Midlife Game Changing Habits

Midlife Game Changing Habits

Top Five Strategies You Need To Know 

‘Holly, do you have any big strategies to navigate midlife? 

‘Y’know, the surefire, game-changing, non-negotiables that mean you’re always so on point?’

Whoa. Now, there’s a question…

And it’s probably the one I’m asked most — on the pickleball court, out to dinner with friends, by clients and colleagues…

First — let’s get one thing straight, I am most definitely NOT ‘so on point…’ (!)

Hey, I may be a Midlife Transition Coach, but I worry about my turkey neck as much as the next woman! I’m struggling to sleep through the night. Trying to figure out how to empty nest… gracefully.

I too, question those goals I held for SO long, that sometimes feel flat and uninspiring… 

Sure! We’re a boat load wiser. But if you find yourself wandering into the bedroom, forgetting why you’re there — and instead your thoughts turn to:

>> Who the heck am I?

>> What’s next?

>> And how the hell do I begin to figure all this out?

Then you need…

The Top 5 Strategies To Thrive In Midlife Right Now 

Yeah, that’s right: these are the non-negotiable, instrumental habits you need to adhere to IMMEDIATELY…

No joke.

Because ladies, I believe — no, I know — these habits are SO powerful, you’ll finally find your groove…  and forge your path towards a fuller, happier, more meaningful life. 

(And hey, it’s what you’ve been asking for!)

Because honestly? Let’s just not age gracefully. Let’s age powerfully…

And dive right in!

  1. Keep Your Attitude in Check
    Even I find myself slipping into silly comments like: ’… well, I am an old lady.’ But, the more we indulge in that language, the more we give it mileage — the harder we’re making it for ourselves to switch gear and age optimally. 

Energy attracts like energy.

The truth is, we’re living longer fuller lives than ever before. There are inspiring women out there absolutely killing it in midlife, knocking it outta the park! So, instead of  indulging in negative language, flip the script to stories of strong, vibrant, engaging older women…

And surround yourself with as much knowledge and education to live your life more powerfully.

Check out this podcast: Radically Reframing Aging, and hear Maria Shriver discuss how we can all live our healthiest, most joyful lives as we grow older.

  1. Embrace The Now
    (Or, in short — if not now, when?)

If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s not to hang around. I’ve worked with so many women who have had the rug pulled out from under them — diagnosed suddenly with breast cancer, diabetes, or their husbands get sick…

You might remember last year my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It’s brutal. And I don’t know how long it’s gonna last…

But I can’t live in a state of inertia thinking ‘once she has full time help’ or ‘once she’s in assisted living, well, then I can focus on xyz.’ I can’t wait, and I can’t put things off. I have to honor the fact it’s all consuming, accept it, yet still move forward.

If we don’t start rockin’ and rolling now, then when will we?

  1. Treat Life As An Experiment
    It’s easy to get stuck in a rut — what we eat, how we exercise, even the makeup we use! (Am I right?) But our bodies have changed, our metabolism’s not so fired up, and chances are what worked in our 20s or 30s just ain’t gonna cut it. 

It’s time to shake things up…

You have GOT to have an experimental mindset.

For example, I just don’t have the stamina that I used to. Honestly, the sh*t I could get done in a day… I’d whizz my daughter to dance class, get to the shops, see clients. Now? I just want to chill a little bit.

So, I’ve switched up my day. I do deep work in the morning. And at 3, 4pm, I honor my need to rest. I’ll take the dogs for a walk, meditate, connect with a friend for coffee. And maybe then when I’ve done those things to nourish my soul — I’ll see an evening client.

Try some new things on for size –experiment– not every action you take will be a home run but wisdom gained revealing what feels right, purposeful and fulfilling to you.

  1. Rewire Your Inner Dialogue
    Let’s cut to the chase here. You’ve already spent half your life beating yourself up, telling yourself you aren’t enough. Do you really wanna be 80 — and still judging yourself? 

Or, looking back on your life wishing you’d been more present with your children, partner… but you were just too damn wrapped up and consumed by your own thoughts?

Y’know, I’m just so done with it…

Ladies, it’s time to let go of those old stories holding you back. Next time you hear that inner critic tell you you’re ‘less than’ say to yourself: ‘I’ve got this. I’m committed to my growth.’ Or ‘I’m discovering day-by-day what my goals and priorities are.’

… And shut down that negative talk in its tracks.

  1. Cultivate Connection
    Most research will say, the number 1 predictor of happiness is the quality of our social relationships. Take this from an introvert! (Or rather a social introvert — I love people, but can handle them better in smaller groups…) 😉

But, that being said…

Here, we’re talking positive relationships. The ones that inspire, support, and challenge us. A diverse network — whether that’s seeing your best friend for lunch, or clicking with a virtual Mastermind group. Connecting with your sister, or a work colleague living overseas…

These things keep us sharp, our wellbeing intact. They light us up.

Because the truth is, the struggle is real. Midlife is tough. There’s no denying it. But I know with my whole being, that if you can adapt your habits and mindset to embrace these changes — you will reap the difference in your life…

And glide into the next phase, with power, purpose and meaning. On your terms. 

XO

Holly

P.S. Tell me, what are your top strategies for dealing with the chaos of midlife? Which older women truly inspire you? Comment below (or drop me an email) I’d absolutely love to know! 

The Myth Of Having It All

The Myth Of Having It All

Hey ladies, remember these…?

Those delightfully damaging Enjoli advertisements from the ‘80s?

*Gulp.* (Imagine that making the Superbowl break nowadays?!)

That’s right. As Gen X-ers we REALLY were spoon fed that we could ‘have it all.’ The children. The career. The husband…

And of course we’d ‘never NEVER let him forget he’s a man.’

Yikes.

The thing is, whether it was our well intentioned mothers cheering us on — from a generation where women’s rights were little more than a novelty — or the subliminal craziness of ads like these popping up every 30 minutes…

Where has this internal dialogue left us?

>> Burnt out

>> Exhausted

>> Leaving our own wellbeing limping in last place

And deep down you know that’s not serving anybody…

So, this month I’m examining the psychology behind letting our purses (and our minds) constantly overflow with this baggage…

I’m looking at why we ALL fall into one of 2 camps when it comes to aspiring for more in our lives…

AND why we’re all still suffering from a bad case of comparisonitis. (And yes, what the heck we can do about it!)

So ladies, let’s dive in!

You may have heard of Tal Ben-Shahar? He’s a leading light in the world of positive psychology and one of my absolute heroes…

Tal’s the author of 3 books including Happier, and taught the largest class in Harvard’s history: ‘Positive Psychology 101.’ He also founded the HSA (Happiness Studies Academy) where I studied for over a year — gaining coaching certification in the science behind happiness.

Tal believes there are 2 distinct forms of perfectionism:

  1. The ‘Perfectionist.’ This individual who’s gotta be SO on point they’re suffering from anxiety, depression — even addictions.
  2. The ‘Optimalist.’ A healthy, striving individual who uses high standards to fuel their growth.

And here’s the big difference: the Perfectionist fails to embrace reality. They’ll work 16 hours a day… AND stay super-healthy/be a model spouse/the perfect parent/be super active in the community/BFF to millions…

BUT, they’re failing to embrace the constraints of reality. They simply can’t do all those things. And when they inevitably fall short of their own expectations, they beat themselves up and… it all comes crashing down. Perfectionism for them, has become a great source of misery.

On the flip side, the Optimalist has equally high standards. But they rub their vision up against reality. They aspire to be their best — within reason. They understand there are only so many hours in the day, and healthily construct an OPTIMAL life within these boundaries.

So, be honest now. Which one are you?

If you’ve ever felt exhausted or burnt out, I think you’ll agree unhealthy perfectionist tendencies come with some serious consequences…

But, the truth is, decades on from the Enjoli woman, we’re now a helluva lot wiser…

And we are DONE playing by the rules that no longer serve us. 

So, if we’ve been dealt a bad dose of the unhealthy perfectionist syndrome (as I call it) how can we still hold to a strong commitment AND evolve into the best version of ourselves? How can we embrace the constraints of reality just a little more today?

In other words, how can we move our mindset from Perfectionist to Optimalist?

Well, we can start by remembering ladies, life is not about perfection —

Progress, yes.

We can have it all. Just not all at once. 

Be gentle on yourself. Remember, frying that bacon up in a pan after a hard day at work for your man is probably in your DNA! It’s gonna take a little rewiring to let that past conditioning go.

But, now you’re aware of the difference. Which means you can actively bring your best self forward…

So, next time you feel the pang of perfectionism, be realistic. Look at life through a different lens — and flip that script from Perfectionist to Optimalist.

XO

Holly

P.S. If you’re a recovering perfectionist (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) how does it manifest in your life? When do you feel the wheels coming off? Hit me back and let’s talk about it.

P.P.S. And if you want to read more about this topic Ben-Shahar’s book ‘Pursuit of Perfect’ is an ahem, perfect place to start.

Real Vibes Only-Please!

Real Vibes Only-Please!

Toxic Positivity Is A Real Thing 

See the good in everything.

Stay strong.

It could be worse.

This too shall pass

Just be positive.

All well intended ideas but how do we effectively problem solve or respond appropriately to circumstances in our life that are causing discomfort and difficult emotions if we don’t deal with them as we truly are experiencing them. Clearly, as a women’s empowerment coach, I’m a big fan of the power of positivity. But when it comes at the cost of denying us the opportunity to be real and honest with ourselves, positivity winds up becoming toxic in nature, detracting and harmful to our growth because we’re not operating in a world as we really are experiencing it, rather as we wish it to be. Preventing us from having those hard conversations with ourselves and others. 

I understand people have the best of intentions and want to be a source of light and levity and not feel painful emotions but right now given the collective trauma we’re all experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, toxic positivity seems to be more problematic than ever. It’s alarming and I’m seeing its impact on my clients big time; judging themselves for why they aren’t “feeling it”, beating themselves up for not aggressively pursuing their goals, wondering why they are waking up anxious more days then not and easily overwhelmed. Sure, we are all acclimating and adapting to “Covid Life” but that requires a tremendous amount of energy. We are working on low reserves. Now more than ever false, forced positivity is not the way to go, it only adds to our feelings of distress by putting an additional pressure on ourselves to appear ok, denying us the support we actually need to effectively cope with what we are experiencing. 

I’m not suggesting we throw in the towel nor resign or brood over our negative emotions but if I hear one more person chalk up their distress with “it could be worse”, I might just snap, because hell yeah it can always be worse but that’s not the point. Acknowledging and verbalizing our difficult emotions releases the hold they have on us while give us  greater clarity on how to best support ourselves. 

Whether it be your partner telling you to look on the bright side, a friend repeatedly sharing how much fun they are having even during the pandemic, a meme instructing you to “Choose Happiness”, or you’re feeling you should just be grateful for what you have and only have a positive mindset, remember toxic positivity is a real thing. If you’re not feeling it, avoid the urge to play along, as uncomfortable as it is to express negative emotions they offer us valuable information, allowing us to make decisions that will help us feel better in the long run. So we can then chose to put into place those strategies and “life” tools to build our capacity and claim our potential.

Encouraging Everyone To Keep It Real

-Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

The Negativity Bias

Like it or not we all have a negativity bias. You’re not the only one focusing on what can go wrong verses what can go right when presented with a new opportunity. Or fixating on that one bit of critical feedback amongst all the positive received. We’ve all been there before, dwelling on a mishap, argument,  an error we made despite having otherwise a seemingly good day. 

Thanks to our ancestors, we are all hard wired to give greater weight to our negative experiences instead of positive. From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s not all our fault, we inherited the genes that predispose us to give special attention to the negative aspects in our lives. Being highly attuned to worst case scenarios is how, in pre-historic times, humans survived natural threats. But let’s face it, the chances of us running into a saber-tooth tiger on the way home from work nowadays is highly unlikely, the time has come to break free from this limiting human default robbing us of greater happiness and success.

Studies prove we can retrain our brains 

 Here’s how we begin defeating the negativity bias….

1.Awareness- Just by simply being mindful of the degree to which our brain is inclined to focus on the negative aspects of things is the first step. Becoming aware of our negative self-talk and thoughts allows us to separate ourselves from them, to challenge and even eliminate them.

2.  Relish Positive Experiences- Researchers have learned that negative experiences are perceived more easily and quickly into our long term memory. Whereas, the positive require a dozen or more seconds to be held in our awareness before it transferred from short term to long-term memory. Taking the time to relish in those  good things that happened throughout our day reinforces positive patterns in our brain. Our brain then learns from these experiences, building new neural pathways, researchers call neuroplasticity, helping keep our brains attuned to positivity.

3.  Crowd Out Negative Thoughts- Do whatever it takes, have an arsenal of go to practices to drown out the negativity. Here’s just a few I use daily…positive mantras affirmations, and quotes, gratitude journal, mediation, be more selective when I listen to the news, workout (kicks up those endorphins), practice the skill of reframing challenges and negative self-talk, seek a glass is half full mentality, surround myself with positive people, get outside as much as possible, build in simple pleasures throughout my the day like nuzzling with my dog, eating a favorite food, getting a manicure, watching a funny, feel good show that makes me laugh or warms my heart. Of course, it’s going to vary for everyone but the objective here is lessen the pull towards the negativity bias in order to gradually rewire our brains for happiness.

 As they say in the neuropsychology field “neurons that fire together wire together”, each time we consciously decide to take in the good will make a difference and over time these little differences will add up retraining our brains to embrace positivity and overcome the negativity bias.

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

-Holly-