Living A Life Worth Writing – A Challenge

I have given myself a challenge: A Challenge to live a life worth writing. And I am going to start that by a year of 30-day challenges. Join me!

Living a Life Worth Writing – A Challenge

Recently, I was reminded of this quote Benjamin Franklin,  “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

We are well aware of the writers who have written something worth reading. We could all easily name at least ten right off the bat. How about C.S. Lewis, J.R. R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charlotte Bronte, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Seuss, and Jane Austen?

What writers would you say wrote something worth reading?

These are the people that have written books that people will probably read for generations to come. Their books were interesting and engaging and of great quality and have great staying power.

On the other hand, we have people who live amazing and fascinating lives that are worth writing and reading about. These people may not even be writers. Heck, they may even use ghost writers. Whatever the case their lives are such that people pick up their books and read them because we want to learn about their lives.

You’ve got people like Dean Karnazes who has run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days and wrote a book about his experiences. There is Bethany Hamilton who’s arm was severed by a shark and yet went on to continue her professional surfing career. And there is Elizabeth Gilbert who went on a personal soul-searching journey and wrote all about her experiences and inner discoveries.

Who would you think has lived a life worth writing about?

I recently found myself at a bit of a standstill in my writing and in my life, to be honest. Even though I have been consistently writing each day. I still felt there was no substance to my writing. Perhaps that is me being hard on myself or perhaps not. Most of my writing was ramblings about my daily goings on, thoughts, concerns, etc. I spent a lot of time writing about living my dreams and honestly, that left me wanting.

Why?

There was something missing in my writing and I know exactly what it was. I was writing about going strong after my dreams but in reality, my bucket list lay on the desk collecting dust. I hated to even think about my bucket list because all it did was remind me of what I was not accomplishing.

Talk about Imposter Syndrome!! I constantly I felt like such a fraud on this blog. Here I was writing about goal setting and goal achieving and at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing any of mine.

Was I being fair to myself? Only God knows. I just know the struggle was real.

Then an awesome friend reminded me of what Benjamin Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

It got me thinking big time.

How did I want my writing to be remembered?

Did I want to write something worth reading or did I want to live a life worth writing about?

Well, I guess you could say I want both. The two things are not mutually exclusive. I can live a life worth writing about by actually writing something worth reading.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin Click To Tweet

As I pondered and meditated on this quote I knew that deep down inside I want to live a life worth writing.

Thus started a journey to change my life.
.
.
.
It was then I sold everything and took off to travel the world and knock each item on my bucket list one tick mark at a time. YOLO!!
*
*
*
Whoah whoah whoah….slow your horses down.

I know there are some incredible stories about people who HAVE experienced an amazing change of heart and mindset. They DID sell all their worldly possessions and took off to travel the world. Oh, and they wrote a book about it. Yep, I’ve read them too.

I’m sure that would be more engaging and exciting than what I’m writing right now. But, let’s be honest, it isn’t a reality for me or for many other people either.

I confess I’m not the kind of person who can just up and take off like that. My parents always said that I HATE CHANGE even when I was in preschool.

And guess what? They are absolutely correct. I hate change: the good kind and the bad kind.

So, knowing this about myself I knew it takes time to make a positive change in my life. It means establishing habits one at a time in such a way that they stick.

So, what is all this rambling about anyway?!

I have given myself a challenge: A Challenge to live a life worth writing. And I am going to start that by a year of 30-day challenges. Join me!

I have made the crazy decision to embark on a yearlong journey to change my life one habit or feature at a time.

But, HOW?

Okay, I hear you!!

Are you familiar with those 30 day challenges everyone either hosts or participates in?
• 30 Days of 100 squats a day
• 30 days of no sugar (who does that?!?!)
• 30 days of decluttering
• 30 days of meditation
• Etc.
Shoot, I even have one.

How many of you have embarked on a 30-day challenge and actually completed it?

Be honest…

*crickets*

Kudos to you if you have done these challenges and HAVE completed it as prescribed. I am thoroughly impressed!!

If you are like me, you see the challenge and mull over it for a while. You think that THIS time you will complete a full challenge. You go out and buy all the fun stuff you NEED to complete the challenge. Oh, you know, you NEED a new pair of leggings to do that squat challenge or you NEED new organizing supplies for the decluttering challenge. You set out to do the challenge and you are proud of each day you tick off. YES!! This IS IT!!!

I am changing my LIIIIIIIIIFE!!!

  • One – check
  • Two – check
  • Three – check
  • Fooooour – check (close one)
  • Five – check (right up the wire)
  • Si….nope

Challenge ends.

 I have all the excuses and am fully convinced they are all true. I am very good at deceiving myself.

So, the big news is….

I am going to pick a 30-day challenge to dive into each month, starting in August 2018, for a year (12 months = 12 challenges).

I pick these challenges for myself based on what things I know I need to change within myself. I am thinking, praying, and soul-searching about what these challenges will be. Each month will be carefully chosen and will be specific to me.

I do believe others could possibly benefit from them and I invite YOU to join me.

Join me on a journey of a year of 30-day Challenges! Click To Tweet

Next week, I will announce my first challenge and offer some awesome resources for YOU so you can join me if you wish to.

What do you think of all this?

Am I really THAT crazy?

Perhaps….but it will be fun.

 

 

 

I have given myself a challenge: A Challenge to live a life worth writing. And I am going to start that by a year of 30-day challenges. Join me!

 

I have given myself a challenge: A Challenge to live a life worth writing. And I am going to start that by a year of 30-day challenges. Join me!

Top 8 Excuses For Not Making The Leap

Do you feel like you need to make giant leap or jump to move forward in life? Here are 8 possible excuses you may be telling yourself and how to move past them and actually make that leap.

Guest Post: Top 8 Excuses For Not Making The Leap

One of the benefits of working from home and homeschooling is my son gets to have a front row seat to the work I do when we’re not doing school. He sees me writing a lot every day and he often hears me talk about the contents of my writing. One day, he presented me with a journal and said he outlined a blog post for me and he’d like me to publish it for him. How could I say, “NO?”

Today, we have a guest blogger. Caleb is twelve years old. He attends school at home and loves all things coding and development and is a gamer in every way, board and computer. He aspires to be a developer like his Dad and a competitive swimmer. Let’s welcome Caleb!

(Note: The majority of this blog post is exactly as written by Caleb, awkwardness and all. Commentary in italics are provided by me, Sarah.)

In life, you must make many leaps to move on. However, we often feel like we cannot make the leap and replace it with an excuse.

I would like to tell you the eight most common excuses for not making the leap, where they come from, and how to stop telling yourself them.

#1: I’m Not Ready

This excuse comes from feeling a lack of skill.

Oftentimes, this is just an illusion that you can push through.

To stop feeling like you don’t have enough experience, don’t be ashamed to practice or research your skills. Doing so does not mean you’re stupid or inexperienced.

It took me till my adult life to accept that most of my dreams and aspirations are merely a learnable set of sills away. Time to get to work learning.

#2: It’s Impossible

First, nothing is impossible.

This excuse is never true. It comes from one of two scenarios: The chances of success are slim or this leap is a new discovery.

Knowing Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”) and asking more seasoned individuals for help will definitely help you push through.

#3: It Could Be Painful

One of the most common reasons why people don’t even try is fear of failure.

This excuse is “I fear failure in the future” in disguise.

The best way to push through is to be optimistic when faced with this excuse.

Remember, It’s not failure. It’s feedback. Caleb hears his parents say this little phrase quite often in our household.

Do you feel like you need to make giant leap or jump to move forward in life? Here are 8 possible excuses you may be telling yourself and how to move past them and actually make that leap.

#4: There’s Too Much ‘X.’

Common words here are competition, work, challenge, the skill involved to handle and to do. Each one coming with their own unique origins.

When you catch yourself telling yourself this try to analyze what there is less of.

For example, there may be a lot of work but not that much skill involved, and vice versa.

Are You Ready To Make The Leap? Click To Tweet

#5: I Can’t See What’s Going To Happen

This one is similar to #3 in the fact that it comes from fear of failure.

The difference is that #3 is a prediction. This is not.

This one stands out because this excuse might actually be true at times.

If this gets you down, imagine the benefits of the leap.

How will your life improve by making this leap?

#6: I Can See Exactly What’s Going To Happen

This is a prediction.

Often, the origin of this one is when you consider releasing something to the public, and then you tell yourself that they’ll hate you for it.

Just know, you don’t know the future. Only God does.

And you won’t ever know unless you try. And if you do fail, well, it IS just feedback. 🙂

#7: I’m Comfortable Right Here

This one arises out of just plainly not wanting to make the leap.

People will take their current life and say that it’s “OK,” even though that might not be true.

Aspire for the future to stop this excuse.

Anything worth doing is going to be uncomfortable at times. Embrace the discomfort. Lean into it. Tap into your WHY and leap with purpose.

#8: Conditions Aren’t Ideal

This excuse comes from not feeling like enough is going your way.

But, not everything has to be ideal for you to make a leap.

Try changing the conditions of the leap and see if that helps.

Climax: What Are You Waiting For?

When people finally decide to make the leap, they tend to ask, “What was I waiting for?”

They were simply waiting for…nothing, simply nothing. They would’ve done it weeks ago but instead decided to lie to themselves.

When you get a leap, just take it if it’s a leap worth taking.

Are you ready to make the leap?

 

 

 

 

 

Do you feel like you need to make giant leap or jump to move forward in life? Here are 8 possible excuses you may be telling yourself and how to move past them and actually make that leap.

 

Do you feel like you need to make giant leap or jump to move forward in life? Here are 8 possible excuses you may be telling yourself and how to move past them and actually make that leap.

Track What You Want To Change

Are there habits or behaviors you want to change in your life? Then you need to keep track of these habits on a daily basis so you are equipped to change.

I have recently become aware of some habits and behaviors that I really need to change. I want to live a life that is free and successful and I want to live my best and most winning life possible. These particular habits and behaviors are not serving me well and not contributing to my best life and   knew I had to get back on track.

Here are the three main habits I need to change:

Time Management

I start out each day with my To Do list and the best intentions to get things done and to not fall behind on various projects. And then come the end of the day I wonder where the time went and how in the world was there still items on my To Do List. I didn’t lounge all day after all. Or did I? It sure did feel busy. If the day felt busy then how in the world did so much time get past me without actually getting much done? Something needed to change with my time management if I wanted to move forward in my life and business.

Housework

I am not a very tidy person by nature. There, I said it. My house is often way more cluttered and disorganized than I would ever want to admit. I hate to say it but this has even affected my desire to be more hospitable with friends and neighbors.

I often make an effort to keep the house clean and it will last for about a week. The house looks great during that week. I am happy. My husband is happy. Even the son and dog are happy with the fresher, less cluttered, and more peaceful environment. Then “life happens” and I fall behind on the housework. As I fall behind I become less motivated to get the work done and time marches on without me doing any kind of housework.

I don’t like to admit it but it’s true and something had to change. An orderly house may not come naturally to me and my personality but it is definitely a skill I can learn and implement.

Food

It’s funny how, despite the best intentions, food that does not serve me well sneaks into my daily habits without me even noticing. It can be so sneaky and it all adds up and affects how I feel. How about you?

(Note: This is not about weight loss. This is about vitality and health.)

I have been tired throughout the day. I haven’t been recovering from my runs quite as I would like. And I’ve felt heavy all the time instead of feeling light and healthy.

I knew I needed to change things up and figure out how to get life-giving food back into my daily routine.

I had three main areas I knew I needed to change in order to live my best life moving forward but how in the world could I change these things?

Track The Things You Want to Change Click To Tweet

I knew that in order to make successful and long-lasting changes I needed to start tracking each of these areas so I could have a firm grasp on where I am now and how to improve in the future.

Why Track? 3 Reasons.

Tracking gives you a reason for a change.

Tracking forces you to become aware of the bad habits in your life. By keeping a log of what you are doing each day it forces you to bring that behavior into the forefront of your mind. In so doing, you naturally change slowly over time for the good.

Tracking also gives you a baseline for change.

The first week of tracking may look bad but now you know where you are and where you need to go.

Tracking gives you a record of change.

You can look back over your log and see how far you have come and be encouraged that you are moving in the right direction. And you can look at your tracking log and analyze it in order to tweak it and continue to make positive changes.

Are there habits or behaviors you want to change in your life? Then you need to keep track of these habits on a daily basis so you are equipped to change.

How Did I Track My Changes?

Time Management:

I started using the app called aTimeLogger (Android & iPhone) to get a feel for how I am spending my time each day. It took some time to get used to using the app but it sure did give me a clear picture of how I am spending my time each day. Success in tracking my time was dependent on me being brutally honest with my tracking and since I wanted to make a positive change I was willing to be just that, brutally honest.

Now this app keeps me accountable for my time. I want to see my time well spent when I look back over my day through the reports and that motivates me to make good choices.

Housework:

I have already said that I am not a natural housekeeper. It is just the truth. But, I can follow a checklist like a champ. I learned the key to keeping a clean house is to step out of the way and let someone else tell me what to do. I can do what I’m told. I joined the Motivated Moms website for their housecleaning checklists. These lists are simple and straight to the point and each day takes less than an hour to complete if focused.

A checklist and schedule is fine and dandy but how do I ensure I am actually getting the work done?

I use the HabitBull app (Android) to help me keep track of the habit. I’m sure you’ve seen all those colorful habit trackers that bullet journalers create. This is the same but on my phone. HabitBull makes it fun to challenge myself to “not break the line!” and keep tracking that I did my chores each day. I find the line very motivating because ending the line would make me sad.

I also use HabitBull to track my writing each day, whether or not I did the time tracker that day, and also if I logged my meals (see below). IF there is a break in the line I can ask myself why that happened and decide if it is something I can improve on later on. Without tracking I would not have that information.

Food:

I have learned that if I make tracking complicated I will not do it. That is why I generally stay away from apps like My Fitness Pal for tracking meals. It works for many, many people and is a solid app.

I choose to track my food through photographs on the Meal Logger app. I just take a picture of whatever I’m eating and plug them in the app. I don’t track anything beyond that. No calories or macros.

Tracking my food through photographs helps me look back over my day and decide if I made good choices or not and how I can improve. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have the information in the first place. The unexpected benefit of tracking my meals with pictures is I sometimes ask myself if I want to take the picture and if not, I don’t eat the food. That usually happens around foods that would not benefit me in the first place so it works out well.

Tracking areas you want to change is so simple to do if you let it be. It is such a powerful tool for total life change.

There is power in information. Gather that information through tracking. Click To Tweet

My personality is very much that of a free spirit. I am far more flighty and imaginative and creative than I am organized and purposeful. I naturally stray away from charts and spreadsheets and any kind of tracking. That does not mean I can’t see the benefits of tracking and charts, however. When I step out of the way of myself I see and experience the benefits of learning and implementing skills that are proven to work.

What could you be tracking and changing today?

 

 

 

 

Are there habits or behaviors you want to change in your life? Then you need to keep track of these habits on a daily basis so you are equipped to change.

 

Are there habits or behaviors you want to change in your life? Then you need to keep track of these habits on a daily basis so you are equipped to change.

The Joy of Running in the Back of the Pack.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I ran a half marathon on Memorial Day. It was my third half marathon.

One thing that has been the same in all my half marathons is that I am a solid back of the pack runner. I start my races in the back and I finish my races in the back. I am well acquainted with waving at the front runners as they pass me on the other side of the road. I can see their faces. I see the focus. I see the determination. I see the drive.

I have never been in the front of the race so I can’t really speak to what it’s like up there. I’m sure it is so exciting. Hearing the cheers as you achieve some incredible time must be enough to keep you floating for days. Seeing all that training pay off must be a reward like no other.

What I can do, though, is tell you what it’s like running in the back. I can tell you about what I see and what I experience. I can tell you what a joy it is to run in the back. 

I can tell you about the focus, determination, and drive.

It takes a ton of hard work on and off the road to finish a half marathon (13.1 miles) in just over an hour.

It takes a lot of focus and determination to run the same distance in 3 or more hours. While the front-runners are eating their bananas and rehydrating, My peeps and I are just starting to hit our sweet spot. We’ve only done a third of the race.

I remember talking to a fast runner after one of my previous half marathons about how much respect I had for how fast he is. I told I couldn’t imagine being that fast. He responded with, “No, I have so much respect for YOU. I can’t imagine being out there for so long and never giving up. We need more of that.”

I can tell you about the stories.

One of the benefits of being a slower runner and hanging out in the back of the pack is that you have ample time to get to know each other.

There are plenty of people who want to be alone and zone out to their music and that’s okay. And there are others who are more than happy to engage. If you are willing to engage with them you can hear some pretty awesome stories.

I have heard stories of incredible weight loss, overcoming cancer, grieving the loss of a loved one, coming out of depression and anxiety, and health scares that can jerk anyone into healthier living.

These are the stories that will get you wondering why you didn’t start earlier.

They make you think about how small your seemingly big obstacles really are now.

These are the stories that tell you that you really can do anything and now is the time to things done.

It is an absolute honor to run in the back.

It is an honor to be in the presence of real-life superheroes.

I could tell you my own story of overcoming depression and making the choice every single day that I am worth the effort to get up and go running even if just for today. But, let me tell you. Those other stories in the back of the pack will bring you to your knees.

I can tell you about the community.

It is like a family in the back.

Just like we tell our stories to each other we also take care of each other. We all know the struggle of being out there for so long.

We know the pain and the frustration. We also know the determination to not quit.

If you are in the back you will hear plenty of, “Come on. It’s only X miles to the end. You’ve already gone Y miles.” Or, “Give me one more mile. I know you’ve got one more mile in you.”

You’ll see strangers wait on the side of the road while someone they just met that day is throwing up or just needing a break.

Finishing times aren’t quite as important in the back. It’s more about just finishing the race.

Isn’t that what life is all about? It’s more about the journey than the finish?

We help each other have the best experience possible.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I will tell you about the competition

In the back of the pack, the competition is with no one but yourself.

The pressure is off.

No one is trying to be the first, second, or 50th place. It is all about finishing and overcoming something.

You are pushing past the leg cramps, labored breathing, and dehydration and accepting nothing less than a finish.

And everyone around you is in the same place as you.

This is when the personal mantras come out to play and you hope and pray that TODAY mind WILL overcome body.

And since the back of the pack is a community, we help each other because we all have that same goal. We aren’t competing with each other. We are competing with ourselves and helping each other.

There is so much HEART in the back of the race. Click To Tweet

I can tell you about the finish line.

Goodness. That finish line. It is amazing.

You have been thinking and dreaming of that finish line for 2.5+ hours.

That moment when the finish line of your imagination that propelled you forward becomes the finish line in front of you is indescribable.

The big crowds are probably not there because many have gone home already. And that’s okay because you can hear your family cheering you on. You also have the new family that has been with you every step of the way that day. You celebrate the journey together. You high five, fist bump, sweaty hug, and celebrate. It has been an awesome day of mind over body.

When the race is over you go home to rest and recuperate. In moments of incoherence, you dream of your next big challenge and you think about the awesome people you’ll meet at that next race.

And you smile.

Because we back of the packers have got to stick together. The true spirit of the race happens at the back of the race. And who would bring that if we didn’t?

 

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

The One Word Holding You Back From Your Dreams

I have found the word that more often than not holds me back from going after my goals and dreams. Could it be holding you back too?

I remember the scene all too well.

I remember it so well because it has happened probably a thousand times in my adult life.

I am going along in my daily life and some awesome idea comes to mind. I get all excited about the awesome idea and allow myself to go down the rabbit trail of dreaming.

There is this book I want to write.

I can name at least 10 marathons and trail races I want to conquer.

And then something brings me back to reality.

I remember everything else that is going on all around me.

Children
House
Marriage
Not-so Perfect Health or…..Weight
Other Obligations

I think to myself, “Oh, I will write that awesome book when my son is older and doesn’t need my help so much.” Or, “I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. I’m sure I can do that when I have lost about 20 pounds. “

Do you see that pesky word?

WHEN

I have grown to hate that word.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “WHEN?”

WHEN has come to represent putting things off until circumstances are seemingly better.
WHEN is an excuse.
WHEN means choosing to leave goals and dreams lying dormant.
WHEN is telling myself I am not worthy enough of good things right now.

I have removed the power that the word WHEN has on me.

When thinking about my dreams and I catch myself saying, “Well, when I….I will….” I stop myself and turn it around with “Why not now?”

Now hear me. There are legitimate reasons for not going after certain dreams and goals. There are seasons of life that just don’t allow for big projects. And that is perfectly okay.

I have found the word that more often than not holds me back from going after my goals and dreams. Could it be holding you back too?

That is why I turn WHEN into WHY NOT NOW?

Think through the reasons why you can or can not chase after this particular dream and then make an educated decision of why or why not you should do this. If the evidence points to the world being your oyster then, by all means, chase after that dream with reckless abandon. Don’t let the excuse of WHEN hold you down.

If NOW just is not the time for various reasons then give yourself grace and a timeline for when you will revisit this goal and decide again if you should pursue it or not in that new season.

Let me give you two specific examples in my own life.

I turned WHEN into NOW. Click To Tweet

I have wanted to run a full marathon for pretty much my entire adult life.

Well, I think it actually goes all the way back to college or possibly even high school. It is hard to actually pinpoint the reason why I want to cross that finish line after running 26.2 miles but the urge is strong despite the pain and suffering that goes into getting ready for it.

For probably 20 years I have longed to run that marathon but always said, “Well, I will run that marathon WHEN I have lost 20+ pounds.”

Guess where that has gotten me? Not running a marathon.

And then late in 2017, I was out on a run and I was thinking about running a marathon AGAIN. The typical “WHEN I lose 20+ pounds, I’ll….”

Wait, NO! “Why not now?” I considered everything on my plate and it was amazingly doable. I talked to my husband about the training load this will require. He was completely on board. Yep, I had no excuses. I registered for my first full marathon on November 3rd and got started in my training.

I will run a marathon before I turn 40.

Second, I have always wanted to be a writer and to ultimately, write a book.

Just like running a marathon writing has been a big part of the background of my mind for the better part of 20+ years. The road has been full of excuses and a whole lot of WHEN’s.

I’ll write my book when my son is older.
I’ll write my book when we are settled in our new home.
So on and so forth.

Guess what. That WHEN kept me from writing my book AND it kept me from even writing on a daily basis. Why write daily if you aren’t actually pursuing a book, right?

And then, as I was in tears after considering the question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”, and knowing my deep heart’s desire was to be a writer, my husband helped me ask myself, “Why not now?”

Guess what? There was no reason why not now?

And now I am writing on a daily basis in my personal journal and for my blog. I am constantly swirling around ideas for my book and making plans.

I turned my WHEN into WHY NOT and it has made all the difference. Click To Tweet

Where are you saying WHEN?

WHY NOT NOW?

 

 

 

 

 
 

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

I have found the word that more often than not holds me back from going after my goals and dreams. Could it be holding you back too?
I have found the word that more often than not holds me back from going after my goals and dreams. Could it be holding you back too?

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail?

It all happened in a weekend. I went to a conference seeking help and I got asked a question. It was a question that completely changed the trajectory of my life. A brave soul asked me, "What would YOU do if you knew you couldn't FAIL?

I remember the day like it was yesterday.

I was sitting at a conference in a state of uncertainty. I felt completely lost. I had no idea who I was or where I was going. I felt lost and completely defeated.

Failure was the word that kept swirling around in my mind.

Stuck.

I came to this conference based on the suggestion of a friend. This friend had been to a few of these conferences and had been changed by them. Changed for the better….way better. The evidence was there and could not be denied. So, there I sat, listening, wondering, second-guessing.

Why was I there? Seriously? Could I really gain anything from what this speaker was saying from the stage?

Honestly, I did not think so. I was a lost cause.

Failure was my middle name.

I promised my friend I would go to the conference with an open heart, willing to listen and learn. Since I am not one to ever break promises I found myself in that conference with my notebook and pen and ready to take notes.

I started out rather slumped in my chair and arms crossed. I was in protection mode. I didn’t want to open myself up to yet another crazy notion.

Then the conference got underway.

And then,….ever so slowly, I noticed myself sitting up straighter and leaning in to hear every word the speaker said. I was taking tons of notes. Something was really resonating with me. 

And then the speaker asked one question.

I will always remember that question because it completely changed the trajectory of my life.

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? Click To Tweet

What? Excuse me?

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?
If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?
If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

It was like time stood still for a few moments.

What would I do if I knew I COULDN’T FAIL?!

I had grown so accustomed to failing and giving up that I stopped dreaming.

In my mind failure equals pain and I hate pain. So, I stopped dreaming and trying because I didn’t want to feel that pain.

It all happened in a weekend. I went to a conference seeking help and I got asked a question. It was a question that completely changed the trajectory of my life. A brave soul asked me, "What would YOU do if you knew you couldn't FAIL?

But, what if? What IF I I knew I couldn’t fail? What would I DO?!

Tears started to run down my cheek.

I knew what I would do but I was still too afraid to give it life by putting it into words.

I snapped out of my stupor and heard the speaker say, “Do you know what you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Great. Now write it down.”

With a shaky hand, I wrote it down. I unburied a dream (two dreams, actually) that I had dug so deep down that it felt unretrievable prior to this weekend conference.

Then I heard the speaker say, “Did you write it down? Okay. Now GO DO THAT THING!”

I spent the rest of the conference with a new fire under my butt. I discovered my ability to dream again and my brain was on fire. I could barely sit still. I filled an entire notebook with notes.

I left that conference with plans to go after my dreams with reckless abandon.

I did not know HOW?
I did not know exactly WHEN?
But, I did know WHAT?

The complete trajectory of my life was changed that weekend with a single question.

Before that fateful Saturday morning, I was heading down the road of defeat.

And then with one question, I came to a hard stop and switched directions and headed down the road of dreams and victory.

With one question I went from victim to victor. Click To Tweet

I still have days when I feel like a failure. And on those days I just take special care of myself and then ask, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? Now go do it!”

So, what about you?

What would YOU do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
*
*
*
Got it? Write it down. Go tell someone.
*
*
*
Now, go do it.

 

 

 

Note: Curious about what conference I’m talking about? Sure! It’s First Steps to Success with Dani Johnson. Go sign up.

 

 

 
 

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

It all happened in a weekend. I went to a conference seeking help and I got asked a question. It was a question that completely changed the trajectory of my life. A brave soul asked me, "What would YOU do if you knew you couldn't FAIL?

Successful Blogging Is Built On Habits

What does it really take to run a successful blog? There is a ton of things that come into play but it all boils down to one thing: Habits

Looking out into the blogging world I see a wide range of blogs.

I see blogs that were started and forgotten a long time ago and blogs that run in fits and starts with a good bit of apologizing from the blogger saying life got in the way. I see blogs that are steady and run well in the background but not necessarily considered big and then I see blogs that obviously carry a large readership and with that a nice income for the blogger.

When I was starting this blog I asked myself where I ultimately wanted to go with this creation of mine.

Did I want to start it and then eventually let it die like the three other blogs I’ve started in the past? Did I want to have space for my thoughts with no goal for readership or income? Or, did I want to build a blog and ultimately, a business?

I concluded that the last thing I wanted was for another blog to become victim to the internet cobwebs. Yes, I wanted to build a blog and a business and I wanted to build a platform for my writing. Writing is my happy place and the dream of my heart.

So, I want to build a blog, a business, and a platform? How am I going to do that?

I have always been told that if you want something you go out and find the people who have what you want and you do what they do. You follow directions. Click To Tweet

I looked around and studied the bigger and successful blogs that are similar in niche to my own. I looked into what those bloggers and writers did that I was not.

Habits.

I read countless articles on productivity, mindset, and daily living of these successful bloggers. While each one is as different as their blogs I see that each and every one has habits in place that are rock solid.

Looking back to my previous blogs I can see that there were absolutely no habits whatsoever in place. I lived in the misconception that I could run my blog purely on inspiration and I was never writing on a consistent basis. I became the blogger who would go months or even a year between posts and I would start the new post with “Hey everyone! I’m so sorry it has been X months since I last wrote. Life has been so crazy lately.”

I got so frustrated with my blogs and then I got frustrated with my writing. How in the world were these people managing to be successful when I couldn’t get anything right? What was I missing?

A Successful Blog is Built on Habits and those habits are developed consistently over time.

A Successful Blog is Built on Habits Click To Tweet

You can do a simple search and learn what habits other bloggers are building their blogs on. I invite you to do that and be inspired.

Here is a peek into my habits on which I am building my blog.

What does it really take to run a successful blog? There is a ton of things that come into play but it all boils down to one thing: Habits

Daily Writing

I write every day for at least an hour or until I have written at least 1000 words. This is non-negotiable. This is not based on inspiration or motivation. Writing will be done every day with the exception of our Sabbath/ Family Day

My daily writing consists of a combination of personal journaling and material for the blog. I write in one monthly Word Document so the personal journaling and blog material blend together. I find that often times personal journaling turns into good material for the blog and I pull my posts from there.

The key here, though, is that I am writing every single day and that provides ample material. Rarely do I groan because I have nothing to post on the blog. Why? Because it has already been written through the daily habit of writing.

Time Management

I block off time for certain tasks throughout the day. And I am strict with those time slots. IF I am not done with a task when my time is up I still move on to the next task and make a note of where I left off. I will take care of the previous task tomorrow.

For example, I allow for one hour to be spent on social media engagement. I do this to prevent me from going down all the bunny trails social media creates. In the past, it was not uncommon for me to spend three or more hours on social media marketing of my blog because I was allowing myself to be distracted.

I set a timer and because I know that time is ticking I am focused and I get it done. The awesome thing is that I find that my quality of engagement is higher when I am strict with my time.

There are time slots for blog tasks, house tasks, family tasks, and self-care (exercise, etc.)

If I am loose on the time management everything blends into everything else and ultimately nothing actually gets done.I am able to get far more done and allow for more space in my brain for creativity.

Education

I set aside time each week for continuing education.

How in the world could I ever expect my blog or writing to improve and grow if I did not set aside time to learn more?

This education can be reading ebooks, leadership books, going through blogging e-courses, or watching webinars or videos.

Just like everything I mentioned above, my education time is an appointment in my calendar. I keep that appointment like I would a doctor’s appointment. It is that important.

Here is a key point. While I am educating myself I am also making a point to implement what I am learning. IT’s one thing to absorb information. It’s another thing to absorb information and then do something with it.

Successful Bloggers Are Always Learning and Following Directions Click To Tweet

Keeping Systems

It has taken me some time to create my own systems but it has happened and I am so thankful.

In time past I would be rather willy nilly about how I created posts for my blog. Because I had nothing concrete to follow it was way too easy to forget things. This lack of organization really affected the quality of the whole blog experience.

I learned that successful bloggers run their blogs like a business and running a good business means having systems in place.

I have chosen create my systems in Trello. Within Trello I have created checklists with everything that needs to be done each day and each week to keep the blog running smoothly. For example, I have checklists for each blog post and I don’t hit Schedule until every item in that list has been checked. The checklists are my accountability.

This system keeps me on top of things and I don’t forget anything. And since I am often working on more than one post at a time I know exactly what needs to be done for each one before it goes live.

Boundaries

One thing that makes blogging or writing unattractive is how all-consuming it can be. If you are not mindful of yourself blogging can completely take over your life to the point that you are working on it or at least thinking about it all day and all night.

While it is hard to figure out sometimes, boundaries are so important in a work-from-home gig like blogging. There are no natural boundaries in place because you live in the same space as your work.

These boundaries keep my work in its proper place so that I can be fully me.

If I allow blogging to take over my life then the very essence of my writing is lost and so is my effectiveness. Keep Boundaries. Click To Tweet

When the block for family time arrives, there is a hard stop on blogging and writing. The family is always the first priority. Blogging can wait if needed.

Keeping these boundaries also allows me to focus on my two favorite types of self-care: Reading and Running. If I can’t read or go for a run several times a week then slowly die on the inside and lose all productivity. It is for the best for my family, my blog and writing, and myself to keep good boundaries and maintain a great work-life balance.

What kind of habits do you have in place to help your blog be successful?


 

 
 

What does it really take to run a successful blog? There is a ton of things that come into play but it all boils down to one thing: Habits

How To Not Quit: 5 Tips

Are you having a hard time and wanting to quit? Don't quit yet!! Here are five tips to help you not quit and crush that awesome goal.

Do you ever have those feelings of wanting to quit?

There was a time when you were so passionate about your current project. The vision and the why were strong enough to get you up in the morning and to get you working with reckless abandon till the wee hours of the night.

Then the Honeymoon period passed.

The zing is gone. It starts getting hard. There are new roadblocks and dead ends. Your desire to work on this project is going away, just like the wind.

And then the thought pops into your head. What thought, you ask?

What if I just quit?

How things would be simpler and easier then!! What a wonderful thought!

But, you’ve worked too hard to quit and yet, you just can’t shake those feelings. What should you do now?

How do you fight off the feeling of wanting to quit?

Give Yourself Five Seconds

Running away from our feelings or denying that we are having negative feelings is not the solution to anything. We need to acknowledge that we are having these feelings so that we can work through them and figure out why they are happening to begin with.

So, you want to quit. Nothing seems to be working and you want to give up on this thing and move on to the next shiny thing.

I hear you. It totally stinks.

Give yourself FIVE seconds to wallow and whimper and whine. It’s okay. Go ahead. Feel ALL the feelings.

5…..4….3…..2…..1…..

DONE!

Some problems may be big enough that five seconds just doesn’t cut it. That’s okay. Allow yourself that time. But, put a time limit on the wallowing and stick to that time limit. You can’t wallow forever and get anywhere good.

Do you want to quit? Things not going well? Wallow. Stop. Move on. Click To Tweet

Go Exercise

Exercising is my go-to method of clearing my mind of all the junk and seeing things more clearly.

I especially love to go for really long runs and the length of the runs is often determined by how much junk needs to be cleared out. I never regret a run. (Well, there was that one time when I severely rolled my ankle about three miles from home and I had to start hobbling home while I waited for my husband to pick me up.) I also enjoy a good cleansing yoga workout for mind clearing and mood lifting.

Do something that is physically challenging. Run farther than you thought possible, do a yoga flow you thought way too hard, or lift weights you didn’t think you were ready for.

Whatever your preconceived limits are, go after them like a tiger, and prove to yourself that those limits were actually all in your head.

And guess what?

So are the limits you have in your head for whatever you ware wanting to quit.

Clear your head and prove you can push past your limits with exercise. Click To Tweet

Be Inspired By Someone Else

I am a visual learner and I love to watch all kinds of videos on YouTube. I love TED Talks, coaching videos, motivational videos, etc.

When I’m feeling like I want to quit I almost always go to YouTube and find a video about someone who pushed past her limits and did something amazing. It can be just about anything. It can be someone climbing Mt. Everest or completing some crazy ultramarathon or even refusing to accept the life the world was dealing her and pulling herself up by her bootstraps.

Watching regular people do seemingly impossible things proves to me that it’s not actually impossible. It’s just a matter of solving problems.

Are you having a hard time and wanting to quit? Don't quit yet!! Here are five tips to help you not quit and crush that awesome goal.

Tap Into Your WHY

If you haven’t already, use the FIVE WHYS Exercise to figure the deepest reason of why you took on this project, to begin with.

Find the Why That Makes You Cry. Click To Tweet

It is that reason that will keep you moving forward no matter how hard it gets.

That WHY is much bigger than you and it transcends everything that could go wrong.

That WHY has the strength and the courage to take on any obstacle with reckless abandon.

It is normal to tuck the why away when the work gets overwhelming. Don’t feel bad if you forget your Why. That’s why you have to remind yourself of the WHY and tap into the power you find there.

Refuse to Quit…Today

There are days when the feeling of wanting to quit is so overwhelming that it seems like the only option. Deep down you don’t want to really quit but what else is there to do?

Refuse to quit….Today. Click To Tweet

Promise yourself that TODAY, you will NOT quit.

Tomorrow, maybe you’ll quit. But, not today.

This is similar to a mind trick or game I play with myself when I’m on a particularly long run. There are almost always times when I feel like I need to quit and stop running. My legs burn, I’m tired, I can’t breathe, whatever the reason may be. The desire to stop running is really REALLY strong. I know there is always more in the tank than what my mind is telling me.

I promise myself that if I run to a certain tree or street lamp in the distance then I can stop running and walk home. That is always just enough to keep me powered up and moving forward because I know there is an end in sight.

Once I get to the blessed promised tree, I repeat the process. Run that that next tree and THEN you can stop running and walk home.

Rinse and repeat. It works every time.

Today is your tree in the distance.

Refuse to quit until you get to the end of the day or tree and then walk home. You did what you promised yourself.

Tomorrow, repeat. Your next tree is at the end of that day. Refuse to quit until you get there.

Keep doing this over and over and over and over. Next thing you know you never quit after all and you did far more than you ever thought possible.

Count Your Blessings And Wins

Remind yourself that you GET to do this!!

Remember that most people in the world don’t have the opportunities that YOU have.

Start a Gratitude and Wins Journal and write in it every single day, morning and night.

Keep a record of all your WINS no matter how small to remind yourself that you really ARE making progress even if seemingly minuscule. Forward is forward.

Use your Gratitude and Wins Journal for an attitude check.

Things may seem bad but when you are reminded of all the things you are doing right then your eyes are more open to the future and how you will get there.

Ready to not quit and tackle your goal?!

Let’s do this!

 

 

 

 
 

Photo by Kyle Szegedi on Unsplash

 

Are you having a hard time and wanting to quit? Don't quit yet!! Here are five tips to help you not quit and crush that awesome goal.

Personal Responsibility Changes Everything

What happens when you take responsibility for our own actions and success?

When something wrong happens in our lives what is the first thing we usually do?

Other than yelling, “PLOT TWIST!” (What? You don’t do that??)

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to find someone or something to blame for what went wrong.  I put sole responsibility on someone or something else.That is my natural tendency and I feel pretty safe in saying that is your natural tendency too.

If I fail at something it is because someone else blocked my success or circumstances just weren’t right or Jupiter wasn’t in line with Mars.

But, that never works. I feel just as miserable as I did before and maybe even more miserable. I find myself stuck in a world that I cannot control and there is no way out. Despair is the only path. Then I find myself going from problem to problem because nothing ever gets solved.

What happens when you take responsibility for our own actions and success?

You enter a world that you can control.

You can control your actions and you can control your own thoughts.

The level of your happiness is directly proportional to how much personal responsibility you accept. Click To Tweet

You control what goes into your mouth. I am pretty confident no one tied you to chair and shoved that piece of cake or bag of chips down your throat. You made the decision to eat it and then you ate it. Simple.

It is the same with your exercise. I do know this can be a bit more tricky than food because circumstances really do come up that are out of your control but real situations like that are rarer than you think. You may not be able to get to the gym due to sickness or whatever but you can still exercise at home. You make the choice to exercise or not. Other people do not.

I don’t want to come across as being mean or in your face about it. I am not pointing my finger at you. After all, that would mean I have three fingers pointing back at me.

What happens when you take responsibility for our own actions and success?

I am just saying that YOU control YOU. And when YOU control YOU, you can change how you do things.

So, you ate that cake. Was it yummy? Good. Now acknowledge that you did something you didn’t want to do. Pinpoint what happened. Take notes for the future and move on. Learn from the mistake and then walk away.

Did you miss your workout yesterday? Why? What events lead up to you making that decision? Could you have done it differently? 

How did your writing go yesterday? Oh, you didn’t write anything? Why? What happened that caused you to not write a single word even though you knew you really needed to get that done? 

What about that huge mountain of laundry that keeps haunting you? Why hasn’t it been folded yet? 

Learn from what didn’t happen and do it differently tomorrow. 

Personal responsibility.

It really will make your life easier and happier.

To improve yourself you need to learn from your mistakes. To learn from your mistakes you have to acknowledge the mistakes and take responsibility for them.

You are in charge of YOU.

And don’t forget!!  It’s not Failure. It’s Feedback!

Enjoy LIFE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash

What happens when you take responsibility for our own actions and success?

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!

1 2 3 7