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Boundary Setting for Health & Happiness Mini-Course

Hello Friends!

I wanted to let you in on some cool news. My Boundary Setting for Health & Happiness Course is now open for enrollment and is on sale for a very limited time.

This course is all about becoming a better boundary setter through:

  • Increasing your self-esteem so you can start saying no to others with confidence
  • Discovering what matters most to you so you can start prioritizing the things that light you up, and cut out what doesn’t serve you
  • Releasing shame and the fear of rejection so that you never feel guilty for honoring your needs and desires again
  • Developing the tools & techniques to setting your boundaries in a respectful way so you can easily decide what to say no and yes to

I really hope that you choose to sign up for this course. I’m so passionate about setting healthy boundaries and love sharing my wisdom and experiences with others so that they can establish their own healthy habits for a joyful life.

If you sign up before Wednesday (the day the course officially releases), you will get $100 off both the course, and a private session with me if you choose this option at checkout.

If all of this sounds perfect to you, you can purchase the course by clicking this link and choosing your preferred payment option. And let me know in the comments if you enroll. I’m so looking forward to hearing from you!

Happy Sunday,

Beck

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The Art of Letting Go

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one to let things go easily.

I always want situations (and people) to be set correctly. Lessons should be learned. There should be an exchange of apology and forgiveness. Air should be cleared so we can all breathe more effortlessly.

I used to think that letting go was simple, and that my inability to do so made me weak. But I’m wrong. Letting go is really, really difficult. It doesn’t help that our past experiences are constantly working against us as a form of protection.

I’m here to tell you that letting go does not equate to giving up. Nor does it mean to cease being proactive about your situation.

The answer is easy. To let go, all you must to do is to surrender your control over the situation. Give your worries to God or the Universe or the Mothership or whatever it is that you believe in (I used to believe in nothing at all, and while it felt like the reasonable thing to do, those were the loneliest and hardest years of my life).

Releasing your desperation and all the negativity that comes with scarcity will allow you to solve the problem with reason and calm.

“The Universe is for me, and so is everything else.”

This is a favorite mantra of mine that I always come back to when I’m feeling the insecurity of hopelessness, and find my faith struggling to rise to the surface.

Always remember, regardless of the situation that life’s put in front of you, that you are one with this beautiful planet. You are just as much apart of it as the ocean and the sky and the ground you walk on. The energy that flows to you and from you must remain positive, even when your heart’s in pain.

This week, I made the decision to release myself of my struggles, and boy, has it made all the difference. The blemishes that have been haunting more poor skin recently cleared up overnight. I’m sleeping like a baby again after months of restlessness. And I mean, I don’t sleep longer, I simply sleep deeper. My anxiety is no longer keeping me up at night.

And things haven’t been resolved. They’re not even perfect. But nothing bad has happened, either. I’m not suffering the way I thought I would be back when I was desperately trying to “save” myself.

It isn’t easy to implement the art of letting go. It’s truly a lifelong practice of mindfulness and faith that you must take baby sets to ease into.

If you’re going through anything right now, try releasing it to the Universe. Pray on it or write it out, and let the Universe know that you need its help. It’s here to take care of you, after all.

How to Push Through Your Discomforts In Order to Write Your Book

Much like exercising can become a habit, writing can become one, too. You just have to show up. Every. Single. Day. Even when you really would rather hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off first thing in the morning or head straight home from work and lay in bed. When something’s a habit, you know the benefits of showing up even when you don’t really want to.

 

When you decide that you’re too busy or too tired to work on your novel, what you’re actually doing is avoiding discomfort. Before you even begin writing, you need to know what it is that’s keeping you from doing it now to prevent that particular fear from sneaking back into your mind.

 

If your goal is to write a book and you keep putting it off, you need to figure out why you think sitting down to write a novel is uncomfortable. Aside from the obvious answers like it’s too much work and that you don’t have enough time. Otherwise, that first morning you would rather hit the snooze button, you’re brain is going to have a really good story to tell itself to keep you from getting out of bed.

 

People never start things for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you’re  scared that if you write a novel, it will make you look smarter than your little brother. Or you’re afraid of that people will think your book is garbage. What you’re really fearing is your sibling being mad at you and your loved ones (or strangers!) judging you, which is normal.

 

To reframe those negative thoughts into positive ones in order to get you excited to write your novel, try this little activity I use in my online coaching program The 90 Day Novel: A Guide to Writing Your First Draft In 90 Days Or Less:

 

  1. Write down all the reasons why you suspect you’re afraid to get started.
  2. Once you have your reasons, write down why you might be feeling that way. Be honest. You need to dig deep here and call out your insecurities.
  3. Once you have your why, reframe your belief so that writing your novel will be awesome.

 

Here are some examples:  

 

Bad thought: If I write a novel, my brother will think I’m trying to make him look stupid.

Why: I think my brother will accuse me of making him look stupid because he dropped out of college and is having trouble finding a job. My parents are always getting on him for never trying his hardest.

Better Thought: If I write a novel, my brother will be proud of me. Pursuing my dreams could even inspire him to pursue his. If not, I am not responsible for the way he reacts to my accomplishments.

 

Bad Thought: If I write a novel, Sheila will want to read it because she’s my best friend. Sheila is a journalist. If my book sucks, she’s going to think less of me.  

Why: Sheila writes for a living, which is what I want to do. If a writer thinks I’m bad, then I don’t deserve to call myself a writer.

Better Thought: Sheila loves young adult fantasy novels, which is exactly what I’m writing. She will probably love the story because it will be written in my own unique voice and it’s such a great story. What my loved ones think of my novel matters a lot, but I have no control over how Sheila (or anyone else) feels. Not everyone is going to love what I write, but I love what I write, and I’m proud of the hard work I put into my novel.

 

Do you see a trend here? Both positive beliefs emphasis how we have NO control over how other people are going to react to our writing. This is something that we must accept and get over from the start. The great thing is, while you’re writing your first draft, nobody in the world is anxiously waiting for you to publish it yet. Even the people who tell you they can’t wait to read your book? They’re likely not pressuring you to freaking finish it already, are they?

 

Once you have all of your uncomfortable beliefs listed and reframed as positive ones, take the positive beliefs and put them somewhere where you can see them everyday. Each time a negative thought comes to mind, immediately kick it in the rear and replace it with your positive belief.

 

If these positive beliefs sound too silly to find believable, look at things from this perspective: You have spent so much time (maybe even decades) telling yourself that you aren’t good enough to do this or that. What if all of that negative self-talk is a lie, and the truth is that you really, truly are good enough for what you want? You’ve just been spending all your time living a lie to truly believe in yourself.  

 

Showing the world who you truly are is scary. There’s always going to be someone who isn’t on board with the true you, and sometimes it’s the people we love the most. But withholding yourself of your passions is a serious shame. This is why I created The 90 Day Novel course: to encourage people to tackle their inner-BS and the lies that they’ve been telling themselves in order to sit down and write the novel they’ve always dreamed of writing. We are only guaranteed one short, beautiful life. Make it count and be your best damn self.

 

Self-Care Sunday

For this week’s Self-Care Sunday, I took a trip out to the Palisades to visit The Self-Realization Fellowship at Lake Shrine. My goal while visiting Lake Shine was to focus on the present moment and minimize any thoughts that involved my past and future. It wasn’t easy. I kept thinking about getting home before it got dark, and that I had to grocery shop before I got home or I wouldn’t have anything to eat.

This task wasn’t easy, but I’d say 95% of my thoughts while at Lake Shine were present-oriented. I really took in my surroundings. The lake. The ducks that were on one and couldn’t stop quacking. The tourists and other visitors. I even brought my library copy of The Power of Nowthat I read some pages of while I was there. Such a perfect book to read in the most peaceful place in Los Angeles.

It’s amazing how you’re instantly alleviated from stress and anxiety when you just live in the present. It was refreshing to know that I didn’t have to look at my phone to check the time. I had a whole day to spend on myself, and time simply didn’t matter.

Afterward I made an impromptu visit to the beach. It was the perfect way to cap off my trip. I’ve never been to the beach while the weather was so warm out. I was sun-kissed and loving every minute of it. I mean, aside from the fact that the sun cancerous.

I also received a gift from my mom today–a cute little mini backpack I had on my Amazon wish list. It was a great bag to have with me on my trip this afternoon.

Oh, and it’s my cat Dupree’s eleventh birthday! Ever since the day we met, we’ve been inseparable. We just belonged to each other instantly. Dupree is a big ball of crazy and I’m so happy I’ve gotten eleven wonderful years with this baby. I’ve never known love so unconditional (on my end, at least), and even though he’s kind of a jerk, I know he loves me at least a little bit.

A great quote I read from The Power of Now:

Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as is you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.

I’m going to do my best from now on to accept before acting.

Please enjoy a photo set from my Sunday!

How did you spend your Super Bowl Sunday? Did you take a moment this weekend to do something kind for yourself?

Segue Saturdays: A Segue Into Routine

Every Saturday, I will post an excerpt from my weekly newsletter, A Segue Into Certainty. If you like what you’re reading, consider subscribing.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve sent out a newsletter, and I promise that this time I plan to make this a weekly ritual. I’ve wasted too much time trying to provide my readers with the “expected stuff” (book reviews, career updates, etc.), only to figure out that all the expectedstuff felt wrong. While being a young adult writer plays a big role in my life, writing young adult doesn’t even touch the surface of how I spend my time. Pretty much all of 2017 was dedicated toward self-improvement and cultivating self-care. I was forced to grow in uncomfortable ways. I know these changes were critical for me, but change at any magnitude is hard, and I’m finally in a place where I can talk about it and attach a lesson to the struggle. That is the stuff I want to share with you. So for my first revamped newsletter, I want to talk about the five things I try to do each day to bring joy and fulfillment into a life filled with too much existential awareness and a little bit of anxiety (which is getting better).

1. My Five Daily Tasks

After reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Bene Brown, I 100% agree that the best we can do is find joy and fulfillment in the everyday small stuff. Happiness, even contentment, is so temporary that it’s useless to chase either of them down until we’ve finally “snagged” them for good. It’s just like chasing after a guy who’s not that into you (which, I’ve been there many times, so I can provide this analogy to you with confidence). So, I’m not dating that incredible good looking improviser I asked to be my practice group coach in order to get him to ask me out (but I was this close to sealing the deal), and I’m also not happy all the time. However, I’m glad that I’ve found these five things that fill me with the proper dose of gratitude each and everyday:

1. Meditation

Meditating has become the best part of my day. I try to do it as soon as I wake up. I’m still a relative beginner, and only meditate about 10 minutes a day, but this is the one task I plan to make a daily habit out of. I just feel the mental and physical benefits of meditation. I’m calmer under stress, more compassionate of myself and others, and am so much more aware of my body’s needs. I’ve dabbled with both guided and open-ended meditation and love them both. If you’re new to meditating, I suggest guided practices to start out, then you can transition into open-ended meditations if you want. I started out meditating for two minutes a day, and now those first two minutes fly by during my sessions. I like the Calm app and Insight Timer with Andy Hobson.

2. Yoga

Yoga with Adriene has become my go-to daily yoga practice. I am definitely not a handstand yogi, probably never will be. But Adriene is a humble instructor who’s turned me into a yogi for the mental and emotional benefits. She has hundreds of free videos on Youtube and provides her viewers with a monthly calendar with a “practice of the day” to make finding the perfect video all the more easier.

3. Writing

Back when I wrote A Fantastic Mess of Everything, I wrote 3 days a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) at the same time every morning and had optional editing/writing days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These days I keep to a similar schedule (I write Mon/Wed/Fri as soon as I make my morning coffee), and I work for no more than two hours to avoid burnout unless I’m having a rare breakthrough that morning. I still keep my Tues/Thurs as optional days as to not feel guilty if I have too many errands to run or I prioritize rest to writing. Surprisingly, I get a LOT done on this schedule. Plus, it’s totally realistic and attainable.

To read how I’m incorporating exercise and journaling into my daily routine, please consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, A Segue Into Certainty. Delivered to your inbox every Monday.

Do you have any daily rituals that bring you joy and fulfillment? Share them with me, I’d love to hear them.

Leaning Into Discomfort

I was hoping to get my blog post in before midnight, but since I was busy working all day I will allow this one slip of my 28 days of blogging. (And so early on in the month, too! 😫).

I’m going to keep this post brief. Today I found myself especially irritable. On Thursday I had negative experience at work that left me distracted and jeopardized my ability to coach well and to have fun while teaching. Instead I felt on guard, insecure, and most of all ashamed. Then today I felt that my time had been disrespected by an employer who showed up twenty-five minutes late when they knew I had a hard out time. On top of that I’m worried about my family’s health and well being and my own financial stress.

I felt angry. Frustrated. Hopeless. Anxious. Like I attract very specific people and behavior and this is all my fault. I brought all of this upon myself. Even the things that didn’t have anything to do with me. Somehow I found ways to feel guilty because of them.

Thankfully, instead of blowing up, I vented to my therapist about the way I was feeling. I confided in a couple of friends. None of these people provided me with answers, but I didn’t need them. I just needed someone to listen and relate.

Thanks to The Craving Mind, one of my February reads, I refrained from my usual food binge or compulsive Amazon purchase. I simply forced myself to sit with and EXPERIENCE the emotions that were coursing through me. As excruciating as it is to acknowledge the awful inside of you–we can all agree it’s far easier to distract ourselves with instant gratification–it’s when we confront our fears and pain head on that the most progress can be made.

As great quote I read recently by Jonathan Fields goes:

“The butterflies always fly when you’re pushing into something that matters deeply and that requires growth. The reframe is to learn to experience the sensation as a signpost that cool things are happening and lean into it, rather than as a signal to run.”

It is so important to walk toward the scary parts of life. If we aren’t uncomfortable, we aren’t growing.

And you know what happened when I sat with the pain? The jumble of negative emotions inside of me disappeared. I’m still affected by all of this week’s events, but my mind is clearer and I’m ready to tackle it all with reason and compassion

As Fields says, I’m ready to lean into it.

February Goals

Happy February!

I don’t typically create monthly goals for myself, but I feel compelled to create fun, 30-day challenges every month this year. For February, I have a few goals in mind:

1. Blog daily for the next 28 days

2. Dive deeper into my meditation & yoga practice

3. Start paying off credit card debt

4. Establish a sustainable work-life balance

1. 28 Days of Blogging

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter and blog, you may have noticed that this is my third consecutive post. I really want to be more active on my blog and share my self-care journey with, others with the hopes that maybe you can take what I’ve learned and implement some self-care for yourself.

I’ve never had a set blogging schedule, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can do it!

2. Deepen My Meditation & Yoga Practices

I’m super excited that I’ve finally returned to a daily meditation routine, but I can feel my body craving more. I haven’t quite decided how I plan to incorporate more meditation into my day. I may do both a morning and evening session, or challenge myself by sitting longer in my practice. It would be fun to work up to 20 minute sessions that don’t lead to falling asleep.

As for yoga, I try it fit it in daily, but only in 20-30 minute practices. This month, I want to dedicate 2-3 days a week to some challenging, hour-long sessions.

From back backs to hip openers to mastering the crow pose and handstand, there are so many things within yoga that I want to improve. I know it’s all a matter of picking one and sticking to it.

3. Pay Off that Debt

Last year was an amazing year for me financially. I had eliminated my credit card debt and had the credit to get myself a new car. Unfortunately, I was in a toxic living situation that I knew I was emotionally ready to leave. This last minute move put me back into credit card debt that I’ve been putting off paying off until I had more money put into savings.

So in February I want to begin paying that off debt using the snowball method.

4. Design My Ideal Schedule

I’m terrible at putting myself before others. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been concerned with disappointing others, so I agree to do things I don’t really want to do to avoid conflict. This has carried over heavily into my work life. I gave so much of my time and energy to others and wasn’t taking care of myself.

I daydreamed about what my ideal work schedule would be when I finally had the money to work less and when I finally was in this phase of my life, etc. One day, I just asked myself: If I want more time off, why do I have to wait for a future that may never come? Why can’t I just ask for what I want?

I’ve worked hard last year to create a schedule that allows for time for rest and self-care. I’m already reaping so many benefits from working less. My days are slower and I’m able to appreciate them more, which is what life is all about, right?

I have one more freelancing gig to part ways from to achieve my ideal work schedule and I’m ready to take the leap of faith and put in my notice this month. It’s a bit of a scary venture, and as much as I’ve loved the freedom of freelancing over the past two years, it simply isn’t stable and is usually just plain stressful. I’m retiring my days of chasing checks in exchange for a few extra hours a week of stable work. I’ll anticipate a regular paycheck arriving right on schedule, thank you very much!

Do you have any goals for 2018? What are you doing to center your work-life balance?

A Return to Fun Fitness

Like the other areas in my life, I’m starting to question if an intense fitness routine is beneficial in my self-efforts. For the past few years, I’ve beaten myself up physically and mentally all in the name of “strong is the new skinny.”

I constantly felt drained and in need of a nap. I felt heavy and uncomfortable in my body. My jeans stopped fitting me, but when I went shopping for new clothes, I discovered that jeans of every size stopping fitting me. I hated what I was doing, but worried what would happen to my strength and the respect my clients had for me if I took a step back.

Here I thought that my desire to move away from intensity was my body dysmorphia at work and that I had to cast these feelings aside. “I should want to be strong,” I thought. “This is healthy!” Thankfully my therapist assured me that my feelings were reasonable. It’s okay to choose feeling comfortable in your body over beating it up.  It’s okay to perform exercises that give you energy, rather than drain you, even if it means sacrificing your ability to do Rx in a WOD. And it’s okay to want to fit into your clothes, as long as you aren’t trying to fit into an unrealistic size.

But man, if pushing ourselves to the limits every day is what good health has become, why is it devoid of any fun? Are we all supposed to stay on this track, feeling depressed and obligated for the sake of doing what’s best for us?

I think getting involved in an intense program could be good for you if you continue to love what you’re doing. If it’s helping you feel empowered for the first time in your life and allowing you to foster a healthy relationship with your body, you should totally do it. But if you’re doing it because you don’t like who you are and you’re filled with high exceptions for future you, then maybe you need to take a step back for a moment and ask yourself if this is what your body really needs, or if something deeper is causing this unnecessary self-pressure to occur.  

And while it’s okay to diet strictly and workout intensely, it’s important to ask ourselves if we’re doing this for our health, or because it’s become another fad. It’s perfectionism and shame telling us what we’re doing is good for us because we aren’t good enough now. It’s skinny, repackaged as strong.

Now that I’ve made this realization, my newfound calling as a coach is to remind people that true mental health is being mindful of our body and what it needs day to day. That a balanced lifestyle is one that is sustainable, gives you energy, makes you feel good about yourself now, and prioritizes happiness and longevity. That physical results are a bonus to sustained health. And that the part of ourselves that keeps saying that we aren’t good enough doesn’t serve as motivation to “hit it hard at the gym,” but instead needs to be told to shove it.

Personally, I’ve scaled back my more intense workouts to three times a week. On those other days, I’m going to do whatever feels best. Whether that’s cycling, yoga, or nothing at all. Gone are the days where intensity is my only option.

And you know what? For the first time in a long time, I feel strong again. I feel amazing about myself. I feel like me. And I’m better for it.

Have you ever found yourself in a fitness rut? What do you do to stay centered and happy in your fitness regime?

Meditation Journaling Exercise

This is a great exercise to try if you’re new to meditation and/or journaling, or if you want to try to merge the two together. 

In your journal or on a piece of paper, set a timer for 10 minutes and begin writing with the prompt: “Today I…” From there, do NOT think about what you want to say. Just write. What you write does not have to even make sense! You’ll be surprised where your mind takes you when you release the desire to censor yourself. 

When the timer is up, reread what you wrote and highlight, circle, and/or underline reoccurring themes, feelings, or anything that stands out to you. 

You can do this for ten minutes or one hundred. Just spend some time with your uncensored thoughts. 

Let me know how it goes in the comments! 

I used to speak of love 

I used to speak of love

When love didn’t speak of me

The times he’d never call

I waited patiently. 

A single ring would sting: 

The shattering of dreams. 

I used to speak of love

When love didn’t speak of me

The endless scrolling of my phone

To see where he could be.

For every smile that I bring:  

A mask for Agony.

But now I see that love

Comes at slower speeds 

The current never rocks the boat 

And keeps me on my feet.

To fly so high with stronger wings: 

I’m happily set free.