Sometimes the universe slaps us hard in the face. And it hurts. A lot. Recently I had decided to take on more than I could admittedly handle. I was feeling nervous about it but also excited at the potential opportunities that could come my way. Despite my excitement I was plagued by an uneasy feeling. Although the opportunity was new and exciting, it just didn’t feel right. The closer and closer I got to it, the worse and worse I started to feel. I think I was just too afraid to say no.
And then the decision was taken out of my hands.
And I’m not gonna lie it hurt my pride a little bit. I would’ve liked to of been the one who shut the doors versus someone else doing it for me. At the end of the day I think the universe knew that I wasn’t going to end it myself. It knew that I was going to stress myself out to the max. And so the universe politely stepped in and said “No. I’m taking this off your plate whether you like it or not.”
Honestly I’m grateful for it. Yes my pride was hurt, but at the end of the day I’m glad it happened. When you’re not sure you want something you shouldn’t dive in headfirst with everything you’ve got. You should take a step back and evaluate your priorities.
Here are my priorities right now: my husband and my health. I am a teacher and that creates a lot of stress. The demands on me from my job are high. I need to make sure that I’m taking time to focus on myself and my health. If my body is broken and my heart is empty then I can’t do my job. My relationship with my husband, Jordan, has had to take a back seat courtesy of my career and busy schedule. Any shortcomings in our relationship right now can be directly tied back to the fact that I spend too much time away from home. When I am home I am disconnected and focused on grading papers, entering grades, and responding to emails. With so much at stake and too much on my plate already, the universe did for me what I haven’t been able to do for myself. It said no.
This week evaluate your priorities. Say no. Clear time for the things that really matter. And if a door closes for you, know that it was for a good reason. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe there’s something better coming your way. Or maybe you just need to slow down and take some time to focus on you and your family.
Our habits create the foundation of our lives. Habits dictate our success, failures, health, relationships, and well-being. Good habits can lead us to achievement and a life well lived. Poor habits can lead us to a life of loneliness and sickness.
We can all list positive habits like eating vegetables, sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising, reading, flossing, etc.
We can all list negative habits as well: smoking, overeating, being sedentary, staying up all night, being consumed by television and social media, etc.
Knowing where powerful habits can lead us begs the question, how can you form these habits? Research will vary in length required to implant a habit into your behavior, so rather than debating that, let's look at the basic concepts to begin internalizing a habit.
I like to look at 3 steps that go into forming a habit.
2. Start Small
The cue is a behavior that you already do out of habit or necessity that you can pair your new habit it. This serves as a prompt to perform the habit, as well as help solidify it into your already established routines.
Starting small is vital to success as huge habits require drastic behavior changes. This will almost always end in failure. Starting small makes the habit extremely accessible, manageable, and enable you to implement it more easily. These factors lead to success. So what constitutes small?
For flossing- Floss one tooth (Cue: Brushing your teeth)
For eating more vegetables- Have a single bite (Cue: Eating dinner)
For walking or running- put on your tennis shoes and step outside (Cue: when you get home from work)
For writing- Write a single sentence (Cue: As you sip your morning coffee)
For reading- Read a single page (Cue: When you lay down in bed)
To go to the gym- Pull into the parking lot (Cue: On your way home from work)
To start meditating- Sit silently and take one deliberate breath (Cue: As you sit up each morning upon waking)
The third step is the reward. Our habits need to bring us a reward, internally or externally, to stick. The habits we choose need to make us feel good, feel proud, bring about positive change in ourselves or positive feedback from others. Sometimes the reward isn't immediate which makes for a challenging transition period, but if you know that meditation will help reduce your stress, exercising will give you more energy, or eating your vegetables will improve improve your heath then that provides the motivation to keep going until you see or feel the results kick in.
What habits would you like to instill in your life?
To be healthy you don't have to be a world-class athlete. You don't have to be extremely lean like a bodybuilder, maintain the endurance of a marathon runner, or possess the flexibility of a gymnast. All you must focus on is maintaining (or improving if necessary) the strength, mobility, and stamina needed to live your life.
When you go to the gym, hit the pavement, or take an exercise class you don't have to push to extremes. You don't have to inflict pain, suffer through hours of grueling workouts, or lift hundreds of pounds. If that brings you joy then power to you, but it is not a necessity in order to be healthy.
Similar to a successful diet, exercise should be affordable, enjoyable, and sustainable. Luckily, there are many great free forms of exercise like walking, running, yoga, and calisthenics. With a little bit of money you can buy equipment to allow more flexibility in your workouts. If money isn't an issue then gym memberships can be great for variety, camaraderie, and accountability.
Exercise should enhance your life. It should help you feel better, be healthier, and bring joy to you through the ways you move or the people you do it with. As long as what you do covers these bases then you know you are on the right path.
Evaluate how you approach exercise. What is your mindset? Does it boost your life physically, mentally, and socially? If it doesn't, it may be time to adjust how and what you do.
I believe it was Ray Cronise on a podcast who listed three keys to a successful diet. They were:
I couldn't agree more.
Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Carnivore, etc. All of these will fail if they don't check off the three factors above.
Calorie restrictive diets can help you lose weight in a short amount of time, but you gain weight back afterwards because they are not sustainable.
Keto diets may help you lose weight fast but if you miss those higher carb foods then you won't stick with it.
Eating ribeyes every day on a carnivore diet sounds great, but if you can't afford it, it won't last.
Find a way of eating that you enjoy, can afford, and can sustain and you will find success. If weight loss is your goal, figure out the style of eating you can be consistent with and be conscious about limiting your overall calories for a while. Skip the diets the are restrictive in food selection, extremely limiting in calories, or will cost you an arm and a leg.
Food should be enjoyed, not demonized. The way you eat should bring you pleasure, not dismay. Food should enhance your life, not limit it.
You have 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. You get one lifetime. In a blink of an eye everything you know can change.
With how rapid life evolves, can you afford to let others dictate how you live your life? Can you allow others to manipulate your day or consume crucial amounts of your time? I think not.
Can you spin your wheels going nowhere, working a dead-end job or sitting at your desk in misery? I hope not.
Your time is valuable. Your life is precious. Be ruthless in protecting it. Do not waste time and energy on activities that don't support your goals, dreams, and happiness. Don't let those that drain you, frustrate you, or bring you down squander another second of your day.
Surround yourself with support. Embrace your ideal life and center your activities in pursuit of attaining what you envision.
Design your perfect day and make it a reality. Know your goals. Be conscious of how to get there. Draw the treasure map needed to lead you to your destination.
One step at a time you can get closer to your buried treasure. You can bring it to life.
Take the first step now by performing two activities.
1. Write out, hour by hour or minute by minute, your perfect day. This vision will be the guiding light to help you achieve everything you want in life. When will you wake up? What events and activities fill your days? How and with who do you spend your time? Be selfish. Be creative. Be true to yourself.
2. Next, list goals you want to achieve in areas that are important to your life; health, relationships, finances, travel, etc. Your perfect day should enable you to achieve these goals over time. Don't limit yourself. Don't hold back. Dream big if big dreams bring you happiness.
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!