Sunday, November 30, 2014

Owning MY winter wonderland

This weekend I went to Leavenworth, WA with my parents and friend Shawna.  It was a wonderful time - not just because of the great company (and wine), but because of the beauty outside and the peace and understanding it brought me while I was there.  It was so quiet, and the scenery was magnificent.

While I was in Leavenworth I was surrounded by the beauty of the winter.  When we woke up on Saturday it had snowed overnight - the view was breathtaking.  I instantly felt filled with joy and the holiday spirit, as if I was in my own "winter wonderland."  It made me think about winter as a time of renewal and peace, and an opportunity to change my life for the better.

In short, November was a rough month for me (both personally and professionally), due to a series of three very difficult and stressful events.  The stress is not over yet and I will still be troubleshooting a few issues for a while.  However, this weekend I thought about how I can empower myself to move forward with confidence as I live intentionally.  This means taking charge of my life and making decisions that will allow me to achieve the outcomes that I want, rather than focusing on the stress that surrounds me, and the things I can't control.   This weekend I came across a great quote that my friend posted on Facebook, which couldn't better sum up my sentiments:

There really is something to be said about taking ownership of your life and your decisions - sometimes this is not (in the moment) as intuitive to us, especially when we are in high stress situations.  We tend to go into panic mode and throw pity parties for ourselves (which is, for the record, totally okay to a certain extent).  However, imagine if we shift our mind frames and energy to focusing on the positive, while also making changes in our lives that bring us more happiness?

Yesterday I spent some time journaling and thinking about small steps I could take to cultivate more happiness in my life as I finish 2014.  If you're looking to make a few shifts in your life, I would encourage you to take 10 minutes to do the same!  Here were a few ideas that I came up with:

Happiness "Change Agents"
  • Devoting 5 minutes each day to meditate
  • Honoring my weekly practice of yoga and running
  • Cultivating a healthy bedtime routine (now that I have an awesome new mattress and bed!) and getting plenty of sleep 
  • Cleansing my home of clutter
  • Continue to go grocery shopping weekly - go organic whenever possible, and make a healthy breakfast and lunch!
  • Continue using for my monthly budgeting and financial clothes - remove financial clutter!
  • Surround myself with people who life me up - stop tolerating people who do otherwise
  • ENJOY the holiday season - decorate my home, listen to Christmas music, and make time for joyful and quiet moments

Now, here's the catch to all of this: discipline.  All of the things above are great ideas, but they won't happen unless I make them a priority.  In Jillian Michael's book, Slim for Life, she talks about coming up with a vision for your health and your life, and becoming attached to that vision - the key word being "attached."  I have to truly desire these changes and prioritize my time accordingly in order to see the results I want.  For a lot of us, this means doing the things that may not always be easy/comfortable/intuitive etc.   It's a lot easier to sit on the couch instead of work out, go out to eat instead of grocery shopping and cooking a healthy meal in, or to avoid a difficult conversation with a friend instead of having the conversation.  However, the truth is that the positive outcomes (long term) far outweigh the negative emotions and stress we endure when we are unsettled inside.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2014?  What are the shifts (large or small) that you are hoping to make in your life?  What do you want your winter wonderland to be?

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