All tagged personal development

Back to School Season and the Return of Routine

I work with a lot of moms (and quite a few teachers), in my coaching adventures. As a result, even though I only have four-legged children at the moment, this time of year is fraught with, "back to school," the hustle and bustle of getting everything ready for the change of seasons.

Even if you aren't getting little ones ready for the bus (or writing lessons in your not-really-spare time), I'm sure you can feel the shift in the air, yes? September is a mini-new year, in many ways; fall is one of my favorite times to take stock of where we've been, where we're going, and what we need to let go in order to get there. It's a time of evaluation, of harvest, of moving to prepare for cooler weather and more time inside learning new things (at any age, in any context). You might be looking forward to fresh-picked apples, for example, or you might be finding it easier to make time to get movement that makes you feel like yourself again, now that your kids are on a more reliable schedule.

(Or maybe you're not, because as soon as one routine gets set, it seems like things get shifted yet again, and we're standing there re-learning how to fit ourselves into our own lives. It happens.)

Either way, we're standing on the edge of a season asking us to come home, get grounded, and build a foundation that will sustain us into our next season.

Patterns: Why Are You the Way that You Are?

If you're here, it's likely you've tried quite a few diets and exercise plans throughout your life, very few of which have made the lasting changes you were hoping.

You've tried the 21-day-"fixes," the grapefruit diets, the plans in Self magazine (I'm not picking on them, really; that was one of the first places I ever saw any sort of structured workout myself!), and they've all yielded lackluster results.

It's also highly likely that you've realized this is a pattern, and one you'd like to break.

As more of us in fitness decide we want to let go of harmful patterns (e.g., the binge/restrict cycle, over-exercising/burnout cycle), are we helping ourselves understand what to do next?

How Do You Define Yourself?

We’re told, at every turn, how we must define ourselves.

We all know the narrative of the overculture: womxn are supposed to be small, demure, delicate. We're constantly in pursuit of shrinking and forever deferring to someone – anyone – with more authority.

Many of us hold this societal ideal in the lofty turrets of our minds for a lifetime: we remain locked away like Rapunzel, hoping someone will climb the tower and ask us if that ideal is, in fact, who we are or what we want. In the meantime, we accept it and work tirelessly to fit into that mold.

Has it ever occurred to you that you can ask yourself?

Working on Your New Year's Resolutions?

I've been there too: wanting desperately to change. Not certain I could, but hoping I would anyway.

Wondering if it was possible, or if all of the messaging and articles and products were simply designed to play on my insecurities.

Aching for relief from questioning why I couldn't just buckle down for 30, 60, or 90 days and do what all of those ads promised.

How to Handle Toxic People

Do you know any toxic people? (lol, it’s the holidays; if yours are anything like mine, for at least one day between November and February, you’d rather rip each individual hair strand out of your head and reattach it than spend one more minute in someone’s presence).

I used to wonder what the common thread was relating all these "toxic" people. What was the common thing I was "falling for" every time?

Can I Share a Personal Story with You? (+ work with me!)

I grew up in an emotionally abusive household, and I received a message from a young age that I wasn't good enough. For millions of reasons, but the point on which it all converged was my body.

My body became a physical manifestation of everything I wasn't: I wasn't tall, or thin, or unconventionally beautiful like my mother, or quiet, or succinct, or self-controlled.

I was too much, constantly spilling over the edges of my container, and my body was alleged to have reflected that.

It's effortless to pick on our bodies; the "flaws" there are visible, after all, so they're very easy to pinpoint.

On Overcoming Challenges (It's Worth the Heat.)

The dreamers, the doers, the problem solvers, the misfits – we aren’t meant for the mundane. We aren’t meant to uphold the status quo, to go with the flow, or do what someone tells us to do just for the sake of doing it. We’re meant to change the world, one step at a time, and to do that, we’ve gotta get in the mud and find out where the pain is and why it hurts. Embracing the suck (a phrase you've heard countless times by now, I'm sure) means more than just acknowledging that it’s shitty; it’s appreciating every second of it, knowing that it’s useful.

Spicy? You bet.
Worth the heat? Every time.

Authenticity Is More Than a Marketing Tool.

Because we feel the need to stay relevant—to measure up to a standard that is always changing— and we choose our least messy mess and call it authenticity, without sitting with it, feeling it, and making it home.

Or, worse, we choose the least messy mess to avoid the big, hairy, audacious slop. “That’s too much,” we say, “no one will ever trust me if I talk about that."

What would happen if, instead of being social-media authentic, for the sake of significance, we took the time to get to know ourselves so that we could be real-life authentic?

Authenticity is more than a marketing tool.

The magic of our authentic lives lies deep inside ourselves, waiting for us to take a look.

Your authentic self is biding her time, yearning to breathe a sigh of relief once she’s released from her cage.

She holds the key to belonging, to freedom, to power, and to magic.

Why Don't We Have Both? (You Can Be Exactly as Soft and as Strong as You Decide to Be.)

We’re allowed to hold an opinion and seek more information. We’re permitted to bury ourselves in books and scale mountains. We can be found making sandwiches in the kitchen and pumping iron in the gym.

Some would argue that toughness isn’t found in traditionally feminine spaces. I would counter that that’s exactly where it’s forged: in the fires of discovery. In the spaces where we get quiet and are introduced to ourselves, learning who we truly are despite competing messages telling us who to be.
We can be both soft and strong. We can be #grittyAF, molding the strong woman inside as she comes out in layers, getting beaten back by the lessons on the path but showing up time and again.

On Trusting the Process

I once had a client who had yo-yoed through a few different numbers (weights, sizes, however you like to measure your physical progress).

Before I continue, I’d like to point out that most of us have done this. It’s totally normal. Expected, even. Different seasons of our lives require different levels of commitment to our goals, or even different goals altogether. It’s all okay. You (and your body) are still deserving of love, care, and respect, no matter the size, shape, or degrees of bending to your will it is doing. Moving on.

She was going home to spend time with her high school friends, who had known her at her heaviest, and had also seen pictures of her at her leanest, and she was somewhere in between, at that moment. She was distraught at the prospect of being seen in a bathing suit around people who hadn’t seen her in years, for the first time without a shirt over her swimsuit.

When she got home from her trip and I asked how it went, she was still in mild shock to report that the only comments people had to make about her body were…positive.