How To Make The Most Of The 2014 End Zone

It’s time for another sports-inspired, motivational message.

So this year is almost over.  Lots to do, buy, wrap. Maybe there’s a few straggling goals left on the list that didn’t get done. Sure, you can transfer them over to the 2015 list or we can take a little advice from one of my favourite sports, football.

Where does all the action happen? That’s right, the end zone.

That’s where we are right now. We’re in the game with only one more down – time’s running out. But we’re right there – where all the magic happens; dreams and goals achieved.

This is the time – only one more month to do what you said you would do this year.  Seem crazy?  Maybe.  But could you imagine a team so close to a possible victory just giving up? Never.

So let’s get fired up and ready. Huddle up and run it all the way in.  Like I said last week, think about what’s worse – lots of work now, or the feelings of guilt and shame as you put off those goals for yet another year?

So… Go Team!

Okay, no more blogging while the game’s on…

Where to Find More Willpower

I voluntarily wake up at 4:45am every day and go to the gym before work. I know it sounds crazy, really, I know it does. But believe me when I tell you that I have no choice.

After teaching all day I use the rest of my strength to drag out a heavy coffee pot for one more cup to keep me awake for my commute – so I don’t end up sleeping past my stop, all the way to the end of the subway line.

Once I’m home, my afternoons and evenings are for cuddling up with my dogs and laptop – not stuffing myself into stretchy pants and torturing my muscles.

When I started going to the gym I thought I might be nuts. Was I going to be one of the millions who make a resolution and give up on it a few months later? Thankfully I wasn’t, and I really started to like the gym. Actually, I’ve become super at going to the gym.  So I recently started to be suspicious about my lack of discipline in other areas of my life that I say I want to improve.

I started to wonder what my gym formula had that other areas of my life were missing, and I think I may be on to something…

Not going to the gym is simply not an option for me. I know how I’ll feel if I don’t go. On a day I just can’t possibly drag myself out of bed for a workout, I know I’ll be adding guilt and regret to the the pretty picture I painted of myself at 3pm.  Add shame and self-loathing if I decide to eat a cookie with that coffee.

I’ve realized that I’ve been willing to skip a few things here and there in my career because I didn’t think they would really make a very big difference to me getting ahead or achieving my goals.  Next episode please, Netflix

Wrong. So wrong.

I know very well that when I miss a day at the gym it makes a difference. I don’t feel as energetic for the rest of the day and I’m disappointed in myself. I also know that there’s a big difference between people who go to the gym every day and those who go three times a week. There’s an even bigger difference from those who go once and a while or not at all.

So, I’ve recently begun to view willpower very differently. It’s not as much about discipline as it about choice. For some reason I don’t give myself a choice about going to the gym. And starting now, no more skipping days of networking or marketing. No more putting off phone calls or returning tough emails.

Every day, every little thing I do makes a difference and adds up to progress – bigger success muscles if you will. And even if it isn’t giant progress at first, at least I can say I showed up, tied up my shoes and did a little something rather than nothing.

Our goals shouldn’t just be nice ideas. They are top priority and not achieving them is  just not an option.

Blowing Hot Air and Other Cliches For Your Thirties

There’s a bit of a dichotomy to what I preach. I say that we need to focus less on our age and disregard any expectations other people have for us. I say be free of the “shoulds” and there is no time limit on anything.  Let everything unfold in your own, personal good time.

On the other hand, I also feel like this is a pretty important decade where so many things are happening, changing and evolving, maybe faster than ever before. Not only that, but this is actually crunch time – a great time to build but also reap a lot of what we built in our twenties and, most likely, change things or repair some of the damage. We’re in our greatest decade so far and we “should” be pretty focused on that. We can’t let one minute just slip away.

It may just be this back and forth that keeps me motivated and fascinated by this time in my life…

For so long, in my teens and twenties, I felt like I was blowing up a really thin balloon that was always threatening to pop in my face. I was in school, starting a career, getting married, thinking about kids, back in school again and always rushing, rushing, rushing. And then on the weekends I was expected to dress up in a tight outfit and get drunk and feel miserable for my one day off.

Thankfully, in my thirties I’ve chilled. I have the smarts and the resources to put something fantastic together and I’m so excited about it.  Experience has relieved a lot of the pressure to avoid any giant mishaps.  In other words, I feel like I’m gathering pieces to fortify my balloon so it’s strong enough to pick me up and take me somewhere amazing in life.    

I spent a lot of time on this balloon metaphor so please stay with me…

I have no set time schedule but there are things to get done so I can get flying higher each and every day. And I’d like to have some smooth sailing later on so I’d better get focused, buckle down, think outside the box, keep my chin up…

A couple more clichés and I’ll stop. Let me just remind you, especially if you’re feeling crunched for time or behind the game, there are no limits except the ones we put on ourselves.

So don’t focus on your age or ‘number’, focus on the dream! And use all the experiences you’ve had to let this magical decade to get you there.

What’s your focus lately?  I’d love to hear – please comment!

The beingthirties Guide To Fall

At the beginning of September when all the kids go back to school, I always feel a little nostalgic. Actually, it’s more like jealous. I miss the nervous-excited feelings of starting new classes and meeting my teachers, getting new books, new clothes and using all my new highlighters. This year went a little more smoothly since I had a plan to overcome my jealously and other nasty feelings that threatened to discolour my favourite season. Here’s what I came up with for making your fall even more enjoyable.

Take Your Own Class

Just because you’re not a teeneager anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t be in school this fall. Find something in your community to keep you busy or finally sign up for those dance or language classes you’ve been putting off. As I looked to see the New Year creeping up on me, wagging its knowing finger that I need to accomplish a few more goals in 2014, I decided I would take a computer course that would help my business. The payoff is that I’ve learned a lot, I can update my resume, and I got to use all my new highlighters.

Host a dinner

This is a “kill two birds with one stone” kind of idea. I needed something to motivate me to get my house painted and some other projects finished even though I just want to snuggle up on the couch as it snows. (Yes, it snowed in Toronto this past weekend). Having my family over for a big dinner in early December is already starting to work its magic. I’ve completed a couple painting projects and one more is in the works. Nothing better than good ol’ family guilt to force us into productive mode.

Bake Something

Nothing says autumn like the warm smell of cookies and cinnamon. Baking can also be a great stress reliever if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this late time of year. A dessert for your dinner is one idea but even just looking up a great-looking cookie you find online can be really fun on a cool or rainy afternoon. For added stress relief, rake some leaves while things are happening in the oven.

More than cooking I enjoy the creativity of baking and how it engages so many of the senses. Go to despinascafe.com for a great description of how we can really enjoy getting involved in a baking project.

Enjoy Halloween

Halloween is great as a kid, but I’m finding it to be even more fun as an adult. I dressed me and my dogs up and we went for a walk around the neighbourhood to see all the decorations and all the kids. The next night I went to a fantastic Halloween party that was, to say the least, adults only. This is a great time to get out with friends. I don’t like to think so but I have to admit that I become a bit of a recluse in the winter months. This is a good time to catch up before we shut out. Halloween may be over but try and find any excuse to go out now before you have to bundle up just to see the neighbours.

Go Shopping

Sure, kids get a whole new wardrobe for fall, but so can you. This year I’ve actually enjoyed shopping for everyone else in my family, getting everyone ready for the winter. My husband got a new jacket and boots, my dog needed a new coat. It felt great to take care of everyone else and make them look super cute. If everyone’s already all set for winter, consider the idea of shopping for your holiday gifts before the rush. I try and get a few things out of the way in the fall so that I don’t have to brave the busy malls come December. It’s probably one of the more adult-like things that I like to do…

Don’t let anything spoil this beautiful time of year, the most beautiful season in my opinion.   And be grateful for it, even before you have to be *wink*.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if there’s anything you would add to have a great fall!