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Designing A Better Life

Ok…thanks to Sheila again at Live Well 360 for inspiring me to take action on something I’ve ignored for some time now.  Yes, I completed a few different mini-challenges for myself through the holidays.  I love taking action and with the mini-goals, I felt active and gained so much strength from them.  But now it’s time to take my actions a step further and reach for some bigger goals.

I read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris earlier this year (2009)…but really without taking any action.  I didn’t do any of the exercises or implement any of the author’s suggestions.  But recently I have been reading more and more of the Tim Ferris blog – and found out about the release of the updated version of his book.  Now is the time to take action.  Not just mini steps or mini challenges, but big steps and life changing goals.

Why?

This year has all about bringing balance, health and happiness back into my life.  I don’t have to tell you the dirty deets again, but needless to say this was a year of big internal changes for me.  2008 was crisis land. 2009 was bringing a sense of peace back into mine and my family’s life.

So, now as I start my journey into 2010, I’ve decided to really get on it and make some profound changes that I can share with all of you–my family, friends, clients, and cohorts.

I have picked up the New, Expanded version of the book the 4 Hour Work Week and started it over the weekend.  I encourage you to do the same.  You can also get the audio or kindle version if are a little more mobile.  Keep in mind that the book version forces me to sit still and not multi-task.

Start now, I’m going on a Low-Information Diet, Media Fast. I need it for many reasons, but now I’m going to follow Ferris’ advice.

So, here are the guidelines I’m setting for myself over the next 5 days…

1. I will only be checking email about 2 times per day in the morning and evening.
2. I will only be using the web to post new articles to my blog.
3. I will only be updating twitter/facebook 2 times per day during this 5 day period and not spending any time following up on the live/news feed from my friends.
4.  I will only be listening to the audiobook or reading the hardcover version of the  4HWW.
5.  I will listen to music but not surf for it on the web
6.  I will not watch the news or visit any other site with gossip-news.
7.  I will drink lots of different teas, enjoy music, write as much as possible…and not watch tv – easy since my inlaws are mostly watching Russian this week anyways.
8. If you see multiple tweets or facebook updates they have probably been pre-scheduled to post…so I don’t have to be tempted.
9. I will be posting a run down of my days on a private forum I’m a member of…but this will be to help me stay sane…can’t go into solitary confinement for a week.
10.  I will keep active – do my Red Carpet Ready workouts and enjoy outdoors activities and yoga!

I know it’s going to be a tough week…I’m usually very hooked into the web and I’m always getting the email notifications on my iphone. I am ready to let it all go and turn inward.  I have a few pilates classes to teach this weekend, but in general, I won’t need to contact anyone via email for a few days!

If you are reading the Four Hour Work Week, I’d love to hear from you!  Let me know if you have done, are doing, or just starting the Media Fast for the next week too!

I will be checking in with a video or audio message, so if you are also going through this book, I would really love to hear from you.  Email me!

2009 Life Inventory…

Ok it’s started…I’m going through the various events, accomplishments, challenges, and overall quality of my life in 2009.  This year instead of just making a statement of “this happened” to myself, I decided to choose 3 lessons I learned this year and take them into 2010.

One of the biggest themes, trains of thought and concerns for me is the concept of the “value of my time”.  Sometime around September I started making decisions based on things that truly add value to my life.  For instance, driving 1 hour to teach 1 hour and then home, pay a babysitter for the 3 hours…and get paid for only 1 hour…hmm not worth it on a few levels.  Another decision I made was being aware of how much my time is worth and not feeling bad or guilty in the least for turning down work or play invites.  Also, who I spend my time with is much more important now and making this choice clear has helped relieve a lot of stress I used to feel.

What’s your time worth?

Are you spending too much time doing things that don’t add value to your life…or that you are not passionate about?  If there is no way to remove these “things” from your life, consider adding some activities that do make you happy and that you ARE passionate about.

I’m looking forward to sharing the next 2 lessons I’ll take with me into 2010.  Check back during the week for updates!

Are the Holidays Stressing You Out?

So, I was out for a quick run to Target earlier this week. Key Phrase: Quick Run. Um, yah, forget about it. Well, thankfully I wasn’t dragging my daughter through the craziness, but I’m thinking she would have handled it better than I did.

I was weaving through people, trying to just get some quick items and then be done with the mayhem. I passed couples with multiple children fighting in the aisles, people stopped in a daze everywhere, crying children, laughing children, banging carts, price check calls over the loudspeaker. I started thinking, wow, this SUCKS! Everyone seemed frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed–INCLUDING ME! I had even been muttering under my breath the whole time for people to get the $@!!XX of my way! It was the same in the parking lot, though I was pretty zen at first and found a spot quickly.

So, what’s the deal then? Why are we all so insane right now? Can it really be just the act of getting presents for others or a rush to finish some THING before the end of the year? Maybe all of the above, but it made me start thinking… Why are we all stress monkeys this time of the year?

I wish I could give you an answer, the antidote…a mantra to say over and over again until calm washes over you and you can teleport back to your home unfettered. I can’t. I am also struggling with the stress and have been increasingly anxious over the past few days too!

Here’s what I’m going to do try to alleviate some of the stress.

1. Try to figure out why you are feeling so strung out. Write it out and put the paper away. Just get it all out. Even if it seems a bit ridiculous and whiny. Don’t write this for anyone. I get stressed at the holidays because of my expectations of the holiday and being around family. I start to feel like everyone is going to take control of the situation when I don’t really need to be in control either.

2. Spend time each night listening to soothing music, having a cup of tea, and reading. (I did this last night and it actually helped, but took awhile).

3. Stay Active…even if you can’t do a workout at home like you normally due to the staring eyes of family or other visitors, don’t despair. Get outside, take a walk, plan a yoga class, try a new gym. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to a yoga class I’ve wanted to check out for a long time!

4. Drink Plenty of Water and Try to eat as healthy as possible. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve been in and out of headache land for the last 2 days now because of one thing… I was guilty of mindless munching on food that causes headaches for me…excess sugar!!!

5. If the grandparents or other trustworthy relatives are visiting, let them watch the kids and go get a massage or see a movie. My husband and I are doing that starting Monday.

6. Feeling overwhelmed due to excess noise, activity or just general loudness? Just go to another room, take some deep breaths and then go back to the party when you feel a little more relaxed. I guess I’m really sensitive to loud noises and especially battling tv/computer/voices sounds… I did this a lot and it really helped me enjoy my time with my in laws.

I’ll let you know how the rest of the week goes. I’m already feeling a little more relaxed and I haven’t even started my week of yoga classes!

How are you staying sane, relaxed, and joyful during this holiday season?

Do These Pilates Moves Right Now

I just got an email from a client who is stuck in a hotel over the holidays and wants to know what she can do right now to do some pilates…

Here’s what I told her:

Pelvic Lift – 10 up and down, 10 pulses

Single Leg Stretch

Single Straight Leg Stretch

Criss Cross

Swimming

Prone Leg Lifts & Pulses

Planks – Do 10 Leg Lifts each Leg.

Side Plank with Twist Reaching Under
But words aren’t enough…I know!  So, here’s a quick video I shot while my daughter was napping today to show you the exercises! Don’t laugh I’m wearing my geeky glasses and my baggie bum lounge pants.  Gotta love a lazy weekend!

Quick Pilates Workout from Anne Samoilov on Vimeo.