New year, new you…right??

New year, new you…right??

The Secret To Making Resolutions That Actually Stick

It’s January — and we’re back to our routines. In line at the supermarket, you’re hit by all the articles on health and wellbeing. You’ll go back to the gym. Dust off that yoga mat (or Peloton). Seal the deal with a big client/see your best friend more/eat less carbs… You’ve got your resolutions. New year, new you, right? And you are on it. 

Sound familiar?

How many times have you started the year — with the best intentions — only to peter out in February or March? Slowly lose interest. Feel exhaustion return, and go back to the same old habits.

Truth is, you can have all the goals in the world. But if you don’t have the right foundation in place, it’s all for sh*t — or at least, you’re not going to be able to up-level your game. Dish out the work. Be available to your friends and family. Whatever the aspiration, if you don’t take care of yourself…

Your goals are going to flatline.

So, how can we make sure we’re not only on it now — but stay on it throughout the year?

This month’s post is all about the one big secret you need to conquer to stay on top of those goals. The one thing — above even nutrition or movement — that if mastered, is a game-changer for giving back clarity, a sense of purpose and making sure we’re firing at optimal levels…

(And it’s a problem I see more and more of you struggling with, desperate to find a solution…)

The answer? Sleep.

As human beings we have natural rhythms embedded in us. Back in the day, before the lightbulb was invented, we’d just sleep when it was dark. And now? We’re taught to go, go, GO! And as a result, our circadian rhythms are shot.

You probably felt it over the holidays. And ladies, it’s hard to admit, but we’re faced with a double whammy — we no longer have our youth to pull us through those late nights. We can’t just pull on a pair of leg warmers, plug in a Walkman and bounce right back (what can I say, I love the 80’s).

And no, it’s not just that your body’s changing — we groove to consistency. Maybe you wake up like clockwork each morning at 3am, needing the bathroom? You have a hot flash, and your mind starts whirling. We stare at the clock, getting back to sleep is so challenging!

4 years ago I struggled with exactly this. I’d survive on 5 hours a night. (And probably shouldn’t have been driving in the afternoons…) But when 8 or 9 hours is considered the norm, the fact is probably 90% of us are deprived sleepwalkers…

And so I know how important it is to share the habits I’ve used — to break destructive patterns, and help you live life to the fullest. So you can show up consistently and keep your goals alive month after month (and not just in January.)

7 Steps You Can Take TODAY to Help You Recalibrate: 

  • Caffeine. This is a biggie. Listen, I love a cup of coffee (maybe even 2 or 3!) But pushing the envelope isn’t a good idea. You can indulge — but stop after 3pm, and give caffeine a chance to leave your system.
  • …And alcohol. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but though soothing in the moment, that glass of wine after a long day stops you from reaching the really deep, restorative sleep that truly rejuvenates. If you can go without, do.
  • Avoid blue light. (Oh yeah — just like the electric blue eyeshadow you wore in your teens, blue light after dark is not going to suit you anymore!) Unplug your phone, maybe leave it in another room if you can. My secret? Set an alarm and remind yourself to shut your phone down.
  • Stop that Nextflix binge 2-3 hours before hitting the sack. The stimulation makes winding down that much harder. So save the new reboot season of Sex and the City for early evening hours only…
  • Be honest, what time do you stop working? (That includes checking your phone, deliberating over a response.) When my children were younger I’d put them to bed, and get back on my game for 2-3 hours. This was a terrible idea! Giving yourself time to wind down should be your number one priority.
  • Take a power nap. It might not be the American way to take a break in the middle of the afternoon, but your body will thank you for it. Get out of the habit of needing to be on it, every minute of the day.
  • Keep your room temperature down low, no higher than 68°. And that means no exercising or big meals before bed that only stimulates and raises our body temperature (and nix the sweaters and socks under the covers).

But what if you’re one of the many women who come to me tired and exhausted — unable to switch off your anxieties, thoughts and worries? The techniques above will certainly help, but you may require another layer — to truly quiet the mind and signal to your body, that it’s time to flip off the switch…

Go-To Rituals to Quiet the Mind 

First take five minutes. I gently potter about the kitchen and put away the dishes. Whatever routine might be personal to you, to signal that the day is done.

Take a warm bath, dim the lights, light a candle. Heating your body up, to then cool it down, is a relaxant and sets you in the mood for sleep.

Make your bedroom a sanctuary. It should be dark, calm and cool. Your bedroom should be for 2 things only — sleep… and sex! No TVs, phones, nothing else. That’s it.

Establish a 3-5 minute ritual of breathing exercises. For me, it literally signifies flipping the switch… Because otherwise I know I’ll sit in bed and think about ideas for the day ahead, or that person I have to get back to. I’m running down the list, right? And that is not going to work.

Instead breathing allows us to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system — accessing calm, rational thinking. And box breathing (tracing the outline of a box as you breathe) is a very simple place to start:

  1. Breathe in for 4, hit one corner
  2. Hold for 4 until you reach the next
  3. Exhale for 4 seconds hitting the next corner
  4. Hold for 4 before repeating

And my final ritual for sleep? A nighttime gratitude practice. It’s a game changer — I talked about this back in November, but it bears repeating. Take a piece of paper and pen (no screens, remember!) and list everything you did throughout the day, from taking out the garbage to picking up dinner or conversations you’ve had. Now take that list, and flip it — look only through the lens of gratitude, and write each one down. Only seek the good. Because honestly? Gratitude is a superpower, it’ll squash any negativity you feel dead in its tracks.

XO

Holly

P.S. So, what about you? Hit reply…I’d love to hear how you prepare for sleep — or which practice(s) I share resonates with you?

P.P.S. Please know this is NOT about perfection,  just adding any one or two of these practices can make a big difference. You better believe there are some days I fail my caffeine curfew and nights a Netflix binge takes over. BUT those days are now far and few between. 

Think Big With Starting Small

Think Big With Starting Small

The Power Of Taking Small Steps

Ahh, 2021…we made it! No doubt we are all ready to put 2020 behind us. Though we are not out of the woods yet, we’ve come a long way and learned a lot. Understandably, for most of us our energy is low, this past year has put us through the ringer. But now more than ever it’s important to keep our eye on the bigger picture, knowing there is a light at the end of this tunnel with the administration of the coronavirus vaccine underway. Though you may be weary, the time has come to start considering new and improved possibilities in your life and start going after them. This is where the benefit of taking small steps towards bigger aspirations can have a significant impact, allowing us to slowly but steadily move forward while still holding space to adjust and recover from all of the fall out and massive upheaval 2020 brought us.

Truth is, as a empowerment coach I’ve always been a big fan of breaking down larger goals into smaller more manageable action steps. Let’s face it, even in the best of circumstances, setting lofty goals can be overwhelming. Starting small helps us not only get started but allows us to adjust to the desired behaviors we are seeking so these new action steps become habitual in nature. More importantly, small steps help us avoid fatigue, something we all have to be very sensitive to as we already are working on low reserves as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. 

It’s really all about setting ourselves up for a greater likelihood of success, so we can go the distance. Small steps create momentum and momentum is crucial if you want to make meaningful progress on “bigger” aspirations. Whether you’re wanting to advance your career, resolve health related issues, or want to improve your relationship with significant others, small, consistent steps add up towards these important goals. For example, instead of confronting your teenage daughter head-on to resolve issues, starting first with small acts toward connection builds trust so that when you do need to address issues, you’ll be much more likely to experience positive change. There’s no denying success breeds success. Once we start getting results, it’s more motivating and inspiring to keep going while also allow us to handle setbacks because we already have a foundation and tools in place to pick ourselves back up from any small detours we may incur. Moreover, focusing on small steps is a great way to ACT on procrastination. In other words, make tasks Attainable (with small steps), boost our Confidence, and agree upon a Timeline.

Honor the value of regaining your strength this year while reclaiming your power to dream big with starting small. Don’t surrender to the lure of the winter pandemic doldrums. Ask yourself “what would you like to see happen in and for your life this new year? And more importantly “what small action can you take today to get you closer to experiencing that tomorrow?” Be intentional…it will all be worthwhile when we emerge into the spring mentally, physically, and emotionally on point, raring to go!

Wishing You The Best Of Success 

-Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020…Setting The Stage!

2020…Setting The Stage!

The Power Of Visualization

Alright everyone…here we are, HELLO 2020! So what’s it gonna be this year? Though I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions, I am a huge advocate for setting the stage and believe immensely in the power of positive visualization. In fact every morning, upon awakening I take the first 15 minutes of my day to envision the next 24 hours. Literally, going hour by hour, imagining and designing action steps that align with how I want to show up and experience the day. Naturally, some days are harder then others. But the second part of this two step visualization process-designing the action steps of the day-give me the clarity and direction I need to build in the greatest likelihood for success.  Of course, there are plenty of days when I’m feeling more overwhelmed or rather uninspired by what lies ahead. But make no mistake the power of suggestion goes a long way, it is now a well known fact that we stimulate the same brain regions when we visualize an action and when we actually perform that same action. Brain studies have shown that positive mental imagery “primes” our brains for success. 

On a bigger level, every new year I take pen to paper and return to one of my most trusted practices I learned back in 2010 when I was first just a student at iPEC (Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching) pursuing my coaching certification. It is a visualization exercise in which I imagine it is one year from now (Dec 31, 2020) and what I aspire for is actually occurring. I then proceed to consider all aspects of my life; personal development, career, health/wellness, intimate/social/professional relationships, parenting, fun/enjoyment, even spiritual wellbeing and paint a picture of what I like to see. Essentially, I design a vision that is exciting, purposeful and fulfilling, one that I find inspiring. I ask myself:

  • What am I doing? (In all the above stated aspects of life)
  • With whom am I doing it with?
  • What am I feeling?
  • How much income am I earning?
  • How much fun am I having?
  • What difference am I making, personally and professionally, in the world?

Ultimately, using this exercise to create a vision of what I aspire to be, feel, and experience in the new coming year. This process, of seeing and even feeling a new improved self in all aspects of my life allows me to then develop life objectives that support this vision, helping me break it all down into specific goals that lead me to my desired destination by years end. This exercise has become one of the most favored amongst my clients, not only promoting clarity in their goal setting but accountability as we use it as a tool to check in with to help them stay on track and develop necessary action plans and task driven work in order they be able to obtain what it is they want in and for their lives.

The most important thing to remember when doing this exercise is that not everything is written in stone, there needs to be some level of flexibility, however, not at the risk of losing sight of our vision. Remember, there is never an end state to self-development, greater success and happiness is always a work in progress but without a vision it is very hard to find direction. As the most revered book states “Where There Is No Vision The People Perish.” PROVERBS  29:18

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy New Year

-Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where And Who You Are Now

Where And Who You Are Now

The Power In Acceptance

For many, December is a month of reflection.  As we end the year and begin to contemplate new year resolutions,  it’s a perfect time to surrender to the discipline of acceptance. Without acceptance we are only fighting or denying what is, making it almost impossible to behave proactively and move forward to create the change we seek in the coming year. 

It’s important not to confuse acceptance with resignation. Resignation is an act of giving up of our control, quitting, or succumbing to less than desirable outcomes. Whereas acceptance is more about gaining control and increasing the likelihood for more optimal results through embracing what actually is, in order to better assist ourselves with the understanding of what really needs to be addressed.

So before we can create the change we desire for the coming year we must first accept where we are now. Grab some paper and pen and start considering how you spent this past year, what did you accomplish that you are proud of and where may have you fallen short. Let’s explore the highs and lows, celebrations and shortcomings to find the lessons to be learned from all our experiences, positive and negative and move forward with a renewed conviction in this new coming year.

Ask Yourself:

  • What were the most significant events (good or ugly) of the year past? (List the top 3)
  • What did you accomplish? (List wins and achievements)
  • What were your disappointments? ( Regarding yourself )
  • What were your biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?
  • What did you learn? (skills, knowledge, awareness, etc)
  • What would you do differently? Why?
  • What do you feel especially good about? What was your greatest contribution?
  • What were the fun things you did? What were the not-so-fun?
  • How are you different this year than last?

Let these reflections inform your plans for the new year. Say good-bye to 2019. Give thanks for the learning and usefulness this year has brought and welcome in 2020 with your eyes wide open and ready to move forward!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

-Holly-

 

 

 

Making Big Strides With Small Steps

Making Big Strides With Small Steps

Change is a Process…Not an Event

The advent of the new year has come and gone and understandably for many, the allure of creating positive change within our lives begins to wane. Suddenly, the drive to seek more success and fulfillment in our careers, relationships, health, and well-being begins to diminish. Of course, we still want more for ourselves, personally and professionally, it’s just that the effort is hard to sustain, life gets in the way, and results don’t typically occur quick enough, all of which detracts from the once renewed sense of energy we had back in January.  But hears the good news, that is ok because change is a process and not an event. Having the things we want in and for our lives will not happen overnight, research proves it is within the small, subtle (not sizable or drastic) tweaks we make gradually that will add up to the big changes we seek. So don’t give up on those new year resolutions yet, slow and steady actually does win the race. Read on and learn how to make big strides with 4 small steps.

Four Small Steps That Have a Big Impact

 1.   Build On Existing Habits- Add a new beneficial behavior to an existing habit. For example, change your daily walk with your dog to a jog. Use the time carpooling your kids as an opportunity to connect. Add a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack. Combine your daily mid-afternoon coffee break with calls or brief meet-ups with your team. The point being is to ease the creation of a desired new behavior by coupling it with an existing relatable habit.

2. Create Most Optimal Surroundings– Create a greater likelihood of success with supportive surroundings. So for example, if you want to eat healthier, stock your shelves with nutritious foods, not cookies or chips. Set out your gym clothes the night before so you’re ready to go for your workout tomorrow, put your cell phone in the draw while having dinner with your family or finishing up an important work-related project. In other words, set up your environment to promote what you want. 

3. Anticipate Obstacles– Whether it’s a sudden circumstance that interferes with our well-intended plans to align with our goals (i.e illness, technology challenges, weather conditions, etc.) or the reality that we are only human and naturally our conviction will be tested. Anticipate obstacles and prepare for them with if-then strategies. So for example, if the going gets tough with work aspirations then connect with a mentor or other colleagues that can be of support or inspiration and create accountability. If you know you have a series of commitments that will challenge healthy eating or regular workouts then eat a nutritious, filling snack before heading out or travel with a jump rope should you be out of town or stuck indoors due to inclement weather. Know life can get in the way and plan accordingly.

4. Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.- The key to success is seeing change as a curious experiment and then taking a bunch of small actions steps to point yourself in the direction you want to go. Follow this formula and results are inevitable. 

Do not underestimate the power of taking small steps, not only does its cumulative effects provide tangible markers of success but the cost of failure is comparatively low.  So there’s less on the line to lose allowing us to feel more confident and at ease with implementing change into our lives. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

-Holly-