“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Ancient wisdom says there are many benefits of waking up early. What’s your normal wake up time? Mine is 5:00 a.m. Some people, extreme early risers, get up around 4:00 a.m.
There are numerous reasons why I love getting up early each morning. No, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but once I’m up, I love it!
I love drinking my morning coffee with my sweetie and my two kitties. I love how it sets the tone for my day. I love driving through the morning light as I go to or come home from the gym. It’s my special time of the day, before other demands crowd in on me.
Maybe you’re not a “morning person” but getting in tune with the natural rhythms of life and the cycle of the sun can help you live more intentionally. Bottom line: you’ll feel better physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Here are five of my top benefits of waking up early:
Productivity. With a clear mind and well-rested body, the ability to concentrate is at its peak. No one is there to interrupt your train of thought or to impose their priorities upon you. You can optimize your performance, because your body hasn’t experienced the wear and tear of the day.
One warning: if you waste this time on emails, social media or texting, your brain will get a hit of dopamine, like you’ve accomplished something, but you haven’t accomplished anything with lasting satisfaction. The first hour of the day should be your time to focus on what matters most to you. Concentrate on doing “deep work” as author and professor, Cal Newport suggests.
More time. You feel like you don’t have enough time, right? I know you’ve said that a time or two. But when you get up early, it’s like you’re creating more time.
Wouldn’t you rather greet each day calmly, rather than being stressed out as you rush out the door? That just puts your game off for the whole day. Being up before everyone else gives you time to plan and getting organized.
Creativity. Sleep lets your brain sort through the previous day’s challenges. When you wake up to the sacred space you’ve created for yourself, the answers you’re seeking will more easily come to you. As your mind roams free in the tranquility of the morning, you’ll get some of your best ideas.
Mindful decisions. Waking up early means you’re going to have to go to bed earlier, because you do need restorative sleep. Developing the discipline to turn off that movie or close the book by 9:00 or 10:00 will give you a feeling of control…that you’re creating the life you want.
Before going to bed, plan out what you’ll do first thing in the morning. Lay out your gym clothes, or open the book you want to read or the journal you want to write in. Whatever your goals are…use this time as an investment in yourself.
Peace of Mind. There’s magic in the early morning hours. The air has a different feel. The birds are just waking up. The calm and quiet helps you think. It gives you the opportunity to listen to what your body and spirit is telling you. And there’s nothing better than watching the endless beauty of each sunrise.
Studies have shown that once you open your wallet and spend money, then it’s easier to do it again and again. The same is true with spending time as you invest in yourself. It breaks the dam of feeling unworthy. Are you ready to make that breakthrough and claim your worthiness? Then please attend our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP in Ashland, Oregon. Nando and I promise you will reap huge benefits, if you come fully prepared to participate wholeheartedly.
“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” ~ Lysa Terkeurst
Let’s look in and see what many women deal with, especially during the holidays …
As she starts her day, she wonders, “When am I going to find the time to get everything done? I have three work deadlines and I’m behind schedule. And now the holidays are here… so everything has to be perfect! The house must be cleaned from top to bottom. I have to decorate at least as well as my sister does or Mom is going to say something. With everyone’s food allergies how am I going to cook for all of them? On top of that I have to smile through Uncle Ted’s jokes again…Eeeeek! I feel like I’m going to explode!”
Life in general causes many women to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Then the holiday season brings with it its own set of stressful circumstances. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed all the time, it can almost drive you over the edge. It’s no wonder so many women are suffering from adrenal fatigue. They’re burning the candle at both ends.
So how can you relieve your feeling of overwhelm, so life is more enjoyable?
1. Create routines so you make fewer decisions.
If you’re not clear on what you want, making decisions creates stress. So the more things you can do routinely, the less stress you’ll have. This is one of the easiest ways to give yourself a break. Try simple changes like getting up at the same time or following a meal plan.
2. Move your body every day.
I’ve found that The Feldenkrais Method® really helps me to sense into myself.
Endorphins combat stress, and exercise stimulates endorphins. It doesn’t take a lot, just doing something extra every day.
3. Eat mindfully.
Too many people eat on the run. Make sure you carve out time to sit and mindfully eat a balanced breakfast and lunch. Don’t check your emails. Don’t try to work and eat. Put away your electronic devices and reading material. Breathe deeply and feel yourself slow down before you take your first bite.
4. Don’t immediately commit to something.
Because we hate to let anyone down we often reflexively say “yes” to every request. Instead, practice saying, “let me get back to you on that.” It buys you time to consider whether you want to do it or not.
5. Try simple meditation.
Close your eyes. Breathe in for a count of four. Breathe out for a count of four. Repeat another three times. And you’re done.
6. Visualize each task as completed.
Sit quietly for 30 seconds and think about what it means to finish what you start. Commit and trust yourself to follow through. How will that feel? What will it mean to your life? Think about it and let it move you forward.
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
7. What you should do doesn’t always matter.
We have a limited number of hours in the day, and while you may have many interests, you can only realistically do a few major projects a year. You don’t have to do everything. So ask yourself, “Do I really want to do this or can I let it slide?” Focus on the things you really want to do.
8. Don’t wait for motivation. So many times you won’t feel like doing a project, but if you just get started with one step of it, you’ll find it leads to the next. Waiting for inspiration to strike is a quick way to randomly pursue something, then give up, only to yo-yo back a couple weeks later. If you have life systems then you won’t have to depend on willpower or inspiration.
Instead of depending on fleeting motivation, build a system. This means you work through the steps of finding a new job, add it to your calendar every week, and make sure you have the time and mental energy (which are much easier once you know what to do).
Are you ready to live a more intentional life? Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started.
What are you most grateful for? I’m so grateful for a supportive husband, close family, loving friends, a great business working with wonderful women, a strong body, having the skills to cope with daily ups and downs and so much more. My list is really too long to itemize. Perhaps it’s the same with you.
Did you realize that some people struggle with listing even five things they’re grateful for? Ungrateful people tend to focus on deprivation, regrets, lack, scarcity and loss. Grateful people, on the other hand, tend to talk about things like gifts, givers, blessings, fortune and abundance.
Why does being grateful come easily for some but not for others?
According to experiments conducted by Anthony Ahrens, associate professor of psychology at American University, people who score high for autonomy experience less overall gratitude, and they value it less. It’s possibly because they feel that gratitude undermines their independence.
People who tend to be perfectionists may also have a neutral or negative reaction to gratitude because it attributes their success to benefits received from others. They don’t want to feel beholden in any way. And they don’t want to share the spotlight with anyone else.
Living in a culture that equates having “things” with happiness also undermines a person’s ability to feel grateful. Much of society feels entitled, that the universe owes them. They see relationships through the lens that they are bought, used and disposed once their purpose is fulfilled, just like the “things” they purchase.
Depression may also be a factor. Studies suggest that chronic complaining may be linked to depression and anxiety. If you ever experience severe depression, please seek help immediately. If you’re experiencing a funk, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how practicing gratitude can life your spirits.
Have you been influenced by any of these limiting points of view? Don’t feel discouraged. There are things you can do to improve.
The good thing about gratitude is you can always have more. So don’t reserve a spirit of thankfulness to just once a year. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
When you do feel amazingly awesome moment of gratitude, savor those feelings. Pause. Notice. Let it sink in. Soak it up.
But gratitude is more than a feeling. Gratitude is a virtue that leads to action. It embodies the law of reciprocity. You do a nice thing for me, I want to do a nice thing for you. And it makes me feel so good I want to pass it on to someone else.
To say you’re grateful doesn’t mean everything in your life is great all the time. It just means you can see the goodness and you don’t take it for granted. Gratitude shifts your focus from what you think your life lacks to the abundance you already have. It increases your resiliency, optimism and energy. Gratitude puts situations into perspective so you don’t complain or stay stuck. It lessens panic and opens up your thinking of new solutions as you see what’s working for you.
Just as there are many ways to exercise, you can express gratitude in various ways like practicing mindfulness, meditating, praying, reminiscing and sharing stories, being more generous, or spending time in nature. Some families have made a practice of taking turns to express one thing they’re grateful for before eating dinner. What an easy and sustainable practice!
Once you decide to practice gratitude, give it some time before you expect changes. But be assured they will come, because you can rewire your brain. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). We can talk about more ways to practice gratitude and live an embodied life.
“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.” ~ Celia Thaxter
While I’ve enjoyed summer immensely (my trip to Italy was fantastic!), I’m eager to welcome the beauty of fall colors and yummy foods. It’s a life-renewing break from the intense heat of summer and the smoke-filled air. Also I have some boots and sweaters I can hardly wait to wear again. They’re so comfy!
But I have to admit there’s a down side for me too. If I’m not careful, I find myself dreading winter because the dark, rainy weather can really get to me. I have to be mindful of the cues and deliberately take action to ease the impact and effects of this change of season.
Are you affected by the changing seasons, too? Does SAD (seasonal affective disorder) have you in its grips? It’s very common in the Pacific Northwest. So, here are some suggestions to help you stop dreading winter and turn the coming season into your special time of renewal and productivity.
Here are 8 tips to help replace “dreading winter” with a routine that restores your strength and rekindles your joy:
Ramp-up your nutrition. Summer brings local fresh produce, but it also brings a hectic schedule. So, if you’ve been eating on the fly, slow down and start eating more mindfully. Sometimes we need additional help from a doctor. For example, you may need to increase your Vitamin D and Serotonin levels to offset the sadness, sluggishness, and lethargy that come from a lack of sunlight.
Take a break from all things digital. People get so busy with social media, texting, talking on the phone, watching Netflix or surfing the web they forget to interact with the people sitting in the same room! Regularly turn your devices off and have a conversation, play a game, or plan a fun activity. Do things that build love instead of walls.
Force yourself to slow down. Go for walks. Read a book. Do that thing you’re always saying you’ll get around to later. Actively look for the beauty around you.
Exercise regularly. get tough with yourself (It might be helpful to improve your discipline) and introduce more movement in your schedule. Consciously look for ways to do more fun things, walk more, climb more steps and sit less. Exercise lowers your stress level and increases serotonin (the happy chemical in your brain).
Manage your ideals and keep your expectations realistically. The holiday season is coming and often there are unrealistic demands on your time, emotions, energy, and budget. Say “yes” when you can, but feel comfortable with saying “no” when you can’t. Learn acceptance. If a relative always acts out, expect it and think of ways to keep your buttons from being pushed. If things get uncomfortable, go for a drive and adjust your attitude.
Unload the clutter and get organized. Gift giving is a big part of celebrations, but the best gifts are good memories and acts of love. Too much stuff causes stress. Why not get your family and friends involved in giving time to someone in need instead?
Use winter to be more introspective. Work at becoming more observant and parsimonious with your energy. Don’t think you have to be the “be everything, do everything” person. Let yourself think. (My 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment is a great place to start!) Some things to reflect on:
- What allows me to be most resourceful during the cold weather?
- How can I make up for the harsh cold and lack of light?
- What kind of daily practices or routines could be supportive?
Get excited. Get the most from each day you live. Take a class. Make a new friend. Rekindle a neglected friendship. Begin a new project. This really keeps the winter blues at bay.
I understand what the changing season can do to a person. If you’re determined to stop dreading winter and actually embrace this time for personal and/or business development, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“Let life be an adventure. Live your life to the fullest, unfettered by fear of the ghosts and goblins of what might occur. Calamity and death happen as well to those who hide from life as to those who squeeze every drop of zest from it.” ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Are you tired of living a humdrum life? Are you ready to do something really impressive? Do you want to make the most of life? Have you had enough of taking it and you want to fight back to finally get the life you want? Do you want to kick the make-do attitude to the curb and go for the gusto?
Then you want to be a badass! Sometimes we just have to call it for what it is to make the point.
But not so fast…wanting and doing are two completely different things. So do you want it? More importantly, are you willing to put in the dedication, time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to make the most of life? I hope so. Because life is short and no one can guarantee tomorrow. My recent Women’s Retreat in Italy has reinforced the fact that it’s vital to make the most of every day that you live. The ladies I coached were, in their own ways, all badasses too!
How do you become a badass and make the most of life?
The first thing you need to do is give yourself permission to live larger than life. You have to believe that you deserve the best. Then don’t wait for it to come to you. You have to go get it!
Listen to what your inner voice says is most important to YOU (not someone else).
Then write out a “My Best Life Ever List”. What would your perfect life look like? Prioritize it in order of importance to YOU.
Accomplishing one thing may make the next one easier to attain, so think seriously about the order you do things in. For instance, clearing out the clutter and simplifying your life will free you up to bring something really meaningful in.
Prioritize, what is the Number One thing you can do Right Now to begin accomplishing your priority accomplishment. GO DO IT! You heard me. Don’t write it down. GO DO IT!
What’s the next thing you need to do Right Now to accomplish your priority task? GO DO IT! You’re getting my drift, right?!!!
Making lists is fine, but it’s only when you kick your butt off the couch that you can become a badass and make the most of life.
As you wake up every day, think about how you can push yourself just a little bit more today as you chase your dreams. We’re not looking for huge shifts in your attitude and actions…just gradual, sustainable, baby-step changes.
Listen to your body. If you need to rest one day, that’s okay. But if the need for rest is motivated by discouragement or negative talk (from yourself or others), don’t listen! Get tough with yourself and do just one thing. You might be surprised by how that breaks the dam of procrastination and invigorates you to do another.
A book I’ve really enjoyed and got me going is The Badass Life: 30 Amazing Days to a Lifetime of Great Habits–Body, Mind, and Spirit, by Christmas Abbott. The key is balance: using essential daily practices for the mind, body, and soul. She provides a month-long-program based on building mental toughness that leads to positive daily habits that help you make the most of life.
Why not grab a copy of the book, contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype) with me so I can help you remain accountable during those 30 days. I’d love to be your Badass Buddy!