Welcome, 2012

Well, welcome to 2012.  

I want to start by saying that I’m glad you’re here.  Whether we’re friends or strangers, whether you enjoy my writing or you’re here as an avid Bachelor recap reader or even if you found this blog by random Google search, I’m glad you’ve made your way here and want you to know how that I appreciate your contributions, your support, your banter, your wit, the challenges and the compliments.  In that spirit, I’d like to ask that you continue to not only read but also share – I love what you bring to this special place and value your opinions, thoughts, comments, and stories, and welcome them all.  

Today is Monday – the first workday of the year and based on the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, and the many blogs that I’ve read thus far today, it’s clear that everyone is optimistic, hopeful and eager to welcome all that this year will bring.  I’ve also noticed that right now much of the world is focused on resolutions and making goals for the year – most all of which are centered on living healthy and being happy…and isn’t that really what it’s all about? 

In thinking about the New Year, new starts, and new goals, I am reminded of this article in USA Today which discusses the difference between resolutions and intentions: “An intention is a direction – a course you set for yourself.  You can’t fail at an intention; sometimes you can just get off course.  And intentions are positive. Studies show that you’re more likely to succeed at goals that you feel positively about – getting healthy – than at those that are seen as negative, like going on a diet.”

So, this year, why not actually succeed at what you hope for?  Try establishing a set of intentions, and see to it that the things you do in your life this year help you get there.  Or, try this approach: blogger Tim Walker tried out a method used by social media guru Chris Brogan, who at the beginning of each year decides upon three words that will be his focused themes or mantras.  In Tim’s words, “There’s something to be said for this approach, as opposed to setting resolutions. Among other things, it helps you to think thematically about things that are important to you — a positive attitude, for example — rather than getting stuck in the technicalities (and attendant frustrations) of a particular goal, such as losing 30 pounds.” In 2011, Tim chose Calm. Clean. Bodacious. as his three words. Click here to see why he chose those three words and leave a comment below if you’re willing to share what your three words will be for 2012. 

One of my intention words for the year will definitely be Happy.  I like the idea of the word Bold too.  I haven’t quite nailed down a third but I know it will present itself. Probably in some version or form of Create or Share.

Again borrowing from Chris Brogan, I wanted to inspire you to think about your three words with this post about Paying Yourself First (or the idea of Filling Your Own Cup, which I wrote about here), the philosophy in which you give yourself the permission, time and space to do what serves you best so that you can restfully, happily, creatively, and usefully serve others.  It’s my wish for you, and for me too. 

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2012!

P.S. If you subscribe to my posts via email (thank you!), I apologize if you received this post via email twice. Consider the first one a subscribers-only sneak preview!

Fill your own cup

my new pretty lovely water bottle - beautiful to look at, inspiring me to drink more water!

Have you ever seen something and thought “I have to have that!” but you don’t buy it and then you can’t stop thinking about it?  That was the case with this here lovely. 

I’ve really been trying to drink a lot more water lately and with all the “don’t use plastic water bottle” messages and scary BPA negative health effects, I try to keep reusable tumblers at my desk at work.  For a while my daily routine was a glass of juice in the morning, a cup of coffee (or three) in the office and a glass of wine at night.  I was getting no hydration at all during the day – caught up in work, too busy to even fill my cup.  So now I have this beautiful glass water bottle to inspire me and remind me to fill my own cup

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about stress, work/life balance, being a better manager, leader and employee, serving others better and more effectively and then settled on this: how can I serve myself better?  If I’m happier, more productive, healthy, that’s how I can better serve others.  So, my new question is “what do I need to do today to be happy and feel successful?”  I’d challenge you to ask yourself the same thing.  It’s so often that I get into the office, get wrapped up in answering other people’s emails that I don’t have time to do the most important things I had on my own list of things to do. 

Speaking of which, writing is something I’ve been seriously slacking on too, and I can tell because I feel similarly to how Mumbles does when he doesn’t get to exercise enough – lathargic and kinda cranky. Writing is one of the many creative outlets I love so I also scooped up this darling retro and bold lovely to inspire me to jot down creative inspirations, thoughts and ideas throughout the day. 

the paper has lines of type that say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – a good reminder to get creative throughout my work day!
What do you keep with you to inspire creativity and good-for-you thoughts and behaviors?

Stress & the 3 things happy people have in common

Did you know that prior to 1960 the term “stress” did not exist outside of architectural references (ie: stress on a building)?  Now, it’s nearly impossible to get through a day without hearing the word stress.

At the 3rd Annual Women’s Conference held at Cal State Fullerton (my alma mater), I attended a session about stress and achieving a work/life balance led by Kristin Welsh-Simpson, the Senior Employee Assistance Counselor with the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Employee Assistance.  She gave great, sensible advice for women who have very busy lives and wish to have peace and balance in their daily life (isn’t that everyone?). Simpson, also a certified executive coach and a mom of three boys (this lady knows what she’s talking about!), is devoted to taking time out of her busy schedule to help women achieve this peace of mind.

I took a lot away from her practical and approachable talk and thought I should share some of her great ideas for erasing stress from our lives and achieving a better work/life balance.  Check out my post with her tips here.

Also, I loved this…3 things happy people have in common:
o        Something to DO
o        Something to LOVE
o        Something to LOOK FORWARD TO

The Proof is in the Platter

Last night Mumbles and I went to our first small group meeting of the New Year which, after a series of events changing our small group’s plan for our next study, was also our first meeting about the new Daniel Plan at Saddleback Church.  A brief explanation is that internationally renowned medical experts Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mehmet Oz (of Oprah fame) have partnered with Saddleback to create a free healthy lifestyle program including a six-week small group study, a website with tools to help track progress, monthly Webcasts with Pastor Rick Warren interviewing leading health experts, an optional healthy choice menu, and new outdoor fitness equipment set-up on the Lake Forest campus. The goal is for everyone to feel better, be stronger, think sharper, and look better a year from today.  After hearing that statistics show a staggering 76 percent of Americans are overweight this sounds like pretty good stuff to be striving toward, yes?  I think so.

The intro to this program was really illuminating for me – I’m specifically interested in the physical fitness aspects as I don’t go to the gym or exercise nearly as often as I should and despite the fact that I’m skinny I could really use more energy to be more productive.  I could also drink more water.  And not sit at my desk for 11 hours straight per day.  On another note, I have a vested interest in this from a professional standpoint because not only am I employed in the health & wellness industry, I’m also working on a special project at one of our spas — a weight loss/healthy lifestyle pilot program.  From what I know about both of these programs, they are extremely similar in that they aren’t flashy, glamorous “get slim quick” tricks – they are truly about all-around wellbeing, making lifelong, sustainable decisions for better health prompted by a physician-developed and supervised program and supported by peer group meetings, nutrition and fitness coaching, healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, and more.  

So now that my work life is crossing into my personal life even more than before, I’d also like to tell a little story.  First I have to start by sharing the verse that was presented at the start of the Daniel Plan:

I constantly pray for you, that our God . . . by his power may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NIV)
 
Proof of this verse and that God puts the right people in our lives to help us succeed: My husband and I walked in the door to our first Daniel Plan small group meeting last night with french fries in hand, having just scarfed down
In-N-Out for dinner and our group hosts had fresh fruit and veggie platters out for us to snack on. God’s perfect timing at it again. ha!  And to take it a step further in calling us out on our love for In-N-Out, when I got home and checked out The Daniel Plan website I found this poem by Pastor Rick:

Lord, grant me the strength that i may not fall
into the clutches of cholesterol

At polyunsaturates i’ll never matter
for the road to hell is paved with butter

Whip cream is cursed and jelly is awful
yes, satan is hiding in every waffle

He appears to me as a cinnamon roll
Eager to fatten and clog my soul

So teach me the evils of hollandaise
Of ribs and pasta and mayonnaise

May I have the presence to realize
that evil lurks in in and out fries

And crispy fried chicken from the south
Lord if you love me, shut my mouth

–Rick Warren

So there it is. 
The proof of God’s love and care for us is in the fruit platter.
Things happen for a reason. 
Life is full of “coincidences” that are planned (just not by you). 

If you’d like more information on The Daniel Plan, visit Saddleback’s website here; it’s full of free resources to help motivate and get you healthy!

To your health & happiness – cheers!

P.S.   Dr. Amen. That’s funny. (How qualified for this church program is that guy – perfect name!)