How Can We Make Time for Well-Being in Our Thirties?

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” we say. Yes, us thirtysomethings are notorious for being pressed for time. We’re pulled in a thousand different directions between career, kids, resposibilities, eating healthy, getting to the gym, and having a sliver of ME time.

Not only that, but for many of us it’s the first time that we may have felt… (dare I say it?)…OLD.

We feel we don’t have the time to be thinking about our lives and growth right now. We say, “That can wait until I really have time to sit down, read, and understand this stuff about the Law of Attraction and egos and fear stories. Maybe when I’m retired. And I certainly don’t have time to take a course on it right now.”

This is what I’m hearing from some people who think that reading blogs or taking courses on self-improvement doesn’t fit into their schedule. And I’m not hurt or offended – actually, I totally understand it. In fact, admittedly, I don’t read a lot of other blogs, myself!

But I do read the ones that I know are going to help me. The ones that speak to me about self-improvemenet on a deeper level aren’t a waste of time so I make time for them, just like anything else that’s my priority.

If your kids and/or career are your priority, that’s awesome. But don’t forget that to take care of others, you need to first take care of yourself.

It’s like when you’re on a flight and the attendant instructs us to place our own oxygen mask on first before helping other passengers. This is exactly what health and self-care are all about – making yourself a priority.

So if you’re feeling like you have no time for ‘that kind of stuff’, may I suggest that maybe this ‘stuff’ is actually ebalancexactly what you need to help you find the time. Self-development is about finding more balance, calm, and peace with yourself and in your life, making life better for you and everyone around you.

If that sounds like something you need to try, even once, please get in touch for private coaching or my upcoming 6 day (over 6 weeks) course in Toronto. Go to ashewoodward.com to find all the information.

Take care this week, thirtysomeones!

photo: imperfecthomemaker.com

Is Your Ego Keeping You Too Safe in Your 30s?

Today was the date of a goal I had set at the beginning of the year. Did I reach it? Yes! Time for celebration, right? Or at the very least, special Sunday pancakes with raspberry syrup (my personal favorite).

But before the celebration could begin, my first thoughts this morning were all about how everything could go wrong. I had the craziest thoughts flash through my head like a horrible YouTube ad you can’t skip. And even my beloved pancakes couldn’t pull me from under the covers.

See, I had this goal to create a course that will give my readers and clients a way to connect and share their thoughts, challenges and achievements in their thirties. Today was the day for me to publish the group and get things going. I am a little ahead of the game, luckily, but for some reason the impact of it is only now catching up to me.

Out of nowhere, I started to see how my dreams of speaking and working with more and more clients would take me away from time with my husband and my family. I even had tears on the move as I imagined how I could die in a plane crash if I eventually took the course on the road. I felt the responsibility of being a good host and event leader press the covers over my head. I curled up in terror at the thought of keeping my life the same, but I shuddered at moving forward and putting myself in danger.

When my alarm officially went off, I was shaking. It was like my body was physically rejecting the change I wanted for myself. I wish I could say that my smart, self-motivating, professional self just brushed it off, but it wasn’t so easy. Even closing my eyes to get on with my usual morning meditation wasn’t helping.

I felt like my world and my dreams were crashing down once again and I’d be frozen where I am forever. And worse, here I am telling the world to go for it and I can’t even get out of bed.

Finally, I took some breaths and used my coaching basics to ask myself:

What’s really going on here?”

The answer I knew right away. My ego was up to its old tricks.

The ego is the self and your identity. The ego knows me as one thing and likes to be comfortable. It’s never crazy about learning new things because it doesn’t often use the subconscious to help it out (which would make things much easier).

My new venture will shake the identity that my ego has known thus far and so she was throwing a tantrum because she was being threatened.

Realizing this helped me to brush the devil off my shoulder and get out of bed but it still left an icky residue with me for the rest of the day. Later on, I thought maybe taking a shower would help. But sitting at my desk all squeeky clean I knew what I had to do to shake off the dirty ego that was acting out.

Take action anyway.

So if you’re in the Toronto, Canada area CLICK HERE to join the Being Thirties Meetup. We’re meeting for a second time this Wednesday and looking forward to the larger course in September.

Get all the info for the larger course HERE.

And if you’re outside of the area, I’d love to hear your comments and stories on how you’ve conquered your ego or are working on it.

See? Once you just go for it, what’s there to be afraid of?

If you want more examples of how coaching can help you reach your goals, go to ashewoodward.com or email directly at support@ashewoodward.com for private online sessions.

Photo courtesy of rebellesociety.com

How You ‘Should’ Make Decisions in Your Thirties

‘Have tos’ and ‘shoulds’ are great to use as warning bells to save you from perfectionism, as I discussed last post. But ‘Should’ has even one more superpower that thirtysomethings can really benefit from, and it’s a doozie!

‘Should’ comes up a lot when we talk about decision-making and can actually be a great signpost or another warning bell that can help guide you towards making better decisions based on your longer term desires, rather than your need for immediate gratification.

There are two kinds of shadowy ‘shoulds’ that come up in making decisions and this is how we get confused and can’t hear our intuition over the muddy meaning of the word.

The first kind of ‘should’ is often paired with a counter-justification.

It sounds like this:puss

“I really should stay home and work but I really waaaaant to got out.”

“These shoes are way out of my price range. I really shouldn’t buy them, but they were made for me!”

“I shouldn’t leave early but It’s Friday!”

The second kind of ‘should’ is likely paired with a twinge of resentment because you know it’s the right thing to do.

It sounds like this:

“I really want to go out tonight but I should stay in and get ahead on stuff for work next week.”

“I feel like working but I really should get out and meet more people.”

“I should save more money for retirement but I promised myself two vacations every year.”

Of course, at times, you really should get ahead on work projects instead of feeding into your immediate desire to get crazy. So which should ‘should’ we listen to?

Well, try this:

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who isn’t sure if she should work on her Saturday night or go out partying. Try not to find a way out just yet like, “Well I can do work on Sunday…” Imagine there’s no time on Sunday and ask yourself these two things:

hidinga) Which decision will benefit you more in the long run of achieving your goals?

b) Which one is hiding from an actual decision?

The reality is that in this situation, going out might be really important for your well-being and releasing some stress. It could actually benefit you more in the long run. In fact, staying home and working might actually be you hiding from the fact that you know you need to let lose and get back out into the dating scene. But staying in really satisfies you short term – “Phew! I’m safe for now!”, you say.

It could also be the opposite. You could be hiding from this work project and sabotaging yourself by going out every weekend and avoiding putting in your best.

Whatever the reality, it can often come out in these questions because very often we’re only plagued by decision-making because we create an option that can be very tempting in the moment.

In other words, if it feels like we’re rebelling against our own rules, we’re probably letting ourselves off the hook too easily. More than likely we’re actually afraid of getting the future we truly desire.

In more other words, we self-sabotage by taking the easy way out at the moment and forget about our longterm goals. This is either because we’re scared of admitting what we want or we’re sure that it will be too much work. But this inivitably keeps us in our safe present and we never stretch out and grow if we continue to hide. It’s all a little in your face but there it is.

Now, the thirtysomeone can also have difficulty making decisions because we have other people and other responsibilities to consider, not just our own desires to fulfill.

For example, you could take a job that will take time away from spending QT with the fam or, you may even be looking at a relocation situation. On the other, you have this great opportunity – financially and maybe even something that will satisfy you professionally.

In this situation, you’ll likely say that you ‘shouldn’t’ take a job that will take up a lot of your time right now and you definitely ‘shouldn’t’ relocate your family to serve your own needs.

But who is behind the ‘should’?

Are you afraid that your kids will hate their new school?newschool

Ya, they probably will at first.

But will they hate you?

Only for a little while.

Or, are you afraid ‘the new kids’ at your job will hate YOU and you’ll fail?

So will you let your kids’ kidness rule your life or can you stand up and make a choice that could be really great for everyone?  Plus, aren’t you a little scared of staying where you are and not taking the chance?

Inaction can also feel like an easier option. Relying on what you think is proper can be hard to ignore too. And sometimes it’s a great excuse and it seems right to play martyr. It all can be as tempting as letting the next episode role around on Netflix, but eventually you have to get off the couch and have a life.

At the end of the day, who’s running the show –

your fear or your future? [@ashewoodz, tweet me!]

If it’s your partner or your larger family who can’t see the value in such a move, they may be right and in our thirties we have the responsibility to listen to people tell us we’re being selfish. But if you have even a little encouragement from them, run with it. You do not have to play the victim here. Own your opportunity and bring your advocates along for the ride.

And if you’re struggling with something like this in your own life, get in touch for private online coaching with me, Ashe. Go to ashewoodward.com or email me directly at support@ashewoodward.com for more information.

The Placebo of Perfectionism: How to Tell the Difference Between ‘Must’ and ‘Maybe Later’.

There are some amazing and unique ways that us thirtysomeones stick out and shine, and one of my personal favorites is our resilience. There are some huge challenges that we face in our thirties and so many of us answer challenges by responding, “Because I have to,” and we inevitably get the job done, whatever it is.

For example, having kids or a high-powered career takes its toll on your time, your resources, your sleep schedule but you know you have to power through, ‘because you have to.’

But since last post, I’ve been wondering how much of this statement is true, and how much is placebo. Do we really have to? Or are we putting unneeded pressure on ourselves? What would really happen if we didn’t do all the things we say we ‘have to’ do?

Do we ‘have to’ make dinner tonight or is it okay if we have take out twice this week?

Do we ‘have to’ finish the to do list at work or can we delegate more and enjoy more of what’ s left of the summer at home?

Of course, we ‘have to’ do certain things to keep our kids, our partners and ourselves happy and alive. But we also have to be clear about what is a need, versus what’s a story we’ve created about the importance of perfection. In other words, are we overusing the words ‘have to’ to fulfil an impossible ideal and run ourselves ragged in the process?

Personally, the words ‘have to’ rule my life when it comes to my work. Because I work for myself, it can be tricky knowing what is positive self-motivation, and what is my overactive perfectionist brain talking. Like a placebo, that perfectionist inside can be very convincing sometimes and it’s only after a while and a bit of stress that I notice I was following the wrong advice. The key to discerning which shoulder is speaking is sometimes easier said than done but here are some key words to look out for – warning words that your perfectionist brain is taking charge of your life.

1. ‘Have to’

2. ‘Should’

3. ‘It’s important’
As I said before, some things truly are important, like feeding the children and walking the dog. But when we hear, ‘it’s important’ before driving to eight stores all over town just to get matching party hats for everyone that’s coming to our kid’s first birthday party that she probably won’t remember… alarm bells…

To tell the difference between authentic ‘have tos’ and the perfectionist ‘have to’ try this:

Ask yourself ‘For Who?’

In the case of moms, many times the answer is ‘me’. Because kids don’t really care. So in the end, you’re putting restraints on your own time, because of yourself. It’s a vicious and often unnecessary circle.

This is also true for a lot of perfectionists in general, myself included. Here’s my own personal rule I have for this that might help you at the office.

If I’m trying to be good at my job and my perfectionism rears its beautiful head, I allow it. But, I don’t let it tug at me when I’ve left the office. In other words, I don’t do extra work at home to pick at it. If it doesn’t happen during working hours, it’s not going to happen and I might have to look at a different area of my own personal development, like time-management.

You can also ask ‘For When?’

Deadlines are great for goalsetting and being productive, but if you’re filling your day with deadlines that are self-imposed, it’s time to rethink the schedule. Try and organize your deadlines and projects for the ones that are truly going to matter for where you want to be in five years. Unless you want to be crazed super-scheduling machine with no downtime, I suggest you move some things around.

It’s funny how we all know that perfection is impossible yet so many of us continue to chase it. If you feel like you’re running yourself ragged, don’t forget to look for the warning words and how your own perfectionism placebo might be running the show. If it is, schedule in some time to evaluate how much of yourself is being given to an imaginary expectation and if you really want that to continue into your future.

Happy August (enjoy the kids while you can!) and have a great week.

Please comment if you have a story or a comment about perfectionism and how you stay balanced. I’d love to hear it!

See more about me and my professional life coaching services for thirtysomethings at ashewoodward.com