On my 35th birthday last month, and I set a goal for this coming year. I want to thrive. Not just survive, but THRIVE. With 3 kids under 6, it’s easier said than done. But every day, I’m finding that it’s possible. And it starts with changing your mindset and that inner voice that narrates your life. Here are a few things I’ve started doing.
1. Listen to the positive reviews. Are you your own worst critic? Trust me, I get it. I’ve been carrying around the baby weight from our third son for the last 18 months, and I’ve felt every bit of self-inflicted shame about it the entire time. Until a few weeks ago, when I realized, Guess what? I look FINE. No one really notices the difference except me. And in fact, my husband loves me this way. So, why am I not listening to that? Once I decided to listen to the positive reviews of my life, not my own negative ones, every day felt lighter and brighter. Sometimes that means logging off Facebook and Instagram, and giving yourself a social media break. You are enough, and you are doing your best.
2. Do what works for you, and ditch what doesn’t. I realized I had some commitments that worked for me a few months ago, but now, they just don’t. For instance, I was trying to get to boot camp every weekday at 6am, and when my husband was away on business, I was texting a high school babysitter to come at 5:30am so that I could still make it. Until one day, I asked myself, Why am I killing myself to get to boot camp when I can just join a gym with a daycare? I love my boot camp, and it’s been a big part of my life, so it was a hard choice. But once I made that slight redirect, I was so much happier because everything was so much simpler. And it was all because I’d made a small change to make my life work for me, not against me. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid of making the change, even if you’re disappointing people. You need to be happy.
3. Know your needs. I started realizing that, with my husband traveling so much, I wasn’t getting any real alone time. Sure, I am able to run errands during the mornings when all the boys have school, but I wasn’t using that time to do anything for me. Then when my husband was home on the weekends, I’d feel pressure to hang out with the family because it was “family time.” Until I realized something huge: I don’t need family time on the weekends. As I told my husband, “I have family time all the time. I don’t need more of it, all weekend long.” (Can I get an amen?) My husband totally got it. I let him know that I’d like at least a half-day to myself each weekend (or so) to fill myself up before the week begins. Not as Mom, not as Wife, but as Janie. He was only too happy to oblige. Take a stand for what you need, and don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t involve your family.
4. Don’t apologize for living your life. I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to apologize to anyone for living my life the way I do. I have my own convictions, beliefs, and moral code, and while I don’t enforce them on anyone around me or even really talk about them, if something comes up that goes against what I want to do, I just say no. You don’t need to give a reason or explain yourself. Just do what you need to do. Can we please stop apologizing for having different ideas about life? We are all entitled to make our own choices. Own your life and live it boldly.
5. Say ‘no’ often. If you want to thrive, you need to prioritize. I personally love saying no because it reminds me that I’m prioritizing my life. And again, you don’t need to give a reason when you say no. Just say, “No, I can’t make it!” or “Wish I could be there!” People don’t need an explanation. And, I’ve also found that people really respect you when you say no. Here’s an example: as a personal rule, I don’t go to any parties where friends are selling something. Most women I know have some sort of a side business these days (shakes, leggings, juices, jewelry). In fact, I’m sure that some of you do, and that’s amazing, and I support you 100%. But I can’t go to every party, and to be honest, I don’t want to. So, as a rule, I just say no to all of them, and I don’t feel bad about it because I’m being fair to all. If I want to buy one of their products, I’ll do it online or via phone, and that’s that. Say ‘no’ more, and watch your life take shape.
6. Invest in no-guilt friendships. With our lives getting busier and busier, sometimes, I don’t get to see my good friends or even talk to them on the phone for weeks at a time. And when we reconnect, we always pick up right where we left off. On the flip side, do you ever realize that with some friends, you are always apologizing? There is an undertone that you are guilty, and you haven’t been a good enough friend to them? You didn’t make it to their kids’ birthday or you haven’t called them, and they need you to say you’re sorry for not being everything to them? Here’s the thing with those friends. I don’t have time for them. Straight up. I love them, but I can’t be close to people with whom I always feel the need to apologize for living my life and prioritizing it the way I chose. I still love those friends, but I’m not going deep. Invest in the friends who don’t lay on the guilt, and you will be so much happier.
7. Focus on today and tomorrow. Going back to my example of not losing my baby weight, once I decided to focus on my body today and not comparing it to my body 5 or even 10 years ago, I felt so much happier. (Duh!) You are YOU, today. And for me, that’s 5 years older and 15 pounds heavier. Oh well. Life goes on, and it’s still a beautiful, blessed life.
8. Know that you are enough. No matter what mistakes you made yesterday, you are always enough. Our mistakes don’t change who we are at the core. You are still the same awesome person inside, even though you mess up. That’s called being human. Accept that you’re not everything, and love yourself for doing your best every single day. #justdoyou #youglowgirl
I hope this was encouraging to you! These are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about as a continue my journey to give myself grace, and accept the beautiful person that I am. And you are too. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts, so please leave them in the comments section below! #35andthriving