Do you ever have those days when you wake up feeling like “heck yeah!!”? Like when you don’t have anything super specifically exciting going on, but your life is so built by your own design that you’re just plumb excited to be the main character of it? Or do you wake up to an alarm, annoyed that sleep time is over and instantly frustrated with pile of things to do and list of responsibilities that will suck all of your time and energy?
I used to be the latter. I was a full-time mom and fitness instructor who’s mission was to survive the day, try not eat a whole bunch of crap, squeeze in a brutal almost-puke inducing workout to burn off my indiscretions from the previous day, run from errand to errand and activity to activity with all the kids in tow while spending every spare second mindlessly scrolling social media.
I was always tired, had zero patience, had no control (hello binge snacking by 3pm and wine by 5 daily) and -worst of all -would look in the mirror and hate everything I was from the inside out.
“But that’s okay!” people would say “You’re a mom of young kids and that’s just how it is at those ages. It’ll come around. You’re doing great!” people exclaimed.
Only I felt like crap. My identity and level of care for myself were non-existent. And it’s amazing the lows you can experience when those two things in life are missing.
A lot. And while you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be sharing more about that specific journey in the upcoming months, I want to keep it to 7 brief tips of some things that can truly change the way you feel about yourself and your life, if done consistently. Looking hard at these points and working on tweaking them gradually really helped shift my mindset and changed my life.
1. Be Flexible
Take a good, hard look at your habits and routines. Are they necessary? And do they actually help you?
Routines and comfort zones that I thought you love can actually be hurting you by preventing you from finding ways to make life easier and more enjoyable.
Panicking if the baby doesn’t get his nap right at exactly 1:00 or telling yourself that the only time you can workout is at 9:00 am every day because that is just how you’ve always done it, avoiding any and all activities that aren’t completely necessary for fear of the kids annoying someone, ruining something, having a blow out or blow up, avoiding “new” and “different” situations or groups of people like the like the plague…these are all signs of being way too set in your ways.
2. Stop doing stuff you don’t like.
Stop playing the “Should game” with yourself.
“I should be doing this activity with my kids. I should do that favor for that person because they asked. I should give the best birthday parties for my kids. I should really pick up that extra project at work.”
The truth is…you shouldn’t.
If the activity isn’t necessary or beneficial in any way to YOU (not others), then don’t do it. Often times we load our schedules up because being busy helps us feel important. Be honest…you love to list all the reasons you are busy to others. Feels so validating! But then you feel overrun, annoyed and expectant of others to be doing the same.
But what if it’s your job that you don’t like? You have options. You always have options. And while finding a new job or building a up a side business for yourself are a lot more work and bring more uncertainty, they also might be just the ticket you need.
Golden rule here: the easy path is rarely the best path.
3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Tough love folks.
I know it’s tempting and so gratifying to say things like “but, MY LIFE is so hard because XYZ and I have all this stuff going on and issues in my life….” etc.
Believe me, lady, we all feel that way sometimes. It is so easy to look through the rosy lens of social media and think that life just must be easier for everyone else. Everyone else has more time, more money, more love and more joy than us…right? We start to think that maybe, because our lives are “harder” than everyone else’s, we have the perfect excuse to kick back, quit trying and stay in our negative bubble more, not pushing ourselves and eating a crappy food that makes your mouth feel good, but your bodies feel horrible.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop comparing your life to everyone else’s.
Get up. Do the work. Enjoy the blessings.
Stop listing all the difficult things in your head over and over and over again.
4. Add in something for YOU.
I know you are tempted to say “I don’t have time” for this section, but this is where the good stuff is. By looking within, at your heart and what makes you YOU, then pouring into it, you are making a GREAT step in adding value to not only your day, but the world around you. Here are some ideas for you:
- Join a new workout group or challenge.
- Join a book club.
- Take your own lessons (sports, music, art, etc).
- Volunteer a few hours a week doing something you absolutely love (mentoring kids, helping the homeless, etc).
- Turn a passion into a profit (this is what I did. There are so many ways to make money from home doing what you love these days!).
- Set up dinner/lunch/coffee with your friends a few days a month. Schedule it and DO IT!
When you are able to do more of what you love, even just a little bit, it opens up so many more wonderful, colorful and truly content parts of your soul to share with the world around you. Having something YOU love doing on your schedule keeps your optimism high and gives you something to look forward to. So find something to fill a void in your life (whatever void it may be) and lean into it…let it challenge you, let it change you.
5. Make health a HUGE priority
Fact: You cannot do anything great unless you feel great. You cannot be the world’s greatest mom while simultaneously hating your body and beating yourself up with a poor diet. You cannot be amazing in your career if you’re showing up tired and lethargic every day. This is the biggest and most simple secret to loving every day right here (though it is the hardest to stick to!): when you feel healthy, everything just feels easier.
- Drink a gallon of water every day. It feels like a ton at first, but once you work through the first week or so of drinking a gallon a day, you’ll notice you’re less bloated, you have better skin, more energy and -over time- you’ll notice you’re getting sick much less frequently.
- MOVE!! Set a step goal on your activity tracker every day. Hit it and then add onto it. Stop and throw some push ups into your morning walk. Do yoga. Join the gym you’ve been putting off. Take a dance class. Train to run in a 5k or a 10k or a marathon. Show your body you love it by using it. If you don’t use it..you loose it. Really!
- Know your diet. This takes time to figure out, but mindlessly following generic meal plans and fad diets will burn you out every time. There are a ton of resources you can look into, but it comes down to knowing what foods your body likes and what foods bring you down. Know what it takes to fuel your body every day and try to stick to it most of the time. Don’t diet to loose way. Have a diet your body (and mouth!) love and you’ll never fight with the mirror again. This takes time, patience and experimentation to learn. Most of all…it takes the desire to know in the first place!
6. Make sleep a priority.
I used to be really good at running on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I mean, I thought I was good at it. Until I realized how far down it brought my patience, my immune system, my productivity and my energy level. Lack of sleep also skyrocketed my cortisol levels which come into play big time in several other areas of health. I told myself I was a better person because I was allowing myself more time in the day to cram in all the super-important things that nobody could possibly help me with. I was run down, looked tired, felt tired and was bringing -quite possibly- my worst self to the table in every area of my life. Sleep is vital.
To put it bluntly, without sleep…you suck.
Seriously. Being well rested will get you far in life.
It’s so easy as a mother to just cut it back. We don’t need sleep, right? We tell ourselves we are too busy to sleep, too many people need too much from us and we can’t sleep, we are too important to sleep, yada yada yada…Been there. Done that. Not going back.
Now, I start my day based on when I go to bed the night before. If I’m getting to bed later than anticipated, I skip the early workout class and arrange working out into my day later (which goes back to the “be flexible” I mentioned above). During the school year when mornings are a rush and the alarm time isn’t flexible, I set a timer at night when I need to start shutting things down for the day. Technology is turned off and I start my nighttime routine of picking up the house, readying things for the next day and inventorying the things I did not get done during that day that I needed to add to the next days agenda.
It’s not a perfect system and there will always be restless nights, kids in our bed, short nights and late nights, but the point is to create a habit that you can come back to after lack-luster sleeping nights.
Also, when you’re sick or feeling run down, take a nap! It doesn’t make you weak or lazy to need a nap. It makes you smart and gives you an edge in life because -hello!- you are winning at taking care of yourself!! And when you can be skilled at taking care of yourself, you are on the fast track to loving your days and waking up like “whoop whoop!” far more often!
7. Turn off every single app notification on your phone.
You might hate me for this one. It might feel like a deal breaker for you, but it is a ticket to FREEDOM, my friend! Go into the notifications section of your phone and turn off all alerts on your phone. Every. Single. One (with the exception of texts and phone calls. Old school cell usage!).
Here’s why: Part of why your days don’t have you waking up feeling energized and awesome is because you are so preoccupied -all day- with that piece of technology in your hand.
How can anyone possibly be obsessed and in love with their own lives if every 10 minutes your phone is beeping at you reminding you that someone else is doing or saying something more exciting?
Being glued to what’s happening online is robbing you of the present moment you are living in.
(And this is coming from ME, a woman who owns an online franchise and conducts much of her business on social media while also running all of Plowing Forward. It would be an easy excuse for me to be glued to my phone all day, responding to everyone ASAP. But that is no way to go through life. In fact, it sucks your life away.)
Turning off notifications allows you set times and limits for social media consumption. This makes you not only happier with what your own life, but also will make you more intentional with what you’re doing while consuming social media. Limit yourself here just like you would your kids and the payoff will be great.
Bonus tip: Do you realize you’ve chosen to make your life the way it is now?
You have chosen your career, your job, your home life and your health (baring serious disease and injury, of course). Even if someone else technically made the choices that got you to where you are now, do you realize that by not making a choice to change these things you have actively made the choice to keep them the same?
I want you to “wake up like whoop whoop” in your own life as much as possible. However you cannot do this until you take accountability for the level of love you have for your own life. It’s hard work to really take charge of your own happiness and contentment…but totally, utterly possible. Are you up for the challenge?
If you’re ready and want some weekly help, I’ll share motivation with you every Monday…direct to your inbox!