AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story was written in mid-February, before this season that we’ve all come to know as ‘unprecedented’. That said, this story speaks of less socially-distant times. We thought about editing it to suit today’s reality but we remain hopeful that we’ll be back to “life as usual” before we know it. When we get back, these words will be helpful and will forever be available for your reference in our Grace Stories blog archive. Until then, we have an opportunity to establish new habits and routines that will set us up for success when we re-enter life as we knew it and so the show must go on. Enjoy the story!
Do you ever have a day where you feel like you absolutely rocked it? It’s like all the stars aligned and you even had a good hair day. On those days, you feel like the best version of yourself and you are! Nice work, Mama!
Not too long ago I had the realization that I define myself by that version of my “best self.” If you asked me to describe myself, it would be her, that girl that can rock it like a hurricane (and I know a hurricane when I see one). I mean, I know I’m capable of being her but, if I’m being honest, that version was not the version that showed up for my life MOST days. And so, I had to ask myself, “then, who am I when she’s not around and why can’t I be that girl more often?”
Let’s address that first question first. Busy mamas like us are quick to focus on the things that drain our energy. For example, when someone asks how you’re doing, how often do you sigh and answer, “SO busy!” or “SO tired!”? We have overscheduled kids who require us to be overscheduled mamas. Add to that the fact that we don’t get enough sleep, we make little time for ourselves, and we spend our days sprinting to catch the hamster wheel. Being busy and exhausted becomes our focus.
But what if, when someone asked you how you’re doing – regardless of the truth – you answered, “Never better!”? I’ve been experimenting with this. It does two things: first, it makes the other person smile; even chuckle sometimes because they know you’re just as busy and exhausted as they are. The second thing that happens is that their smile makes you smile and suddenly your brain is like, “oh, snap, look at us, we appear to be rocking it today!” It’s the beauty of the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Defined by Wikipedia: Self–fulfilling prophecy refers to the socio-psychological phenomenon of someone “predicting” or expecting something, and this “prediction” or expectation comes true simply because one believes it will, and their resulting behaviors align to fulfill those beliefs. This suggests peoples’ beliefs influence their actions.
So that leads us to the second question: why can’t that girl show up more often? The answer: she can! Having awareness around my own limiting beliefs helps me get out of my own way so that I can be her more often! I’ve yet to be her all the days, but she’s started showing up more regularly and I attribute that to shifting my mindset and facing the “hard things” even on the hard days. For me, this started with getting really intentional around said “hard things,” i.e., my daily habits and routines.
Back on October 1, 2019, I joined Rachel Hollis in her ‘Last 90 Days’ challenge. The goal of the challenge is to end the year with intention so that you roll into the new year already rocking your best you. The alternative being: eating your way through the holidays and smashing face-first into New Year’s day only to set an unreasonable “resolution” that will never succeed because you’re coming at it as your “worst you.” GIRL, this challenge set me on a whole new trajectory!
The challenge involved participating in Rachel’s ‘Five to Thrive’ movement which is:
- Wake an hour earlier than you usually do to spend that time doing something intentional (i.e., read, journal, pray, exercise, have coffee alone – it’s up to you)
- Move your body for 30 minutes a day (i.e., Rachel H. says to do what you can with what you’ve got.)
- Drink half your weight in ounces of water (if you weigh 150lbs, drink 75oz. of water)
- Give up one food group for 30 days at a time in an effort to ditch a bad habit.
- Write down 5 things for which you are grateful
. . . and to do all of these things every day for 90 days straight – October 1st through December 31st.
It was practically cheating for me to join this challenge because I was already getting up at 5 am five days a week to go to a 6 am Pilates class. So I was knocking out the first two habits before 7 am. Add into that the fact that my diet is already so restricted there are barely any food groups left for me to “give up.” Plus, I was already doing the water thing (and I highly recommend it). So I leaned into the gratitude.
Gratitude was awkward for me at first because I felt obligated to write down the major things: God, my husband, my kids, my family, and my health . . . If I didn’t include those things, I feared I might be cited as ungrateful and arrested by the gratitude police. (Turns out, that’s not a thing, the gratitude police.) So I took Rachel H.’s advice which was to not overthink the gratitude practice and just be thankful for whatever moves me in the moment. I started writing down things like:
- The sun is shining today
- I got up and made it to my workout
- It’s not a hair-washing day
- My favorite pen
It really opened up a whole new world for me. I realized I had an infinite number of things to be grateful for and those things were everywhere! It turns out, when you practice being grateful, you can’t help but start to approach everything around you with a grateful heart and mindset. I’ve found gratitude to be extremely powerful and starting my morning with it absolutely sets the tone for my whole day.
And don’t just take my word for it. If you inquire with the interweb, you’ll find a tremendous number of benefits to practicing gratitude. Among them are improved health and relationships, increased energy, patience, optimism, and resiliency and elevated mood. Gratitude also keeps you present, gives you perspective and makes you happier.
Establishing daily habits and routines takes planning and practice. The more you practice, the more likely they are to become second nature. When that happens, you’ll start to live a life that affords you all of those benefits above and you’ll be on your way to rocking your best you!
Do you have a planned approach to rocking your best you or do you wing it? If you wing it, how often is she really showing up in your day-to-day life? Do you practice gratitude? Would you be willing to try it? You might be surprised by the positive impact it could have on your life – especially now when the fear of the unknown is working hard to steal the spotlight from our joy and positivity. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and that alone offers so much hope!
Rachel Hollis and the Hollis Co. just launched a Next 90 Days Challenge on March 30th. Amanda and I have signed-up and we invite you to join us! We’re coming together as an accountability team in our private Facebook group so if you sign up for the Next 90 Days, let us know in the group. I’m counting on all of us rocking our best selves come July 4th!