Don’t Finish 2016 Without This

Today was supposed to just be “Tree Decorating Day” but it also turned into “Eggnog and Rum Day” in our house (see the pics on Facebook).

While feeling a little “happy” my husband and I sat and did a little informal review of 2016 – what we did, liked, hated (note: not being prepared for our mortgage to be renewed made the  “never do again” list – live and learn!).

I personally see this and exercises like this as super-critical, especially in our thirties. Our thirties are generally viewed as the years where we build away like busy, busy beavers: reputations, relationships, careers, our savings, families.

And compared to our twenties, our thirties are when we really get down and dirty with creation – we know it’s crunch time and we’re ready to grab life by the you-know-whats and paint ourselves the beautiful picture we all dreamed life would be when we were younger.

The thing is, we can fall into the trap of building, building away and not taking a step back from the canvas to see what it’s all becoming.

Yes, our thirties are when we’re building and establishing a lot of things BUT we’re also accomplishing a great deal too.

That’s why, when you hear everyone (including me!) advising you to review and list all the great stuff you did this year, don’t roll your eyes or say you’ll do it later and never do…

Really take a moment to count up your wins.

This really is most important for us thirtysomeones because if we just continue to toil away, push and push, build and build, we’ll burn out.

And that’s when mistakes are made.

That’s when we make poor decisions and later have to start all over again. And I don’t know about you, but I ain’t got time for that s#*t!!

We’ve got our big dreams here AND we want to see them come to fruition IN our thirties, not waaaaaay in the future, right?

Trust me when I tell you that success in your 30s is more than a dream – it can be a reality. But recognition for all your hard work, your baby steps in the right direction, your effort to get out of your comfort zone are all fundamental to the foundation of whatever amazing creation you’re working on.

And because I think it’s so grave, I’ve created a downloadable plan that will help organize your thoughts for both December and January! Get it HERE

I’d love to hear what happened for you this year and what you’re continuing to build.

Post it here or on the Facebook Page, where we can get the conversation started. This is the place for you if one of your goals is “meet more like-minded people.”

So dream big and review hard!!

And if you’re already beginning to make your goals for 2017, this guide is a MUST!

Download The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goal-Making 

goalmaking

And get in touch for a FREE coaching consultation to create a plan for all of your DIG DREAMS to come true in 2017. Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com

What Kind of ‘December Person’ Are You?

I don’t need to tell you that this is a stressful time of year – crowded malls, Christmas music on loop, and getting in the last morsels of the year before we start all over again.

But beyond the shopping, headaches and travel, there might also be another source of anxiety on your mind…depending on what kind of person you are.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too, but it seems that depending on how ambitious you are or how serious you are about your goals, at this time of year, everyone falls mainly into two categories at the beginning of December:

  • Person 1 will focus on the holidays and family but also use this busy time as an excuse for why she has let her dreams and goals shift to the back burner. She just doesn’t have the time.
  • Person 2 isn’t slowing down. This kind of person aims to get it all in and not only achieve most of what’s on his resolution list, but also may push himself so far that he “doesn’t have the time” to find the perfect gifts. By January 1st he has many of his goals achieved and is ready to amp up his performance in 2017.

You may be thinking that you really wish you could be like Person 2, but you may want to think twice.

Sure, Person 1 seems to be making excuses, giving up and giving in. This could inevitably stall momentum at a great time of year for doing business. If you have a product or service, this is the best time to advertise your stuff as gift ideas or as ways to start off the new year just right. And even if you don’t work for yourself or in sales, you could always do just a tad more than the guy beside you so you grab the boss’s attention at the holiday party for promotion considerations ASAP for next year.

But, this is also supposed to be the time of year for reflection and connection. To push past or rush the holiday season like Person 2, would be to miss the whole point of our cleverly designed yearly cycle. We (well, our ancestors), designed our year to have a beginning and an end, with certain celebrations strategically placed because we crave ups and downs, endings and beginnings.

To rush past the ending would be a waste of the whole year. It’d be like watching the new Gilmore Girls series and just stopping at “summer”! [Note: No spoilers, but seriously, get past “Summer” because Rory has a big moment in “Fall”].

Person 2, however, does have the right idea in some ways – using December to achieve what you promised yourself last January – that’s part of having integrity and loving yourself.

But there needs to be balance. I don’t usually use this vague word but here I think we get it. Our two portraits are extremes but very present this time of year. It’s our job to see which qualities we have in ourselves and make a point of taking a page out of both books.

It’s also integral to success in the future that we take the time now to reflect on what’s been achieved up to this point. Regroup. Celebrate. Acknowledge your support system. And use the reflection (not the stress and the pushing yourself to the limits all month long) to inspire your January 2017.

Let me say that again: use the reflection on 2016 as the fuel to your fire in 2017. Rushing to complete your goals now is possible, but not essential to your success next year. You’ll be more successful if you can acknowledge what you learned in the past year and be grateful for your wins, as well as the people around you.

Sure, there may be some other sub-categories of these two types: I for one can be more like a crazy Person 2 on steroids because not only do I try to overachieve in my career and goals, but I also try to find the perfect gifts thanks to my A-type personality. This usually causes a bit of overwhelm at this time of year.

So a couple years ago, when I noticed this cray-cray behaviour in myself, I committed to having my shopping done before December 1st. I’ve fallen only a little short this year with two people left on my list, but that’s what the Internet is for. The rest of the time I’ll be focusing on my goals, reflecting and celebrating with “special” eggnogg.

cup.jpeg

Like all things, it’s about finding a balance and knowing your priorities. It’s sometimes very hard to do it all and get it all in BUT do try these 5 main tips for a more enjoyable and successful holiday season:

  1. Don’t blame the holidays or your relatives for your unwillingness to find time. It’s like I always say, ‘Beyoncé has the same amount of hours in the day as everyone else.’
  2. Buy gifts online to save time. I have some recommendations if you’re curious. Click Here.
  3. Buy thoughtful gifts to thank all the people around you that enrich your life and keep you going.
  4. Reflect on 2016 and use the positives to light you up for the upcoming year.
  5. Draw up your priorities for 2017 based on what you think you were lacking this year. Don’t beat yourself up, just promise yourself to get ‘er done next year.

And don’t worry! I’ve still left plenty of time for new clients this month so you don’t have to go it alone. December is a great time to get started – we can reflect together and plan out your success for the new year together with a solid and strong 2017 success strategy.

Never hesitate to get in touch! Email me your questions at support@ashewoodward.com and find out more at ashewoodward.com.

And for added inspiration when creating your 2017 goals, be sure to have this guide handy!

Download your FREE copy of The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goal-making

goalmaking

Life Goes On – After Elections and All Disappointments

This week, it goes without saying by now that the results of the American election were a shock for many. We’ve all seen the protests, the riots and heard countless commentary on the whole thing. I know we’re all a little sick of it, and hopefully, just ready to move the heck on.

While we’re still unsure of how this all will unfold, let’s remember how a few weeks ago many may have thought that Trump winning the presidency would be the absolute worst thing in the world to happen.

Beyond that we couldn’t imagine a future.

We posted //giphy.com/embed/140ANR8wKzkRm8<p><a href="http://giphy.com/gifs/trump-140ANR8wKzkRm8">via GIPHY</a></p>”>Armageddon GIFS and memes.memes

We creatively tweeted and posted our fears.

But take a look: so far, life goes on as planned. Nothing bad has happened (..yet).

We all still went to work the next day as usual and got s#^t done.

We still came home to our families and had some quality time.

We still celebrated our freedom here in North America with Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day here in Canada, honouring the fact that it is our freedom and democracy that was and is fought for and what allows us to vote for our leader in our respective countries.

I know that there is a lot of pessimism out there right now but I just hope that we can all see how  that even though some people’s worst fear came true, we all survived and life goes on.

If this sounds familiar, like from other areas of life where you think that there is just no hope at all, I urge you to take a closer look and find a silver lining. Find something in your situation to be grateful for and trust that everything will (eventually) be okay.

Not to mention, but Veteran’s Day/Remembrance Day should also remind us that we’ve survived worse.

If you feel like you’re looking ahead and the future is looking grim with no silver lining, we should chat. Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com. I’d love to help you find hope again and start taking your life and success into your own hands. 

And don’t wait to grab your FREE copy of

The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goal-making HERE

goalmaking

Are You in a Thankless Position?

When we’re growing up, we’re surrounded by praise from teachers, parents and even strangers who compliment our adorable cuteness.

And each time we hear we’ve done something right, we know we’re on the right track – our teacher says, “Keep up the good work,” and we know this means that if we keep on this way, we’ll pass.

Our parents may comment on our good use of manners and we learn how to treat people.

Our grandparents pinch our cheeks and we learn how to keep smiling.

But what about when we finally get out into the ‘real world’ and there’s no one to praise us or give us that direction?

What do we do when there’s no one to say that the decision we made was right or that the choices we’re making are smart, or that the work we’re doing will help us land that promotion?

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have a good boss or supervisor who notices your hard work and is directing you towards success in your field. Same thing goes if you have a mentor or coach.

But if you’re like the rest of the population, you’re in a thankless job and you’re working to keep hope alive by finding little wins each day to brag about to your partner or dog when you come home.

If you’re in this category, you are the silent hero – going above and beyond your job, your home responsibilities and duties and no one really knows about all your hard work except you. While there is some honour in this, it’s not the best way to care for yourself or get ahead. Too much time spent feeling like you’re ‘guessing’ at the right thing to do often leads to stress, breakdowns and sad/funny meme creation.

But if you’re in a place where you feel like you’re alone and you really haven’t got a f&*king clue, let me tell ya – YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Not in an X-files creepy way, but in the way that even if it doesn’t seem like it, everyone is kinda winging it here.

The fact that these memes are posted and reposted is proof that we’re all feeling it. We all feel like we need more direction and praise. Unfortunately, this is the adult’s cross to bear.

But here’s the gist and what I truly believe: You need to trust and have faith in your 30+ years of life experience. Trust your intuition as being stronger than just a ‘guess’ because it has gotten you this far. And as you trust yourself more and more, your instincts will grow stronger like worked muscles and decisions become easier and the future seems brighter.

I think Henry Ford said it well when he said, “Quality is doing it right, even when no one is watching.”henry-ford-quotes-4

When we feel like we’re not being thanked or praised, it’s easy to want to give up. But integrity and a quality life is knowing that you are always doing your best, no matter what others notice.

And lastly, let me just say:

If you’re working to get to your dream in some pretty unglamourous ways – side hustles and side-side hustles

If you’re working to take care of you and your kids and you’re exhausted every night

If you’re working your butt off but still have no extra money at the end of the month

If you’re working at a business with no clients yet

If you’re doing everything you can with no results but keep going anyway cuz all you have is faith

If you’re writing a blog that no one leaves comments on…

I SEE YOU!

And I hope you feel it, because I mean it.

You may not KNOW what you’re doing, but still, you’re doing it! And that’s all you can always do.

Just keep going and know that the universe is watching. Your positive effort energy is never wasted because it always goes out into the world and turns into something else, probably for someone else’s benefit.

Have faith that even if things seem tough right now and it may seem like no one is rooting for you, please know that it isn’t true. Your small deeds matter to everyone because the fact that you keep doing it adds more magical grit and inspiration into the world.

I see you, thirtysomeone. I see you:)

If you’d like to learn more about integrity and the power of praise or tell me more about what you do as a silent hero, get in touch for a chat! support@ashewoodward.com.

And don’t wait to grab your FREE copy of

The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goal-making HERE

goalmaking.png

Is Your Family Normal?

My husband is so funny.  The other day while he was doing dishes, I asked him if he had the day off for Family Day.  After a slow, ‘no…’ he paused and looked out the window for a moment.  Then, without knowing if I was still behind him, (so, to no one in particular) he blurted out, “What the F$%* is Family Day?”. 

I laughed from the hallway.

“Seriously,” he said, drying his hands, “Every day is Family Day, isn’t it?”

Family Day is a relatively new holiday (the first in Ontario was in 2008) so I think the confusion from my husband and other Canadians is that we don’t know what to do with it yet because we haven’t established any traditions.  From the sound of it, it seems like we have to jump in the car and visit our parents and grandparents or find a way to keep the kids busy all day.

But my husband is right – we are a family, even if it is just the two of us and our beloved fur babies.

Personally, I love the fact that this holiday is wide open for making new traditions.  It reminds me that the idea of family itself is the same. I don’t have to tell you that the idea of family nowadays can really mean anything you want – kids, no kids, lots of kids, step and half siblings, fur babies, reptile babies, whatever!  I love that this holiday is a reminder of that and I’m grateful for my own crazy family that breaks all the norms.

Even though my husband will be working, I got to spend a nice Valentine’s Day with him yesterday, touring through the countryside and cuddling up on one of the coldest weekends of the year. Tonight I’ll be home to go for an extra-long walk with my fur babies and I’ll cuddle up with them for a Family Day movie night. I hope you too enjoy this extra holiday in February to celebrate your family, in all its shapes and forms.

How will you be spending your Family Day or President’s Day?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

No plans? Get a head start on the week and year ahead with access to The Empowered Woman Summit, or go to ashewoodward.com to find out more about how coaching can help you design the life you’ve always dreamed of.

photo credit: Sarah Liora

Amazing Time-Management Tips for Your Thirties

I can’t create more time for you – not literally. But as a coach for thirtysomethings, my job is all about showing you that there is more time around than you think.  There really are better ways to spend your time each day and plenty of time in your thirties to follow, catch, and live your dream. So, here are my top time-managing and   time-creating tips for the busy thirtysomething [I tried to make it quick;) ]

Don’t Panic

The most important thing is your outlook. When we freak out and scream that there aren’t enough hours in a day, our brain is in a very basic, instinctual place. You’ve probably heard of the reptile brain, the amygdala. This is where our sense of fight or flight comes from and it’s a big culprit of unnecessary stress-creation. It’s a response that keeps us in confusion and freak out mode and causes that feeling that we just want to bail. We’ve all felt those times when it feels like so much we just want to give up – that’s the amygdala! So how do we soothe our senses and keep a cool head? See tip #2

Be Grateful

Taking a few moments for gratitude is a proven way of calming the nerves and bringing our consciousness back into the clear-thinking cerebral cortex. That’s just a lot of mumbo-jumbo to say, ‘It helps you calm down and start thinking clearly again’. And if you are looking at a never-ending to-do list, you need to be sharp. A clear and focused mind is your best defence against time-craziness because you’ll be able to prioritize and strategically create a better plan for getting things done. Plus, when we feel calmer overall, we make less mistakes so it’s really time well spent. So take a deep breath and be thankful for what you’ve accomplished that day or week and get your head on straight to get the rest done all in good time.

Procrastinate

Yes, procrastinate.  Start to notice how you can often leave a few things off your list for tomorrow. Who said everything has to be done today? Sure there are things with deadlines, but there are also some things without. Sometimes we forget that some of our deadlines were self-imposed and could maybe be pushed back a smidge to make way for some breathing room.

Take a Break

Sometimes I really hate this advice because obviously if you could take a break you would, right? But scheduling a break between activities is more necessary than you think and can really up your productivity. Think about scheduling buffer zones around your activities so that you can carry out your duties faster and more efficiently. Think about it: When you plan something out doesn’t it usually turn out better than if it’s rushed?Throw in a couple minutes of gratitude before you get going and you’re set to be a person of productivity rather than a ball of stress and poor time-management skills.

Bonus Tip: Time Journal

Sometimes we may not be aware of how much time there actually is in our day. What’s more is sthat we are often totally oblivious to the time sitting right in front of our faces – literally. Screen time is a HUGE time sucker. We all know it but we indulge on the sly. ‘I’ll just check my Facebook really quick –’…… half and hour later…

So for one or two days, see if you can monitor how much time you spend doing one thing (especially screen time) for a chunk of time. It’s not easy but I promise you you’ll raise some eyebrows afterwards. Think of how a personal trainer has you keep a food journal to point out where you’ve indulged or where you can do better. This is the same thing.

And if you’re not sure where you can make improvements or how – get in touch! I’d love to show you where you can create more time out of thin air!

Make your appointment at ashewoodward.com

photo:patrickschreiner.com

How to Harness the Power of The Placebo Effect

There’s so much about the brain that we don’t know – and we don’t know we don’t know, and it really freaks me out. Yesterday, a video on placebos reminded of another way the brain seems to have a ‘mind’ of its own.

As you may or may not know, all drugs that are tested must also run placebo trials before they are approved by the FDA. The actual drug must be more effective than the placebo in two trials before being considered a valuable treatment or remedy (Wired Magazine).

Now before you start thinking this is a waste of time and money or even unethical that we deprive some trial participants of the ‘actual’ medication, here is the fact that shook my world: Placebos work 50% as effectively as aspirin but also 50% as effectively as morphine in treating pain!

Seriously, brain, what’s going on?!

Though it may be frustrating to not be able to completely understand what’s happening in our own heads, beyond our control, there’s some great news for us once we see that there is a possibility for harnessing this insensible power.

I actually think it might be a blessing that we don’t fully understand what’s going on here. That way, our job is kept pretty simple.

Believe you’re healed and you will be. Believe you can do something and you can.

If that doesn’t sound simple enough, let me say that the next sugar cube you eat will give you all the power you need to make your dreams come true.winkey

Now, those of us in tune with the power of visualization and positive thinking might also notice that this is all very similar to how The Law of Attraction works. We truly bring what we’re thinking and dreaming about into our lives by way of positive thinking and keeping ourselves connected to a feeling of love and excitement. If you’re excited by life and you love what’s around you, you’ll continue to feel that and see more evidence of it in your life. And even when things are not ideal, you’ll be able to stand strong in your happiness and love of life and all its ups and downs and miracles.

On a more practical level, you can use The Placebo Effect and the Power of Suggestion to shift a negative feeling from taking hold by buying into a more positive perspective. For example, maybe you’ve been actually feeling pretty good lately and then all of a sudden, “WHAM!” Big traffic jam. Your high is over…or so you think…headphones girl

Instead of freaking out about getting fired, give your boss a call, tell her what’s honestly happening and that you’ll be there as soon as you can. Then, turn up the tunes, knowing your ass is covered for the foreseeable, ‘can’t-do-anything-about-it’ future and rock out. Notice that this extra time was a gift. The universe is not screwing you over – she’s rewarding you for feeling good all this time.  And the more you keep your perspective in this positive placebo, the more gifts will appear. It really is all in your head – in a good way!

One more example from a very successful man:

If you say you can or you can’t, you’re right either way. – Henry Ford

Here’s to staying in a good space and reaping the rewards of the Universe all this week!

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO I WATCHED HERE