Take Your @*$% Medicine! [and nine other tips for success in 2018]

prioritize top tips Dec 21, 2017

I have this little problem called "I keep forgetting to take my medicine in the morning," and as you might know, there's a tiny pill I need to take each morning if I want to improve the likelihood that my breast cancer won't come back. This is important, right?! I mean, I want to make sure I live long enough to see my kids all begin their careers, get married, have kids... I don't want to miss any of the milestones! Yet, I keep getting to the end of the day, realizing I was so busy that I never stopped long enough to swallow that pill.

Finally, I started setting an alert on my phone. I put "take your @*$% pill" in my calendar, and clicked the "alert" option so my phone would buzz and remind me mid-morning. But, I told myself I needed to take it one step further. I made a deal with myself that no matter what I was doing, I would stop and take my medicine right then and there. And that's more tricky than it sounds. Once I get going in the morning, whether it's playing with my dogs, or working at my computer, I get in my zone, and it's hard to pull myself away. That's the plan, and it's working for me.

Here's the thing though: if something is important, really important, it's in your calendar. It's part of your schedule. And, nothing should keep you from it.

If it's not important enough to be in your calendar, it's not a priority. That means it's not important enough to bump any seriously important things you need to do that day. What's that pill you need to swallow each day? Get it on your calendar! Prioritize it!

Here are nine more tips for success in 2018:

  • Enjoy the process. Don't be so focused on your end game that you forget to have fun in the process. Life really is about the journey. If you can't enjoy the steps you need to take to get to your goal, change the goal, or come up with a new way to achieve that goal.
    • You hate your long runs because you don't like to run alone? Find a group. You don't like your group because they are too fast and you feel stressed trying to keep up? Find a new group closer to your pace, or ask to run with the group on their "easy" days. 
    • You want to participate in your first triathlon, but the thought of jumping in the pool with a bunch of former college swimmers is too intimidating? Find a private coach and grab a few friends to join you. You want to improve your core strength, but you haven't been able to make it to the gym? Find an online program and make it fit into your day!
  • Become a recovering perfectionist. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop expecting things to be perfect. Do your best, and let it go. 
    • You started Whole 30 and reached for a Snickers bar after lunch. Start over again and finish the day strong.
    • You were supposed to get your long run in on Saturday, but there was a blizzard and your kid got sick, and there was no one to watch him while you ran, and your treadmill broke... don't ditch the goal. Don't give up. You have next week. Consistency over time is more important than a single missed day.
  • Stop caring about what others think. This one can be a challenge, but think about how freeing it will be! You be you. Do what brings you joy.
    • Who cares if your crazy Uncle Ernie thinks that your goal of going to film school is a waste of money? Do you have a dream and a story to tell? Don't let your crazy uncle's foolish words stop you.
    • The same goes for your coworker who tells you every morning that running will ruin your knees. (It won't.) Do you have a race to run? Keep training and do it!
    • Keep all those negative voices out of your head!
  • Realize that "failure" or stumbling is part of the process. There are a million cliches for this for a reason. It's part of the process, so accept that detours are expected, and learn from them. 
    • Nothing worth doing is easy.
    • Fall nine times, get up ten.
    • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
  • Take a technology break. Put down your phone. Step away from the computer. Take time to get out with friends and actually talk. When I was in my early 20s, at my first job, only top level managers had phones... and they were bag phones that connected to the cigarette lighter in the car. I remember declaring that I didn't ever want to be so important that someone required me to be accessible every moment of the day. Well, the world has changed. Phones are now mini-computers that we hold in the palms of our hands. And most of us are rarely more than a few feet from our phones. Wouldn't it be nice to truly relax without being distracted by emails, texts, Facebook messages, Snaps and whatever else is buzzing and beeping at you?
    Some ideas:
    • Make meal time a no-phone zone.
    • Plan a chunk of time on the weekend that you will be away from your phone or computer.
    • Put your phone away. Take the smart watch off so it won't distract you. And take a yoga class or get a massage. 
    • Read a book with a cup of hot tea and remember what it was like to just BE without all the distractions from technology.
  • Exercise! Exercise is good for your heart, and it's a good mood stabilizer. Exercise reduces stress, can serve as a social activity, clears your mind, and thus gives your mind room to think and make decisions. Of course, I love running, but you don't have to run to get the benefits. You just need to MOVE. Find something you enjoy, and get your blood pumping several times a week for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Be spontaneous. Do you remember what it was like as a kid when the neighbors knocked on the door and everyone dropped what they were doing and ran outside to play? We didn't need play dates or formal invitations to get outside with friends. In my neighborhood, we played things like kickball, pick up sticks, kick the can, red rover and flashlight tag. Don't over think it; add more spontaneous fun to your life.
  • Don't dwell. Stop fixating on your setbacks. In our house, we have a 24 hour rule. My girls are all in theater, which means someone is always auditioning, and that person is subject to the director's vision. Sometimes, yeah, you've had a bad day. But more often, you just don't fit the director's vision for the show. Or someone else was perfect for the role of the mom, and you are taller than her, or have the wrong hair color, or don't have the vocal range required for the role. Whatever your thing is... give yourself 24 hours to be upset and pout. It's okay to get angry. Let it all out (at home, or to a trusted friend... not publicly and not on social media!) After the time is up, let it go and move on.
  • Stop being petty / show some grace / stop picking. Just be nice already! Don't expect others to be perfect. Let them be happy being themselves. The world is an awesome place because of our differences. And ladies, show each other some love! (I say ladies because girls and women seem to be far worse about this than men). Support each other. Have your friend's back. Heck, if you see a stranger struggling, take the time to care! This might be the most important tip of them all. Take the time to lift others up!

If you'd like to improve your fitness or your athletic success in the new year, I have some awesome online courses and challenges I'm really excited about. Be sure to check out my current training programs, designed for women who want to take charge of their life and health and have tons to talk about at that next stuffy corporate dinner or family gathering!

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