75 HARD: 75 Days of Mental and Physical Growth

When I first learned about 75 Hard – a super 75 day challenge created by Andy Frisella – I didn’t actually stop to look up how it was supposed to work. I simply learned about the rules from a friend, made up some of my own rules, and dove right in. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in the real rules, rather I was so excited I didn’t even realize that it was a legitimate program that people are doing all over the world.

So, about 14 days into my new life, feeling empowered, kind of achy, and mentally fresh, I looked up the “the 75 hard challenge” and the first link I saw was Frisella’s text heavy explanation. It felt a little dicey at first, with big disclaimers and a sort of raw web page that didn’t feel legitimate. But, then I realized, this program is so much different than I thought. The words that stuck out to me at the very top of his website say:

“THIS IS NOT A FITNESS PROGRAM

75 HARD IS A TRANSFORMATIVE MENTAL TOUGHNESS PROGRAM”

Source: https://andyfrisella.com/pages/75hard-info

Well if that doesn’t pique your interest… So, I dove deeper and what this program claims to do is change your life completely. And, who wouldn’t want that? Things from being better friends and family members, to getting raises at work, and becoming more confident, are the outcomes Frisella says are possible when you take part in the 75 Hard program.

Opinions on 75 Hard

Then something interesting happened. I continued my research, scrolling down the search results page only to find one negative article after another. Now, I’m 23 days into this program and yes, it’s hard. I’m tired. My body is sore all over and I can’t get enough sleep right now. But, I feel amazing! I am balancing everything in my life to a point where I’m able to do more, I have more self-confidence than ever, and I actually wake up and crave my daily routine of positive affirmations and motivational “priming”. I’ll get to my routines in another blog.

So, why are all these big media sites bashing the 75 hard challenge? I’ve concluded it’s because people don’t understand what it takes to transform yourself. One of the caveats of the program is to select a diet program and stick with it for the 75 days. Now, when people are desperate to make changes, they sometimes rush to do the most drastic thing they can. Well, that’s a surefire way to get yourself into a mess fast. Everyone is well aware that yo-yo dieting is a real thing and that intense changes to your diet or fitness routines are not sustainable. They can lead to health problems and opposite intended effects on your body like fat and weight gain.

Hence, the negativity surrounding 75 Hard. Since you get to choose your own diet, you can be make this terrible decision and it’s easy if you don’t do your research first! If you’re choosing a drastic diet plan and a drastic fitness plan, then yes you may be making this 75 days more dangerous than it needs to be. However, that’s not the point of a 75 day challenge. So, there are some different ways to think about it and make this a more positive, safe program. (Why don’t writers ever speak to the positive things?!)

Forming Life-Long Habits

75 days is a long time! That’s over two months of consistently doing the same activities day in and day out to expand your mind and grow your mental fortitude. They say it takes just 21 days to create a new habit… well that’s actually a bit of a myth. There are several articles now backed by scientific studies that prove it can take about 66 days or 2 months. So, during this 75 days, you’re creating completely new habits for yourself. Imagine, just 75 days and even if you just wanted to make one positive change – you can do it. That’s so empowering to think about!

The most important thing someone could do when preparing for the challenge is decide on the most sustainable habits to create life-changing results and not contribute to dangerous behaviors. I mean let’s be honest, if you do something consistently for 75 days, there is no doubt you’re going to see some change! But, you also must be able to stick with it.

So, my positive spin on the 75 Hard challenge isn’t to warn people of the potential dangers and pitfalls. I’d rather encourage people to choose something that’s simple and accomplishable in 75 days. Remember, it’s every single day for over 2 months. You have to mentally commit to that change and when you do, it can be so powerful. It doesn’t have to be a crash diet or impossible calorie restriction because 75 days is enough time for any small diet changes to show big results.

Plus, you’ll get so addicted to the feeling of just being stronger, smarter, clearer in thought, that you’ll want to do more than 75 days anyway. Think about this for the long haul…

I’m interested in your opinions! Leave a comment or let’s chat on Instagram @IntentlyAmy!

Les Brown Speaks to Me: Finding Motivation

A wise friend has said to me multiple times he needs motivation every single day to get going. There is no day that doesn’t start with a routine that opens his mind to new ideas, inspires good ‘ole hard work, and encourages him to get moving. That sat with me. Then, I adopted that same thought process. Now, it drives me and has opened my mind to achieving more than I ever thought possible.

It now surprises me when someone says they don’t need motivation. I’m a pretty active and “busy” person. Not only am I working a full-time at a start-up tech company that I’m 200% invested in helping grow, but I also have a side hustle consulting for small businesses on marketing, and I’m getting my Master’s in Business Administration. Plus, I workout at least 7 times a week and dedicate at least an hour every day to development and growth, like learning to play guitar or reading up on the latest technology and business news.

However, I don’t wake up every day powered up and fueled, ready to take on everything. It takes a spark, a jolt of inspiration to get going and find the energy to do it all. For me, Les Brown’s inspiring stories or a few videos on the Motivate App are what get me going each morning while I drive to the gym or while I sit in the sauna. (Les Brown’s the Power of Purpose literally brings me so much joy.) Finding what speaks to you is an important part of the process… so we’ll get there. But first it’s seeking that inspiration.

The way I think about it is that I don’t have to muster up all the energy in the world to get my day started at 100% effort. All I have to do is have enough energy to roll out of bed, put my clothes on, and be open to receiving motivation. If I can open my phone and just watch one of those videos or listen to Les speak, then it happens…. my brain powers up and my gears start turning. And, after that you can’t stop me! It even gives me physical energy to push through tough workouts.

Today’s blog is just to inspire you to think about things differently. Are you someone who doesn’t believe you need motivation? Have you ever considered adding “getting motivation” as the number one thing on your to-do list each day? Perhaps a shift in that mindset could lead to something great.

The Excuses for Avoiding Motivational Content

Among some of my favorite reasons people avoid motivational content are:

  1. “I don’t need motivation. I’m happy the way I am.”
  2. “That stuff is a bunch of BS. No one really needs that to be successful.”
  3. “My life is great. I don’t need anything else, so why would I seek out motivation?”

So, what if we rejected these beliefs? What if we accepted instead that we are not as powerful as we think we are? That even though our lives are wonderful, they can always be better. We can always be better and share that light with others.

Our brains are powerful networks and the science behind motivation is actually quite interesting. Today, I challenge you to just CONSIDER. In the next few blogs, I’ll explore the science behind motivation, my habits with motivation, and great ideas for seeking motivation. For now, just consider what would happen if you sought out motivation first thing every morning.

Whether it’s an inspirational quote, a series of affirmations, or a hyper-charged pump up video, just consider shifting your mindset to accepting a different way of starting your day. Then, grow from there.

Plant the seed. Watch it grow.

A

Thoughts on Parenting from a Childfree Woman

I started blogging about being childfree in 2018. It was during that time that I was able to digest and reflect on all the reasons people have children or choose the other path in life. I explored all sorts of topics, and listened to a lot of stories. Ultimately, it led me to focusing in on conscious choice – the idea that every decision in your life should be a conscious commitment.

Eventually what I found is that the conversations were sometimes too hostile. Two communities divided and completely unsupportive of the other. I found it to be a negative space that I just no longer could support. Childfree women were openly hateful toward children and parents were openly shaming childfree women. I decided this was not the type of energy I wanted to take part in every day.

After reflecting more on this and thinking about what I really wanted for my own future I realized there was a lot to break down. Maybe childfree isn’t the answer. Maybe my problem was that people weren’t using conscious choice in their decision to have kids and that made parenting a little off putting to me. What if I could do things differently and inspire others to do the same? I started to mold a new purpose to my blogging… sharing the ideas and wisdom I uncover throughout my journey of seeking knowledge and spiritual growth.

I listen to motivational videos every day… every day! It gets me going and reminds me why I am working so hard. One particular video got me thinking… Parenting is something you must prepare for and commit to. We literally must train for the act of raising children the way we train for sports or a fitter body. If we want to succeed and make this a fruitful decision, then we must be serious about preparation.

Life is a playoff game. We only get one chance at making each day the best it can be. It absolutely matters what you eat, what you think, what you prepare for.

If my commitment is to have to children then I have to wake up every day committed to making their life fantastic. The only way that will happen is by waking up every day with the attitude to create that life for them. For making myself the best I can be for them.

Teaching them. Growing them. Building them. Making them the best they can be that’s what we choose when we choose parenting. So, that’s why it’s important to choose excellence in our preparation. Choosing to be a parent is a life choice to be committed to something greater than ourselves, to shaping a new generation.

Perhaps we should think about preparation and how we train for these big moments in our life. Are we taking the steps to be our best? Are we asking ourselves hard enough questions each day? Are we pushing ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually enough to create growth?

If we answer no, then are we truly prepared for the responsibilities of parenting?

Think bigger…

A

The Good and The Bad of 2020 Lessons Learned

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021 and a whole new chapter in my life. As I enter this new year with a whole heart full of gratitude and hope, I wanted to share a few of the things that made 2020 both challenging and rewarding for me. I also want to make a few things clear… I’m doing this because of a few reasons.

  1. I am focusing on being more honest and open in 2021. This is not just with others, but with myself as well.

The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.

Nelson Mandela

2. Blogging helps me stay creative and fulfills my love of writing. Making it a consistent practice helps me continually improve my writing and use of words. I always wanted to be an author and this is sort of like my place for that, it’s my life book.

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf

3. While I don’t put everything on display, I do seek to share my adventures in hopes to find connections with people who have shared experiences or to lead someone to discover something that may be useful in their life. If my blogs impact even just one person, I’ve done something positive for the world and therefore, it isn’t all for naught.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

Sylvia Plath

The Good of 2020

All in all, 2020 was filled with a lot of learning opportunities. Everyone had to adjust to a new way of working and a new way of living life. My journey through it brought me to understand a few things better:

  • How to show gratitude – I started my daily gratitude list practice once again
  • How to be more positive each day – I made a commitment to wake up each day with a smile
  • Renewed friendships – I rekindled a few friendships that really have helped me get through tough times, but also that I feel I can offer a lot of support to
  • I learned to give with my heart again – Always a giver, I felt like I had lost that spirit. But, through renewed friendships and a focus on healing, I’m finding my path again.
  • Importance of family – I moved back to Texas to be closer to my family and I’m so happy as their presence is so important to me. I made the commitment to truly see my family as a priority.

In 2020, I also had a few surprises and exciting updates:

  • Started a new job
  • Began my journey to earning my Master’s in Business Administration
  • Found new opportunities to learn and grow in my personal health and development
  • Created a new business venture
  • Developed new skills

It’s amazing how much progress we make over a year, when we look back on it all. I believe I’ve grown the most during the most challenging times. So while most people wanted 2020 to end, I didn’t want it to. I was stretching myself, growing, and really becoming a whole new me. From running more, to eating healthier, to finding a way to build my own business and grow my mind. I don’t think 2020 was all that bad for my personal development.

But of course, there were times when it wasn’t so easy. Here are some of the things that forced me into this growing stage last year.

The Bad of 2020

Because I try not to dwell when “bad” things happen to me, I’m choosing to really only share a couple of the things that had the biggest impact.

  1. My 10 year relationship with my husband ended and I moved away from him and California.
  2. My grandmother got really sick, unrelated to covid, and has been in a hospital since March. With covid happening though, it’s prevented me from seeing her.

So, now that I’ve shared that, I think there are probably a lot of other people in the world who could say they’ve had it worse. Sure. Everyone is battling something. What I think was the most powerful thing about my “bad” list of 2020, was that neither of these things has really brought me down. Despite going through a divorce, despite having a heart full of worry and despair, I was able to achieve so much this year and still come out positive.

My good list will always outweigh my bad list. My good list just grows and grows. It’s where I put my focus. The bad list always has a light at the end of the tunnel. It always has a positive spin and I know that these bad situations don’t last forever, nor do the good ones. We have to keep mining for them and wake up every day with a smile ready to accept them.

I am working to bring a light to people’s lives in 2021. I am working to share what I find to be the most effective ways to look passed the bad and look at how to effectively flip it. My blog means so much to me. While I am always “busy” working and studying and focusing on my health, I know there is plenty I can be doing to share and make a positive impact. So for YOU, I commit to being a writer and to sharing what I learn. I commit to seeking new things to share with YOU my readers and my community.

I also commit to being a great writer so that you never have to feel burdened by my typos… 😛

To peace and wellness in 2021.

A

CBD Oil: Myths and Facts

I’m a CBD lover… I swear by it. Other people are not so convinced, but there is a real truth to the powers of CBD oil. Here are a few of the myths and facts behind the magic.

Top 3 Myths About CBD

1. CBD Oil Doesn’t Work

Before you go too far down this road, let me explain something… CBD is not THC. If you’re hoping you’re going to try it for the first time and feel instant effects of CBD oil, then you’re doing this all wrong. CBD is what I like to call a therapy. Therapy works over time and usually you’ll start to feel better with several doses/treatments. When you’re not getting your therapy, you’ll notice the effects.

2. CBD Will Make You High

Well, I can’t even explain how very wrong this is. Again, THC is the chemical compound that’s attributed to immediate effects of feeling high. You’re not going to feel any sort of psychosis with CBD oil. Some products do help with sleep as it is a calming therapy, but CBD is not a known sleep aid.

3. CBD is Unregulated and Unsafe

The only comment I’ll make on this is you get what you pay for. It’s not recommended to purchase CBD from unknown sources, or try to find it for cheap online. There are plenty of companies that are safely creating high-quality CBD. When you’ve found a good company, they will provide lab results and certifications such as these here. Find yourself a good, quality company to source your CBD from and you’ll be fine!

Top 3 Facts About CBD Oil

1. CBD is Helpful for Anxiety

If you carry a lot of worry and stress, then CBD is the saving grace you may need. As I like to say, I got 99 problems, and CBD solved like 84 of them… The calming effects of CBD go a long way. Over time, it can help you cope with major life events, deal with your anxiety, and get better rest because of it.

2. CBD Can Help Your Pets

Yes, even pets need relief from anxiety and stress too! I’ve heard stories about dogs that get anxiety when their humans are away during the day, causing all sorts of messes and constant stress. CBD oil sprays and drops can have very similar effects on dogs, cats, and other animals.

3. There’s More to CBD Than Calming Effects

Not only has CBD really come out strong as a wellness and overall calming product, but we have also discovered the positive effects it has on skin, cell regeneration, immune system function, digestion and even energy and blood sugar levels. CBD has a lot of power to help overall wellbeing and to help you get on track to reach your fitness and lifestyle goals (especially as we head into a new year).

My Top CBD Products

Can’t decide on which CBD oil product to try? No problem! I’ve got some excellent choices for you to check out. My personal top choice is this 300 MG Full Spectrum CBD Oil. It’s a great product for anyone who is just looking for some calming effects. I notice it’s especially helpful come time for “that time of the month” and ladies, it does help tremendously with cramps and pains.

300MG Full Spectrum CBD Oil Drops by CTFO

Want something with a little more “oomph”? If you’re looking for something to help with intense pain, like that from arthritis, or severe anxiety, then this 10x Pure product is definitely worth it. Sure the price tag is a little more, but the 10x Pure product is 10 time more effective than anything else on the market right now.

10x Pure 500 MG Full Spectrum CBD Oil Drops by CTFO

For relief of things like joint and muscle pain, this healing relief cream is infused with CBD and emu oil to provide deep comfort.

500 MG CBD Ultimate Healing Relief Cream with Emu Oil

Want to take your bath time to another level? I especially love this product when I’m feel achy or sore. These bath bombs also make for an amazing Christmas gift idea! You can also purchase them indvidually for $14.97 each.

CBD Bath Bomb Combo Pack – Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus & Grapefruit

Want to chat more about CBD and what products are available to help you? Send a message to the CBD Babe on Instagram or find me on Twitter @IntentlyAmy.

Be well.

Finding Balance

Well hello last month of 2020…. we’ve been waiting for you! If it wasn’t bad enough that this year brought on a whole new level of public health fears and political anxiety, there was a lot of personal life struggles that came with it too. There are probably very few people that could say 2020 didn’t have some sort of personal life rattling event.

So now, we’re all about this “new normal”, whatever that means for you. Hence why I thought I’d share a little bit about finding balance in this crazy, hectic life because now more than ever we need to find harmony.

How do you juggle all the chaos without pulling out your hair and losing your mind? I’d say a lot of deep breaths, anti-worrying techniques, and intentional movements through it all… But, here are some practical ways you can start attracting a balanced lifestyle.

Identifying the Imbalance in Your Life

First, let’s start off by pointing out that not everyone knows exactly why their life feels out of sorts. Maybe you wake up with anxiety or go to sleep with worry and you can’t pin point exactly where it’s coming from. After all, isn’t EVERYTHING a reason for worry? Trust me, I know from experience that the minute you start thinking about the things that cause you anxiety, it all starts pouring in and you can’t stop the noise.

The first thing to do in this situation is to start listing all the reasons you actually have to worry. Truly identify the reasons and put them on paper. Take a moment to do this now…

… do it.

Now, hopefully after writing down these things you notice that there isn’t actually a whole lot on the list that either a) you can control, b) will impact your life significantly, or c) is long-term. In fact, looking at this list, I hope you realize that worries are sometimes over dramatized in our minds. When we actually sort them out and identify them, they become much much smaller.

Only Focus on What You Can Control

Here is your opportunity now to really take things into your own hands. Find those things on the list that are in your control. These should be things that can be stopped, helped, or avoided by taking an action.

For example, if you have a lot of anxiety about an upcoming test, then that’s in your control. To eliminate anxiety about the test, you can study and that will give you the confidence and tools to do well so you don’t have to worry about it.

Highlight all the things on that list that are actionable…. you can also circle them, put stickers next to them, write them out even bigger. Whatever you choose to do, call it out and separate it from the other things that you cannot control.

Prioritize Actioning your Anxieties Away

We’re at our final step. This is where you actually put your anxieties into check. You have all the power now… do you feel it?

In this step, I want you to put down in your agenda or calendar, whatever you use, time to action those things you highlighted above. Make time for it in your calendar because when you prioritize working on these things that means you are cleansing yourself of the anxiety associated with not taking action.

Most people would say, Amy, this is stupid because it’s too simple. But, I’d argue that the most simple things do not come easy to people. It’s really difficult to plan in time to address your anxiety and most of the time it’s because it takes doing things we probably don’t want to do.

Back to my example, studying doesn’t always feel like a whole lot of fun. Planning in time to do this is a discipline, and that’s where a majority of people will fail. They will not take time to be disciplined in their actions and to do the things that aren’t the fun things to do.

So, as we end this year with a solid effort to make it as great as possible, I encourage you to plan in those anti-worrying activities. Change your habits and make an effort to do the things no one else will do. A great benefit will be getting some better sleep going into 2021. End this year with peace and balance.

Namaste (<that felt right),
Amy

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” -Darren Hardy

How To Write Your Vision Statement

In my last blog, I explained what vision casting is and how to use it to guide your life path. In this post, I’ll share exactly how to create that vision statement and what the process takes.

As I mentioned before, this is a pretty creative process. Writing a vision statement takes reflection, brainstorming, and a lot of critical thinking. If this isn’t something you’re used to doing, then it may feel a little uncomfortable at times.

Be willing to take a risk with your vision statement. Step outside of your comfort zone and really dig deep for what it is you want out of your life. So, as you get started, preparing to write your vision out, be sure to think about the basics of a vision.

I’ll write these out in question form so you can come back and ask yourself these questions along the way.

  1. What are the emotions and sentiments you would like to feel about your life and your journey? ie. “I am proud” or “I am amazed
  2. What impact do you want to make on the world?
  3. Where do you imagine yourself being and who are you surrounded by?
  4. Is there a certain thing you want people to remember you for?
  5. What is life like for you in 15 – 20 years?

The Steps of Vision Casting

To vision cast properly, you need to be prepared to look beyond your present situation. Remember, that a vision is something you aspire to create. It’s a place you want to be, not something you already have achieved. That’s what so magical about a vision. You have to believe that anything is possible.

To think through your personal vision, there are three simple steps. Each step in your vision process can be done throughout your day, or at an optimal time when you feel you have the most peace.

The important part of this is being sure that you have time to clearly think through what you actually want. You need to be able to spend time with yourself in an uninterrupted space, even if it’s just for 10 – 15 minutes.

  1. Let Your Creativity Flow
  2. Let Your Ideas Settle
  3. Write it Down and Reflect

Let’s dive deeper into each step.

The First Step of Vision Casting

The first step to crafting the perfect vision is the exploration phase. Some people consider this brainstorming or ideation, but it doesn’t matter what you call it. The only important part of this phase is that you write down every possibility of what you want for your future.

You see, most people don’t really know what they want. They want everything. Sure, it all sounds good. But, that’s not realistic. You need your version of the best possible outcome, so that it’s clear in your life path.

If you’re uncomfortable writing statements, or don’t have a lot of experience writing, then just bullet point out your answers. Be as specific as possible and write every single idea down, even if at the moment you know it’s not right. You’ll have time to sort that out later.

The Second Step of Vision Casting

After you’ve written down all your thoughts, the next step is let it all sit for a while. Yes, that means leave all your thoughts on that piece of paper or notepad or document on your laptop and move on for a bit. The most critical thing you can do in your process is to allow your brain to really process it all.

Processing your vision will give your brain time and space to clarify. I highly recommend meditating on the ideas that you brainstormed. Take time to sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and reflect on the ideas you have for your future.

The Third Step of Vision Casting

it’s time to start writing your statement out. Keep in mind that your vision statement can change. You can evolve.

The structure of a vision statement is pretty simple. It’s your end state, your impact, your surroundings, and finally your time frame.

In most vision statements, the time frame is not really mentioned, but I really believe a personal vision statement should have an understanding of when it’s occurring. As you get older, you’ll create new vision statements for further in your life. It’s essential to always have a goal for where you want to go.

As you write out your vision statement, make sure it’s clear. Write it down on paper and put it somewhere where you can reference it maybe once a week or if you’re feeling committed, every day. I wrote my vision statement in my goals and gratitude journal. It’s a simple journal where I write my gratitudes and thoughts each day and I have my vision statement bookmarked to reference.

Enjoy the process!

What is Vision Casting for Personal Growth

In the business world, vision casting is a term used amongst organizational leaders. The leadership at a company may go through a time when they are establishing the vision for the company, which involves writing out a vision statement, making sure their values and daily practices live up to the vision, and helping their employees to see the vision. But, this business practice of vision casting serves a lot of purpose in personal growth as well.

As you learn to live your life more intentionally, you’ll need something to root you. A vision can help you establish goals, find the path you need to take, and keep you centered along the way. In this short blog, I’ll share with you why it’s important to vision cast. Then, in a few follow up blogs I will break down how to write a vision statement, resources to help guide your vision, and my personal journey through vision casting.

Why Vision Casting Works

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2 ed.), 2006

There are a lot of debates on the internet about whether success is an outcome of luck or a result of hard work. Many people would agree success is guaranteed with hard work, but some do occasionally get lucky. Others, like Malcolm Gladwell would argue that it’s a little bit of both. You need to be in the right place at the right time. There may even be situations in which that path was just not meant for you.

So, what is it that actually makes someone become out-this-world successful and achieve their lifelong dreams? For me, the perfect summation to the factors attributed to success is vision.

The universe is a funny place. We are all connected in some magical way and the thoughts, emotions, and suggestions we put into the world tend to have a way of nudging things along. I don’t believe that we can alter destiny, but I do believe we choose the path we want to take. And it’s simple, it’s with our thoughts.

When we can tap into our thoughts and use them to direct the choices that we make each day, and develop the experiences that happen, then we are becoming more enveloped in our universe. If you’re up for going down this path a little more and reading about how to become “one with the universe” check out the EOC Institute’s blog on using meditation.

So, vision casting works because it drives the focus of your thoughts.

The Basic Architecture of a Vision

There are a few basic elements that make up the structure for a good vision. Of course, you’ll want to write it down, but it may take a while to develop. So, consider this a creative journey. If you’re someone who isn’t really into writing or being creative, use bullet points, short hand writing, and don’t stress too much about how you say something, but more so what it is you’re trying to say.

Remember that a vision is more inspirational and aspirational than it is actionable. It is meant to guide your future and give you purpose and clarity throughout your journey. You should be able to craft actionable goals based on your vision.

A vision is made up of five elements:

  1. A desired end state, which is more than a feeling but includes the state of being you’re in, perhaps values, health, achievements
  2. Your impact on the world around you, or your ultimate contribution
  3. The environment you see yourself in or the people that you’re surrounded by
  4. The values you project long-term, or who people will perceive you as
  5. It’s long term, so it’s aimed at who you are 10 – 20 years from now

I’ll leave you with this final note. A vision statement can be as long or as short as you want it to be. It can be as simple as:

Each day, I wake up with a feeling of pride for my life’s achievements and my family’s impact on the world to make it a better place to live for our future generations.

Short vision statement example

You can imagine with this vision statement above, that this person has a family that is dedicated to helping their community and contributing to society. That is their form of success.

Start to think about your vision and what success looks like to you in your future. If you could look forward to 20 years from now, what would make you feel successful? In the next blog in this series, I’ll explain how to write your perfect (but ever evolving) vision statement.

3 Steps to Making Conscious Choices

What’s the secret to making a choice you’ll never regret? The secret is there is no secret to it… Making choices confidently is done with one simple strategy in mind – think through it thoroughly! I can tell you from personal experience I’ve dealt with both types of choices in my life – the unconscious, the uncertain and on the opposite end, the conscious, the rooted.

Making conscious choices is really the only way to go about life with zero regrets. Otherwise, you’re constantly kicking yourself, wondering what could have been different. How often do you think back on decisions like that? When you’re completely committed to a decision, it changes your perspective completely, even when and if that decision turns out to be the wrong one.

Conscious choice doesn’t keep you from making the wrong decisions. It just helps ensure you’ve made the best decision at that moment for yourself. What comes of that decision is only left then to destiny. Whatever is meant to happen, will happen and at least you’ll feel good that you made the best decision possible.

The 3 Steps to Conscious Choice

When you have a decision to make, it’s always good to lay it all out and take your time. Of course, no one likes indecisiveness and that’s not what this process is meant to do. Indecisiveness is when you can’t make a decision. Conscious choice is the exact opposite of indecisiveness. It’s clarity in making choices and making them with full intent.

However, no one ever said you couldn’t take your time deciding. In fact, even the smallest decisions need room to permeate. Maybe you don’t always have time luxury to make decisions and that’s understandable, but I believe in using the time you do have wisely. Oftentimes, you’ll see that taking your time with a decision actually allows the universe to lay out more cards and create a clearer path for you.

When you have a big decision to make and some time, there are three phases to ensure the best possible outcome.

  1. The Written Problem
    As with any problem, it’s always best to write down your thoughts and situation clearly. Seeing the problem written down allows room for you to think through how you will deal with it. It frees up space to think beyond the idea and on to the alternate realities. Using the choice to be childfree as an example, write down the question, “Should I have children or stay childfree?” Now, you’ve established your problem, and it’s time to explore both realities.
  2. The Alternate Realities
    What happens when you make one decision over another? You only get one chance and one reality to live, so this decision is important. There is no going back, only forward. At this point in your conscious choice, it’s important to consider your alternate realities. You’ve written down the problem or the choices, and now you need to explore them each a bit further. Continue writing down what each reality could look like to you. What are the benefits? What are the consequences? How does each path make you feel?
  3. The Present Factor
    I call this final step the “Present Factor”. The question you should be asking yourself at this point is, what feels right to you at this moment? I can tell you that there are decisions that you either just know are right or know are wrong when you take the time to stop and ask yourself the question. Your intuition is good enough to tell you if you’re on the right path. So, listen to it. A lot of times, people make decisions only to look back and know at that moment they were making the wrong decision.

    Back to our childfree example, if you are not 100% committed to having a child, then why would you make that choice? Your body, your mind, and your soul will tell when the right time is to do something. All you have to do is listen. Let’s use a different example, one that maybe is less life altering.

A Conscious Choice Example

Let’s say you are contemplating looking for a new job. You have a job, and it’s fine. You are pretty content with life at this job. However, you know there is better opportunity out there. Should you start applying for new jobs? (The Problem)

If you started looking for new jobs, it’s likely you’ll need to interview. You’d possibly find something that is more exciting, more pay, and more fulfilling. Or, you could stay. Life is pretty good right now, you make decent pay, and it’s a steady job. (The Alternate Realities)

What is happening right now in your life that is pushing you to have this feeling? Well, you’re bored. You know that job hunting is fairly straightforward, you just need to make a few tweaks to get it right. You have the time right now to pursue this and as you reflected on earlier, there are many benefits and few consequences of finding a new job. (The Present Factor)

After you’ve analyzed all of this, you realize, it is the right time to look for a new job and you can confidently set out on this path to finding the right job.

Conscious choices are simple. They are just decisions made with intent. These choices have purpose and clarity behind them. On the other hand, unconscious choices are made unwillingly. They have no alternate realities, only the one that is destined to be. You trap yourself and limit your potential when you allow a choice to be made for you.

Imagine if you didn’t make the conscious choice to look for a new job. Rather, you just started looking with no plan. You didn’t factor in the present situation you’re in and you overlooked how busy you are getting at work and in your personal life. There’s no way you have time to update your resume, no time to prepare for interviews and the whole situation becomes overwhelming and sloppy.

You’ve now found yourself in a mess of emotions because you didn’t think through the situation. It’s really easy for us as a human race to do things impulsively. We make decisions all the time based just off of our feelings. If you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth, you’re well aware of how condemning this can feel.

With conscious choice, even the little things we do each day become more purposeful and graceful. For small decisions, you can skip writing down the problem, but never skip thinking about the alternate realities or considering how the present situations factors into this decision.

Try this out the next time you’re contemplating a decision and let me know in the comments how you think it worked!

5 Ways to Completely Change Your Day

In 2018, I thought waking up every morning was the hardest thing I had to do. I knew that with every sunrise, there would be heart ache, tears, and an unsurmountable feeling of missing my father. What happened after my dad passed away was a critical turning point in my life, and I truly believe it’s because I chose to do five things that, in their simplicity, never could I have imagined they would be so life altering. That was the most transformational year I’ve ever had.

I think my father’s impact on the world really struck me when I watched a grown man, who I had never met before, weep by father’s bed. He told me that without my dad, he would have never turned his life around after prison. It disturbed him to see such an amazing man be subjected to the cruelty of death by cancer. To this day, I don’t even know what it was that my dad did for him, but I could tell that man was as heartbroken as I was to see such a magical person fade from our world.

When I started to see the impact that my dad had on our neighborhood, his community, his friends, and our family, it was like a light had been taken out of everywhere I went. I went down to tell our local cafe staff that my dad was nearing the end, they all mourned. Our local tailor was distraught. Our neighbors never left our side until my dad finally passed. Every day during that period of time was misery.

If I was feeling this way each day, I couldn’t imagine what my sister and mother were feeling. I knew that I couldn’t fall prey to letting the darkness take me, because one of us had to make sure life moved forward.

Waking up every day with a positive attitude when nothing is wrong in your life, is easily taken for granted. You wake up, you do your routine, you get to work. But, during difficult times, it’s easy to forget how to get going. It’s even easy to forget why you need to get going. Hopelessness is a feeling I never want to welcome back into my life again.

At that time, I had been introduced to a TED Talk speaker and author name Shawn Achor. His book the Happiness Advantage really impacted me and my career during the time when my father was being treated for his cancer. It was difficult to balance a lot of things, but his book taught me to look at the world a little differently.

I came to realize that it’s not what life gives you, because trust me there are going to be a lot of lemons, but it’s how you handle what life gives you. Every bad situation can be flipped. Every horrible feeling can be overcome.

And so, I woke up one day on the couch next to my father’s bed. My mom and I spent nights sleeplessly watching him breathe. I stood up and I promised myself that I was going to do these five simple things every single day and that I would not allow our family to go into a depression or fall into problems because of what we went through. I wrote them down and I remembered my dad telling me to “be brave” before he couldn’t speak anymore.

5 Things to Do Each Morning

The Five Daily Habits

  1. Express Gratitude
    Each day I write down three things I’m grateful for. This is something Shawn Achor taught and I adopted it right away. Three things no matter how big or small, be grateful. Do this even when you don’t feel like writing anything down, it will totally change the rest of your day.
  2. Smile
    As previously mentioned, life is going to kick you in the a$$! That’s true for everyone. Some have it worse than others, but guaranteed that if you don’t appreciate every moment, and put a smile on your face each day, then it will only drag you deeper.
  3. Be Kind
    This is one of the most important things I believe anyone can learn to do. Being kind not just to others, but to your self is the greatest way to invite love and happiness into your life, especially in the bad times. If you’ve ever felt the sting of someone who was not kind to you, just think about how others may have received you. Remember, you don’t need the world to be kind to you first or in return. This is a gift you should learn to give everyone. Being kind to yourself includes eating healthy, meditating, doing yoga, and practicing things that make you feel good.
  4. Remember Your Vision
    On page one of my journal, I wrote down my goals for the next 6 months to 5 years. It’s important to really dig deep. Take an hour of undistracted time to really put some thought into these. Make sure write them down on paper, with a pen. This will help you commit. When you’ve written them all down, be sure to reflect on them at least once a week. Just reading them and remembering your reason for them will help you stay on the right path. It will give every action in your day purpose.
  5. Center Yourself
    Each day, I write down my “Thoughts” underneath my gratitudes list. This is my space for letting go of pent up feelings. It’s where I can brainstorm ideas for this blog, or reflect on events that recently happened. As you write down your thoughts, be as equally committed to sharing the good things as the bad things. If you feel it, share it. Sometimes, I like to go back and see what my train of thought was on a specific day. It helps to see where I was in relation to where I am now. I can tell you, it’s helped me to stay committed to decisions that have been important for me to push on in my life. It’s helped me recognize my priorities, my passions, and what I truly want out of life.

Everything you do in the morning is the setup for what will happen the rest of the day. Remember these 5 things, get a journal and just start at it! My favorite journals are Moleskins. You don’t need prompts or anything too fancy. Just write your goals, your gratitudes and your thoughts. Remember to be kind and wake up with a smile.