The Simplification Shift

I’ve been fighting this for what feels like an eternity. To me, it meant that I couldn’t be myself if I chose this path. It felt restrictive, and yucky, and cliche. It meant that I had to fit into a cookie-cutter of what someone else dictated. Why? I have no idea, but that is what I thought. Until recently. Until about 3 months ago. Until I realized that DUH what I have been doing for 35-fucking-years clearly hasn’t worked in all the ways I had hoped, so maybe it was time for me to make a shift. Hmm, weird.

So I did. I chose to start making things simple. Some of them I thought would bore me to tears; they haven’t. Not yet any way. In fact, the small changes I have already made are proving to be intelligent and beneficial decisions on my part.

So, what do I mean by a “Simplification Shift”? I mean cutting out all of the shit in your life that you think you need, so you can make room for the things that are going to help you change your life for the better. It sounds super intimidating, I know. That’s why the other half to this is to also only dismantle a small number of things and then figure out exactly how to rework them into your life so that it makes more sense, not makes you more stressed out.

This all seems so vague, but instead of word vomiting all of it at once I’m going to break out the Simplification Shift throughout the month of February. Each week I’ll explore an area of life that can be simplified, or rather suggestions for you to do so. If I’ve learned nothing else on my own journey it’s that there is no one size fits all answer to ANYTHING. What works for me may not work for you. But, if something that has worked for me ignites something in you that you can use to better your situation, then I’ll call that a win for both of us.

Also, disclaimer before we dive in; while this may have shades of “minimalism” attached to it, that is NOT what this is about. I have also not been watching any of the Marie Kondo docu-series on Netflix so I won’t be using the phrase “sparks joy”. This is about self assessment, exploration, and action. On your terms, to get you one step closer to living your awesome. That’s it. It’s not fancy, it’s not flashy, but that’s the point. We put all this pressure on ourselves to be All The Things, ALL THE TIME. Aren’t you tired? I am. I’d rather focus what little energy I have left after all the other parts of my life take their share on what’s most important to me. If this sounds like you, stay tuned. There is so much more goodness to come!

S

January 2019- Is this going to be your year?

The time of resolutions is sitting on top of us, one week in. Have you broken yours yet? Such a pessimistic and shitty take on it but let’s be real; how many times have you hyped yourself up to make these great big awesome changes and then 1, maybe 2 weeks in you lose your will and *POOF* you are right back where you started? If you say “Well I’ve never…” you’re either full of crap, or you’re in denial. Own it and lets move on, shall we?

I too have been guilty of being a Resolutionary (the term I may use in excess when it comes to people setting huge unattainable goals on Jan 1st and then they all but disappear by call it February 15th at the latest) and this year I’m not on board with it. Instead I’ve chosen to approach the BHAGs (Big-Huge-Ass-Goals) I have set for myself this year as one day/week/month at a time achievements. What behaviors do I have to engage in each day so that I can check the box and keep moving forward towards my goal? That is the question I ask myself each night before I shut it down, and each morning when I fire it up.

Currently I’m working on getting back in to my morning routine, writing for at least 15 minutes each day, and completing a Whole 30 reset.

Those are my focus.

That’s it.

The list of all the things I would like to be doing is so much longer, but I am not capable of expanding my view-point beyond this horizon. If I do I will set myself up to fail almost immediately, and that feels really shitty.

In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear (which is phenomenal, and you should read it) he talks about changing the behavior that results in the habit. In fact that’s the basis of creating Atomic Habits. It’s the small things and what leads up to doing whatever it is you are trying to achieve that matter more than the habit itself. Baby steps become giant freaking leaps when taken consistently.

In my case habit #1 is getting back to my morning routine. That includes waking up a solid couple of hours before anyone in my house (currently the goal is 430 during the week 5-530 on the weekend) getting my coffee, writing my morning pages, listening to Darren Daily, preparing for whatever lies ahead in my day and going from there. I could be doing WAY more in that roughly 2 hours, but getting back into the groove of getting up that early is step 1. My alarm is nowhere near my bed so I have to physically get out of bed to shut it down. I move pretty quick all things considered because while I don’t care if it wakes my husband, I do care if it wakes up my kids. Once I’m out of bed I move, assess, and stay up. There is no point in crawling back into bed, regardless of how tempting once I’m already out of it. Now that I’m up, the next steps I’m working through are what am I accomplishing in that time? Currently it’s what I’ve mentioned above but as the habit forms and sticks I know it will evolve to be more productive and on point to other larger things.

Number 2 is writing for 15 minutes each day. I do that anyway with my daily pages, but that writing is not intended for anyone but Me, so I need to write for 15 more minutes words that are meant to be experienced by other people. A larger goal of mine is to blog more consistently, so creating that content fits the bill. Getting up early give me time I might not otherwise have to write. Writing for 15 minutes will create content to publish, which will get pushed out the interwebs, which will hopefully be absorbed by someone who might need it and the cycle will continue to grow. Habit 1 and 2 feed off one another, which pushes me that much more to make sure I prioritize it.

Last but not least is my Whole 30. Lord has this been a long time coming. From Halloween to Christmas last year was a gluttonous, revolting, free for all. I admit it, and I have paid for it. Inflammation, fatigue, looking and feeling like the Goodyear Blimp, and general not-niceness have been my major symptoms and I’m so over them all. I made the decision to attempt another Whole 30 back in December, and now one week in I know that I made the right decision. More on that in the future, but while I acknowledge that I still have quite a way to go, this decision is one that needs to be seen to completion for a large myriad of personal reasons. I’m on track and that is what is important to me.

This particular post veered off in ways I had not originally intended but I’m going to stick it out and let it be. Making resolutions is a fine way to kickstart yourself on a path to making changes. If that is how you need to go about it then get down with your bad self. But, if you want those resolutions to stick, I suggest taking a smarter and even smaller approach by narrowing down the little steps you need to consistently walk first before you can achieve the big jump. Don’t allow yourself to say one thing but only achieve a small piece of it. Set that goal, then figure out all the steps required for you to get there. Do them, daily. Then have a look at the original resolution at the end of the day, the week, the month. Are you closer? Are you still on the path towards it? Yes? Awesome!!! Keep doing what you’re doing. No? Why? Take a step back and start again. If 2019 is meant to be “Your Year” then don’t settle for anything less. Take the small steps, show up for yourself every day, and keep moving in the direction you know you want to go. I promise it will be worth it.

See you next time Awesome Humans!
S

Can I get a connection?

Is anyone else singing that damn One Republic song now? Do yourself a favor and make that song an Erectile Dysfunction advertisement by changing the word “Connection” to a word that starts with “E”

I’ll wait…

Now that you’re done laughing and have that song permanently ruined for you, the reason for this post is to talk about a word that seems to keep coming up for me in all areas of my life. That word is CONNECTION.

I have entered a time in my life in which I crave making deep and meaningful connections with people. I want to hear other people’s stories, I want to learn more about them, and I don’t want superficial experiences.

By nature I’m more of an introvert (in case you care to know) I’d rather hang out at home with my husband, kids, and dog then go out. I am overwhelmed by large crowds, tight spaces, and close contact with people I don’t know. I will share parts of myself with you with ease, but others it may take years for me to let you in because I just don’t know that I can trust you to that level. You can see how this need for deeper connection could be problematic.

All day long I exchange energy with my clients and the people that I have to interact with; from friendly patrons at the gym to the moms at preschool drop off. On the days that I work I am depleted of emotion and energy by the time I get home. It is a shitty situation for my kids those couple nights, but I pride myself in giving that part of myself whole-heartedly to my clients.

What I began to notice when we returned from vacation this year, was that we lacked connections with people outside of our 4 walls. We had just spent 2 weeks bouncing around and visiting with friends in the Midwest (from Indiana to Michigan, Ohio, to Arkansas) and I came home with a full heart. This was in June.

From June to November, we have hung out with people less times then I can count on one hand. By “hanging out” I mean engaging with intention with other people besides direct members of our family. Even writing that out loud is pitiful. The “we” is my husband and I as a couple. I engage with people everyday, but in the past few months I have mindfully and intentionally put myself in situations that are outside of my comfort zone yet a place to create conversation and connection with others.

As I embrace the transition of being a general population personal trainer and Jill-of-all trades to a Woman, Mother and Coach that serves women on their motherhood journeys specifically, I find that connection is more important to me then it ever has been before.

It’s easy for someone that has maybe a handful of people even reading this to say, but I don’t care if I only touch the life of one or two people. If it means that I have a connection and a deeper then just the surface experience with those individuals then what I set out to do has been successful.
As I go back to singing my new version of “Connection” I’m taking on today as the person that I know I want to present to the world. A person that seeks connection with others, hears their stories, maybe shares some of her own, and allows for something greater then just a surface level experience take place.
Until next time Awesome Humans

S

Constant Evolution

Does anyone else ever feel like they are on roller coaster that they cannot get off? I feel like that has been life for a while. I feel like anyone that has known me for any amount if time possibly wonders if I’m ever going to actually get off the roller coaster and move forward in life. Like if ALL the shit I’m always spouting off about and the things I say I want to do/ achieve/ accomplish are ever going to actually happen or if I’m just completely blowing smoke up their ass. Realistically I doubt anyone actually thinks those things of ME specifically since as a species we’re 90% self involved, so we mostly don’t actually care what other people are up to, and even if other people did think these things of me then its really not any of my business anyway SO. Now that I’ve word-vomited all that, lets get down to the real stuff, shall we?

I just re-read my initial post of what I want Actively Living Awesome to be. I’ve actually written that particular post about 100 times, but that iteration is in my opinion the best one. I’ve stalled out in building an online community for a host of reasons, including but not limited to- not knowing how to differentiate myself, LOATHING all things social media, having a really big picture idea but not narrowing it down, wanting to do too many things at once, and sucking at all things time management so everything I start I don’t finish. Man, that list is longer then I thought it would be. Truth? Maybe not.

I decided to make an investment in myself back in August, and THIS TIME I’m going to actually do something with it. Like, really. I purchased the Certified Pre/Post Natal Coaching certification through Girls Gone Strong and am finally deep into reading, processing, and eventually applying the information. But already, it’s not enough. Already I know, without a shadow of a doubt that this is the lane I am meant to travel in for the foreseeable future. This is where I WANT to live, and so it is where I know I will thrive as I push on. I’m not blind or ignorant to the fact that there will be challenges, set backs, and “God Damn Its” along the way, but it is so refreshing to not be feeling wishy-washy about something I want.

I have to stop being afraid of what others are going to say and think about the work that I want to do and how I want to choose to show up in the world. I’m not for everyone (Lord knows I never have been) and quite frankly I’ve spent so much time trying to garner approval from people that don’t even fucking matter that in the process I have been in a tailspin for almost 5 years. Fuck, no wonder I’m dizzy.

I am going to tell my story, the way I have lived it, and in doing so I’m going to offer ways to help other women, especially the mamas not have to experience things the way I have and hopefully allow them the strength and encouragement to see past the bullshit in their way to achieve their most Awesome version of life. I’m not always going to be politically correct, I’m going to have opinions that are different from what’s popular and what’s mainstream and I’m not going to filter them. I’m going to swear and not apologize for it, and I’m going to own up to my end of this place in this world regardless of how that is perceived by anyone else. I’m tired, I’m dizzy, I’m sore, and I vow to myself to show up for anyone else out there that feels this way too sometimes. We are all in this together, and somewhere along the way it feels like that has been forgotten. It’s “us against them” and then we wonder why we’re still sitting on that proverbial roller coaster, clicking up that hill for the 87 millionth time just wishing we could get off and do something else.

My car has pulled into where people get on and off, I’m getting off and I’m exploring the rest of this amusement park. Hopefully I’ll see you all around. Later!
S

What the Hell is Actively Living Awesome?

 

Actively Living Awesome(2)

I’ve been talking about this idea for about two years now, but there has always been something that makes me stop and not DO anything but keep talking. (If you know me, then you know I can be a talker. It’s a gift and a curse but, take the good with the bad right?)

This past year and a half has included almost as much personal change for me as the big move three years ago that essentially re-hardwired my entire existence. I started training people in a gym environment (something I had been talking about for YEARS) and realized that I had a passion that I could make a living at simultaneously. But there is something else that I love just as much (sometimes even more) and that’s helping the person build their strength in aspects besides the physical. Helping build the person, all the way around.

But here’s where I’ve gotten hung up, and why this concept of Actively Living Awesome hasn’t left a very small and close circle. Here it goes-

I am not the picture perfect trainer/ coach/ mom/ lifestyle whatever-you-want-to-call-it that you see on social media. I’m not, I don’t want to be, and a filter or two aside on occasion, I’m never going to be. It just isn’t me. I don’t have six-pack abs, I don’t eat clean all day everyday, I barley make it out of the house with my teeth brushed let alone with make up and a matchy-matchy work out ensemble from Lululemon. I wear about 25 “hats” on any given day, and I don’t want to “sell” something that doesn’t feel real and natural to me.

The people that I want to work with are the same way,¬† they want to work together¬† because I have the ability to help them figure out something or accomplish something that they couldn’t do on their own. It does take a village, so let’s build one!

Maybe that something is develop a workout routine that fits in during nap time while still having the time to get housework done and enjoy 10 minutes of quiet. Maybe it’s developing a new habit that will be life changing but seems unattainable. Maybe it’s getting stronger so the monkey bars at the park aren’t just for kids. Maybe it’s just figuring out how to set up the day so at the end of it there’s guilt-free gratitude with a glass of wine for all that is awesome in life. I want to work with these people because it’s what makes me light up, it’s the very best part of what I do. It doesn’t have to be hard, for anyone, but that is what I’ve made it for far too long.

So what is Actively Living Awesome? It’s a space to go for health, fitness and general life tips that help you live YOUR most awesome version of life. That’s it. I can’t tell you much more then that right now, because there is a whole lot of AWESOME going on behind the scenes. But what I can tell you is to expect an authentic, sometimes random, but always honest voice from an imperfect human with a pretty awesome life.

Are you in?

Sara