Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. It’s typically a time of celebration, barbecues and the quintessential fireworks.
Today I implore you to create your own personal independence day. Declare your independence from the things that hold you back.
Take time to consider what keeps you feeling stuck. Decide what you would like for yourself.
I will share my opinion.
I will pay down my debt.
I will be kinder to myself.
I will create daily “me time.”
Remember, it’s not about luck or willpower. Set your intention.
I will share my opinion with others instead of going along with decisions made for me.
I will pay an additional $100/month to my outstanding credit card debt.
I will begin each day with a healthy, self-affirming mantra.
I will make sure that I actually take a lunch break instead of working through it.
Get to it and allow today’s fireworks to also be a celebration of YOU!
Willpower: the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions
Motivation: the desire to do; interest or drive
Intention: an aim that guides an action
The Huffington Post published a summary of Northwestern University’s study exploring the energy model of willpower. That is, the impact of mental vigilance, and subsequent depletion of mental resources, on blood glucose levels. The details are interesting so it’s worth a read. Simply stated, they found that when sensing a reward is coming, the brain is motivated to put in extra effort!
To me this reads that we must know why we are doing what we are doing in order to be motivated to do it! So, when thinking about your motivation, you must consider your intention (the ultimate reward) for that motivation. Then willpower happens. Simple, but now it seems that science is backing it up.
The next time you put your mind to something, create a goal for yourself or even begin your day tomorrow, set a clear intention for yourself about what you want to achieve, what you would like to get out of the day, or just the way you want to be in the world that day. Notice for yourself if having a clear intention for your day makes a difference. I bet it will.
Perspective. Outlook. Perception. Is the glass half full or half empty? Consider your answer. It’s a powerful question. Here’s the thing… if you look for something, you are likely to find it. If you view your glass as half full, then it will be. If you view your glass as half empty, so be it.
We’ve all had the experience of waking up on the wrong side of the bed or feeling like we’re wearing our nerves on the outside of our skin. These are precisely the times when it would be most beneficial to pause, breathe and make a choice. “How do I want to go through the rest of my day? How do I want to perceive things? What is my intention?”
I realize that sometimes the glass is truly half empty but we can always grow and learn more about ourselves by moving through those difficult times.
So the next time life gives you lemons, keep ’em! ’cause hey… free lemons!
There is no such thing as luck, it’s actually about perception. Luck is a state of mind and it’s yours if you’re open to it. Kind of nice, huh?! Professor Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, completed a 10-year study revealing that, “Lucky people generate their own good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.” So basically, if you believe that you are lucky, then you are lucky! Conversely, if you believe that you are unlucky, well then guess what… you’re unlucky.
So what does this mean for us? It demonstrates the power of our belief system. It’s up to you, me, us, whether or not we are lucky! It’s up to each of us to notice opportunities, listen to our intuition, to expect the positive and to cultivate a resilient attitude. Of course, the world isn’t all rainbows and unicorns but if our starting point is one of openness, confidence, optimism and trust, then we’re in a much better position to be lucky.
Easier said than done, I realize. But perhaps next time you notice your pessimism or negativity, consider how you might be able to view things differently. Notice how this subtle, though profound, shift changes things for you. Good luck! 😉
I had these sneakers for nearly 15 years. I was in love with them despite the urges from those around me who did all but beg me to get rid of them with promises that a new pair would offer me all that these had and more. Nope! This was true love. These sneakers made me happy. For me, the dirtier and more worn the better. They had holes in them and the soles were falling off and that gave them character. I was relentless. I tried to make them work in more than a million ways. Occasionally there would be a sign that they were unwearable, for example I was extra careful about putting them on so not to rip them further and never dared to tie the delicate laces too tightly. I was seriously committed to my denial.
The time finally came when it became irrefutably clear that these sneakers were no longer working for me. They had supported me (literally) through many times in my life, many changes and challenges that I had faced, and if they had a soul, they would have thousands of stories to tell. It was difficult to part with them (and truth be told, I held onto them for months even after I got a new pair) but I had to accept that they no longer worked for me and were actually hurting me. Hurting me because, being in absolute denial, I would wear them in the rain, forgetting that they had holes in them and my feet would get soaked. Or wear them when out for an entire day, forgetting that the soles were nearly gone and every step I took felt like my bare feet pounding the pavement.
I finally bought a new pair. Exactly the same (thank you Charles “Chuck” H. Taylor for your timelessness). Well, sort of. They were missing the paint and grit from many adventures and the holes that reminded me of the paths I took in life. Overall, my new sneakers lacked the character and history that took 15 years to create. But… they were still super cute, they fully supported me, I could wear them all day without my feet hurting, they were solid and could withstand the trials and tribulations yet to come. And as time happens, they have since accumulated their own character.
I love the story of my sneakers because it reminds me to consider what works in my life and what I am holding onto that no longer does. It reminds me to consider times when I put too much effort into making something work that actually doesn’t and to re-evaluate the usefulness or healthfulness of keeping that thing, habit, relationship, etc. Sometimes we have to let go, not because we no longer have a connection to or a history with something, but because it no longer works for us.
Maybe you have your own pair of sneakers? an article of clothing? a relationship? Is there something you are keeping around that no longer serves you well? What would it be like to accept that it is no longer good for you? What would you replace it with that would match what you are looking for in your present life? What is preventing you from letting go?
In this day and age, everyone is an incredible accountant. Somehow numbers have become the storyteller of our self-worth. Numbers like weight, size, reps, miles, calories, etc. have become the things that indicate how we are doing in our lives and in the world.
What numbers do you focus on? What would it be like to not know your numbers for a day? a week? a month? How would this impact how you feel about yourself?
If you are your own personal accountant, I invite you to let go of the numbers and pay attention to how your body feels. If you honor your body it will take care of itself. If you try to let go, you may notice that your body feels different every day. That’s okay! This may be due to sleep, food, exercise, stress, and a million other things. Your only job is to listen to your body and pay attention to what it needs.
One more challenge for you… begin to consider other measures of your self-worth. Consider who you are as a person (not as a number!). Consider your authentic self and know that you are enough!
In just a few hours, the ribbon will be cut to kick off New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and I can think of no better time to pay homage to the models who make these events possible. For upwards of the past decade I have listened to first-hand accounts of the fashion industry and the experiences of models, at large. The dehumanization and objectification of men and women and the expectation of compliance only chip away at self-esteem and wield extraordinary power to perpetuate personal problems and societal issues, such as eating disorders.
Over the past couple of years, it seems that the industry is gaining momentum towards empowerment.
Two years ago, Coco Rocha penned her concerns about the prevalence of eating disorders within the fashion industry in an impassioned open letter to the New York Times. She is one of the few models who have been outspoken about the ubiquitous issue of eating disorders within the industry.
Last year, Sara Ziff founded The Model Alliance, a not-for-profit organization working to establish fair labor standards for models in the U.S. Specifically, the initiative addresses healthcare, compensation, sexual harassment, working conditions and education, along with encouraging a “safe and healthy work environment that protects models’ mental and physical well being.” The Model Alliance is becoming a place where models can find support, voice their concerns and build a community.
Please visit their website, spread the word, share this post, do whatever you can to keep the conversation going, to support The Model Alliance and all of the men and women it protects! Thank you!
I just saw the film The Help and the line “You is kind. You is smart. You is important” resonated deeply. If you haven’t seen it or read the book, you should. If you have already, I wonder if you were moved as deeply as I was. Here’s the scene: Aibileen Clark is the hired help for a white Mississippi family in the 1960s. After watching the child she’s been caring for (Mae) being consistently mistreated by her mother, Aibileen begins a ritual with Mae. Each morning when Mae awakens, Aibileen sits with her on her lap, tenderly peers into her eyes and says both with and to Mae, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” It is clear, by the film’s end, that May internalized this message and was able to hold onto the strength left behind by Aibileen. She knew that someone believed in her.
Watching this scene play itself out several times during the length of the film brought a warmth to my heart and tears to my eyes. I thought about how much each and every one of us, children and adults, would benefit from hearing this daily and from solidly believing this about ourselves. Words matter. Moments matter.
How many focused moments to you spend with your self, your children, your loved ones, sharing your appreciation of and adoration for them. Don’t take this for granted. Your words and those moments matter!
Year-end is a marker of time and offers a natural moment to both reflect and look forward. During this time of year, it seems most people are talking about resolutions. What kinds of decisions, changes, etc. they will be making in their life beginning January first. While these tend to be done with good intention, the truth is that most of these new year’s resolutions are quickly forgotten or broken, leaving behind a feeling of failure. While many remain entrenched in the new year’s resolution cycle, some sway in the complete opposite direction by making no resolutions. And of course, let us recognize that there are those for whom these resolutions stick.
No matter what your experience, I invite you to make this year different by replacing your resolutions with personal resolve.
What is personal resolve? A lifelong commitment to yourself. Knowing your own personal truth no matter what. It parallels the age old existential questions, “who am I?” and “what defines me?” When we know our own truth we become grounded in ourselves. Thus, less likely to become emotionally wiped out by other people or events. When we know our own truth, we make better choices and decisions, as they match our internal value system, ultimately creating more satisfaction in our lives.
This year I challenge you to get to know yourself better and to understand what makes you tick. I encourage you to cultivate your own personal resolve. Begin by noticing your actions and reactions. What gets you excited? Angry? Sad? Passionate? What are your intentions?
Take a moment and consider your own personal resolve. What do you know to be true about yourself no matter what?
a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, esp. considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.
the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
the total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual
Through the mere experience of life and living, it is a simple process to get far away from yourself. Disconnecting and paying more attention to that which lies externally than to what is within ourselves is all too commonplace an experience. Especially with the holidays in full swing, we tend to consider what will make others happy, different obligations that we have and the hustle bustle of the season.
When was the last time that you stopped to check in with yourself about what will make you happy, what you need and what your obligations are to yourself? When was the last full breath you took into your body to fully breathe into your whole self? What is your daily intention?
Take back that which is already yours. Occupy your SELF!