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The Key to Finding Your Groove in the New Year

runnerHello 2015. Time to resume. Back to work, back to school, or just back to day-to-day, and perhaps our old routines. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a very long break and it feels so much harder to get back into a groove.

This got me thinking; are we still inclined to return back to our OLD routines in a NEW year just because it’s comfortable?  Or have we thought about changing it up? Indeed it’s a perfect opportunity to do so.

I would say that if your old routines are still working for you, there’s no reason to fix what’s not broke. But if you are slipping back to the same old routines that no longer inspire you to do better or be better, perhaps it’s time to implement a change.

If you find yourself trudging through the days more robotically, rather than sprinting through 2015 as you thought you would, here’s some encouraging thoughts to chew on.

Time.  Give yourself some time to get your mojo back.  It’s only the first week of January. It takes time to acknowledge what’s no longer working for you.  Personal change happens very slowly, so let it.   If you pay close attention, you will know if you are correctly aligned.  You will feel this.

Organize.  Engage yourself.  To channel your cognitive self,  simply start with organizing anything.  Any space, any drawer, any counter.  When you ask yourself  “how will I organize this?” or “how do I feel about that?” it invites self-discovery.  I always say that the process of organizing teaches you so much about yourself.  It can be very clarifying and eye-opening.

Shift.   Even one small realization can shift your thinking. No need to re-invent yourself.  Open yourself up and you will evolve naturally. Make small shifts, not monumental changes. Walk in those new shoes for awhile and find your rhythm.

There’s lots of pressure to live up to the “New Year, New You” campaign.  And while it is a highly motivating concept, there are those that suggest this implies there’s something wrong with the old you. To that I say with implicit conviction, just be “better,” not newer.


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Labor Day Weekend’s Long Goodbye; A.K.A The Wake-Up Call

IMG_1273_optLabor Day weekend punctuates more than just the final days of summer. Sometimes the end of summer feels more like the end of an entire calendar year than it does the end of a season. Why do you think that is?

It’s probably because this forward transition entails more extreme changes in our schedules, routines, activities, and weather.  For those of us that don’t have summer all year round, we feel the marked differences more acutely. Summertime seems to convey a more relaxed vibe and so our schedules generally reflect that. Even businesses implement summer Friday privileges with casual attire, half-days, or more days off. We all feel more laid back as we frolic in the easy breezy days of summer. The pace seems slower and life feels good.

Understandably, when it ends, it feels abrupt and wakes us up. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Reality bites. Fall is encroaching, you can go kicking and screaming but it’s still going to happen regardless. Some of us transition with a great more resistance and reluctance (I confess, that would be me), while others welcome the return of a routine. But a balanced life is all about adjustments and change, and so we must learn to adapt.

Mindful acceptance is crucial in order to regroup and transition without getting stuck. Flow with the change and propel yourself forward. It’s yet another summer that has passed us by and it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs, coolers, and summer toys. Deflate the pool rafts, not your soulful spirit. These rituals are just reminders that it’s time embrace change. Look at it as a good thing. The end of a season stops you in your tracks and forces you to check in with yourself.  It begs the question, what’s next?

Remember that endings are also beginnings; the end of one thing is just the beginning of something else.  It’s OK to make Labor Day the longest goodbye ever to a fabulous summer, so join me in bidding it farewell. It was fun while it lasted but it is time to move on.  Adieu 2013…See you next year 2014.

Together, let’s embrace the next season with new opportunities and possibilities. Do you know what your “next” looks like yet?

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Easing Kid’s Back to School with Organization

After a fun-filled summer of relaxed schedules and extended bedtimes, returning to back to school regimens can be a very difficult transitionfor most children. Particularly, if there were little or no parameters enforced throughout the summer, this can be a stressful time. So if you’ve been guilty of “no schoolbook, no rule-book,” now’s the time to re-calibrate.  Emergency call for structure and organization, STAT.

Whether your child is entering Kindergarten or returning back to a familiar school, most kids experience some level of anxiety prior to the first day of school.  New routines can be scary.  No matter how old the child, they fear the unknown because it is unpredictable.  Studies have revealed that children adapt better when they are prepared and know what to expect.

As parents, the best way to ease your children’s trepidations is with steady and consistent preparation.  The power of organizationcan be calming because readiness exudes a significant measure of confidence.  So if you haven’t already started to organize for school, start now.  Have those conversations about the first day of school.

  • Review their school supplies with them and pack up their school bags now.  Why not be ready?
  • Discuss the new schedule; and morning and nighttime routines.
  • If what they wear is a concern for them, come up with a plan to make the mornings less stressful.
  • Start adjusting their bedtimes now so they can adapt to the eventual earlier rise. Teach them the value of being punctual and being prepared.
  • Make rules. Children need parameters.  In fact, they require them to make them feel safe.

Clarify your expectations. Discuss the rules.  But above all, listen. 

Listen to their fears or worries.  You can alleviate a great deal of their concerns by organizing their routine, their stuff, even their thoughts. Pre-schoolers will require a lot more instruction and direction to feel secure.  But think about it, even students entering High School have an orientation day to aid them with their distinguishable transition.  Most schools offer a walking tour prior to the first day, so inquire within your school district to schedule one if your child is apprehensive.

Do whatever you can to make your child feel at ease.  It could be a trial run to school, making a play date with a classmate, or jotting down helpful reminders or guidelines to keep in their book bag.

Everyone feels more comfortable when they are prepared and are informed. Rules aren’t exclusively designed just for school.  It’s part of life’s lessons.

For most of us, preparing your children for life is a parent’s eternalhomework, don’t you think?


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Habits Worth Breaking: 9 Symptoms of a Bad Routine

Do you find yourself repeating the same bad behavior?  Are you stuck in bad routines? There is something oddly comforting about sticking with the same old routine, albeit a poor one.  We simply don’t have the time to analyze our every day so we merely continue to repeat the old and familiar patterns.

Ahhh…imagine if we only had the time.  Think for a moment about the possibilities of making the time to change the habits that are no longer working for you.

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with your life schedule, maybe you can identify with the following likely symptoms of a bad routine.

1.  Your morning routine is actually not a routine.  No 2 days are alike.

2. Most mornings you feel rushed and continually search for the same items prior to exiting your house.

3. Typically, you are jumping in for a quick shower instead of enjoying a leisurely one, and time to gather your thoughts for the day.

4.  The kitchen sink seems to be always full of dirty dishes and the dishwasher is always full of clean dishes, not emptied.

5.  Your solution for not hanging up your clothes is failing because every back of a chair, banister, couch, and treadmill is already over-utilized.

6.  You don’t ever schedule a meal.  Hence you eat whatever, whenever.

7.  You don’t have time time for the things you enjoy because you are too busy with the “have-to’s”.

8.  Coming home at the end of the day, you feel a more heightened sense of anxiety, rather than a place of sanctuary.

9.  Increased tension by the end of every week.

Of course if these are your routines and they work for you, by all means, stay with it.  No need to fix what’s not broken.

But if you are frustrated and unhappy with your daily routine, you must make it a priority to implement some change.

    • Can you eliminate one thing you do every day that is counterproductive?
    • Can you find a way to make a “have-to” more enjoyable?
    • Can you modify the way you manage your time?

All routines have a time-management component and so if any of these symptoms resonate with you, it’s time to adjust how you use your time.  Here’s the simple tip;  Always allow yourself more time for everything. It is an effective stress reducer.

    • Think about your day the night before.  Prepare.  Do something that will make the next day run more smoothly.
    • Rise earlier, more wiggle room.  Time to breathe.  Have the nice long hot shower.  Make the time for a healthy breakfast.
    • Have a plan for the day.  Follow through the entire day, including meals.  It could mean defrosting necessary food, purchasing ingredients for the dinner menu, or making a reservation!  It doesn’t really matter what the plan is, just have one.
    • At the end of your day, hang up the clothing immediately because they won’t hang up on their own.  They will still be there tomorrow and beyond.  Avoid letting them accumulate.  Ditto to the dishes.

It’s a goodhabit to change bad behavior.  Give yourself a break today and break a bad habit.

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