One of the first sounds of my day today was an excited screaming voice memo from a client who is now credit card debt free. I was as excited as she was and it made me pause and think…
Paying off debt isn’t fun for most people.
Yes. Paying off debt isn’t fun. Most people wouldn’t consider the run I went on this morning fun either.
But my rule is to make it fun! In my book, Put Your Big Girl Panties On, I specifically talk about this with your workout. The most important rule is that you enjoy it. If you don’t, you won’t stick to it and it can have negative effects for your fitness. I even talk about ways to make laundry fun. It’s just the way I think.
Deciding to have fun is a choice. It’s an action. You can make anything fun. Likewise, in your mind, you can decide you’re not going to have fun. And then you know what? You don’t have any fun.
If you can look at it through a different lens, you can purposefully turn up the fun. Many times we think that AFTER we finish something, that’s the time we can have fun. But you don’t have to wait. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’re debt free to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL you’ve lost weight to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL your home is in order to have fun. You don’t have to wait UNTIL the semester is over to have fun.
What we want is a life where we have fun DURING THE JOURNEY. Everytime you pay off a little debt, do a little dance, make a little love and get down that night. Every workout, play your favorite music, dress in cute clothes and do an activity you love. Every meal you eat, have something that makes you smile for it’s natural goodness. Celebrate every shelf or drawer you organize and make pretty. Go to Starbucks or the beach to study, get pretty highlighters and notebooks. Do whatever you can do to make the JOURNEY fun.
It’s kind of like how I got a glass of wine on the airplane on the way to Las Vegas. This was going to be my first vacation with my husband alone since having kids. In fact, it was going to be my first vacation ever. And my first time in Vegas. I didn’t have to wait until I got there to have fun. NOPE. I settled in that seat, ordered the wine and had SO much fun for an hour.
It’s also the way I coach. We’re going to make this fun. Whatever it is, you’re going to enjoy it. You’re going to enjoy our time together and you’ll even enjoy the task at hand. Life is too short to not have fun!
So, here is your challenge:
I want you to think this thought & act out the answer today at least three times:
How can I make this more fun?
So, you’re doing laundry: How can I make this more fun?
You’re cooking dinner: How can I make this more fun?
You’re driving home from work: How can I make this more fun?
You’re doing taxes: How can I make this more fun?
I have a reminder set on my phone that asks this very question every morning at 10am. Here are some ways I make things more fun:
Lists (I’m a nerd)
Talk on the phone with a friend while __
Listen to a podcast
Make it more beautiful
How about you? What can you do to make things more fun today? Trust me, you deserve it!
Today I was chatting with a friend and client and I asked her what things would make her fill the most fulfilled, the most full. We were talking in terms of self care.
As we were brainstorming some things, one thing she mentioned was how having the dishes done for her or even dinner cooked for her by her partner was at the top of the list.
That prompted a discussion on the difference between self care and love languages.
Self care is simply taking care of yourself. A great definition of self care comes from Psych Central:
My definition of self-care is letting yourself do whatever you want to do.
So often we are wrapped up in doing things we have to do rather than want to do. That means taking care of others as well as working and chores. Those are important and necessary tasks of course. Many times, though, we can go all the way through a day without doing a single thing we actually want to do.
What a bummer.
It doesn’t have to be that way of course, though many of us have established habits and patterns that make it that way.
Simply the act of thinking about what you would want to do can be exciting and bewildering all at once. I mean, if we aren’t really doing it, we probably aren’t thinking about it either.
And there came my friend’s original problem as she brainstormed a list for self care. Not having to do something is not really self care. It’s a great start to and something to communicate with to those you love about. A lot.
Many times we don’t ask specifically enough for the help we need from our loved ones. If we are specific, honest and (lovingly, not naggingly) persistent enough, we can almost certainly get help from our loved ones. Love languages are awesome tools for relationships.
But, not doing the dishes isn’t self care. Learning love languages and practicing self care are both healthy parts of adulting and both are commonly missing leaving us anxious, sad, bored and lackluster.
What are your favorite forms of self care? What’s your love language? I’ll tell you about mine, you tell me about yours!
I am 100000% words of affirmation and a little of the others. I sometimes wish it weren’t true, but it’s just me!
My favorite forms of self care are running and reading. That sounds super boring but in my world they’ve become so necessary and so beneficial. Running means I’m on my own, free to think and move and be in nature. As a mom of three, homemaker and entrepreneur those are basically the opposites of my day that involves the have-tos. Likewise, reading requires silence, being still and it’s my way to pour into myself as much as I’m pouring into others. Being still and having quiet are things I desperately want but rarely get.
Most successful people in the world have a successful self-care regimen, they typically include exercise, sleep and reading. You’re a successful person (or at least you’re about to be). What is your self care regimen?
As a person who enjoys fitness and as a personal trainer, I think there are some important variables to a workout. Each variable can be scaled based on your personal circumstance.
First you must enjoy your workout.
Yep, I said that. So, when you’re just starting out, a 10 minute walk might be enjoyable. That’s what I want. I want you to get moving, feel excited, actually be able to accomplish the goal you set for yourself. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2016 confirmed that perceived competence, that is the sense of mastery or winning, is one of the biggest factors in enjoying a workout and, ultimately, sticking to a fitness routine. So, start where you’re at and slowly get better.
Personally, I don’t enjoy workouts that make me feel like I’m going to throw up. I enjoy running, but going too fast or too long is not something I’d enjoy. Ways to increase the enjoyment of your workout is to add music, friends or even scenery. Don’t do a workout you hate. Not only will you probably not stick to it, your mind will continue to grow against the very idea.
You should enjoy your workout. The Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that those who “think fun” while exercising ate less afterwards as opposed to those who focused on the end result of weight loss. Science has shown that folks who enjoy their workouts are more likely to maintain a regular routine. Focus on enjoying your workout and you’ll find more success.
By the way, your workouts will scale as your fitness does, as will the enjoyment factor. I once went to a spinning class that was so slow I didn’t enjoy it. That was just because it was designed for a different level of fitness (and level of calm) than I wanted. If you find yourself less fit than you used to be, it might be wise to not try and jump back in to what you were doing then. Work your way back up, enjoy the journey and give yourself the gift of small victories.
That all being said, there really is just one secret for a perfect workout.
The perfect workout is the one you’ll do.
As I mentioned, there’s no one way to get fit. There’s no exact right way to do it. You just have to challenge your body. Consistently. The best way to do that is to find a workout that you actually enjoy and want to do. You don’t have to lift weights. You don’t have to run. You don’t have to do CrossFit. So give up on the notion that your fitness has to be on someone else’s terms. Find a few things you enjoy and challenge your body with them daily.
My girls are watching Saturday morning cartoons, My Little Pony to be exact. I heard something about “Elements if Harmony,” and being the nerd I am, it piqued my curiosity.
Or maybe it’s just that I am not feeling harmonious at the moment. I worked too many hours, my husband’s been gone and off the grid all week, the kids finished school this week and I did not eat well last night so my gut is wrenched in pain this morning.
Yeah, not harmonious.
So, I of course Googled the ponies and what their elements of harmony are.
It made me think about what my elements of harmony are. Then I realized, I already knew, I’d come up with them years ago! They were just hiding as goal sets.
Faith is the first element of harmony for me. Have you ever heard of the Israelite cycle? I mean, that’s not the technical term, but I’m no theologian. The Israelite cycle refers to how we read the Old Testament and watch the Israelites come back to God, and everything’s so good and awesome. Then they go back to serving idols and sin. Things get worse and worse until they finally turn back to God. And then poof! Things are good again. We see it from a distance and think, they’re kind of dense. How can they not see this cycle?
We have the same cycles in our lives though, I know I certainly do. Every once in a while I’ll wonder why things seem so hard lately. Not just regular hard, but swimming-upstream-holding-a-baby-hard. Where it seems like it’s coming from every angle and it just doesn’t make sense (it’s almost laughable) how hard things are.
That’s usually about the time I realize I’ve stopped leaning on God like I need to. When I realize I’ve been trying to do it alone. I realize my faith is out of harmony. When I hook back up to my power source, things don’t necessarily get instantly better, but my ability to handles them certainly does. In fact, it’s like poof! My entire perspective and attitude are different. And it’s like 🤦♀️. Shana, you’re just like the Israelites, minus golden calves.
Next up is family. I’ll tell you, even as a stay at home mom, this one being in second place is tough. It’s tough because sometimes I put it first and then I fall wearily flat on my face. It’s also tough because as an entrepreneur I can sometimes put other things before my family (mostly my marriage) but also enjoying my family. I’ve learned to keep them in this order, in priority, in order to keep harmony.
That’s not to say I’m a maid on call all the time. It just means I make sure I’m present with my family when we are together. It means I prioritize the when and the way I spend time with them. It means the home they live in and the food they eat are a priority too. Things that make my family feel out of harmony are:
Being in separate places in the world. This is inevitable as a military family. And I do enjoy affording my kids the opportunity to go elsewhere and learn and be with others. But I just don’t sleep as well as I do when they’re all in my house.
An unclean home. I’m NOT OCD trust me. But I realized I can’t truly relax and enjoy my family if the home isn’t in decent order. I don’t spend more than 30 minutes most days on upkeep, it it’s a definite priority. And my family helps. We have a work hard, play hard philosophy. And none of us are quite at the top of our games if the home isn’t cleanish.
Quality time ain’t happening. When we are rushed, when we are all in our own little worlds, that’s when I feel out of harmony. I’m an only child, so I relish my alone time. However, we are a family. And we do things together as a family. On purpose, not according to other people’s agendas. So, if we aren’t doing that, I feel off.
Fitness encompasses my mental health, my rest and, duh, my physical fitness. I’ve finally learned, after all these years, that this is such an important priority. I walk into the gym a lion, I come out like a lamb. It makes me a better mother, wife and overall human.
When I get enough rest, I literally feel like I can take on the whole world. I’m pretty stubborn about my ten minute cat naps in the afternoon. Not because I’m lazy but because it’s like a brain reset each day. I get up less stressed, more focused and rejuvenated.
Likewise, going to the mental gym is a big one for me. Putting good things in my brain, thinking about big ideas, how I can improve myself, self-correcting if I’m being mean to myself are all part of getting my mind right.
Somewhere along the road, I apparently adopted the idea that being a married, adult woman with three kids meant I wasn’t allowed to do things I like to do. I know that sounds crazy and younger me needed therapy. But I bent my will so hard for everyone else, I rarely did just what I wanted to do in my late 20s and earlier 30s.
In my book I write about my nap time epiphany. I’ll tell you, once I took some time to just do me and what I wanted to do, I noticed immediately it was like a baptism of joy. Like, whoa! It completely changed the game and now I now if I don’t get time for fun (doing what I want to do) and friends (this is another f word, but I tuck it in fun) then things are definitely out of harmony. My husband knows this too, he’s seen the reward of a Shana who’s had some fun. So he is always gracious about letting this pony run. (Pam Tillis)
I definitely have to work hard for fun. In fact, of all of them, it’s probably the one I struggle with the most, even though I know the rewards. It’s another cycle, one best described by T-Boz.
Every now and then, I get a little easy,
I let a lot of people depend on me
When I force myself to have some fun, it all comes back into balance. I have standing dates with friends like weekly coffee. I have once a month friend dates prescheduled because if I don’t, I won’t. But I need to.
For me, finances are all about work and money. I have an entrepreneurial heart. I love my work. So much that I would put it all the way at the top. I’ve never had a job I didn’t like. I’ve been working since I was 14. I’ve had like ten different careers. It’s fine. I’m working on it. I remember a few years into our marriage, my husband went off to training for a few months. I had just landed my dream job (at that time). I got to build our training program from scratch. And I got to pick my team. Y’all, I was in heaven. It was glorious. I was working 12-14 hour days. Because I wanted to. There was no requirement. There was no deadline. No one even knew I was working that much! Except my husband. He came home and was like…Shana, this is not normal. It was a first of many red flags. God certainly gave me Chris to help me figure out how to balance this fire I have inside. I have a really hard time just relaxing. Or just being. Or staying still in the home I pay a lot of money for. Slowly, he has helped me try to find some balance with my ambition and my priorities. On the contrary though, if I’m not working on something I feel passionate about I’ll also feel out of balance. I’ll look like Branch from Trolls.
That was another hard fought lesson for me. I’ve gone back and forth with work since becoming a mom. I think we all probably do. I’ve learned that I’m in harmony when my family comes first but I am also doing work that lights me up.
The other part of finances for me is security. Dave Ramsey says women like to feel secure when it comes to finances and he is right. It’s like the day when I go grocery shopping and my pantry is full and my fridge is full, I feel SO GOOD. How weird is that? Like, I can go to the grocery store any day. For some reason, having loads of food at home, ready to nourish my family makes me feel secure!
And so it is with my finances. When money is out of whack, I feel out of harmony. On the contrary, when we know where our money is going and those places are in alignment with our family goals, I feel good!
So those are my elements of harmony (we typically hear this as “balance” these days).
What are yours? Did any of that ring true for you too?
If you liked this post, please comment & share!
Attempting to achieve harmony without systems is futile. Listen to me as a recovering stubborn system refuser. I’ll be leading 10 women through a 90 day mastermind planning group where we will attempt I get all of that 👆🏻out of heart and into a plan. Join us, it will help you. It’s only for 90 days, what do you have to lose?
The secret to confidence is very simple: repetition that is non-negotiable. Confidence = repetition without excuses.
For example, when my husband and I got married, I was good at cooking exactly three things: spaghetti (from a jar), pizza rolls and baked potatoes. Those were the things I was really good at cooking, those were my food groups. Flash forward over a decade and now I am pretty decent at cooking. At the very least no one has been poisoned yet and most of the time they eat whatever I put on the table.
There was nothing special to that magical change. You know the sayings “trial by fire” or “trial by error?” I did both, many times. Caught food on fire, smoked us out of the house, spit out what I was making other people eat and threw it in the trash can. Fire and error. Lots of fire and error. Now I am pretty confident those things won’t happen because of repetition that was non-negotiable. Cooking or preparing food was non-negotiable then because we needed to eat and sometimes we were too broke to eat out. I had to cook, we had to eat. Eventually we were too overweight to eat out or to eat crappy food any longer. I had to cook healthier food, we had to eat healthier.
So, I cooked everyday. That’s what gave me confidence in cooking. Very simple. Now I have more food groups than spaghetti, pizza rolls and baked potatoes. I am very proud of that upgrade.
The same formula applied for how I became a confident runner. Repetition that was non-negotiable. This worked on two levels. While I was in the Air Force, they made me run. So I got better at it because it was certainly repeated and non-negotiable, but only in spurts. I never felt truly good at running though, more just able to not die when doing it. I didn’t feel confident, I did not feel that running was fun. Eventually I got even more serious and I made a plan. For example, “I am going to run one mile every other day.” That was my non-negotiable plan.
What non-negotiable means you’re going to set a goal and not let any excuses stop you from meeting that goal. Literally breaking my leg would have been the only acceptable excuse for not running one mile every other day. Once I did that, I noticed that I found afternoon/evening runs more enjoyable and easier to get through. That was like a little step on the path to success. So I learned that, I added it in to my confidence building.
I also learned that if I didn’t wear leggings I was either going to spend the entire run pulling shorts down and/or chaffing. So now I always wear leggings. Add that into the confidence, the stairway to success. Then, before I knew it, I was an experienced, confident runner just based on the simple formula of repetition that was non-negotiable.
Now I help others gain confidence in running. This girl, who used to get mad at the downhill slope because it made me run faster and I just couldn’t muster that kind of energy, now leads others to be better runners.
You can improve any number of things using this awesomely simple formula: public speaking, a software program at work, a relationship, praying, putting an outfit together, sewing, changing your car’s oil or driving on Highway 98. For example, with public speaking, make yourself practice in front of people daily or weekly until you get better at it. Start small with just your family or a close friend. Then maybe move on to a church group or committee at work. The simple act of DOING without allowing excuses to stop you will make you a better and more confident public speaker.
Likewise, when we moved from Alaska to Florida, learning to drive on 98 was a steep learning curve. So fast, so many turnarounds, so much traffic. The more I did it, however, the more confident I became. Now instead of waiting forever, I can judge the time between cars well, I know that a full U-turn rather than trying to cross the highway all at once is my style. I also know all the back ways through town, just saying. I’m not going to go as far as to say I am fully confident in driving 98, but I am at least more confident.
So, the secret to confidence is repetition that is non-negotiable. Think about something you want to gain confidence in and make a plan. Remember, whatever excuses you think you have, someone else also has those excuses but they are making it happen anyway. You have the power to get confidence in whatever area you feel you’re lacking using repetition and making it non-negotiable. Do not let yourself talk you out of it.
I get a kick out of every time I hear someone say “I hate running.” They say it as if I couldn’t understand-you know because I’m a RUNNER. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. My running story started in high school when I hung out in track/cross country like a FOOL. I was so awful at running.
Same story at BMT. I had six weeks of prep and I pretty much died on that last two mile test or whatever it was. I think I barely made the cutoff. Fast forward a few years and I’d go out walking on the golf course/listening to music at night. After weeks of that-maybe months?-I realized my legs were ready to run. Like they were not being challenged enough.
Thus began my running-on-purpose career (which has still had lots of ups and downs).
Some running anecdotes:
One time it took me 17:42 to run a mile and a half (almost 12 minute mile).
I ran over 9 miles this year, each at a 9:15 pace. Up hills and such.
I was so out of shape one run I remember being MAD at a DOWNHILL slope because it was making me move faster.
My legs eagerly speed up each time they sense an increase in grade (a hill). Yes, I run faster uphill now. And I like it.
Okay…so now that you maybe believe that I used to hate running too, maybe you’ll let me help you! Running CAN be enjoyable, therapeutic, meditative, spiritual even. But if you push yourself TOO hard you probably won’t experience it that way.
Here are my running tips, all very obvious as that’s how my advice tends to be (sorry!)
-The more often you run, the easier it is to run.
-The fastest/cheapest way to lose weight is running. The fastest way to get better at running is to lose weight. Win/win.
-Stop worrying about time. It really doesn’t matter. Instead, listen to your body. Warm up at a “leisurely” pace for a few minutes-up to half of your distance goal-and then push yourself a bit harder. Think of yourself as a horse in the gate, waiting to be let free. If you restrain yourself at the beginning of your run, you’ll have confidence, breathing control and energy to push hard at the end.
-Start small. If you’re new to it-run 2 minutes or a half a mile three times one week. Then add to your time/distance the next week.
-Just do it. Yeah, it takes some people and hour to get ready for a run. I try to have as little time between the decision to run and the actual run so that I don’t have time to talk myself or of it OR to psych myself out. Just do it. A 1 mile run is 9-12 minutes of you life. Period. So just go do it!
-Don’t make excuses. Your mind will come up with all kinds of them. Don’t listen. Run anyway. Every time. No matter what.
-Don’t stop. Some people like that Galloway walk/run stuff. If that works for you and you’re making progress, keep doing that! For me personally, stopping is both physically and mentally defeating. I’d rather finish at a snail’s pace than walk. My legs seem to instantly lose their fluidity and become dead weights if I stop. And mentally I’ll beat myself up if I don’t hit my goal (make sure those goals are realistic).
-Last tip: no negative self talk. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. Be your own best cheerleader! Believe in yourself. Set your mind to it and you CAN do it.
-Nature’s home-brewed opiates, endorphins are chemicals that act a lot like their medically engineered counterpart, morphine.
-Push yourself – hard, but not too hard. Endorphins are painkillers produced in response to physical discomfort. A short, casual run likely won’t produce enough discomfort to trigger a rush. Attempt a pace or distance that’s too aggressive, and you’ll possibly be too overwhelmed by the effort to feel good.
-Your body also pumps out endocannabinoids, which are a naturally synthesized version of THC, the chemical responsible for the buzz that marijuana produces.
I’ve had so much fun running the Double Bridge Run the last few years I decided to sign up my husband and talk as many friends into it as I could. Now the “race” is four days away and I feel slightly bad as the forecast calls for Saturday, race day, to be the coldest of the week. For me, music is one of the most important components to working out and running. So, I am hoping to make up for it by sharing a few of kick-butt playlists. The catch is I don’t listen to very much modern radio so my playlists are a little throwback. Maybe there’s some goodies you forgot about?
What are your favorite songs to run/workout with?
Running with the Devil by Van Halen
Break on Through by The Doors
Temporary One by Fleetwood Mac
Paradise City by Guns N Roses
Detroit Rock City by Kiss
Ten Thousand Fists by Disturbed
Barracuda by Heart
Ace of Spades by Motorhead
Wild Side by Motley Crue
Fuel by Metallica
No Sleep til Brooklyn by Beastie Boys
Whatever by Godsmack
Not Falling by Mudvayne
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
Bat Country by Avenged Sevenfold
I Saw the Light by Wynona
Boondocks by Little Big Town
The Call of the Wild by Aaron Tippin
Mountain Music by Alabama
Mercury Blues by Alan Jackson
Hard Workin’ Man by Brooks & Dunn
Good Run of Bad Luck by Clint Black
Piece of my Heart by Faith Hill
Ain’t Going Down Til the Sun Comes Up by Garth Brooks
Sold The Grundy County Auction by John Michael Montgomery
Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
The Bug by Mary-Chapin Carpenter
Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie by Michael Peterson
Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life) by Pam Tillis
The Race is On by Sawyer Brown
Come Baby Come by K7
It’s Tricky by Run DMC
The Warrior by Scandal
I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett
Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J
Too Legit to Quit by MC Hammer
Should I stay or Should I go by The Clash
We Got the Beat by The Go-Gos
One Way or Another by Blondie
Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf
Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson
Wannabe by Spice Girls
Karma Chameleon by Boy George and The Culture Club
Back in Black by AC/DC
Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Knicks
Newish Stuff I Just Happen to know and love
I Lived by OneRepublic
Centuries by Fall Out Boy feat. Juicy J
Fight Song by Rachel Platten
Hall of Fame by The Script
Long Black Road by
Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys
Ex’s & Ohs by Elle King
Where Them Girls At by David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida
Here are my pre/post run moves. We all have creaky parts that we have to pay special attention to so your routine might not match up to mine. But we absolutely SHOULD be stretching after a run. Research kind of indicates stretching before a workout can mess with your performance. However, dynamic movements like the pre run moves I do are totally legit.