awesome date with a potential new partner? Make it to a Friday on a particularly bad week? Let’s celebrate!

By celebrating the small milestones in life we are acknowledging the journey, not just the destination. We all can benefit from celebrating the unique path that our lives are taking us and not just focusing on the end game. 

Also, when we acknowledge these small moments it allows us to recognize the gifts the journey is presenting us. We are forced to pay attention to the little positive aspects of our life, making us aware that good things DO happen to us. In turn, those positive memories stay with us for a lifetime. Reinforcing the idea when we truly need it, when the road gets tough. 

So take a moment. Celebrate the small moments, the small changes, and the small accomplishments before they slip away. Savor the champagne and enjoy every bite of that cake. Cheers to you! 

 

Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Do What You Love Everyday

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

It’s a phrase we hear often, “Do What You Love”. We are told that if we love our work, then work won’t feel like work. But working in a profession that makes us feel happy and fulfilled every single day is not a reality for most of us. 

What I think we often forget though, is that work is not our whole life. In order to have that serene feeling we all search for we must find a way to squeeze in doing one thing that we love to do each and every day. 

What is the one activity that you do that makes you feel the most relaxed, happy, fulfilled, or simply like yourself? Perhaps you love cooking or crafting. Maybe you love volunteering or running. For me, it’s reading. I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of private distraction free reading time each day. 

By fitting in one activity you love everyday you are feeding and refreshing your spirit. That energy should spread over to other elements of your life. More importantly you’ll be reminding yourself that you and your needs are a priority. You will learn to respect yourself more and encourage you to not let others treat your poorly. 

Are you too busy or too stressed out to fit in doing something that you love? Then you need to cut out something out of your schedule to make time for that one activity. Business is generally a perspective problem. We are all “busy”. Wake up earlier. Put off cleaning for one more day. Shorten a dinner date to a coffee date. Put down your phone. Life is too short to not being filling it up your time doing things you love.

Carve out a few extra minutes each day to do something that nurtures your soul and makes you feel alive. Those few extra minutes of happiness will fill up your spirit for hours after they have passed. This is your life, live it the best way you can. 

 

Think Positive Monday: Good Morning

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

My typical Monday morning is very much like yours. My alarm goes off. I hit snooze about 3 times and then finally pull myself out of bed, mourning the end of the weekend and the start of another monotonous work day. I like to think of myself as a generally positive person, one who doesn’t even hate her job, but those days still come when you want to do nothing more than stay in bed.

Days like today when the wind is howling outside and you actually need an extra blanket on the bed. When facing the outside world seems impossible. Sometimes you just need a little help. 

Here are some simple positivity tips to help get your Monday morning off on the right track. These will help pave the way for a more productive and happy day. 

5 Ways to Wake Up Positive

RiseShine

1. Take A Moment to Relax

I am always rushed in the morning. I think that repeatedly hitting snooze I’m allowing myself to get as much sleep as possible. But then each morning turns into an Olympic event to get out of the door to make it to work on time.

Instead of sleeping til the last possible moment, wake up and allow yourself 10 minutes to just lie in bed. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t think about what you are going to wear. Don’t think about the stress that is waiting for you at work.  Close your eyes and relax. Try to remember your dreams or simply focus on your breathing. These easy ten minutes of mediation allow your mind and boy to wake up and be present in the now. 

2. Ask yourself, “How can I make today absolutely awesome?”

The day is new. Fresh slate. Full of possibilities. How will you not disappoint the day? How will you make today better than yesterday? A day to remember. Think about how you intend to make today awesome and stick to your plan. 

3. List three things you have to look forward to today

Being grateful for everyday things is one of the easiest paths to take to happiness. As you’re getting ready for the day or during your commute to work, mentally list three specific things that you are happy about today. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Today. Learn to focus on the small things and appreciate the every day beauty that surrounds you. Look at your favorite photo framed on your bedside table. Picture your partner’s smile. Enjoy the view on the way to work. You know…take time to smell the roses.

4. Get out of bed with a smile

Last week I shared all the ways a simple smile can improve your day, health, and life. Start the day on the right track! Even if you don’t feel like it, roll out of bed with a smile. There is no “wrong side of the bed”. 

5. Listen to your favorite music on your commute to work.

Blast it. Sing along. Be silly. 

Are you ready to take on today?

 

Too Much

too much, katie able
When a five-year old girl enthusiastically prances out of her bedroom wearing a colorful ensemble made up of bright yellow rain boots, lime green shorts over purple polka dot leggings, and a Christmas sweater her parents smile and say, “Isn’t that cute, she’s expressing her individuality and style!”

If I walked into work wearing blue cowboy boots, a canary yellow dress, and hot pink lipstick, I wouldn’t be applauded for being an individual. My boss would give one look at me and exclaim, “Wow, that outfit is too much!”.

What happens between the ages of five and thirty?

Growing up, our parents and teachers told us time and time again to, “Be true to you!” We are taught to believe that each of us represents a different color crayon in the coloring box that is life. Whenever we were scared to try something new we were encouraged to “Just be yourself!”  The fastest way to success was following your own path. We are accepting each other differences. In fact that little girl in the bright outfit may have been the most popular girl on the playground.

This optimistic perspective that we are all free to be individuals dates back to the 18th century – freedom to live our lives how we want is the basic mantra of being an American. But how “free” does society really let us be?

As we get older we stop accepting people more and more As soon as we enter middle school we want to be one of the same. We want to wear the same sweater, have the same hair, and talk the same way as our friends.

This desire to conform always grows as we graduate high school and college. In my twenties I desperately wanted to be like my  female co workers, simply because I wanted them to accept me as one of their own. I was constantly comparing myself – trying to mold my own style and personality to be just like theirs. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, they were doing the same, comparing themselves to someone else and trying to mimic their lifestyle.

Instead of celebrating our individuality we were trying to fit ourselves into boxes. Society would rather affix us with labels as opposed to unique personalities. We are not encouraged to follow our own heart. Our consumerism obsessed world does not leave room for individuals who express themselves differently than how the media tells us to live.

Between the ages of 16 – 28 I reinvented myself too many times to count, struggling to find success and happiness. Who did I want to be, the Funny and Laid Back Girl or the Boho Chic Witty Girl? or the Glam Party Girl or the Preppy Snobby girl? Media reinforced this idea day in and day out. Who are we, a Samantha, Carrie, Miranda, or Charlotte? Which box did I want to check? Which girl would make me the most popular? Which one would make me the better employee? Which one would score me the best guy?

Whenever someone steps out of these society defined boxes they are met with aversion and criticism, especially women. When a woman speaks out for her beliefs with determination and emotion she is called “too emotional”. When a female lawyer cries or breaks down while working on case that is close to her heart she is called “too sensitive”. When a woman is aggressive and loud and says what is on her mind she is called “too brash”.

These women who are stepping out of their boxes are simply labeled as “too much”. They need to tone down their personalities so that they belong. I beg to question, can a person really be too much?

I now choose to be too much. After years of struggling to find a box to fit into, I choose to ignore the set perimeters and let myself overflow.

I’m emotional, I’m sensitive, I’m dramatic, I over think things. Some people have labeled these qualities as faults. I choose to look at them as strengths. These same traits are the ones that make me deeply passionate, spirited, loyal, adventurous, intuitive, and insightful.

I want to be too much. I want to fill my life with too much happiness, too much success, too much love, too much adventure. As corny as it sounds, I want to commit to my personality and share it with the world. And if that’s “too much” for someone to handle, maybe they have something they need to work on themselves, like putting an end to extinguishing their own “too much” traits. 

By not allowing myself to be “too much” I’m betraying my own desires and wants. I’m extinguishing any hopes at my most successful and happy life before I even have a chance. 

What would happen if we all went back to the grade school mindset that we are all unique crayons in a crayon box. We are all different colors, some are new and pointy, others have been used so hard there’s just a little stub left. Some of us are different and exotic while others are recognizable and safe. But we all can live together in the same box and can be used for a common good – to create a beautiful picture. 

How do you want to be “too much”?

xoxo Katie

The Inspiration Expedition

inspiration expedition

Over this past month I was feeling uninspired. The monotony of day-to-day life was wearing me down and I was flat-out tired. Every time I went to write a post I felt empty, I had zero energy to write about my feelings and felt like I had nothing to give or to share. Writer’s block was hitting me hard and I felt like I was abandoning my commitment to this blog.

I needed some inspiration.

In a guilt induced panic I began a desperate search for this elusive inspiration that was going to fill me with all of the ideas, passions, and feelings. I consciously told my inner thoughts to “Be quite! I have some inspiration to go find!”

I took a big breath and set off on an inspiration expedition.

These expeditions aren’t new endeavors for me. I’m a little bit of an inspiration junkie, consuming all articles, books, quotes, podcasts, videos, songs, anything that will fill me with a little hit of inspiration.

I spent countless hours reading the many blogs that I follow looking for ideas or a words that would ignite something in me. I only find myself comparing and thinking , “well I’ll never write something that beautiful” or “I’m not funny like her”. Next I find myself scrolling through Pinterest seeing images of DIY projects I’m not talented enough to create or rooms decorated so beautifully they can’t possibly have people living in them. So then I start stalking celebrity train wrecks on Twitter in an attempt to make myself feel better which leads me to take quizes telling me what country or which Hunger Games district I should live in and soon enough I find myself getting envious over the elaborate and perfect seeming life of a former college classmate on Facebook.

I throw my phone down in disgust and realize that not only did I just waste 2 hours of my life but I was left feeling I’m even more lost  and disconnected feeling than before.

So, I gave up.

I consciously decided to take a break. I was going to stop consuming inspiration. I cut off my expedition and retreated into solitude me time.

I stopped writing a blog 5 times a week, choosing to only write 3 times a week. I took more walks. I read more. Whenever I had a free second I chose to not reach for my phone and concisouly put it out of reach. When I watched TV or a movie I did not allow any distractions and paid attention to the story. I put my phone away. I stopped checking Facebook and twitter hundreds of times a day. I took naps. I journaled more and  I scheduled quiet time before bed each evening, allowing room for reflection.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what the outcome was.

I discovered inspiration everywhere. My soul felt nourished. I felt like an individual with value again.

By choosing to turn up the volume of all of the external noise, the blogs, the social media, the comparison to others, I was consciously telling my own thoughts that they weren’t good enough. All the outside inspiration was so loud that it was deafening all of my own  internal thoughts and feelings. I can’t even bear to think of all those wasted hours spent searching (or procrastinating) on my phone.

I’ve made the conscious choice to make time for internal inspiration. To set aside a little time once a day or even once a week for you to turn off lower the volume on all that external noise and distraction and create your own thoughts and feelings. It goes back to my 2014 goal to respect my own desires and myself more.. Your biggest resource for inspiration is yourself.

We all have it inside of us, it just needs us to pay attention to it.

xoxo Katie

 

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself To Workout (when you really don’t want to)

8 ways to motivate yourself to workout

I try to exercise around 4-5 times a week, whether it be a run, a fast walk, or body pump or cardio class. I consider working out one of my top hobbies – I love the endorphins, I consider taking care of my body and brain a top priority in my life, and it’s a major stress reliever for me. Let’s also not forget that I have to balance out my intense love for ice cream, cheese, and carbs.

Yet, there are many days when the last thing I want to do is drag myself to the gym and workout for 60 minutes. I want to go home and just crash or be lazy.

exhausted-gif-1

I’m the queen of making up a million reasons why I shouldn’t go. It’s raining. I’m hungry. I should do laundry. I have cramps. I had a long day. It’s going to be too crowded. I will after I take a nap. I deserve a day off. I want ice cream.

I need a routine and I need motivation.

Here are my top ways of keeping myself motivated to work out, when I really really won’t want to.

1. Tell Yourself You’re Only Going to Workout for 15 Minutes

They say that 80% of success is simply showing up. As soon as I start a work out I almost instantly get into the “groove”. So by telling myself I’m only going to walk for 10 -15 minutes,  barely even pushing myself, I get myself started. My body starts to wake up after about 5 minutes and soon enough I  find myself running at full speed and nearing the end of a 45 minutes workout. I’ve never ever regretted a workout.

2. Reward Yourself

Set up small and instant rewards for yourself. For example, I tell myself that I can have uninterrupted couch time and binge on my favorite TV shows the evening after a work out. Maybe a long and relaxing bubble bath, a night free of chores,  or a bowl of your favorite snack is an incentive for you.

3. Bring a Buddy

A work out buddy holds you accountable and makes going to the gym seem like more of a social activity. Help each other, push each other. Make it fun!

4. Give Yourself A Results Goal

Print out a picture of a new dress or bathing suit you’d like to buy for the summer. Make the destination of you summer vacation the wall paper of your phone or work computer. Look at photos of you in a healthier state. Visualizations of goals I want to meet help me realize that they are in the near future – meaning I better get my butt in gear sooner rather than later!

5.  Put Out You Gym Clothes The Night Before (or wear them all day!)

If you go to the gym after work, pack your gym bag and put it in your car the night before. Or, if you can, wear a part of your work out gear to work. I’ve been known to wear my sports bra under my work day sweater or top (I work in a very casual office though). If you’re a morning exerciser lie out your work out clothes right next to your bed so you can’t miss them. Better yet, if you need a real push,  sleep in them!

6. Remember How Good You’ll Feel When You’re Done

As I said above, I never ever regret a work out once I complete one. Try to visualize how amazing you’re going to feel after your run. Those endorphins are game changers! If I’m tired – I wake up. If I have cramps or fatigued feelings – working out always improves them. If I’m feeling depressed or anxious working out helps resolve some of those issues. Oh and that sweet burn, toxin release, and feeling of accomplishment! Can’t beat it!

7. Stay Positive. Smile

This may sound obvious, or even a little cheesy, but nothing will kill your motivation like a negative attitude. I find that if I make a firm intent in the morning to work out after work and smile while thinking about following through with it, I’m much more likely to end up working out. By the way, smiling helps me when I’m actually in the middle of a run or a body pump class as well. When I feel like I can’t push anymore, I break out in a big smile and it helps to open up my brain a little. (Remember mind over matter) Try it.

To help you smile here is a totally weird gif of poodles and “she poodle” doing aerobics:

workout poodles silly weird

8. Think About The Money Being Wasted

Think of the money you are wasting by underutilizing your gym membership. I pay a monthly fee for my gym membership but I like to look at it as a per day charge.  My husband and I pay $72 a month – which comes down to $2.32 a day. If I don’t go for 5 days in a row – that’s wasting $11.60. I would never just throw out $11.60 on anything, or even $2.32. You’re paying for it, use it!

What motivates you to keep up with your workout routine?

xoxo Katie