Do you know those things that make you sweat? The things that make you feel anxious? The ones that make you want to apologize when you didn’t even do anything wrong? Well, that is how I feel when it comes to verbal communication.
Communication has never been a strength of mine. Well, let me rephrase that–verbally communicating how I feel and what I need has never been easy for me. My brain was wired to devalue my feelings and needs and overvalue another. It was a learned behavior that I needed to learn how to harness.
Courage to Communicate
I remember distinctly the first time I verbally voiced what I needed to my husband.
My husband and I were sitting on the couch one night after he had gotten home from work. I knew that walking, yoga and physical activity helped me manage my anxiety and could feel my anxiety slowly creeping up. I wanted to go for a walk by myself to breathe, take a time out from the kids, and relax. However, with two small kids at home and a husband that was working a very physical job, I felt that his happiness and relaxation were more important than mine. Asking for a “break” made me feel guilty.
However, at that moment, I knew exactly what I needed and I needed it so badly I had no choice. I swallowed my fear and verbally communicated to my husband that I needed to go for a walk. I paused. And waited. Brian, my husband, said, “Go, hun. I’m good” without flinching. I felt an immediate sense of relief at that moment.
This may not seem like a big deal to some but for me, it was a milestone. That moment where I voiced my needs and wants set a solid foundation for my future. Today, I am able to voice bigger things like my views on parenting, life, and business. It’s also led me to now be able to agree to disagree, be okay with someone not liking what I have to say, and setting time for myself and not feel like I have to ask for permission.
Learning How to Listen
About ten years into recovery, I discovered that I didn’t know how to effectively communicate. I also learned that how well you listen has a major impact on the quality of your relationships with others.
I didn’t know how to listen. I was continually projecting what I thought others were thinking and saying before they even finished talking. With that, I was actually preparing for a rebuttal and would instantly shut down or bark back the moment I would receive a response that I didn’t like.
I had to relearn how to listen.
Even though listening may ‘sound’ easy, listening well is a gift that not everyone has. Improving your ability to listen well will enable you to assess situations with more clarity and gain insight into other people, their opinions and the overall circumstances of an event. Listening well can prevent you from misreading a situation and making mistakes –like I was doing.
Make Your Voice Heard
I decided somewhere along my journey, with the help of the yoga I know, meditation, and fully embracing the love of those around me to press on. To keep voicing up. To keep asking those uncomfortable questions. To say what I need to say.
Speak up, friend. You deserve to speak. You have something valuable to say and your voice matters.
And each time it will only get better. Each time you voice up and choose to communicate instead of hold it in, you will get better at it. Each time you ask that uncomfortable question it feels less uncomfortable. Each time you will get more precise at what you need to say and how you need to say it.
Work in Progress
I have learned time and time again in life and business that it is MY responsibility to ask questions, inquire, and do research if needed. This practice, in a sense, is putting myself first, and at the same time putting the other person first as well, because now communication is open. My advice, start with safe people. Start in safe environments and with small less scary things to communicate. For me, it was wanting to go for a walk. For you it may be voicing that you want Mexican food tonight instead of just saying “I don’t care”.
Full disclosure, doing these things is super hard for me. Still, I’ve discovered that time and time again; I am continually putting others’ well-being, happiness, comfort, and satisfaction above mine. And I am so grateful I have developed an ever-growing toolbox to help me build up these muscles in my life and business.
Let me help you get rid of stress so you can press on to the next phase of your life.
Check out my blog: 3 Yoga Poses to Banish Stress Instantly
We understand that during this time there are a lot of unknowns. What exactly COVID-19 will do and how things will play out is still a big unknown!
And we deeply appreciate each and every one of you. Everyone is being affected by the current state of our country and world. From family life, to work life and it’s times like these that we often throw self-care practices out the window.
It may seem silly but, during this time, I want to suggest we stop and reflect on how we can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.
Together let’s be a part of the solution!
With the outbreak of COVID-19 impacting our state and local community, we are focusing on doing things we need to do to keep you, our community, our staff, and our facility as safe and as healthy as possible.
For many yoga studios, they are facing challenges with running classes and keep things clean and hoping those who are sick do not come to class. To all those who attend group activities please use common sense when engaging in public activities.
So let’s take this time to make sure we are practicing good hygiene and supporting others to stay healthy!
Here are the current guidelines and announcements from federal, state and local agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations: HERE
Consider the following when out on the road, in the efforts to stay healthy and help others do the same:
1> If you are feeling healthy, keep moving. Keep walking, keep exercising. A healthy body and mind can reduce stress and boost your immune system.
2> Support each other in cultivating a gratitude practice. Dr. Joe Dispenza conducted a study that found: Practicing gratitude for 9-10 minutes, 3 times per day, for 4 consecutive days increases the function of your immune system.
3> Get some quality sleep. Check out our guided meditations to help you get some much-needed shut-eye! Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Research has shown that T-cell production increases with consistent good rest and sleep. Naps are GREAT!
4> Consider how you can support the health and comfort of your neighbors and friends. Check up on anyone you know that may have compromised health. Stay connected via phone, text, and email.
5> Be mindful of the source of information. Be thoughtful before sharing or posting. Question information that might be untrue or cause concern.
6> If you have a compromised respiratory system, immune system, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and/or diabetes, stay safe and stay home.
7> If you show any signs of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), Contact your health care provider and use common sense. It may not seem like a “big deal” but others may not have as strong of immunity as you do. Consider others and their health as well as your own during this time. It is difficult to discern the difference between Coronavirus, Influenza, the common cold, and allergies.
8> Minimize exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) by following the hand hygiene guidelines – washing your hands with soap and water while you sing the ABCs and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor.
DIY Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer: Fight COVID-19:
>>1 Tablespoon aloe vera spray or gel
>1 Tablespoon alcohol-free wich hazel (you can find this at the dollar store, Walmart, CVS)
>1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil (if you can’t find it, don’t stress, you can go without)
>10-20 drops essential oil blends like Young Living Thieves or Doterra On Guard, or DIY your own blend using: cinnamon, myrtle, tea tree, lavender, rosemary. Use what you can find!
It’s important to choose essential oils that are anti-bacterial like the ones listed above. The use of alcohol continuously on your skin can really dry out your skin. By combining aloe vera gel or spray into your mixtures you can nourish your skin as well. I prefer the spray as it’s not so clumpy and easier to mix.
Practice good social etiquette: wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your arm, and use paper towels when opening doors. Or at a minimum just we aware that the germs we spread not everyone’s immune system can withstand.
I am reminded during this time how we get what we give. So during this time give patience. Give kindness. And give good hygiene. You may never get COVID-19, but let’s make sure you don’t make it more difficult for others.
No matter what your personal stands is on our countries current state. One thing is clear, we must show kindness, and remember that although we may be healthy and never get sick or test positive for the Corona Virus, that doesn’t mean we won’t negatively impact another with our choices.
As someone who has an Uncle with cancer, a cousin who today is going in for heart surgery, and friends and family members with compromised immune systems prior to the Corona Virus. I ask you to do your part and ask yourself do I need to go out? Is telling the world I think this is silly on social media helping or hurting? And how can I support others?
Sometimes supporting others is by the following suit and washing your hands and reducing unnecessary trips to the store. And finding ways to support others in new ways. Think of all of this as a means to expand yourself in ways you otherwise wouldn’t.
Now make some DIY hand sanitizer and go wash your hands.
Want to read more?
Check out Hope’s recent blogs:
And we always appreciate it when you LIKE and SHARE our content. It helps us reach more people just like you. During this uncertain time, keep your mind focused and full of positivity, read from accurate sources, and be kind!
It’s people like you that make this world a better place! Keep being you. Keep being amazing. And keep sharing the gratitude and sweetness!
>>>>>An Attitude of Gratitude and Meditations to go with it!
>>>>>Simple Solutions When Life Feels Like a Mess
And remember no matter what, “Girl, Wash Your Hands!”
In honor of washing your hands. Order one of our GIRL, WASH YOUR HANDS TEE’S and we will donate $1 to Project HOPE to aid those who are truly affected by COVID-19.
>>> ORDER YOUR TEE HERE <<<
How to Ditch Your To Do’s and Start Thinking in Results!??
I have struggled for years feeling like I would always get so close to what I wanted, and then, I don’t know how else to explain it, but I just couldn’t get there.
What the heck was going on?
I could start the engine, but boy oh boy, why was it not taking me across the finish line?
Maybe you can relate. You see the vision, you know what needs to happen (at least most of it), you get it started, then WAMO! Something happens and all this other stuff starts to get in the way.
I mean, sure, it’s kind of important stuff. But none of it ever seems to help you reach your goal. There is just always MORE stuff piling up.
Yesterday morning I was gently reminded this morning that it’s not about a to-do list it’s about a results list.
For most of my life, including most of my adult life so far, I’ve only looked at the tasks in front of me.
AKA the overwhelming mountain that is just about impossible to climb up.
I pondered for a quite some time about the idea of looking at what you want versus what needs to be done.
And was reminded again just yesterday morning, through a morning motivation, that looking at the tasks in front of you as to-do items- already frustrated, complicates things, and build an even bigger mountain.
It’s like: “Someone help me, I’m drowning!”
But here’s the kicker and it’s not fancy. Things don’t change because of external circumstances. Things change because of internal circumstances.
Where instead, if you think about the results that you want to happen in your life. And then ask yourself, what do I need to do to get there?
One small thing at a time.
And stay away from unsupportive people. It’s an energy suck and YES! You will lose momentum.
Your focus is no longer all on the items that you have not yet done.
But on the positive result of that what you want to achieve.
Not to mention how many of us always pick the easiest to do list items and avoid the big ones that are going to push us towards our Dream results anyways?
I know I do this.
Why work on a big project proposal when I can clean the kitchen?
Total transparency… My brain often wants to choose the easier tasks, because then if by chance I fail, I’ve already protected myself from it.
I’ve had to train my brain to just start looking at life this way. To stop sympathizing with the side of me that likes the overwhelm, that validates my frustration with a mounting to do list. And a poor me mentality.
?What do I want?
?What are the results I’m trying to achieve?
?If I keep my eyes focused there, I’m going to stay more positive, and probably make better choices.
Remember this, change is hard. But it’s not impossible. It’s only impossible if you’ve already told yourself it’s going to be…
So today make it a point to physically write out your “Results List”... What do you want!? Keep that list handy and in easy sight. And when you start to engage in tasks, ask yourself “are these tasks, activities moving me towards my end game? Towards what I want most?”
After you write out your Results List reflect on why you want these things in the first place.
I wanted to land a big partner for my Mother Trucker Yoga company. I had one in mind. I thought about that partner all the time. And knew that would be a home run for me. Everything I was doing I was working to gain the notice and respect of that company. Then I landed an opportunity to work with them on a trial basis. I could have felt defeated in that I had to do a lot more than I had thought initially. And it was frustrating at times. It could have been easier to just do the minimum required. And when I got frustrated, I a few times found myself doing things that had nothing to do with landing this partnership.
HOPE WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING! I got so overwhelmed in those moments with other things, that in the end didn’t really matter. And would actually go away, and get handled later if I could land this partnership. But I let myself get distracted by those small tasks. Because achieving those small tasks gave me temporary happiness. Where climbing that mountain towards my BIG WIN, required a bit more grit.
Think results not tasks.
Think results no to do lists.
Think results no instant gratification.
Hey all you goal getters! It’s the #Last90Days!!!
Total honesty, sometimes my personal schedule is a bit lackluster. Sometimes I struggle. I am an ultra-motivated person, but that motivation is usually attached to a #BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). When I don’t have a BIG goal, my motivation tends to waiver.
I don’t know about you, but without goals, what are you moving towards? And when life gets tough, goals can seem a bit overwhelming. Because, heck, your not reaching them – yet. But that is where it starts. You MUST start to look at those goals as a good thing.
Sure you aren’t there, yet. But that is where you want to go. And by-gosh, you have goals. I can count on both of my hands people that I know who have no set goals in mind. And guess what? They are also frustrated with where their life is. Because they don’t know where they are going.
Today marks the first day of the last 90 days of the year. Yeah, I’m jumping on the #Last90Days challenge. I am usually not that much of a New Years Resolution kinda gal. But where I am in my life right now, I need any boost I can get. And with all my goals, I need, no I must, surround myself with people, places, and motivation so I don’t fall.
It’s the #Last90Days, So I want to know.
- What are your goals?
- What are your motivations?
- What do you want in 90 days?
- Where do you want to go?
This is vital because step one is YOU getting clear.
Like crystal clear.
And I get it. When I don’t believe that I deserve my goal, then you can bet your bottom dollar that I lack motivation. I lack drive. I am less ambitious. And I tend to allow myself to fall into relationships that do not motivate me to reach my goals.
Here are 3 things to ask yourself when setting your goals for the #Last90Days:
- WHO in your life do you need to surround yourself with?
- WHERE do you need to put yourself in your life to reach your goals?
- WHAT programs do you need to invest in to help you meet those goals?
Yes, I just suggested that you might just need to invest in something or someone to help you along the way.
Almost 15 years ago, I had a moment where I finally admitted to myself that I could not do it alone. I could not step fully into recovery the way I wanted to all by myself. I didn’t have all the answers and even more important, I didn’t have all the necessary skill sets to step forward with confidence and accountability to go with it.
Admitting myself into outpatient treatment was one of the best decisions I have ever made to date. Surrounded with others struggling with the same thing helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. And surrounded by others, some of whom didn’t really want it, was also a huge motivator for me to make a change!
The experts who guided me, pushed me, and opened my eyes to new ways of doing things, will have forever impacted me for the better. That one phone call is in part the reason why I am here today, typing this #Last90Days blog post to you all having been in recovery for 14 years.
Now don’t get me wrong. Those 14 years were no walk in the park. But it was my first 90 days of many more to come.
A great mentor told me (more than once) that “You can’t have a tenth time without having a first time”. And you can’t have a day 90, without having a day 1.
I have been in need of a jump start. I mean, I’m fine, but I have been searching for a boost, a bigger push and I can tell my potential is not being met on a daily basis. This morning I woke up thinking about that phone call I made 14 years ago. How scared I was, how nervous I was. How desperate I was to be healthy again.
Laying in bed, I was thinking about why I want to reach my goals. And it occurred to me that my goals, my BHAG’s are not really something I have been sharing with others. I have been keeping almost all of them quiet to myself.
This is a BIG problem. This is the exact reason I struggled for more than five years to step into recovery, because I kept my goals a secret. How can someone support something they don’t know exists? And then this morning I pop on Facebook to respond to a dozen messages or so and on pops Dave Hollis talking about the last 90 days of the year. And I am reminded yet again to get clear on my goals. And only I can decide if I want to meet them or not.
Leave a comment or head over to my Facebook page and drop a note, or post a picture on Instagram and tag me @hopezvara to let me (and the world) know what goals you are working toward before the year is out. We will help keep you accountable!
How can someone support another on their quest to bettering themselves if they don’t know it’s evening happening? #Last90Days
I start out my day with my Green Power Smoothie. Is this one of your goals? Check out my recipe.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Why do I do that? Why do I keep quiet? I’ll tell you, I often get in my own head and judge myself.
Like: “Who is she with those big goals?” “Does she really think she’ll get there?”
Can I save you the suffering? That type of thinking derails even the strongest person.
I recognize that in myself and that is in part why I am writing this blog. That is in part why I am asking you these questions. Because I don’t want to be alone in this quest on the last 90 days.
We can do this.
This is not about being perfect. This is about being honest. Real. And setting yourself up for the success you deserve.
Here are 6 suggestions to help you reach your goals:
1. Write your goals down.
Yes, write those baby’s down. What are they, don’t just type up something and never look at it again. Post it to your office wall, your bedroom door. Bathroom mirror, whatever it takes. I have done this, and actually made an alarm in my phone to once a day ring to remind me what I am shooting for when I know I struggle the most.
2. Offer gratitude.
It is true that an attitude of gratitude will get you further than one without. Every single day write down 1-3 things you are grateful for. Don’t even think about telling me you have no time. This takes all of 45 seconds. And I want to encourage you to do what I do and write down: a person, a place, and a thing (or something to that effect) every single day.
3. Decide who you will surround yourself with.
Yes, this matters- BIG. You become those you choose to surround yourself with. Now I don’t mean that you should never help someone less than you. But my point is if you spend your evenings with people who watch T.V. all night snacking late into the evening, then I can assure you your goals won’t be met. Choose wisely.
4. Be real.
Be real in that this will get hard. Don’t even think for a second that this is going to be a walk in the park. You will have days, challenges, temptations. But you must decide what you want more. Instant gratification, or long-term satisfaction.
5. Write it down.
Get out a journal, a piece of paper, the back of an envelope. Don’t let the what gets in the way of the how. Write down your goals, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Some days you’ll say you are too busy, well then I guess you are too busy for the satisfaction afterwards then too. Those moments where you just don’t want to do it. Remember that is just a feeling, and our brain doesn’t always like change. But like learning to brush your teeth. This is a necessary one.
6. Get the right tools.
Struggle does cost you. I know this first hand. Spending $10 to save a $1 is hardly worth it. What tools do you need to help you reach your goals? You may need to cut down on the Starbucks habit, or the constant trips to Costco. But isn’t reaching your BHAG worth it? That is why I started my Online Mindful Movement & Yoga Studio. Affordable. Easy. Quality Teaching. BOOM!
Today’s the DAY!
Today marks the decision you must make within yourself. Do I want it enough? Here’s some tough love. I don’t care about all the reasons why it’s hard, or impossible, or how your situation is so unique from everyone else. I’m empathetic, but also realistic in that we all have challenges and no one is unique to that. But it is those that push past that and find a way.
Do you want it?
Do you want to find a way or not?
Do you want to celebrate after reaching the goal or not?
Do you want to have a better life and future or not?
Do you want it or not?
Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m saying all of this to myself. I am writing all of this to myself. I need to hear this. I refuse to stay still. I refuse to watch someone else live my dreams. I refuse to live in regret.
And I want that for you too.
Together let’s not just want it. Let’s go out and get it.
The 5 Best Books to Read Right Now!
I’ve never really shared with you all some of my favorite reads. In the last few years I have to be honest, I’ve shifted over to an audio book kind of girl. This helps me maximize my time and due to a head injury, staring at words doesn’t really help my cause.
And the last several podcast I have been a guest on have all asked me what I am currently reading. So I’m going to tell you right now. What inspires me behind the scenes. And as you all know, I believe we always get exactly what we need at the exact right time. And some of these books have taken me months to read through, as you can only take in so much before your brain is full.
And other books I have read (or rather listened) through in hours! And then over again.
Some are very motivational, others parenting, and some the art of selling (which when you read between the lines has everything to do with all the mental garbage we carry with as to why we resist, or over indulge in things we don’t need).
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do.
Here are my 5 BEST books to starting reading right now!
Best Book #1: Sell or Be Sold by Grand Cardone
And I know what you are thinking. Why would I want to read that? I’ve read it 4 times now. And it has taught me a LOT about confidence and believing in what I offer to the world. I didn’t want to read it at first, and you’ll see why. We often resist what we need at that time as an unconscious means to stay safe.
This book taught me that even though I love what I do, I am very good at what I do, my self confidence when it came to asking people to work with me, buy my product or support my cause would fall flat. Not because my offering was crappy. But rather I didn’t truly believe I was worth the investment.
And this book helped me evaluate my words, actions and thoughts as to how I was the one sabotaging my own business. This best book pick was a game changer when it came to building my business.
Best Book #2: The Dolphin Way by Shimi Kang M.D.
The best parenting book I have ever read! I recommend this book to everyone when in conversation about parenting. The book is insightful for the parent that is willing to step back and evaluate how they interact with their kids. WARNING: Not a book for parents that bubble wrap their kids (or maybe it is).
Words cannot even describe how much I love this book. And maybe because it game me reinforcement in my parenting choices of no team sports before they are a teen. Let them fall, give them responsibilities. Step back so they can step forward. No technology. I could go on, but this best book is for all the parents out there who are open and read to step back so their children can step forward.
Best Book #3: Meditations from the Mat Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
This is not a new release by any means. But still my go to book for daily devotional. 365 days of inspirational messages to keep you on track. I often share these messages in class, but most importantly this book helps bring meaning to my day, and is a surprisingly insightful combination of all beliefs, faiths, and philosophies.
It always amazes me that when I just open this book for a daily inspirational message that it is exactly what I need to hear that day. I have learned in my life to trust that the Universe always has your back. And that we are always being guided. You do not have to practice yoga to grab this best book pick. It will surely speak to everyone who reads it.
Best Book #4: Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
I just recently finished this book. And it is everything many of us are thinking, but few say. And everything we need to hear out loud because deep down we know it’s true. If you are looking for a reality check (for lack of better words) this would be your grab).
Girl, I see you. Biggest take away from this read: it’s OK to choose you. And in doing so, everything else will have more clarity, focus, and purpose because you are not trying to be everything for everyone. Including your kids. I’ve wavered with wanting to be home with my kids but feeling a huge pull to follow my passion and use my gifts RIGHT NOW. Rachel, you are my #4 best book pick because you helped me make a mind-shift that when I choose me I choose my kids at a higher quality.
Best Book #5: How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
This book is one of my favorites in his series. It’s small, but packed with knowledge. We can all use a reboot on our thinking at times. And this book gives it to you in bite size pieces. Get out your highlighter, because you are going to need it.
I bought this book at an airport a few years ago and it’s still my airplane book. I take it when when I travel. And open it up and just read a few pages. Again perfect timing. This book reinforced the need to organize and prioritize mentally. And in doing so the physical experience became so much sweeter.
Every step we take no matter how large or small on the path to bettering our lives deserves a pat on the back. I know from my own personal experiences that when my mind has time to wander (I’m not talking about meditation) it’s a dangerous road to go down. And I spent years digging my way out. Books assist me in my journey. And these five are my best books because they have all taught me something in a big way. And I want to share that will you.
Anytime I read something and it makes me self evaluate…That is a huge shift for me. And that means a huge win! So I can then dig deep and develop personal insight and decide what information I need and what I can leave behind.