Category Archives for "Simplicity"
Habits are the actual HOW of making our dreams come true. If you have a beautiful vision for your life, it is the daily habit that will determine whether your efforts lead to your success. For example if we have a dream of good health but sit on the couch eating chips, that habit does not support our vision, but perhaps a habit of green smoothies and exercise does. So it's about how we behave on the daily that leads to a cumulative effect.
But there is one way people trip themselves up when trying to form new habits.
Way back when, I was working in mental health and helping people with quite significant illnesses form healthy habits. And I learnt a lot about what helps a habit stick and become part of your life, and what makes it more likely to trip over.
A couple of years ago my workplace had a 10,000 steps/ day challenge. I'm not a very active person, so 10,000 was a huge leap. I made the 10,000 steps by pushing myself, but once the challenge was over it was too big a leap to maintain and I quickly went back to how I was.
Then, after having my bub, I was feeling very inactive. SO this time, I looked at my current levels of activity and increased this habit by just 500 steps/ day. It was such a small increment that it was almost impossible to fail.
Often we're inclined to start a habit at the ultimate level, and the gap for our little lizard brains is too big - we get into resistance, sabotage and feel overwhelmed and triggered. But when we set a new habit in the smallest possible way, it falls under the radar of our resistance and self-sabotage and is much easier to form a regular habit. SARK talks about "tiny actions" and Brooke Castillo did a podcast about "minimum standards", all based on similar ideas.
Make something a habit in the tiniest form and then when it has become a habit we can build on it. For example, if you want to start running, begin just insisting on yourself running down the driveway each day. If you run further, great. But just get down the driveway.
Once it IS a habit, expand and grow. You can get much further much faster by bypassing resistance until the habit is in place. Rather succeed at a habit of 5000 steps a day than fail at reaching 10,000 and giving up altogether.
So I'd love to hear, what new habit are you trying to form? And what is the smallest way you could implement it daily? Let me know in the comments below, or women, jump into my Facebook community Sisters With Heart, and let me know in there.
Once you've decided on a new habit, it's vital to set it up for success. We often don't think about what can go wrong or how we can sustain the habit. We make it hard for ourself - we don't change anything in our environment, but we expect the change in our behaviour to somehow stick.
But we're going to change that today, by giving our new habit a fighting chance at being a lifelong habit.
There are 3 areas we can set a habit up for success:
This is where a habit goes wrong... I decided this January I was going to make green smoothies every day. I have a blender, and had the ingredients and looked up some recipes. All good.
So one day when I was hungry for a snack, I decided to make a green smoothie. I walked into the kitchen. My blender was at the back of a cupboard. I hadn't used it in ages, I'd have to look for all the parts, give it a wash, prep the vegetables and hunt for that recipe I'd found a while back.
By contrast, there was a plate of fudge on the bench, leftover from Christmas. I'm already hungry at this point so of course I went for the fudge!
A better way to support my green smoothie habit would be to get rid of the fudge from the house, to set up my blender ready to go on the bench and to have the recipe to hand and some vegetables prepped. This way I could walk in to the kitchen and go for it.
So for any habit you're trying to implement, think of how you can get rid of an obstacle - in my case, the fudge; set your environment up to support you, such as keeping the blender on the bench and vegetables to hand; and clear space; for example clearing other clutter from the bench.
These are simple things but often overlooked, but are really important for the success of a new habit. Think about how your habit will happen and how you can support it. And let me know - how will YOU be supporting your new habit?
In this series of posts we have looked at a mindful reflection practice to keep life on track and stay aligned with our values and vision, and to notice our blessings. We then created a vision board to reflect our life vision. Not the shoulds, or how to be good enough... but coming from the place that we are good enough, looking at the life that lights us up.
We then established a new habit in its tiniest form to set us on the path to this vision by cumulative effect, and also explored ways to remove obstacles and set up the environment to support success.
This last post of the series is the most important of all. We will be talking about self kindness, and why it's vital when building a new habit, and always.
We get it the wrong way round. We think the goal will help us feel good about ourselves. We tell ourselves, when I lose weight, I'll feel good. When I earn more, I'll feel good.
In truth, when we're kind to ourselves, we can support ourselves to reach our goal. If we're always beating ourselves up, we have to overcome that to reach our goal. When we're lifting ourselves up, we can more easily reach it.
So the practice is to look at how we're talking to ourselves.
How do YOU talk to yourself? Are you saying, "I can't do it", "I always give up", "I don't have the right qualities for this goal".
Or, are you saying "You've got this", "pick yourself up, you can do it".
If you catch yourself beating up on yourself, don't beat up on yourself even more because of that! Instead, think how you'd respond to a best friend who'd you'd unintentionally put down.
You'd apologise, and correct what you said to be supportive.
So when you catch yourself in the act of putting yourself down, apologise to yourself. Because self kindness is about being your own best friend. So however you'd make it right with your best friend, give yourself the same respect.
And think how you'd encourage your friend. How can you do the same for yourself? Can you put encouraging reminders into your phone or stick a message on your mirror?
Let me know in the comments how you're going to be your own best friend.
This process has changed everything for me and how I stay aligned.
Have you ever noticed how at the end of every year, people on social media are saying "Oh, I'm so over this year - I can't wait for next year!" But then the next year they say the exact same thing? It's passive, wishful thinking where people hope for life to get better but don't do anything to learn from their situation. Instead, they seem all too willing to write off a year of their life.
Don't write off your life one year at a time! Implement this mindful reflection to take the lessons and the blessings with you.
This is a practice I do even more than the end of each year - I do this each quarter to keep on track and focused towards my goals. I also complete a simple daily practice to ensure I keep aligned.
Reflect over the last 3 months (or the time period of your choosing), and reflect on the following questions. You may like to journal the answers or just give each a few moments thought.
These are some questions I reflect on most days. You may like to use these as a starting point for your own daily reflection, or choose your own. It's important to choose questions that reflect on the areas of life important to you.
Once again, you may like to journal or just give these questions some contemplation time.
I hope you enjoy this practice - make it your own. I'd love to hear, what one mindful reflection question you will be adding to your practice? Share in the comments or come join my Facebook community Sisters With Heart and tell me there.
Today we will be talking about why I don't make New Year's resolutions, and what I do instead.
Recently I fulfilled a life long dream, and published my first book, Transform Stress to Self Care. As soon as I'd written it, I realised the conversation wasn't over - it's so important to manage the stress we have to get the most of our lives, so my Youtube channel and podcast was the next step.
Being January, I wanted to discuss why I DON"T make resolutions. I was committed to resolutions until a few years ago, when I realised I wasn't achieving any of them. I realised there was something broken with the model of resolutions, and explored other ideas of what to do instead.
This article explores why I don't make resolutions and what I do instead, and there will be 5 following posts diving into the 5 step process I do instead. You might like to come back to this annually or even better, quarterly.
So I'd love to hear how you're inspired to create positive growth in your life this year. Which of these ideas speaks to you? Let me know in the comments! And if you love it, please subscribe on Youtube or iTunes and share with your friends.
Ever tried writing a gratitude journal? It's a beautiful idea - every day, take a few minutes to write down 3 things you're grateful for. After all, it is not happiness which necessarily makes us grateful; but rather gratitude which makes us happy.
The struggle I have with this practice is that I am a person who lives very much in my mind. For much of my life it has seemed that my body is barely attached to my awareness at all, and my emotions rise to my conscious noticing from time to time before receding beyond my thoughts again. This means that I sit there writing the things I think I must be grateful for, rather than the things I feel grateful for. I fill reams with these lists, while remaining unmoved myself.
If you find that this familiar gratitude practice is enough for you to increase your mindfulness and happiness, then that is wonderful. Stick to it. But if journalling feels like a chore or writing lists keeps you stuck in your mind, then consider this simple variation on gratitude.
This practice of not just identifying our gratitude but also expanding and expressing it ensures that you get out of your head and into the emotion of gratitude. The side effect? You get to make someone else's day too.
Let me know in the comments - how will you express your gratitude today?
When my unborn child's heart stopped beating I remember a scream echoing through the clinic. Vaguely I was aware that it was my scream, but all I knew was that I had to get home. Get to my room. Crawl into bed.
I stayed there for ages. Maybe it was two weeks - I have no idea. Sometimes there was a gap in the silence where I raged, and had to trust my husband to keep us both safe. Mostly, it was silent.
A few people came over. I am not even sure if I said anything that made sense, but I was deeply grateful and it was a relief to feel gratitude amongst waves of anger, bitterness and grief. Many people didn't come over. For a long time this seemed as horrifying as anything else.
But then something else happened. The space and quiet led me to a deep place of meditation, prayer and connection that I've carried with me since. New insights about my life and new dreams began to emerge. When we're not spreading ourselves too far, we have the chance to dig deeper.
Sometimes you may find yourself in the midst of the unthinkable, and feeling alone. It can feel like trying to remember which way to swim while being thrown by a massive wave. We would do anything for something to hold onto until the waves subside enough to swim again.
If this is you, my heart is full of love for you. And know that there will be something to hold on to. We can't always rely on people knowing how to be there for us, or having the emotional bandwidth for it. Since my experience I've seen many people comment that they "declutter" friends who don't show up for them. I think there is room for a different approach.
When we are suffering or struggling, people will often say to us "Take care of your self". But what does that even mean? Here are the ways I offer you to provide yourself the care you need:
It's easy to feel disillusioned if you thought your friends would turn up in the tough times and they don't. And when you reflect on some of these friendships you may see that it was unhealthy or one-way. But don't assume your friends don't care about you. Keep in mind that people show their love in different ways, and some don't know how to give you the support you need.
I hope you find something on this page to hold on to. Let me know in the comments below which strategy you'll be trying, or perhaps a new way you might show up for a friend.
Back in the day multi tasking was the way we were all going to become efficient goal achievers. Only problem was, we got burnt out, and multitasking was in the bad books.
Then, single tasking became the way we were all going to live in a state of mindfulness and flow.
Only - have you ever noticed how days seem to be getting busier? And it's hard to fit in work, family, personal transformation, fitness, nutritious meal preparation, connecting with loved ones, maintaining a home, financial paperwork... aaargh. Who manages juggling all this and approaches eahc task with flow?
I used to have perfectionist standards when it came to my own personal growth. I tried to work out how to fit in journalling three pages each morning with an hour of meditation per day, an hour of yoga and reading inspirational works. I'm sure I could have managed it, if only I'd given up my studies, job and friends. My approach to mindfulness was burning me out.
Now I see things differently. I see one minute of meditation as a triumph, that you meditated. I see yoga while listening to a business training as inspiring. When I fell into the habit of taking my daughter driving to get her to sleep (I am very forgiving of my shortcomings as a mama - my methods are imperfect but my love is perfect is my mantra) I listened to audiobooks at the same time.
So there's a benefit of multitasking - when we do it mindfully, for optimum benefit not out of a frenetic attempt to do more, more, more. Sometimes doing things small means we get to do them, when waiting for perfection means they don't happen at all. And sometimes fitting the personal growth, fitness and spiritual practice into our day means we live from a place of inspiration rather than frustration.
Here's how I use multitasking mindfully:
The difference with multi tasking this time round is it's not about cramming in as much as possible to get as far as possible. This time, consider the goal fitting in things that matter and making slow schedule adjustments until you find your sense of balance and flow.
I'd like to hear from you - do you have practices you haven't found time to do perfectly so they haven't happened at all? And how could you fit in something nourishing in a small increment or a multitask?
If you want to create shifts in your life and the cookie-cutter strategies haven't been working for you - try a personal transformation package, tailor-made just for you.
Sugar scrub is the easiest thing in the world. And the cheapest. It also leaves skin silky smooth and moisturised.
The principles of making a sugar scrub is just to combine oil and sugar in equal proportions. Adjust to preferred consistency. And if you want to get fancy, natural spices or essential oils - provided they're safe to use directly on the skin - add extra benefits and a great fragrance without the hormone disruption of the artificial stuff.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup macadamia oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (warming and cleansing)
Combine the oil and sugar in a bowl. Adjust the sugar: oil ratio to your preference.
Add the vanilla and cinammon.
Place scrub into clean glass jar.
To use: apply and scrub over body before shower or bath. Please note: this scrub is messy so use IN shower or bath! Also, it makes surfaces slippery so take care.
Wash as normal. Enjoy your glowing skin!
For many years I followed the slightly disturbing maxim "If you've bitten off more than you can chew, chew faster. Unsurprisingly, I drank a lot of energy drinks and lived on junk food in those days. My energy was propped up on caffeine, sugar and adrenaline. Why, hello burnout, I didn't see you come in...
Burnout teaches us a lot if we pay attention. It teaches us to seek fulfilment rather than constantly needing stimulation. Because when we seek stimulation, the line between boredom and stress gets way too thin, and the slightest unforeseen thing can swing us past our breaking point.
If you find your schedule is stretched beyond your capacity, create some breathing room in these steps:
I'd like to hear from you - which of these ways of practicing simplicity calls to you? How will you implement one into your day? And if this topic is one you'd like more resources to address, check out my free guide to Reclaim Your Me Time.