How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

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This blog post was originally written for Radiate Daily. To read the original post please click HERE.

I have heard this phrase several times in my life. Most recently, in the past week or two. It did not really register with me until recently though.

What does this phrase really mean? How you handle the day-to-day challenges, situations, and tasks is how you handle everything in your life. It is your character or your nature and how you deal with “everything”, whether it is big or small.

It hit me as I was at a conference in Chicago. I read it in another blog (surprise surprise) and realized I do not always put forward my best work, my results tend to be mediocre, and I give up on many projects that I start. What dawned on me is that I try to do too much and I end up rushing everything.

I pondered this phrase over the course of a few days:

  • Why is the quality of my work not always outstanding? Because I take on too much at one time and am always rushing.
  • Why have I not been able to get the best results/outcomes from my passion projects? Because I try to do too many at one time and end up not having enough time for any of the projects.
  • What occurred to me is that I am constantly trying to bite more off than I can chew, which causes me to hurry through tasks and deal with things in a quick manner. We only having 24 hours in a day and I am usually trying to stuff as much as I can into that period of time.

Wow. Truth bomb, right there. I am trying to do more than what I am capable of, in a short time period. This does not mean I do not put forth my best effort. It does mean that I don’t always have the time it takes to give to particular tasks or situations or ensure I’ve put the best quality into my work. I’ve gotten in the habit of doing things to get them checked off my list.

This is not anyone’s fault but my own. Looking back, I realize that I have always handled things in this manner. I rushed to finish high school a year early. I rushed to finish my undergraduate program in 4 years, taking on 22 credit hours in my last semester while working full-time. I rushed to finish my graduate program in 2 years, while trying to do 2 internships at one time and working part-time. Time and time again, it goes to show that I am not taking the time to enjoy the process, ultimately just trying to achieve the end result and checking it off my list. Could I have finished high school on time and applied to more colleges? Yes. Could I have taken an extra semester in my undergrad program to do a minor and second concentration, possibly diversifying my education more so, leading to more job prospects and career opportunities? Yes. Could I have taken an extra year or two in grad school to really figure out which direction I wanted my career to go in? Yes. I also could have taken more time to study and complete projects, getting better grades, ultimately boosting my GPAs. But I didn’t.

It is hard to look back and realize that I could have been more organized, cleaner, produced higher quality work, and received more experience if I had only taken the time and effort necessary. This doesn’t mean I can’t change things going forward.

How can I change the way I do things in my life? Here are five ways anyone can change in how they do “everything” in their life. These are the steps I am going through currently and may not work for everyone, but take what you want and add a few more if you’d like!
1) Time: Take the time to figure out your mantra or motto or how you want to live your life. Figure out what it is and how you want to define your life. I want to live less rushed, taking my time to complete my passion projects (one at a time) and tasks, knowing I have done a fantastic job, I have not missed anything, and have paid attention to the details.
2) Re-evaluate: Re-evaluate your goals (personal and career, long-term and short-term), make sure they match with what you want in your life, and put them on a realistic timeline. I am cutting down my goals from the long list that I had last year to a more concise list that truly encompasses what I want in my life. I will cut out the goals that do not add value to my life and that are not in line with how I want my life to be (the “fluff” goals, as I like to call them).
3) Prioritize everything: Stop doing things that are not necessarily important to you. Start saying no when you do not have the time or necessarily want to take on the task. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time for XYZ” start saying, “XYZ is not a priority” in order to help differentiate between things that are important to you and things that are not necessarily a priority. For me, this is huge. I have trouble saying no to people, especially when I know it is going to help them out in the long run. I love helping people. But at what point should I stop compromising my personal well-being for others?
4) Plan: Use your phone calendar and/or day planner (yes, I use both) to plan things out in advance to ensure you have enough time to complete tasks and projects. I set deadlines on just about everything and put it in my day planner, on my calendar, and in my task manager. It helps me remember because I see it everywhere and cannot forget.
5) Re-evaluate more: Re-evaluate on a regular basis to make sure you stay on track, keep focused, stick to your timeline, meet my deadlines, and enjoy the process along the way. I will keep checking in with myself on a monthly basis. I easily get distracted, so hopefully this will help me really start to get on the path that I want to be on and live my life the way I want to, all while enjoying the process.

We only have this one life to live, we might as well enjoy it, do the things that are important to us, and do them well!

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Perseverance

This blog post was originally written for Radiate Daily. To read the original post please click HERE.

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What does that word mean to you? Have you experienced it? Are you in the middle of persevering right now?

I have always known what perseverance meant. Heck, I persevered through my undergraduate and graduate degrees. But up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t truly know what perseverance meant. So often in my life I spent the time and effort to start new projects. If my heart wasn’t in it, I gave up. If I didn’t believe I could do it, I gave up. If it was taking an exceptionally long time and there was not a timeline with an end date, I gave up. But there has been one person in my life that I have always admired. Let me re-phrase that. Growing up I did NOT admire him. He smelled funny, he was mean to me, he teased me, and on several occasions, I’m pretty sure, he tried pushing me down our stairs. What I admire about my younger brother now is his perseverance. If anyone has persevered, it has been Scottie.

It started the week of his 3rd birthday. We were in Arizona with our father, visiting our grandparents. We all went to the stock show and somehow, someway, Scottie was signed up to ride his first sheep. When we went back home to New Mexico, he continued to ride sheep, falling in love with rodeo. As he got older Scottie moved up to riding calves, then steers, then junior bulls, eventually graduating from junior bulls to regular bulls. All the while he would watch professional bull riders at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), memorizing every bull’s twist, turn, and buck. Scottie promised our family at a very young age that, he too, would be riding in the PBR and PRCA one day. At the ripe age of 3 years old I don’t think he knew he would have to wait till he was 18 years old to “go pro”.

Scottie was one of those kids that poured his heart into his passion. If he could convince a family member to get on all fours and “buck like a bull” he would dig his heels into their sides and “practice” until they were good and worn out. If there was any amount of time in which he could practice, he would. Whether it be on an imaginary bull or studying the technique of other riders.

As he became a pre-teen, Scottie started becoming interested in skateboarding and spent a lot of time at skate parks. I worried he would fall into the wrong crowd and would give up on rodeo. But no, he stuck to it and continued to carry out his plans.

Through injuries and setbacks, Scottie has never given in, given up, or walked away. He refigured his plan. He laid out a new map. He continued to persevere. It all pays off one day. From December 1st through December 10th Scottie was in Las Vegas, Nevada riding in the National Finals Rodeo, THE NFR. This is basically the Olympics of the rodeo world folks. These are the best of the best competitors from around the world. I was able to watch my brother ride in the NFR, like he’s been telling me he would for 22 years. The second night at the NFR Scottie ended up with a dislocated shoulder (which he has had surgery on in the past), a concussion, and 6 stitches above his eye. We thought he was done for the rest of the NFR. We were wrong. He got on the next night and the next night. He wound up getting another round of 6 stitches above the other 6 stitches. But guess what, he got right back on the next night.

22 YEARS. 22 years he had been telling all of us that he was going to be in that arena, riding bulls in the NFR, and he most certainly did. No, he didn’t take the overall world title, but he won the 5th round (out of 10 rounds) and placed in 2 other rounds, bringing home a pretty paycheck, a beautiful new belt buckle, and some fresh scars. Will he be back there next year? You betcha. And I can guarantee that he will keep persevering until he does win that world title.

Perseverance. What does this word mean to me? It means never giving up when the world is screaming at you to. It means defying the odds and standing up on your feet every single time you get knocked down. It means making a dream a goal and going after it full force. I’ve spent my entire life watching my younger brother persevere and I finally watched him succeed in the most epic way possible. He is my inspiration to continue to persevere no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

Screw Bubble Baths

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I thought it would be a wonderful idea to take a little time to myself and relax with a nice, soothing, hot bubble bath. I was thoroughly looking forward to this, as it has been 12 years since I had last taken a bath.

The images going through my head were of Pinterest quality. Perfect bubbles enveloping me and easing my senses into a tranquil state. I wish I had some flowers and essential oils to add to my bath.

I light a lavender soy candle next to the tub and start running the water. The instructions on the new bottle of bubble bath read: “Pour a generous amount under running water”. No problem. I add some Epsom salt for my sore muscles.

The bubbles start to build and the fragrance from the bubbles and candle are absolutely delightful! Eager to get started, I carefully step into the tub. It is a bit, um, hot for my liking. I switch the water to cold and use my hands to swirl the water around. The bubbles continue to build until they are almost past the top of the tub.

Finally, after a few minutes I sit down. Wrong choice my friend. The water is scalding hot still! But how could that be?! I just ran the cold water to cool it down for 5 minutes. Totally fine, totally cool. I will just turn off the water since the tub is becoming quite full and eventually it will cool down. It is a chilly night anyway.

A few minutes into my relaxing bath I am finally able to lean all the way back and rest my head against the back of the tub. I feel like I could scratch my skin and peel off the top layer. I stretch out my legs to push my feet against the other end of the tub so I don’t go under or float awkwardly. I close my eyes and start breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth trying to clear my mind. Gosh, this water is just way too effing hot. I am surrounded by glorious bubbles! It can’t be that bad. I can hang, no worries.

A minute or two goes by and feel a light tickle going down my forehead. Is it possible that I am sweating? Yes, yes indeed. I am sweating because this water is melting my skin off. I sit up for a bit and try to cool off, as steam rises from my shoulders. Hey, look at this, the bubbles are fun and I can make myself a bubble bra! Is it inappropriate to give myself a bubble beard? I better not, I don’t want this stuff messing with my skin.

I lean back again and try to void my mind of thoughts. Holy hell, is that the sound of my heart beating or warrior drums?! My heart doesn’t even beat this hard during workouts. Why is my heart beating so fast? This effing water! My skin feels like it is burning off. So many bubbles too. I don’t think I was supposed to put in that much… Oops.

Panic starts setting in. How the heck am I going to get rid of all these bubbles!? I continue playing with the bubbles, making little bubble snow balls. I swish around in the tub hoping to make the bubbles die down a little bit. Not happening. They won’t go away. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. What am I going to do? These bubbles are immortal. I still need to shower, rinse off, and wash my hair. I lay back trying to relax a little more. I feel like the water is vibrating from my heart beating so fast. Every time I move it feels like the water is lighting my skin on fire.

Screw it. I’m done. I let the water start draining out of the tub. The bubbles are not going down the drain either. @!*#&%@^#$*&! I try gentle sweeping the bubbles towards the drain. As the water is getting lower and lower the more the bubbles are clinging to me. I’m finally able to get a foot free of bubbles and lean over to get the shower started, trying my hardest not drip all over the floor and bust my face in the tub. Ermagersh, what if he comes up here and sees the mess I made?! Ugh! Bubbles start coming out of the overflow thingy. Great, just great! Full on panic mode has commenced. I leave the bubbles there to sit, hoping they will dissipate on their own while I shower.

I finish showering and get out only to realize that the bubbles have stayed and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I get the Comet and a sponge and start sprinkling it all over the tub. It’s working! It’s killing the bubbles! I realize I’ve used half the container of Comet. It takes me a good 10 minutes, but I finish cleaning out the tub and blow out my candle. So much for a relaxing bath.

Screw bubble baths. Next time I will stick with a little bit of yoga and a warm shower instead.

Trying to Love the Skin I’m In

 

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Image credit: Alexandra Dal

After my last challenge went so well, I made the decision to try another challenge. I thought it would be a great idea to embrace a piece of me that I’ve never seen in a positive light. I thought it would help me appreciate my inner beauty and accept my flaws. My challenge is to stop wearing foundation/powder and blush on my face. I am still allowing myself to wear eye makeup, but the challenge is not to put any other makeup, besides eye makeup, on my face for 20 days.

How is that going? Let me be reeeeaaaal honest here. It’s not going as well as I hoped. Ok, ok, maybe my skin is doing a lot better and I’m not breaking out as much. However, my confidence is very low and I am uber self-conscious of my skin. Some days I feel as if I am reliving my teenage years. I’ve been trying not to cover my neck and sides of my face with my hair. I’m trying to exude confidence when I walk into a room and I think I feel all eyes on the red bumps on my cheeks and neck and chin. I think about my skin constantly. It’s an absolute full blown obsession at this point.

Let me preface this for a minute. For those of you who don’t know me, I have been dealing with “problem skin” (aka acne) since I was a ripe 12 years old. In 8th grade my acne was at its worst. I wouldn’t leave the house unless I absolutely had to. I walked with my head down and my hair around my face. I didn’t want to look people in the eye and tried to avoid conversation as much as possible. I was utterly embarrassed. My mother took me to what would be my first of many, many dermatologist appointments. I was prescribed my first round of Isotretinoin (well known brand name Accutane).

I absolutely loved this medication. It worked wonders and it made my complexion clear and blemish free. My confidence went up 110% and I felt comfortable and beautiful in my skin. I didn’t have the horrible side effects that others experienced, which I am eternally grateful for.

However, after being off the medication for a while my skin started breaking out again. This turned into a cycle. I’ve been on Isotretinoin 6 times total and continue to deal with this rutty, problem skin of mine. After my last dermatologist appointment a few months ago, I was informed that they would not be putting me back on Isotretinoin again because they didn’t want to “go through the cycle again”. I was crushed! I’m pretty sure my heart broke. in. half. Instead we are trying a mix of an oral medication and a topical medication. Let me just say that it’s no cure all, but it’s helping.

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Of course makeup can cause acne to get worse and I thought maybe if I were to stop wearing foundation/powder and blush it would help clear up my skin more so. After all, my skin did clear up a little bit when I cut desserts/sweets out of my diet. I really wanted to embrace and truly love the skin I am in.

My first day of wearing no cover up was the absolute worst. I have not felt this self-conscious since I was a teenager. I have slight acne scars on my cheeks from years of battling zit nation. My skin tone can be described as a light lobster red shade. My pimples just smile and wink at me every time I look in the mirror. Side note, I’m an obsessive pimple popper, which only makes matters worse.

As I sit here typing this, I am on day 9 of no cover up. Each day is a struggle; a struggle to love my flaws; a struggle to love my skin; a struggle to know I am going out in a beauty obsessed world showing all my imperfections to everyone I come across. But what I’ve learned through the challenge thus far is:
-I will always be my worst critic. Nobody notices as much about my skin as I do.
-Although I may not have the confidence I want or once had, if I can fake it, nobody knows the difference.
-What may be incredibly embarrassing for me may be the best, healthiest thing for me.
-Although I may not stick with the no makeup campaign forever, I know that I can use makeup from time to time to help me on a day when I just need a little confidence boost.
-I am trying every day to love the skin I’m in, accepting each and every flaw of mine. It will never come easy and it’s something I need to actively work on.
-I am in complete control of me and my life (and hopefully, one day, my acne too – come on 30’s, bring me some clear skin!).

Here’s the good side of this challenge. I have seen an improvement in my acne and breakouts. Now, if I could just stop picking, it would be even better. For the first time in my life I feel like I am starting to gain control of my skin. Never mind the fact that I am 28 years old and getting closer to 30 every single day and shouldn’t have the skin of a pubescent boy. But I’m learning and I’m growing and I’m trying my darndest to love this skin I’m in.

From Challenge to Choice

This blog post was originally written for Radiate Daily. To read the original post please click HERE.

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It’s no secret that I love sweets. Cupcakes, candy, cookies, ice cream. You name it, I will devour it. That was up until a month ago. I decided to challenge myself and cut out sweets from my diet for 30 days. Let me state that I still allowed myself to eat yogurt (preferably yogurt made with honey but not other sweeteners such as cane sugar), a few flavors of Lara Bars, many different flavors of gum, and coffee creamer.

I will be the first one to tell you that I didn’t think it was possible for me to not eat sweets. I fully expected to fail in this endeavor. Many people asked me why I was cutting sweets out of my diet. I explained over and over that my body started to feel overloaded with crap. I was eating dessert most nights of the week, my joints were hurting, I couldn’t say no as much as I tried, I felt as if I was gaining unnecessary weight, and my GI issues were not getting any better. To be honest, I have been addicted to sugar for most of my life and I just wanted to see what my body would feel like without sugar for 30 days.

I decided it was time to really challenge myself and try to make a serious change. The prize at the end of the 30 days was Halloween – which meant alllllll the candy and a killer potluck at work, guaranteeing many homemade goodies.

Over the 30 days I struggled EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I thought about sweets, dreamed about sweets, salivated over sweets as I watched others eat them. Oh, let me tell you, it got real. I would feel down and out when someone in the office brought in doughnuts. I am ashamed to admit, I waited till no one was in the break room, held back my hair, and smelled the doughnuts in a ferocious, crazed way. And no, that was not the first time I delighted in the scent of the sweets plaguing my existence. But, I did NOT give in.

On the other side of things, my body felt great! I did not have my mid-afternoon crash every day at work, my joints were feeling much better (especially working out), I felt like I had some respite from my GI problems, and in general felt awesome about being able to kick a bad habit.

Come Halloween, I was pumped. I was ready. I was going to ease back into the sweets and have a fantastic day. But that didn’t happen… I started off my morning with mini chocolate chips in my yogurt. When I got to work I had a homemade cinnamon roll and a Twix. During the potluck I overindulged after eating “real food” and had about 4 cookies and 2 homemade rocky road bars. That night at my parents I had a cupcake in honor of my mother’s birthday, I had a Frankenstein rice crispy treat, and I was slamming candy like a kid on Christmas. I thought it was going to be a glorious day, but I was MISERABLE! I felt like complete and utter crap. I was bloated, my stomach was killing me, and I felt as if I could throw up any minute. That day goes down as one of the most awful food experiences of my life.

Needless to say, even though I thought it could never happen, this 30 day challenge has changed my life. I have decided to stay off sweets. I have gone from challenge to choice. Don’t freak out though, I will still allow myself a small piece of dessert on special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, if I’m feeling it. But I’ve realized that I feel better overall, physically and mentally, when dessert is not a regular part of my diet. I’ve actually been walking by the sweets on the break room table all week long without one desire to eat (or sniff) them.

Although it was only 30 days, I learned a lot about myself during this challenge:
-I can do anything I set my mind to, even if I didn’t believe in myself to begin with.
-Telling everyone about my challenge held me accountable.
-I can change my life by making a simple adjustment and sticking to it.
-I can get through any struggle.

I can say that my life is a little better and I feel healthier, first by challenging myself and then by making the decision to stick with the change.

What will be your next challenge? 😉

How I Found CrossFit

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I was recently asked how I got started with CrossFit. Interesting question… so here it goes.

It was May of 2013 and at the time I was working for lululemon. I was big into hot yoga but kept an open mind and enjoyed trying new things like barre and other workout classes.

Our new ambassadors were fresh on board (my first day at lululemon I was taken to the first meeting of the new lululemon ambassadors – talk about daunting). The new ambassadors were starting to put together events in conjunction with lululemon.

Joe Vigil was, at the time, was running CrossFit Albuquerque (which he now owns). His girlfriend, Patricia, worked with me at lululemon and kept talking about CrossFit.

The first time I heard of CrossFit was in a very negative connotation at a boot camp gym I had been attending from 2011-2012. The owner (and main trainer) was asked, “What is CrossFit?” and she proceeded to explain it was “A new stupid training regimen that is causing a TON of people to get rhabdomyolysis. They push these poor people so hard and have terrible form on EVERYTHING…” She went on to rant about how they do American kettlebell swings which are “unsafe and frankly ridiculous”. At the time, I had completely written off CrossFit and had no desire to hurt myself or be a part of these “stupid people”. Naturally, this came to mind when Patricia mentioned it to me.

But Patricia and Laura Hines kept talking about it, as well as a few other ladies that I worked with at lululemon. They kept telling me I should give it a shot, maybe I would like it. Well, it turns out that Joe had planned an introduction to CrossFit in the park with lululemon. It would be a “fun way to learn what CrossFit is all about and get an introduction to it.” With some coaxing I decided to try it out.

That morning I got up early and had breakfast, went to hot yoga, had a Keva Juice, and then later went to the park to try my first WOD. I was dropped off around 3:15pm and walked up hesitantly as there were very large, muscly guys AND girls that looked pretty darn intimidating. I bee-lined it for the ladies I knew, signed a waiver (even though I didn’t have to since I worked for lululemon) and waited for the festivities to begin. Immediately, a guy walked up to me with a big smile on his face and introduced himself, “Hi! I’m Matt Booth”. He seemed friendly. Still somewhat intimidating with his big muscles though. I introduced myself and he walked back to hang out with his burly CrossFit friends.

It started off with a group picture, followed by stretching. At this point I learned they were heading to “Regionals” as a team. I didn’t know what that meant, so whatever, good for them. Joe then explained what the WOD was, short sprints and burpees, and that we needed to get into teams. I was not told that these were some of the fittest people I would ever work out with or that they were at their prime getting ready to go to Regionals. No one said that they had been training pretty darn hard and that I shouldn’t try keeping up. Nope. No sir-ee.

Of course, I was put on a team with Matt Booth, AJ Bales, and one of the lovely lulu ladies. Thinking to myself, “They are going to put me on a team with the two biggest guys that seem to be the most competitive. Great. Just my luck.” I thought I had to go as hard as I could and do as well as possible as to not let them down. That plan DID. NOT. GO. WELL.

To start, I was doing negative burpees and they corrected me and told me just to “drop to the ground”. Fine, got it. I was sprinting as hard as could, doing burpees as fast as I could. The next thing I remember is feeling faint and a little woozy. I told Joe and he said to sit out the next round. I felt horrible for letting my team down, but I couldn’t get a grip on how my body felt. WHAT THE HECK WAS HAPPENING TO ME?!

Everyone finished the workout and I picked myself up from the grass, walked over to the picnic table, sat down, and held my head in my hands (you know, to keep it from falling off and rolling across the park). I texted my ride to come pick me up as soon as possible, this was SO embarrassing. Some of the lulu ladies came to check on me and Patricia and Joe proceeded to ask what I had eaten that day. Considering I had only had breakfast early in the morning and a Keva Juice and hadn’t rehydrated after hot yoga, they concluded I was super dehydrated and didn’t have any nutrients in my body. It was probably close to 4:30-5:00 in the evening at this point. Cue the stuffing me with fruit snacks to bring up my sugar and trying to rehydrate me.

My ride arrived and as I got into the truck, I proceeded to puke my guts out. At least it didn’t happen in front of all the brawny CrossFit athletes that were getting ready to go to Regionals the following week…

The next time I saw Patricia and Joe they convinced me that I had to give CrossFit another try. It wouldn’t be like that again (uh huh, sure). I believe it took me a week or two, but I went to the gym for round two and absolutely fell in love with it. Maybe it was Joe’s great coaching, his kindness, the attention he gave to my form and overall well-being, or maybe it was because I didn’t get sick.

I realized that I had never been challenged like that before. The workouts were different every day and I didn’t get bored. I learned new movements, some which came naturally, and some which I still struggle with 3 years later. I learned to push myself which led me to become better, faster, and stronger. I had a new appreciation for my body and what it was capable of. Best of all, I gained friends that I am closer with than any other “friends” I’ve had throughout my life.

There is something about finding a community of like-minded people that puts a different perspective on life. As I’ve mentioned before, CrossFit and the CrossFit Albuquerque community has changed my life for the better and I am incredibly happy that I tried it, even though I got sick the first time.

Movin’ On Up and Out!

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Recently I moved out of my parents house into a rental house with my (extremely handsome) beau. Wowza! Yes, we have taken that “next step”. It actually was quite a smart move for both of us, as we live in a beautiful home in a great neighborhood, yet we are saving money living together.

One thing I must say is, I survived living with my parents in my twenties. Late twenties at that. Yes. I did. We are the boomerang generation. We are the ones that left home around 18, bounced back home, moved out again, and bounced right back in with the parentals. Is it entirely our fault? No. Well, maybe for some of us it was our own fault. We have endured some incredulous economic stressors. Many of us are struggling with student loan debt, while others are over-educated and underemployed. Some of us are dealing with both. Some of us just made some bad mistakes, end of story.

I have heard it plenty of times, “my parents said don’t come back once I turned 18”. I was fortunate enough to have very supportive parents that let me move home a couple times, once when I lost a job, the time before that to focus on grad school and paying down my credit card debt (totally my own stupid mistake), I think another time was just because I was in a weird place and transition phase in my life. It doesn’t help that I’ve been trying to pay on my way-too-high student loan debt (no worries, I have consolidated my student loan debt and am on an income-based repayment plan – HELLLLOOO 25 years of payments!).

Living with my parents was actually quite nice though. There was always food in the house, I got to see my mom every day, I was living in the house I grew up in, I was able to pay off debt and still enjoy going out with friends for dinner on occasion. It was nice to be living at home during the time my mom was dealing with breast cancer, having a double mastectomy, and going through chemo treatments. It was hard to see her so weak from chemo, but I was grateful I was able to sit with her for a few minutes the nights she was awake and ask her about her day and how she was feeling.

I was never ashamed to live with my parents, I was more so ashamed of the fact I didn’t have my sh*t together to be able to live on my own. But I owned up to it. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a complete idiot when it came to credit cards and got myself in some deep water (not that I’m completely in the clear). I didn’t know how to live within my means or budget the money I did have. As many of us know, there is a lesson to be learned from every mistake. I’m proud that I’ve made these mistakes because learning from them means I am growing.

The struggle bus gets real when you are trying to adult. It’s hard adulting. It’s very humbling experience to live with you parents when you are in your late twenties (I’m 28 if you were wondering). I don’t regret it one bit and I couldn’t be more appreciative to my parents for taking me in when I really needed a helping hand and for showing me immense love and support during difficult and stressful times. I am far from paying off my debt, but I am in a comfortable place in life where I can afford to pay rent and utilities and buy my own food while still paying down my debt. I’m still learning to stick to a budget and live within my means, but I’m doing my darndest to figure out the ropes. I’m happy to report that I moved out and I’m movin’ on up!

If you’re still living with your parents, hang in there. It’s not forever and there is usually a silver lining. Keep these four things in mind:

-It’s not forever. Not even close! Your parents don’t want you living with them forever (hopefully) and I’m sure you also want some independence.

-Remind yourself why it is you are there and what your end goal is. Whether you are in school, paying down debt, or trying to find a new job, it is temporary until you accomplish your goal.

-Embrace the silver lining, whether it is free rent, free food, or quality time with you ma or pa.

-Above all, don’t be ashamed. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. You’d be surprised how many people are in the same boat.

4 Ways to Come Back From Vacation Recharged and Ready

I was absolutely honored to write this guest blog post for an incredible site: Radiate Daily. This website focuses on mind, body, and heart and is incredibly inspiring. You can read the original blog post here.

Me

You’ve probably heard it more than once – “I need a vacation” (insert crying face emoji here). We all need a break every once in a while. Naturally, many see vacation as the perfect time to destress and get some respite from work. Often times we get back from vacation and find ourselves dragging our butts back to work, less motivated than when we left.

After spending seven days in beautiful Kauai, I came back recharged and ready to go! I was ready to go home and get back to work (gasp!). I know, strange… Instead of lamenting that I couldn’t spend endless days on the beach, I was itching to get back to the grind.

Vacation for me is a time to regenerate my mind and rejuvenate my drive. Just like a battery, our minds need a jump-start after being drained from the day-in, day-out hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

Here are a few ways I use vacation time to recharge my mind and bounce back to work ready to conquer.

  • Do something that scares you a little bit. While in Kauai we went on a helicopter tour (without doors – yikes!) which scared the living daylights out of me. Surprisingly it gave me a moment of clarity. It taught me that life is short and the petty issues I face on a day-to-day basis should not consume my mind and waste my precious time. Plus, the adrenaline boost got my blood rushing and my heart pumping!
  • Go on an adventure or do something new (try new foods too!). This helps get the creative juices flowing. For me, it always opens my eyes to a new component of the world I never knew I was missing out on, leading to new ideas, inspiration, and problem solving skills (no, it won’t always turn out favorable). Hiking the Hanakapi’ai trail on the Na Pali coast was quite the adventure! Not only was it absolutely stunning, it was challenging to say the least. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and didn’t realize how muddy and slippery the trail was going to be (completely foreign to me – the trails at home are very dry). I learned new ways to cross rivers, use walking sticks (who knew these would be SO helpful?!), and how to get over and around obstacles (physical and mental). Boy, that hike certainly made me think hard, brainstorm, and discover new ways to approach unfamiliar situations.
  • Take time to clear your mind. Whether it’s lounging on the beach, sitting on a rock overlooking the mountains, or walking down a bustling street, void yourself of “busy” thoughts and just soak in every element around you. Keep yourself open to new sounds, smells, and sights. Clear the clutter from your mind (thus boosting brain power) and appreciate just being.
  • Reevaluate your goals and reflect on your career and passions. You may not be in your dream job or even a job you like, however, being away from the situation can help you see everything from a different perspective. The crises you face at work may not be as bad when you are removed from the front line. Think of new ways to tackle issues and work around problems. Use this time to review your career trajectory, if you are on the right path, and set some goals to get to the point you want to be. If you aren’t on the right path, work on a plan to get you there (do you need to take a certification course or online class?). Set those goals, make them measurable, and attach dates to them. Then get ready to get back to work and take charge!

My Ego – Learning to Let Her Go

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This past Saturday we had a workout that was soul crushing for me. I knew it was going to be a tough workout and I wanted so badly to scale it. The workout was 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Front squats (145# for women) and muscle ups. For a reference point, I’ve only ever done 30-40 muscle ups in a workout (not 55!) and 145# front squat is 80% of my one rep max front squat.

Being the kind of person I am, I discussed the half Rx, half scale option with my friend Jacy. Her response? “Just do the weight until you die… Then you can drop down in weight!” Thanks, Jacy…

She knew I could do it. In the back of my mind I knew I could do it, but I was having some serious self-doubts. Plus, if I did do the entire things Rx I would be the last to finish. And there she blows folks! My ego, that nasty little b*%!@, making her grand appearance! Why does it matter if I finish last? Why is it important if I’m not as fast on the front squats or muscle ups as everyone else? Here’s a little secret – IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is that I was going to do that entire workout and push myself to finish it.

Too often I catch myself wanting to scale a workout so I’m not the last person to finish, or to try to beat some of the other ladies in the gym. Maybe I’m just not “feeling” it that day or my lazy side starts to surface. (Side note: I’m not saying that I never scale a workout. I certainly scale workouts when it is necessary or unsafe for me to do is the prescribed weight and/or volume.) What it comes down to on most days is that my ego gets in the way. Learning to let go of my ego has been an endeavor, and no easy feat.

When I walk into CrossFit Albuquerque every day that is when I need to check my ego at the door. I’m not there to try to beat everyone or have the fastest time. That is not serving myself or my goals. The reasons I go to the gym are:
– to work out and feel better about myself
– to improve my own life
– to increase my personal fitness, health, and wellbeing
– to reduce stress
– to increase my endorphins
– to have fun and do something that I thoroughly enjoy

I’m still learning and working on letting go of my ego. It’s an arduous task. Here are a few ways that I handle my ego when she rears her ugly head:
1) I remind myself why I am at the gym and why I work out
2) I focus on my own goals
3) I give myself a pep talk and try to realize what the intention of the workout is and what I’m trying to accomplish
4) I focus on improving my weaknesses
5) I try to remember that I am just one person in this great big world and there are plenty of other people out there that are better than me at certain movements and workouts and all I can do is my best
6) I remind myself that I need to always stay humble and kind (thanks, Tim McGraw)
7) I re-focus on me, myself, and I – my own workouts and my own fitness

Saturday was tough, painful, and laborious. I had to hold myself back from crying at the end. Not because I was sad or mad, because it was a physically and emotionally draining workout for me. Guess what though, I finished that workout, all of the front squats at 145# and all of the muscle ups. If we take the time, we can learn so much about ourselves during these trying moments. I learned that I can do what I set my mind to. Oh, and yes, I did finish last with a time of 44:43.

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This sh*t is sappy. You’ve been warned.

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Today was one of those days I sat in my chair at work and all I could think about is how I never thought my life would be this good. My life is not just good, it’s great! Never did I think I would be where I am today. A few years ago I was really struggling with my personal identity, my career (more so lack thereof), this feeling of being so completely lost and drowning in a sea of the unknown. I was tediously over analyzing my life and everything that was going wrong.

I met someone that I honestly thought would just be a little fling and hopefully take my mind off of things for a bit. Little did I know that him coming into my life would change my world completely.

We took things slow. I thought he would get bored and be done with me relatively quickly. But he continued to text me, take me out on dates, and talk to me. I remember thinking, any day now he will drop me and move on, realizing how deep and dark my issues are, that I CANNOT adult, and I spill food on myself constantly. Me, being an open book, told him all my issues up front so that he wouldn’t find out later and be surprised. Looking back, I’m astounded he didn’t run for the hills after hearing all of that crap (seriously, who does that?!). He quickly found out (I think on the second or third date) that food seems to like my clothing more so than my mouth and he STILL wanted to be around me! (Insert surprised emoji here)

Now I’m not saying that we have a perfect relationship and we don’t disagree about things, but what I’m saying is that this man is the ying to my yang, the bacon to my eggs, the peanut butter to my jelly. He has added more to my life than I ever imagined possible, and has accepted me for who I am and all the flaws that come with that. He knows I’m weird and have dirty mind. He knows that I love cupcakes and anything else that contains mass amounts of sugar. He knows I have GI issues and I love Dr. Pimple Popper. But he still loves me, supports me, encourages me, and lets me be me.

I couldn’t be more grateful to have him in my life. He’s the calm to my crazy, the rational to my irrational, and the serious to my silly. I reflect on my life and I never thought it would be this great, but he has made the journey completely worth it. Everything else has fallen in place, I have a sense of self-worth and identity, my career is on track and on a path that I am enjoying, and all the pieces are falling together wonderfully. I love this man and everything about him (even the over-the-top cleanliness). Like a fine wine, we are just getting better together as time goes on.

I thank God every day for putting him in my life and changing it forever.  I just wanted to take a moment to show my appreciation for him. Because life is gooooood.