I Know Myself Too Well

Almost every morning, I wake up and I head to the gym.

I do this on purpose because it not only helps wake me up, but I also know if I don’t do it first thing, I won’t do it at all. In fact, and maybe I shouldn’t admit this but, I’m totally going to any way ‘cause, why not…Yesterday, I got up, not feeling my best, but with that “fight through it” attitude. I headed out the door knowing I had to stop at the local Clerks office to finish up some stuff for Feel This Happy, after I went to the gym.

The gym is legitimately 30 seconds down the same exact street.

In my mind, I was like, “Girl, you got this!”

Then I pulled into the gym parking lot, couldn’t find a spot, circled around and oops! Out the parking lot I went.

I know, I shook my head at myself, too. I justified it by parking where I would have to walk a couple extra minutes to get my papers filed. (Hey, at least I got that done.)

My point is, I know myself. I knew that when I got up, based on how I felt, it was going to be really easy for me to just not go to the gym – and, man was I right. The lack of quick parking space was enough for every fiber of my being to give in.

We all should know ourselves better than anyone else. So, what do you know about yourself when it comes to your goals?

Maybe you’re someone that doesn’t feel accomplished without a checklist. Or you know that you want to write more or be more artsy but don’t get in the right creative mindset until late at night. Are you someone that if you know there’s desert in the house, it’s a must after dinner? So much for that diet, huh?

I was you to take a moment and really think about the goal(s) you want to achieve and then think about how you’ve gotten in your own way.

What are the little things you can do to prevent yourself from being unsuccessful in your goals?

Things to think about:

  • Accountability is a huge factor in any goal. Have an accountability buddy to put you in your place if you’re slacking off.
  • Have a specified goal. Make tiny achievable goals that’ll lead you to the final, bigger picture goal. If you make more attainable commitments, you’re more bound to feel successful and confident in reaching what you desire to achieve.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re going to have bad days and bad moments along the way and that’s okay. Just shake it off and tell yourself you can do it! And remind yourself of the ways you’ve already been successful.

What’s Happiness?

What’s your definition of happiness?

While you think about that, I’ll tell ya what a quick Google search defines it as:

Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

Uh, okay, but what’s “contentment,” exactly?

A state of happiness and satisfaction.

Hold up just one… flipping… second. The one is used to define the other, so we’re right back where we started from?!

Yup. And ya know what? That’s not necessarily wrong. YOU define your happiness and the definition changes from person to person. So, it’s very important for you to figure out what it is that truly makes your definition come to life. Once you figure that out for yourself, it’s all about reaching the goals to make that a daily thing for a healthy, fulfilled life.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you what should be on your list because, it’s your list. My two cents doesn’t really matter. But, I can tell you what I have on mine:

  • Spending time with my family and closest friends
  • Being outdoors
  • Music – all forms
  • Being on the radio
  • Entertaining people
  • Helping people in the ways I can
  • Good food
  • Writing
  • Getting good sleep
  • Feeling successful each day and on my chosen path

These are just a few things that I have on my happiness list. They don’t all need to happen at once or every single day, but it is important to me that a few of them do. When you look back at your day, you don’t want to be weighed down by the frustrating bits that are out of your hands; your happiness is very much in your hands and in your control.

So, if you do anything to start your journey to your happiest today, create your definition; make your list and be like Santa and check it twice. Don’t leave anything out. This is your life and you deserve to be happy.

You Got That Hotline Bling?

I would tell you to put the phone down right now, but that might be how you’re reading this. If that’s the case, as you were…

But seriously, the moment you’re done, be done with the phone. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in it. It’s literally everything you could ever need in the palm of your hand (or is it?) Next time you’re out in public (maybe right now) look around and see how many people are on their damn phones. I know, I’m guilty of it, too. Especially when I’m by myself, because at least then I’m not ignoring anyone, right? Wrong. I’m ignoring myself and my mental health.

Put the phone down.

We have been trained that when the ding sounds or our friend gets up to use the bathroom, it’s time to check the texts or Facebook or TikTok for that silly 15 second video. But we’re zombieing out. (Not the dating term of disappearing on someone for months and suddenly reappearing…but also, don’t be that guy.)

It’s time to break the habit because, and you can do the google search yourself on that lovely little gadget, there are hundreds of studies and articles that link our phones to depression and anxiety, among other things.

It’s such an addiction that when we do go an entire meal or night out without looking at, we shock ourselves and it becomes a topic of conversation about our accomplishment.

So, as we go into the weekend, do yourself and your family, your friends, the people you’re around a favor and keep the phone away and just enjoy their company. Fight the urge and when/if it comes, refocus your energy and your mind on the conversation or the event happening before you and BE IN THE MOMENT.

The weekend is to kick back and relax and not scroll through your phone but have meaningful engagements with the people you care about. Even if you simply put the phone away for your dinner out, or play time with the kids, a game night with friends and then go back to it, as you slowly begin to change your habits, take note of how much more enjoyable that time was for you and the memories you made. You’ll remember the smiling faces more than a phone screen and that in itself is a prize won.

Does Happiness Come With Success?

There are two types of people coming into the New Year, it seems. I say it because I see it. It’s all over social media and I can almost guarantee you fall under one of two categories, ya ready?

You’re either:

New Year, New Me: Passionate, Goal Oriented, Ready to take on the year and doing it with a smile. Focused on the positive opportunities that are coming your way (whether currently seen or not.)

OR

New Year, Same Me: Falling into a clouded mind set, old bad habits and are focused on negatives in an overwhelming way. Everything seems like a failure and not a learning experience helping you to grow.

I have been reading “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor in which he writes, “…what we spend our time and mental energy focusing on can indeed become our reality.”

BOOM. Explosion. Mind. Blown.

Think about it this way:

We celebrate a success when it happens. It usually requires something rather big to be “celebrated,” right? So, maybe a promotion or you landed a big client. Whatever it is, you celebrate it during a Happy Hour after work with a few friends and that’s that. Done. Finito. Congratulations!

Now, think about all the little frustrations and annoyances you carry with you and give additional weight to day in and day out. These negative little bits, not only add up, but they can take over hours, days, weeks and they not only control how you are in the office, but how you are in life.

It’s said (and proven) that the happier you are in life, the more successful you become. The unfortunate truth is, we’re brought up to believe we’re only able to be happy if we are indeed successful.

But, what if we started to focus less on the little frustrations and gave more weight to our little successes? If we start celebrating each hurdle, even just a little and focused less on the printer being busted or how annoying it is when Karen clips her nails in the office, maybe our days become happier. Then suddenly our work becomes a little more accomplished. We’re happier in our days, which we bring home and now our home life is better, as well.

Celebrate your successes. Not matter the size. You’ve worked hard for them, you deserve it.

It’s Not the Win, It’s the Work

For those of us in New England, Tom Brady (the GOAT, the man, the myth, the more than a legend, Patriot) made a post on Instagram this morning and it’s not just any post but a reflective one. One that could be hinting of his free agency, but more importantly it’s everything within the message that is a lesson to be learned by everyone – Patriots fan or not.

The season ended for the Patriots with them on top, yet losing the Wild Card game that knocked them down and out for the season. Brady reflects:

…I wish every season ended in a win, but that’s not the nature of sports (or life). Nobody plays to lose. But the reward for working hard is just that, the work!!”

Like I mentioned in my blog from a couple days ago (“Remember: You’re Human”) nothing is picture perfect. No matter how far in your journey of career, relationship, family, home, happiness; you will grow and you will have moments where it feels like you’ve taken a step back. It’s witnessing in the moment how you handle situations to see just how better you take them on – that the work is the real prize and you see it’s paying off.

I’ve had clients who look at these, we’ll call them “little life bumps,” as failures within their journey and while I’m not a fan of the word “failure” I think it’s important to remember and repeat and reaffirm to yourself: Failure Is Inevitable. It doesn’t mean something ends, or you throw your hands up and walk away from whatever the situation might be. It means that you take the opportunity to soak in the lesson and learn from it.

Tom Brady’s Instagram post ends with this:

In both life and football, failure is inevitable. You don’t always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again.
And that’s right where you will find me. Because I know I still have more to prove.”

And you do, too, have more to prove. In the absolute best of ways. Wherever you find yourself on your path to happiness, keep proving to yourself just how beautiful the results feel when you see that hard work paying off. Dust yourself off and KEEP GOING.

View Tom Brady’s original post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7D5twlB76Y/

Behind The Mask

I was on the phone last night with a friend who pointed something out about me that I easily forget. See, she saw me at my absolute worst, during a time I was honestly starting to believe that I was the crazy one. (Nope, wasn’t me. It was just the narcissistic, borderline personality disorder denier without meds making me feel that way. Insert thumbs up here.)

She brought up this time that she stopped by the radio station I was working at for a lunch meeting. I was doing a pretty good job of putting the fake smile on my face and forcing down my salad and oh, would ya look at that, I had to go run to the studio – show time! The studio has always been a sort of “safe space,” where you’re alone, yet talking to potentially hundreds of thousands of people at any given time. It’s honestly a little weird when you think about it, especially since when my friend came to say her goodbyes, she caught me in a complete hysterical crying meltdown. Oops. Mask off.

I had been dealing with texts all day on and off that were incredibly hurtful and demeaning from my now long-gone ex and it was one more poke at my side that made me lose it. My friend was trying so hard to calm me down as I was explaining what was going on and then it happened. I stopped, mid-sentence, told her “hold on,” cleared my throat and went on the air sounding like the happiest, bubbliest, most fun person around.

Her mind was blown.

It was like I flipped a switch and turned into a completely different person, even if only for a moment.

Now, someone who has never been in a mental head space like I had been (or maybe you are in currently) might think that does make me sound like the crazy one. In reality, as one dealing with an abuser, we learn new skill sets to get us through our days. For me, I never once faltered at doing my job and doing it well. Not a single person listening ever knew that the girl making them laugh and smile, felt so worthless and pain-ridden.

I stayed in that relationship years longer than I should have, this story above is actually one of the moments that pushed me to leave. My health was affected, I was questioning my sanity, I was depressed and it turned out it was all due to a toxic person.

The moment I got away, was the moment I started to feel better, healthier, more “me,” lighter and happier. It was a slow and gradual change, but it took a situation like this to make me realize I wasn’t crazy, there wasn’t a chemical imbalance all of a sudden showing it’s ugly head, it was situational anxiety/depression caused by an incredibly toxic abusive person.

If you’re someone that’s going through a similar situation right now, I know how hard it can feel thinking of trying to get out. Every one of these types of situations are different, but they’re all the same in the way that we all feel “stuck.” Whether it’s a feeling we’re manipulated into, a feeling of guilt, a lack of finances or support – you’re never alone. You can get out. You can start your life over. It’s all about taking the first steps in your happiness journey.

If you know someone that you believe may be in a domestically abusive situation but are wearing that mask and wearing it well, let them know you’re there with an ear, a shoulder, a place to stay and that they are so very loved.

The Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/ Phone Number: 1−800−799−7233

If you’re feeling high anxiety and stress, look at your world and see where it’s coming from. Is it from actual things happening to you that are out of your control? OR Is it caused by things you can control? your work environment? a friend or family member that’s bringing the drama? Make 2020 the year that you remove anything toxic from your environment and watch how much better your space feels.

Remember: You’re Human

On your journey to happiness, every day isn’t going to feel good. Even when you’ve put in years of work and you’ve been at your absolute best place ever; a day or moment is going to hit where you want to throw your hands up and say, “Come. ON!!!”

I say that because that was me yesterday.

Listen, we’re human and we have emotions and feelings and some times it can just feel like too much. It doesn’t mean we take giant steps backward, it just means we’re alive.

What I can tell you is based on my reaction, and I notice this a lot about myself (you will too during your journey,) I can see my progress.

If this were a few years ago, the smallest of things could have broken me down because inside, I felt broken. I was abused for so long, I was like a battered puppy dog flinching at every situation I was a part of. I was admittedly in a very dark, uncomfortable place and I knew it. So, I did the work.

Now, yesterday, I hate even typing this but…it was a Facebook Memory. GASP They are meant to bring joy, but really they’re the spawn of Satan himself because it’s that very memory that can trigger the emotions within you.

It just so happens that 4 years ago, was what I had expected to be an incredibly positive turning point for myself. I had been out of the relationship abuse about 6 months, I had been doing a lot of work on myself and in my career, the radio station I had a large hand in had its biggest ratings in 18 years! Whoa! Big! Positives! are happening! ….right? Wrong.

I was laid off a month later, along with a few other people in the building. Since then, I’ve been laid off two more times (among other things.)

So, I saw that and I was tweaked.

I’m an incredibly positive person. But every so often there’s a moment like this where it feels like instead of celebrating my success, I’ve been forced to trip and fall over them, to climb my way back up only to have it happen over and over again – it can be defeating.

Here’s my point.

The Healing Process shows in how I dealt with it, compared to how I would have dealt with it a few years ago. Instead of allowing it to take control of my day: curled up in the fetal, crying my eyes out and wallowing over the past all alone in a dark room refusing to speak to others; I instead allowed myself to feel the upset and then…I moved on with my day.

Truth is, we’re all going to have these moments and it is okay to feel sad, frustrated and angry at things that happen. It’s all in how we handle it as these moments come.

Think about one thing that upset you today (I’ll wait as you sort through the possible hundreds on a first day back after the holidays.)

Ask yourself:

How long did it bother you? Will it bother you tomorrow?

Was this something that you could control or change?

Did you allow it to effect your productivity?

Was the anger or frustration guiding you? Or were you able to transform the energy positively?

Example: I was in a horribly abusive relationship, I got out of it depressed and “broken,” I had a panic attack and instead of focusing on the sadness and a pity party, I picked up my pieces and went through multiple stages of healing that all led me to create, Feel This Happy. I took my horrible experience and turned a negative into a positive.

This is a “bigger picture” type of example, but how can you do something similar with even the smallest of frustrations happening in your day?

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Life is tricky.

Every single one of us are on our own path and we have no idea what to expect, we just keep doing what we think is best.

Honestly, it used to scare the crap outta me, the unknown.

At the beginning of 2016, I had been at the same radio station for almost 9 years. It was everything I ever wanted. I was home, both literally and figuratively. I was living my dream. To top it off, I was really good at it.

Then, the unexpected came up behind me, pulled the rug out from under my feet and sent me straight on my ass: A budget cut. As you can imagine, it was immediate panic with a zillion thoughts swirling through my mind. I could barely focus.

What am I gonna do? I can’t move, I have a house. I don’t wanna move. What else am I even qualified for? How am I here when my ratings are through the roof? What is happening? I don’t want to work anywhere else. I’ve given my heart and soul to this place, it’s all I know. Is this all just a dream?

Stop.

You probably have a similar story of a situation that sent you into a tailspin. Life is funny that way. We’re all so different, but all so very much alike.

So, in these crazy moments, how do you handle things? It’s important to prepare because, I’m sorry to say it, you’ll have more of these shit storms coming, no matter how you play your cards.

Your mental health is key. So it’s important that you take care of it. If your mental health is well, healthier, when these crazy spots arise, you’ll react less extreme and more level headed.

Here’s a list of ideas that, when implemented, can help:

  • Doing things that make you feel good
  • Getting enough sleep
  • A regular exercise routine
  • Learning to journal
  • Meditation
  • Creating and Repeating Positive Affirmations

I have found that writing is one of the best things I have ever started doing for myself. Some journal about their days, some write stories, or keep gratitude lists; I write songs. It gets all those feels of frustration, sadness, disappointment, even happiness and excitement out. Having that energy, even a little bit of it leave your body, can feel like a weight lifted. Soon, you’ll feel as light as a feather.

Start small. Try out just one of these into your life to begin. Hold yourself to it daily, even if only a few minutes and gradually grow it to a few more and allow yourself some true “you” time. See how you change, see how you feel. Feel free to report back.

New Year, New Me

It sounds so cliché: New Year, New Me, You, Everyone. But, many do look at the flip of the calendar year as a chance to fix all the problems in their lives.

And I’m totally here for it!

Just remember: Absolutely nothing, I repeat, nothing in life has a quick fix. (You in the back, you hear that?) Anything you want to achieve this year is possible, with work.

That last part is so incredibly important. It’s also why so many people don’t live up to the resolutions or goals they’ve set out for themselves.

Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve had so many people comment on my positivity, my outlook on situations, my “bright light” and it feels really nice, but it hasn’t always been this way.

For me, what worked were small changes, because small changes can produce big happiness. I’ll give you an example:

I was working nights and would sleep in every morning until my body woke up. Some days it was 9am, some days it was later. But, I never really gave myself a routine to follow, so I changed that. I made sure to get up at a reasonable hour and head to the gym first thing. This pumped up the start of my day so I would no longer feel so out of whack because of my weird schedule. I became more productive and felt more accomplished all because of one…small…change.

Another example:

I noticed I was stressed, but it wasn’t because of anything I personally had going on. It was residual stress. Stress acquired from toxic people in my life. So, I cut it out. I deleted the drama. This is a small change, but not always an easy thing to do because, if you’re like me, you don’t want to hurt anyone. But, if you understand that, even inadvertently, they’re hurting you, then what are ya doing keeping them around?! (C’mon, you know I’m right.) So, they had to go. Weight lifted and almost immediately.

Think of your resolutions (and if you didn’t make any, make one right now.) Is it trying to lose a few pounds? What can you do in your life to help you reach that goal? Maybe it’s a matter of having others hold you accountable. Post it on your social media and keep track of your progress so others can cheer you on. Maybe you want to be more well rested but you find that the time always seems to get away from you. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself that bedtime is approaching and stop what you’re doing to prepare to let your head hit the pillow.

It can be as simple as one small change to start your journey to your happiest. What will you implement to get yourself started today?