Tuesday, January 31, 2012

V-Day Challenge

For February, I'm launching a V-Day Challenge so the next 14 days I'll be posting a series of simple things you can do to appreciate yourself, your relationships and to relax.  I'll keep most of the challenges brief and easy-to-read.   

In addition to Valentine's, here are some other notables for February:

International Expect Success Month

Black History Month

Feb 2
Groundhog Day

Feb 6-10
Friendship Wk

Feb 11
Satisfied Staying Single Day

Feb 12
Lincoln's Birthday

Feb 14
Valentine's Day

Feb 20
President Day

Feb 29
Leap Year

Monday, January 30, 2012

Air Patrol

He lives most life whoever breathes most air.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

As single women, it's easy for our energy levels to tank with the various activities in our life:  work/running a business, running errands, managing our home environments, maintaining our health, balancing our relationships, keeping our commitments.  If you're feeling overloaded with too much to do and your energy is low, have you considered that it could be from an inadequate intake of fresh air?  While it's true that exercise, food and stress affect our energy levels, it's also true that the amount and quality of air that we're breathing also affects our well-being.*

In wintertime, it's especially easy for us to receive low amounts of fresh air.  Few of us want to go outside when it's cold, right?  With the colder weather, we're more inclined to stay indoors and turn on our heating appliances. 

The effect of time spent indoors is that, obviously, we receive less fresh air.  Our homes, as welcome as they are during the colder season, also can exude a variety of toxins due to cleaning products, air fresheners, home furnishing chemicals, fumes from cooking and beauty/hair products. 

By keeping our windows shut during the winter season or by reducing our outdoor activities, we're more likely to receive low quality air.  If your thinking and energy levels are sluggish,  then you may want to consider boosting your oxygen intake. 

Here are some suggestions on getting some fresh air during the winter season:

1.  At the start or end of the day, open your windows for a few minutes to let some fresh air in.

2.  If possible, keep windows in the kitchen and bathroom slightly open.

3.  During your lunch breaks...and if the weather permits...take a brief walk.

4.  Exercise outdoors.  Be sure to dress appropriately and if it's insanely cold then please bypass this tip.

5.  From time-to-time, check in to see how you're breathing.  If you're taking low shallow breaths, that could be a sign of stress and also of poor air quality.

6.  Practice deep breathing.  At the start or end of the day, take 3 deep breaths by inhaling each for 5 seconds, holding for 5 and exhaling for 5 seconds.

Be sure to check in with your breathing as a way to stay healthy and increase your mental clarity.  With our attention on food and exercise as a way to stay healthy, it's easy to overlook the impact that air quality has on us. 

Now that you've read this entry, what will you do to ensure that you're getting sufficient fresh air?  Feel free to post a comment or question below.

*As always, if you have health issues be sure to consult with a medical professional before your practice a deep breathing program or if you've been plagued with energy issues.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Staying Committed - Weeks 3 and 4

jane fonda 
source:  laurie pink,

About 2 weeks ago, I shared my experience in strengthening my commitment muscles---in relation to goal-setting.  So my premise is that often when we kick-off the New Year's, we've got the enthusiasm to launch into a goal but as time and life continue we lack the commitment to persevere.  Therefore, I created a simple commitment workout to strengthen our commitment muscles and sense of accomplishment.  We're now heading into Week 3.  Here, I'll post the steps for Week 3 and 4.  I've made this workout simple enough that it should only take about 5 minutes of your day.

In addition to strengthening your commitment, the aim of this workout is to exercise your growing commitment muscles on your goal. 

In Week 4, you'll take one action step to flex your commitment muscles.  To track your progress, you can either create a separate chart or put a daily check-mark to indicate that you've accomplished your daily commitment.  At the end of Week 4 you'll tally your results.  Feel free to repeat Week 4 as often as needed.  So have your leg warmers and water bottle ready as you gear up for the upcoming workout.

The Easy Commitment Workout
Click here to view the previous weeks' workout.
Week 3
In your notebook write 3 times:
I keep my commitment to whatever goal you'd like to focus on.
I'd usually ask that someone be specific in their goal, but in this instance if you want to be general is fine.
I keep my commitment to boost my health.
I keep my commitment to have more money.
I keep my commitment to be a better listener.

Week 4
For this week, you'll commit to a specific action related to your goal and put a check mark in your journal or on a separate chart to track your successes.  Ideally, for this week, you'd choose an action you can commit to for 7 days
I keep my commitment to meditate for 5 minutes.
I keep my commitment to read 10 pages of a personal finance book.
I keep my commitment to focus and listen to my friend.

If, you've chose an action in which it would be healthy for you to recharge and take a break from then simply write "I keep my commitments."
Sample Exceptions:
I keep my commitment to hand out my business card to 5 people.
I keep my commitment to work out for 40 minutes.

If you've committed to doing these activities 3 or 5 days out of the week, then on your "off" days, you'll simply write "I keep my commitment."  Throughout the day, though, observe what you do/do not commit to.

If you decided to revise the number on commitment on certain days, i.e., you decide to hand out your business card to 10 people or commit to working out on 20 minutes on Wednesday then revise your commitment statement to reflect that.  However, if you find yourself slacking off then decide if you need to change your commitment.  If you decide to do less for some time then do so without guilt.  You're still committed to your goal and building your commitment muscles.  In 6 months time, you'll likely surprise yourself with the accomplishments that you've made by working on your commitment first before working on the goal. 

My Experience
For myself, I feel a sense of accomplishment in easily writing down the 3 statements and knowing that I'm doing something to boost my commitment muscle.  It takes a small amount of time for me in the morning and I can easily cross it off of my to-do list.  Since it's so simple, I look forward to doing my workout and I feel good about keeping my commitment to this workout.

How about for you?  Have you tried this workout yet?  How are you progressing?  What successes have you had with it?

To Ponder:   An easy way to tear your commitment muscle is to commit to too much, is there an activity from your schedule that you can drop or change its deadline?  How many of your commitments are self-inflicted?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome News...

First off, today is National Compliment Day so if you want to pause and give yourself a compliment or compliment someone, then feel free to do so.  While it's not exactly a compliment, I want to thank you for reading this blog and for sharing it with other single women.

Today's welcome news is that my blog is now one of the listed blogs on Single With Attitude.  Single With Attitude features a list of feeds for blogs that cater to single living.  It's part of Dr. Bella DePaulo's website which has links to articles and research geared toward singles.

If you're a single and would like to check out other blogs, sites, resources and articles designed to support and empower your singular life, then be sure to visit DePaulo's website.  Also, feel free to let your other single friends, family members and co-workers know about the site. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Get Organized + Self Love = January

source:  bluishorange,

Hope you all enjoyed Dr. King Day yesterday.  Those who subscribe to my newsletter* are already aware of this but I wanted to remind you all that January is Get Organized and Self Love Month.  This makes January an ideal time to focus on decreasing your overwhelm and boosting your self care.  Here are some suggestions...

1.  Give yourself a big hug and take the time to clean out your desk drawer.

2.  Give yourself a foot massage and throw out/donate any worn...or barely worn shoes.

3.  Reward yourself for cleaning out you inbox by booking a facial for yourself.

4.  List 5 reasons why having a streamlined home is an important part of self care.

5.  Set aside time during the weekend to tackle a disorganized room, corner, shelf or drawer

6.  Reflect on the question:  What does self-love mean to me?'

7.  After having cleaned out a particular room yourself, compliment yourself for a job well-done.

8.  Think of ways that you can be more organized in the morning:  prepping lunch in advance, having your clothes ready to go, packing your bag/purse w/needed items, having your keys or other essentials in a visible place.

9.  Ask yourself, how you can be more organized this month.

As a single woman, how can you make being more organized a way of showing self-love for yourself?  How does being disorganized affect your sense of calm? What action will you take to observe this month?  

All right, there you have it.  Feel free to post a comment below.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Staying Committed

source: freefotouk,
A theme that has been roaming through my mind recently is the idea of making a commitment to a goal.  A lot of us embark on the New Year with hopes of finally making that change--of losing weight, going back to school, or saving more money.  Two weeks or two months later, the goal is languishing and we've returned to our previous tendencies.  Why does this happen?  We know that organic broccoli is healthier than french fries.  We do want to earn that degree and have more money.  So why do we end up back to our previous patterns, feeling relieved that the stress of continuing our new habit is gone?

There are different reasons for this: 
  • Fantasizing about the end result instead of realizing the adjustments we'll have to make to achieve that slimmer figure. 
  • Expecting too much, too soon. 
  • Feeling uncomfortable and deprived by our new behavior.
My theory is that before we take the action required to achieve a goal, we first work on strengthening our commitment muscles.  Once that quality is strengthened within us, it's easier to set, live and achieve our goals.

Imagine how much easier it would be for you to fit in that morning workout, if you were sincerely committed to your health.  When your commitment muscles are soft and weak, then you're far likelier to give up on a goal when challenged. 

Often times, we latch onto a goal with excitement and enthusiasm but with flabby commitment muscles.  When our excitement declines and our commitment is required, we perform poorly.  After all, if you're used to lifting 15 lbs, how can you instantly be expected to lift 5 times that amount?  Likewise, with your commitment muscles, if you're used to having a jiggly, "just getting-by" level of commitment in life, then it's going to feel uncomfortable to suddenly have a firm, high-achiever's commitment level. 

Since we you don't yet have that level it's easier for you to give up on your goals.  While you wish to change, you have a stronger commitment to comfort than to growth.  To ease the transition, you can do the commitment workout below and also take small steps so that you gently stretch your comfort zone.

Here's my still-in-the-lab workout on this commitment.  I'm currently in Week 1.  My suggestion is that before you begin your most challenging goals, you do your commitment workout first and then take baby steps with the goal.  Remember to set yourself up for success, not failure.  Please note, if your goal is to end an addictive behavior, be sure to consult with a professional about this.  This post is not an excuse for someone to continue their smoking habit.
The Easy Commitment Workout
Week 1
In the mornings, write the following:
I commit.  (3 times)
I keep my commitments.  (3 times)

When you're tempted to give up on something, remind yourself that you keep your commitments. 
Week 2
Appreciate that you kept Week 1's  commitment.  If you were unable to finish Week 1, appreciate what you did and then go back to Week 1 before moving onto Week 2.

In the mornings, write this phrase:
I keep my commitment to ________. (3 times)
Leave the sentence incomplete.  Do not complete that blank.  I'll explain later why that sentence is unfinished.

Stay posted for Week 3...

Please note that I'm strengthening my commitment muscle, also, so I am not in any way claiming to be a commitment guru.  : )  There are some activities that I've committed to, like flossing my teeth and getting more green veggies and other activities were my commitment has been lagging.  Often times, my posts are inspired by my own experiences or challenges.

To your growth in the New Year!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Transitioning into the New Year

I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's.
Henry Moore

We're now more than a week into the new year.  Have you made goals for this year?  If so, how are your goals going for you?

This year one of my themes is transitioning into the new year.  I'd assumed that with the buzz about 2012 and my decision to re-focus my business, I'd be quite aglow on January 1.  That though was not the case.  Instead of bursting full-heartedly into the new year and finding myself tired out by February 1, I'm doing things incrementally.  You can't train for a marathon in a day and for most of us it takes more than the day shifting from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, 2012 to cause change. 

On that high note, what are your goals for the new year?  How will you feel when you've accomplished your most important goal? 

Hey, let's back up...what is your most important goal for 2012? 

How do you want to feel throughout 2012?  Even better, how do you want to feel today?  Start now, to choose how you want to feel and live that feeling throughout your day.  Of course, feelings naturally ebb and flow, so if you're feeling less upbeat and cheery than expected, don't clobber yourself with guilt but instead experience the feeling and journal or take a walk to lessen the feeling's intensity.

So how do you feel...about this post?  Agree or disagree?  What are your doing to enjoy the New Year?  Feel free to post a comment below.