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No New Years Resolutions!

Every year I do the same thing…set huge, “pie-in-the-sky” goals that will radically change my life for the better.

The problem is…in my 50+ years, I’ve never achieved any of them…not a single one.

This failure to achieve over and over and over again, subconsciously tells me that I’m not good enough or strong enough and that deep down, I’m a failure.

2021 is the year that I let go of that plan of action and choose to take a different path…one that is gentler with myself and one that celebrates my successes instead of beating myself up for my failures.

This year, I am choosing to set ridiculously tiny goals….ones that seem silly because they are so easy to reach…ones that are daily activities to create good habits…ones that will reinforce my efforts…ones I can celebrate on a regular basis.

This year, I choose to recognize the good things and celebrate progress even if that progress is miniscule.

This year, I choose to focus on what I’m doing right instead of what I did wrong or didn’t do at all.

This is the year I choose to love myself.

Is this your year? I hope you will join me in choosing to love and celebrate oneself in 2021…

Laurie

PS: If you’re curious about how I got to this mind shift, this book explains it very well…

“Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results” by Stephen Guise

If you’re curious to see how all this pans out in the end, subscribe to this blog and feel free to share with your friends… after all, we can all use a little encouragement once in a while…ok, maybe a lot of encouragement!

Self Care & Motivation

Boundaries

Do you struggle with self care? Can’t find the time? Feel guilty if you do take the time?

You and I are 100% alike in that regard!

I’ve tried scheduling my self care activities into my day planner, I’ve tried making self care be the first thing I do every day. I’ve tried setting timers and alarms to remind myself to do self care. I’ve tried so many suggestions to get it done, that I can’t even remember them all.

But I don’t think it’s a scheduling problem, or a not enough time problem, or an “I forgot” problem. For me the problem is 2 fold: 1) I do not feel like I am important enough to stop doing for others in order to do something for myself, and 2) I struggle with telling others I can’t do something because I’m doing something for me. The 2 reasons are really very entwined.

I struggle deeply with unfounded guilt and effectively setting boundaries. People do not always take advantage of this weakness (sometimes they do) but I often project my assumptions onto them and thus feel that they are manipulating, guilting, or shaming me into doing what they want. And I get angry at myself for not standing up for myself and stating what I am going to do…for not drawing a line in the sand and saying “I’m worth taking care of…here’s what I need.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have planned to go ride my horse (which is healthy in so many ways for me…physically, mentally, spiritually) only to have other things come up and I whisper “tomorrow” while knowing in my heart, the very same thing is going to happen tomorrow. So now I have shifted from feeling guilt from others to feeling guilt from myself about myself. SIGH…

So today, I am riding my horse! I am going to go this afternoon right after a meeting I have (which is not far from the barn) and I am going to take video &/or pics to post here when I get home. Today is the day I am going to stand firm in what I need to be healthy and whole and able to function at my best. Today is the day I will be accountable to myself. Today is the day I am going to thank God for this gift and actually use it…

a “btween the ears” shot while riding Doc…
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Open space

Open space…it is rare these days, especially if you open your calendar or dayplanner.

I left my last job because it demanded that I give all of my open space to the company…that I basically was on call all the time for whatever “emergency” the company deemed necessary to do immediately. There was no regard for family time, self care, or just plain old breathing room. If you weren’t in the hospital or in jail, there was no other reason important enough to decline an invitation to resolve their latest crisis.

I landed in the hospital a few years back and I firmly believe it was due 100% to the fact that I had zero breathing room. There was never a moment in my day where I felt like I could just sit still and “be.” There was always something I could be, should be, needed to be doing which meant there was no time for being still, reflecting, resting, recharging, or filling my tank. Everything on my to do list became “necessary” and there was “nothing I could possibly cut out.”

We all know that “life happens” which meant, with a cram packed schedule already, there was no wiggle room to fit in the unexpected. This caused anxiety to skyrocket and the stress was beyond what I could handle. My body protested and my immune system went on strike causing me to get an infection in my throat called epiglotitus. It is life threatening in that it causes your throat to swell, closing off your airway. It is the closest I have ever been to dying and it still causes me great anxiety just thinking about the incident. I spent 3 days in the hospital on heavy duty antibiotics and I obviously survived but it was a major wake up call to me that I needed to take a very hard look at my lifestyle.

I didn’t make changes overnight and I struggled with my health and the same insane schedule for several more years until my life took an enormous shift. I married a man who recognized my problem and, when I became paralyzed with the belief that I didn’t have a choice in how my day played out, he was willing to step in and do something about it. He gently forced me to take a hard look at why I thought I couldn’t say no when someone “needed” me and then helped me actually say “no” when I needed to. This was a whole new territory for me and it was through his support that I was able to do it at all.

About the same time I started a bible study by Priscilla Shirer called “Breathe.” I met with a friend of mine every week and we worked our way through the book together, sharing our hearts and ideas. I began to declutter my day planner until I had it pared down to the most important things (my priorities)… that was the plan anyway. I didn’t quite make it to that ultimate goal until much later, but that part of the story brings in a whole other topic and will have to be told another day. God was working on my heart, preparing me to make more big changes later.

The best things that came out of that study were things that I could immediately start working on. I began to build some new healthy habits and those are still working for me today. Here are a few..

On Sunday, make a list of all the things you need and want to do for the week.

Review your priorities and fill in your schedule with those most important things first.

Each night, before you go to bed, make a schedule for tomorrow.

Leave open space in your dayplanner every single day for the unexpected…even if nothing unexpected pops up, sometimes what we have planned takes longer than we anticipate and if not, use that time to rest, reflect, recharge…do NOT cram something else into that empty space.

Put self care on your schedule EVERY SINGLE DAY. This does not have to be anything major…a bubble bath, a cup of coffee out on the porch, a walk around the neighborhood…self care means you do something all by yourself to refresh your spirit. And don’t be like me and tell yourself you don’t have time! MAKE THE TIME to keep your mind and body healthy!

Do you have breathing room in your daily schedule? Do you see it as a necessity or simply a luxury?

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weight loss buddy

OK, I admit it…things aren’t quite the same as they used to be. I’m 50, my metabolism is slowing down and I can no longer eat whatever I want without suffering the consequences…UGH!

2020 is going to be a year of focus for me and the word I’ve chosen for the year is “steady” (you’ll see more about that in an upcoming post for New Years Day) One of the things I plan to be steady about is taking care of myself and currently, that’s going to have to include losing about 15 pounds. I’ve done it successfully before with a book that was recommended to me by a dear friend. I read it in 2 days and then lost 6 pounds in the first 8 days of following the regimen in the book (don’t worry, I’ll share about that in my next weight loss post)

Eating right is going to be half the battle, but the other half is going to be exercise…steady, consistent exercise. I am NOT a “go to the gym” girl…I’ve always hated how self conscious I am when I’m there. I seriously can’t wait to get out of there as fast as possible which means I often leave well before I’ve burned enough calories to make a difference. Serious waste of my monthly dues!

So I started thinking about A) what kind of exercise would be enjoyable enough to keep me motivated and B) who could be my accountability partner and weight loss buddy. I know this is going to sound weird, but Doc was the first one to pop into my brain and I literally laughed out loud!

Doesn’t he look excited???!!!

But wait! Upon further review, this could actually work for both of us! We both need to lose some weight, gain some muscle tone, and eat right. And if you don’t know much about horses, working with a horse at liberty and in the saddle can both be really good cardio exercise for both horse and human…especially if you need to lose a few pounds!

So yes, Doc is officially my weight loss buddy and yes, you’ll be hearing more about our pitfalls and our progress in the coming months!

Do you have a crazy idea you’re going to test out in 2020? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!