Women’s Fitness and How It Must Change

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I look at fitness and how I want to train myself. I’ve been thinking about the whole fitness world and our society as a whole. And I have allowed myself to dream.

Will you come along with me as we dream together??

Let’s dream together of a world where women are confident in themselves and their bodies.

I know it is really hard to think about because we have all been trained by our society to think of the ideal female form as really thin, almost waif-like. This ‘ideal’ woman has a body that is near impossible to achieve without constant dieting and sadistic amounts of exercise. And then since it is nearly impossible to achieve women get stuck in a downward spiral of trying to achieve this body and then constantly failing. Eventually, women just quit trying all the while still yearning for that perfect body.

What if…

What if we gave up on what society was trying to tell us?

What if we acknowledged that our bodies are amazing and strong?

What IF we ate well and exercised because we LOVED our bodies, not because we hated them??

That raises a few questions, doesn’t it?

How can we move from believing our bodies are horrible and hating them to believing our bodies are amazing and loving them?

I have a few ideas….

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!

“She is Clothed With STRENGTH and DIGNITY…” (Proberbs 31:25)

That is what our Creator said about our bodies. That is not what society says.

Which one do you think we should believe?

I, for one, CHOOSE to believe what my Creator has to say about His handiwork.

I am STRONG.

I am SPECIAL.

I am DIGNIFIED.

I am LOVED.

Keep repeating that to yourself as many times as it takes for you to believe it.

Forget about the scale.

I would say at some point we have all been slaves to the scale.

How often do you weigh yourself? Bi-Weekly? Weekly? Daily? Morning and Evening?

How do you feel when you weigh yourself? Awesome or Defeated? And how is your mood after you weigh yourself?

Goodness, it is crazy how much we allow that crazy piece of equipment to determine our moods and emotions.

Do we find our worth in a scale or elsewhere?

If you are following along with Number One above you know that scale has absolutely ZERO authority over your worth.

Z…E…R…O…!!!

There are also all kinds of factors that go into your weight. The scale does not differentiate between fat, muscle, and essential organs.

You could actually carry a lot of muscle, therefore registering a high number on the scale, and assume you need to lose a ton of weight. The reality could be that you don’t need to lose that much FAT after all.

Forget the scale.

It is not your friend.

Chunk it.

Focus on Goals

You’ve ditched the scale, right?

So, how can you track your progress?

GOALS.

Tangible, quantifiable goals.

And, a certain number on the scale does not count.

Pick fitness goals. Run a 5K. Run a marathon. Finish an obstacle race or mud run. Set strength/lifting goals.

Pick something awesome.

Pick something that seems impossible. Break it down into achievable steps. And dive into achieving those goals.

And as you achieve more and more goals you will realize how awesome you really are. Your confidence will go up. You will realize that your body is pretty awesome too.

You are strong.

You are fast.

You are an athlete.

You will love your body for what it can do. 

You will eat to fuel it and exercise it to keep it in tip-top shape.

Here is where I share my specific dream…

I Dream Women Will Acknowledge Their Epicness.

I am mad at society for lying to women by saying they should be thin and weak.

I am also mad that society has been lying to women about their strength and that lifting anything over a 10-pound dumbbell will make them “big and bulky” like men.

I am mad at society for saying women have to be thin to run long distances and be considered “runners.” 

Guess what?

Women are STRONG and women can go far. 

 It has nothing to do with our shape or size. 

We are holding ourselves back and not realizing how amazing our bodies are because we believe all the insane myths circulating on the internet and in mainstream ‘fitness’ magazines.

There is no reason why we can’t squat, bench press, and deadlift with the men. There is no reason why we can’t go after those insane races and show them who’s boss. 

Don’t EVER let other people tell you what you can and cannot do. Only YOU make that choice. 

Now go do something epic. Click To Tweet

Do it again….

And again….

And again….

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

 

 

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!

Journal Entry: I Have A Unique Voice

 An honest discussion about not being discouraged about the vast magnitude of information out there. Your awesome idea has already been written about by lots of people. That's okay because YOU have a Unique Voice.

Let me know if you have ever been in this situation:

  • You have this awesome idea for a post and you are super excited about it.
  • You get to writing and create one of your best posts yet.
  • And then, all of a sudden, you notice at least ten other people have written on the exact same topic. 
  • Ouch, it hurts!

Oh, I’ve been there many times.

What do I do in this situation?

First, I remind myself that there really is nothing new out there.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. ~Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV Click To Tweet

Yes, it’s true that someone else has probably written about the same topics I want to write about. Of course, it has happened because there really is nothing new under the sun. This helps me keep my ego in check and humility in the forefront.

What does this tell me?

One thing it tells me is that since someone has already written about it then that just means I need to get out of my own butt and start writing.

If I wrote half as much as I spent whimpering about not writing then I would already have a book. Click To Tweet

The only reason there are articles on the same topics as my ideas is that those people got to work and wrote those articles.

It has nothing to do with ability but it has everything to do with initiative.

All that time I spend whining about other people getting to the good ideas first is time that I could have spent writing and getting content out there.

It is my fault there is a ton of content already out there that is not mine. The more I write and get content out there the more exposure I gain and the more likely I am the one who is the “first” to write something.

Perspective.

The truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. And honestly, to believe my idea is BRAND NEW INFORMATION is full of ego.

It isn’t new. And guess what? That’s absolutely okay.

An honest discussion about not being discouraged about the vast magnitude of information out there. Your awesome idea has already been written about by lots of people. That's okay because YOU have a Unique Voice.

There is one thing, though, that is absolutely unique and new.

That is YOU or ME!!

Every person and every writer is 100% unique. Our DNA proves that we are unique. And that means that our perspective on a particular seemingly worn out topic is still brand new and unique. You breathe fresh air into something that is tired.

I have a unique voice.

My voice is built on my experiences and my personality.

And just like how unique my DNA is so is my voice. And to not use my voice is to deprive the world of hearing MY story. My story is absolutely worthy to be told. Click To Tweet

Not only is your voice unique, but your readers are also all unique.

While you are using your unique voice to write on a topic that has already been written on there is a person out there who may very well be touched by YOUR writing.

Have you ever read a bunch of articles on a particular subject and then there is that one article that just helps it all make sense much better than the others? For whatever reason, that particular writer’s voice clicked in your mind and soul in a way the other writers couldn’t.

You were touched by that writer.

That moment of connection between writer and reader absolutely won’t happen if the writer isn’t writing. It’s that simple.

The more time you spend whimpering and whining about writer’s block the more time your voice is not heard by that person whose life is potentially changed by your writing.

You have missed out on leaving your mark in someone’s life and in the world.

What’s the lesson here?

Drop the ego.

Stop complaining.

And start writing.

It’s not all about YOU.

Got it?

 

 

 

 

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

An honest discussion about not being discouraged about the vast magnitude of information out there. Your awesome idea has already been written about by lots of people. That's okay because YOU have a Unique Voice.

How To Not Fear Failure

Fear of Failure holding you down? There is a way to break it's grip on you.

Failure

We’ve all been there. Failure is just a part of life whether we like it or not.

Failure is such a monster.

It can steal our confidence and breed self-doubt.

It can rid us of our desire to keep going or to even start.

Failure stings.

And our natural, human reaction is to avoid anything that causes pain. Survival mode prompts us to see the thing that hurts and to run in the opposite direction.

On the flip side, we also know deep down inside our souls that to completely avoid failure means to remain stagnant. Remaining stagnant means zero growth. And zero growth means a life full of sameness. How boring is that?

Here’s the thing….

We are human and we were created for adventure. We were created with purpose and vision.

So, how do you live a life of adventure when failure seems to be a constant companion?

You change the script of Failure. 

You turn Failure on its head and rid it of its power over your life.

How in the world do you do that?

Fear of Failure holding you down? There is a way to break it's grip on you.

Repeat to yourself, “There is no such thing as Failure. It is just Feedback.”

You see, there are two ways to look at failure.

1) “Well, that was a great idea but it’s not going to work after all. Oh well. I guess it’s better to just keep doing what seems to be working. That way I don’t risk anything.” Or, …

2) “Well, this IS a great idea and I want this to work. Nothing good in this world comes easily. The way I am doing this is not working well. How can I learn from this? What can I do differently to make it work next time?”

Do you see the difference in mindset?

Do you see how the script is changed?

The first option sees failure as the end.

It feels the sting and shrinks back from it. The first option prefers to stay safe and ultimately, stagnant.

The second option does not see failure as the end.

Failure is just evidence that how you are doing things is not working and it is time to receive that feedback with humility, learn from it, and then act accordingly.

It is not Failure. It is Feedback. 

Make that your new mantra.

Whenever something does not go as expected remind yourself, “It is not Failure. It is feedback.”

It will take time and lots of practice. But, the more you train your mind to think this way the easier it will become.

There WILL be a time when you do NOT fear failure anymore. In fact, you will embrace failure and even celebrate it. With every failure, you are one step closer to success. And by refusing to allow failure to hold you back you are already experiencing success. 

Feedback, not Failure. Click To Tweet

 

 

 


Note:  I will forever be grateful to my personal Coach, Dani Johnson, for pounding this into my head and helping me to strip Failure of its power over my life.

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

 
 

Fear of Failure holding you down? There is a way to break it's grip on you.

How to Change Your Script: A Story

A story about the power of changing your inner dialogue or script and how you can do the same and experience success as a result.

 

Let me tell you a story.

There was once a girl named Natalie. Well, she wasn’t really a girl. She was a woman. In fact, she was staring down the impending arrival of her 40th birthday. Natalie was married to her wonderful husband of fifteen years and together they had two children, aged 12 and 8. Natalie’s husband worked as a developer while Natalie stayed home with their two children. She homeschooled them and made sure they were well connected through swim team and other extra-curricular activities. 

In her previous life (a.k.a. before kids), Natalie was college educated preschool teacher. She got her degree in Early Childhood Education at the same University where she met her husband. She loved her career very much but she loved being home with her kids even more.

Overall, Natalie would say she is happy.

She knows that she lives a very blessed life and that always brings a smile to her face. But, if she were 100% honest with herself she is also living an unfulfilled life. You could almost say she is living lie. Or at least that’s how Natalie feels.

You see, there are some things that Natalie has always wanted to do with her life. I guess you could call them dreams that she has kept hidden deep in her soul for a very long time.

Why would Natalie keep these dreams hidden for so long? Why not just go after them?

Natalie has another secret that she doesn’t really like to talk about.

She struggles with keeping a positive outlook, self-doubt and feeling worthy of success. She often feels dumb for even entertaining going after these dreams because of all the other things she’s done that have failed. What? Natalie is no stranger to awesome new projects that she’s convinced will be the ticket to bringing her entrepreneurial bent to the home. She’s done this and she’s done that and she’s done the other. What makes them all similar? Natalie quits all of them as soon as they get hard. It’s true. She knows it and she’s not proud of it. And with each given up project, she loses a bit of herself. She loses more of her confidence and her once happy-go-lucky attitude.

It is so frustrating because these dreams that Natalie has just won’t leave her alone. No matter how hard she may try, she can’t shake the dream of being a writer. Wait, did she just say that out loud? Oh Geez! Was anyone listening?

One rainy morning, Natalie had the opportunity to meet a dear friend at a coffee shop for a couple hours while her kids were at a homeschool activity. What a treat! These dates really fill her soul.
 

 

Natalie wasn’t planning to break down and share her frustrations with her friend.

She planned to just shoot the breeze, laugh, and get caught up with her friend.

“I want to be a writer more than anything, Lisa, but I can’t bring myself to share my writing. I write all the time. But, I have failed so many times. Why wouldn’t this be any different? I’m not sure I could actually do this.”

“Natalie, I have one question for you?”

“What would happen if you completely changed your script?”

“I don’t understand. What in the world are you saying?”

“What would happen if you completely changed how you talk to yourself? What would happen if you changed the way you see the world? Instead of speaking words of self-doubt and failure to yourself, what if you spoke words of triumph and gratitude and joy and success? What if instead of assuming the world is out to ruin you, you take responsibility for your own actions and not worry about the rest? What if instead of always saying ‘woe is me’ you said ‘watch me’?” What would happen?”

What if instead of always saying ‘woe is me’ you said ‘watch me’? What would happen? Click To Tweet

“Ummmm….well….I guess that would change just about everything.”
 
A story about the power of changing your inner dialogue or script and how you can do the same and experience success as a result.
 

“Okay, Do that then.”
*
*
*
And that was the turning point in Natalie’s life.

It was then that Natalie stopped the Why Me’s and replaced them with the Why Not Me’s.

It was then that Natalie started looking at failure as mere feedback instead of the destruction of a dream. Instead of thinking, “The world hates me!” she thought, “Okay, what could I have done differently?”

Instead of looking at successful people as people who were lucky enough to find the golden ticket, she learned how they created their own golden ticket. Click To Tweet

It was then that Natalie only allowed herself three seconds to whimper and whine about a setback and then got to work.

She stopped seeing her dreams as mere pipe dreams, but as something worthy of pursuing with reckless abandon.
*
*
And now Natalie wants to know…

What about you?

What would happen if YOU completely changed your script?

What?
*
*
*
It’s time to get to work.

 

 

 

 

 

A story about the power of changing your inner dialogue or script and how you can do the same and experience success as a result.

Guest Posting: Real Life Dreamers, Part 1

Dreamers are a special breed of people and I am so happy to be one of them. It is fun to dream and it is even more fun to work hard to make those dreams come true. Are you one of the dreamers? Find out what I am doing about my dreams.

 

Today, I have the pleasure to be guest posting over at The Adventures Ahead. We are discussing being dreamers and how we go hard after our dreams. This topic is near and dear to my heart and I had so much fun writing this post. Hop on over there, read, and let us know all about YOUR dreams.

Hop on over to Real Life Dreamers, Part 1 and check out what I have to say about being a dreamer.

“A dreamer will not stop having that dream until it has been fulfilled” - J. Wilson Click To Tweet

Always in Your Corner!


 

 

Dreamers are a special breed of people and I am so happy to be one of them. It is fun to dream and it is even more fun to work hard to make those dreams come true. Are you one of the dreamers? Find out what I am doing about my dreams.

 

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

How To Get Your Vision And Purpose In Writing Back

Do you ever have those days or weeks or months when you are struggling to stay focused?

Do you remember a time when you your vision and purpose for your writing was so crystal clear that it compelled you to move forward at a rapid pace? You couldn’t help constantly thinking about what to write next. Every detail was a pleasure to complete.

And then, slowly over time, you notice your desire to write waning.

The ideas just aren’t coming to you like they once did. You try to write each day but, bit by bit, little things get in the way and notice that days can go by without any writing. You miss the writing at first but then one day, you notice this feeling that, if you are honest, you don’t really want to write after all. You’d rather just watch Netflix. There is always tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and it is just a repeat of yesterday. Your idea notebook sits on the desk, collecting dust, a memorial to another lost dream.

The fog in your brain is so thick that it can be likened to the London Fog. It is thick and poisonous and soul-sucking.

You remember there was once a day of focus and vision and passion. You remember how awesome it felt to jump out of bed each morning with purpose.

How can you get that vision and purpose back? Is it even possible to get that vision and purpose back?

Here is what I have found that works.

Slow Down

It is when I am allowing the busyness of every day living to overwhelm me that I lose focus. It is like my mind is in a constant spin cycle that never slows down. Day to day tasks just keep swirling at an ever-increasing speed and there is no room or time to think big thoughts or to dream. There is no room for the magic that makes dreams come true.

It is then that I need to just slow down. Unnecessary things need to be taken out of my schedule to allow the space in my mind to start operating on the plane where dreams exist instead of just being in survival mode.

It is a stressed out and over-tasked mind that loses its ability to dream. Click To Tweet
 

 

Meditation/Prayer

This is part of the slowing down process.

If you are not slowing down there is no time or space to sit still long enough to meditate and/or pray. And it is in the space of meditation and prayer where the dreams are born.

When I feel the vision and purpose waning I ask myself when was the last time that I spent any amount of time in prayer or meditation. And just about every single time, I can see that the busyness of life has brought me to the point of not slowing down long enough to allow for prayer. It’s sad but it’s true.

When I slow down and make prayer a priority the vision always comes back with a burning passion.

Self Care 

It is so easy for me to always put my family before myself.

But, here’s the thing.

When I am in that constant spin cycle of taking care of my house and family and others, I forget to take care of myself. When I forget to take care of myself for too long I run out of steam. And that’s when I start to break down. My grasp on WHO I am and what I want to accomplish is lost in the wind. That’s when I lose my passion and my vision for my own goals and dreams.

To regain the passion and vision, I need to make my own self-care a priority. I acknowledge that I am important to my family and they need a full version of me available to them. And I full version of ME has her own goals and vision and dreams.

Self-care is going to be different for everyone.

What does it look like for me?

I am currently training for my first full marathon. I love to run, be outside, and be alone. Running provides all of those things. 

One night a week I get to “clock out” and do what I want to do while my husband and son do their own thing for the evening.

Reading. I love to read and the amount of reading I do is also a direct reflection of how “busy” I am. Taking the time to sit down and read a good book means I am slowing down and making myself a priority. It also expands my thinking and my ability to dream.

Getting plenty of sleep. When I am tired I have no desire to go after anything of substance.

Make Writing a Priority

When the vision is falling apart there is another symptom that is evident just about every time: I stop writing every day. Chores, homeschool, pointless tasks, and dare I say, social media (*cough cough*) become far more important than writing and they fill up all the time in the day. There just isn’t any time left in the day to write!! At least, that’s what I tell myself.

If I only wrote when the vision or inspiration is strong then I quite possibly would only write a few days out of the year. That’s the gosh honest truth.

If my dream is to be a writer then I just need to write every day. Writing MUST be a priority whether I feel like it or not.

That’s why I always have the Write 1000 Words a Day Challenge up on the wall. It sure does stink when a long streak comes to a screeching halt and I need to start the streak all over again.

I am human. I have seasons when I don’t write my 1000 Words A day. It happens to everyone. But, I know how to resurrect this habit pretty quickly. And when I make writing a priority I remember how much I love it pretty quickly. The fog starts lifting and the ideas start to flow.

What’s the best way to get the best writing ideas? START WRITING!!! Click To Tweet

Remind Myself of the WHY with the FIVE WHY’s

Sometimes it just takes a little mental exercise to remind myself of why I want to do this in the first place.

This is when I bring in the FIVE WHY’S

This is the exercise where you ask yourself WHY you want to do something and you keep asking yourself the same question until you have gone five levels deep. It is there that the true WHY lives. That is where the true vision and passion can be recovered again.

Find the WHY that will make you CRY. Click To Tweet

Here is a basic example of the FIVE WHY’s that has to do with weight loss.

Why am I on this journey?
I want to lose fat.

Why do I want to lose fat?
Because I want to fit into a smaller size of pants.

But why do I want to fit into a smaller size of pants?
Because when I’m wearing smaller pants, I think I’ll look better.

But why do I want to look better?
Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.

But why do I want to feel good about myself?
Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.

But why do I want to be more assertive and confident?
Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control and better able to get what I want out of life.

To do the Five Why’s means you have to be willing to get raw and vulnerable with yourself. It requires some deep soul work. You will be so glad when it’s done because you will have, hopefully, cemented WHY you are doing all this and that WHY will always be there to fuel your passion.

Don’t be dismayed if you veer off course. What matters is that you get back on track and make forward progress. Click To Tweet

 

 

Stock Photo Credit:
Heidi Sandstrom.

Motivation And How To Catch It

Motivation.

‘Motivation’ has got to be the number one word I hear when discussing fitness and exercise and writing with people.

“I just don’t seem to have much motivation.”

“You most definitely have more motivation than I do.”

“How do I get more motivation so I can actually get this done?”

Today, we will be discussing five easy steps you can take to gain more motivation to get up off that couch and start exercising or getting those words written.

1)

……………………. *crickets*………………….

Nope. Sorry, folks. There is no magic formula for getting more motivation. I sure wish there were one because I bet I could make a million dollars or more if I could bottle it up and sell it.

The truth is that motivation is not an outside force.

It is not something that you acquire. It is not a trait that just a select, elite group of people have. It is not reserved for athletes and those with the willpower of steel. Motivation is not something you can buy online or in a bottle.

The truth is that each and every person has the potential to have amazing motivation. The level of motivation you have is based on how much you BELIEVE you have. I know, that sounds all touchy-feely. It is true. You don’t have any motivation to exercise or write because you don’t believe or think you have it.

What do you do then?

How do you get the oomph to get things done when you REALLY don’t feel like it?

Well, I’m going to borrow a cliche here…you ‘fake it till you make it.’

The best thing to do to develop motivation is to just do what you know you need to do (ex. eat right, exercise, write 1000 words a day, etc) despite how you feel. You dive head first into what your brain knows is best. You follow your logic and not your feelings. It will stink at first because you will have to fight relentlessly against those strong urgings to quit or not even start. Take your feelings or lack of motivation out of it.

You know you have to exercise and eat better. You know you have to actually write if you want to ever get a book published. Then do it!!! Forget that little voice saying, ” *Whine* But, I have no motivation!”

“SILENCE!! Foul Beast!”

You won’t ever get anywhere if you depend on the elusive motivation.

It comes and goes like the wind. Do what you KNOW you must do to make a change.

And guess what?

You start seeing that a change is happening. Getting up each morning and following all the positive habits will get easier. And the next thing you know you actually have the motivation to keep going!!

Voila!! Where did that come from?! YOU made it happen by not falling victim to your feelings. You took control.

Motivation can be yours. Don't wait for it to come to you. Make the choice to make it happen. Click To Tweet

 


 

 

 

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

In Praise of Stillness

When I first started writing this post I started to entitle it, “In Praise of Slow,” but then I remembered that title was already taken. I remembered where I saw that title was from an extremely good TED talk by Carl Honore. You can see that TED talk over here and I highly recommend that you do. He discusses how the US and the rest of the world are joining “The Cult of Speed” and he invites all of us to slow down our lives.

I am finding this to be very true in my own life.

For a long time, I found that I judged my own value and worth by how busy I stayed. It could be busy at home, busy at work, busy at school, or busy at church. I wanted to be more and more and more busy to fill my time. I thought to be successful was to have every minute accounted for and then figuring out how to fit even more into that space.

And then I came to a jarring realization.

I was seeking ‘busy’ because slowing down would require I think and ponder and consider. Listening would require I go places in my mind and heart that I’ve closed up for a very long time. I didn’t want to go there. Who really wants to go there? I stayed busy so I wouldn’t have to ask myself the hard questions.

Over the last year or so I have been finding myself going in the opposite direction. Instead of seeking busy, I am seeking stillness.

I do the same things that I used to do. I still keep the house the same and run our homeschool like I always did. Exercise is on daily docket and my work projects are growing. But, the difference is that I am not rushing from one the thing to the next. There are checklists and goals aplenty but I consider my time and my effort a lot more closely. I don’t jump on opportunities to fill my time. I pray and consider my family before I commit.

I should pause for a moment to explain the difference between “good stillness (or slowness)” and “bad stillness.”

I believe it is because of the “bad stillness” that people, including me, find it hard to slow down. We think that slowing down means being lazy and non-productive. There is a good reason for that but it doesn’t have to be true. You can, indeed, slow down and be just as productive and dare I say, more productive than before. That is the “good stillness” and slowness.

About three years ago, my family moved to a new city.

It was a good but jarring move. We moved from the country to a major metropolitan area and we moved knowing only one other family. Throw in homeschooling and you get a recipe for a lot of stillness. Yes, we were all intentional about getting out there, meeting new people, and getting involved. It just takes time to find your tribe.

Unfortunately, I did not embrace the gift of stillness as much right after that move. I felt unproductive and lazy and longed to be plugged in and busy. Honestly, I was running away from my own thoughts. I was seeking distraction.

This is where to story changes.

I was seeking distraction that did not come fast enough. That forced me to do the soul work that so desperately needed to be done. It was done kicking and screaming but it was done nonetheless.

And then the unexpected happened.

The stillness I was trying to avoid for so long became what I was seeking all along. Click To Tweet

I learned I shouldn’t jump on opportunities because they are there but I should prayerfully consider how my time can be best used. It was being able to strategically choose activities that made all the difference.

I can give a much better “YES” that is not tired but willing, able, and excited.

Where do I say YES?

Reading

In my busy time, I rarely sat down to read. I wouldn’t even slow down enough to enjoy a lighthearted novel.

Now I seek out a time of reading every day and I attempt to vary my reading with fiction, non-fiction, leadership, and self-development books. If I don’t take my reading time each day then I know that something needs to give in my schedule. I need my reading time for growth and stillness.

 Running – Marathon

Believe it or not, running is very much a part of my dedication to stillness. While I am not physically still, I have found that running calms my mind. And when I have a calm mind I can allow space for the big, fun, and perhaps even, scary thoughts to grow. Since I am training for a marathon I have plenty of time to think those thoughts and to listen to audiobooks.

Service At Church

Serving at church is non-negotiable. By giving my better YES to my church I am giving back to those who have loved and supported me and helped me to grow in my walk with my Savior.

Homeschool Tutoring

Because I am not running around like crazy I am able to say YES to being a tutor in my son’s homeschool group. I am able to pour myself even more into my son’s education all while pouring into other kids as well. And I get an education right alongside them as well.

Son’s Activities

Finally, I am able to be available for my son and his activities. I was available when I was going full force after busy but with the focus on stillness, I am can be fully available. Being available in mind and in the body allows engagement and involvement instead of merely chauffering around to all the numerous activities. 

Over the last year, I have learned that stillness is really just a state of mind.

It is not necessarily literally being still and quiet all the time. While being still and quiet is pretty awesome at times, this state of mind means being intentional about your activities. I may look busy from the outside but my mind is still because everything is well considered first. Gone are the days of busy.

How do you seek stillness in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Don’t Rush Your Writing

Recently I was pondering how my writing has changed over the years and over the last few months.

When I was a much younger writer I was in such a hurry all the time. I remember how the ideas would flood my mind and I would feverishly write them down so they wouldn’t be lost forever.

I remember the passion and the fervor.

I also remember how quickly I had to get my ideas written up in blog posts and published. I would often get an idea, write it up right there in WordPress, proofread immediately, and then hit PUBLISH. This took all of two to three hours, at most. 

It was almost like I had to write this awesome idea right then and there or else it would be lost forever. And Lord knows, if one of my ideas is lost then the whole world missed out on something amazing. (** wink **)

I look back on those old blogs and I can see and sense the haste at which I wrote them.

That writing was forced.

There was no discipline or patience.

It is no wonder I burned out within a few short months every single time I tried this writing thing leaving me unfulfilled and passionless.

I have grown and matured since publishing those hasty and rushed blogs.

My love for writing has grown deeper and wider.

There are two main lessons I have learned here:

Write first for me.

In previous attempts, I was so focused on getting my writing out into the world that I pushed it out too soon. There was no time for the words and ideas to mature.

And then there came a time that out of desperation, I started to write for no one but myself. I have no idea how many words I wrote just trying to keep my head above the waters of depression. I just know it was a ton. I probably have a book in there somewhere.

The writing was my therapy. And as I went through that therapy I learned to slow down. I learned to take my time as I wrote out my thoughts and climbed out of that pit.

I learned you can't rush the healing process and you can't rush the writing process either. Click To Tweet

I wrote first for myself.

I found my voice.

And I learned how to be vulnerable and authentic in that unique voice.

I found ME.

And in so doing, I learned…

Don’t Rush the Process

Writing is a process. It is not a once and done thing. How arrogant was I to think that I could spew out words and immediately hit publish and it is quality, truthful, honest, and vulnerable?

Want to know my new process?

  • The birth of a new idea. 
  • Write idea down in writer’s notebook.
  • Ponder the idea. Stew over it.
  • Write about the idea in 1000 words a day writing session.
  • Write a blog post on the idea.
  • Let blog post sit for at least a day.
  • Proofread
  • Add other blog post essentials (pictures, upgrades, etc.)

What was once a feverish couple hour process has become a multiple day project.

My writing process has matured and so my writing is getting the time and respect it deserves.

And in so doing readers are getting the respect they deserve because they are getting a complete ME through my words.

Slow down. Don’t rush.

Give the ideas the time they need to mature and grow.

Write Daily. Write for yourself first.

Respect your audience by giving them your best self and best writing. Click To Tweet

And no matter what….

Don’t give up!

 

 


 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Andy Beales

The Life Cycle of a Blog Post

From a Dreamy, Flighty, INFJ Writer

Imagine this scene….I shall call it the Good L’il Blogger Scene

I have my cup of coffee and I sit down at my computer. Beside me is my bullet journal busting at the seams with blog post ideas and titles.

I open my journal and start to fill in my editorial calendar with months worth of post ideas. Each post has its pic and opt-in planned ahead of time and everything is so perfectly planned out.

With everything perfectly planned out and looking so pretty and satisfying, I open up my Word Processor and get to writing the first blog post on the list.

I get the post written out. I let it marinate for a few hours or overnight. Then I get it proofread and formatted in WordPress. I create my perfectly planned out vertical pinnable image and make sure my opt-in fits with that particular post and that the embedded form is just right.

When all the boxes are checked off, I schedule the post for some date way in the future. Of course, because I have this so well planned that I can write for a month or more ahead of time.

I sigh a sigh of pleasure for a job well done and then move on to the next blog post on my list.

*
*
*
*Belly Aching Laughter*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

One can only wish that is the true scenario.

I know there are bloggers out there that absolutely operate like that and I applaud them. I don’t judge. I glean wisdom from them and have a ton of respect for their focus and organization. I know my weaknesses so I learn where I can.

But, that is not my personality. My personality is more scattered and dreamy. My husband and I joke that I basically live up in the clouds and that he (just like the blogger mentioned above) holds the rope that keeps me from completely floating away.

Here is the life cycle of my blog posts….from a dreamy, flighty, INFJ writer

I get up in the morning and get the husband out the door.

I have my devotional time before the boy wakes up.

Once the boy wakes up, he and I have about 30 minutes of what we call “Coaching Time.” As a family, we follow our personal coach, Dani Johnson, and we want our son to develop the habit of always learning and always receiving coaching. (link)

After Coaching Time, he gets settled in his homeschool assignments and I sit down at my desk or on the couch. Don’t forget the cup of coffee. The coffee might be the only thing that is consistent between these two blogger scenarios.

I open my current writing document in Microsoft Word. I keep a running document where I do all my writing. No, I do not have separate documents for each post or each topic or whatever. It allllll goes in one place. Lord knows, I only need one piece of writing to keep up with.

When the current writing document hits about 100 pages, I will file it away and start another one. I have lost count of how many of these documents I’ve created. They are all saved in my Dropbox…I think…somewhere.

I start writing at the bottom of the page where I last left off. I just write.

I process what I have to do that day.

I process any thoughts and emotions I’m feeling at the time.

I….just….write.

It gets the cobwebs out my head. Doing this helps me think more clearly. I’m sure the coffee helps too.

I also turn on my favorite Pandora Station….David Crowder Radio.

At some point, my writing will shift from a stream of consciousness about my day to being more focused on blogging topics.

Well, who am fooling?

Actually, sometimes it shifts to being more focused and sometimes it never shifts.

Sometimes it shifts to being extremely raw as I pour my soul onto the paper and there is no real bloggable material to be seen.

That’s alright. I am totally okay with that.

After writing at least 1000 words I feel myself out.

Am I in a good place to stop writing or is there more business that needs to be handled?

Some days I just stop and move on to the next task and some days I know there is a lot that needs to happen on this page. On those days I just keep writing.

Writing…That’s why I started this whole thing, to begin with. If I am ever forgetting the writing and replacing with the business side of blogging then I need to just step back.

I check the Editorial Calendar.

(Yes, I do have one of those. See….I do learn from those more organized than I.)

If there is a post listed on the list that I haven’t formatted and scheduled, I go and find the text for the said post somewhere in my giant writing document. I am forever grateful to the “Find” feature in Word. Then I proceed to process that blog post complete with pinnable images and opt-in forms.

BUT, there are days when I there are no unprocessed posts on the list.

OH NO! What’s a girl to do?! Crap.

Fear not, fearless writer.

Remember how I write every day?

I just start skimming through my giant document. I look through either the current one or past ones. I skim until something catches my eye and I think, “Ooooo….that’s a good one. How did I forget about that one?”

Crisis averted. I plug the post in my calendar and proceed as usual.

Sometimes I will even skim until I have material for several posts.

Then I will copy and paste the text into WordPress. I clean it up, proofread, format, and off we go.

There are plenty of days when I am so unsure what to write. I feel like a desert or a dried up well. And what I have found is that it is usually because there is something I need to figure out and process. All the more reason that I need to be writing.

I write no matter what. And in so doing, I will ALWAYS have content. ALWAYS. Click To Tweet

And when I find the lost blog posts in the sea of words I am often reminded of other ideas that lead to more writing and more blog posts.

Writing 1000 words a day has ensured a steady stream of content AND a healthier emotional state. (links)

Perhaps, this method of writing for your blog makes you twitch a little bit. HA! That’s totally cool. No judgment. I twitch at all the organized methods of some bloggers.

But, It works for me.

And we can all learn from each other, right?

 


 

Stock Image Credit:

Billy Huynh“display: inline-block; padding: 2px 3px;”>Mahir Uysal

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