The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power the WANTcast Tips + Tools

And just like that, it was the Season One finale.

As you probably already realized…this episode is a little different. It’s just me today. I’m gonna try something new. It just so happens that by the time a lot of you listen to this, it’ll also be my 30th birthday. I decided that today, I’d jam about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 30 years. I know. A little headline-y. But hey – I always love reading those lists, and hearing what others have to say about the lessons they’ve learned, so I thought maybe you’d like to, too.

Honestly, as I was thinking about it, there is a LOT of overlap in the lessons I learned in season one of the WANTcast, so it seems fitting to honor the end of Season One with this episode. Some of these are pretty deep (think body image and life choices), some are a little more trivial than others (stuff about smog checks, for example), but in the moment, they ALL feel huge.

My hope is that this can help someone else through their first three decades – and maybe, just maybe, set the tone for what kinds of lessons open up to you from here on out no matter what decade you’re in.

WANT Yourself:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show Notes:
WANTcast archives
Benjamin Mathes episode
Kirsten Potenza episode
Ashlee Piper episode
Jessica Murnane episode
Kate Northrup
Many Lives, Many Masters
Using Your Intuition Vs. Being Triggered
I Love You And I Like You: The Ebbs And Flows Of Body Image
The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

The WANT Women: Emily Greener On Curiosity, Complexity, and The Choice To Connect

Community WANT Women

If you’re anything like me, your entire experience from freshman year of high school to senior year of college was a massive lesson in self-discovery. Never before are you not only forced to think for yourself, but learn how to delicately balance that newfound independence with the expectations of the world around you. Those eight-ish years of school are really the years you start to meet yourself as you really are, in all your high highs and low lows. It’s liberating. It’s stifling. It’s fun. It’s scary as all hell.

For the most part, we feel like an anomalies. How on earth others could be feeling the exact same pushes and pulls as we are completely baffles us.

If only our younger selves had known we were not alone. If only we’d realized that other girls our age were experiencing the same exact things. If only we’d had I AM THAT GIRL.

emily greener
Emily Greener is the CEO and co-founder of I AM THAT GIRL, a global movement inspiring girls to be, love, and express who they are through education, content, and community. She’s been Emily and the IATG crew have taken their movement off-line into communities all over the world, motivating girls from SoCal to South Africa to live the lives they were meant to lead, judgement-free.

Emily originally came to Los Angeles as an aspiring actress with a hunch: she knew she wanted to make major change and influence the world, but had no idea just how far her bright personality and can-do attitude would lead her. In one of those beautiful moments of kismet, Emily met now co-founder Alexis Jones at a random LA party, and was immediately hooked on this idea Alexis had to create a platform – and, subsequently, world – in which young women collaborated instead of competed. The platform was called I AM THAT GIRL. 

Fast forward to today, and IATG reaches literally millions across the world. The IATG website is chock-full of empowering content created both by and for users, yet what’s mind-blowing about this movement is how it’s resonated IRL. IATG’s local chapters not only create the community we so crave while we’re trying to find our way in the world, they provide a safe, fun place for girls to express their thoughts freely and realize that no matter our backgrounds, successes, or struggles, we’re all in this together. And their focus on young women between the ages of 14 and 22? Can you imagine if you’d had this kind of supportive space to just be yourself all throughout high school? Game changer.

As we’ve discussed over and over here on WANT, fearlessness is not the absence of fear – it’s when the fear is less than the faith. Emily leads the IATG tribe with humor, humility, radical self-love, and the kind of unshakable fearlessness that inspires others to do the same in their own lives.

Sound like someone you’d want in your tribe, right? Emily wants you in hers. Read on for Emily’s inspiring thoughts on curiosity, complexity, and the choice we all have to not only be positive, but really own that power. She is bold. She is visionary. She is THAT GIRL.

WANT Emily.
Emily-Greener


Name: Emily Greener


How you’d know me (occupation or role): Co-Founder, CEO I AM THAT GIRL


What I love about myself (and why): My curious nature and adventure seeking heart, my desire to keep growing and learning and being humbled.


What is your definition of “positivity?” Being positive is a choice to create and embody a perspective on the world (and any given situation) of magic, miracles, and optimism.

Being positive is a choice to create + embody magic, miracles, and optimism. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” I have always both loved myself and simultaneously had fears, doubts, and insecurities. And I’m pretty sure that is a lifelong reality to exist with both. I would say the ratio of more love for myself than not happened when I started seeing my therapist. I call her my heart doctor. She taught me how to feel all of my feelings which opened up a huge space to love ALL of me, not just the “good” parts.

i am that girl


How/where negative talk shows up in my life: When comparing myself to others


When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… quickly resolved by remembering our values of I AM THAT GIRL


When others talk negatively about themselves… I remind them what there is to love about themselves.


It baffles me that women still… tear each other down.


I wish that more women… could be who they are instead of who they think they’re supposed to be.
I wish more women could be who they are not who they think theyre supposed to be -@thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


The coolest thing about women is… our tendency to connect and feel multiple complex emotions all at once.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


My top female role models: Michelle Obama, Oprah, you know… the usual ;)


Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… reminding them how powerful they are.

i am that girl


Favorite negativity-busting activity: Picturing myself or others as a little kid = instant compassion and love and joy


Fave self-love ritual: Being in nature


Favorite feel-good food(s): Ice cream


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Pretty Woman


Favorite empowering book(s): Half The Sky


My feel-good playlist: Oldies


Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: I love you
…14 year-old self: It’s okay to cry
…24 year old self: Hold on tight, you’re about to embark on a crazy roller coaster that will help you become so much more of who you are.


5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list: A trip around the world, and African safari, owning a boat, wine tasting through the south of france, building the most powerful movement of girls in the world


My best tip on self love: Look at yourself in the mirror for 60 seconds every day and tell yourself all the things you wish others would say to you.


When I truly love all of myself… I feel most connected to my purpose on this planet


Right now, I am most excited about… camping this weekend (and my new vespa)!


My body is: BeautyFULL

My body is beautyFULL. - @thatgirlgreener Click To Tweet


Three words to describe me: Love, light, power


Current mantra: “You yourself, more than anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

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For more Emily:
Instagram
Twitter
IATG Facebook

IATG Instagram
IATG Twitter

 

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The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

Love Motivation + Inspiration the WANTcast Work

Today’s guest is the lovely Ashlee Piper. Ashlee Piper is a political strategist turned vegan and eco-lifestyle expert, writer, and TV personality whose work has been featured in/on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Mirror Mirror, Mind Body Green, VegNews, Vegetarian Times, AOL, NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX News, to name a few. Piper is also a brand strategist and influencer for some of the world’s most ethical and innovative companies.

One of the things I love about Ashlee is her versatility and mad smarts. I’m fascinated by Ashlee’s background as a political strategist and creative consultant, and how that has led to her building a name for herself as an “eco-lifestyle expert” over the years.

You only want people and things in your life that want you, too. - @thelilfoxes Click To Tweet

In this episode, we talk Ashlee’s winding career journey that ultimately led her to where she is today, how to pivot both personally and professionally when what you had or who you were no longer serves you, the importance of listening to your intuition and how to discern whether it’s your gut talking or if you’re being triggered, how personal and professional brand can, and maybe even should, be one and the same, and the social media frenzy to keep it hashtag-authentic vs. actually authentic.

We also talk about how to push through when you’re afraid of taking chances and asking questions, self-promotion, and how to deal with that nagging question we all get at one point or another: What Will People Think Of Me? She gets me a little more chatty than usual when we start talking about intuition, and at one point got me revealing a story about a time that I was trying to convince myself that I was following my intuition, but I really wasn’t – a story that I probably would have been more comfortable just writing about and calling a day (because, I don’t know, it’s less vulnerable than saying it out loud?), but I’m so glad that she turned the tables a little on me, because it opened us up to an even greater conversation around what it really means to be happy.

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Whether you’re feeling solid in your career, romantic life, and personal life or you’re feeling like you’re on shaky ground somewhere in the mix, I can guarantee this episode will have something for you to take with you into your day and into your life, and make you even 2% more positive and proactive in being the you YOU know you’re meant to be.

WANT Ashlee:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the pod by shopping on Amazon (just like normal, no extra charge)

Show Notes:
Ashlee’s site
The Little Foxes
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest
Ashlee’s WANT Woman spotlight

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Ashlee’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

Photo cred: Amy Mokris

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The WANT Women: Erin Bagwell on Determination, Depression, and Dreaming Big

The WANT Women: Erin Bagwell on Determination, Depression, and Dreaming Big

Community WANT Women Work

As a brand new New Yorker (well…I’m getting there!), I’m realizing now more than ever the power in the pack. Whether it’s a group of tight-knit friends or just familiar faces walking through the gym, I feel the most productive, passionate, and generaly my very best self when I am surrounded by like-minded souls. Call it a tribe, call it a community, call it whatever you want – there is so much that comes to life, both within and outside us, when we find our peeps.

For my entire adult life, I’ve been searching for that thing to call my own. When WANT was born, it was like finding a piece of myself I didn’t know was able to exist. I wanted to be a leader, but didn’t want to be my then-boss. I wanted to help women be their fullest, most actualized selves, but I didn’t want to be a “life coach.” I wanted to write, to speak, to make, to shift, but I didn’t want to be a “freelancer.” I only knew how I wanted to feel, what I wanted to shift, and why I knew I needed to do it. I was craving a space to create major change – but I didn’t know how it would come to life.

A big part of this? I wasn’t seeing or hearing stories of women like me – women who wanted to create, expand, and flourish…on their own terms.

Oh how I wish the messages and mission in Dream, Girl had been around to carry with me in my back pocket during that intense (and confusing!) period of my life.

dream-girl

Dream, Girl is a documentary that tells the inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs and CEOs in order to empower the next generation of girl bosses to dream bigger. It follows the stories of these amazing, ambitious women who work in everything from brand new startups to million dollar industries. The Dream, Girl mission is all about showing girls what it means to be a leader, not just telling them they can be anything they want and leaving it there.

You might remember meeting Dream, Girl’s producer Komal on the WANTcast earlier this year.

Today, just one week shy of Dream, Girl’s official premiere, we’re diving in and digging deep with Dream, Girl’s director and creator, Erin Bagwell.
I wish that more women became their own role models. - @erinebagwell, @dreamgirlfilm Click To Tweet
Erin is a feminist blogger and filmmaker from Brooklyn. After founding Feminist Wednesday, a feminist storytelling blog, and conducting numerous interviews with female founders and CEOS, she realized there was a huge gap to fill when it came to inspiring women to be bolder, bet higher, and truly blaze their own path. The idea for Dream, Girl was born – and after raising over $100K on Kickstarter in less than one month, Erin, Komal, and the Dream, Girl team were officially making moves.

Fast forward to today, and Dream, Girl has been covered by Forbes, Upworthy, The Huffington Post, Fox Business, Elle Magazine, and more. Erin and Komal have been featured by Clinique in their #smartideas campaign in partnership with TED. And if that wasn’t enough, the final product has been screened at the freaking White House – all before its official premiere at the Paris Theater in NYC on June 9th.

Watching Erin’s dream come to life has inspired me in a way I’ve never been inspired before: here is a woman around my age, who thinks like me, talks like me, and dreams like me. Here is a woman who had a seed of an idea and the bravery to put in the heavy lifting to make it blossom. Here is a woman who is badass to the bone, inclusive to the core, and maybe most importantly, believes in what is possible when we believe in not only each other, but ourselves.
My body is my center, my shell, my gift wrap, my powerhouse. -@erinebagwell, @dreamgirlfilm Click To Tweet
Being a woman is like being a part of a collective. We’re not just forces to be reckoned with, we’re leaders in our own right who are able to shift the world by working in unison. We are inherently inclusive by nature, although the society we live in sometimes seems like it would rather us exclude others and compete for space. Dream, Girl shows us our fellow women, our fellow tribemates, our fellow LEADERS, all defining their own hustle and lifting other women up with them along the way.

WANT to attend the world premiere next week? Click here for all the deets. Until then…

WANT ERIN.

Erin_Headshot


Name: Erin Bagwell


How you’d know me (occupation or role): Founder of Feminist Wednesday (a feminist storytelling blog powered by beavers) & the Director of Dream, Girl (the documentary showcasing the stories of inspiring and ambitious female entrepreneurs)


What I love about myself (and why): My determination and ability to get things accomplished. I don’t spend a lot of time questioning myself or why I want to do something – I just do it.


What is your definition of “positivity?” Being grateful.


When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” I’m constantly discovering and exploring self-love. I make it a practice to try to find things that inspire and keep me passionate, which gravitates me towards a lot of love.


How/where negative talk shows up in my life: When I stop doing the work and start questioning if I’m the person who should be doing it.


When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… About financial instability and money.


When others talk negatively about themselves… I tune it out :-p

Marie Forleo Interview 33 (1)


It baffles me that women still… Get paid less, get objectified, fear walking home at night, get genitally mutilated, become child brides, fear being a woman.


I wish that more women… Became their own role models.


The coolest thing about women is… That their stories are still waiting to be unearthed.


My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: To be grateful for what I have.


My top female role models: My mother and my business partner Komal Minhas


Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… I think it depends who the man is and what his role is in her life. I think negative talk stems from a personal burden or scar that one must heal on her own, so just listening and being supportive and not judgmental would be nice?


Favorite negativity-busting activity: Meditating


Fave self-love ritual: Getting my nails done


Favorite feel-good food(s): Ramen or french fries


Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: Sex & the City (not a movie but my favorite thing to turn on anytime)


Favorite empowering book(s): Big Magic, The life-changing magic of tidying up


My feel-good playlist: No Nets

white house


Advice I would give my
…4 year old self: keep crushing
…14 year-old self: depression isn’t something you should be ashamed of
…24 year old self: keep looking for what inspires you


5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list:
– have a child
– win an oscar
– buy a house
– make a million dollars
– produce 20 films in my lifetime


My best tip on self love: Forgive yourself


When I truly love all of myself… I allow myself to have fun and be goofy


Right now, I am most excited about… FINISHING THIS MOVIE


My body is: My center, my shell, my gift wrap, my powerhouse


Three words to describe me: Creative, passionate, hard working


Current mantra: Let it go

DirectorErinBagwell

WANT more Erin?
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Attend the Dream, Girl premiere in NYC


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The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions.

The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions.

Community Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

There isn’t much more of an emotional experience for me than driving through Downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley then back again; a route I know all too well yet still find so much nuance and newness in.

It’s the path from the place I live now back to the place I grew up in, from the future to back to the past and all the moments in between – both places that hold so much of my history but so much of my current hustle as well. The appointments. The auditions. The schools. The snacks. The boyfriends, the best friends, the strip malls where I learned to drive and the high rises I still look up at with awe. I cross “over the hill” into “The Val” and I’m instantly transported into the person I’ve always been. It’s all there, the same yet so different. My heart caves at the “For Lease” signs and expands with the familiar neon lights. Each block holds a memory, each zip code a sense of déjà vu.

The nostalgia eats me alive.

~

You know those dreams you have where you’re in a place, but it seems slightly “off?” Maybe it’s supposed to be your middle school homeroom, but your cousins are there and the blackboard is white. Or you’re walking down the grocery aisle, then suddenly it morphs into a pet shop where the Fuji apples used to be.

Having lived in the city I grew up in for my entire existence, that’s what my life has always seemed like to me – and the feeling I get when I drive down Ventura Boulevard. Morphing without warning, shifting without reason. I cannot tell if yesterday was yesterday or if it was two decades ago. If the block to my right has always been there or if it’s reconstructed out of an old orange grove. The past seems more like last night’s dream than a distant memory: it’s all where I left it, yet things are just…different.

As I prepare for a move across the country to a city I adore, I cannot help but sit and stare out the window a little bit longer than usual and breathe a bit deeper (when the city smog lets me). I think about change, I think about transitions, I think about how our lives are nothing more than a story playing itself out – which is really something, if you think about it hard enough.

This “City Of Angles” is my safety blanket in a way I can’t express. Sure, the space is familiar, but it’s more of the energy within that space that keeps me feeling safe. The feeling she, L.A, brings me…it’s less of a “home” feeling and more of an extension of myself. The twisted freeways, the blue and green signs and the busy off-ramps. The movie theater I got my first kiss, the beach where I fell in love. This city tells the story that made me…well…ME.

navigating transitions

Why is it that our biggest moments on the inside are sometimes the smallest on the outside – and vice versa? Why is it we’re told it’s the opposite that must be true? We make movies and build holidays around this stuff, but the people who know better can see the meat is really within the minutia. Yes, our turning points sometimes come in the I Dos and the contracts and the big old forks in the road – but more often than not, those are just an external manifestation of a hundred huge micro-moments when we made a shift or stood our ground for the first time over and over again.

We feel it’s the big things that are supposed to define us: our extracurriculars, our SATs, our college major, our career choice, the person we marry, the life we have – ergo, the legacy we leave. But in actuality, our legacy is everything in between. It’s the play you saw at five years old that stirred something in your heart. It’s the tears you cried after the SATs but dried three minutes later because you had to show up for a team you couldn’t let down no matter your personal struggles. It’s the teacher that made you think outside of the box or called you out on your shit or was the first one to identify your fearlessness (even before you believed it yourself). It’s the kisses in the movie theatres and the times you said no when the easy option was to say yes. It’s the pivots you made when your heart felt that something wasn’t right, and the beelines you made when it knew everything was. The big moments are easy for others to understand, and they’re clear ways to designate your chapters. But the only person that matters when it comes to actually reading your story is YOU.

The only person that matters when it comes to reading your story is YOU. Click To Tweet

Navigating transitions hasn’t ever really been my strong suit. I was born into a sea of nostalgia, a family of collectors and traditions and story upon story told over and over. And they’re all in Los Angeles, all amidst its familiar streets. Those boulevards have been like talismans to me my entire life, signifying good luck or a safety net around the corner.

It’s so easy to blur my story with the ones of my community – it all seems the same sometimes. In the past I’ve felt an obligation to turn the pages for others, to modify my story to fit the narrative that surrounds me. My legacy is easiest to understand when others get it, I’ve thought. It’s where I derive my importance and my worth. In the ease. In the fact that I can live this dream of past moments without ever fully waking. I can know each step of the way.

And so a part of me raises her eyebrow at the fact that I feel so ready. I should be frantic, I should be mourning. I should be soaking in every single moment and wondering/worrying how I will fare. It’s unknown, after all. And I know my relationship with the unknown.

But I do. I feel so ready. And I think it’s because I am always celebrating and mourning simultaneously. I am constantly soaking in each moment like it’s the last, treating what I see as final. Like it’s the last time my eyes ever will transfix on the slow-moving clouds, or the shadows on the buildings, or the way the same hawk lands in the very same place outside my window each season. I notice the little things that remind me of myself, the constants that have painted the backdrop and nuance in my story for so long. I’ve collected moments and made each hour a tradition. It’s not morbid or morose, it’s just this immense gratitude and awareness that it’s all something that will feel like a dream I woke up from not too far off in the future. 

I wonder if that’s the secret to navigating transitions. To notice the moments before you realize they were moments. To speak with intention in each sentence you make.

I wonder if that's the secret to navigating transitions. To notice the moments before you realize they were moments. Click To Tweet

I look around at Los Angeles and I wonder what the future holds for our relationship. Will she still feel like an extension of myself once I come back to visit? Will my memory of her be something I can’t quite pinpoint when I’m trying to describe her to others, decades in the future, ones who might only know a watered-down version in the future, a half-magical version of her greatness? I know my version isn’t her pinnacle of awesomeness per se, but it sure as hell has been a great one to me.

We all have a place we call home, or at least a vision of a place we’ve once called home. And when we stray from that familiar safe haven, it’s easy to succumb to the idea that we SHOULD be thrown for a loop. That we’re about to wake. What happens then, we wonder? Will I fade into the darkness, too? If I am not my surroundings and I am not my talismans…then who am I?

As I sit here now, in the soon-to-be-morning darkness on my soon-to-be-sold couch in my soon-to-be-old home, I know that my present will soon be that dream I woke up from. I cry at the loss that hasn’t even happened, and I cry for the ones who might never know L.A.’s true heart. I wince at the thought of anyone trying to change her, to alter her, to shape her into their idealized Mecca. Because what I see now is perfection, her dirty streets and dilapidated shops, the creatives walking with the corporates and the homeless laughing with the hipsters. I want to save her charm, bottle it up or trap it in a snow globe. It’s where I fell deeply in love over and over again, the place that takes my breath away no matter how shitty the day has been. She is my friend, lover, teacher, mentor. She is family who I don’t always agree with but love down to the core. 

But maybe that is the true beauty of it all. We all get to choose the magic we see and the dreams we wake up from. No version is better or worse, we just decide where our incarnation and perception fits into the mix. We can mourn the change and the loss or we can celebrate the ever-evolving dream that’s always in motion. It’s all there, things are just different. We can choose whether our transitions mean hard starts and stops, or if they just mean we’re in the midst of our story – an ever-morphing dream we’ve never really needed to wake up from.

I choose to celebrate. And I choose to keep dreaming.

 

transitions

We all get to choose the magic we see and the dreams we wake up from. Click To Tweet

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A Case Of The Januarys (Or, 3 Things To Do Besides Resolve To “Lose Weight”)

A Case Of The Januarys (Or, 3 Things To Do Besides Resolve To “Lose Weight”)

Body Community Love Tips + Tools Work

It’s only the beginning of the month, and we’ve got a first-class case of the Januarys: that extra-special cocktail of optimism, hope, frustration, and grit with a sprinkle of self-loathing and dash of cynicism on the side. It’s what ramps up gym memberships and cashes in on cleanses – what jolts us out of bed on the first of the month and has us barely out of pjs by March. It’s what rings in the year with cheer and closes out the year with fear. It’s what keeps us in the loop of pseudo self-improvement that makes us feel like we just can’t catch a break.

And frankly, it’s exhausting.

A thought: what if it’s all a ploy? What if the freshness of each new year is just a chance for food companies, fitness brands, and mass media marketing to convince us that the way we’ve been living hasn’t been “good enough” until now? What if our case of the Januarys is being exploited so that we’re tricked into using those positive qualities – the optimism, hope, grit – to fuel the negative, over and over, year after year, right when it hits us hardest?

There’s a grain of truth in this tactic. Transitional moments like birthdays, seasons, and yes, new years, are stellar times to make shift happen. Natural transitions beget natural change – I don’t know one person who hasn’t grown a year older or stepped outside on the first day of summer and felt something shift inside of them. Whether it’s metaphorical or physical, the shedding of layers during these times of change is what makes space for all the growth and general newness coming our way. To resist this is to resist the chance to be your most expressed, most ecstatic, most whole self.
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The caveat lies in the kind of shift we try to make happen. Superficial goals that read like magazine headlines set us up for failure by focusing on one narrow expectation – an end result that’s arbitrary, impersonal, and might not even be in our control. Dropping the dress size, making more money, finding true love, getting the best body ever. Ever.

More and more women (and men) find themselves back at square one by the time the year is over – and even if they don’t and their outsides look different, many are mentally in the same spot as they’ve always been by years’ end.

It’s reinforced by our culture and years of trying to do right by it: We should want to be better, and the way to do that is focus on a prescribed set of seemingly achievable norms. (Mostly having to do with how to lose weight or getting our “best body ever.” Like, what does that even mean?)

What if I told you that the so-called “secrets” to your best body didn’t come in a can, a bottle, a cream or a Crossfit? What if I said the trick to dropping the dress size, making more money, and finding true love was simple, accessible, and realistic for the life you’re living at this very moment?
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What if the decisions you made – the ones that had nothing to do with calories or reps or the job you have or things you buy – were the decisions that actually helped you get that life you covet?

What if your best body ever was actually the one you’re in now? Click To Tweet

You’ve already read about all the new fitness trends and diet tricks. Here are three other ways to cure a case of the Januarys (along with my own examples for inspo). Turns out, it’s all in your attitude:

1.) FIND A REASON FOR THE SEASON (of change)
Losing weight, buying a house, or “networking more” are all fine and dandy, but what happens after? It’s important to know why you want to make a change, and what that “why” means to you. Think losing weight will make you happier? Well, what does “happy” mean to you? Self-confidence to wear what you, ask someone on a date, insist on that raise, stand up to your bullies? Okay, so losing weight can definitely play a part in that. But if “buying a house” will make you happier as well, that might boil down to safety, security, a sense of belonging….and there actually might be something else that can speak to that on a more regular basis. Maybe you can redecorate your apartment, or have people over once a week for game night.

This year, focus on the reason you want change and then go from there. You can use this to break down goals into habits as well. Say you want to “eat healthier.” Well, what does “healthier” mean to you? Maybe you already eat a mostly plant-based diet, but are still feeling sluggish or foggy throughout the day. Can you pinpoint a small change that could be contributing to this? Healthier could mean drinking half your body weight in water (the recommended dose) per day. It could mean eating earlier in the evening – or later. Point being: it’s your unique micro-habits that eventually shape positive macro-change.
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My example: I want to have more energy. What does “more energy” look like to me? It means not pressing the snooze button 4xs, working out in the mornings, getting work done in a timely fashion so I can spend more time not sitting. I love the mornings, and the earlier I can get myself up and running (literally or metaphorically!), the better I feel about my day in general. I have loads of mental energy – it’s the physical energy that gets me sometimes.  And what I’ve realized is that it starts when I wake up…with a headache. My doctor suggested eating a little bit of protein about 30 minutes before I go to sleep, which is something that has helped me in the past. So in the new year, I’d love to start that habit again. I know it will lead to “more energy,” but it makes me excited because it feels like I’ll be getting my mornings back. My habit/reason/”resolution” if you will is to eat a little protein 30 minutes before bed…not to “have more energy.”

It's your unique micro-habits that eventually shape positive macro-change. Click To Tweet

2.) THE HABIT-TO-MONTH RATIO.

I once read that when adopting a newer, healthier lifestyle (whether that means losing extra inches, lowering inflammation in your body, gaining muscle, or raising your body weight to a level at which it can function with energy and ease), it takes something like four weeks for you to feel a difference, eight for your friends to take notice…and twelve for acquaintance and strangers to start asking questions. Okay, so maybe I read it on the ever-prestigious scientific journal that is Pinterest…but I love the picture it paints of slow and steady change, moment by moment. Sure, you can have an end result in mind. But most of the time, when we’re so tightly tied to one specific end result, we miss out on all the other great things that happen along the way.

This year, try adopting one new habit per month and just see where it takes you. If the Pinterest scientists are correct, you’ll start to feel a shift about a month into your journey. If it’s working for you, great! If it’s not, let it go – no guilt.

Another bonus? Just one habit per month prevents you for getting too overwhelmed with tasks and to-dos – and helps you pay attention to what’s really going on as a result of the change you’ve vowed to make. I can sometimes (read: all the times) get overly excited about the idea of making big shifts all at once. It’s exciting. And distracting. One per month (or one habit + one tangible to-do item if you’re feeling ambitious) helps me focus my energy on that single thing instead of spreading myself thin in 12 different areas of my life.

My example: This month, I’m going to make a habit out of exercising between 9:30am and 10:30am every weekday. My schedule has been feeling haphazard lately, and I’ve found that’s the time block I get the most out of my sweat sessions – so I’ve committed to trying it out this month to see if it helps me feel more structured and energized the rest of the day. Next month, I’m going to make sure I schedule two social activities during the week each week, whether they’re dinner dates with friends or saying yes to media invites. As an introvert, I need my time to think and recharge, but I also know that I crave a sense of community. Too many “yesses” makes me feel stretched thin, but I’ve found that too few make me feel disconnected. Carving out time for two high-value (soul-wise) activities is totally doable and gets me excited to connect with like-minded peeps.

Try adopting one new habit per month and just see where it takes you. Click To Tweet

3.) COMPLIMENT OTHERS.
When it comes to negative self-talk, have you ever heard someone ask “Would you talk to your best friend that way?” (here’s why that doesn’t really work) Turns out, this advice works best in the opposite, positive direction: when we compliment others, whether it be on a new dress or on their killer smile, we are training our brains to speak kindly. And as with anything else, practice makes permanence. When your mind practices the art of reassurance and positive reinforcement, its wires get untangled and positivity starts to become your own vernacular. I have no “My Example” for this one, because these are effects I see daily, monthly, yearly. Self-talk is like a muscle – and we can choose whether to build it up positively or negatively.

This year, start being kind to yourself by being kind to others. In a sea of “best body now!” guides and headlines, this one shift can be your biggest game-changer. Retraining yourself to speak a new language – a language of kindness – has major positive ramifications. Your “best body” becomes the one you are in now, because you realize that even on the gloomiest days there is something wonderful about it that keeps you shining. Your physical self becomes not a goal to achieve, but a by-product of all the jumping-for-joy you’re doing in the rest of your life, during the high highs and the low lows.

Self-talk is like a muscle - and we can choose whether to build it up positively or negatively. Click To Tweet

When you’re nice to others, you’re nice to yourself – and you will start making decisions from a place of self-love instead of self-loathing. It’s a small change, that, over time, makes a huge, huge difference.

Now that’s what I call a cure-all.

jump-for-joy
WANT YOURSELF:
I gave you my examples – and now I want to hear yours in the comments below.
What is one reason you’d like to make a shift, and what does that mean to you?
What is one new habit you can try out this month to get you feeling the way you want to feel?
Have you tried the “speak to others like you hope to speak to yourself” compliment experiment?
Doesn’t this picture of a girl jumping just make you want to jump for joy yourself? (it’s infectious like that)