Habit vs. lifestyle: a rule of thumb

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As we dip our toes into the New Year and revisit goals or “resolutions” we made, it seems fitting to discuss habit vs. lifestyle. From what I’ve read, the 21/90 rule of thumb says it takes 21 days to build a habit, and 90 days to build a lifestyle. As you chew on that, remember: the more you “put out” what you desire more of, the more you attract the same. That goes for the bad stuff too. Is this the year you practice more #selflove? Show more #kindness? Kickstart a creative venture? Learn an instrument or a foreign language? With the advent of 2020, perhaps a new habit becomes a lifestyle brimming with healthier choices. Or maybe, like me, you simply want to treat each new day as an adventure, and to make space for a lifestyle that attracts abundance. Take the first step and commit to one day. Then the next. And see where it takes you.

Are you building a new habit or a lifestyle?

Resigning ourselves to embrace each season

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Live each season as it passes;
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Over the past few years, I’ve learned a little something about “Club 50.” It comes with a tiny downside called menopause. While I’ve been navigating this new season of empty nesting, adventure seeking and pre-retirement planning (the countdown is on!), the sneaky little “M” visitor swooped in under the radar and stole my life as I knew it—leaving behind a lack of ambition, fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, excess weight, acne breakouts and an outcropping of coarse and curly sparkles. And that’s just the beginning! Thankfully, there’s hope. Or so I’ve been told. Because I still have a lot of living to do, embracing each moment even on the days when I must dig deep and fake it until I make it. Or the days I simply laugh my way through because it beats the alternative.

What season must you embrace?

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How a life-changing adventure works

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Twenty-two days after I started a three-week factory reboot, I boarded a plane for a life-changing adventure—an opportunity to practice many of the concepts I’ve been studying and writing about: setting intentions, working smarter, finding your support system and establishing a vision. It began with a three-hour flight to SeaTac, my premier ferry ride and 100 miles behind the wheel of a rental car that transported me to Washington’s Port Townsend off the Puget Sound. For four days, along with a fellow tribe of writers, I immersed myself into all-things literary—from tips and tools to hone the craft, to one-on-ones with our host, to free-writing sessions—while making time to explore the idyllic town, savor tea at Pippa’s and sample my first authentic Thai cuisine. Although still processing where to go from here, I’m determined to hold onto the space I created there—a low-key, stress-free rhythm—because it’s only life changing if I allow it to be.

What kind of life-changing adventure do you crave?

Never the perfect time: sticking to our priorities

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You know when you plan to do “the thing” and there’s always another thing that comes up? Because life. Last year I devised a plan to apply for my MFA in 2017. My goal was to apply by Feb. 1. Then life happened and pushed out my application to May 1. Now it might be July 1. I mentioned this to a friend who said, “It’s like having kids… you are never really ready for it, just adapt when it happens and, surprisingly, it usually works out just fine.” He’s right: because life. Another friend is embarking on a new adventure of her own, denoting a big change in her life—which means conquering her fears. Change and fear are often synonymous with life, but we do our best to adapt, or to overcome. With that in mind, after work I didn’t pass go or collect $200 but, instead, drove home, stopped procrastinating and made significant progress on my application paperwork. Because life.

What must become your priority?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Working out the cobwebs

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Cobwebs

 

In my post ‘Fodder to fuel a passionate life,’ I talk about my recent adventure on the road, absorbed in all things books. The following morning, decked out in layers to accommodate the desert morning chill, I returned to my muse, this time the mountain trails beneath my newly broken-in boots and sunshine lighting my path. En route, I chose one character from the book I ‘wrote’ aloud during last month’s hike and, for two hours, I fleshed out a 3-D person as real as you or me. The key, I learned in a weekend workshop, is to plot your story via motivation. The clearer picture you develop of the individuals who live and breathe on the page, the more believable they will be to your reader. And, if you’re lucky, your characters might end up writing the book for you. Those two hours zipped by before I knew it—another creative and physical workout under my belt. Until next time.

How do you work out the cobwebs?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

That’s why they call it the blues

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The blues

 

The evening following a recent hike I succumbed to the doldrums. The next morning I was no better. I could blame it on the denouement of a fun-filled weekend and the start to a new week that both proved lackluster at best. Or maybe the break from the Bikram yoga hot room placed my last nerves on edge. As hard as I tried to tap into the root of these feelings, the further from a solution I positioned myself. Yet, deep down, I knew the reason. In the midst of a weekend void of commitment, I neglected to commit to the one thing that affords the most soothing balm to my psyche: write. When I finally accepted my culpability, I experienced a loosening in my soul, a pardoning if you will. And I proceeded, with enthusiasm, to arrange an upcoming writing adventure that promises to transport me not only into the mountains next time, but on the road. Stay tuned.

What is a significant blues-maker in your life?

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Throwing in the (proverbial) towel

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Throwing in the towel

[Image credit: FrameAngel]

One of my friends said I don’t go looking for drama; drama shows up at my doorstep.  I used to think my life was boring—monotonous even.  And then a tragedy struck my family nine years ago and nothing has been the same since.  Right now, I could really use some monotony.  However, one positive outcome of all the drama is a far-from-empty story coffer.  Because that’s the stuff books are made of—real life accounts that real people can relate to—trials, unrequited love, pain, sorrow, joy, adventure.  Through the characters in the books we read, we can either share similar experiences, live vicariously or even be thankful our daily lives are less scarred or messy.  And as much as I want to throw in the towel at times and declare, “I quit,” I know that one day my stories will be even more believable.  But until I’m published, I’ll simply grab my towel and keep heading to yoga.

What triggers you to throw in the towel?