Self Love

How To Change Your Life In One Exercise

My Friends!

I am super excited to switch things up a little bit this week on the bloggity-blog.

So instead of hearing MY thoughts and words, I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine: Courtney Rioux, a clarity coach for actors who feel stuck and want more out of life (and an actor as well!) 

She has such an infectious spirit and I cannot wait for you to dive into this exercise today -- I'll be doing it right alongside of you!

So set a timer for 10 minutes on your phone, grab a piece of paper and let's do this thang! 

 

How to Change Your Life in One Exercise

by Courtney Rioux

If you catch yourself avoiding something that you want to do, it’s because you’re associating more pain with the action than pleasure. But guess what? There is way to crush these mental blocks and fears – the very ones that are preventing you from creating the life you want!

Today I’d like to share an exercise that will get rid of your bad habits and create some new, empowering habits in their place. This is important because your habits are what created the life you have right now!

Do You Choose Pain or Pleasure?

When we’re in the habit of putting things off or associating pain with things that must get done, you actually have to trick your brain into changing its focus so that you want to do it.

Here’s what I mean...

Think of something that you want to do but you’re not doing because it feels hard. Maybe it’s cleaning the kitchen, or pressing play on your workout DVD.

Maybe it’s submitting to an agency or writing that book or meditating or eating clean. Whatever it is, let’s change your frame of reference on that thing right now.

Take out a piece of paper. On the top of the paper, write down whatever it is that you’re avoiding.

Draw a line down the middle both ways, so that you have four squares.

In the upper left hand corner, write, “Why I want to do this.” In the upper right hand corner, “Why I don’t want to do this.” In the lower left hand corner, write, “Why I’m scared to do this.” And in the lower right hand corner write, “Why I’m scared I’ll never do this.”

And then fill in the answers! Don’t judge them, don’t edit them; just write them down and some things will pop up for you that may be surprising.

You’ll see, “Oh, I get it! I’m afraid to do this because I’m afraid of what other people will think of me. Okay. So what if I didn’t care what other people thought?”

After you do this, you’ll have a lot of insight into how you’re thinking about these seemingly impossible tasks.

Take a moment to reflect. Focus on the two squares that read, “Why I don’t want to do this” and “Why I’m scared to do this.” Maybe you have answers like, “It will take too long,” or “It will be hard,” or “It seems impossible.”

Reflect on those. Are those things really true? Is it really hard to sweep the floors? Is it really impossible to fill out your tax forms?

Why are those two things not true?

Next, focus on the other two squares. And think, “Okay, I’m really going to remember that I love to clean the floors because it makes me feel organized and empowered and it makes me actually do all the other things I want to do.”


Take This into the Real World

I’ll give you a real-life example from one of my clients. I was working with someone who woke up in excruciating pain every morning. She could barely get out of bed because she was in so much pain and she would miss work because of it.

She found out that if she quit eating sugar she wouldn’t have any pain. She felt 30 years younger, she had energy and vitality and could finally live her life fully!

But then she started to associate sugar with fun. Now, if you associate sugar with fun instead of pain, what do you think you’re going to want to do? Yeah, you’re going to want to eat it! Why would you ever want a life with fun cut out of it?

I took her through this exercise and it completely reframed her perception of sugar. She was able to completely cut it out of her life – and you know what? Not being in pain is a lot more fun than eating sugar!


Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below with the homework that you did.

What was the thing that you were avoiding, and what did you gain from working on it?

 

Wanna connect with Courtney?

You can find her at The Whole Artist, or on Instagram (@courtneyrioux) or Facebook (@thewholeartist)

A Love Letter to You

This has been a tough week. For everyone.

Blue. Red. Somewhere in between. Wherever your political stance lies, I think the bigger picture is that it appears that we live in a divided world. 

And I'm sure you have spent your time feeling a myriad of emotions. I know I have. And most have you have probably gone about your day like always because...well...you're not quite sure what else to do.

And you know I'm alllll about feeling the feels. So please, DO THAT. Cry if you need to. But once you have, make a decision to focus on what you CAN do.

Instead of spreading MORE hate, spread LOVE.

Instead of lashing out at a family member that doesn't share your views, remember that they too are human and are doing the best they can under their given circumstances.

When we focus on the troubles of the world, we shape and condition our inner world, but the opposite is also true. If we focus on our LIGHT, it has the power to transform the world around us. This is a practice. One that is easier to do when we work together with other light beings. When we share our own light, it is amplified and supports others in shifting their focus towards their essence, revealing the majesty of their numinous presence. This is how we can transform our outer world. 

So I want to encourage you to be a LIGHT. For yourself. For others. Because goodness knows, we need it now more than ever.

Below I have listed some of favorite practices for transforming the darkness and returning to the light. We have the ability to move mountains. To shine bright. Let's do it TOGETHER. Ok, beautiful?

Xo Amanda


Some Suggested Practices for Harnessing the Light Inside of You: 

Get Moving

Go outside. Take a breath of fresh air. Walk. Run. Kick serious ass at your workout. Do some yoga. Just MOVE. And remind yourself that you are still HERE. 

Our Voice

What comes out of our mouths is what shapes the world we live in, and ourselves, really. When we practice focusing our conversations on the beauty, joy and abundance that surrounds us on this beautiful planet the world becomes more beautiful. The story of the future is the one that is coming out of our mouths today. 

Right Action

What if we focused on bringing beauty to all we say, do and see in the world? A good place to start is to list all the ways we ARE beautiful and filled with light. Focus your energy THERE.  

Stop Listening to the News

I know this is hard. I used to think I had to know everything about what’s going on in the world. But, if you need to know something, it will come to you. What is important is looking for you. When we focus on the mystery and wonder of the world it changes us and as we change the world around us changes. 

Look for the  Light in Everyone

I read this quote and it really spoke to me right now. Not sure the source, but I'll let it speak for itself...

"Even the people who we feel have committed unforgivable crimes were born into the light. By seeing them in their Divine essence we heal our own darkness and open the door for them to transform. That doesn’t mean we don’t stand up against injustice and untruth, that is part of being a light in dark times. What we look for shapes what we see."

Practice Gratitude

When we practice giving thanks our whole world transforms. Keep a gratitude journal and practice recognizing and verbally acknowledging the people and things that bring joy into your life. 

*I learned a new practice to get to sleep recently: Go through the alphabet and think of something that you are grateful for that starts with each letter. I have yet to get through the alphabet and have been waking up more positive and refreshed. 

Set Your Intention

Everything starts with a clear intention. What kind of life do you want to be living? Use anything that seems in opposition to your intent as a doorway to locating and transforming the actions that are contrary to your intention. Intention can move mountains. Be willing to go into the dark to find your light. 

Read and Reflect on Personal Development

 It all started with my interest in finding quotes, poems and writing that could inspire me to overcome my inner shit talker. And now? I can't go a day without it. It may seem "woo woo", but I promise you, if you dedicate 10 minutes of your day to personal development, you will grow and SHINE.  

Take the time to Grieve when it’s Appropriate

It takes an enormous amount of energy to suppress our pain. To really step into our light we must have compassion for the pain of the world. Authentic grieving leads to appropriate action. It wakes us up to new possibilities and creative ways of bringing them into fruition.

How the eff to figure out what path to take?

Doesn't it feel like this is just the question of the century?

We're in a "what's my purpose" trend of life right now. In the past year, sooo many of my friends are having quarter life crises (me included you guys), and the question we are all battling always seems to come down to what the hell we're going to do with the rest of our lives.

And I get it.

I mean, if you're anything like me, you spent your younger years going to an intensely academic school where everyone and their mother were lawyers, doctors, biz peeps, you name it.

Entrepreneurs? Girl bosses? Creatives?

Not so much.

So, I just figured that was my path too. Gonna go and get my major in English lit and be a lawyer just like my Mom. Because that's just what you do!

Well, I am SO grateful I had parents who encouraged me to look to my passions and my heart before making a decision like that because chances are, this Health Coach entrepreneur creative artist would not be writing you gorgeous babes this blog post. 

And here's the thing, I have a bunch of friends who are doctors and lawyers and who truly LOVE it. It's what lights them up and that's AWESOME. I am by no way saying that it's not a valid path. But it wasn't right for me.

And what I've been hearing from sooo many of my friends is that they're miserable in their jobs. They spend their days exhausted, burnt out and doing something that is unfulfilling. And I TOTALLY get where they're coming from. After I graduated from acting school, I had to find a "day job" -- aka, in the world of an artist, a job that will pay your bills so you can continue to live out your dreams of being an actor because, newsflash, acting jobs don't pay so well. Wompidy wompidy.

So I did that. I worked so many jobs that I didn't love. And I became that girl that I always told myself I would never be -- the girl who isn't living and breathing her PASSIONS.

Cue: quarter life crisis

And you know what I did? I quit all my stupid jobs and I gave myself a few months to figure it the eff out. And that's what brought me here. To Beachbody Coaching. Because I was able to sit down myself and ask myself some really tough questions that helped me decide what path I wanted to take.

Now I'm not telling you to go and quit your job. Hell naw. I mean, by all means, if that's what you wanna do, I'm not going to stand in your way.

BUT, I am going to share with you some of the tools that I used to get there.


I want you to sit down with a pen and paper -- JUST trust me on this, ok? And for the next 15 minutes (or when you have a break in your day, COME BACK TO THIS), just write and don't edit yourself.

And answer the following questions...

What lights you up? 

Ex: For me? The list includes... snuggles with my hubby, long walks with my dog, morning me time, pancakes for breakfast, dancing in my kitchen, singing at the top of my lungs, being surrounded by incredible empowering women, climbing trees, spending time at my cottage

If you could create your perfect day, what would it look like? 

Ex: For me, I would be at my cottage, with my family and my hubby Kevan and our dog Toby. I'd spend the morning on my dock, alone, doing yoga and reading some personal development book & journaling. Then breakfast (my dad's pancakes, duh!), followed by lake time adventures and lots of canoeing. After lunch, we'd play board games and drink tea and have good conversation and for dinner, we'd bbq and sit outside and watch the stars. Followed, OF COURSE, by snuggles.

What do you NOT want in your work life?

Ex: I do not want a 9-5 schedule. I don't want to have a boss. I don't want to have to commute in my car to work. I don't want to be restricted to vacation time to go on holidays. I don't want to work with lazy, needy people. 

What DO you want more of in your life?

Ex: Freedom, Joy, Energy, Laughter, Time with my family & friends, Travel

**Share your answers to these questions in the comments!**

What did answering these questions reveal to you? Are you living a life that's in line with what you really want? What you value most? Or are you just doing something because it's what your degree happens to be in?

It's time to start aligning your LIFE with your VALUES.

I know it's scary to realize that you're not leading the life you want. Truuuuust me. But isn't it better to take ACTION towards leading your dreams than to sit there, year after year, watching them fade away?

I dare you to start getting REAL with yourself and stop settling for a lesser life. You deserve it.

 

Oh, and p.s. for some extra goodies...if you haven't watched our first episode, it's alllll about this topic ;)

How I Stopped Wearing Busy as a Badge of Honor

I know, I know, you're BUSY. 

Girl, I get it. I've been right where you are, running around like a chicken with your head cut off, feeling like you have no fucking time to do anything. 

You're exhausted.

You're burnt out.

And you're just need a break.

Sound familiar?

If you're anything like me, then the answer is a resounding YES. And for so long, I was PROUD of how busy I was. I'd be on the phone with my best friends and they'd ask me what I've been up to and I would say "oh, you know, just super busy!" -- I know you do the same, girl. Hell, we've been taught to embrace the hustle, right? 

"Just keep trudging along!"

"Good things come to those who hustle"

 

Well, here's what I've learned after wearing the Busy Badge of Honor for FAR TOO LONG:

 

 Hustling is not fun. Hustling does not spark JOY in my life.

It makes me tired. And irritable. And those are the last things that I want to feel in life.

 

Six months ago, I got SO BURNT OUT from being Busy all the fucking time (and not spending time on the things that really made me HAPPY) that I had a full fledged breakdown. Scratch that -- try multiple breakdowns. I was so busy hustling my way through life, making plan after plan, saying YES to everything that I forgot to make time for the things that really mattered to me. 

I forgot to make my DREAM LIFE a priority.

 

And shouldn't that be our focus? I mean, hell, we were put on this earth to LIVE, right? Not coast and come to the end of our years to look back and think, "Wow, what a busy life I led."

HELL NAW.

I want to look back and remember the CHANCES I took. The FUN I had. The ADVENTURES I went on. The LOVE & FRIENDSHIP I experienced. The LIGHT, JOY AND FULL life I led.

Not a boring, jam packed exhausting life that left me wondering what I could have done differently if I had just made time for it.

 

So, I did a crazy thing. I quit my job(s) and started my own business where I get to be my own boss and have the FREEDOM to get work done on my own time.

 

Every day, I get to SOAK UP my morning, get my workout in, take a leisurely shower, enjoy a beautiful big breakfast while reading a book with a cup of Buddha's Blend tea in my owl mug and spend an hour journaling before I start my day.

Every day, I get to spend my day in yoga pants. I can go for afternoon dates with friends whenever I choose and plan a last minute trip home for a week without having to ask someone else's permission. 

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to quit your job.

I mean, by all means, if you are not loving what you're doing and you're feeling super burnt out and you just are looking for a change, then girl, maybe it's time for a change of pace (and if you'd like to see how I managed to start living my FUCK YES life, Click here !) 

 

What I am saying is that I want to EMPOWER you to start making time for the things that make you happy. I'm still working on this (yep, I may be my own Girlboss now, but I am an overachiever and still have to WORK at making time for the things that light me up), so hold me accountable too, lady love, ok?

 

5 Ways to Keep the Busy at Bay

1. Wake up 30 minutes before you normally would. Light a candle, pull out a journal and start your day with gratitude or read something inspirational. Doing this in the morning can have such an incredible effect on your mindset for the rest of the day! Try it, I dare ya.

2. Have an especially stressful day at work filled with to-do tasks? Take yourself on a 15 minute walk outside. Studies show that getting fresh air and your blood pumping will actually allow you to focus so much better than trying to power through. 

3. Say NO. Yep, you heard me, and girl, it's OK to say no sometimes. You HAVE to prioritize yourself, and if you're constantly saying yes to every event, dinner date, extra project and task, you are going to drive yourself bonkers! You are not superwoman, and nobody expects you to be!

4. Schedule time into your calendar and title it "Me time" every single day. Treat it like an appointment. You wouldn't miss a meeting or your doctors appointment, right? Your me-time is just as important, if not MORE so, so make it a non negotiable and WRITE IT DOWN.

5. Build healthy, sustainable habits by grabing your FREE Busy Babes Guide to Healthy Living E-book to rock out your health and fitness journey in a STRESS FREE, and efficient way -- ya know, so you can live your freaking life and not have to stress about this shit either ;) 

 

“Some people never get a chance or give themselves a chance of celebrating life. All they do is work and work and work more. They never celebrate their own life or enjoy this gift called life.

Thats why they are always worried, complaining, stressed and busy. They have everything going for them, but missing the pleasures and benefits of living. Why work so hard if you cant enjoy what you have worked for.” 

 

Why aren't we kinder to ourselves?

Kindness has been on my mind a lot lately.

I've seen it in myself, and with so many of the ladies in my Challenge Groups -- the shaming, the cutting words, the shitty ways we speak to ourselves after we've "messed up", done something "stupid" or "failed". 

It's pretty incredible how much we can shit on ourselves. Yup, I said it, shit on. You know you do it, too. Hell, I would be shocked to find a woman out there who has never once said something shitty to herself. Let's face it, we all do it.

This is something I've been actively working on changing in my own life -- paying attention to the thoughts that go through my brain, and catching myself when I have a thought that's unkind or doesn't serve me. And I've found that just by getting curious with my thoughts and allowing myself to be aware of them, that they have been happening less and less. 

But the other day, I caught myself being really unkind to myself about something -- I don't remember what it was, but I was BLOWN AWAY at how harsh & negative I was choosing to perceive myself in that moment. And I thought to myself, "Jesus, Amanda. Why can't you just be kind to yourself? You're doing the best you can."

 

And it really got me thinking...WHY do we do this in the first place?

 

This is something I've been grappling with for the past few weeks, and based on my own personal experience and what I've learned from my never ending endeavour into personal development books, I have a few theories...

 

Why we aren't kinder to ourselves:

1. Our Ego

Our Egos often are the reasons we don't accept ourselves for where we're at. You know all of those thoughts of you won't be happy/worthy until you're a better person, or you have a better job or you're in a relationship, or your making more money? Yup, that's your ego talking, girl.

For all my perfectionists out there, I know you feel me on this one BIG time because I was RIGHT there with ya --- Self proclaimed recovering perfectionist at your service.

We think we don't deserve happiness or praise because we haven't reached whatever standard of perfection we think we need to attain. But we don't have to be perfect to be happy NOW.

2. We repeat what we see

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? Well, it can also be a detriment to ourselves if you're imitating the wrong person. 

Most people I know have someone in their lives (a family member, friend, teacher) that is just an all around negative nancy, expressing judgement after judgement, being highly critical of other peoples actions and behaviors. Chances are, they are probably also expressing these feelings with respect to themselves. 

When we're surrounded by people who are unkind to others and to themselves, especially at a young age, we learn that that is OK. Heck, that it's normal & just what you do!

3. Compare compare compare

We live in a society where so much of other peoples lives is on display and, because of that, it gets super hard not to play the comparison game. So, instead of focusing on what is going well in our lives, we focus on what we don't have, or what we feel like we "should" have accomplished by now.

 

How we can turn that Negative Nancy around and show ourselves some love & kindness:

1. Pay Attention to your Thoughts

Notice your automatic negative thoughts, and try to replace them with neutral or positive ones. For example, instead of saying something like "I'm so stupid" or "I really messed that up", try replacing them with "I made a mistake, but I can learn from this" or "I'll do better next time."

2. Speak to yourself like you would speak to your Best Friend

When your best friend messes up, do you tell her what a terrible person she is and that she isn't worthy of feeling happiness? Hell to the no. (And if you do, you just aren't a good friend...sorry to break it to ya.) You lift her up and tell her that mistakes happen and that they don't DEFINE you. 

So the next time you catch yourself being unkind to yourself, I want you to think, what would I say to my best friend if she were saying these things to herself? 

3. Focus on the GOOD instead of the SHIT

So often, we put all of our focus on what is NOT going right in our lives (and so often, we have no control over those things!) I want to encourage you to start focusing on what is going WELL in your life. On all of the things you HAVE done. On your successes. 

Start to notice all of the little things you accomplish each day and congratulate yourself on those things! Take five minutes before you go to bed and write down 3-5 things you accomplished that day. By focusing on what you DID do instead of what you DIDN'T, you'll be in a much better mindset to accomplish the other things down the road :)

Personally, I've found that by implementing these things into my life, that I've been much happier. It's so crazy what a small shift in perspective can do to one's happiness -- Just by CHOOSING to be kinder to myself on the daily. And it has made me so much more compassionate for others as well...

Yup, let's just say that this girls road rage has significantly decreased in the past few months. Which, for anyone that knows me super well, knows that this is HUGE for me.

 

What has been your experience with this? Have you been able to get curious with your thoughts and shift them to something positive?

I would love to hear all about it! Feel free to share in the comments below, or to message me directly if you'd like to chat about it some more. I'd love to hear from you!

Why Self-Care Is Not Selfish

I always used to think that focusing on myself was selfish.

I put ALL of my energy into other people, and poured myself into all of the numerous obligations and commitments that I took on in my life.

I was a YES girl. The idea of letting someone down was not an option in my world (and is still something I battle with to this day), so I did everything in my power to make every one else happy, often at the sacrifice of my own personal well being.

But here's the thing: what I failed to realize for so long is that by not prioritizing myself and my self care, I wasn't able to be my best self

Last week, my hubby Kevan and I had to move out of our brand new home in our cute, cozy neighborhood in Logan Square, into a glorified dorm hotel room in the heart of downtown Chicago. And to be 100% REAL with you, I have had a really hard time handling it. 

I haven't lived, or really ventured much, to the loop (Chicago's downtown area) since I was in College. I may be an extravert, but man oh man do I appreciate being able to come home to a safe, quiet and comfortable space. A place where I can create, relax and connect with myself and my thoughts. And a teeny tiny hotel room in the middle of downtown just doesn't do that for me.

I never realized how much impact my surroundings have on my emotional well being. And let's just say that this past weekend, I hit my breaking point

I was in a MOOD.

Chances are, if you're anything like me, you know exactly what I'm talking about...

Feeling like nothing is going right and feeling helpless because you feel like there's nothing you can do about it.

And nothing that anyone else says or does can possibly make you feel better. 

So you end up spending the day drowning in self-pity and frustration. 

SUPER FUN, am I right?

Hell NAWWWW. 

Feeling like shit is just NOT what I signed up for in this life. 

So, after spending the day feeling super mopey and like there was nothing I could possibly do to make myself feel better, I made a decision.

Instead of focusing my energy on the things that I couldn't control and on how frustrated and uncomfortable I was with our situation, I made a promise to myself that I would switch my focus to what I COULD CONTROL. That I would make it a priority, every single day, to do the things that make me feel HAPPY & GROUNDED.

To put Self-Care at the top of my To-Do List.

What does this mean to me?

To me, self care isn't just about taking a bubble bath or getting a massage (although that can be part of it), but it's more so about a state of mind. And a decision to stand up for yourself and decide that you are worthy of true happiness.

It means putting my own needs first.

It means listening to myself and honoring the signals that my body is putting out.

It means carving out time in my day to do the things that light my soul on fire, instead of numbing my mind with hours of Netflix (as tempting as that may be).

It's doing things like waking up early for my morning workouts because it will start my day off feeling energized and strong. 

Or harnessing my creative energy and working on a project that I've been putting off because there were "other more important things on my to-do list".

To me, Self Care is all about taking ACTION on how I want to FEEL.

 

...And guess what? It worked.

 

Just be shifting my MINDSET, all of the overwhelm, the frustration & the pain went away.

Is my situation still the same? Yep. Are a bazillion things still out of my control? You betcha. But by implementing self-care into my day to day life -- by placing my energy into doing things that made me FEEL good -- I was able to turn everything around for myself, and become a way more enjoyable person to BE around as well ('Cuz yup, as I'm sure you've noticed, when you're not taking care of yourself, it's damn near impossible to take care of other people in a way that's positive for them!)

True self-care is about honoring, nurturing and loving ourselves, and it is fundamental not only to our personal well-being, but also to our relationships with the people closest to us. It empowers us to be more generous and truly available to the relationships with the people closest to us. 

It also is not always EASY. It takes COURAGE & true DEDICATION, especially for those of us who are so used to giving all of our energy away. 

But is it WORTH IT. Hell to the fucking yes.

 

Because when you start taking care of yourself, AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN.

 

You'll feel amazing & nourished from the inside out.

You will be able to bring LIGHT and JOY to your relationships and everything you do.

You'll be the most effective and energetic version of yourself. 

 

Here's a quote from The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte that has really STUCK with me:

"Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.
When you’re not feeling the way you want to feel, it can take just a small gesture to shift your state of mind. Seek out environments that match your desired feelings.
You can change your life daily, practically, through small, deliberate actions. Let the beauty and the power rub off on you. The idea is that you do easy, natural things that are aligned with your core desired feelings. These small, steady actions won’t change your life in a flash, but they will change your life day by day."

 

self-care-is-a-divine-responsibility.jpg

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It has taught me SO much about living my life in connection to my values -- and it literally helped me uncover what my core values (or what I like to call the things that light my SOUL ON FIRE) truly are. If you want to really dive in and get down and dirty with your self-care, I cannot recommend it enough.

_______________________________________________

In the meantime, I encourage you to take 5 minutes out of your day and write out how you want to FEEL. What your true values are. Dig deep, listen to your heart, not what your head thinks you SHOULD want to be feeling.

 

For example, my current Values are:

JOY - CONNECTION - COURAGE - BLISS - STRENGTH

 

Once you've done that, write down things that you can be doing, on a daily basis, that would allow you to achieve those feelings. And here's the kicker, PUT THEM INTO ACTION. Because without actually implementing these things, you won't get to truly taking care of YOU. 

 

Show up for yourself, Lady Love. Even if it's just for 30 minutes a day. Because, hot damn, you DESERVE to be happy.

And man oh man are you WORTH IT.

 

All the Love & Light in the world,

Xo Amanda

p.s. I would LOVE to connect with you about this! Email me your Values & we can chat about how to really DIG IN and take care of YOU. :)

 

 

 

You are Enough

Have you ever felt like you are not enough?

 

Not pretty enough? Not smart enough? Not good enough? 

 

I know I have and DO all of the time. When something goes wrong in my life - I get into a fight with my friend, I disappoint my husband or I'm not successful in my career adventures -- I look back on the situation and feel things like: I'm not compassionate enough OR I'm not present enough in that moment OR I'm paying enough attention to that OR I'm just not good enough.

This is something that I've been really working on for the past few months because when I feel like I'm not enough, it eats me up inside. I fall apart. And feel like there's nothing I can DO to change the way I'm feeling. 

And after a lot of soul searching, reflecting and talking with some gorgeously self-aware women, I've come to a startling realization:

I have been allowing others to define my worthiness. 

 

I'm an overachiever. Type A. A self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist. And for so much of my life, I quantified my achievements as worthiness. I defined what I like to call my "enough-ness" by my attainment of goals and things that are outside of my control.

I would do so many things because I felt like IF I did them, then I would be worthy. And I put all of my identity and my self-worth in this one facet in my life. IF I lost 5 pounds. IF I could run a 5 K. IF I was making a certain amount of money.

IF IF IF IF.

Always focusing on the boxes I felt I needed to check off for my life to LOOK the way I thought it needed to look. On how others would perceive it. Instead of doing and placing focus on the things that LIGHT ME UP inside and make me feel GOOD.

 

But here's the thing...no one decides you're worthy except YOU. 

 

There's no dictionary definition of what makes a person worthy. No universal boxes that can be checked. 

So why do we constantly look outside to feel worthy instead of focusing on our insides. We make the rules. We have the POWER to decide how we measure our enough-ness.

 

 

So how do we CHANGE our mindset?

I am no expert in this, but here are some things that I have found super helpful along my journey to Enoughness.

What is the Root cause for your feelings of not being enough?

Did a parent tell you that if you didn't get a certain job or live a certain lifestyle that you wouldn't be good enough? Or maybe an ex told you you were "too emotional" and so you equate being good enough in relationships as not showing your true feelings? Or maybe you've been exposed to environments or people that have modeled certain behaviors that have imposed certain beliefs into your life. DIG DEEP. This is not easy and will likely uncover a ton of shit, but it's necessary to understand where all of these feelings stem from before you can actively CHANGE your perspective.

+ Declare that you are WORTHY

You are the one who gets to decide whether you are the worthy, so SAY IT. Will you believe it at first? Hell NO. But if you say it every single day, you will condition yourself to believe it. Write it on a post it. Put it somewhere you can see every day. You may not believe it now, but COMMIT yourself to getting there. 

Say something like "I am committed to exploring my worthiness." OR "I am exploring what self-worth looks like." You've gotta start somewhere, am I right?

I can't believe that I lived DECADES of my life thinking that my worthiness was based on what happened to me in my life. I am so grateful that through my Personal Development journey, I have been shown the LIGHT. That it is POSSIBLE to change the way you talk to yourself about being Enough. 

The first step? Being Aware.

And guess what? Chances are, if you're still reading this, and if this has resonated with you in some way, you're already done the hardest thing. Acknowledging the possibility that maybe, just maybe, WE can decide what it means to be ENOUGH in this world.

 Life is a journey, one that I am definitely far from perfect with, but I think if we all strive to live our lives with JOY and COURAGE, we can find clarity beyond what we ever imagined possible.

This is a small part of my journey, one that I'm still and will always be working on. As always, I'm here for you if you want to chat

Wishing you all the light & love in the world,

Amanda

 

How To Find Your Inner Badass

So often, I hear people in my life say things like: "I hate my job", "I feel like I have no purpose in life...that I'm just coasting." OR "I'm just not happy."

Have you ever felt like this before?

Well, I for one definitely have. I've worked countless meaningless jobs just to pay the bills. I've felt so frustrated with my day to day life. I've spent so many of my days focusing on how upset and unfulfilling my life was becoming instead of MAKING A CHANGE to pursue a better life.

Change is scary. Or at least, it's always been that way for me. When I was a kid, if one little aspect of a tradition changed, I would cry for hours. I wasn't trying to being dramatic, I was just so crippled by the fear of the unknown. Yes, change can be scary. It's EASIER to just keep things the way things are, even if it's not making us truly happy. To coast through life, working jobs that don't fulfill us or not spending time on the things we truly love to do.

But is that any way to LIVE? 

 

When I look back on my life, the times where I have found the most JOY, and that have brought the most LIGHT to my life, have been the times where I made BIG changes. Monumental changes. Changes that scared the shit out of me to make. And, looking back, not once have I regretted taking those chances. Because, in that moment, I allowed myself to just say Fuck it. This is something I want and I'm going to find a way to make it happen.

 

I recently listened to a webinar with the author of You Are A Badass and she said something that really stuck with me. 

 

"The very experience of being ALIVE is uncomfortable. So why fight change? Just go and do it. Don't wait. Leap, and the net will appear." - Jen Sincero

 

Yes, Change is uncomfortable. But so is NOT making a change! 

Isn't it uncomfortable knowing you've been through a four year degree and worked two years in the field that you studied in, all the while coming to the realization that this is just not what makes you happy? OR that getting up every morning at 6 AM and working in an office from 9-5 is sucking the life out of you? 

YOU have the power to live the life that you want to live. You're the one steering the ship. No matter how STUCK you feel in a situation...in a job ... in life ... YOU can lead your Dream. You can do the things that light you up inside.

 

All you have to do is have the Courage to say Yes. To Say, I am worth it, and take the leap of faith.

 



Yes, it can be scary. Trust me I KNOW. But if there's one thing I have learned in the past few months it's that you have to go outside of your comfort zone if you want to make changes in your life. Three months ago, I took a HUGE leap of faith. One where I decided to finally invest in ME. Pursue a completely new path - an all around lifestyle change, really. And it has been the BEST decision of my life (other than marrying my Hubby.) 

By saying YES, I get to spend my days how I CHOOSE to spend them.

By saying YES, I wake up every single day with a smile on my face.

By saying YES, I get to be constantly surrounded by the most authentic ladies who inspire me to be a better person every single day. 

By saying YES, I have become the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my life.

By saying YES, I finally feel unstuck. Lit up inside. I finally feel FREE.

It was scary. It was uncomfortable. But it was so freaking worth it.


So...Where do you start? 


+ Read something inspirational. I'm a huge Personal development junkie and reading books has been a HUGE avenue for me to finding my inner Badass and figuring out what really resonates with me. 

Just TRY something. Maybe you'll love it, maybe you won't. But if you never give something the chance, you'll never know. 

+Listen to your gut. If there's one thing I've learned it's that my gut is usually pretty bang on. Your body KNOWS what you want out of life - what the things are in your life that light a fire inside of you. It's your job to LISTEN and make those things a reality in your world.


And, as always, I am here for you. If this resonated with you at all. If you're looking to make a change in your life. If you want to know how YOU can do what I do. Or if you just wanna chat! I don't bite, I promise ;)

Xo Amanda



How To Stay Positive When Shit Hits The Fan

No matter what you do to set yourself up for success, sometimes life happens and shit just doesn't go the way you'd planned. Can it suck? Hell yes. Do you have your "why does this have to happen to ME" moment and feel all of those feelings and maybe cry a bit into a big chunky blanket while eating copious amounts of chocolate? Been there, done that. But what I've found has been a game changer in my life has been choosing to move forward and live life with a positive outlook, even (and especially) when the hard times are happening. 

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. Christmas is my favorite time of year, hands down. Seriously, guys, I'm a little obsessed. It's unnatural. And I was so happy I was able to spend Christmas with my family this year (being an actor, I don't always have the luxury of doing so), but let's just say that things did not end up how I had anticipated. My hubby and I rarely get to spend substantial time in my hometown with my family, and we were so looking forward to having our second Christmas with my parents, my brother and my extended family. Unfortunately, we were in for a rude awakening when we received news from our neighbor that our new condo was experiencing a major leak. And I'm not talking a small drip coming through the ceiling, oh no. Streams of water coming down the walls, through our electrical panel, BAD. 

After only being with my family for 24 hours, my hubby flew back to Chicago to deal with the damage. I wanted to go with him, but we would have had to buy two whole new flights instead of just one and really, there was nothing that I could have done to help under the circumstances. So he left, and I was left feeling helpless and sad. We just bought this place. It's our first home, and we finally got everything put away, decorated the way we wanted and it was finally feeling like home. Like ours. And then this

So here's the thing, me a year ago would have been FREAKING OUT. I mean, having a full on panic attack. Sobbing for hours. Feeling sorry for myself for days on end. And don't get me wrong, I definitely was upset, and I shed a few tears. But because of all of the personal development I've been doing this past year, I was able to stay positive, and have been able to continue to do so. My Secret? It's oh so simple.

Instead of focusing on the bad, I choose to focus on the good.

Say that line out loud to yourself. Sounds easy, right? Well, it can be, but it takes dedication. You have to choose to practice Gratitude. If you have never done this before, it can sound super kitchy but I promise, it works, dude. This has been fundamental for my mental health and since living my daily life focusing on what I'm grateful for -- what's GOOD in my life -- the dark days haven't felt quite so dark.

So here's my challenge to you. To help you stay positive when shit hits the fan:

Carve out a few minutes every day and write down 5 things you're grateful for. Even better? Do it at the same time of day so that you make it a habit. I like doing it while I'm drinking my morning tea. Find what works for you and stick to it. Keep that list with you every day. I like using a little pocket journal that I bring everywhere with me. That way, when I need a reminder or when I'm feeling frustrated or upset, I have something positive to turn to.

Totally do-able, right? It takes so little time but is so impactful. 

Here are my 5 for this mess I'm in:

1. Our Unbelievable Support System. Our family & our friends have come to our aid in all of this in ways we never imagined. We are so lucky and so thankful.

2. My Husband. Seriously, this man is a fucking rockstar. He dealt with all of the bullshit and made sure that I didn't have to come home to a giant shit show. 

3. My Business. In the short month of being a Health Coach, it has filled me with so much light. My #StrongNotSkinny challenge started today and these girls are so ready to take on their goals and make positive changes in their lives. They are my constant inspiration and I am so happy to be a part of their journey.

4. My Health. I am so grateful that no matter what, I have an able body that allows me to move & be consistently strong. Working out and being active has been such a source of strength and positivity for me and no matter how bad my day is, a workout always makes it better.

5. Adventure. We may not have a home for a while, but it'll be an adventure right?! Couch surfing, living out of suitcases -- it'll be a story we will have for the rest of our lives.

 

So there you have it, folks. I hope that when your days are at their darkest, this will help you find the tiniest sliver of light. 

Xo, Amanda

 

Top Three Podcasts for Self-Love & General Badass-ery

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Okay.

Cat's out of the bag. I've got a confession to make....  I am a Podcast Junkie. 

I know, I know. I'm late to the podcast train. I'm sure all of you are thinking, seriously Amanda? You're just now understanding the awesomeness that is a podcast? (And if you're not thinking these things, then PREPARE FOR YOUR LIFE TO BE FOREVER CHANGED AFTER READING THIS). Well, in short. Yes. Yes I am just discovering this. And let me tell you, in the past month of being exposed to this art form, my life has changed in incredible ways. 

Now I know you're thinking...but there are so many options out there!!! How in God's name am I going to sift through all of the shit to find the hidden treasure?!!?!?!?! First off, take a deep breath, it's gonna be okay. You've come to the right place. Because chances are, if you're reading this (and have been reading my previous blog posts), you know that I'm all about authenticityself-love and being a general badass. Sound like you too? Then man oh man do I have some podcasts for you. This shit is incredible. So get ready for these to Rock. Your. World.

Here they are folks... Hold onto your hats.

 

1. The Joy Junkie

Amy E. Smith runs this podcast, with the help of her co-host, Mr. Smith (her down to earth and incredibly goofy hubby). She is a certified life coach and former actor who is unapologetically herself, which is probably why I love listening to her so much. She focuses her podcasts on positive self-talklearning how to love yourself, and how to be authentically YOU. She's sassy. She's confident. She's hilarious. She's REAL. Basically, I'm obsessed with her and I feel like she's speaking directly to me in every single episode. Chances are, you will too.

Who Would Click with This?

Women who aren't afraid to stand up for themselves. Anyone who finds dirty jokes amusing. Women searching to "find their voice". Actors. Anyone looking to live a badass joy-filled life.

Listen To

+How to Stop Talking Shit to Yourself

+ Becoming Badass: 5 Ways to Stand the Fuck Up For Yourself

2. Your Kick-Ass Life with Andrea Owen

Holy shit do I love this lady. Andrea Owen is a 40-something year old mom with two kids who has been through a lot in her life & she isn't afraid to share everything and anything with her listeners. She's honest & she's incredibly passionate about living life without apologizing for who she is. I actually discovered Amy E. Smith of The Joy Junkie by listening to Your Kick-Ass Life because guess what? They're best friends (and they only came into each others lives when they both started living authentically as themselves instead of living a life focused on constantly pleasing others and forming into the "average mold" that society has trained us to fall into). She's an award winning author and just a beautiful spirit who has been through hell and back again. It's so encouraging to hear that no matter where you are in life, living authentically is possible.

Who Would Click with This?

Perfectionists. Moms. Anyone who deals with anxiety. People who love a good laugh. Women who are afraid to live the life they were meant to live. 

Listen To

+How To Be A Badass

+What Perfectionism and a Shit Sandwich Have in Common

+You Are Enough

3. The Lively Show

I don't know how I just discovered Jess Lively but I am so glad that I did. She's this adorable Midwestern girl that is all about living life with valued based intentions & listening to her is an absolute delight. Every Thursday I have a date with her podcast & it has quickly become a weekly staple of mine. She always has such incredible people on her show to interview and I find myself nodding my head along with every episode and screaming "Yes!" to so much of what is being said. I just CLICK with her content and I love how much she mixes things up and appeals to such a diverse network of topics. Check her out - you won't be disappointed.

Who Would Click with This?

Anyone wanting to start a new business/small business owners, Creative people, Couples, Bloggers, Foodies.

Listen To

+Curiosity, Epic Self-Compassion, & Creativity

+How To Eat Intuitively During the Holidays

I hope these bring as much joy to your life as they have brought to mine. I encourage you to really listen and absorb what these women have to say. You'll be amazed at what bringing this form of thought into your life will do to increase the positivity and joy in your day to day life.

 

You still here...? What're you waiting for? Get your podcast ON!

Why it's so important to Feel and Express Gratitude

This time of year always makes me feel extra grateful. I mean, when you're a Canadian living in the US of A, you get two Thanksgivings for God's sake! But why is it that it takes a holiday that's sole purpose (other than stuffing your face with turkey and pie) is to say what you're thankful for to really feel and express gratitude? Shouldn't this be something we practice daily? 

I know that I always feel more full of love, light & joy when I feel express gratitude. My day is infinitely better. Lighter. A bad day can turn into a good day on the drop of a dime when I sit & think about the things in life that I'm grateful for.

Sure, I'm having a bad day. I forgot my lunch at home, the dress I wanted to wear today fit weird so it took me ten extra minutes to decide what to wear which made me later than I wanted to be and my tea got cold by the time I got around to drinking it. And I sit in those feelings. And I sulk. And I have a pretty crappy day. But WHY would I do this when I could avoid feeling like this? When a small act that takes less than two minutes could turn my day around?

So...I've decided that enough is enough. 

Starting today, I am going to start making a list of the five things a day that I am grateful for. They can be ANYTHING. Anything that sparks joy inside of you when you think about it. And what's more, once a week, I'm going to express gratitude one of the people in my life that are a constant source of joy, love & support. Because, well, the world needs more gratitude in it.

_________________________________________________________________________________

My Gratitude List for the Day:

+ My Hubby. He's my Best Friend, my Soulmate, my Partner in crime & my #1 supporter

+ Personal Development Books. Soul searching is my fave past time. Do it. It's a beautiful thing.

+ Nature. Small parks in the city. Trees. My soul is alive when it's surrounded by nature.

+ Yoga. The stillness, strength and beauty it brings to my life everyday is immeasurable.

+ The Little Things. The moments in your mundane day that take my breath away.

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Are you up for the challenge? What are five things you are grateful for today?