4 tips for adopting a more focused life #essentialism

What is essentialism?? According to Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, it involves pursuing the things that are truly important to you and eliminating the rest. When I first heard of this concept I thought it was fascinating, but didn’t know if it was do-able. At this point, considering the evolution of technology, the amount of distractions in life are endless. I wondered if it was possible to tune this out. What I found out was that you aren’t necessarily “tuning out”, but really just “honing in” on the things that you actually find meaningful and important.

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I’ve found that this is just like adopting any other healthy habit. Instead of focusing on what you are NOT going to do…ex:”not eating fast food”, focus on what you ARE going to do ex: “cooking at home”…Put the emphasis on what you are in control of, versus what you are avoiding.

Upon looking at my own habits, I realized I had a few goals that were going unmet, and meanwhile I was wasting time every single day doing things that I really didn’t care about (looking at gossip websites/magazines/social media/ blah blah blah). I am still at the beginning stages of adopting this philosophy, but was able to recently listen to a talk at a work conference on a similar subject, and had a few lightbulb moments.

As a real “people-pleaser”, it sounds heavenly to be able to focus on what really matters, while letting go of the rest… aka JUST SAY NO. I’ve been trying to use the word “no” more this year, and it’s surprisingly satisfying.

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Between my own experience, and from the extra materials I’ve been listening to, here are 4 tips for adopting essentialism:

  1. Know what you want. This is ABSOLUTELY the most important. It’s impossible to decide what doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what does matter. This may take a little soul searching, but think about what you want in life. How you want your life to feel. Consider your work life, home life, relationships, and even your personality type. Keep in mind, what looks good/fun/exciting on the outside, doesn’t always feel that way from the inside. If you are lost, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.
  2. Create a mission statement. After deciding what absolutely matters most (again this can include any/all aspect(s) of life… home life, family life, personal, spiritual, etc), create an overarching mission statement that will help guide your decisions.
  3. Accept the fact that saying no to what doesn’t matter =  saying YES to what does matter. It gives you more time  and resources to focus on your mission!
  4. Post your mission statement. In the conference I attended, we were encouraged to post the mission statement in a frame on a nightstand or on a bathroom counter, or even your desk. This ensures you are looking at it multiple times a day, and you can reflect on how your choices are measuring up.

Since I’ve had the topic of essentialism on my mind, I’ve been able to ask myself regularly “is this activity that I am doing right this second something that is leading me to my goals?”. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean going-going-going non-stop. Part of my mission statement includes nurturing my relationships, specifically with my husband. So if we are sitting on the couch together watching TV after a long day…well that’s time well spent! I’m mindful of the other activities we do together, but I don’t feel pressure to be chasing the grind 24/7.

One thing Greg said, that I thought was interesting is that people (esp in the beginning of a career/new job) want to be the “yes” person. While this may help you get ahead at the beginning, it’s no way to spend a career. You end up unable to focus on what you are good at or where your talents really lie. He mentioned that people actually end up getting farther ahead when doing what they are good at! Imagine that. #nobrainer

As I continue to adopt the practice of essentialism, I will continue to update with any changes I notice!

BTW here’s a great article from NPR, and there’s an interview with my girl-crush Chalene, on episode 3 of her podcast.

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Nordstrom Sale: fitness picks

The best sale of the year is here…the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. A million bloggers are picking their fall faves, but true to form- I’m focusing on the fitness outfits! There are some GREAT finds this year, including multiple pairs of nikes (!) …. check it out!

nsale-fit-picksThe tops:
1/2/3

The bottoms:
1/2/3

The shoes:
1/2/3

Happy shopping and have a great weekend!
*some affiliate links used

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Skinny Strawberry Limeade

With the crazy hot temps this summer, a cold drink is essential. Lemonade can be kind of a calorie bomb, so this is a tasty alternative. It’s super easy to throw together for a 4th of July BBQ as well.

strawberry_limeade

For each glass of limeade, you will need:
Handful of strawberries
Juice of 1 lime
1 stevia packet
8-12 oz water
Ice

You can either puree the strawberries, lime juice, and stevia or simply mash them together. If you are making a large batch (or don’t like “chunks”), I recommend blending or pureeing.

Enjoy!

 

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Half-way point

Somehow we are half way through 2015!!! SO crazy. This is a good time to check in and see if you are on track to accomplishing what you wanted to this year. If you wrote down your New Years Resolutions, have a look at them, otherwise just evaluate where you are at [personally, professionally, physically….]

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If you aren’t making progress or heading in the direction you want, only YOU have the power to drive your life in a different direction. Now ask yourself, where do you want to be on January 1, 2016???? What do you want to be the same? Different?

For me it’s been a crazy but fun year! I am half way done with grad school, we got our puppy who is now a (n obnoxious but cute) member of the family, almost done with my Masters Project, took a couple trips to CA, and finally- started a new job that I am so happy with! Going forward, I want to be sure I’m focussed on a couple financial goals I had set at the beginning of the year, and make sure I am continuing to make exercise a priority.

I know I said it before, but I really love this time of year…the temps are crazy this week, but I am so excited for the 4th of July. I want to make sure I’m soaking up as much of the summer as possible before heading into an insane fall semester.

Have a great month!

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Summer Bucket List

I feel like I’ve been in summer mode since the beginning of June when the rain finally stopped here in Utah, but technically it’s only been summer for a few days…which means we still have months of warm summer nights. Summer is my spirit season. I LIVE for that warm sun on my body. I think it’s the California girl in me. I’ve already had some summer fun with my recent trip to CA, but I want to make the most out of the next couple of months! (esp since I’m back to school come August…)

summer_bucket_list

So here’s my summer bucket list:

  • farmers market saturdays + fresh summer produce
  • cool morning//evening summer run (when the temp is 100% perfection)
  • outdoor concert. I’m thinking I’ll need to make it to this beautiful venue, but if all else fails–there are concerts down the street from me on some weekends!
  • POOL TIME [w/SPF obviously]
  • bonfire+s’mores (bonus points if it’s at the beach)
  • Make this skinny lemonade!

What’s on your summer bucket list??

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workout-wear faves: updated

I have tried a lot of different brands and styles of workout clothes in the past few years. Everything from $12 sports bras at Nordstrom Rack to $$ crops from Lulu. I’ve found that crops are always worth splurging on, but tanks can be inexpensive and still last a while. Here are my current faves!

Favorite tanks: the GapFit Motion Tank. The material feels expensive and washes up nicely. I wash on cold and hang dry and they have held up so well! Even better: the orange is currently on sale!

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Favorite Crops: These are a splurge! I got them with a bday giftcard (thanks mom!) and they are so worth the $$$. Some cheaper crops are okay for some workouts, but I like the good quality ones for cardio and leg workouts.  The in the flow crop is my current fave.

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Other favorites: The define jacket have it in gray stripe (no longer available), but I want the black. Fits great, and perfect for cool mornings, and gray layering piece in the winter. 

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Favorite Sports bras:

This inexpensive target find is so comfy!  I also am in love with this cute gap bra. It’s $40, but Gap has frequent sales. I never splurge on sports bras, but for larger chested ladies, this is an area worth splurging in!
Gap-sportsbra

What are your workout must-haves? Where do you shop for workout clothes at?? Have a great weekend!

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Motivation Monday: a brand new month

Happy Monday! I LOVE when the 1st of the month is on a Monday. It feels like such a fresh start to the month. This month I’m looking forward to visiting Santa Barbara with my family and naturally I’ll be laying on the beach. Can’t wait.

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With the crazy summer months upon us, I thought I’d share a little reminder that your workouts don’t have to take place in the gym! Go for a hike or a walk on the beach, do yoga in your backyard, swim laps at your hotel, go paddle boarding in the ocean. Fitness should add to your life, not be the focus of your life. It’s also important to remember that you feel better when you are working out (versus skipping your workouts entirely).  Sometimes I need this reminder.

Have a great month!

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