How to Become Unf*ckwithable in 5 Easy Steps

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Yea, that’s right. UNFUCKWITHABLE. Otherwise known as: Unshakeable. Confident. Resilient. Unbothered by the opinion of others. Ambitious. Fierce. Happy in your skin. Self reliant. Self assured. Unapologetically you. True to yourself in every badass way. Living the life you’ve always wanted. Basically, the Beyonce of your own life. 

How does one become an unfuckwithable woman, you ask? In these 5 easy steps.

 

 

1. FIND YOUR STRENGTH

More often than not, finding your physical strength acts as a catalyst for finding your internal strength. Getting the opportunity to put value in your body’s function rather than form can be a life altering experience for most women. The legs that you hide in warm weather because of lumps and bumps take on a whole new meaning when they are deadlifting twice your bodyweight, running you across a finish line, or jumping you into a feeling of accomplishment in the gym. Your broad shoulders that you cover in tee shirts become precious assets when they are pulling your body up over a bar, busting out push ups like you never thought possible, or stabilizing an impressive handstand hold.

While everyone’s flavor of sport varies (#doyou), something must be said for the magic that happens when a woman picks up a barbell. It’s like she immediately rebels against the society that is asking her to be smaller, daintier, quieter, and is instead intent on being bigger, louder and stronger. This act in itself can set off a domino effect of badassery, making you immediately one step closer to being unfuckwithable.

Move. Push your limits. Get strong. Challenge your body and blow your own damn mind. 

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2. TAP INTO YOUR POWER

Too often in life we walk around feeling like we’re the victim of bad circumstance and we just throw our hands up in resignation and say there’s nothing we can do about it. That shit is a cop out, and you can’t be unfuckwithable if you’re living in a victim mentality, period. It’s time for us to make an important distinction. Take a close look around every corner of your life. Everything will fall squarely into one of two categories: the things we can change, and the things we cannot. And if you’re honest with yourself, the things in the Can Change bucket is probably upwards of 90% of what you’re looking at.

We do not give ourselves enough credit for the control we have over our own lives. And the place that control is hiding? Your mindset. You’ve got more power sitting in your own damn mind than you could ever realize, and we’ve got to tap into that well. Don’t like your job? Quit. Don’t like your neighborhood? Move. Don’t like how your clothes fit? Do something about it. Don't like your mood? Change it.

Some changes require more work (and risk-- we'll get to that in a minute) than others, but don’t let the excuses and overwhelm confuse anything here: your life is up to you. And only you. No one else is going to make a change for you, so take responsibility and step the fuck up. And don’t be scared, because it’s the most liberating feeling you could possibly hope for. This is where confidence gets born. Oh and those things you can’t change? Stop fighting with them and embrace them. There’s power there, too.

Own your choices. Take the wheel. Step up to the plate of your own life. Feel the rush that comes when you finally tap into your internal power. 

 

3. KNOW WHO YOU ARE

You might think I’m full of it to sit here and recommend you spending time in the self help corner of your local bookstore, but the wealth of knowledge you will find there is unparalleled. Doing research into who you are can have one of the biggest payoffs in not only your relationship with yourself, but your relationship with those around you: from your mailman to your colleagues to your partner.

How do you respond to conflict? Expectations? Rules? Set backs? Being told no? Do you know the difference between what you actually love doing and what you think you should love doing? How do you show love? How do you tackle to-do lists and deadlines and big scary goals? How do you cope with stress? How do you react to challenge, curiosity, control? How about competition or recognition? Are you intrinsically or externally motivated? Are you drained or renewed by alone time? I could go on. (The Queen of Kingdom Know Thyself, IMO, is Gretchen Rubin, and her books can be an excellent starting place.)

You might just find that you've been more focused on trying to be who you think you should be than who you truly are. No matter what you discover, it's a goldmine.

Research your own damn self. Take every quiz (The Four Tendencies, Myers Briggs, Strengths Finder, Love Language, zodiac, whatever!), read every book, be honest with your introspection. This data is invaluable and can change everything in your ability to enact change, pursue goals, and build an unfuckwithable life.

Closely related and worth noting: know who the people around you are. They impact you in big ways, and as Maya Angelou once said, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them”. In other words, know who’s worth your precious time & energy, and vet your inner circle with care.

 

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4. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE

Have you ever stopped to count the amount of times you say the word “sorry” on any given day, for any given reason? The average woman is apologizing for everything, all the time: for reaching for the same thing at the same time as someone else, for not hearing someone when they’re mumbling, for being bumped INTO (wtf?), for speaking up, for having an opinion, for taking up space, for existing. Can we fucking stop apologizing already? 

Not only do we NOT need to apologize for the awkward moments in our day that do not warrant an apology by ANY stretch, but it’s time to stop issuing apologies for our strength, for our bodies, for our internal power, for our intelligence, for our ambition, and for knowing who we are. Stop apologizing for living the life you want, and stop handing out your precious fucks to things that don't deserve them-- save them instead for what truly matters. Bending your life over backwards to accommodate someone else's idea of success, beauty, or happiness is no way to live. Do you, unapologetically. 

Anyone who takes issue with the stereotype you’re breaking, the status quo you’re ignoring, the rules you are rewriting, and the noise you are making along the way, is someone who should be schooled, not apologized to. Believe that.

Own your voice. Take up space. Be proud of you. Stop. saying. sorry.

 

SheThrives unfuckwithable

5. BET ON YOU

When it’s time to take a risk, make a change, go out on a limb, face a transition, or gamble on a decision, where are you putting your money? To be unfuckwithable, it’s got to be on YOU, every. damn. time.

Having faith in your ability to succeed, adapt, or ultimately make it through any sort of risk is paramount to an unfuckwithable life. Sure, the what-ifs can go on for days, and the consequences could be dire, and the loss could be great. You might fall. But, what if you fly? When it comes down to the wire and it’s time to take a leap, you’ve got to jump, and know that no matter where you land, you’re going to be fine (in fact you’ll probably be exactly where you need to be). There will always be a safety net to your leaps of faith, because YOU, my dear, are the net. 

Trusting your gut and believing in yourself enough to take action can be scary at first, I’ll grant you that. If you’re not there yet, simply repeat steps 1-4 until you start to feel it. (Or read this great list of tips for getting out of your comfort zone). And when you feel it, you’ll know.

You’ll have a deep rooted confidence in who you are. You’ll feel empowered and know you can pursue anything you want in life, no matter how scary, daunting or risky. You'll listen less and less to the naysayers and the haters and more to your own mind and your own gut. You’ll understand that no matter what the outcome may be, and no matter what you may lose, you will never lose yourself, and that is your superpower. 

 

You’ll be confident. You’ll be strong in every sense of the word. You’ll know what’s worth giving your fucks to and what should roll off your back. You’ll be a leader. You’ll have harnessed your power. You’ll be a force to be reckoned with. You will be unfuckwithable. 


PSST

THESE 5 THINGS ARE THE BACKBONE OF WHAT I TEACH. If you like what you’re seeing and are ready to go from a passive consumer of this information, to actually IMPLEMENTING it in your life, come join me in She Thrives Academy:


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A Few Thoughts on Identity, Community + Social Media: Who Are You?

Who are you?

You might be inclined to answer this with a list of your hobbies or day job: a weightlifter, a lawyer, a vegan, a runner, a teacher.

But what if instead, you answered this with qualities about yourself that are intrinsic? With things that cannot be taken away from you? After all, you may decide one day that you want to leave veganism. Or you get laid off from your job. Or you suffer an injury and cannot train in your sport. What happens then? What happens when the thing we sink our identity into is stripped from us? 

Who are you then?

As marketing guru Seth Godin once spoke about in a TED talk, the internet has done incredible things when it comes to allowing people to find their people. Their community. Their tribe. 

He says, “tribes are [now] everywhere. The internet was supposed to homogenize everyone by connecting us all, but instead what it’s allowed is silos of interest… People once on the fringes can find each other, connect and go somewhere.”

As someone who has a business in the digital space, and is working every day to build and foster an online community, I know this is true, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities the internet has afforded me. 

I think about the friendships I’ve made, the relationships I’ve built, and the way my own life has been shaped and impacted by things or people on the internet. It’s pretty remarkable stuff.

I thank my lucky stars every day that I am a part of such a supportive and welcoming community. And I’m forever grateful to the magic of the internet for allowing these niches, these little tribes, to exist, because they enhance our feeling of acceptance, belonging and purpose— which are all fundamental to not only our quality of life, but our health.

Last week I wrote about why I dropped the label of “paleo” when explaining to people how I currently personally eat. I was really surprised to see just how many of you resonated with this, and I loved chatting with so many of you about your own journey to find a label-less diet. 

I can’t help but notice an interesting dichotomy. One where we are itching to embed ourselves in a community of likeminded people, to connect and deepen an area of our identity, and one where we are liberated by tossing out anything that could pin us onto one specific idea or premise. 

So where are we supposed to land? How do we navigate the need to find our tribe but not let it define us? And in an age where the internet -- the good, the bad and the ugly-- reigns as king, how do we figure out who we are, without growing into a polarized, oversimplified, dogmatic and unbendable symbol of the things we identify with? 

If we take an honest look, is there maybe an instance where our allegiance to a community, identity or ideology overrides who we actually are in our day to day lives? And whether we realize it or not, are we sinking our identity into and defining who we are by these constructs? Or are we really honoring our true selves?

In other words, are we practicing what we're preaching?

 

While I’m still figuring this out in my own life, and am quick to tell you that I certainly do not have all the answers, I think there’s a few ways we can begin to tackle this.

One is the pursuit of self knowledge and thoughtful introspection. We can do this a few ways, but my favorite way is reading (my favorite books are here). The more we can learn about ourselves and the way we respond to people, circumstances, expectations, rules, and set backs, the better off we are, in general.

The benefits of this include a better sense of how to improve our lives; how to create habits that stick, how to get ourselves to do hard things or face difficult situations, how to better connect with those around us. It also brings a sense of confidence and even power. After all, knowledge is power. The more we know, the more we can do with it.

We can take note of how we handle conflict, we can listen closely to the space between what someone is saying, and how we hear it. We can think about the ways in which we express ourselves, the ways in which our fears and insecurities show up, and the ways in which we empower and lift those around us.

We can collect the qualities about ourselves that live beyond a title, or Facebook group, or hobby.

The things like how we (really) support and connect with our friends and family, and those closest to us. How we (really) talk to and engage with those who don’t agree with us. Objectively tuning in to the lenses through which we view the world at large, and the small decisions we make every day. 

The ways we use our voice, and the things we stand for. And the things we don't.

And in a time when social media and the internet as a whole is just a finger pointing screaming match, I think these pursuits hold even higher value. 

The comfort and closeness of the ancient pursuit of connectedness is a worthwhile cause, and finding our tribe can fulfill us as humans in real, valuable ways, and can give us a sense of purpose.

But knowing who you are, outside of your job and your hobbies and your sport and your diet and your neighborhood and your Liked pages and anything that could be taken away from you at any given moment in time, is where the really important work happens.

Learning about these intrinsic qualities, even as they ebb and flow and grow and dissolve, is paramount. These are the pockets where we should be planting our precious self worth and our identity. These are the gardens where we should be watering and weeding and tending to. These are the qualities about ourselves that even though may evolve over time, cannot be stripped from us overnight. This is who we are.

 

If you aren’t thrilled with what you find under there, or it's difficult to sit with, or you're afraid what you're going to uncover? That's ok, and is part of the process; and I would argue where your energy to strengthen and improve yourself should go-- first.

And if your answers are just a pile of contradictions or you still aren’t quite sure, thats ok, too. In fact, that’s my whole point. Because we are nuanced, and multi layered and difficult to understand sometimes— difficult to define, to pin, to label, to throw into one camp or put into one box.

This is where we figure out how to become bigger, better, stronger, fuller, and ultimately happier humans. This is also where the rubber meets the road with our purpose.

Our ability to enact change on a bigger level, to make a mark and impact lives, to leave the world better than we found it,  to see our life's purpose through -- it all begins with us

Yes, our tribes and our communities are certainly a facet of who we are, and it’s a beautiful thing to see and experience these connections be made. And yes, our external habits and hobbies and preferences are an important part of us, too. They make us interesting and diversified and smarter.

But when we shut out all the noise and lines and forums and labels and the social media, and you are alone with yourself in the dark...

Who are you?


 

 

 

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Stop Waiting: How Those "Last 10 Pounds" Are Holding You Back

When you imagine yourself getting coffee next week, or going on a vacation next month, or paying your taxes next year, you probably imagine yourself being just a little bit better off than you are right at this moment, even if the event in question is boring or not that fun (taxes being case in point). Maybe you envision yourself as just a little less stressed, or a little more fit, or making more money, having better hair, or somehow just a little bit happier in some metric valuable to you. This, as it turns out, is something we all do all the time without even realizing it.

I recently read about a study which said that when humans imagine their future, they almost always imagine that they will be happier in the future than they are right now. This fact really struck me as interesting and quite profound. And while I think this is actually a wonderful and totally natural phenomenon, I also know that there are real ways in which this holds us back.

Entertain me for a moment and do this: instead of imagining the things you know you’re going to be doing in the future (getting coffee, taking a vacation, paying your taxes), I now want you to imagine the things you want to do in the future. The things you fancy yourself doing, the stuff that you wish you could do right now but you're waiting on the right time for. What are those things?

Maybe that’s something small like wearing that hot dress in your closet, or booking a photoshoot for yourself, family or business, or asking that person out. Maybe it’s something bigger like actually starting that business or side hustle. When you imagine these things that you want to do, do you hear a voice that says something like, “I wish I could do that now, but I’ll be more ready for it later”?

I wish I could wear a crop top now, but I’ll be more ready for it later when I have a flatter tummy. I wish I could start my business now, but I’ll be more ready for it later when I have more time. I wish I could book a boudoir shoot now, but I’ll be more ready for it later when I’m in better shape. I wish I could try CrossFit now, but I'll be more ready later when I'm more fit. I wish, I wish, I wish. Later, later, later. 

And we do this so self assuredly, like we know that "later" is the perfect time, and when later comes, we'll be so ready to do the thing. Have you ever noticed that "later" almost never seems to arrive when you think it will? ... Or at all?

If we were to dig a little deeper here, I think we'd find that these "laters" are actually a dismissal of an insecurity we haven't quite faced yet. The truth is that we're likely struggling with our feeling of worth; we don't feel smart enough, or supported enough, or thin enough or the list goes on.

What is it, really, that makes you feel unprepared, right in this moment? Take that answer and dig into it. Like, realllllyyy dig into it. Get to the messy, ugly, tough-to-face bottom of it, because that shit will set you free. If it's support you need, reach out to your loved ones. If it's self confidence you need, invest in building that for yourself. If it's permission you need, you already have it. 

Friends, we have got to STOP WAITING and START doing. STOP waiting for the last 10 pounds to disappear. STOP waiting for your schedule to magically open up. STOP waiting for some far off illusion of you being more ready, more happy, more fit, more ANYTHING, and do the thing NOW.

I mean, have you ever really stopped to think about the sheer length of the list of things that you’re waiting for some “perfect” time to actually do? How much of life you’re leaving on the table because of those last godforsaken 10 pounds? How much you’re risking actually never experiencing in your time here on earth? 

Because, guys, that’s the real truth to this. How long have you been waiting for those last 10 pounds, for that open schedule, for that perfect time? My guess is, it’s been a while. Why would you continue to wait on these trivial matters (that may or may not ever actually happen), knowing damn well that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to you?

Knowing that you passed up photos with your newborn because you were carrying some extra weight (that was used to nurture and grow and birth an entire human)? That you work out in long pants on that 100 degree July afternoon because you have some cellulite (that is a natural part of that powerful body that you’re in the gym growing and building in the damn first place!)? That you never pursued your passion because you were afraid you would fail (when you know so well that even failure trumps not trying)?

If you were advising your friends on this matter, you’d shout from the rooftops about how ready they are now! How wonderful it would be to see them forge ahead! How proud they’d feel of themselves for trying! How they are an inspiration to those around them!

But when it’s us, we decide we’ll wait. And I’m just not into it anymore. It’s time to do the damn thing.

AS RAFIKI SO WISELY SAID, "IT IS TIME."

AS RAFIKI SO WISELY SAID, "IT IS TIME."

Ask that person out. Take that class. Work out in a sports bra. Start that blog. Wear that bathing suit. Book the photoshoot. Use the damn nice china! 

And do you want to know why? Because YOU ARE WORTHY OF IT NOW. Let that marinate around in your mind. Say it aloud. You are worthy of these things right at this very moment. You are smart. You are strong. You are capable. It’s just your mind holding you back, and it’s time to kindly ask it to sit the fuck down.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us, and no matter how much we like to think that we’ll be happier, more prepared, or more worthy of what we want in the future, the time is now.


Deciding to just get out there and do scary things can be hard at first, especially when you still don't feel "ready". I made a course to help you do it:


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A Few Thoughts on Getting Up When You're Down

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Like you don't understand why anyone would trust your advice, or how you ever got to the place you did? That you secretly feel like you have no idea what you're doing and soon everyone is going to find out and you'll get called out for it and your jig is going to be up for good? Me too.

It can be really tough when you're questioning everything you are, constantly getting hit by wave after wave of shit days and weeks. It's like the second you find your footing, another wave comes along and takes you down again and before long, the undertow turns you into a rag doll.

While I love to use this platform as a space for positivity, I feel like it's important to remember that these feelings are also part of the human experience, and there's no shame in being vulnerable (*she repeats to herself as her finger quivers above the share button*). I also know that just hearing of people being in a similar place has an eerily comforting effect; no one is truly alone here, and that's somehow a beautiful thing. So I wanted to be sure to tell you this:

If the last few days, weeks, or months have tossed you around and have you reevaluating everything, feeling like a fraud, or maybe just feeling lost, know that you are not alone here. We all struggle with our identity, our worth, with being accepted by our communities, with the value in our work, with finding our path. Sometimes these worries hum quietly in the background while we enjoy the present, and sometimes they are a full on steam engine blaring in our brain all day long. No matter how currently consumed (or not) we are by these thoughts, we ALL have them.

No one (no one!) has it all figured out. In one way or another, we're all just trying to get our shit together, on repeat until the end of time. It's ok to just sit and feel these waves sometimes, but always remember you're not alone.

Keep your head up, celebrate the small stuff, take back control where you can and let the rest go. Figure out what makes you happy and do more of that.

Trust in your knowledge, have faith in your experience, and believe in your value. You can do this.💜

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Fitness & Beyond: The Secret To Finding & Keeping Motivation

The Secret to Finding and Keeping Motivation for Health, Fitness + Beyond

Making it to the gym regularly. Reorganizing your office. Choosing to eat better. Making that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off.  Starting that business.

We all have these things that seem to live perpetually on the bottom of our to-do lists, and never actually ever get done. Whether they’re big projects or tiny tasks, we find them entirely overwhelming and sit around waiting for motivation to hit us before we attempt to tackle them. 

Sometimes those things require overwhelming upkeep need to be added into our daily or weekly habits and routines, like regularly making time for the gym, meal prep, or self care. Sometimes they are overwhelming one-time to-do’s like cleaning out the garage, writing that overdue thank you note (why does that one always seem so daunting?!), or donating those old clothes. And sometimes they’re both - something that takes both a big initial kick and regular upkeep, like finally creating and maintaining that blog, or starting the new side hustle you’ve been dreaming about, which can seem doubly overwhelming.

With all the responsibilities, stress and directions we get pulled every day, between work, kids, home, family, friends, money, health, pets, housework, and so on, most of the time we barely have our head above water and are struggling to keep up as is- let alone have time or energy to give to learn Spanish. If you’re anything like me, the more to-do’s pile up, the more behind I get, and the more stressed out I become, I tend to shrink away, shut down, do less, and become almost paralyzed by ALL THE THINGS. Which then becomes the feedback loop from hell, as more things pile up and all I can do is watch with anxiety and horror, motionless, with eyes like saucers as the stress level rises and rises. Then I’ve really gone and fucked myself. Sound familiar?

So. Whether you’re pinned under an ALLTHETHINGS 21 car pile up, or you have things generally under control but just can’t seem to ever get yourself to do that one thing you’ve been wanting to, where do you find the motivation to make a change?

Finding focus can be a struggle- we've all been there.

Finding focus can be a struggle- we've all been there.

 

Here’s the truth, and it’s probably one you don’t want to hear, but it’s important: the lightning bolt of motivation will not appear out of blue sky and strike down upon you the will to make a change. Though every so often, a rogue spark of inspiration may hit (maybe from reading a book or seeing something that triggered an action or idea), if you are living your life scrolling instagram for that one inspirational post to catapult you into lasting action, you’re making a grave mistake, and here’s why. 

Motivation doesn’t appear until action has been taken. Yeah, let that one sink in. Read it again, say it out loud, write down, and believe it, because it’s science. (But really though: Newton's first law of motion is the concept of inertia: bodies at rest tend to stay at rest and bodies in motion tend to stay in motion). You know before when I talked about that really shitty do-nothing feedback loop? Well it works the opposite way too. When you take action, whether it’s big or small, the feeling of reward and accomplishment is almost always great enough for you to want to take another step or do it again. Taking action is where you find motivation. It doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from you.

 

One of my favorite takeaways from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, was her idea that before she started anything, she needed to “tackle a nagging task”. (Read: that thing that’s been full on squatting on your to-list for so long that’s thisclose to actually owning it). What you’ll find is that when you just WOMAN UP and tackle that oh so annoying task, you’ll feel rejuvenated and immediately think, “ok, what next?”, ready to take on the next thing. It won’t be long until you’re a full blown productivity Sharknado, knocking out all those emails, chores, and errands you’ve been putting off for months.

You want to make it to the gym 4 days a week but where do you find the motivation? Do you sit around thinking about when to do it, and then dance around deciding if you feel up to it today? NO. You lace up your walking shoes and put a leash on your fur baby (or strap on your human baby, or put a leash on your human child or strap on your fur baby, I mean really, no judgement here) and you get outside. (And then do it again tomorrow, and the next day)

Wish you had the motivation to work out? Step one is going to the gym.

Wish you had the motivation to work out? Step one is going to the gym.

The sweet, sweet wave of momentum here will be instantly noticeable, and you may decide to turn those walks into longer walks or runs, or trade in that time for the gym, now that you know you can carve out 60 minutes to make it happen. And what you’ve managed to do then, is make it part of your routine- you’ve made it a habit, which is exactly what you want.

People ask me all the time where I find the motivation to work out and eat well. On the workout side, I do it because it’s simply habit for me at this point, plain and simple. It’s what I do. I wish I had something more romanticized to say about that, but this is the secret about motivation: it doesn't last forever. I'm rarely "motivated" to go to the gym every day. I started CrossFit one day, fell in love with it, went 3-4 times a week, and it became my routine. I’ve been doing it so long now that when I have a week where I don’t go as much or at all, I feel off, my mood sinks, my sleep suffers, and I get into a funk. So my "motivation" for continuing to go, you could say, is to not feel crappy. (Have you seen my Snapchat chat on this topic? It's over in the VIDEOS tab!)

And when it comes to nutrition, I choose food that will support me feeling good in the gym- so it’s no surprise that when I’ve been out of the gym for a while, I don’t make the best nutrition choices. Because when I eat well, I feel strong, and feeling strong in the gym makes me feel unstoppable, and that feeling gives me life, and so on (the positive feedback loop). And it all began with me just taking action, taking a risk and walking into a gym one day.

The point here is that the concept of motivation is a slippery one to grasp, because not only do you have to create it yourself, but it doesn't last. When you've created the spark and the will to make a change, you've got to act on it to get momentum going, and then actively work to keep it up. The "motivation" may fade away in time but what you're hopefully left with is a lasting habit, mindset, routine and lifestyle.

And here’s the best part: more often than not, these action steps are transferrable! Meaning, cleaning out your closet or painting your living room may VERY WELL grant you the motivation to lace up those running shoes or do a meal prep sesh, and vice versa. Because the fastest way to feel like you're in control and on top of your shit and doing the things you want to be doing, is to get on top of your shit and do the things you want and get in control. ACT and then ride the wave of momentum.

 So no matter what you are hoping to tackle or accomplish, here are some action steps to do right now to start making some shit happen:


Do this:

 

  1. First things first. If you’re stuck under the ALLTHETHINGS stress accident and need some time away, take it. Take a weekend off of everything, clear your mind, delete social media apps, take baths, etc. Take the time to tune out the noise, reclaim your headspace, find your energy and refresh your life. This is important.
  2. Next, use that clarity to decide what you really want to do. Do you really want to CrossFit 4x a week or would you rather take a hip hop class? Are you needing more time away to decompress on the regular? Are you really excited about starting a blog or is it just what you think you should do? (A whole post on "shoulds" coming soon). What is it that you want? 
  3. Write out your to do list(s) and the things you want to accomplish in no particular order- just all the shit that needs doing. If it helps you to write separate lists from each area of your life (housework, work, side hustle, etc), do it. Just get it all out of your head and to a place you can see it.
    • Comb through your list and rewrite it based on priority. If you know a few tasks are time sensitive, push those to the top, and the things that can wait go to the bottom. (Take a hard look at the things “that can wait”. Are any of those things that you’ve already been putting off for a long time?) Figure out what's important, and then:
  4. Tackle a nagging task. The thing that you think about and groan over while you’re trying to fall asleep, the thing that gives you anxiety when you remember you’ve been ignoring it, the thing that full on nags you, stresses you the fuck out and you really, really don’t want to do. Think like Nike and just FUCKING DO IT. (Sorry for yelling I’m just getting excited here ok?) 
    • If getting active is on your wishlist, tackle a nagging health task too. Lace up your shoes, pop in P90X, join that gym, sign up for that dance class you’ve been dreaming about, arrange for child care to allow the time for it all, etc. Just take one step, do one thing, no matter how small.
  5. Book it in. So now that you've got the annoying stuff out of the way and you have some order to your life, make the appointment, schedule in your gym days, reserve your spot in class, clear a morning for decluttering your office, etc. Actually put this stuff into your calendar and respect it's place in there. This time you're not pushing it off for later- it's booked in, you've made the time for it and you're getting it done. (Bringing a friend along for the ride can up your chances of sticking to it).
    • Keep putting these things on your calendar for at least 8 weeks- by that point things should become routine, but until then, make sure you create the time and respect your promise to yourself.
  6. And when you whittle away that to-do list, rinse and repeat. 

A good reminder

 

Cuz here’s the bottom line: it can feel oh so convenient and cozy and easy to think that these things are just out of our hands- that we have no say or control until the elusive Motivation Fairy chooses to bestow us with a sprinkle of go-get-‘em dust, but that’s just not how this works. The things we want in life become ours when we choose to make it so, and then take action. When we look them right in the face and attack them head on, when we step out of our comfort zone and make a change (cue Man in the Mirror). Action first, motivation second.

So here’s your go-get-‘em dust. What are you going to do with it?

XO,

Taylor

 

 

 

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Why I Deleted Instagram Off My Phone For A Week & Other Social Media Concerns

lalala can't hear you

lalala can't hear you

To define my relationship with social media using it’s own language, “it’s complicated”.  Some days I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I’m alive in a time where connections are so easily made and upheld, and some days, I’m just overwhelmed. On the one hand, without social media, you wouldn’t be reading this. I would have no blog or way to reach you or any of the amazing and inspiring people in the world right now doing great things.

In fact, I was recently at the Girls Gone Strong Women’s Strength and Empowerment weekend in Seattle, and had my friend Kristin from The Girl With the Butter staying with me at my home- someone I had never met before IRL and knew exclusively through Instagram. (Crazy, right?! But also SO AWESOME). The entire weekend was incredible and I credited so much of it to social media and the connections and community these platforms allow us to create. The benefits of these platforms are well understood, but the drawbacks can be a unique challenge.

 

By now I think we all understand that what people tend to share on social media is almost always an edited, curated, stylized, and closely monitored snapshot of that individual’s “highlight reel” of life. People share their PR’s, their victories, and their highs, and rarely turn a camera to the struggles, the losses, and the lows. And this is something I understand entirely- it’s just human nature, after all, to want to put the best version of yourself out into the world at all times. I truly see no fault in sharing that good news, FaceTune’ing out that zit or posing in the most flattering angle for a shot. It’s your photo, your app, your life- do what makes you feel good.

 

so hot right now

so hot right now

As a user or consumer though, it’s important to remember that you are, literally, seeing these images through a filter. If we forget this fact, it can be easy to fall into the comparison trap, where we end up just feeling badly about ourselves. And if you find that someone in particular is always sharing images or words that leave you feeling defeated, low, or otherwise less-than in any way, the unfollow button is eagerly awaiting you.

In fact I’m a huge proponent of spending a minute going through your friends and/or follow list and making some edits. While I think it’s important to have people on these platforms that challenge you and make you think about important topics in new ways (vs living in an echo chamber), you have the ability to unfollow anyone at any time. Your feed should serve you, support you, make you feel good about yourself and help you be better, not bring you down in a storm of comparisons. (If you were waiting for permission to do this, you have it. Go. I'll wait).

Social media can have other drawbacks beyond the shiny too-good-to-be-true photos. The red headed stepchild of the physical comparison game is the I’m Not Doing Enough plague that can be oh too easy to catch. For example, I have a wonderful collection of people I follow on Instagram, who are all challenging the status quo and speaking up about important things and dropping knowledge in truly awesome ways. 

However, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, overworked, under-rested, and getting to that place where I low key turn into a hermit and shut down in an effort to hide from All The Things (like I did recently), scrolling through Instagram would add gasoline to the Shit You Should Be Doing But You’re Not fire. (Side note: another post on the toxicity of "Shoulds" coming soon). Everyone was growing, working on some great project, doing something super inspiring, and I wasn’t.  Even if posts were intended to be uplifting and inspiring, all I’d see in my feed was an assault of “do this”, “stop doing this”. If I’d have an idea or topic I wanted to chat about, I’d open Instagram to see another blogger discussing it. I’d leave with a feeling of, “Well then wtf am I supposed to bring to the table? What am I even doing? It’s all been said before. What is my value here?”.

memes just get me

memes just get me

Note: We are always in control of how we react to these things- this is true. As Eleanor Roosevelt so wisely said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent". Even knowing this, sometimes we still fall prey to this type of thinking.

And worst of all, I was social media surfing during times when I should have been doing something to tend to my wellness, like reading a good book or getting creative. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you can’t do it all, what you need is some time to yourself to clear the mental clutter, find the perspective to be able to prioritize, and build a strategy to move forward- not see what everyone else is up to and how well they're handling it all. I’d spend the little precious downtime I had scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and not focusing on what was really important- me and my mental health.

 

I recently took a quick trip down to LA for a long weekend, and knew that the only way to get this feeling out of my system to was to pump some great information in (The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin), and take some toxicity out (Instagram). For me, Instagram is the worst offender- the one I struggle to use “in moderation”, often leaving me somewhere on a scale of blah to “Well I fucking quit then”. Not logging in is not an option if it’s in my phone, so I deleted the app in entirety, and I didn’t reinstall it for five days. 

For you, this might not be much. For me, this is huge. As someone who essentially runs an online business, these platforms are essential- going dark is something no digital marketing guru worth their likes would ever, ever advise.

 

But it was seriously some of the best 5 days I’ve had in a long time. I returned feeling refreshed and with some newfound social media goals and boundaries moving forward. For example, I now have a No Social Media in Bed rule- staying up into the wee hours scrolling through a blue screen of You’re Not Doing Enough’s was doing a number on my sleep and self esteem alike. Instead I’d reclaim this time as reading time, which allows me to do something I love to do again (read), get the light out at a decent hour, and grow as a person to boot. Mental health win #1.

I also turned off all notifications on all channels, allowing me the opportunity to set aside focused “check in” times throughout the day, instead of being held captive to any ding or ping disrupting my current task and pulling me into 15 minutes of distracted scrolling. Productivity and time management win.

I also have opted to just spend less time on Instagram in general, at least for the time being, and to stop paying such close attention to what other bloggers are talking about. I sincerely value the incredible relationships I’ve been fortunate enough to have through social media, and I highly (!) respect and admire what my colleagues are doing and I love supporting them. But I know that some blinders will help me maintain my personal sense of creativity, originality and authenticity, and those are things I never want to feel like I’m losing again. Mental health win #2.

My next goal is to try to keep my phone in my purse and in the back seat while driving. While I never ever (ever!) text or use my phone while I’m in motion, I am super guilty of opening up an app or two while I’m sitting at a red light- and I know I’m not alone in this. Really though? Do we need a screen in our face to fill the 90 seconds of time spent waiting for a light to change?

 

The virtues and challenges of social media are so complex, and get even tougher when they are something that you need to use regularly for work (or worse: your passion). Deleting Instagram off my phone was exactly what I needed and I couldn't recommend it enough. (That book also helped too, TBH). Being honest with yourself about how social media is making you feel is important, so you can take steps to mend the relationship before it gets the better of you.

What are your some of your struggles with social media, and how do you overcome them? Do you have personal boundaries that you set for yourself? Any tips for managing the influx?

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Give Yourself a Break: Embracing the Seasons of Your Health Journey

This summer was an "off-season" for me. Did I see it coming? Not really. I had other goals and plans. But summer travel, weddings, house work, family visits and something called life took over, and my training and diet took a backseat to other things. If you've bee following She Thrives for a while, you may remember a Periscope we did on this concept of "seasons" a while ago, and I recently spoke about it again on my Snapchat- I received such an overwhelming outpouring of feedback that I decided to write a whole post on this topic to get all my thoughts out more eloquently (or try to, anyway)!

If you’re a human with a body, the scenario I described above might sound familiar, like you’ve been here before yourself. These cycles and seasons of our lives are perfectly normal, and today I wanted to talk about the reasons we should embrace them instead of fighting them. Because of the last couple months, I am currently not my leanest or strongest or fittest, and I may be a little “fluffier” than I have been in a while, but you know what? Ain’t no thang. In fact, I love it. I love the summer I had; the amazing memories and meals and parties, and I even love my slightly softer body. I mean, what’s not to love? I also love that it granted me the ability to get excited about fitness again. Instead of feeling burned out and like I’m spinning my wheels, I now feel rested, reenergized and pumped to start setting and chasing some goals in the gym again. Let's dig in:

You’re on a roll. You’ve been making it into the gym regularly, been keeping a close eye on your nutrition, and you’re starting to feel the results of your efforts. You wake up with “Eye of the Tiger” pumping in your head, and then organize your entire day around the things that will get you closer to said goal. You prioritize it. You give it your 100%. As you should! It’s your goal and you’re almost there! You are unstoppable! You are a rockstar! Fuck yeah everything is awesome! 

Then, injury strikes. Or school starts. Or a trip happens, or you get pregnant, or work takes over, or a family situation arises. All of a sudden your diet and fitness start to take a backseat. You can’t train like you used to, your nutrition isn’t as dialed in as it once was, maybe you even put on a couple lbs. Oh, the horror. Now what? 

Are you getting after it or taking a breather? They are both valuable.

Are you getting after it or taking a breather? They are both valuable.

Here’s the truth, friends: we cannot (I repeat, cannot), be “on” 100% of the time, all the time, day in day out, until the end of time. There is bound to be an ebb to our flow. We cannot hit our peaks without wandering (happily) through some valleys, and we cannot expect our bodies to support our all-out effort all the dang time. In fact, if you repeatedly ignore your body’s request for rest, it will remind you who’s boss and force a rest upon you with an injury. Or as my friend Steph Gaudreau says, “sometimes you have to go slow to go fast”.

We all have these off-seasons- whether they are optional (feeling burned out or stressed and opting to step back) or forced (injury, work), they WILL happen. And in my opinion, they are just as awesome as the Eye of the Tiger on-seasons, and can be just as powerful, special and loaded with personal growth.

Every body is different and the length, style and definition of your “off-season” will be unique to you and depend heavily on your own personal journey and what your body needs. Maybe instead of weighing and measuring all your food you estimate your portions or eat intuitively for a while. Or instead of lifting heavy you spend a couple weeks stretching and doing yoga. Or instead of running a few days a week you just walk a couple days. Or maybe you don’t run or train at all for a couple weeks!  (Gasp!)

There is no right or wrong way to take some downtime- it’s your life and you get to live it however you see fit. Just be wary of slipping into these mindsets while you reset:

 

THROWING YOUR SELF WORTH OUT WITH THE TRAINING BATH WATER

When that deadline or injury or schedule-change throws you off course, do you feel defeated? Like you failed, like you’re a loser, like your dreams are crushed, like you don’t even know why you tried in the first place? If so, let me then ask you this: is there a chance that you might be tying your self worth to your gym attendance, your nutrition choices, or your sport?

When we’ve been on a roll and hitting those goals and dancing to Eye of the Tiger all damn day, some of us take this feeling of rock stardom and morph it into: I am worthy, I am lovable, I am perfect. Which, at a glance seems harmless and even good (what’s wrong with some self confidence?), but you can start to see the issue with this when all of a sudden that sport or diet or fitness gets taken away or compromised. That feeling of worth goes with it, since it was superficially tied to it. So with your sport gone and your worthiness gone too, you sink into a funk and stew here for a while.

Tough love time: stop the moping. Stop complaining. Realize and appreciate the fact that you are simply in an-off season, and utilize this time to do some soul searching. Spend this time refocusing on yourself find your value in traits that can never be taken away from you (like your good heart, or your strong will, or your loyalty, for example). Your worth and happiness should be firmly grounded in the authentic and intrinsic qualities that make you YOU, not what you ate for dinner or how many times you trained this week or your current dress size. 

 

Sometimes you're on...

Sometimes you're on...

And sometimes you're not.

And sometimes you're not.

 

THE "USED TO" TRAP

Ok. Fine. You accept where you are right now, that you’re in an off season... but do you really? Because every time you’re in the gym, you comment or think about all the things you used to be able to do at the height of your last on-season. In the name of avocados, stop! Stop comparing yourself to a previous you and feeling bad about it. See what happens when you start living in the NOW. Be grateful and happy with where you are right now, at this moment, today.

Because after all, aren’t we all just doing the best we can, with what we have, where we are? “I used to be able to..” is so out. “I am grateful for..” is in. Get with it, sistah.

 

YOU'LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED AGAIN

Are you worried that taking a break will throw you off track for good? Like you’ll never be able to find your motivation again? I would actually argue that in fact, welcoming and embracing these seasons of life will make you MORE likely to be able to succeed and stay healthy in the long run. Getting bummed or depressed about your knee injury or pasta-heavy vacation and feeling like you failed, it’s over, and why bother, will do nothing but put you in a negative headspace, stress you out, and make you resentful.

If instead, you embrace it for what it is, knowing that this is simply a season of life (that you likely needed, anyway), you’ll have a lot easier time kicking it into gear when you’re ready to go again. Stop associating these off seasons with “failure” and see how much easier it is to excitedly dig into your next on-season. 

 

THE YO-YO

It is important to note here that I am not advocating a full-on, month long binge-eating fest. I’m also not advocating a yo-yo dieting habit, or anything else that will fuck with your mental and emotional health just as much as it will your metabolism. This is not a “I hit my goal weight now I can quit the gym and eat a case of Oreos every night” kind of pass. After all, training and nutrition should never be a punishment - it should be a celebration of your body, and you should always remember that.

I’m simply suggesting that taking a little pressure off yourself or taking things down a notch on occasion can be valuable, and is part of honoring your body, not punishing it.  I hope you can see the distinction. After all, health and fitness and “living your life” are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn’t be an all or nothing type of deal, but rather a gentle give and take and pursuit of balance.


So. Blast Eye of the Tiger, get focused, give all you’ve got, and chase the hell out of your goals when it feels right. Push yourself, crush it, dominate, and feel the power of a woman on a mission. Or, don’t. Spend time with your family, enjoy that vacation to the fullest, choose happy hour over the gym, earn that promotion or degree, rest your body and mind.

Whether you’re on a roll or taking it easy or somewhere in between, thoroughly enjoying and embracing whatever iteration of life’s seasons you may be in at the moment will ultimately make you a happier, healthier person.

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Three Rules for a Happy, Healthy Life

Ok, maybe not "rules", but maybe tips, guidelines or advice that will grant you freedom, happiness and positive vibes. Or put another way, the three things I wish I could shout from a mountaintop for every woman to hear. Let's get right to it.

 

THERE IS NO GOOD OR BAD FOOD

I’m being good today so I’ll order the salad. I can’t believe that I ate an entire box of cookies last night, I am so bad! I shouldn’t order a side of fries because they are so bad for you. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all thought like this at one time or another, and it’s no surprise. Our culture and media has an obsession with food, weight loss, aesthetics, and “health” and you are subtly told every single day in multiple ways that kale is a good food and fries are a bad food. It’s simple: if you want to be good (and look good), you should eat the good food.

I hope you’re sitting down, because I have some earth shattering news for you that I need you to hear. French fries are not bad. Kale is not good. You are not a bad person when you enjoy a second piece of cake, and you are not a good person when you eat salads every day for a week. No food is “good” and no food is “bad”. There is just food. Yea. There it is. Boom. Soak it in people! Take whatever time you need to absorb that knowledge bomb and let’s reconvene when you’re ready. Meanwhile, read more from this article on the terminology of food:

"I submit to you that our beloved kale salads are not 'healthy.' And we are confusing ourselves by believing that they are. They are not healthy; they are nutritious. They may be delicious when prepared well, and the kale itself, while in the ground, may have been a healthy crop. But the kale on your plate is not healthy, and to describe it as such obscures what is most important about that kale salad: that it’s packed with nutrients your body needs. But this is not strictly about nomenclature. If all you ate was kale, you would become sick. Nomenclature rather shows us where to begin."
Foods are not inherently  GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU, they are simply foods. your worth is not based in what you eat.

Foods are not inherently  GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU, they are simply foods. your worth is not based in what you eat.

Now! The distinction I need you to make is that if, for example, your current goal is to have more energy or drop a few lbs, choosing a salad instead of a Cholupa will, in that moment, get you closer to your goal, as leafy greens and veggies are nutritious, boost energy, and encourage proper functioning of all your systems and organs. The salad is not good. It simply gets you closer to your goal. The salad is not healthy. It simply is nutritious and promotes health. This salad will not make you a good person.

Conversely, eating a pack of Sour Patch Kids is not bad for you. It will not make you a bad person, you will not get voted off the island, you will not be made to wear an “I Should Know Better Than This” sandwich board as you atone with a walk of shame through town. Sour Patch Kids are not unhealthy. It simply will not get you closer to your goals. Period. 

Can we all just breathe a collective sigh of relief real quick? It’s as simple as that, people. You will not keel over and die from that one milkshake or sprout angel wings and drop 10 pounds from that one salad. No food is good; just nutritious, and will perhaps move you closer to goals, especially when consumed consistently. And no food is bad; it just might move you further away from your goals, especially when consumed consistently. 

More often than not, eat what makes you feel good and what gets you closer to your goals (whether that's performance based or helping an autoimmune condition or anything in between). Food is only food. Memorize this, learn it, know it, speak it, and believe it! 

 

CONFIDENCE CAN BE LEARNED

One of the things I hear so often when talking to women is that they wish they had more confidence. Usually uttered in that same breath is the notion that if they lost that last 10 lbs or fit into a size 4, confidence would finally be theirs. Like confidence is this elusive shiny beacon that is constantly calling their name but always manages to somehow be just beyond the reach of their unworthy fingertips. Like confidence is some secret club that only a select few with “perfect” bodies (whatever that means) and flawless skin and shiny hair are allowed entrance to. 

Think of the most confident woman you know; what makes her radiate that self assuredness? I bet it’s not her rock hard six pack or her perfectly symmetric features or her cellulite-free thighs. In fact, I bet she might not even have a six pack or look like Gigi Hadid and she probably even has cellulite, just like the rest of us. So where is that confidence coming from, exactly? 

Guys. Here’s the deal. The Confidence Fairy will not magically appear and grant you with a feeling of self worth once you get abs or lose weight or fit into your old jeans, no matter what those magazines have you believing. Here’s the ultra top secret rule that every card carrying member of the Girls With Confidence Club knows: the only way to start feeling like a rock star is to decide that you are one.

put out the vibe and watch yourself become it.

put out the vibe and watch yourself become it.

In the beginning this can be a tough thing to do, I will grant you that. But there’s some serious value in the fake-it-til-you-make it angle here, and I urge you to try it. Try acting like a confident, gorgeous, badass chick. Start pretending like you don’t care what others think of you or your body (after all, what other people think of you is none of your business anyway). Start rehearsing to yourself that you love your arms or butt or smile or personality, and say it out loud. Work out in a sports bra, rock those shorts, buy that two-piece. Speak your mind, walk with your shoulders back and head held high, laugh loudly and trust your gut.

Fake the living shit out of all of it, if you have to, because I’ll tell you what: if you consistently speak, think and behave like someone who is confident and proud of who they are, you will become it. I promise.

So there you have it, friends. Confidence can be yours for the low, low price of stop giving a fuck and start behaving like the beautiful, badass woman you are. (Read this piece for more how-to's on this). Everything you need to be that girl is already within you, you just need to turn it on.

 

DO YOU

There is SO much conflicting information out there in the world about how to lead a happy and healthy life. Do cardio, don’t do cardio, lift weights, do CrossFit, don’t do CrossFit, eat meat, don’t eat meat, eat carbs, avoid carbs, count macros, don’t count macros, etc etc etc until the end of time. Man alive! How is anyone supposed to find their way in all of this madness?!

Here’s how: Try it! If you want to try veganism, or macro-counting or go gluten free, go for it. If you want to explore CrossFit or rock climbing or Barre or train for an IronMan, do it. Try going paleo, or low carb or high carb or high protein. And while you’re experimenting, pay extra mind to the fact that other people will (and should) do the same. Just because you’re gluten free does not mean that your pasta loving friend is doing it wrong. Just because you love yoga and running doesn’t mean that powerlifters or CrossFitters are doing it wrong, and vice versa. Your way is not the only way.

Experiment with your fitness and your fuel; play with all of it, because in the end what you will find is exactly what you love and what makes you feel amazing. And what you have there is the holy grail of a healthy, happy life. Find what makes you feel powerful, energetic, strong, and alive. Find what works for you and do it, encourage others to find what works for them, and be ok knowing that your strategies might not look alike. 

find what makes you feel strong and beautiful and embrace it, & allow others to do the same.

find what makes you feel strong and beautiful and embrace it, & allow others to do the same.

Every human body is different; different shapes and sizes and metabolisms and genetics and preferences and injuries and histories and tastes and goals. Do what gets you to your own, personal goals. Walk your own path proudly and with enthusiasm but don't knock others who are also finding their own way.  Focus on what lights you up, and let the rest go.

And while this applies best to the world of health and fitness due to the overwhelming amount of varied advice from every angle, it also applies to just about everything in life. Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Do you, boo. Do you.

 

I hope you can use these three rules to help guide you through your daily decisions and I hope they bring you as much freedom, happiness and confidence as possible. Now go eat, laugh and live!

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How to Hit Your Goals

With the new year upon us and the resolution buzz in the air, most of us are determined to make some changes and hit some goals in the coming months. However, more often than not, our goals become mere wishes and daydreams that quickly fade away into the minutia of everyday life and stresses as the weeks march on. Well I'm here to tell you something: It does NOT have to be this way, and you CAN make lasting change and achieve whatever you wish to achieve this year (or any other time)! In fact, some of the biggest changes in my life have happened at the turn of a new year- the trick is to just make sure you're prepared, supported, tenacious about what you want, and have the right mindset.

So how do you really make impactful, sustainable life change? With a few tweaks to your mindset and preparedness, all you wish for can truly be yours. Here are 4 tips to help you kick 2016 in the face.

SET REASONABLE GOALS

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but if you've never acted a day in your life, you might not make it onto that movie set by the end of the year. And chances are that if you're just starting a writing class, it might be a little tough to make the bestseller list in only a few short months. And as always, you're not going to drop 30 lbs in 2 weeks, or go up 200 lbs in a year on your squat either. Does that mean you shouldn't reach for those things if that's what you want? No way! Aim for the loftiest, most fantastical goal you can possibly wish for yourself, always! But just know that when it comes to goal setting (and achieving), starting with small, bite sized bits is the most effective way to make the progress that will ultimately get you closer to your dream.

Set goals for yourself that are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. To start, set 4 small goals per month, or about one per week. They could be something like making it to the gym 3 times this week, or doubling up your veggies at each meal, or signing up for the dance class you've been eyeing, taking the stairs, etc. Or even something like focusing on a meaningful word or phrase for a week, like "be present", or "I am strong". Chipping away at these bite sized portions will create the consistency that's necessary for change, while not overwhelming you with stress and pressure.

GET SUPPORT

There are very few things in life that we accomplish truly entirely on our own- often the biggest successes are due in large to a network of support that creates an environment in which it can happen. It is vital to your success in any goal, big or small, that you have the right support around you. Ask a friend to join that class/gym/challenge with you- just having her by your side can be the difference between success and not so much. Make sure everyone in your home environment is on board with your goals and supportive of what it will take for you to get there. Enlist the helpful eye of a coach, nutritionist, or counselor to help assist you when needed. Use helpful tools like apps, Facebook groups or this awesome day planner to help keep you focused and on track.

Make it your responsibility to be sure your support is in place before you set out. And then be sure to lean on it when you need a boost! (And offer your help and support in return, of course). Go the extra mile to be sure that you are entirely surrounded by a faithful tribe of supportive people who are rooting for you to succeed with flying colors!

PREPARE FOR SPEEDBUMPS (NOT FAILURE)

So you were hoping to make it to the gym 4 times this week but your kids had other plans for you. You wanted to skip the booze for 60 days but you couldn't resist a glass of bubbly at that party. And so on. Guess what? This stuff is called life. 

So instead of letting that one glass of champagne or missed training session throw you off the handle and decide it's all gone to shit now and why should you even try anymore because you're never going to be able to do it and you should just give up and drink 6 bottles of wine and eat 4 pizzas and the coffee table to drown the sorrows of all your "failures", instead- prepare for these situations and have a backup plan in place. If you miss your meal prep session on Sunday, what will you do? Make time for it on Monday, ask your partner to do it? If you miss the gym, are there at-home workouts you can do instead? Think about what could potentially go awry and plan accordingly!

Also, be gentle with yourself. Setting out on a Whole30 and making it to day 24 before you broke the rules does not constitute failure. It is actually an enormous success and you should be crazy proud of yourself for making it so far! Resigning to the mindset that you "failed", in any way, will only serve to push you further back, when you could be using the same experience to catapult you forward. Stay positive, find the silver lining, celebrate your successes, prepare for some detours, and keep your mind straight. (See below)

GET YOUR MIND RIGHT

Arguably the most important part of this whole thing! Think about the things you’re trying to do, the changes you’re trying to make, and the person you’re trying to be. Now we want you to remove the word “try” from the equation. We want you to become it. Decide you are that person.

Decide you are the person who can turn down cake at a party if you want to. Decide you are the kind of person who goes to the gym 3x a week with no excuses. Decide you’re the kind of person who has a non-negotiable meal prep session every week. Decide you are the kind of person who takes the risk to start their own company, or who gets the promotions, is a fabulous friend, or whatever goals you might be working for in life, beyond nutrition & movement.

Stop “trying” and start being. There is a difference. Thinking that you “can’t have” that food, or are “trying to” workout, is a mentality that won’t get you far. However, thinking you don’t want that food because you aren’t someone who eats those types of foods on the regular, and you are someone who makes time for workouts no matter what, is a totally different thing. Don’t let your mind tell you that you’re a noob or a poser and you are just trying these new habits out for a while. Believe and decide that this is who you are now: A self aware, self loving, health conscious, strong and athletic babe who gets what she wants in life. Kapish?

What kind of person do you want to be? Decide that’s who you are, stand by your word, and watch your life change. 

Wishing you all the most wonderful new year filled to the brim with adventure, challenges, laughter, health and happiness. Go out there and make it happen! 

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How I Found Body Confidence by Running Out of F*cks

This summer something happened. Something BIG happened. To most people on the outside, it may not have seemed like the earth shattering ordeal it was to me, but it seemed like just that. And on the heels of our podcast with Stupid Easy Paleo where we discussed the topic of being proud of your body, I thought I'd take a moment to share this story with you all. 

(If you're sensitive to the F word, proceed with caution!)

I was working out on a 90 degree day here in Seattle at my Crossfit gym, in long crops and a cotton tank top, when I suddenly realized how wildly hot and uncomfortable I had become. My tank was completely soaked and stuck to me, I had sweat dripping into and stinging my eyes, and I felt like the internal heat from my body was going to make my head explode. So do you know what I did? I was just so, so HOT. I felt I had no choice. I had to. So I did it. I took my shirt off. 

That might have been the most anticlimactic story you’ve ever heard, but let me explain. I’d never done that before. Ever. Had I thought about it every single time I worked out on a summer afternoon? Yep. Had I envied the girls in the gym who would confidently workout in shorts and a sports bra and had nothing that jiggled when they moved? You betchya. Would I fantasize what a breeze on my back would feel like during the 800m runs on the hottest of days? Every time. Why couldn’t I just take off the damn shirt?

Because I had parts that jiggled. Because I didn’t look like a 'fitness model'. Because I was embarrassed that people would see my bare midsection and think differently of me. Because I have scoliosis that squished my torso down, making it lopsided and weird looking. Because I thought that only people with less than 7% body fat were “allowed” to take off their shirts, that people would shudder and grimace and tell me to put it back on already.

I mean, it took me most of the last two summers to get to a place where I even considered buying shorts, let alone wear them into the actual gym and then jump around in them. Shorts were scary for me, with all their lack of uplifting spandex, and of course all their… well, shortness. I had just started to feel moderately ok about wearing shorts, but the shirt-off look? Not for me and this body.

To most people this might not look like much, but to me it is everything.

To most people this might not look like much, but to me it is everything.

So what was it exactly that made me decide that day, right then and there in the gym, mid-wod, that I was going to take off my shirt for the first time in my life? Was it that I woke up that morning with washboard abs and a perfect tan? Uh, no.

I just ran out of f*cks to give. Plain and simple. I realized that I’m a thirty year old grown ass woman and I just simply don’t give a f*ck anymore about what someone could possibly potentially maybe think about what I do or do not look like to them. I realized that I am now running a health and fitness blog where we encourage women to love their bodies as-is, to feel confident in their skin and rock what they’ve got, and I was hardly practicing what I was preaching to the many women who were looking up to me in that regard. I realized that I had an incredible opportunity to lead by example, to show myself and other women around me exactly what it looks like to stop caring what other people thought, and instead do what I want. And what I wanted was to bare my less-than-perfect midriff so that I could get a hint of a breeze across my skin during my workout. So I did it. And I am so, deeply and wonderfully glad that I did.

Did the music screech to a halt and everybody drop their barbell, stare and gasp and cringe and cry? Um, no. 

And here’s where the knowledge bomb hit for me: Our fear about how people see us or what they may think of us is completely and entirely 100% based in how we think about ourselves, and not about them, even one little tiny bit. Being terrified that that cute guy in your gym you’ve been flirting with will see your cellulite and decide he’s not into you anymore is absolutely the biggest pot of pure bullshit garbage soup EVER, and you are spoon feeding it to you, and you’re eating it right up. All of this negative, nit picky, awful self talk is coming from YOU, and you have the power to make it stop for good. (Side note: The irony is he will very likely be MORE into you, since nothing is hotter than confidence).

 

The articulate and beautiful Meryl Streep puts it perfectly.

The articulate and beautiful Meryl Streep puts it perfectly.

 

If we could just get out of our own way, we’d find that we have a lot more possibilities for amazing experiences in life than we think. I shudder to think about what wonderful things I wasn’t able to experience because I was embarrassed or ashamed of my body. I challenge us all to start taking the reigns on our internal dialogue, start realizing that nobody cares what your body looks like (since they’re likely caught up about what you think of theirs, anyway), and just decide that we aren’t the type of people who care what you think, anyway. We just don’t give a f*ck.

And woah wait hold on a second I know what you’re thinking. “Of course it’s easy for Jen to wear that bathing suit because she’s a size 2!”, or “Yeah she can rock those shorts because she doesn’t have a dot of cellulite”, or some other asinine variation of another woman being leaner/shorter/prettier/curvier/younger/taller/other ridiculous perceived physical advantage over you, making it easier for them to exude confidence.

I really, sincerely urge you to remember the fact that we ALL have something. We ALL have that negative voice that says awful things about ourselves, we all have insecurities that stem from a lifetime of experiences, we all have something about our outer appearance that we wish we could change. EVERY. BODY. No one's insecurities are more valid or real than anyone else's. So even though it might not always seem that way, we are ALL equals in this pressure-filled world of trying to fit in, be liked, like ourselves, look good, feel good, and be happy. Mmkay?

(If you haven’t yet, read our post on why you should stop comparing yourself to others)

Also worth noting: Does baring skin = body confidence? No. Don’t feel like that’s what you have to do to earn the Body Confidence Badge of Honor. It is simply something that I personally struggled with, and something I wished I didn’t struggle with. 

What is it that makes you self conscious that you wish didn’t? What do you want to be able to just get over already and accept happily? You can take whatever pieces of my story that align with your life, insecurities, goals and wishes, and apply where needed, in whatever degree feels right. 

So is it easy to switch gears and decide you just don’t care what people think anymore? Not always. It took bit of faking for me until I made it, and I still have days where I feel like I have eyes on me if my shorts are too short and revealing cellulite, and I get self conscious. But as soon as I feel that “I wonder what they think of me” thought pop into my head, I say as loud as I possibly can (in my mind, of course), that I. don’t. give. one. f*ck.

After all, I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it to stay cool through my workout, yes. But I’m also doing it to prove to myself that I can. I’m telling myself that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t care what people think, and I convince myself of that a little bit more each time I wear short shorts or take off my tank. Every time I decide to bare some skin, I actually become the confident-in-her-skin, rock-what-you-got, don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks kind of chick that I envied before. I become proud of myself for my bravery and ability to overcome my fears, and that feeling brings me confidence. The silliest act of taking off my shirt in the gym has actually altered who I am and what I think about myself. 

Beyond doing it for me, I’m doing it for the woman next to me in the gym who wears long pants on million degree days because she’s too embarrassed to shop for shorts, let alone wear them into the gym. I’m doing it for the woman who never gets in the ocean anymore because it requires taking off a layer of clothing. I’m doing it to show the women around me that if I can feel ok baring my cellulite, jiggly parts, and far from “perfect” body (for the sake of dodging heat stroke or otherwise), that they can too. I want those women to see me, stop and think in awe, “Wow, she just really doesn’t give a f*ck”. And I can stand proudly with my chin held high with my imperfect body bared in all it’s glory, smile wide like a badass rebel goddess and say, “I know”.

So no, you don’t need to look like a fitness model to be proud of (or bare) your body. You just need to think like you’re proud of your body, to be proud of your body. And if “proud” is a ways out for you like it can be for most of us, just try this: Decide that you just don’t give a f*ck and do whatever your heart desires. Chances are, you’ll not only end up impressing and surprising yourself, but encouraging other women to follow suit. And that, my friends, is how real change gets made.

-Taylor

P.S. For the love of doughnuts, please oh please watch this Beyonce video, dance around in your underwear, let your jiggly parts be free and sing it: you are a grown woman, you can DO WHAT YOU WANT.


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