Put Your Big Girl Panties On!

At last! I can say that Put Your Big Girl Panties On is published! Hooray!

What’s it all about?

PUT YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES ON IS A SELF-DO BOOK FOR WOMEN WHO ARE READY TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES BUT HAVEN’T QUITE FIGURED OUT HOW YET. Does it seem like adulting as a woman should’ve come with a training manual? Well, now you’ve got one. In this down-to-earth and funny how-to guide, coach Shana will let you know you’re not alone, help you feel understood and give you some practical tips on how to move forward in the areas of life that are holding you back like:

  • Anxiety
  • Negative self-talk
  • Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Time management
  • Home organization
  • Personal finance
  • Motherhood
  • Marriage
  • and much more!

Put Your Big Girl Panties on will give you applicable questions, exercises, and advice from someone just like you. It will feel like a conversation at a coffee shop, filled with knowing glances and giggles. It will give you a safe space to feel the things you’re feeling while also coaching you ever closer to a better version of you. You see, one thing is absolutely 100% true. No one else is going to come along and magically save you. You are the hero of your own story. You are the one that is going to make your best life possible. You are going to show up for yourself, you are going to solve your own problems. And you’re going to feel really confident and satisfied when you do. You’re going to save yourself. Let’s go.

Put your big girl panties on

Be the river, not the rock

Be the river, not the rock. It’s one of my favorite sayings. It’s one of my favorite things to coach on. But, what does it mean?

When it comes to any part of our lives (relationships, schedules, changes, etc.), we can choose to be the river or the rock.

The river flows around the hard rock. The river is loosey-goosey. It keeps moving in the same direction, undeterred by immoveable, stubborn obstacles or objects. It finds a way. It breezes by, over, around or underneath. The river yields to the rock.

The rock, on the other hand, is unmoving. It’s stubborn. It’s hard. It’s stuck. It refuses to give. It stays put and watches the river flow right by.

In our lives this can look like “going with the flow” in social settings. It can look like shrugging off changes and things we can’t control. It can look like being mobile, spontaneous and creative to help individual or team efforts.

Or it can look like being rigid and refusing to give up ground in an argument. It can look like “my way or the highway.” It can look like only sticking to the predetermined course of action. It can look like refusing to try something new, to change or to develop other ideas. It can look like “sticking to your guns” even when the evidence suggests otherwise.

Clearly we want to be the river. Being the river is much easier. It actually takes less effort to be light and go around than it does to stay stuck and entrenched and unmoving. That’s hard work.

In the end, the river eventually cuts through the rock anyway. Slowly but surely. So, stick with the way of the river.

Make your life easier w/ a Capsule Wardrobe

When you go to get dressed, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. In a life full of decisions, that can be unnecessary roughness (#iknowthingsaboutfootball) that you don’t need in your life.

A capsule wardrobe is one solution to your too-many-decisions.

The idea behind a capsule wardrobe is that your entire wardrobe could potentially fit into one suitcase. Some people take it down to 30ish items. The capsule wardrobe comes from fashion designer Susie Faux who grew up with parents and grandparents who were tailors. She had a desire to help women gain confidence and style using her unique approach. She defined the capsule wardrobe like this:


The basic idea is simple: by building a capsule wardrobe you will buy fewer clothes of a higher quality that you will wear more often. You will look and feel confident and successful because the quality will show and because you know that the overall look works.


I’m here to tell you it works! I have worked her magic and gone from hot mess to confident every time I get dressed. Moreover, I’ve lost the clutter and decision anxiety that comes from our normal way of doing clothes. Personally, I have 30 hangars filled with things I love and the only other clothing I have other than underthings are four pairs of shorts and my workout (work) clothes. I’ve even simplified and capsuled those as well.

Designer Donna Karan and Faux were both inspired by career women and their desire to look polished and put together, but not necessarily in a suit. Fast forward to today, I think every woman wants to feel that way, according to their own unique style. It’s hard, sometimes, to do that when there is such a variety in your closet. Personally, I couldn’t see straight to develop my own style until I paired it way down.

A capsule wardrobe is like Garanimals (the tops and bottoms with animals on their tags at Walmart that all mix and match together) for adults. It’s a smaller wardrobe that is compiled of pieces that are classic items like pants, skirts and tops along with seasonal and trendy pieces that all go together. The items in your capsule wardrobe are all things you love to wear but also things that easily mix and match together to make many different outfits. 

But why would you get rid of so many clothes? Because doing so allows you to reduce clutter and focus on what you really love. These items help you to reduce every day decision anxiety and also ensure you look and feel like a million bucks. You see everything in that photo below? It all goes together and it all makes me feel amazing!

Everyone will do the capsule wardrobe differently. I’ve got this worksheet to help you brainstorm! To use the worksheet, first do the journaling. Then go through what you’ve got and plan your pieces. You might need to pick up a few things. Finally, plan your outfits. Then reduce your wardrobe and your decisions! If you want to get really fancy, take photos of you in your outfits and put them in your closet like I did with the girls.

Tell me what you come up with!

Outside in or inside out ?

It occurred to me on my run this morning that so many of us are trying to cure things from the outside in rather than the inside out.

  • We’re trying to change what we eat. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to change what we spend money on. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to change a loved one’s behaviour. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to watch Netflix so we don’t have to feel the anxiety. Outside in.
  • We’re trying to run off the weekend’s calories (was that just me?). Outside in.

I was thinking about this because I realized earlier this morning that I’ve felt like I was inside a tornado for the last several months. While I’ve been reaching out to the things that usually sustain me, I feel that I’m not totally connected with them. This goes for my faith, my fitness and even my relationships. So, I told God all about it (as if he didn’t know) this morning and I’m ready to feel differently.

So, why is the inside out better? Because when we heal from the inside out, the external things become extraneous. They become byproducts.

  • Practice solitude, thinking about thoughts. Less anxiety, more peace. Inside out.
  • Practice gratitude, feel content, no need for binge spending. Inside out.
  • Do things that bring you joy, less desire to find it in food. Filled with joy, not with sugar. Inside out.
  • Practice self-love & focus on self-improvement. Increased compassion, less trying to control others. Inside out.

I mean, the truth is we can’t control the external things anyway. So, today, let’s make sure that our actions are helping us reach our goals from the inside out. Have a great week!

Alone time

What if real solitude is the answer to all of our anxiety and depression problems?

What if it really was that simple?

You’re never alone. You’ve got a million voices in your pocket or hand right now. Yes, we’re blaming the phone again (boring!). The phone keeps us constantly engaged, whether we realize it or not. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver the satisfaction we desire. No, it doesn’t leave us feeling refreshed, rejuvenated or even rested.

But it’s not just the phones. According to best selling author & professor Cal Newport:

The human brain requires regular periods of “solitude” in which it is alone with its own thoughts and observing the world around it.

When are you alone with your own thoughts? Not often. Most likely, you’re either never alone or alone with other peoples thoughts. Others people’s thoughts come from your kids, your coworkers, your Netflix and your Facebook.

Solitude is time you can recharge. It’s time your brain can rest and process. Most of us don’t have any practice of being alone with our own thoughts…even our sleep has been invaded by technology!

Not surprisingly, anxiety and depression rates are up in every age group. NO WONDER! We’re running around trying to meet all the demands and needs of others. Running on empty or false pleasures. Then we check out with some tv or some candy crush. I told my client yesterday: of course she was anxious. Looking at the circumstances she was under, you’d be abnormal not to be anxious. Her brain, and your brain, isn’t getting rest and it isn’t being heard.

Yes, your brain isn’t being heard. One of the reasons life coaching (what I do) and journaling are increasing in popularity is because it’s giving us time and space to use our own brains again and to get our thoughts out of our heads. It seems like there is no time or space for that anymore. Am I right?

But your brain is like a supercomputer! It can solve your problems. It comes up with really creative ideas. Deep inside your own brain are your complex emotions and desires that are desperate to be recognized. We’re just not giving it the time and space it needs.

And I know many folks share this problem. So what is the solution?

What if it really was that hard?

Several years ago I tried taking a bath without a book or without my phone. I was given the challenge of five minutes. Even though I get lots of time to myself, this was tough! I couldn’t believe how tough it was. My mind was addicted to input!

Incorporating time into your day where you can think and process your own thoughts while simultaneously shutting out other input is so important. I challenge you to give yourself space to process. Time to deal and cope and dream and solve. Free from every other influence.

Now, this is easier said than done for most of you. Your schedule is busy, your phone is always in your hand and your kids are always pulling on you. Do it anyway. Carve out at least five minutes to begin your solitude practice. Interestingly enough, solitude does not mean a hike into the mountains alone. Not necessary! Check out what Cal Newport has to say:

You can find solitude in a busy train car or a coffee shop, or wherever. I am slightly nervous about this re-definition (it seems to me that being truly alone has a ton of value), but I am also attracted to this idea that you don’t necessarily have to be alone to be with your thoughts, you just have to be free from input.

How can you do that? Here are five ways to get started this weekend:

  • A 10 minute walk without your phone or headphones.
  • Take a bath without anything to read or do.
  • Stretch for five minutes first thing in the morning. No lights, no sounds. Just you: quiet, alone & stretching.
  • Fill a page with your thoughts each day. Even if you can’t think of anything, just write “I can’t think of anything. This is dumb.” It’ll get easier. Do it alone, maybe in the car at the beginning of soccer practice or before you head into the office. You can do it alone with your first cup of coffee. This is called a brain dump or though download and it will be a total game changer.
  • Find a place to watch the sunset or sunrise. It doesn’t have to be the beach (that would be bonus points). It can be your backyard or it can be a nearby park. Check the time of the sunset. Then get alone and take in the beauty!

With all of these practices, you will need to schedule it on your calendar and you’ll need to let those who are in your life know it’s what is happening. Set the expectation. And perhaps encourage them to do the same. I’m giving you permission to take time to be alone. Your brain requires it. It’s OKAY. It’s allowed. It’s necessary.

Comment below which practice you’re going to try or what you’re already doing!

Make it rain!

Did you know studies show that you spend about 12-18% less money when you use cash? When you use cash your brain emotionally registers the pain of saying goodbye to your money. One study at McDonald’s showed that folks spent 42% more! When you can use a card at a vending machine, it’s $178 more!

MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon teamed up to do a bunch of MRIs and research on the issue. Brain imaging studies can see the pain centers of the brain being activated when you use cash. They are not activated when you use plastic.

So, use cash. Not just because I said too, but because science did too. It’s basically a guaranteed way to save money! That’s why I send my clients gifs like this almost everyday!

Make it rain.

Now, I also suggest you use an envelope system when budgeting. When you make your budget (or I help you), we will identify which categories will work best for envelopes.

When you pull that money out in envelopes, you know those categories are taken care of. That gives you peace of mind! If you’ve got money in your envelope for food until your next check or the next month, you’re going to rest easier. If you’ve got gas money or kid haircut money set aside, you don’t have to worry when that expense comes up. Moreover, you don’t have to worry that you’ll accidentally get spend it when it’s sitting in your bank account.

So, based on your budget, create envelopes for the items that would be well suited for cash. That would be really nice to know are covered each month. Then, pull that cash out each pay period as necessary and put it in the envelopes. You’ll have to plan your purchases so that you take cash with you. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it! The money in the envelopes is only for that category. If you have some leftover each month, great! You are an amazing budgeter. 😉 You can either change the amount next month, spend it on something nice for you & your goals, put it toward debt or leave it in and take out less the next pay period.

There are many negatives people come up with when it comes to the envelope system. Some of them may be valid-ish. However, we’re not trying to be “smart” here. We’re trying to form discipline, be really wise and make new habits. We’re trying to modify behavior. It’s like why we want you to stick to an exercise program when you’re trying to get in shape. We’re not going to be willy nilly, we have a plan for a reason!

So, you may not need envelopes forever but we’re going to use them, inconveniences and all, until we get a real hold on budgeting and make great progress toward goals.

If you need help creating a budget and implementing the envelope system, click the work with me button up top and let’s get started!

Why & How I wake up at 5am + my 3 secret weapons to do it!

I get a lot of comments about my 5am wake ups. Some are negative, some are positive. So, today let’s talk about the why & the how. And then I’ll tell you the 3 secret strategies I use to make it happen.

Okay, so why do I get up so early?

A long time ago I realized that while relaxing at night and staying up a little late made me FEEL like I was finally getting time to myself, it was actually sabotaging me. Staying up late meant I would wake up late or wake up early (kiddos!) and be cranky. Then I’d start a daily cycle of not-so-greatness. Which, of course, would require the desperate need to have that time at the end of the day.

So, what was I doing during that time? Probably watching shows, playing games. At best, taking a bath and reading. Definitely drinking some of that time and sometimes snacking.

When I decided to try and get up early, I realized I was trading my “me” time in for an upgraded version.

So, when I get up early it does require I go to bed earlier. However, when I get up, I start the day with me time. That proves to myself that I’m worth it. It also means I’m not starting the day reactive. My kids used to be my alarm clock. That made me cranky and even kind of resentful.

So, I start the day with some me time. That means that by the time the DAY requires me, I’ve done something nice for myself and the day is now on my terms.

Energy at night is restorative. So, we definitely need to do something relaxing and restoring. Interestingly enough, most of our evening activities don’t fit that bill (we are just checking out most of the time). While we need the relaxing time at night, I find the morning time to be better for my soul and my overall mood. Morning energy is productive. That goes for you “non-morning-people” too.

Getting up early and doing what you want to do is being productive, intentional and owning your day. That’s opposed to being cranky, late and reactive. It’s like a present to yourself. The soft, quiet, still time in the morning is so amazing and contrasts our busy, hectic world beautifully.

Okay, so what are my secret weapons?

  1. The sun. When we lived in Alaska we had room darkening curtains. Nowadays I don’t use curtains at all in my bedroom (backed up to woods). The sun will wake you up (this requires a bit of habit building) naturally. This is what we refer to when we talk about the circadian rhythm. Your body is designed to rise with the sun. Unfortunately, the way we live now doesn’t allow for that as well. If you live in a place that isn’t ambushed by fake lights (street lights, night lights), try using the sun and moonlight to help you rise and shine. During the winter I had to struggle bus out of bed sometimes because I didn’t have the sun on my side. Nowadays, the sun is waking me (naturally and slowly) before 5 because we live so close to the EST timeline.
  2. The alarm clock. Okay, so I actually don’t use an alarm clock. I’ve always had this weird ability to tell myself when to wake up. And as long as I wasn’t hungover or sick, it worked. However, I do advise my clients to put their alarm clock across the room. Yes, that old trick that you have to get out of bed in order to turn it off. Well, you’re up, might as well stay up! Now, I have three caveats to that! First, I want you to have a mantra ready to say during that long trek from your bed to your dresser. Examples I use are “I am going to feel so great in an hour” “I won’t be so sleepy in ten minutes” “It’s totally worth it to stay up.” Whatever you think will work for you, practice it now. Then have it ready for repeat when the alarm goes off. My second caveat is that if you use your phone for an alarm, download an app that lets you record your own alarm sound. Then record your mantra a few times in a row and set it as your alarm sound. My last caveat–whatever you’re hoping to accomplish when you get up, make it super easy for when you do get up. My husband programs the coffee to be ready by the time he gets up so he can have it asap. My bible and journal are steps away from where I brush my teeth. My friends have their tennis shoes and clothes set out at the foot of the bed so they can roll right into them. Make it easy!
  3. Energize. This last one is kind of a cheat. Since moving to Virginia, sometimes I need a little boost in the morning. Now, I’ve never taken a pre-workout before. I’m naturally, annoyingly energetic. But the friends of mine who have tried it have told me they loved it and loved that it didn’t make them jittery at all. In fact, to me, it gives you a kind-of giddy motivation high. People are nice when they have energize-including me. So, if it’s rough day I do take energize before my workout and it really helps me out.

In case you’re wondering, my morning routine looks like this:

  • Read, journal & pray @ 5:15
  • Music / Meditation / Plan day @ 5:30
  • Workout @ 6

If you’d like any help, you know we can work together until you find your sweet spot! I’m here to help. Click that button, top right, work with me!

Why you shouldn’t pay all of your debt off at once

When a former fitness client of mine (and friend) signed up for financial coaching I was ECSTATIC! I love her, I’ve always loved working with her. I knew it was going to be great.

On our first session, she showed up and had some great news!

She’d put $50 extra on a credit card and $50 extra on student loans! She looked at me expectantly.

At first, on the inside, this was my reaction.

As a coach, though, I knew that this was super important! It showed how motivated she was, which is absolutely priceless.

BUT!

What I explained to her is that we want to always put extra on the smallest debt. Why? Because that allows us get the most bang for our buck (literally). You see, if we can knock out that first little debt, then we have more to put toward the next largest debt. And then the next one and the next one. That’s the snowball effect.

When we spread our money around, we make slow progress which is bound to cause us to fail. Why? Because we’re human! Seeing progress is what motivates us! When it’s a little here, a little there, you not only keep paying interest on each different type of debt, you never can throw larger sums at any one debt.

Becoming debt free is more about your behavior than your knowledge. It’s kind of like how you already know that you need to stop eating so much Chick Fil A. It’s kind of like you already know you should be exercising. It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you’re doing.

And what you’re doing needs to be strategic.

My client now has a strategic, month-by-month plan to be debt free by next September! That’s $12,710 in debt and she’s making just over double that. Yes, we have a plan! That’s what coaching can do for you.

I help you create a realistic budget (I know you’re still going to eat at chick fil a) and debt payoff plan. We look at the numbers together. Then, I help you until you are totally able and confident to do it on your own.

It’s that simple. Want to get started? Click up top right: work with me!

What your kids really want

Happy Father’s Day everyone. I want to share a really powerful story my coach told me recently. I’ve been sharing it with my friends recently and it’s all hit them pretty hard, so I know it’s ready for you.

I want you to think about how much you want for your kids. You want them to be happy. You want them to be successful. You want them to avoid pain. You want to give them opportunities. You want to make sure they feel loved and you want to make sure they are safe.

You want a lot for them, don’t you?

Now, let’s consider what all that wanting for them means. It probably means you’re busy, you’re stressed and you’re anxious trying to do for them. You’re probably weighing mom guilt and feeling stretched thin trying to do for them.

But what do your kids really want? More than all you’re doing “for them?”

Your kids just want YOU to be happy.

Yes, they see you sad, distracted, anxious. They just want their mommy to be happy. They probably try so hard to do things to make you happy, don’t they?

Yes, your kids just want you to be happy. They just desperately want to see you happy, laughing and carefree more than anything else.

All of this toil we go through and the one thing they really want is for you to be happy. Then they can really be happy.

What’s more, then they have a model to follow. If they don’t learn from you how to be happy, they won’t know either.

So, I want you to stop and think about that today as we celebrate Fathers. (Sorry Dads) How can you as a parenting team model happiness but also give your kids the peace that they can only get from having parents that are happy.

Fund the future

I’ve been coaching women for years but I just got certified as a financial coach last month. I’ve been working with two clients to implement budgets and eliminate debt since March.

$6655 is how much debt my two clients have paid off since March!! Isn’t that so cool? It’s their victory but I’m celebrating it like it’s mine! 

That’s because seeing those numbers is very motivating. My clients use this printable to keep it front and center in their homes so they stay motivated and focused. It tracks their total debt number as they pay it down. For my part, I’m tracking how much they pay off. As that number rises, I get more and more excited! As the number they’re tracking goes down, they get more and more excited.

Why?

Because the money you earn each month can either be funding your future or paying for the past. I think it’s more fun and definitely more freeing to fund the future! If you’ve got debt, you’re paying for the past. I don’t know about you, but don’t want to be working out of obligation of a debt owed. I would rather my money and my hard work be for something in my future, something I want for me or for my family. Not only does that keep the dreams alive, it puts a little pep in my work step.

Let me help you figure it out with a budget makeover & debt payoff plan!! Get started now.