I Was Once a Beautiful Badass

Once upon a time, I was a badass. A beautiful badass, although I didn’t think so at the time.

I read a bunch of old blog posts and journal entries the other day, and I realized that I used to be the determined and strong woman I want to be right now. I used to wake up before 5 am to get my workout in. I would participate in fun runs, color runs, intense mud runs, and a Tough Mudder. I wrote almost every single day. I used to actively and consistently work toward my goals. I wouldn’t always crush them, but I would get closer to achieving what I wanted then than I do now. And this was after Miss Maya came into my life, when my pre and post work hours overflowed with the nonstop activity of chasing a toddler around. I was a badass and then I slowly sunk back into mediocrity.

So, what happened?

Many people, when they look back to try to figure out how they got so off course, look for a specific event or a series of events that “caused” them to wander. Something external must be the root of the problem. Or, if they can’t find an incident, they’ll look at another person to place the blame. It’s someone else’s fault. And if they can’t pinpoint a person or a specific event, they’ll shake their heads and simply say, “Life happens.”

We hear it all the time. Life happens.

Here’s the rub: they’re not entirely wrong. Life does happen, and the reasons we give to explain why we gave up on our dreams or woke up light years from where we imagined we would be in life might even be valid to a degree. Work stress, check. See, blame can go elsewhere. Financial issues, check. I could easily blame that one on someone else, and it would be a true and valid reason. Health problems likely due to stress. Age. I don’t drop the weight like I did when I was younger. Completely valid. I could go on, but you get my point.

But here’s the final truth: The excuses are bullshit.

Yes, you might have reasons and I might have reasons, but at the end of the day, for most of us, it’s all bullshit. We’re lazy and we don’t want to put in the work necessary to surpass our goals and create extraordinary results in our lives.

So, what happened?

I became lazy. Plain and simple. I stopped doing the work. I gave up and sat the fuck down on my sofa and watched Netflix instead of writing my book. I slept in instead of getting up early and exercising. I ate and drank stuff on a regular basis that wasn’t the best for my body.

I became too comfortable living in my excuses instead of pushing beyond them.

Since the beginning of last year, I’ve been reading book after book, searching for bits of wisdom to help pull me out of this rut. I’ve watched hundreds of motivational videos and listened to podcasts on a regular basis. While I’ve gleaned a significant amount of information on how to create better habits to help transform your life, I realized the other day that what I really need to do is search within. I keep looking outside myself for inspiration, but everything I need is right here. I wrote it all down, for Pete’s sake. It’s in front of me in black and white. Everything I need is already flowing through my veins. I’ve had moments of badassery creep back into my life during the past couple of years and I’ve broken through some self-imposed barriers and pushed through fears. But I must do more. Daily.

Last night I dreamt I was in a prison of sorts, trapped at the top of a tower, the perimeter surrounded by guards. I kept trying to figure a way down the steep, stone wall, but escape seemed impossible. I remember my friend Desiree standing at the bottom and telling me that if I could make it off the tower, I would make my way past the guards. I then realized there was a curtain of sorts off to the side. I grabbed it and glided down to the bottom of the tower. I gently landed and said, “Well, that was easy.” I put on a guise of working there and walked right out the front gates to freedom.

We all have our prisons and our towers and the guards in our minds who tell us we can’t do it. It’s all a lie, and we need to stop listening to the guards and we need to start listening to the rebel voice inside that yells at us to rise and fight. I believe we all have everything we need inside of us to break free and create the lives of our dreams. We just forget we have the strength to do it.

I still am a beautiful badass. I simply must stop being lazy and believe in my own power once again.

July Digital Declutter

July: Month of Digital Declutter

First off: Hello! I hope this year has thus far found you happy and well. We’re at the end of June now. JUNE. Holy smokes. I swear yesterday I was putting away Christmas decorations and breathing a sigh of relief that another holiday season was over. Now I’m excited that June has passed, and we’re one month down in summer in the desert and the temps have been, dare I say, tolerable. However, July and August is really when the outdoor furnace is lit and the sun melts everything. So, eight to ten weeks of breathing in fire when we’re not having monsoon storms and then we’ll be back to decent temps once again. Small price to pay for a solid 9 months of truly great weather.

One of the goals I set at the beginning of the year was to read a book a week. I’m slightly behind right now as I’ve only read 22 books, but I have a feeling I might just catch up this next month.

You see, last week I started reading the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and decided that as of July 1, I would put into practice his Digital Declutter Process. I frequently find myself scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds, not seeking anything in particular, only wasting valuable time. I often walk away feeling empty and even irritated, which makes me think, “Why do I even get on social media?”

Habit. There are some things I love about social media: travel stories and pictures of foreign lands on Pinterest, my family and friends’ pictures and adventures, an occasional funny meme, and the sharing of art, music, food, and books. However, I’ve found more negative aspects lately than positive, so it’s time for me to take a step back and decide how I want social media and technology to work in my life.

The Digital Declutter Process works like this:

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Step 1: Define Your Technology Rules

What will I eliminate during this period? Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest without a doubt. Netflix and Amazon streaming videos are out as well unless my daughter wants to watch a movie with me. I don’t have social media or games on my phone, but I do have apps for news feeds that I will delete. My texting is minimal; I typically respond to/send fewer than a dozen texts a day and is not compulsive in nature, so I’m not including it. Personal email use is already minimal as well. I do watch/listen to some content on YouTube put out by people like Tom Bilyeu (this interview is how I was introduced to Cal Newport), Mel Robbins, Tim Ferriss, and Lewis Howes, which I will limit to the time I am on my treadmill 2 or 3 times a week. The only time spent online will be at work for activities such as accessing insurance websites, dealing with Allscripts issues, provider contracting, posting information about new providers, etc., and at home when I am taking my online courses or to pay bills.

Whew.

However, what about Google? I decided that if I felt it absolutely necessary to research something, I would write down exactly what I needed to know and then, toward the end of the day, take my “need to know” list of items and allow myself ten minutes to seek answers. That should be a sufficient amount of time to research without falling into a rabbit hole.

Step 2: Take A Thirty-Day Break

July 1 – July 31. I’ll journal about the experience and share it in August. I know the declutter process will be a challenge at first, but my expectation is that once I break the habit of tapping on Twitter or FB and stop the compulsion to scroll, I won’t find it so attractive once July is over.

Step 3: Reintroduce Technology

Meaningfully.

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I have goals I want to reach this year, but I fear I’ll keep losing myself in time wasters if I don’t do something drastic. Writing for twenty minutes a day has been great for me to get back into the habit of writing, but I need to invest more time if I want to finish the book, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite and edit some more, and then publish. This means significantly limiting social media and using the time I do spend on it wisely. It means stepping back and deciding which tools are best for me.

I’ve placed into regular practice suggestions in the books Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam and Atomic Habits by James Clear, which have helped me use more of my free time in a productive manner, but I need another jolt. I think this declutter will help significantly.

Have any of you tried a digital declutter or social media fast? If so, for how long and did it work for you?

Hello, 2019

Greetings and salutations, all. I hope this bright and shiny New Year’s Evening finds you happy and well. And hopefully not too hungover.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve found myself on this side of a blog – the writer’s side, that is. The break was intentional as I found myself with scant desire to do much of anything useful, let alone write blog posts that no more than a dozen people might read on a regular basis. The last time I wrote a post was in July of 2017 when I was in the middle of a weight-loss challenge. I lost a significant amount of weight, but then gained it back. My mental and emotional states were not functioning at a high level (or even mediocre level) of well-being. I was terribly stressed and unhappy.

Some people can lose and maintain weight-loss or write novels and screenplays and be creative little bad-asses while they are mentally and emotionally fucked.

I can’t.

At least, not for long periods of time.

I decided that 2018 would be the year I would focus on my inner well-being. Inner only. I wouldn’t obsess about my fat rolls or amble backside. I wouldn’t constantly berate myself for not writing as much as I *should.* I would drop the blog for a while and simply focus on being mentally and emotionally healthy for myself and for my daughter.

Man, what a difference a year can make.

Here’s something I caught today during my “years past” review that I didn’t catch a year ago, despite my initial goal of inner change for 2018: I write in journals on a fairly regular basis, and on January 1st of 2017, I wrote this, “Here we go! New Year, same me, bright new shiny goals!” The problem with the latter sentence is there is no way I would meet my upgraded goals under the management of the same me. I didn’t realize it at the time.

You don’t make significant changes in your life as the same person you’ve always been. You must change. You must evolve. You must step out of your comfort zone, embrace and move beyond your fears, and try to act as the ideal you would act if you want to make your goals and dreams your reality. Period.

I made significant strides in increasing my overall well-being this past year.

  • I read many books – books by Tim Ferriss, Mel Robbins, Marianne Williamson, Brendon Burchard, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many others, from which I gleaned so much useful information that helped changed my life in the small moments from day-to-day.
  • I blew through my fear of applying for a passport (who knew that sort of fear was a thing? more on that in another post) and traveled to Finland and Estonia with my kid. Just wow.
  •  After 4 1/2 years, I saw my son, Josh, who lives in Finland. We stayed with him and his wife Sonja, and I was able meet her family. It was an incredible experience.
  •  I let go of a bunch of garbage that was holding me back, and I stopped chasing down and giving a crap about certain people who constantly lied to me and verbally abused me.
  • I created a solid morning routine to help install a positive mental and emotional framework for each day and I practiced gratitude on a regular basis.
  • I listened to informative, uplifting, and motivational podcasts and youtube videos, such as those by Tim Ferriss, Tom Bilyeu, Lewis Howes, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mel Robbins, and channels such as Be Inspired, Success Archive, Video Advice, and daily Motivation.
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone and had tremendous inner growth.

I don’t make grand resolutions for the New Year per se, but I certainly don’t look down upon people who do make resolutions. Here’s the thing about the New Year: it’s a reminder to all that every single one of us has a reset button. We can pause, take stock of who we are vs. who we need to be to make our visions a reality, and then set ourselves on a path to make it all happen.

Now, some will say that we should do this reset on a daily basis, and I tend to agree; however, we’re all human and we fail. Inevitably. Life gets in the way and that’s okay. Press that reset button any damn time you feel like it. Press it now. Press it again in twenty minutes or in twenty days. If you press it in twenty years, so be it. At least you’re making an attempt to move forward, and I think that’s wonderful. I like to make goals and try to re-evaluate every quarter. I frequently (and I do mean frequently) fail to meet my goals, but I inch closer toward that goal line with small wins than if I refuse to try at all.

trust the process

This past year was a huge win for me in many ways and less so in others. That’s the way it goes. My morning routine is a vital part of my life now and I’ll continue with my inner growth until the day I stop breathing. I’ll always want to be a better human being and the best role model I can be for my impressionable daughter (I’m afraid I might be a little late for my 25 yr old son). I made some fun goals for 2019 like trying a new recipe and reading a book each week. I also made some slightly more serious goals with regard to improving my physical health, figuring out a new budget for the next year, and setting myself back on the writing path. One day at a time.

I trust you’re all shaking off the debris that was 2018 and moving forward into the future with hope, love, and a greater vision for your life and for the lives of others.

You’re going to see much more of me in the future. I look forward to re-connecting with you.

Much love and happiness.

Michelle