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TheLivelyShowTopicSuggestions

To kick off the new twice weekly format, I have three quick questions to ask you about the upcoming blog content and The Lively Show! Plus, I have a new free wallpaper for February!

Up until now I’ve just been calling The Lively Show “the podcast,” but it’s time you know its full name. : ) Next Thursday I’ll have three new episodes to share!

If you can take a second to tell me your thoughts on the topics below I’ll do my best to incorporate your ideas into future posts + podcast episodes!

 

Please, tell me your thoughts!

Thank you so much for your time and suggestions!

 

Free February Wallpaper

 

JL_FB

download the full-size image here

Now that we are just a day away from February, I also have a new wallpaper!

This month we have a Stephen Covey quote, placed on lovely warm background Joy made. It’s so happy that it makes the recent Polar Vortex that is Chicago (and pretty much everywhere else) seem a little more cheerful.

Enjoy!

 

Have a great week and thank you for reading!

 

Wallpaper designed by Joy Laforme for JessLively.com.

a new direction
January 28th, 2014     |    Business AdviceLife

NewContentDirectionGood afternoon! I’m back from Alt Summit and jumping right into the fold.

While I was in Salt Lake, I thought a lot about the impact I want to make this year. Particularly when it comes to this blog, client work, and my career as a whole.

My vision is to spend the majority of my online time directly helping people live lives with intention.

I want to spend more time helping you to improve your life, rather than just writing about my own.

After careful introspection and conversations with several readers at Alt (thank you, ladies!), I am excited to announce the following changes to help bring this vision to life on the blog:

  • Twice weekly posting schedule.
  • Intention in your inbox.
  • Daily mini updates (hint: Instagram!).
  • A note about business content.

Here’s a bit more detail about each change,

 

Twice weekly posting schedule

TuesdayThursday

Going forward, I’m switching to a twice weekly posting schedule.

On Tuesdays, I’ll share a helpful and actionable post about living life with intention.

On Thursdays, new podcast episodes will air (starting next week!).

Limiting my posting to one written post and one podcast is awesome because it helps you consume less content.

Lately, it seems like people are busier than ever before. This slower posting schedule will help me to go deeper into topics (aka: be more helpful) without overwhelming your reading list.

 

Intention In Your Inbox

IntentionInYourInbox

Now that I’m sharing less weekly content, I’m also adding an option to follow by email. This way you the blog can come to you.

Sign up is located on the blog sidebar >

 

Daily Mini Updates

Instagram

Even though I’ll be updating the blog less, I’m going to be sharing daily on Facebook and Instagram!

This is a pretty big development as many of you know – because I’ve always stayed away from using Instagram publicly. That’s all changed now thanks to Helena, my Alt roomie. She patiently answered a million questions and taught me how to use the social aspects of the app (I may or may not have the nickname #InstaGrandma now).

Please connect with me – @JessCLively! I’ll be sharing all the funny, fashion, flowers, and Franklin pics here from now on.

 

A Note About Business Content

ANoteAboutBizContent

With these changes, upcoming posts will touch on career and small business in the context of intention, vision, goals, fulfillment, and meaning.

Purpose will trump packaging design.

Significance will outshine social media strategy.

I want help you optimize your approach to life so that all aspects of your life – including your business – can thrive.

 

So there you have it!

Higher quality / less frequent posts, daily Insta updates, intention inbox... the best is yet to come! : )

 

PS – There are just a few Life with Intention Online spots left! RSVP now >

 

2014 throw out 100 things challenge
January 21st, 2014     |    Exfoliating

ThrowOut100ThingsChallenge


ThrowOut100ThingsChallenge

To see my most recent Throw Out 100 Things Challenge, click here!


(Hint: I’ve got 7 tips at the end of the post to help you tackle your own home!)

Over the weekend I took a few hours to do another Throw Out 100 Things Challenge.

And man, does it feel good!

Going through our stuff and identifying what we don’t need, use, or love feels like I’m giving our home a facial.

Plus, these regular exfoliations control clutter and highlight what we don’t want to acquire in the future.

Though the term “throw out” is in the challenge title, I trash as little as possible. Most items are donated, recycled, and passed on to someone new.

I believe that each item as has its own “life cycle” independent of our lives. We are simply the stewards for our items as long as we need, use, or love them. After that time has passed, it is our responsibility to take the items someplace where they can be used and appreciated again.

That said, I’m also a big proponent of the ventilator test: If you suddenly died, and your loved ones had to deal with your stuff, would they toss it out?

If so, don’t keep clutter because you are sad to see it go in the trash. It will go there eventually. Don’t let it stress you out in the meantime. Simply bring more awareness to future purchases.

Another reason I love big exfoliations like this is because it makes me so happy to pass on stuff to new owners! Back in the days of Jess LC I felt giddy giving my team nice exfoliation items.

Since I don’t have a local team anymore, I stashed several new or “good-as-new” items I thought my friend might like into a little bag with a bow and a note on her doorstep.

She loved her surprise gift bag so much that I’ve now made her a second little bag of items that I was previously going to donate.

Which goes to show you never know how much joy your unwanted stuff might bring to those who could need, use, or love it.

Now, without further ado, here’s this year’s first 100 Things Challenge!

2014ThrowOut100ThingsChallenge

 

7 Throw Out 100 Things Tips

If you are thinking about doing your own 100 Things Challenge, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Set an intention. No surprise here, right? One great place to start is to create an intention for your wardrobe and home that can help guide your exfoliation choices and shape your environment according to your vision.

2. Try to “batch” items as much as possible. For example, I batched six nail polishes (#67) and seven tumblers (#12) as single items. Batching really helps you make significant progress.

3. Take photos of emotionally important items. Sometimes we keep items we don’t need, use, or love because they are tied to a memory we are afraid we might forget. Rather than save the item itself, take a photo (or make a video!) and create a memory book so the memory stays and the clutter goes.

4. Box it. If you are unsure about some items, put them in a box and mark it with a date 1-3 months out. If you haven’t thought about or needed the items in the box by the marked date, donate the unopened box.

5. Test travel size products first. When trying new products use samples or purchase mini-sizes first. I did this with some hair products (#86-88) which I ended up hating. Because I bought the little sizes first, I saved a bunch of money, product, and packaging.

6. Check your condiments. A great place to look for exfoliations is to go through your condiments and find expired items.

7. Observe trends. Once you have done one or two 100 Things Challenges, you’ll start to notice trends in the exfoliations. What brands are you consistently throwing away? Why? Let these observations educate your future purchases.

 

Exfoliations, whether they are challenges like this or smaller routines like The End of the Week Exfoliation, are a great way to control clutter, bring joy to others, and optimize the use and lifespan of the items in our lives.

If you do this challenge and blog about it, please send me a link so I can check it out!

 

IntentionNecklaces

 

five years of blogging
January 20th, 2014     |    Life

5YearsofBlogging

{ JessLively.com got a new look for its 5th birthday! }

Yesterday marked the fifth year of this blog. Back on January 19th, 2009, when I started the blog, it was a Blogspot site called Makeunder My Life.

A lot has changed since then. I’m now married, have a puppy, no longer run Jess LC, live in a nicer apartment three blocks down the street, and am helping people design lives with intention full-time.

Oh, and I’m now closer to my 30’s than my early 20’s. 

However, looking back at my very first blog post, my mission has remained relatively consistent despite the somewhat continual state of transition in my life and career.

Here’s what I shared back on January 19th.

… With this blog I plan to share my intentions, design inspiration, entrepreneurial stories, and cool stuff that crosses my path. As a designer I am drawn to all sorts of images, ideas, and ideals I wish I could automatically incorporate into my life. Some I can, others take longer. On the flip side, my “business” side enjoys planning, executing, and tracking my progress. …

I hope the posts and ideas to come are fun to read, continue to keep me inspired, and help others become more excited about growing in their own lives.

Not particularly well written, but surprisingly accurate to what has transpired over the past five years.

To see how this simple mission statement has shaped my career and life experiences is almost overwhelming.

It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been quick. It has taken tons of time, money, and faith.

But more than any of that, it also has taken your support. Whether you’ve been reading since the beginning or if you found the blog recently, I have one thing to say:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

What’s Coming Up

Looking to the year ahead, I’d like to:

  • Pare back the number of weekly written posts (to 1-3 posts per week)
  • Add weekly podcast episodes
  • Increase the number of chances to help people make progress in their own lives

I’m also in the process of launching the new podcast. I’ll be honest, this project has taken me much longer than I expected.

Launching Life with Intention Online and the new With Intention site (as well as revamping this blog over the weekend) has meant I’ve been working constantly with Mr. Lively on nights and weekends to create a cohesive brand between the both sites – and eventually with the podcast as well.

But you know what?

That’s the fun thing about blogs.

They ebb and flow with the lives of the bloggers themselves.

 

Cheers to another five years of intention,

Jess!

 

are you going to alt?
January 17th, 2014     |    Wineday Friday

AreYouGoingToAlt

Happy Friday to you!

This weekend I’m going to be spending a bit more time on the new site redesign (if Mr. Lively feels up to it) and I’ll be getting prepared for Alt Summit next week (still need to find a green dress…)!

Are you going to Alt, too? If so, please say hello if you see me!

I’d love to meet you.

 

Have a great weekend and thank you for reading!  

 

photo via
hotel branding before & after
January 16th, 2014     |    Business With IntentionDecorLife

HotelBrandingBeforeAndAfterAs many of you may have noticed after yesterday’s announcement, I launched a new With Intention site!

It’s pretty, easy to use, and very mobile friendly – which is important as things keep moving in that direction.

Anyways, I’ve also been working on another website redesign that I haven’t shared yet, the hotel!

As you may have seen over the course of last year, I have been the Creative Director for a local boutique hotel in Andersonville called The Guesthouse Hotel.

Last year I guided their brand redesign and website and this year I’ll be designing their new hotel lobby.

Here’s a quick look at the before and after at the logo and website (because there’s something so satisfying about a good before and after, right?).

 

Logo Before

GuesthouseLogoBeforeThough not bad, this logo was not quite hitting the right tone for the hotel.

It was clean and simple, but felt more “commercial real estate” than “boutique hotel.”

 

Website Before

 

AndersonvilleGuesthouseBefore

The same goes for the website. Clean and simple… but not extremely inviting.

 

Logo After

 

GuesthouseHotelLogo

To set the right tone, we selected Alex Yeske to design the logo and business cards.

Her eye for style was exactly the right tone for the new direction.

What I love about this logo is how relatively timeless it is. We considered some other more popular font styles, but stuck with this classic design that won’t look dated in a few years.

 

Website After

 

GuesthouseHotelWebsiteAfter

I personally designed the website and had Mr. Lively programmed it to life.

It’s easy to use and sets a much nicer tone.

 

New Photos

 

GuesthouseHotelPhotoI also encouraged the hotel to get new photos taken of the gorgeous units (they are actual condo-quality units with full gourmet kitchens, living rooms, etc.).

For this job, I recommended Daniel Peter, a Chicago-based photographer who I’ve worked with over the years for my own business.

 

Lobby Design

 

Because the lobby is actually still being built from the ground up (literally!), there is a lot to consider. But what was once an open hole last summer….

photo3

 

photo2

Will soon look like this!

photoAbove is a quick snapshot I took of the mood board I created for the lobby.

As things come together over the next six months I’ll be sure to check in with some updates — if that’s something you’d like to see!

 

 

PS – Thinking about signing up for a Life with Intention Online class? Each one is already almost 50% filled, so sign up soon to grab your spot.

 

LifeWithIntentionOnline1

Have you ever tried to improve areas of your life, only to find:

You get what you want. But it’s never enough. 

Every time you reach your goals and attain your desires, you are underwhelmed by the lasting impact they have. So then you create bigger goal lists and shinier vision boards. And on, and on, and on. 

Or, you don’t get what you want. So you never feel good enough.

No matter how hard you try (or don’t try) it can feel impossible to create the big (or sometimes even little) changes you would like to make in your life. You might even stop trying to change altogether in order to avoid getting disappointed.

 

Life doesn’t have to be like this.

 

There is a different way to approach all aspects of your life that results in the fulfillment, joy, wellbeing, and love that you seek.

Today.

Not in five years or once you’ve checked off your endless “must-do” lists.

Today.

 

Life with Intention Online is designed to help you rebalance your approach to life so that you can find the fulfillment and joy you seek without “shoulds,” stress, or someday thinking.

During this weeklong online class, I will teach you an entirely new way to approach your possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career by using one universally true and refreshingly peaceful intention-based process.

We will work together to:

– uncover your deepest potential in each area of your life

– remove old shame and guilt

– craft clear intention-based action plans for your possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career

 

When you live from an intention-based perspective, your values inspire the best possible outcomes to unfold naturally. You no longer have a mountain to climb, yet you are more powerful than ever before.

 

No more striving.

It’s time to start thriving.

Sign up for class to get started.

 

As many of you know, I spent much of last year working on a “secret project.”

After six months of development and teaching this intention-based approach to my one-on-one clients, I am beyond excited to share this process with you in a live, online, small group setting.

My vision for 2014 is one where I spend more time working with you, rather than simply writing about my own journey here on the blog.

I believe it is possible for us to live without the stress that comes from traditional approaches to fulfillment and success. 

Let me show you how.

 

2014 seasonal intention calendar
January 13th, 2014     |    Life

SeasonCalendar

download the full-size Jan-Mar calendar here

This year I did not do my typical future letter and seasonal calendar (I’ll share more about what I did instead on Wednesday). But thanks to Vanessa and Ashley’s requests, I have a new Seasonal Intention Calendar to share with you!

Rather than break it down by season like I’ve done in the past, I titled it by months in order to accommodate our Aussie friends, as Vanessa suggested.

For those who might be new to the Seasonal Intention Calendar, here’s a little background:

 

It is easy to let seasons come and go without taking the time to really think through what we’d like to havedo, and be during that season.

Though a weekly priority list does a good job keeping us on task in our careers and in other life roles, it lacks the larger scope that we would like to have for a season.

When it comes to things we’d like to intentionally purchase, fun day trips we’d like to take, or (most importantly) outlooks we’d like to have more frequently, a bigger picture vision for the season is ideal.

 

If you are looking to add a little focus to your winter, I hope you consider this little calendar as an easy way to plan 1-3 months ahead.

Enjoy!

 

GettingItRightIsBetterThanGettingItDone

{{Please note: this post is not talking about getting things done perfectly. There are many people who have a tendency to hold onto something too long and never press publish because they are worried it isn’t good enough… will never be good enough… etc. This is not a post on that subject. This is a post about how sacrificing quality for timelines is not optimal.}}

 

As someone who is always trying to launch a new project immediately, this week has taught me the wisdom of getting it right, rather than just simply getting it done.

Writing back each mentorship applicant unexpectedly took me three days longer than I planned, thereby delaying two other big project launches.

Because of this unplanned schedule change, I’m only 9 days in to a new year and I’m already behind. 

My first reaction was to just hustle my buns off and get the first project launched quickly yesterday. That way I could be on target for the second project next week and resync with my original schedule.

After talking it over with Mr. Lively, however, it became clear that rushing this first project for the sake of my schedule was unwise.

Prioritizing “getting it done” over “getting it right” would short-change my wellbeing and the projects themselves.

I would have resented the crazy pace and cut beneficial elements in order to launch within the crunched timeframe.

So though it was against my activator nature, I stopped, paused, and pushed the deadlines back.

Yes, my ego’s still a little bruised by the fact that I’m already pushing deadlines less than 10 days into the new year.

But I’m also more pumped about the fact that this extra time is going to allow me to do these project launches right.

Like Mr. Covey says, Fast can be slow. And slow can be fast.”

With this in mind, I want to encourage anyone else who might already be feeling a little behind, like me:

Though you might not be as far along as you had hoped, there are still 356 more days left in the year to get it right.

 

May something wonderful happen to you today,
Jess!

 

 

Thinking about doing an Intention Session with me?

The word that keeps coming up when I think about my work with Jess is clarity.

I have a new level of clarity to what I hope to bring to my life by starting a new business. Most importantly, we clarified that my purpose or intention for my life is not necessarily to find the holy grail of “work I love” but to have work that is in proportion to the other areas of my life.

Making this realization with Jess’ help was what I needed to take the pressure off of myself.

Now I have options for how to achieve my intention. This flexibility in “doing” ultimately sets me up to move into the arena of just “being”. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to work with Jess and will take the lessons she taught me on my new path.

Dacy Gillespie, Mindful Closet

 

 

Reader Spotlight
I run Black Bear Ink, a small consultancy that I’m hoping will turn business communications upside down and re-level the playing field for the little guy with big dreams. My aim is to empower small businesses and organizations to own their story and then tell it loud and clear–but to do it within their resources.

Christy Campbell, Black Bear Ink

WhatPurposeReallyLooksLikeSeven years ago, I stumbled upon my purpose in life: to help people reveal their fullest potential. Since then, I have literally designed my career around this mission.

It has been a long and winding road. One filled with challenges and anxiety attacks – as well as huge breaks and celebrations.

In talking to people on the subject of purpose, I get the feeling that many people might be confused as to what purpose in life really looks like. So today, I’d like to share a bit about my journey with the hope that it will dispel a few myths about how a purpose led life takes shape.

This is the “un-Photoshopped” picture of purpose, if you will.

 

Though many people often assume that you must “find” your purpose, I did not.

I actually stumbled upon it by accident during the most difficult time in my life. As a college junior I was binge eating candy bars three at a time and going to counseling for personal matters from my childhood. In three months I gained 20 pounds, lost all of my self-esteem, had a constant negative loop of self-talk going on in my head, and desperately wished Dr. Spock could beam me into Perfect Jess.

I desperately wanted to abandon everything about myself and just Be Better. Be Perfect.

Not surprisingly, that didn’t happen.

Instead, day by day, I had to pick myself up from the pit of self-pity and negativity I dug for myself. This is where The Seven Habits came into my life. I picked up a dusty copy of the teen version while home from college and found a foundation that I could build my actions and values around.

While in this self-discovery phase, I also happened upon a passage in The Art of Possibility that described how Michelangelo said it was easy to create the statue of David because he saw the figure within the stone and simply removed what was not David.

This passage was a huge paradigm shift for me: I didn’t need to seek my completion, happiness, and potential by adding to my life, I needed to subtract all the not-so-great habits and things that blocked my potential from unfolding.

That simple a-ha moment hit me so squarely in my heart that I knew it was the lesson I was not only supposed to learn in my own life, but was one I was meant to share with others as well.

My mess became my message.

 

Once I found my purpose, I didn’t automatically know “what to do.” 

With this purpose in place, I set about learning everything I could on the subject of success, achievement, intention, and fulfillment. For the past seven years I’ve devoted my reading and my learning to this topic.

That said, I didn’t know exactly how to bring this mission and the principles I was uncovering to the world.

I debated back and forth about getting a job after graduation. At the time (2007), I was convinced that I was going need a TV show to help people.

You know, like Oprah and Martha.

After a little research, I realized that Martha wrote a book called Entertaining that sold so well that it launched her career as we know it today.

With this in mind, I decided to write a book. I worked on it in my dorm room and in the evenings during my internship at Macy’s in New York.

As I neared graduation, I decided to take my part-time jewelry business full-time in order to pay the bills and continue working on the book proposal.

I moved to a tiny, not-so-nice studio apartment in Chicago and grew my jewelry company to pay the bills. I started with $700 in the bank from college jewelry sales and grew the company to over six figures in three years.

Though this might sound like it was effortless, please know: I’m just sparing all the the awesome and scary details to keep this story going. You can read the whole story of this phase in my life here.

 

Eventually, I decided to do what I could, right where I was. 

About 14 months into the business, I realized I was climbing the wall of entrepreneurship and needed to start pursuing that book proposal. I hated the idea of being a super-successful jewelry company owner that never pursued the real reason for being self-employed in the first place: to write a book, get a TV show, and help people!

At the time, I was learning about blogs and decided to continue my proposal on a blog, rather than a blank Word Doc.

Due to a completely unrelated giveaway I did on a major blog, a trickle of people started to click from the jewelry site over to the new blog.

Seeing readers respond to my posts, I suddenly realized I didn’t need a TV show or a book to help people. I could simply help people one day at a time, writing online to whoever would listen!

Blogging changed everything. I dropped the need to write a book and poured my heart and soul into the blog. I spent half of my day focusing on blogging related content and the other half on Jess LC.

 

My day job benefitted my purpose.

Though many didn’t understand that Jess LC was never my ultimate goal – it was a very pretty, sometimes risky day job – that day job happened to help me transition into my purpose as a career.

This was huge. I know a lot of people think that I started off with my purpose full-time right out of college, but really, it was Jess LC as a day-job that allowed my purpose-based career to take place gradually over the last five years of blogging.

 

People started asking me for help… and paying me! 

The first stream of income based on my purpose (beyond a few hundred dollars here and there for blog ads) was business consulting. I realized early on in blogging, during the peak of the recession, that people craved entrepreneurship online as a way to live intentionally.

So what started as blog posts on the topic of business, eventually turned into one-on-one consulting sessions. Over time, I added traveling workshops, an ebook, and the Workshop At Home.

The revenue I was making from the business services eventually equalled what I was making from Jess LC. At that point, I was able to close the successful accessory line and focus on my purpose full-time.

The whole transition took five years altogether, including four years of blogging.

 

Over time, how I fulfilled my purpose shifted. 

As I closed Jess LC, I was so excited to help people full-time that I got distracted from my ultimate purpose- to help people find a better way to live a better life.

So there I was in November of 2012, full-time helping business owners with strategy, marketing, and branding.

It was nice, but not quite the fulfilling my complete intention.

A single email from a reader asking me to help her with her life helped me reconnect with the a-ha moment that started this whole journey.

I then expanded my workshops and one-on-one offerings to include life with intention options and straddled both business and life for much of the past 14 months.

 

Finally, I asked my gut what to do.

Last spring, as I stood in line for the bathroom in an Austin restaurant, I asked my gut what I should do next. I expected to hear something like “more workshops.” But instead, I heard a different, unexpected response.

And while I have been working on fulfilling that decree over the past year, I found it impossible to focus while juggling everything on my plate.

What once seemed like a really fun and super awesome career in doing everything that I liked (business consulting, blogging, workshops, writing, speaking, interior decorating, and re-branding a hotel) turned into a huge distraction from my gut’s simple direction.

 

I stopped doing some purpose-based stuff do do other purpose-based stuff. 

To get serious about following my gut and evolving into what I am meant to do at this point in time, I dropped the business consulting.

This was difficult for some people to understand as many had come to see me as “a business person who sometimes talks about life topics.”

But really, it is the truest expression of my purpose to date.

I am so excited to see what 2014 brings in this area. It has been a long and winding road with many twists and turns waiting to reveal themselves in the years to come.

 

As you can see, this whole purposeful journey has been fuzzy, unexpected, sometimes clear, risky, and never-ending.

There is no “a-ha moment followed by a permanent and clear vision of what you are meant to do for the next 60 years.” Purpose is not a straight path.

You simply must do the best you can today to help the people in your life through your talents, ability, and love.

Keep going. Keep growing. Keep following your gut.

The rest will be shown to you.

 

balance new habits for optimal results
January 6th, 2014     |    Think About It

BalanceNewHabitsForOptimalResults

Though we are now almost a week into the new year, it seems like today is the somewhat “official” start of our 2014 daily routines. With this in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to address an overlooked aspect of habit changes: making sure they are balanced.

When we seek to alter our habits we often do one of two things:

 

1) We decide to eliminate an old habit – such as excess TV watching, smoking, fast food, or even toxic relationships.

2) We decide to implement a new habit – such as creating a private victory routine, working out on Tuesday nights, or making homemade lunches more often.

 

Sometimes making these shifts is relatively easily, and sometimes it can be quite challenging.

I believe that habit shifts are more difficult to accomplish if they are not tied to a true intention. Or, if they have a guiding intention, they can still cause trouble if they are imbalanced.

What is a balanced habit?

A balanced habit involves both what you want to include and what you want to remove.

When we don’t take the time to consider both sides of the habit equation we can often find ourselves mired in frustration and inaction.

We may know what we want to add to our lives, but we can be unaware of what we need to subtract from our lives in order to free up time or space for the new habit.

The subtraction issue is common particularly when it comes to anything that involves time. Getting up earlier for workouts, mediation, or private victories, is often difficult not because we don’t want to, but because we never stop to consider that it may require us to shift our evening habits. 

We might have to stop watching that last episode before bed in order to get up earlier. That habit shift might be the one we really need to pay attention to first, in order to fulfill our early morning vision.

Or, perhaps we want to spend more time with our partners in the evening. We must assess our life and find where that time will no longer be spent. Spending more time with our loved ones requires us to shift our time spent on another priority first.

On this front I have good news: 

From all of the clients that I’ve worked with, I have rarely (actually, never) found a case where someone wanted to add a habit to their lives and did not have an available pocket of time for that habit.

The challenge is to recognize that the present time slot is not being used to your best use, and to overcome any mental resistance to making that shift.

It is also imperative to consider a replacement habit if you are seeking to remove an old habit.

For example, I used to eat Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese everyday for lunch for about a year and a half. I loved everything about the little light blue boxes of joy. They were easy to make, tasty, and quick to eat.

However, my consciousness towards this this habit slowly shifted. Though my ego was quite happy with this lunch routine, the deeper part of me knew that eating the same frozen meal for the next 20 years would not support my overall wellbeing.

As my intuitive resistance grew towards the mac and cheese habit, I never took the time to discover a suitable meal alternative. I didn’t want to waste energy on finding a more nutritious and equally fast and tasty option. So I stopped buying mac and cheese, but never knew what when the clock struck twelve.

Let me tell you, as someone who doesn’t want to have to make a decision about food at lunchtime, I was going crazy scrounging up something to eat everyday.

Eventually, I realized that I needed to spend some time figuring out what I did want to eat in order to escape the frustrating habit shift. The pain of not having a replacement meal became much greater than the loss of my beloved mac and cheese.

It took a bit of experimentation, but I’ve finally found my lunch alternative: homemade tofu and kale lasagna. Mr. Lively bakes me a pan of it every few weeks that I split it into pieces and freeze.

Though lacking a replacement habit is a more uncommon habit imbalance, we must recognize that killing an old habit requires the development of a new one, consciously chosen or not.

If you find that you are making a few shifts this week, I hope you take the time to consider both sides of the habit equation:

What are you removing and what are you including? 

 

 …

You deserve to find the fulfillment and joy that comes with an intention-based life – no more shoulds, shame, or “one day” thinking required.

Work with me one-on-one to find a balanced way to live a better life.

Top10BooksForNewYearsResolutionsAs you know, I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. And from what I’ve gathered from conversations with friends and other posts on the internet lately, it seems that resolutions, with a meager 8% success rate, aren’t quite as popular as they once were.

While this is great news, it doesn’t mean that we cannot still create real and lasting change (for the better) at the start of a new year – or any other time for that matter.

Though we may not be making any “grand proclamations,” I think it might still be helpful to share a few books that I find powerful to help address the most popular new year’s resolutions for 2014.

Because even if we might not be making “resolutions,” these areas are important and benefit our overall wellbeing.

 

Resolution #1: Lose Weight

Book: Women Food and God, Geneen Roth

As you may remember, I spent nine years of my life thinking about food and my body more than anything else. I ate too little. I ate too much. I was all over the place, letting my ego run the show… until I read this book.

Please don’t be turned off by the mention of God in the title, it’s not a religious book. But it will create a few secular “Come to Jesus” moments.

This book was my first step to weight and body image freedom and I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who struggles with this all consuming issue.

 

Resolution #2: Getting Organized

Book: Getting Things Done, David Allen

Though I have recently shared a complete review of this book, I will quickly share that this book is particularly helpful if you are looking to find a system of planning and organization for work and life.

It’s not geared specifically towards clutter, but it will give you some tools and processes to put in place regarding to-do lists, project planning, and keeping track of everything in your life.

 

Resolution #3: Spend Less, Save More

Book: It’s Your Money, Eric Williams

This book has been instrumental in my own life in the past year to get more inspired to spend less and save more. Hearing the Williams personal story of reducing their ~$40,000 in debt in 23 months – on average incomes – made me deeply consider what I really want to do with my finances.

This isn’t a hands-on “how-to” book for debt reduction and budgeting, I believe it’s the precursor: it’s the book that makes you want to get more serious about finance and saving.

Meanwhile, the Words of Williams blog is a great resource for the tactics and nitty gritty details of making a budget happen.

 

Resolution #4: Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Book: The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

More than anything, I’ve come to believe that being present is the key to enjoying life to the fullest. And the book that has helped me in that area more than any other is The Power of Now. I found that it got particularly helpful towards the middle of the book.

Implementing Mr. Tolle’s suggestions in my life has created more moments of presence and awareness – which in turn lead to joy.

 

Resolution #5: Staying Fit and Healthy

Book: The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson

This isn’t a book about exercise. It is the book that will explain why it may have been difficult to maintain a healthy fitness schedule in the first place – and what you can do about it going forward.

If you want to make any change in your life, this book is the one to start with.

After reading The Slight Edge, you simply apply these straightforward and powerful principles to the details of the habit you wish to make.

 

Resolution #6: Learn Something Exciting

Book: The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Chances are, there may be an exciting new habit or skill lurking in the back of your mind that you wish to attempt. But for some reason or another (time, fear, money, public opinion, Homeland) you haven’t done anything about it… yet.

This book reeks of soul-bearing truth and can be the wake up call that gets you going.

 

Resolution #7: Quit Smoking

Book: 10 Tips for Quitting Smoking, Leo Baubuta

This one isn’t actually a book, it’s a post by Leo Baubuta of Zen Habits sharing his own tips on quitting. Stopping his smoking habit once and for all actually kicked off his journey to living a zen life.

I recommend diving into Leo’s other books, interviews, and posts to get a fuller sense of what helped him kick the smoking — and kick start so many other positive changes along the way.

 

Resolution #8: Help Others in Their Dreams

Book: Start with Why, Simon Sinek

This book is a great way to understand the elements of purpose. Once these concepts are understood, it becomes easier to teach and share the principles with those who seek more meaning in their lives.

 

Resolution #9: Fall in Love

Book: Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, Regena Thomashauer

I’m not particularly familiar with the genre of dating books out there, I found this one to be pretty helpful and fun to read.

Regardless of whether you are single, dating, or married, this book is a fun read that has a fresh take on a lot of universal principles.

 

Resolution #10: Spend More Time with Family

Book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey

What can I say? You didn’t expect me to leave out my favorite book of all time, did you?

Yes, I’m proud to list The Seven Habits as a foundation for any of these resolutions, particularly this one about more family time. When it comes to finding balance in life in all areas, this book (particularly habits 2 and 3) will provide the road map.

Though the content can seem dense at times, it is worth its weight in gold when applied consistently.

Take some time with this one. A month per habit is a good way to approach this valuable material.

 

As you consider reading some (or all) of these books, I hope you take some time to apply the nugget of wisdom from The Slight Edge:

FocusingOnTheActionsIsNotEnough

Reading books is useless unless the concepts are applied consistently.

So go forth and read and then do!

 


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