Category Archives: 30-day challenge

5 Ways To Beat The Pity Party

small__5077159890My youngest has just left the nest and my definition of who I am, or who I consider myself to be, has altered – a lot.

While millions of children are excitedly starting school, just as many parents are experiencing a loss like they have never felt before.

Whether your child is starting Kindergarten or heading off to College or University, September is a time that many mothers (and fathers too), especially the ones that have chosen to be full-time parents, feel an intense combination of both freedom and loss.

The focus of the vast majority of your time and energy has suddenly disappeared and you are left wondering who you are without your children.

What is your mission now?

Your equilibrium is thrown for a loop.

Some revel in the seeming abundance of free time to do the things they’ve complained about, resented they couldn’t do, or wished they could while catering to the needs of the other members of their household.

Still others are mourning the loss of their entire identity.

Be it JK or undergrad, when you send your little one (my little one is over 6′ tall) off into the world alone, you are left watching their back, proud of who they are and the job you have done thus far.

But as they walk away and the path before you clears, you are left wondering what direction you are to take.

Where will this path-untrodden lead you?

You spent all your time preparing them, but no-one prepared you.

If you, like me, are facing this brave new world, think of September as the new January and make some resolutions for yourself.

Think of this as a time for your own personal growth.

Take this opportunity to nurture yourself.

Stuck for ideas?

5 Ways To Beat The Pity Party

1.  Chum the Waters
Set up a regular schedule for meeting up with your friends.  Whether it’s once a week for coffee and a chat or every morning for a brisk walk, getting together with your pals will inspire, relax and rejuvenate your likely (highly) neglected self.

2. Pastime Pleasure
Ever wanted to learn how to paint, dance, write poetry, glass-blow, woodwork? Now’s your chance.  There are lots of classes offered at community centres and adult education schools.  Or find a local “Meet-Up” online and make new connections with like-minded folks.  There is no time like the present to pick up a new hobby or resurrect an old one.

3. Grow Your Gray Matter
Want to get back into the workforce but feel underqualified?  Always wanted to learn another language? Want to learn more about a specific topic you’ve always been interested in?  There are plenty of online webinars and free university courses ready for you to absorb.  Or look into adult education courses at your local high school or college.

4. Weigh In On The Positive
Now is a great time to start a new exercise routine.  Getting fit increases your energy and self-esteem.  If you’ve been putting it off, your excuse just walked out the door so get up off the couch and march to a new beat – yours.  Try a 30-Day Challenge to get you motivated and sticking to your goals.

5. Serve & Be Served
Volunteering is a great way to feel useful and appreciated with the added bonus of helping out individuals and organizations who need a hand.  There are many volunteering opportunities such as childcare centers, schools, libraries, food banks, homeless shelters, senior centers, and hospitals to name only a few.  Need more suggestions? Your library, church or community center may be able to point you in the right direction or try an online search through your town or city’s website.  By serving others, you serve yourself.

Focussing your new-found time on things that interest you will not only take your mind off missing your ‘little’ one(s), it will boost your energy and attitude.

Use this time to forge a new path.

Explore its twists and turns and enjoy the scenery along the way.

There’s a new you waiting to be discovered.

For me, I’ve signed up for two Coursera classes and a pottery class!

Have your kids flown the coop? Share how you are feeling and coping.

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rushpics/5077159890/

 

3 Ways To Reach Your Highest Goals!

medium_6156635313-1I’ve never been much for setting ‘official’ goals.  Sure, I’d like to lose 20 pounds, make lots of money and travel to exotic locales but I’ve never put a good solid plan in place to make them a reality.

I sporadically try this or that and can make goals last for a while.  I get all hyped-up and talk a good talk but I almost always let things gradually die out; a slow fizzle.

This is why, truthfully, I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions.  Why bother?  

Sometimes things I intend to accomplish never even get off the ground.

Why is that?

Does it happen to you too?

I’ve been learning a lot over the past year.  I’ve been studying different methods to become successful.  I’ve been reading and attending ‘no-fail’ webinars for tips and inspiration.  And the one common message is:

You Have To Set Goals.  

Ugh!

In order to achieve > the weight loss > the higher income > the dream vacation > you have to do something focussed and concrete to set you on the path to your desire.

You Have To Plan The Steps.

Ugh!

Ok, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So here are the questions I asked myself…

What do you REALLY want?

Why do you really want it?

How will you feel when you get it?

What difference will it make in your life when you achieve it?

Once you have the answer to those questions, then the real work begins.

Here is the ultimate, time-honoured, tested & proven-by-successful-people question to ask yourself now:

What steps do you need to take to get there?

Method #1

One method I learned about is the SMART method.

  • Specific – How exactly will you do it? Ask: Who, What, When, Where & Why questions.
  • Measurable – How will you know if you get there? How many pounds/wk, clients/month?
  • Attainable – Be practical and prioritize.
  • Realistic – Consider your available time and skills. Can you make adjustments to allow for success?
  • Time-bound – Break it down into manageable pieces: daily/weekly/monthly/annually

The SMART format discusses looking at all areas of your life:

  • Personal
  • Spiritual
  • Family
  • Mental/Education
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Work
  • Social

Do each of the SMART goals for each area.

Prioritize and Begin

Baby steps can gain ground quickly and allow for multiple celebrations along the way, keeping you inspired.  They also allow you to make adjustments to areas that aren’t working as well as you thought they would, leading to further and faster success!

Method #2

Another method that can kick-start achievement is a 30-Day Challenge.  For 30 days, challenge yourself to do just one goal.  For me it was daily yoga and forgoing bread. (How do you think I fared? Find out here and here)

30-Day Challenges can be a great way to begin a habit, knock something off your bucket list, or cross something off the “I’ll Get To It One Day” list.

Method #3 

The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Faith in the Universe, whatever you want to call it, I believe it works.

You project your positive affirmations to the universe and if they are heartfelt and sincere, they will somehow present themselves to you; but that’s not all there is to it.

You can’t stop there!

Just wishing and hoping that something will happen is not enough.  You have to take steps toward making it happen.

You can’t just say “I want my dream job” then sit on the couch flicking channels.  You have to job hunt, improve your education, network, do what it takes to get there: see Method #1.

And if you are open to the signs, things will begin to present themselves to you in perhaps unexpected ways.  You may not get the ultimate dream job right away but could this job be a step toward that dream? How can you make it happen?

Tip: Be specific!

The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” applies heavily with this method.

Another one: “Like Breeds Like” is especially true here so BE POSITIVE! If  you say “I want to live in Paris and own a patisserie” but in the back of your mind you are saying “Ya, right. Like that will ever happen!”, well guess what will actually happen?

Have I tried any of these methods?

Yup.  I challenged myself to set a New Year’s Resolution: to begin making sincere heartfelt, SMART goals. And I have been working hard to set the wheels in motion.

Does any of this stuff actually work?

You bet your sweet patootie it does!

I’m always amazed at how Method #3 presents itself. (I’ve actually been doing this method for a long time with simple things like “When I get to the store there will be a parking spot right out front” – it sounds silly but you’d be surprised how often that one works!)

For instance, last month I projected that I would get two new writing clients and Tada!; the second one arrived on the afternoon of the last day of the month! But neither of those clients would have appeared if I hadn’t deployed Method #1.

And we’ve all had the experience of thinking of someone and then they call or you run into them the next day.

Sometimes goals or events attained by method #3 are only apparent in hindsight and sometimes they’re standing right in front of you waiting for you to shake their hand.

As for Method #2: it’s the beginning of a new month; the perfect time to begin a 30-Day Challenge.  For me, another 30 days of SMART goals and positive affirmations.

The bottom line: Whatever your goal is…

Own It!

Believe In It! 

Proclaim It! 

Plan It!

ACT On It! 

Celebrate the Milestones!

Repeat! REPEAT! REPEAT!

Do you set goals?  What method do you use and does it work?

photo credit:  <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/venosdale/6156635313/”>Krissy.Venosdale</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Resolution Solution

It’s that time year of again. Time to join a gym and vow to lose the 20lbs you’ve been vowing to lose for the past two years.  Will this year be different?

According to Dr. Mike, it very likely will.

Dr. Mike Evans of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital claims that resolutions made at this time of year have a significantly better chance of sticking than when made at any other time of year.  He explains how and why in this very entertaining video.

 

Want to take it in smaller bites?

Why not try a 30-Day Challenge? I can assure you that this is definitely doable.

So, you have a few days left before the year ticks to a close.  What do you say?  Will you resolve to make a change in 2013?  What will it be?

 

video credit: http://www.myfavouritemedicine.com/new-years-resolutions/
YouTube

Bright-Side of the Web: Before I Die…

“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about what really matters to you.” Candy Chang.

Join Ms. Chang as she describes her experiences turning neglected spaces into constructive ones.  With this particular experiment, Candy says, “Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

As we bring November to a close and step into the time of year where people start planning their resolutions, think about Candy’s message.

How would you answer the question:
Before I die I want to…

30-Day Challenge: Day 30! Yipee!!

Well, how did you do? Did you make it all the way without stumbling?
If you stumbled, did you shake it off and keep going, knowing it was but a mere bump and nothing to make you give up?

I’m proud to say that I stayed away from bread for the entire month.  Not once did I have sandwich bread, bagels, croissants, waffles, english muffins, muffins of any kind or pizza. 

How did I find a month without bread? Ok, not bad, sort of hard, sort of easy.
I never once craved it but it made it more difficult to think of what to eat.  My go-to toast and jam or egg and cheese on an english muffin made me have to reach for something else or modify my standard fare – just eggs with no toast for instance.  

I did, I admit, eat more pasta than I usually do which perhaps was the reason I didn’t crave bread.  I also ate a few crackers.  They weren’t on my list so I felt they were ‘safe’ but I did limit them to much less than I would have had normally.
I had hoped that this challenge would kick-start some weight loss for me but not even a pound was shed (likely thanks to the pasta).
 

What’s for dinner tomorrow? Likely pizza. I did miss pizza.

Share your experience with your 30-Day Challenge.
Are you planning a 30-Day Challenge for December? What will you do?
And don’t forget to answer ‘Before I die, I want to…’ 

Video credit: http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to.html

Positive Ponderings: Six Word Positive Memoir

Have you heard of the ‘six word memoir‘?

The idea is to describe your life using only six words.

I would like to put a twist on that.  A Pollyanna twist.

Using six words, write about something positive in your life.

Here’s mine:

Love, laughter, family, friends; lucky girl.

What’s yours?

photo credit: http://photopin.com
flickr.com/photos/lwr/101653179/

30-Day Challenge: Day 5

How is your 30-Day Challenge going? Did you make it through the weekend? Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t.  Stick with it and ignore the slip-up. You can add a day to the end if you like. 

So far, I’ve managed to keep bread at bay and it has not been as difficult as I had feared. I’ve had soup with salad a couple of times and eggs with no toast. The tricky thing for me is just keeping it at the front of my mind and not unconsciously making a sandwich out of habit. 

Well, 4 days down, 26 to go!  

How is your challenge going? (Don’t forget to share your 6-word positive memoir)

30-Day Challenge – November 2012, Day 1

It’s November 1st and time to begin the second of what I hope to become monthly 30-Day Challenges.

For this month’s challenge, I am going to attempt something I have never done before. Something that is bound to be a very, nay extremely, difficult challenge for me.

For the next 30 days, I am not going to eat any bread.

No bread.

I am having a hard time even typing that. No bread.

In the bread category, I am including sandwich bread, bagels, croissants, waffles, english muffins, muffins of any kind, and yes, even pizza – Gasp! (I was going to include pasta too but I fear this will be enough of a challenge. No need to go crazy. One step at a time)

I love bread and cutting it out for a month will definitely be a challenge but one which will bring me a step closer to regaining the healthy eating lifestyle I once enjoyed.

I have already managed to remove it from my breakfasts by drinking smoothies instead – a spill-over benefit from my yoga challenge. One meal down, two meals and snacks to go.

I also intend to continue the yoga practice that I have incorporated into my daily routine from last month’s challenge.

So, are you with me?  Are you going to cut out bread for a month? Or have you decided to challenge yourself in another way?

Share your November 30-Day Challenge below. Misery loves company! 🙂

photo credit: http://photopin.com
flickr.com/photos/fornal/363700193/

30-Day Challenge – Day 30!

Pop the Champagne! Strike up the band!
Today is day 30 of the 30-Day Challenge.  I/we made it!

Thirty full days have passed since I started my first-ever 30-Day Challenge. My task: to do yoga every day for 30 days without fail; without missing even a single day.

Did I succeed in my endeavour?

Yes! Yes I did!

So what does this mean? What’s the significance of all of this?

What it means is that I made a commitment to myself to step toward a healthier lifestyle and I kept that commitment. I chose good health over poor. Activity over inactivity. Flexibility over stiffness.

But perhaps more importantly than any of those, I put myself first.

By focussing on what is a change for the betterment of my overall health and fitness, I was in effect saying, I am important; I value myself and I am willing to do what it takes to ensure I remain on the path that I am trying to lay out for myself.

I guess I need to take a step back and realize that in order to have done that, I needed to have had a vision in the first place. There must have been something that I wasn’t happy with or a will to achieve something more for myself, which I guess isn’t unusual or earth-shattering. I would assume most of us, if not all, have desires for things we haven’t done, things we want to achieve, things we would like to be, things we would like to do.

What this 30-Day Challenge did for me was to make me think about those things; evaluate my priorities, but mostly, it made me get my butt in gear and actually do something about it.  

My daily yoga practice lead to another unplanned and positive change. Upon completion of my morning routine, I followed it up by making a healthy smoothie. Good-bye toast and jam, so-long sugary cereal, sayonara fatty muffins.

Did the 30-Day Challenge teach me anything?

Most definitely.

I learned:

  • I can achieve my goals.
  • Flexibility is gained slowly.
  • I have limitations but can work within them.
  • Small daily changes amount to greater gains.
  • It’s never too late to try something.
  • If at first you can’t do something, keep trying. It gets easier.
  • One small change can spur on others.
  • Learn from the masters.
  • Be patient with your progress and you will see results.
  • Those who are stiff in the beginning can limber up over time.
  • Progress takes time.
  • Habits can be formed and unformed.

Some 30-Day Challenges are meant to be executed, completed and checked-off a list; a fulfilment of Bucket List items. Some are meant as a spring-board. Some are meant to instil permanent change. I am intending my yoga to be the latter of these three.

I intend to continue building on the foundation I have begun; adding strength-building and other methods to my repertoire all working toward my goal of healthy living.

Will I attempt another 30-Challenge? You’d better believe it!

Check back on Thursday, November 1st to see what I am doing next. You may want to join me!

In the meantime, start thinking about what you would try for 30 days.  Just imagine, by November 30th, you may have accomplished something you have always meant to try.

Until next time,
Namaste.

Did you complete an October challenge? Share it below!

photo credit: http://photopin.com
flickr.com/photos/toniblay/77906706/