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What has changed? Well, EVERYTHING. I think it’s just about raising kids and watching them grow up – and a bit more independent each day. Once you get out of the swirl and whirl of diaper changes, naps, and feedings, you’re left with the core of your life. Love. Work. Meaning. Dreaming. Once Des grew out of the toddler stage, it hit me that while we still have many vivid and gorgeous years of parenting not yet under our belt, I still want to work on the foundation of this life. I suppose there are more than one thing holding up the foundation. I want to work on my career. I want to work on my marriage.
There are so many intricate pieces that add up together to make a fulfilling life. They’re steps! They’re ways. They are big by themselves, especially when you work on them daily, and they also add up together to make big changes – for your best year!
I keep this cute TASKS app on my phone, and while it doesn’t necessarily propel me, reward me, or hold me accountable, it does serve two purposes. 1 – it does inspire me. It’s just one step of many little steps, that add up to BIG changes. And 2 – it shows me what I find important – and what it means to me to succeed. It’s a well-rounded list, and you can try it too!
1 – Get up early. Hear me out on this one, because I DON’T believe in getting up early. I’m absolutely a night owl and I always say that getting up early is fighting my own biology. You just never know what you’ll see at dawn, though. One of my dreams is to get boots up to my waist (does that exist?) and sit with a tripod and a zoom lens in a lake at dawn, just to see what kind of wildlife comes through. By the beach, you can see sunrises. If you’re hiking, rock climbing, or on a mountain, the morning light will take your breath away, just as much as whatever you’re doing does. I firmly believe that to really “get” a place, see it at dawn. That’s one of my #1 travel photography tips, but I think it should be applied to home life and daily life.
2 – Make playing a priority. Believe it or not, even though I’m a parent, I still need this reminder. Before I had kids, I still found ways to play because I thought if I stopped, I’d grow old too fast. For me then, it was bowling and video games. You can use trivia games, mini golf, and basically think of ANYTHING that has the sole purpose of enjoyment. How novel is that?
3 – Move your body! One thing I’ve learned is that it’s not easy. Another thing I’ve learned is that it’s crucial. If I skip movement, I get into an exhausted rut. I can see the difference in anything I do. It’s hard to hold yourself accountable, right? Some ideas – always take the stairs. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000+ steps a day. Join a local team. Pay for a dance or barre or fitness class ahead of time so you want to get your money’s worth! Go for a walk with the dog. Get down off your desk and do a 90 second plank! I honestly just did one. Ok, I exaggerated a bit. I can get to 70 seconds, though!
4 – Be still. I’m not going to tell you to relax, because if you’re like me, you get rather annoyed/rebellious when someone tells you to relax. “No, I will not relax! In fact, I will do the opposite to spite you!” The studies do show, though, that meditation does a bunch of good stuff for your days. What you can do is practice sitting quietly. It may not come easily right away, but practice makes everything feel more natural. Start with five minutes a day, and work your way up to 20!
5 – Give yourself boosts of energy – through different avenues. I scatter these throughout my day like little shooting stars. They make ALL the difference. It’s whatever gets you going, right in the heart. First, drink a glass of water. Aromatherapy? Diffuse some oils. Music? Play a power song. Connections? Call, text or email a loved one who is NOT expecting it. Do something amazing – like donate money, send a gift basket, help a neighbor. These are the very things that make us human, and they are the very things that keep us going. Do them DAILY. These are powerful and motivating self-care and care deeds, punctuated with a glass of water, about 7-8 times a day. It builds! Plus, you keep hydrated! Now that’s magic.
6 – Do things with your WHOLE heart. I think this has been my biggest lesson and my biggest resolution of 2017 so far. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If it feels right, not only should you JUST DO IT, but go that extra distance.
7 – Give your morning routine a big boost. By now, you know I believe that little wins of each day become positive and lasting changes in your overall health. I’ve been looking into using less dairy and more plant based products in my days, and my years. That’s why I was so excited to see that Silk Milk, a product I already love, is featuring new packaging that came out in mid-late January. Silk Milk is the perfect everyday milk for all dairy-free needs, and I get it at Walmart.
I LOVE Silk Almondmilk. with its mildly nutty taste, and great calorie count, I love it with cereal, and as a smart swap for recipes, shakes, and smoothies that call for milk. No cholesterol or saturated fat! It’s the power of plant-based nutrition.
Then we have Silk Yogurt! It’s the PERFECT everyday snack, breakfast, lunch, etc. for your dairy-free needs. The Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternatives are available in six different flavors. I generally buy a bunch at once.