Five steps to a Motivational Monday

It’s Monday. Again.

Most of us are feeling the need for that extra cup of coffee this morning and likely a little groggy as the alarm yelled at you to wake up, far too early. Weekends go by way too fast as we try to cram in every bit of fun time, down time, family time, social time, and time to workout. The weekends can be so much fun but also really freaking exhausting! In my humble opinion, that’s why so many Monday mornings can feel daunting and draggy.

I am here to say I have found 5 easy ways to help Monday mornings be the motivation you need to get through a great week! I know what you’re thinking…this chick must be insane, but honestly I think you will like at least one or two of these ideas and be able to implement them into your lifestyle without too much extra effort.

First things first, you’ve got to have the right attitude. I think the best way to start your Monday morning off on a brighter note, is to stop repeating those social negative norms to yourself. If you assume Monday is going to be a drag, chances are thats the way you will start your day. Before you close your eyes Sunday night set an intention for the day ahead. “Monday will be the beginning of a week of accomplishments” or “Monday will not get me down”. It kind of sounds a bit cheesy and like a load of fluff, but honestly it works! According to Psychology Today (Aug. 2, 2011):

          As far as your brain, every thought releases brain chemicals. Being focused on       negative thoughts effectively saps the brain of its positive forcefulness, slows it down,              and can go as far as dimming your brain’s ability to function, even creating                                                                   depression.

And, that is just one example of how positive thinking can truly be beneficial to finding your Monday Motivation. There is so much research on how positive thinking, including practicing gratitude, can be impactful, it is overwhelming. One article I loved from positivepsychologyprogram.com goes so far to say :

The latest findings in Neuroplasticity, however, indicate that the happiness set point can be changed, based on what we focus on and the activities we perform.

So as we practice gratitude, optimism and self-compassion the neurons in our brain form more connections, and the area of the brain grows and becomes stronger. Over time, this alteration in our brain can change our set point of happiness (Greater Good Science Center, 2014).

Positive thinking truly is THAT powerful. Thats a game changer.

My second method to finding your Monday Motivation is all about the practice of gratitude. Gratitude changes the Attitude! So, you guys are probably getting sick of my constant promotion of the practice of gratitude, but this is the stuff that happiness is born out of my friends! Honestly, just try it for a few days, commit to a week, but every day think about what you are grateful for and jot it down some where. I write three things I am grateful for each day in my Fit Planner, but you could grab a small notebook, you could jot a few things down on a sticky note and stick them in your agenda, write them on your calendar. Hell, grab a napkin and jot them down and keep them in your bag. But commit to it, keep your notes and reflect at the end of your gratitude “trial period”. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see how much more positive and exciting each day is when you see what you have to be thankful for. Some people think these have to be deep, intense moments of gratitude but some times I am thankful for kids who go to bed on time, or a cold drink on a tough day. Other days I am grateful for my health when I see someone struggling. It varies day to day. There are no right or wrongs here. No judgements. Its all you.

Third, have a plan. This does require a bit of work on your part, but if it means that you don’t waste an entire day of the week moping about and being grump simply because that day is Monday, then make a plan to make it great! Some ideas are to make a plan for the evening to have something to look forward to. This could be as simple as a plan to veg out and catch up on trash TV when the kids are in bed, or a random dinner out with friends/family. It could be that you plan to wear a new outfit to work this Monday or that you’ll get up a few minutes earlier to get all dolled up instead of just throwing on whatever is in front of you and putting on more than the 5 minute face. This was one of my all times FAVES when I was working outside the house. Maybe its your cheat day, maybe you just plan to get up from your desk and take a moment of mindfulness and self care on your lunch hour to help fuel you for the rest of the day. You get the idea. It can be as simple or thought out plan as works for you!

My fourth tip is, get excited! Get pumped up about the week ahead. Man, we are blessed to have a job to go to or a hobby we love so find a way to incorporate that passion or love for something into your Monday routine. If your favorite part of your job is networking, maybe you can plan a meeting for Mondays to connect with likeminded folks for a planning session. Or maybe, you LOVE getting your hair done and your salon is putting on a class, sign up! It could be planning a trip to the local pool with the family after dinner or a hike with your fur baby after work! But get excited about something! That will help propel your positive thinking on Monday morning and hell, you may even be grateful for it in your gratitude practice later!

Fifth, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. So, what I failed to mention is, this will likely not be easy. Progress not perfection is one of my mantras for the month and it completely applies to this practice of finding your motivation on Monday morning. Sometimes best laid plans fall apart. Life happens, and it can throw us curveballs even when we think we have a plan A through Z. This doesn’t mean it CAN’T be done, it just means you may have to try again. This may come with feeling discouraged and frustrated but I am speaking from personal experience when I say that, with time, it WILL happen. Mondays don’t have to be a mythical sucker of all things fun, Monday IS and CAN BE the gateway to full-filled weeks and goals accomplished.

If today was less than motivating for you, give these 5 tips a go and let me know if and how your perspective changes. And, believe me, I am practicing all of this right a long with you!

 

~M~

Its a Group Effort: a tribal approach to healthy living

January is in full swing, and so are the throngs of folks striving hard to get through the first month of resolutions and vows to be more active, healthier, stronger, faster, skinnier, more muscular. This “global” push to be healthier in the new year feels a little different for me this year. I have come to realize (or maybe remember) that on my journey to maintain healthy living,  while I am independent in deciding on a ‘plan’ that works best for me,  I see the most success when I utilize my support system. My tribe.

I am generally an open book when it comes to talking about my weight loss journey. I am ok with telling people that and my heaviest, I weighed 285lbs. I am also comfortable telling them that I am a lifetime Weight Watchers member. I am not currently at my lifetime goal but I am working, damn hard, to get back there. And “there” is the place where I feel best in my own skin. I have been in this journey for a LONG time now so I know a thing or two about how I gain and lose weight. What I hadn’t factored in really, was how important the give and take of having a “healthy living tribe” has been to me.

After I reached my goal, I was feeling invincible. Almost as if I was “cured” of being over weight and cured of my bad habits. As time wore on, I got complacent and life circumstances shifted my priorities. I gradually put a few pounds back on and forgot about how i had gotten there in the first place. Aside from determination and dedication, “my tribe” was a huge key to my success. That being said, when I started looking at “Defining Me” in the month of January, I knew would be missing a key component of who I am, if I didn’t include this tribe.

For the purpose of keeping this post an acceptable length (as you all know I can be wordy to say the least) I want to talk about how I am getting back to leaning on those around me, near and far, to help me succeed in my journey.

I started by realizing that technology was going to be one helluva weapon in terms of tapping into all of my supports. As I am living thousands of miles away from some of my most supporting of friends and family, I rely on Facebook groups and texting as a major part of my support. I literally have people I text or message every single day about our journeys ranging in age, background, and from all the globe. Some days, sending a simple text to say “tell me I should put down the spoonful of Nutella”, helps keep me focused. Also, when a friend reaches out to ask my advice or input, their commitment to their own journey helps keep me motivated to stay on track.

Some of my tribe members are the ones who remind me to forgive myself when I have gone off track (the Nutella wins the battle sometimes). Others in my tribe are always there with a good recipe when I need it, or a “pro tip” on how to maximize my workout time. My tribe is diverse. Its membership includes marathon runners, personal trainers, Zumba lovers, dancers, walkers, foodies, vegans, vegetarians, world travellers, meat lovers, moms with yoga pants and messy buns, CrossFit enthusiasts and cake connoisseurs. Many, including myself, are a combination of many of these things.

What do I learn from this tribe besides the obvious tips and tricks of being healthy? They all have a way of proving to me that I am surrounded by good people. When I see (via Facebook) my old Weight Watchers crew from Nova Scotia supporting each other daily online, I am energized by their love for each other and genuine want to see each other reach their goals. When a friend messages me that they thought of me while busting their ass on the stair climber because Salt N Peppa came on their playlist, I push harder in my workout. When I meet new friends because I put myself out there to head to a WW meeting in my new town, and they just “get it”, I know I have the support I need to succeed. When my husband hits the yoga mat every night with me for a month long challenge and doesn’t complain once, I push myself harder, because my family is my “why”. And today, if just one person asks me about my journey, or makes a healthier choice because they read this little post of mine, I will stick to my plan and make good choices along side them, because together we can accomplish more great things than alone.

As I continue “Defining Me”, from the perspective of healthy lifestyle, I will lean hard on my tribe; I will accept their help and advice. I will give back as much as I can in love and support and together, my hope is, that we will all see greater success.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this!

~M~

IMG_4242

Defining “Me”… January

This year, I am not just looking to promote some New Year, New Me mentality for myself or anyone else, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I really am someone who is motivated by the start of a new calendar year! If you follow me on Instagram {@momdaymotivation} you have seen my umpteen gym selfies and posts about my workouts and my meals. I, like the million other lifestyle bloggers out there who are talking about Healthy Living are really pushing hard this month. And, while you’re double tapping the ones you like, or follow often, you’re probably almost numb to all of this resolution overload.

This is where this post comes in. This year, it has taken me a bit of time to really really understand the bundle of ideas that have been swirling in my brain about what I want 2018 to look like. The endless maze of ways I want to focus my motivation and intention for the year. After about 40 podcasts, which included some serious bingeing on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, reviewing my posts here, rereading my notes and thoughts and dreams in my journal, and taking stock of the number of novels and self improvement books on my night stand, I have had a revelation!

This year, I want to devote a large portion of my time to Defining Me. I am a multi faceted person who carries A LOT of titles, as we all do. But in this, my 39th year, I really want to dig a little deeper. I thought I was ready for that last fall when I started this little Momday Motivation blog, and I did start to scratch the surface, but I was still healing and reeling from a year of BIG changes and the weight of the year was still too much of a burden for me and I could not really allow myself to shift my focus entirely.

In, what some might call, a narcissistic venture, I will be sharing my journey with you via updates, at least monthly here on the blog and I hope you that if and when you read them, you think about your motivation and intention. Not because mine will be so prolific to inspire you or anyone really, but because may, just maybe, if you’re taking the time to read my journey, you will allow yourself to take the time YOU need to start your own.

In this month of January, I am focusing my intention and motivation on the physical me. So I will be slugging it out at home and at the gym; in the kitchen, and on the mat. I will be joining the throngs of people trying to make this year healthier, with more self love and less self sabotage.  I will be laying the foundation for healthy physical habits as, personally, I always see a direct correlation between how I feel about my body and in my own skin, to how I feel mentally, emotionally and even my connectivity to my spiritual self.

Where does this leave me currently? Well, week one has been successful really. Ive been able to focus on building a plan to help me find a solid routine and create a habit of meal planning and physical activity. My mantra for this part of my journey will be “progress, not perfection”. I need a little reminder to be kinder to myself during my journey to a physically better me.

To boost my confidence, and keep me motivated, I have started a few challenges to help me on my journey including one on the app Strava, where I am connected to the Lululemon community. They have a 40/80 challenge that a friend told me about, where you pledge to walk/run either 40 or 80kms in a two week period. Last year, Lululemon gave those who completed the challenge some free swag so I figured, why not? A week in, and I have completed 27km of my 40km goal. I also committed to a 30 day Yoga challenge, which is free on YouTube and 7 days later, I am LOVING it! It is led by “Yoga With Adriene” and I ADORE her challenges, her vibe, her teaching and her knowledge of yoga! Check her out if you haven’t before! She is a gem and did I mention it is FREE?!

To start to wrap up this “chatty” post of mine, I want to leave you with a little brain food.

Handsome!

What guru/author/motivational speaker offered that little gem? None of the above.

That one is all me folks.

It’s a compilation of some learnings I am taking in and invoking as a integral part of my daily routine and practice. Practice, being the key word in all of this. Nothing becomes habitual without practice. Healthy living, self care, quality time, gratitude, setting intention, spirituality, they all require practice.

Dayyyum, this got deep! and I liked it! If you enjoyed my kick off to Defining Me, I hope you’ll join me in exploring your own journey, or take a peek here now and again to see how Im making out!

With that I will remind you, and myself to stay focused and “you’ve got this”!

xoxo

~M~

It’s a New Year with New Motivation

Happy New Year to you near and far! I love the fresh feeling that comes with turning that calendar page to a new year! It signifies so much more than resolutions and burning off the unwanted calories consumed over the holiday season. For me, it is a crisp new page in a journal both literally and figuratively.

My awesome hubby got me a wish list item for Christmas this year, a Commit 30 journal, and I am stoked! I am working on filling out the vision board for my year ahead and making some attainable goals each month as I strive to live a balanced life full of gratitude and lead with intention. As I do this, I am reflecting upon the year behind me.

2017 was an incredible year. It had high highs, some tough lows and a helluva lot of change. My motivation last year was simply to “get through it” which, was literally how I dealt with almost six full months of the year. I saw the year as a gateway to something better and at times I forgot to seize the moment as much as I would have liked to. Honestly, that approach was more exhausting than actual “living”. With that realization, i focused on doing better which was easier with our family of four being under one roof again. When I let the walls down a bit and started to embrace the change and embrace the moments, I saw more connectivity with my family and friends. I felt more balanced. I truly felt like I had gained something from the experience of just getting through. I saw resilience and strength in myself, but also in my marriage and in my children. I saw that there was more than just “getting through” challenges. I was reminded of the beauty in the struggle, like the rainbow after the storm.

That leads me to think about my goals and my motivation for this bright and shiny new year ahead. My motivation is simple. My family.

Our health and wellness, our adventures and our routines. I want to really experience the hell out of it all. I want to be present in the moments. I want to make time to get on the floor and play with my girls, no matter if I have my coat on ready to go out the door. If even just for a moment, to engage on their level, they will be reminded that they are important. I want to make time to be engaged with my spouse, in the midst of parenting chaos and life’s challenges, to really be connected. I want to embrace the beauty of technology when managing relationships long distance from family and friends. Making time for those I love is important and will continue to be so. I want to make new memories and enjoy the new experiences in this adventure we are on. I want to continue to grow and learn and lay down roots in this new home of ours. Because in this life, the military family life, home is where you are and “normal” is forever evolving.

So, as I crack the spine of my new journal, I do so with courage, excitement and eager anticipation, mixed with a healthy pinch of nervous energy.

Will I always get it right? Hell no. And I would never wish for “perfection”. As we all know deep down, life is a journey, not a destination, so put on some comfy shoes and walk this walk with me. I look forward to sharing my days with you and I hope you share some of yours with me.

Cheers to you and yours! Here’s to the magic that awaits us in 2018!

 

~M~

Things I LOVE Thursday: Self Care Edition

Tis the season to be jolly, but some times it feels more like Tis the season to be exhausted and run off your feet! Am I right?! So, this calls for a little self reflection on self care.

Self care can be about those little indulgences we do for ourself but at its core self care is about making sure you are truly taking care of yourself inside and out. Lets talk about that a little bit before I give you the self care “extras” that I LOVE.

I am no expert, but what I do know is that it is often the case that we are putting those around us ahead of ourselves. I liken it to the instructions the flight crew give you before you take a flight; please remember to fasten and secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. This is true on so many levels. If we are putting everyone else first, we are neglecting our health in every respect; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I hope that you are able to take a beat, step back and say “where do I fall on my own scale of what I deem important?”.

I like to take a few moments to myself to reflect each day, formally in a journal or informally (like right before I fall asleep) to think about how I treated myself that day. If I am particularly short tempered, tired or cranky, I like to take a moment to ask my self why? It is only then that I can really evaluate where I am falling on my own internal scale of importance and in the words of GI Joe, knowing is half the battle.

As far as my own self care goes, I like to remember to take a bit of time and do a few extra nice things for myself occasionally, to remind me how much I love me! This includes reflection and journalling but also a bit of pampering. Here are a few of my all time favorite self care indulgences.

  1. I like to have a “self care” time out box on hand with a few of my favorite things inside. I haven’t made myself one since I have been here in California, but this is definitely something i will get to in the new year. In it I like to have a tasty treat, an activity (like an adult coloring book, a magazine, a puzzle/puzzle book), maybe a few affirmations or positive quotes, a bath bomb or some nice lotion and potentially a mini bottle of wine. This little box is easy to grab when I have an evening to myself after the kids are in bed and hubby is away on training or out for a guys night. Its also great to have on hand when I have had one of those days (or weeks) and need to give myself a little time to recharge.
  2. Another fun self care activity is to stash away a $20 bill or a gift card – take yourself out for coffee, a movie or do something little with less guilt because you already budgeted for it. One of the biggest excuses people make for not indulging a little is that they don’t have the money when they want to do something. Plan ahead if you can and take that guilty feeling out of your YOU time.
  3. Be mindful. A wise friend once told me, mindfulness is as easy as washing the dishes. She said really be in the moment while washing the dishes and appreciate the feeling of the water as it runs over your hands, the fresh smell of the lemony soap. Feel the satisfaction of starting and completing a task. Look out the window at the tress swaying in the wind as you run the cloth over each plate. It may sound silly but focusing on being in the moment can alleviate stress and really allow you to be present. Also you may want to do a simple guided meditation. There are so many of these 2-3 minute mindful meditations on youtube and they are free. they can feel uncomfortable and forced at first but mindfulness takes practice. allow yourself these moments to reflect and reset your mind. I LOVE this type of meditation but forget to practice it as much as I would like!
  4. Dance it out! Thats right! Turn on your jam. Turn it up and dance your tail off! For me that means so 90’s hip hop and a whole lot of bad rappin’! Hell yes, it may include some booty shakin and twerkin even! This is fun, it burns calories, it makes us smile and it releases some of that pent up stress and negative energy! A few of my favorites to turn up include: Push It – Salt N Pepa, Strip That Down – Liam Payne, Baby Got Back – Sir Mix Alot, Bitch – Meredith Brooks, Everybody (Backstreets Back) – BSB, Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran, Jump Around – House of Pain, California Love – Tupac, or anything Eminem. But honestly guys, this is one of my favorite ways to recharge, remind myself to have fun and to make me smile!!!
  5. Last one for today, but definitely not least, is to grab some quality time with my family members. How is this self care you ask? Well for me, its like getting off the hamster wheel that we tend to run on most of the time to get from work and school and homework and extra -curriculars. Its a pause to say hey, “I know you and I like spending time with you!” This quality time together allows me to recharge as a mother, wife and daughter. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moments, as time really does move so much faster the older we get. Make some memories, have some laughs, share a tear, eat the cheese cake or whatever works for you, but ENJOY each other.

 

Thats my take on self care these days folks. These things work for me, but I’d love to know what works for you! Im always looking for new ideas! Share with me in the comments or on instagram! Have a fabulous Thursday friends!

Heres a list I found on Pinterest from Thirteenthoughts.com. I thought I would share!

selfcare

Enjoy and take care of you!

~M~

Support… And No, I’m not talking about bras.

Ok friends, we need to talk about support. No, this is not a post about my latest find in the sports bra department, or at Victoria Secret, but maybe a topic for another time.

Let’s face it, we all need support in our lives. We need to get support from those around us and equally important, we need to be sources of support for those we love. In my opinion, we forget about that last bit being important, more than we should.

I read this incredible quote on Pinterest this week and it really resonated with me,

candle

My inner Oprah is embracing this as an A-Ha! Moment! We lose absolutely nothing as a people, by just lending support to those around us. In fact, all we have to gain is more warmth and more light.  And here is the kicker, it is really just human decency to be supportive.

Why the hell am I talking about this? Honestly, I think it is because I see and feel and have so much support coming at me from literally all over the world, that it has made me wonder if I am doing enough to support those in my life. I don’t mean that in a self deprecating way, but I really want to take time to celebrate my “supporters” and evaluate my own supportive nature.

Here in Southern California there are thousands of people currently impacted by wildfires & the other day at a local store I was asked if I would buy a toy for $3.99 or less to support animal shelters that are overwhelmed as a result of providing wildfire support. Of course I said yes, because I can afford to and because I felt it was the very least I could do. A customer in front of me was asked the same question and they proceeded to basically tell off the employee for even asking. Now I am not judging their lack of monetary support because maybe it wasn’t something they could do in their budget but I was definitely judging the way they mistreated the employee and wondered how many times that day the same thing might happen. Everyone has a story, so maybe they were having a terrible time, but everyone deserves respect.

After reading and rereading the draft of this post I feel like I am babbling a bit so I will try to wrap it up coherently! (I write how I talk 90% if the time so you really are getting the authentic me)

Having and being pillars of support is crucial to a fulfilled life in my opinion. You need to give and get on this one but not equally at the same time usually. There are times of struggle where we need our tribe to help lift us up. In the times of strength and stability we lift up those who need us.

Support the ones you love in the best ways you can. Support those you don’t know by being kind and respectful. Support yourself with positive self talk, encouragement from within and by surrounding yourself with people who will help lift you up.

In my own personal reflection of support giving, I feel like I’m doing ok, but there’s always room for improvement. So, I go back to practicing gratitude. Daily, I will make my best effort show kindness and respect as our gifts to the world. I will make my best effort to show empathy and understanding to others. That is all we can really do.

For those people who show me their support always, I hope you know how much you are appreciated. I likely don’t say it enough, but thank you.

Be kind. The world needs more of it.

~M~

Things I Love Thursday! Holiday Prep Edition

The holiday season is upon us and if you celebrate Christmas you may have already started trimming the tree and hanging the lights, if not, chances are you’re getting ready to!

Sitting by the tree last night I was thinking about what I love about the lead up to the Big Day! Thus, this edition of TILT (Things I Love Thursday) was born!

First of all, I love love love being able to really change the look of my home decor for this one beautiful season! Adding in poinsettias as a pop of color with their beautiful red hues. Twinkling lights in places that are normally just a part of the everyday structure. Sprigs of holly, pine cones and personal momentos from the holidays we collect each year.

Adding to the full on transformation of the regular is the addition of beautiful Christmas tree (or trees) ! The ambiance of the lights, coupled with the fresh smell of pine lingering in every crevice of the house instantly triggers Christmas spirit for this girl! I love trimming a tree with my girls with all their fun ornaments and ones that were mine in my youth as well. Their anticipatory excitement and joy as we reminisce of years gone by or debate who gifted who which ornament. It’s the hot chocolate moustaches and candy cane kisses that make this mama so happy!

Next, I love the “fancy tree”. There tree that I get to decorate in ribbon and beautiful bulbs and the most treasured ornaments. The one that is the centrepiece of my holiday decor. The one that allows me a little OCD in the midst of the merriment and chaos. The one I sit in front of, with a glass of red, and wrap presents with my hubby. I LOVE that tree.

I also love the sense of community during this time! Tree lighting ceremonies and holiday parades! Children’s Christmas concerts and holiday parties! We are given so many opportunities to connect with our friends, neighbours, coworkers and families. That is a gift in and of itself! I love that people who we think of often but hardly speak to send cards and letters and we do the same. I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get in my whole heart when I open a card or an email from a friend.

And lastly, what I love most about holiday prep is knowing that in just a few short weeks, we will all be enjoying time with family. Not just a few minute or an evening, but serious, quality time with the people we love most. We will make memories; Eat too much food; Drink too much wine. We will laugh until we cry and we will cry for those we miss or who are no longer with us. We will have lazy mornings and bustling evenings! So really, what I am saying is that what I love most about holiday prep is the beauty of the season in general. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.